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Belle & Sebastian Hookworms Franz Ferdinand Kyle Craft

How To Solve Our Human Microshift Always Ascending Full Circle Nightmare
Problems, Parts 1-3 out now on CD & vinyl out now on CD & vinyl out now on CD & vinyl
out now on CD & vinyl One of the UK’s most revered This album shows the band Sonically, thematically and
The Glaswegian indie-pop greats young bands make a welcome broadening their palate, a sound lyrically, this autobiographical
return with 15 new tracks taken return with their euphoric third that Alex Kapranos refers to as album marks a huge leap
from their three recent EPs. album. “futuristic and naturalistic”. forward from his 2016 release.

Superchunk The Breeders Tracey Thorn Titus Andronicus

What A Time To Be Alive All Nerve Record A Productive Cough
out now on CD & vinyl out 2 March on CD & vinyl out 2 March on CD & vinyl out 2 March on CD & vinyl
Features appearances by Katie The return of The Breeders with First solo album of entirely original The New Jersey punk band are
Crutchfield of Waxahatchee and the classic line-up of Kim and material for seven years. Includes back with album #5. Includes
Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs the singles Queen and Sister. Number One (In New York).
Fields. and Jim Macpherson.

Soccer Mommy Charlie Barnes Nathaniel Rateliff Whyte Horses

Clean Oceanography & The Night Sweats Empty Words
out 2 March on CD & vinyl out 9 March on CD & vinyl Tearing At The Seams out 9 March on CD & vinyl
Soccer Mommy’s impressive debut Bastille touring member Charlie out 9 March on CD & vinyl New album from the Mancunian
album was produced by Gabe Wax now drops his new album which Released on Stax Records, the psych-pop band - 16 tracks about
(The War On Drugs) and mixed by features Bastille’s Dan on Will band’s second album includes the love and fear and all that lives
Ali Chant (PJ Harvey). & Testament. upbeat anthem You Worry Me. between.

home of entertainment
APRIL 2018 Issue 293

The Damned man’s journey
from gravedigger to goth-punk
doyen, through the soap-opera
scraps of his bandmates.
“No one was blameless,”
he assures Pat Gilbert.

The artist behind the
controversialist, hymned and
mourned by bandmates from
every era of the mighty Fall.
Plus: MOJO’s mixtape of
classic and deep Fall cuts.

WILSON The go-to guy
for guitar and neo-classic rock
productions survived setbacks
and drive-bys before coming
into his own on a thrilling third
solo album.

The ex-Talking Heads honcho is
in revealing mood as he unveils
his American Utopia. His
shyness, the reformation offers,
The Big Suit: it’s all fair game.

The full story of their ground-
breaking 1972 debut album,
the cornerstone of Art Rock.
The outfits, the outrage,
the mad feedback, the
space jazz and all.

Rock’s ultimate rebel – his
biggest battles, and his latest,
as he squares up against Trump,
the record industry and MP3.
Plus: Graham Nash, Frank
Sampedro, Pegi Young, Nils
Lofgren and more attest to
his ongoing insurgency.
Steve Double/Camera Press

“He had a way of hearing music

that was different to other people.”

L.A. Witch: making
magic in MOJO
Rising, p22.

Al Jourgensen, Joan As Police Woman, Kathleen
Turner – who sings Mahalia Jackson in the shower?
Nick Drake, Unloved Albums, and a bit of maths.
34 REAL GONE Au revoir Hugh Masekela,
‘Fast’Eddie Clarke, Moody Blue Ray Thomas,
Denise LaSalle, Edwin Hawkins and more.
126 ASK FRED From Prince to Mae West.
130 HELLO GOODBYE David J reflects
on the undead lifespan of Bauhaus.


12 LED ZEPPELIN There’s a remastered
version of Led Zep’s boffo live set How The West
Was Won coming – including its first-ever vinyl
edition! Jimmy Page tells MOJO about the
revamping, and hints at what more to expect
from the group’s 50th anniversary year.
Find out what a renowned boss of dub and a
legendary innovator of the toaster’s art have been
up to in the studio together.
19 LAURIE ANDERSON The future-
facing artist, musician and proud amateur paints
her Self-Portrait and talks about her life.
St. Vincent
in Seattle,
Lives, p118.
Arthur Dent, Bilbo Baggins and Dr Watson – but
what sounds blow the unrepentant Mod’s mind?
24 XTC In ’79, Making Plans For Nigel took Wilts’
Jack White is in pop individualists into the Top 20. But how did
the (Boarding) they get there? What came next? Members Colin
House, Lead Moulding and Terry Chambers look back.
Album, p84.

84 NEW ALBUMS Jack White’s new style,
Anna Von Hausswolff, The Breeders, Buffalo Tom,
Graham Coxon, Imarhan, Tracey Thorn, and more.

100 REISSUES Keeping the Hendrix legacy

alive, Stax rarities, Herbie Hancock, Tom Waits on
Asylum, the real space music on Voyager, and more.

114 SCREEN The magic of Berlin’s studio by

the Wall: Hansa from Bowie to R.E.M.

115 BOOKS Wu-Tang’s U-God opens up, plus

Kerouac, Alpha Boys’ School of ska, Yacht Rock.
Levente Szabo, Marco Hernandez, Nate Watters, Steve Gullick

116 LIVES Will Bobsessives dig the Dylan

musical in London? Plus St. Vincent in Seattle.
vid Fricke Keith Cameron Andrew Cotterill
ricke wrote his first story MOJO’s Contributing Editor first “It’s hard to go wrong when you
ing Stone in 1977, the interviewed Neil Young in 2000. For have someone who makes the
ear he first saw David this month’s cover story (see p70), effort in a great venue,” photogra-
ve with Talking Heads. Keith spoke to Young, plus Graham pher Cotterill said after shooting
comes up in their reveal- Nash, Frank ‘Poncho’ Sampedro, and The Damned’s Dave Vanian at the
unter in this month’s MOJO Lukas Nelson. “I told Poncho I would King’s Head club in Hackney for
). When he’s not writing, pray to the deity of his choice to see this month’s MOJO Interview (see
ke is on the air, hosting Crazy Horse play with Neil again,” he p36). To view more of Andrew’s
he Writer’s Block every says. “Poncho replied: ‘You can pray, work go to www.andrewcotterill
week on Sirius XM radio. but don’t give money to any of ’em!’”


1 Billy Bragg 2 McCarthy The 3 Sleater-Kinney 4 Yoko Ono
The World Turned Home Secretary Entertain Woman Power
Upside Down Briefs The Forces The Olympia, WA-forged punk-pop Ono’s 1973 album, Feeling The Space,
From 1985’s Between The Wars EP of law and order axis of Carrie Brownstein, Corinne didn’t mince its mix of feminism and
– an urgent broadside in the teeth of Tucker and Janet Weiss have rarely personal defiance (Woman Of Salem,
Proving dissent needn’t be expressed sounded more thrilling as on this She Hits Back, Angry Young Woman,
Britain’s Miners’ Strike – the Bard Of in the vocab of volume or aggression,
Barking’s doomy, slashing version of angry 2005 bird-flip in the grill of Men, Men, Men) but Woman Power’s
Tim Gane and Malcolm Eden’s showbiz – the bread and circuses de titanium stomp groove make it Ono’s
Leon Rosselson’s song about The
typically sardonic 1989 dig at British nos jours. “Where’s the ‘fuck you’?” go-to anthem, even 45 years on. John
Diggers, a 17th century sect of ultra-
democrats, still speaks to current police and army violence in Northern sing-demands Brownstein, as if she O’Cean, AKA Lennon, unleashes Yer
issues of ownership and inequality. Ireland comes in raiments of gently didn’t know that it’s right here. Blues-style guitar while Yoko predicts
mantric psych-pop. Seeds of Stereolab the dawn of “woman nation”. Less
(Leon Rosselson) 2005 Billy Bragg from the LPs – Gane’s next step – can be heard. (Sleater-Kinney) Published by BMG Gold Songs/ killing, more knitting – yeah!
Brewing Up With Billy Bragg; Back To Basics, Billy Songs Of Big Deal/Code Word NEMESIS (ASCAP).All
Bragg Vol. 1; Must I Paint You A Picture?: The Essential (Williamson/Gane/Baker/Eden) Published by Domino Rights Administered By BMG Rights Management (Yoko Ono) published by Downtown DMP songs
Billy Bragg Licensed by Cooking Vinyl Publishing Co Ltd. 1989 Midnight Music (Records) (US) LLC. & 2005 Sub Pop Records. Taken from (BMI); & 2017 Secretly Canadian, from the Ltd. Licenced courtesy of Cherry Red Records. the album The Woods. album Feeling The Space (Secretly Canadian).
Alamy, ©Edwige Hamben, Jason Williamson, Library Of Congress, Murdo Macleod, Tiago Angelino

9 Atamina No One 10 the last Poets 11 Misty In Roots 12 Fela Kuti and
Wants To Die Black Is Ghetto of the afrika 70 Sorrow
The appellation “the Ghanaian Umar Bin Hassan’s eloquent jazz-rap City (Live) Tears and Blood
Sleaford Mods” would doubtless declaration of African-American From their powerful opening salvo Nigeria’s unofficial Leader of the
baffle David Atamina, but his super- beauty, uniqueness and heritage is – Live At The Counter Eurovision 79 Opposition, Kuti felt the iron fist
contemporary, bracingly abrasive a statement of defiance and coming
– Southall’s finest inveigh against the of his country’s junta. The singer/
style of DIY Afro-rap has a similarly conflict that isn’t blind to the horrors
and obstacles of AD 1971: “Black is iniquities they’d witnessed at April saxist’s defiant and visceral Afrobeat
gnarly-yet-hypnotic charge. Likewise, 1979’s Southall Riots (where police reported from the frontline, literally
the subject matter: including much marching in Alabama/And getting
nothing but rifle butts on the brain.” fought anti-NF demonstrators), a so on this urgent 1977 recounting
none-too-impressed scrutiny of his Greek chorus of accusatory voices of what happened when police
The radical riffs drew the unwelcome
local bourgeoisie, sycophantic pals floating above ghostly skeins of and soldiers raided his compound,
attentions of Nixon’s COINTELPRO.
and other creeps. He plays a mean funereal organ. Greed and injustice throwing his mother from a window.
two-string kolongo, too, just like his (Hassan) Published by Fairwood Music Ltd. 1971 would continue to fuel their fire.
musical hero King Ayisoba. Douglas, an Original Douglas Recording, Courtesy of (Kuti) published by BMG and Sony/ATV. & 1977,
Charly Acquisitions Ltd./Adageo BV, Licensed from (Tyson) Published by One People Ltd. From the 2014 FAK under exclusive license to Knitting Factory
(David Atamina), 2017 Makkum Records, from ApS. Taken from the Charly CD album Roots Controller and Live At The Counter Records Inc. Available on Sorrow Tears And Blood by
the album Sycophantic Friends (Makkum) and digital download: This Is Madness Eurovision Fela Kuti And Afrika 70

ability to challenge the status quo is its not-so-secret
weapon. Songs enter the public arena more readily,
more virally, than any other art form, and deliver
their messages – sometimes loudly and proudly; sometimes
stealthily, with meanings that dawn slowly but surely (you
don’t have to agree to be affected, changed even). It can say
“free Nelson Mandela” and get the world to sing along, even
help make it happen. It can say “four dead in Ohio” and make
more noise than any newspaper editorial. The writers, and
performers of such songs stick their heads above the parapet
and carry heavy burdens – think of the pressures that built on
Dylan, Lennon and Marley, Fela Kuti and Victor Jara, and the
dangers they faced, some fatally. MOJO’s selection of some of
our favourite songs of dissent cover many themes. Some
protest economic injustice or political oppression, others
a cultural status quo; some are angry and some sad. But all
are stirring and imply what the best music often implies – that
there can be a better world; but first we have to imagine it.

5 MC5 Motor City 6 Gil Scott-Heron 7 Curtis Mayfield 8 Ali Farka Touré
Is Burning Home Is Where Hard Times Yenna
The Wild One’s “What are you The Hatred Is “There’s no love to be found” in the “We didn’t vote for them, and
rebelling against?” “Whaddaya got?” From 1971’s immortal Pieces Of A Man country described by Mayfield on this they owe us nothing,” is how
one-two could have been coined for LP, Scott-Heron’s junkie plea feels like topnotch 1975 cut, even before the key phrase in the Mali singer-
Rob Tyner, Wayne Kramer and co. factoring in the violence and songwriter’s 1993 song translates.
a sad indictment of a society the
Their greaser rock/heavy soul/free corruption those with “cold, cold eyes” In a country where religious and
narrator needs to escape inside his
jazz meld ran on pure aggro, never have in store. Sad-eyed protest off cultural divisions, worsened by
“white powder dreams”, sonically political corruption, have raged
more so than on this 1972 mashing of There’s No Place Like America Today.
spun by Brian Jackson’s soft-focus for decades, the musicians have
John Lee Hooker’s memorial to 1967’s
Detroit riots. Had the revolution Fender Rhodes fantasia. The stagnant (Mayfield) Published by Warner Chappell (North traditionally spoken out, as Farka
come, it would have sounded like this. ghetto flipside of The Revolution Will America) 1975 Curtom an Original Curtom Touré’s inheritors – Oumou Sangaré
Not Be Televised’s raised rebel fist. Recording, Courtesy of Charly Acquisitions Ltd., and Songhoy Blues – continue to do.
(Smith) Published by EMI United Partnership Ltd. Licensed from Aps. Taken from
1992 Skydog Records. Licensed courtesy of Skydog (Scott-Heron) Published by Carlin. From the BGP box the Charly/Curtom LP: There’s No Place Like America (Farka Toure) Published by World Circuit 1992
International / Jungle Records. Taken from the set The Revolution Begins: The Flying Dutchman Today (Charly L 166) originally released in 1975 and World Circuit From the album The Source.
album Thunder Express Masters available now on remastered 180-gram vinyl.

13 Boscoe 14 Mike Ladd 15 Woody Guthrie

We Ain’t Free Feb. 4 ’99 (for Better World
From the opening, ironical brass All Those Killed A-Comin’
comment on The Star-Spangled
Banner, this jazz-funk locomotive –
By Cops) Dylan’s hero could easily be termed
Black Lives Matter prefigured and the father of modern protest music,
a rarity disinterred by Numero Group channelling a tradition of folk
in 2007 – makes its point forcefully. transcended by the soaring poetry
and impressionistic post-Axelrod commentary, blues complaint and
It’s Chicago, 1973, nearly a decade
since the Civil Rights Act, and what’s soundscaping of alt-rapper Ladd’s gospel’s elevation of the divine ideal
changed for African-Americans? Yet epic 1999 track, where, out of the above the earthly real. But the key to
there’s a glimpse of liberation, at everyday, “wrathful idiots” and “off- Guthrie’s lasting appeal is the
least, in Ron Harris’s daring bass duty demons” are the agents of an optimism – the Quixotic vision,
glissandos and Reg Holden’s Joe awful apocalypse that might, just as on this 1944 recording, of the
Bowie-ish trombone blurts. might, contain the seeds of renewal. communitarian future, when we’re
all union, fascism is crushed, and
(Cobb) Published by Cobborator Music Publishing (Ladd) published by Just Isn’t Music (PRS) 2000 the bosses’ spoils are shared by all.
(ASCAP) & 2007 Numero Group; with courtesy of Mike Ladd, from the album Welcome To The
The Numero Group. Afterfuture; (Guthrie) Copyright Control. Originally released 1956
Out April 13th
on Yep Roc Records

17/4 Kantine am Berghain - Berlin, DE

20/4 N9 - Eeklo, BE
21/4 Petit Bain - Paris, FR
22/4 Tolhuistuin - Amsterdam, NL
24/4 The Lantern - Bristol, UK
25/4 The Garage - London, UK
26/4 Academy 3 - Manchester, UK
27/4 Whelan’s - Dublin, IE
28/4 Leaf - Liverpool, UK
29/4 The Mash House - Edinburgh, UK
30/4 The Plug - Sheffield, UK

17/4 Bush Hall - London, UK

18/4 Hare & Hounds - Birmingham, UK
19/4 Philharmonic Music Room - Liverpool, UK
20/4 Deaf Institute - Manchester, UK
21/4 King Tut’s - Glasgow, UK
22/4 Brudenell Social Club - Leeds, UK
24/4 Portland Arms - Cambridge, UK
25/4 The Lantern - Bristol, UK

Out February 23rd on Yep Roc Records
Al Jourgensen
What music are you Which musician, other than your-
currently grooving to? self, have you ever wanted to be?
The last good thing I heard was Tom Waits. He’s more rock’n’roll
Chelsea Wolfe. I love her ambience, than any of these bands that frosty-
and self-assuredness, and her killing- tip their hair and prance about
an-ant-with-a-sledgehammer thing, with their Gibson guitars.
and the fact it’s a woman doing it, What do you sing in the shower?
instead of the male-pattern rock
(Laughs and splutters) I’m too busy
genius that we seem to perpetuate.
jerking off to sing, man! But if I did
What, if push comes to shove, sing, it would be early Buck Owens.
is your all-time favourite album?
What is your favourite
Wire’s Pink Flag. Again, it’s their Saturday night record?
confidence that spoke to me – like,
even though we’re in a garage, Assuming you’re conjuring the
and we play like dorks, we have mood? Ready to go? Anything
something important. by Motörhead. Then I’d move on
to the first three ZZ Top records.
What was the first record you ever
bought? And where did you buy it? And your Sunday morning record?
December’s Children by The Rolling Like when you’re hungover from
Stones. But I didn’t buy it, I stole Saturday night? Neil Young, Dylan
it from a Sears in Arlington Heights, Leonard Cohen. Sunday morning
Chicago. I was seven or eight, and used to be finding out where you
I managed to slip it under my jacket. were the night before, and how
Why the Stones? They were on you got home. Is there a soundtrack
the radio in the car ride over, for that? Maybe Ministry!
and my parents said, “This stuff AmeriKKKant will be released
sucks, they’re ruining our society.” on March 9 via Nuclear Blast.


Joan As Hendrix was. When

I put it on, I do feel like Kathleen
Police my life was changed.
Which musician, other
Woman than yourself, have you
ever wanted to be?
SHE’S ARRESTING! Heh! A lot of people – Kim
Deal, David Bowie, Glenn What music are you
What music are you currently grooving to?
currently grooving to? Gould, Chaka Khan, Prince,
James Brown, Al Green, I like Margot MacDonald,
Let’s see. I really love the Roberta Flack… Can we she’s got an extraordinary
Moses Sumney record, and voice. Also, the Punch
have a mixture of those?!
Nick Hakim’s EPs are beautiful, Brothers’ Rye Whiskey – I like
What do you sing [by Rodgers & Hart] is the
and Bridget Kearney’s the humour and the intricacy.
in the shower? shortest song in the set. The
Won’t Let You Down has
What, if push comes to songs come out of stories from
almost ELO-kind of great I’m not sure I do, but if I did,
shove, is your all-time my life and experiences in the
melodic pop songs. probably Mahalia Jackson –
favourite album? work. That one comes right
What, if push comes to only if no one was listening! after I’ve asked my husband
shove, is your all-time What is your favourite Paul Simon, Graceland. I love
to leave. I start singing:
favourite album? Saturday night record? every song. It’s on my warm-up
“Nobody’s heart belongs to
That’s an evil question! I’ll music in my dressing room.
New York City is less exciting me/Hey ho/Who cares…”
say Parade by Prince. It has at the weekend, so I tend What was the first record
What is your favourite
everything – all of his genius. It to stay in and make music. you ever bought? And Saturday night record?
has Kiss, but it also has dancey I might play Kendrick where did you buy it?
weird no-wavey jams like Maybe something from my
Lamar’s new one, or I think it was The Beatles’ work-out list? Funky stuff.
Anotherloverholenyohead… Sly & The Family Stone. I Want To Hold Your Hand
and Girls & Boys, and Scissor Sisters, I Don’t Feel
Saturday night will when I was living in Venezuela. Like Dancing. That’s great to
real tearjerker week. My father was a diplomat in
like Sometime warm up to. Del Amitri, Roll
It Snows In Ap unday NOW Caracas in the early ’60s. To Me. Flearoy – they’re
What was the
record? PLAYING What musician, other really wonderful.
rit Of Eden by G Al Jourgensen than yourself, have you And your Sunday
first record y can’t live without ever wanted to be?
Money Jungle morning record?
ever bought? Wire’s Pink Flag. Art- Am I a musician now? I may
And where d ton or Donuts dork punk a go-go! Dar Williams, As Cool As
, depending be singing but I’m not sure I Am. I love that one. And Lyle
you buy it? G Joan As Police
od. I do a lot Woman plugs double- I qualify. But I’ll say Amy Lovett. Isn’t he delightful? We
I bought Axis: Winehouse. I love her.
g – it makes bass-playing Bridget did a play together called The
Bold As Love, f
break from Kearney’s Won’t
Allison Michael Orenstein

the cover, whe What do you sing Exonerated in Fort Worth and
usic. I make Let You Down. in the shower? at the end he sang Amazing
I was like may G In her one-woman
nine, for 25 hocolate I find the shower is a great Grace a cappella every night.
kie. I do ! show, Kathleen Turner It was beautiful. He is Texas.
cents from the revives Nobody’s place to warm up my voice.
Salvation Arm Devotion is out Heart, the song Sometimes I sing songs from Kathleen Turner’s Finding My Voice
Goodwill. I did on PIAS. Joan Rodgers & Hart wrote the show. I take very quick will run at The Other Palace,
even know wh rs the UK in April. for offbeat, antiquity- showers and Nobody’s Heart London, from April 17 to May 6.
based 1942 musical,
By Jupiter.
Academic House,
24-28 Oval Road
London NW1 7DT
Tel: 020 7437 9011
Reader queries: mojoreaders@
Subscriber queries: bauer@
General e-mail: mojo@ MOJO welcomes letters for publication. Write to: MOJO Mail, Academic House,
Website: 24-28 Oval Road, London NW1 7DT. NEW E-mail:

John Mulvey
Senior Editor
Danny Eccleston in rock mythology; the tearaway iconoclast with a burning desire to leave the
Art Editor
Mark Wagstaff straight life behind and stick it to The Man. Embodying transgressive cliché can
Associate Editor
be demanding work, though, so that even the most vigorous insurrectionists
Geoff Brown have their moments of compromise, especially when their careers stretch out for
Reviews Editor
Jenny Bulley
40 or 50 years. That said, it’s hard to think of many occasions when Mark E Smith,
Associate Editor whose passing floored the MOJO team this month, or Neil Young were diverted
Ian Harrison from their outsiders’ paths. Their astonishing music has frequently felt revolu-
Picture Editor tionary in all sorts of ways, their contempt for music biz norms a kind of radical
Matt Turner
Senior Associate Editor political act intrinsic to their art. “I feel I’m out of step with what’s going on,”
Andrew Male Young tells us in a fiery interview for this, my first issue of MOJO, and one sus-
Associate Deputy
Art Editor pects he’s always found critical distance from the mainstream to be empowering.
Russell Moorcroft
Contributing Editors
Young has long made sport out of subverting expectation, but his endgame has
Phil Alexander, always seemed to be one of creative integrity rather than wilful perversion.
Keith Cameron,
Sylvie Simmons “I love music. I don’t like to see music mistreated,” he says. As a defiant mission
For contact
Danny Eccleston
statement, that’ll do for us.
Thanks for their
help with this issue:
Keith Cameron, Fred Dellar,
Steve Fawcett, Del Gentleman

Among this month’s

contributors: JOHN MULVEY, EDITOR
Matt Allen,Martin Aston,Joe
Banks,Mike Barnes,Mark Blake,
Glyn Brown,David Buckley,Stevie
Now there’s a real great reading the commentaries on his songs. You’ve
Chick,Andy Cowan,Fred Dellar, made my day/weekend. Thank you.
Tom Doyle,David Fricke,Andy
Fyfe,George Garner,Pat Gilbert,
human being! Terry Maunder, Leeds
John Harris,David Hutcheon, I was very pleased to see Nick Drake take pride of
Jim Irvin,Colin Irwin,David Katz,
James McMahon,James McNair,
place in the new issue [MOJO 292]. Like many, I
imagine, I first came across Nick on the Nice Enough
I think it’s great!
Ben Myers,Chris Nelson,Mark The first copy of the magazine I ever bought had
Paytress,Andrew Perry,Jon Savage, To Eat compilation from November 1969. The track Nick Drake on the cover. It was (I think) 1997 and
Victoria Segal,David Sheppard,
Laura Snapes,Michael Simmons,
Time Has Told Me was the third track on side two I was living and working in New York. I’ve never
Sylvie Simmons,Jeff Tamarkin,Ben of an album never officially reissued on CD for some missed an edition since. You are, along with Wax
Thompson,Kieron Tyler,Charles strange reason. It was a staple in the Sixth Form
Waring,Lois Wilson,Stephen Poetics, the greatest music journalism in the world.
Worthy,Rob Young. Common Room along with Fill Your Head With Rock Every month you lift my heart. Please can you
and Picnic (the Harvest label compilation). He is my do Curtis Mayfield? Donny Hathaway? Salford Jets?
Among this month’s most loved and admired male singer-songwriter. Christopher Eccleston (no relation), via e-mail
Cover: Gijsbert Hanekroot/Getty I didn’t buy Five Leaves Left until the second
Inset: Kevin Cummins/Getty pressing had been issued and, of course, first Is he, or isn’t he? We think he is.
Jay Blakesberg, Chuck Boyd, Dean pressings on the solid pink Island label will sell
Chalkley, Andrew Cotterill, Kevin
Cummins, Henry Diltz, Alysse for more than £800; a second pressing can also Who made up these
Grafkjen, Anne Greenaway, Steve
Gullick, Ian Hargreaves, Manuel
be valuable, as are first pressings of Bryter Layter rules anyway?
Harlan, Shin Katan, Chiala Meatelli, and Pink Moon (I have a first pressing of this). The Further to What Goes On’s piece about Independent
Barry Plummer, Paul Rider, original Hannibal label box set, Fruit Tree, 1986, charts in the February MOJO [291]. A Top 30
Jody Rogac, Tom Sheehan, on vinyl, is also very collectable.
Paul Slattery, David James Swanson, Indie album chart and a Top 20 Indie single chart is
Nate Watters, Val Wilmer. Not that the monetary value is the important still run weekly in the music trade magazine Music
issue. His music has helped me through tough Week. New eligibility rules were introduced in the
MOJO Subscription Hotline times. One of my children says she remembers early 2000s which changed the rules and meant that
01858 438884
going to sleep with his music drifting upstairs. I am independent distribution was no longer the criteria.
so pleased that over the years his music has gained Eligibility was brought in to match the conditions
For subscription or back issue queries contact
CDS Global on more attention, resulting in the superb Fruit Tree box needed for labels to join the UK independent trade
To access from outside the UK from 2007, which includes the Skin Too Few DVD, organisation AIM (Association of Independent
Dial: +44 (0)1858 438884
plus the other compilations you mention. It was Music). To be considered in the Independent charts

now releases must be on a label which is not more The big numbers, Group Managing Director,
than 50 per cent owned by one of the major record
companies: ie. Sony, Warners and Universal. you multiply by two Advertising
Abby Carvosso
In issue 292 (excellent as ever!) the review of Head of Magazine Media
Iain McNay, via e-mail Clare Chamberlain
Mogwai’s concert at the 13,000-capacity SSE Group Commercial Director
Simon Kilby
I can give you anything but love Hydro states that the band’s two young members Head Of Magazine Brands
MOJO’s excellent 20 Unloved Albums feature was “lower the average age of the building’s inhabitants Rachel Flower
Music Director
thought-provoking. It certainly had me mulling over by roughly 10 years”. By my reckoning, even if the Joel Stephan

titles in my collection that had been dismissed by youngsters were 20 years old, the other 12,998 Mediaplanner
Mollie Smee
critics and unloved by fans but which continue people present would have to be on average 65,020 Regional Advertising

to have a special place in my heart and head. years old for that to be true. Mogwai may not have Katherine Brown
Classified Sales Executive
When Kevin Rowland’s 1999 solo work, My the youngest fanbase, Philip Nessfield

Beauty, was released, few bothered to get beyond the but we’re not quite Classified Sales Manager
Karen Gardiner
album’s controversial sleeve, which saw the former that ancient… Inserts Manager
PS. My maths is Simon Buckenham
Dexys frontman dressed/undressed in drag. It Production Manager
flopped, labelled as bonkers, and even found itself a bit rusty so, just Carl Lawrence
n case, I attach my Ad Production Controller
on a list of the 50 Worst Albums Of All Time. But it Helen Mear
was judged by its cover rather than its music, which working (x being Creative Solutions Senior Producer
Jenna Herman
is inventive, emotional, brave, theatrical and often the average age of Creative Solutions Art Director
breathtakingly beautiful. This is Rowland opening attendees without Jon Cresswell

his soul. Unfairly thought of as just another covers the two youngsters). Chief Executive
album, My Beauty is so much more. It is a collection of Stephen Theaker, Paul Keenan
Birmingham Group Managing Director
popular songs that obviously mean a lot to the singer, Rob Munro-Hall
being given adventurous and unique interpretations.
To my mind there is not a dud on the disc. What’s on? Your mind? Patrick Horton
Commercial Marketing Director
As ever, great CD with the Satanic Majesties cover Liz Martin
Highlights include an epic (eight minutes-plus) wall- Managing Editor
of-sound-style make-over of The 4 Seasons’ close feature [MOJO 291] – but having devoted so Danielle O’Connell
much space to the Stones’ psychedelic folly MOJO CD and Honours
harmony classic Rag Doll, an understated version Creative Director
of Bacharach & David’s evergreen This Guy’s In (“unadulterated drivel”: Glyn Johns) – I trust you Dave Henderson
Senior Events Producer
Love With You and a reimagining of Cass Elliot’s will soon be giving equal prominence to what is now Marguerite Peck
bouncy summertime hit It’s Getting Better, complete widely regarded as the era’s masterpiece of vision, Business Analyst
Clare Wadsworth
with church bells! Then there’s his most incredibly creativity and invention: The Pretty Things’ Head of Marketing
personal version of The Greatest Love Of All. S.F. Sorrow (released December 1968)! Fergus Carroll
Senior Marketing Executive
Masterpiece is an over-used word, but it’s Dave Ward, via e-mail Hope Noel
Direct Marketing Manager
a term that can be applied to this under-rated Julie Spires
and neglected album. As we approach the 20th I think he’s got a conclusion Direct Marketing Executive
Rebecca Lambert
anniversary of the release of My Beauty, it is surely Congratulations! Issue 291 and you print the Head of Communications
time for some reassessment. Greatest MOJO Interview Ever. Bob Mehr managed Jess Blake
John Millar, Irvine, Ayrshire to make Jeff Tweedy talk on issues people (or
Printing: William Gibbons
artists?) find awkward. A sensible masterpiece. And MOJO (ISSN 1351-0193) is published 12
Re: Unloved Albums. It’s Hard (Polydor, 1982) I am not even a fan of Wilco. Maybe I should be one. times a year by Bauer Consumer Media Ltd.
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd is a company
was The Who’s second album of the post-Moon, Luca Nesi, an Italian from Stockholm registered in England and Wales with company
Kenney Jones era and second in consecutive years. number 01176085, registered address Media
House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood,
Rolling Stone gave it a favourable review on release: Where did everyone go? Peterborough PE2 6EA
Airfreight and mailing in the USA by agent named
five stars. Nevertheless looked upon as the band’s The subtitles on this month’s letters page [MOJO Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc.,
worst album, it contains some great Pete Townshend 292] are from the 1984 film Repo Man. The
156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica,
NY 11434, USA.
originals: Eminence Front, Cry If You Want and relevance to the issue escaped me – there was no Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica, NY 11431. US
Postmaster: Send address changes to MOJO, Air
I’ve Known No War the standouts. Circle Jerks feature, worse luck, or even Jimmy Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15,
Maybe first single Athena wasn’t the right choice. Buffett! Then I checked the credits on IMDB and
146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA
To ensure that you don’t miss an issue,
It limped into the lower reaches of the charts, doing there it was. Executive Producer: Mike Nesmith. visit for the
little to boost the album and resulting in second best subscriptions offers.
I’d claim my five pounds, were it on offer. For subscription or back issue queries, please
single, the stronger Eminence Front, being cancelled, Jim McCambridge, Hull contact CDS Global on
Phone from the UK on 01858 43 8884.
its failure maybe contributing to Townshend’s belief Phone from overseas on +44 (0)1858 43 8884
in his inability to generate new strong material For enquires on overseas newsstand sales
for the group, leading to the 24-year gap until the ERRATUM © All material published is copyright of Bauer
band’s next studio effort, Endless Wire. In MOJO 291, we mistakenly attributed the curation of Consumer Media Ltd. No part of this magazine may
be reproduced without the prior permission
Darren Williams, via e-mail the Piero Umiliani compilation Grazie! to UK DJ Marcellus of the publisher. MOJO accepts no responsibility
Wallace (aka Dave Silcox). In fact it is the work of Mike for any unsolicited material.
Thanks for all the Unloved Albums… That You Love. Keep Wallace, a US DJ also trading under Marcellus Wallace. To find out more about where to buy MOJO,
them coming in and we’ll make more of them in a future We apologise unreservedly for any confusion caused. contact Frontline Ltd, at Midgate House, Midgate,
Peterborough PE1 1TN. Tel: 01733 555161.
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our door.See page
2 for full details…



Led Zeppelin’s 50th birthday Going for gold: ovation. It was quite magical.”
Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin’s 1972 visit was their
bonanza kicks off with a taste (from left) John
eighth Stateside trek since their first set of
Paul Jones,
of them live, at their peak. Jimmy Page, US shows in late December ’68. In the
And there’s more to come, John Bonham,
Robert Plant,
intervening years their audience had
promises Jimmy Page. grown and so too had their set – they now
November 1971.
dispensed with support acts altogether.

t that time everybody in the band “We just wanted to reflect all the different
was playing unbelievably well,” aspects of the band,” nods Page. “You can
says Jimmy Page, reflecting hear those dynamics and different
gleefully on Led Zeppelin’s 1972 US tour. elements on the album.”
“Even as band members there were There’s still no room, however, for
moments where you could sense that widely bootlegged offcuts including Louie
fantastic things were happening on-stage Louie and Tangerine. “I’m not entirely sure
every night. It felt really special.” why Tangerine was left off because it was
Recently, Page has had occasion to really good,” admits Page. “But I didn’t
return to that landmark American tour, want to mess with the album so we haven’t
preparing the reissue of How The West Was added it or any other tracks. What’s
Won, the live album originally released in important, though, is that you can get the
2003, for a March 23 release. Back then, this album on vinyl for the first time. It’s a jolly
monumental 18-track set was somewhat good 5.1 mix too.”
overshadowed by the simultaneous The revamped How The West Was Won
release of the Led Zeppelin DVD, itself a kicks off Led Zeppelin’s 50th birthday year
revelatory piece of archaeology. in style. As Page alludes, there are further
“Maybe the album did get a bit releases planned which will most likely
overlooked but, to be honest, they were begin around the anniversary of the band’s
very different projects,” agrees Page. first live gigs which took place in Denmark
“The Led Zeppelin DVD provided a back in September 1968.
historical view, but it’s not a full concert. “It’s a bit early to talk about that,” says
That’s why How The West Was Won came “YOU COULD Page, although he admits he’s pleased that
out: to show the band as we really were SENSE THAT the band’s fellow surviving members, Plant
and Jones, are all contributing to the
during a full set.” FANTASTIC official pictorial book published by the Reel
Recorded over the course of two shows, THINGS
the album captures guitarist Page, Art Press, ostensibly in October.
frontman Robert Plant, bass player John WERE “I’m really happy we’re all doing it, and I
Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham HAPPENING am really very happy to be working with
on-stage at the LA Forum on June 25, 1972, ON-STAGE the Reel Art Press. They produce fine
and the Long Beach Arena two nights later. EVERY books,” he says. “But there will be other
projects too that we’re working on and that
The band chose to record these Californian NIGHT.” are being discussed right now.”
shows, says Page, due to the reaction
afforded the band the previous year. Jimmy Page Watch this space…
“Audiences in LA were always super- on Zeppelin Phil Alexander
enthusiastic,” he says. “When we played in ’72 Read Jimmy Page at length in MOJO’s sister
Stairway To Heaven there in 1971 – it hadn’t magazine, Planet Rock, in UK stores from
even come out – we got a standing February 16.
Heilemann/Camera Press


MARCH 9 & 10
John Cale (2018-1964):
A Futurespective
takes place at the
Barbican Hall. Joined
by the London
Orchestra, the veteran
creative force presents
songs from a new album
to be released on the
Domino label and gems
from the back catalogue
stretching back to 1964,
“that he has rarely,
if ever performed
live.” Expect Velvet
Underground material
and songs from Island
albums including Fear
and Helen Of Troy.

will investigate the complex rhythmic
CAN REOPENS! philosophy of this “scrupulously ego-less man”.
Meanwhile, I Am Damo Suzuki, Paul Woods’ long
mooted biography of Can’s vocalist in the years
Damo Suzuki makes peace with his All those years
Tago Mago: 1970-73, is tentatively scheduled to appear later MARCH 13
group’s legacy. Can biographer Rob (above) Damo this summer on Omnibus. Damo has been critical Rickie Lee Jones
Suzuki salutes publishes her
Young on this and other surprises. Jaki Liebezeit, of his treatment by the group, but on January 22 autobiography Rickie

Cologne he took part in a tribute to Liebezeit at a sell-out Lee (Grove Press). It
hen I began writing the official Philharmonie, event at the Cologne Philharmonic. The night will trace her life from
biography of Krautrock legends Can January 22; also featured Jaki’s Drums Off Chaos ensemble,
nomadic childhood
in 2014, three of its founding members (bottom left, and adolescence, first
from left) Can’s Jah Wobble, jazz trumpeter Manfred Schoof, steps at the Troubadour
were still alive. As the book reached its final Holger Czukay, Kumo, Michael Rother from Neu! and Can’s in Los Angeles, her
stages, it became something of an epitaph: first Irwin Schmidt Rosko Gee and Irmin Schmidt. relationship with
drummer Jaki Liebezeit died of a sudden illness and Jaki; (below) Tom Waits, drug use
the All Gates
Before his death, Czukay had been planning and more. Unseen
in January 2017, and nine months later bassist public appearances in support of a solo box set
Open book. photographs from
and sound wizard Holger Czukay passed away of to be released in March by Grönland Records. her personal archives
natural causes. Yet 2018 is the 50th anniversary The 5-CD Cinema contains album highlights, are promised, as are
of Can’s first full year of existence, and will be “never-before-told
plus rarely heard material from his collaborations stories and accounts of
marked with a positive riot of activity. with Brian Eno, Jah Wobble, Karlheinz Stockhaus- the music business as
My own book All Gates Open (published en, and his late wife U-She. There’s also a DVD of she’s lived it.”
together with Can Kiosk, an oral history and his TV film Krieg Der Tone (The War Of Sounds).
collage of reflections by keyboardist Irmin Meanwhile Irmin Schmidt has just finished a
Schmidt) was an opportunity to tell the group’s new piano album. He is also wading through hun-
story in unprecedented detail. It includes dreds of hours of live tapes along with novelist/
testimony from all founder members and aficionado Alan Warner – an official series of Can
associates, and draws on vintage interviews. live albums is promised in the near future. His
I explored how Germany’s Nazi past affected 2016 interview with the late Mark E Smith in the
the members, pursued their disparate musical Can Kiosk volume adds yet another epitaph.
backgrounds, watched all the films and TV “When we met,” says Schmidt, “I was
they soundtracked, and tried to get to the utterly surprised to meet not the quirky rock MARCH
nub of why they split in 1978. “AN OFFICIAL diva I expected, but this incredibly warm and 29-APRIL 1
Crowdfunding permitting, there will also be SERIES OF The London
lovely guy. We liked each other instantly. He International Ska
a book on Jaki Liebezeit by Jono Podmore, which CAN LIVE kept holding my hand to make sure I wasn’t Festival begins at
ALBUMS IS going to run off. Later on we made plans to the O2 Academy in
Islington. Attractions
ROMISED IN play together at Glastonbury, but then had include original voices
Meyer Originals, Getty Images, Alamy (2), Rex

to cancel it all for other reasons. I am deeply

THE NEAR Ken Boothe, Horace
saddened that this new friendship came Andy (above), Derrick
FUTURE.” to an end so quickly.” Morgan, Johnny
Clarke, Clive Chin,
The pages of Can Kiosk also include The Clarendonians
Schmidt’s conversations with artistic friends and and more, plus African
Can fans such as Bobby Gillespie, Daniel Miller, Head Charge, Pama
art curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, director Wim International and
Phoenix City All-stars,
Wenders and actor John Malkovich. who present ‘The Clash
All Gates Open: The Story Of Can is published In Dub’, playing songs
by Strummer-Jones
on May 5 (Faber & Faber). Pledge at in a JA style.

14 MOJ
discover the best new releases

Joan As Police Woman Miracle - The Strife Of Love The Plot In You Ezra Furman
Damned Devotion In A Dream Dispose Transangelic Exodus
out now on CD & vinyl out now on CD & vinyl out now on CD & vinyl out now on CD & vinyl
This brand new album sees a An amazing display of dark 10 tracks transcending genres from Intense, dramatic and hook-laden,
return to the darker, sensual sound synthpop that evokes Depeche metal to modern rock. A collective the new album from this unique
of Joan’s celebrated early releases. Mode at their most dramatic step forward, showcasing the band’s talent includes the single
heights. eclectic style and creative flair. Love You So Bad.

Paul Draper The James Hunter Six Lo Moon The Rezillos

Spooky Action / Live At Scala Whatever It Takes Lo Moon Flying Saucer Attack
out now on CD out now on CD & vinyl out 23 February on CD & vinyl out 23 February on CD
The debut solo album from the Recorded at Daptone’s Penrose Self-titled debut album from the LA This classic album now comes
former frontman of Mansun now Studios, Bosco Mann’s production trio and it’s a gorgeous collection with their famous live recording
comes with a bonus disc recorded elevates Hunter’s arrangements to of synthpop. Includes Real Love. from the Glasgow Apollo in 1978
on his sell-out tour. the altitude they deserve. plus B-sides and rarities.

Moby - Everything Was Joan Baez Tax The Heat Kim Wilde
Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt Whistle Down The Wind Change Your Position Here Come The Aliens
out 2 March on CD & double vinyl out 2 March on CD & vinyl out 9 March on CD & vinyl out 16 March on CD
This album explores spirituality Joan’s first studio album in a decade, Change Your Position pushes the The first studio album in seven
and individuality and finds Moby gathers material by some of Baez’s band’s sound to the next level, years from the legendary Kim
returning to his orchestral, trip-hop favourite composers including Tom adding a razor-sharp modern edge includes the single Pop Don’t Stop,
and gospel roots. Waits & Anohni amongst others. to their rock ‘n’ roll approach. a duet with her brother Ricky.

home of entertainment
Title: Talking Roots

MAD PROFESSOR it’s a balance between the

Treasure Isle influence and the
Ariwa thing,” says Professor. “I
heard Treasure Isle from when
Date: May
Production: Mad Professor
Songs: Repatriation /

Bass value: Teacher Morris / Minutes Of
U-Roy and Mad I was a kid in Guyana – a horn- Talk! / Bitter Nut / Zion Gates
Professor (right) The Buzz: “I always have a
man the desk at driven label with a Caribbean
sound that was not just Jamaican. good vibes with Professor.”
The Originator of toasting and the Ariwa Sound,
south London. So we always try to pay a lot of
dub specialist unite to revitalise respect to Treasure Isle.”
the art of the reggae DJ! Professor reveals that U-Roy was one of his long-standing

idols because of the way he revolutionised the role of the
s a tape rewinds on the Ariwa reel-to-reel, the toaster, but notes that their first collaboration, 1991’s True
British-Guyanese dub maestro Mad Professor Born African, was fraught with difficulty. “I went to LA with
summarises the ethos behind Talking Roots, his a bag full of money and recorded him on a lot of hits from
fifth album with the pioneering Jamaican DJ, U-Roy. the Ariwa stable at the Beastie Boys’ studio, but then we
“I thought hard about the concept and thought it couldn’t get a hold of him for a few days; it turns out some
needed to go back to what the DJ genre really is, which is gangsters had kidnapped him and put a gun to his head! So
toasting and talking. People forget the evolution and with it was a little nerve-wracking, but the album had a nice vibe.”
some modern artists, it isn’t clear whether they’re talkers
or singers. But us who saw the thing evolve know that
“SOME “I didn’t know how serious he was,” says U-Roy of their
initial connection, speaking on a crackling WhatsApp call
there used to be a clear distinction, so we really want to GANGSTERS that soon cuts out. “He called my manager and set the
re-establish the genre.” HAD business up and everything was just so good.”
The album was voiced at Anchor and Small World KIDNAPPED Prof emphasises that their mutual familiarity helps keep
studios in Kingston in late 2016, as well as at Professor’s HIM AND the partnership fresh; he brings initial concepts to the
Ariwa south-east London headquarters in the summer of PUT A GUN table, which U-Roy turns into fluid toasts.
2017, re-using rhythms the producer crafted earlier with “On Repatriation, he talks about Trump’s immigration
Jamaican legends such as drummer Sly Dunbar, bassist
policy,” says Professor. “Bitter Nut is about an African seed
Lloyd Parks and saxophonist Dean Fraser, plus Ariwa HEAD!” you use as a gift when people are getting married, a form of
stalwarts including multi-instrumentalist Black Steel aphrodisiac in Africa. As a producer, I always like to be
and Leroy Mafia on keyboards. The record’s title refers tongue-in-cheek and controversial, so I directed him and
to the glory days of DJ artistry, paying homage to the encouraged him into that. I didn’t really want to have him
Treasure Isle productions that gave rise to U-Roy’s fame just talk about dancing and feeling good.”
in the early 1970s. “Like all the U-Roy albums I’ve done, David Katz

…GAZ COOMBES (below) has a been trying to do your whole life. with progressive overtones,” says month, adding to speculation that
new LP, World’s Stronge t M ti Create something that’s yours, your Davy …MADONNA has confirmed the original line-up will reunite …
May. Recorded at hom your own views, make she is working on her fourteenth SLEATER-KINNEY ’s Carrie
Oxford’s Courtyard Stu g special” …DAVY album …also at work are SLEAFORD Brownstein (below) confirmed to
songs include Oxygen T, late of The Attack and MODS, who w ave been
Weird Dreams and Shit e, has a new album out in in a studio with g working on
(I’ve Done It Again) …T Entitled The Future’s Wild, and the legend, But there’s
MAGIC NUMBER Genesis co-founder the shit bank” … ate as yet,
working on their fifth a ony Phillips on guitar SMASHING P ained: “Just
Joe Ariwa, Alamy (2)

“As you get older you mastering by Alan James Iha, Billy ow, we’re
realise your strength in Duffy, engineer to Paul Jimmy Chamb do this
not giving a fuck,” they cCartney and The an unidentified wly… it’s
declared in a statemen inks. “It’s definitely Mod recording studio going
“You realise what you’v with new freak beat songs materialised last versation…”





ELEMENTAL MUSIC, together with Universal Music Group and

Sony Music Entertainment, presents a great selection of ‘70s
R&B, Soul and Funk. Out of print titles in CD (Gatefold LP replicas).

88526 88515 88509 88503

397307 88506 88507
PLANNED IT featuring “Love Is a Hurtin’ FACE TO FACE Feat “Sweet Harmony”
Their last Motown album.
GLADYS Thing”and had finally found a OHIO WITH THE TRUTH BARRY and “Baby Come Close”.
Motown. KNIGHT successful formula. PLAYERS Featuring “You Make Your Own WHITE Motown.
& THE PIPS Capitol Records. FIRE Heaven and Hell Right Here on TOGETHER BROTHERS
2nd ANNIVERSARY Featuring the hit “Fire”. Earth”, and “What It Is”. Barry White’s entry into the
Featuring “Money” and Mercury Records. Gordy Records. Blaxploitation soundtrack genre.
“Part Time Love”. 20TH Century Records.
Buddah Records.

88502 397303 397301 88528

RUN DEEP 810541 Rawl’s debut with the 88510 I JUST CAN’T KEEP MUSIC TO MAKE
featuring “Still Water (Love)” GLADYS Philadephia International label. OHIO ON GOING LOVE BY
(#11), and their cover of Feat “You’ll Never Find Another Featuring his amazing version
RAMSEY Solomon Burke said soul music
“It’s All in the Game” (#24). THE PIPS Love Like Mine”, his biggest hit. SKIN TIGHT + of “How Seet It Is (To Be Loved is “life itself, the very blood r
Philadelphia By You). THEM CHANGES unning through your veins,
Motown. IMAGINATION International Records. 1 BONUS TRACK Feat his versions of “Something” and it’s your heartbeat”.
Includes their only Billboard Hot The fifth studio album by the Columbia.
and “Oh Happy Day”. Chess Records.
100 No.1 hit, “Midnight Train to Dayton band (and the first for Cadet
Georgia”, and: “I’ve Got to Use the Mercury label).
My Imagination” and “Best Thing Mercury Records.
That Ever Happened to Me”.
Buddah Records

Available at all good record shops and online. More information at:
In a month scarred by loss, this Gone
Again (1996) song for Kurt Cobain was never more
potent or wise.
Find it: streaming services


A psychic-vegan, ex-Furry Thing’s sublime, eight-minute piano-
in-space bliss-out from his second LP on Kompakt. Set the controls!
Find it: In The Fields Of Nothing (KOMPAKT ALBUM) & YouTube


A song and a short film about a young homeless girl’s night on the
street. Peake narrates while Marr’s instrumental backdrop flutters
and soars. Funnier and groovier than the subject suggests.
Find it: YouTube


Beatific piano instrumental on an acid electric warm-wash by
MOJOPLAYLIST Holroyd, who’s also worked with Coldcut and Four Tet. The lead-off
from an LP entitled The Cage (minimal composition gag ahoy?!)
Find it: streaming services


From the Mersey group’s 1981 Fiction Tales, ele-

vating, stately enigma with vaporous ambiences from
keyboardist – and renowned computer game cover
illustrator – Bob Wakelin, who sadly died in January.
Find it: YouTube

Johannesburg-based musician-actor’s second album, You
Will Not Die, processes his torment at coming out against a back-
drop of social oppression. This reflects on rejecting Christianity in
Barnett sounds in familiar picaresque form on the first track from her new a pure, Anohni-ish soul voice with wintry electronic backing.
Find it: streaming services
album. But indie’s wry narrator of the small details that matter turns out
to be in a more sombre mood. A deceptively lilting chorus conceals the
song’s more serious intent: “I wanna walk through the park in the dark,”
she sings, nailing the imbalance of power and intimidation online and in
“It’s not Chicago’s fault that no one came to see my show,” sings
life with characteristic directness: “Men are scared that women will laugh Clarke, in a voice that conveys poignancy by the bucketful, over
at them… Women are scared that men will kill them.” Then daring the a swell of chamber strings and a swirl of red velvet curtains.
predictable response: “Go on/Tell me you’re just kidding.” Find it: YouTube

Find it: streaming from the end of Feb THE TEMPTATIONS LAW OF THE LAND
Courtney in the

From 1973’s Masterpiece, reissued on 180gm vinyl. Norman
AMEN DUNES MIKI DORA act: (above) Whitfield writes and produces the LP; Paul Riser’s widescreen
A millennial rethink of surf-pop, after a fashion, as New York Barnett, charts star; the group sing a bit, mostly on this pounding groove.
psychedelicist Damon McMahon recounts the tale of one of the on-stage;
(below) George Find it: Masterpiece (GORDY)
20th century’s more menacing wave riders. Oddly reminiscent of

Richard Ashcroft at his grooviest, too. Clinton channels
Find it: YouTube The title track to the San Diego power-trio’s lat-

est LP of heavily Sabbath-ized cosmic riffola; a near
HUGH MASEKELA nine-minute bongload of finest psychedelic prog,
THE BOY’S DOIN’ IT propelled by Hot Snakes drummer Mario Rubalcaba.
Super-funky title track from the late trumpet legend’s Find it: SoundCloud
1975 album, on Casablanca. Rocky Dzidzornu on

congas; Hugh sounding floaty, spacious. Whatever CHRIS CORNELL YOU NEVER KNEW MY MIND
the boy’s doin’, he’s doin’ it in Alabama and Acapulco. All kinds of poignant as the Soundgarden howler channels
Find it: streaming services
“I’M GONNA Johnny Cash – part of a project (Forever Words, due April 6), which

marries poems and letters by The Man In Black to brand new music.
Cold and bouncy Autobahn action from Tim Gane, his current UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA
accomplices and a couple of overdriven home-made drum ANTIDOTE!”
machines. The antic motorik spirit of Stereolab lives on! George Ruban Nielson’s dreamy psych-pop adventurers bulk
Find it: SoundCloud Clinton up for a crunchy excursion into stoner-funk. A neat,

ultra-fuzzy complement to the new Jack White LP.
PARLIAMENT FT. SCARFACE Find it: streaming services

Where George revives the legendary funk coloss LOST GIRLS DRIVING
and invites the Geto Boys MC to rhyme over his s From the Feeling EP, Norwegian artists Jenny Hval and
electroid funk slop. “I’m going to make you sick Håvard Volden smudge the boundaries between improv, sound art
then I’m gonna give you the antidote!” Beware, and pop music. By turns free-floating, romantic, bit scary.
ever, it may cause high butt pleasures. Find it: streaming services
Find it: YouTube


More elevated jangles from Melbourne’s answer to The Feelies.
PUU-NKS IN SPACE!! Future-facing new video Beyond the sun-dappled guitars, though, lies a tale of migrants on
features Dave Vanian bound for intergalactic the Med, risking everything “while winds of fortune shove us.”
realms while the band play in an airlock (or Find it: YouTube
possibly back at mission control? Hard to know)

“She’s heard of MX-80 Sound…”, begins Clay’s gorgeous
MOJO listens to
acoustic picker for a jaded scribe. From the Newcastle songwriter/
Getty, Alamy

all its music on

Roksan equipm psychiatric nurse’s 2011 album Pearshaped.
Find it:


The best book I’ve read is… Tristram
Shandy by Laurence Sterne. It made
me laugh and was the first big shaggy
A great sense dog story I’d read. It was so digressive,
The music/art polymath in of exhilaration:
My biggest vice is… I’m trying to not
with so much freedom. I said, hey,
be that judgmental really. If you mean
her own words and hand. Laurie Anderson
things that I regret doing, they mostly that’s the way the mind works, and I fell
by Laurie in love with that way of telling stories.
I’d describe myself as… I am so Anderson; consist of being mean to people.
uninterested in doing that! I’m a spy, (below) the artist
The last time I was embarrassed Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
photographed. …always completely full, to the brim.
an observer, I like to look at people. was… just four seconds ago when
What kind of spy would say that, I was trying to say what vice was. My greatest regret is… I can’t really
though? Only an idiot, it’s not My formal qualifications are… tell you the truth about this. But I wish
undercover at all. absolutely none. Being completely I’d seen my parents with more
Music changed me because… it unqualified to do anything is part of empathy, and understood them better.
opened a very romantic door. And I’m my dedication to being an amateur When we die… we don’t die. There’s
pretty sure I wouldn’t have danced and being on the edge of everything no such thing. The Tibetan Book Of The
without music. That question means I do. I had a lot of brothers and sisters, Dead is a pretty interesting book and
remembering what I was like before and nobody said, “What are you going that’s the first thing it starts with. My
I heard music and I can’t picture that. to be when you grow up?” We were on experience is, energy is really
When I started to play music, though, our own, it was a free-fly zone. So I mysterious and it takes a lot of forms.
I felt a great sense of exhilaration. decided not to decide, and that gave I know this probably sounds ridiculous,
me a lot of freedom. but really, in many ways, I don’t think
When I’m not making music… I’m we’re having this conversation.
writing. I stupidly agreed to write four The last time I cried was… yesterday.
books – I’m finished with the first one, A friend sent me a story. She found her I would like to be remembered… as
All The Things I Lost In The Flood. I’m “I DECIDED dog on the street with a beautiful little someone who made an effort to make
note around her neck. When her dog things better. I learned that from my
also putting together a book called NOT TO died, she was Xeroxing the note and husband [Lou Reed]. I think of him as
The Art Of The Straight Line, a DECIDE.” when she left the Xerox place she someone who made a tremendous
collection of things that Lou Reed
wrote about Tai Chi. We’re putting it realised she’d left the original note effort to make things better, no matter
behind. Losing that was so traumatic, what it was. I guess that’s how I’d like to
together really as his book. Another is
she almost cared more about that than be remembered as well.
a book of stories, and the last one is a
the death of her dog. I found that As told to Ian Harrison
secret. I’m also doing these big orange
heartbreaking. But I cry very easily.
crazy-looking paintings of scenes of Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet’s
disasters – there’s one of people who Vinyl, CD or MP3? … I love the vinyl. Landfall (Nonesuch) and her book All The
are opioid addicts, that’s a really My most treasured possession is… Things I Lost In The Flood (Rizzoli Electa)
colourful and sad one. my stability. are both out now.

Photoshot/Avalon (2), Canal Street Communications

… first promised in 2013, BEASTIE January, when the ‘F’ mark BRIAN ATARIS. He’s been indicted for tweeted, “The Illuminati is not a
BOYS’ autobiography will finally be WILSON got for writing 1961’s allegedly running a telemarketing frivolous subject.” Imagine the extent
published this year. Speaking to Apple’s Surfin’ was upgraded by his alma mater real estate scam which netted $27 of the Deep State’s connivance? …
Beats 1 station,Mike D (below left with Hawthorne High School to an ‘A’. Brian million between 2009 and 2016. We and April brings the release of Smalls
Ad-Rock) adde ed his Student Grade know the life of a worki nge, Meditations On Ageing,
normal band m m from principal is hard, but really …Tex he long-awaited solo debut
kinda surreal wh andesfeind, proving outlet Taco Bell was be rom SPINAL TAP ’s Derek
lives, so you kin he’s still true to his country singer CHAR Smalls (left). With songs like
dimensions to hool …there was less DANIELS last month Butt Call, Gimme Some (More)
tell the story” holesomeness from their humorous, consp Money and Hell Toupee,
…an historical ichael Davenport, theory-lampooning guests include Donald
injustice was -bassist of Indiana ‘Belluminati’ campaign Fagen, Richard Thompson
put right in op-punks THE “Hey Taco Bell,” he and Peter Frampton…


Pass the uilleann in Cork in 2014. “At the time I was
pipe: Brigid Mae living there, a single mum,” says
Power attunes
to invisible Power, “and he invited me on a UK
energies. tour. It wasn’t the right audience

London/Irish voice gives in to the drone
for me but just the lifestyle… I
realised this was what I wanted
to keep doing.”
G Power’s debut LP, I Told
You The Truth, was recorded
live “on quiet mornings” in
Broderick also invited Power St Nicholas’ Church, Galway.
for dream-folk transports of delight. out to Portland, Oregon, with the G Power regularly posts

idea of re-recording her self- works-in-progress and
ver since she was small, Brigid Mae Power has been released debut album, I Told You folk covers on her YouTube
drawn to the drone. Growing up in London with her channel, recorded in fields,
The Truth. Instead, spurred on by bedrooms and kitchens.
second-generation Irish mother, who listened to Broderick’s encouragement,
Planxty, The Bothy Band, and Christy Moore, alongside Power arrived with a set of new KEY TRACKS
G Don’t Shut Me Up
Nirvana and Jeff Buckley, Power’s world was heavily songs, songs of imprisonment (Politely)
defined by that simple, sustained monophonic hum that and escape, pain and release, G I’m Grateful
ran through so much traditional Irish folk music. borne along by droning guitars, G So You’ve Seen My Limit
“Whenever I heard uilleann pipes I was gone to another swirling strings, piano decay and
place,” says Power. “That drone, I love it. Sometimes I can Power’s own drifting, monastic voice.
sing from that same place. Someone once asked me, For their second collaboration, The Two Worlds, Power
‘Where did you learn to sing in those kinds of keys?’ Well, “I LET GO OF and Broderick (who married in 2016), recorded in Analogue
it’s much easier for me to sing like that than a normal ANY IDEA Catalogue studio in County Down: within are songs about
three-chord song.” OF HOW I Ireland past and present, memories of Power’s grand-
Those who’ve heard Brigid Mae Power’s extraordinary SHOULD mother and meditations on “being settled and also being
voice, especially on her self-titled 2016 LP, can confirm that
it has a similar effect on the listener as those uilleann pipes.
ACTUALLY up in the clouds”, caught between routine and escape,
claustrophobia and euphoria. The album’s first single,
It exists in a place between the dream-like and the SOUND.” Don’t Shut Me Up (Politely) took on a heavier meaning
everyday, with the ability to transport the listener to when its release coincided with a #MeToo Tumblr post by
somewhere free-floating and otherworldly. It’s a voice she Power about an abusive relationship she was subjected
struggled to find in her earliest recordings. to as a young woman living in New York.
“When I was a teenager,” she explains, “I was trying to “I recorded that song in March 2017, way before the
sing in a bluesy style, or how I thought I was meant to sing. Tumblr thing,” explains Power. “The song is more about
I didn’t know my actual voice until I heard Tim Buckley, a specific, invisible emotional energy in places like Ireland,
Laura Sheeran

and I let go of any idea of how I should actually sound.” but that song, like my Tumblr post, I feel like it’s the time for it
Her big break came when she supported the American to be heard. It can do its work now, if it has any work to do.”
singer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick Andrew Male


From Tim in The Office to Dr Watson and Bilbo Baggins, the
actor’s transported by socio-politics and Mod-porn. In colour.


Martin Freeman And Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner is out on Acid Jazz on March 2
(Blue Note album
title track, 1964) FOR HAPPINESS
(from Café Bleu,
“I heard it when I was
Polydor, 1984)
a little Mod, about 16,
The Café Bleu bigger
on a Gilles Peterson Blue
DAVID AXELROD SPECIALS Note compilation. It was band version, not the
GET UP OFF DO NOTHING WASHINGTON B-side! People who aren’t
outrageous and perfect,
KNEES (2-Tone 45, 1980) RHYTHM obsessed with music don’t
CHANGES perfect Mod jazz – the riff
(from Heavy Axe, “I had an epiphany and is still unbeatable, it’s a bit know this song, which is
Fantasy, 1974) (from The Epic, wrong. I just love it. It
was absolutely crazy punchy and a bit pissy,
“I got into David Axelrod Brainfeeder, 2015) endlessly fills me with joy.
about 2-Tone. It changed with real attitude and a
after hearing his beautiful my life, even though I was “He’s a fantastic sax player big upfront bass you can It’s the sound of a band
string arrangement on only about nine or 10, so and this album is proper feel, and it really moves. experimenting and doing
The Electric Prunes’ Holy I didn’t have a lot of life to old school. This track is You go into a cool world whatever the hell they
Are You. He made this change. It just set up my about seven minutes long, when you play it; it has want, because one of
space age, jazzy electronic taste and aesthetic, and with a wonderful band a mood and a look in them had got out of the
Dean Chalkley/Camera Press

album which had this on it; had such a message for a just going for it. It reminds my head, a look of going straitjacket of being in
it’s got a droning bagpipe pop song – ‘I’m just living me of one of those ’70s down into a basement another – brilliant – band
thing, which you don’t in a life without meaning’ cosmic, spiritual jazz club and people wearing [ie, Paul Weller and The
always associate with jazz, – but I could still get into it, things about life, the mohair suits and pork Jam]. I don’t why they’re
majestic bass, it swings and I ended up knowing universe and everything. pie hats. Its colour? It’s so ignored. I see this song
along fantastically, but it’s every second of it. It’s It’s beautifully sung and reddish, actually. And as orange, yellow, greens,
got this total gospel thing one of those early ’80s has a lovely, lilting melody. Lee Morgan was one of blues, multicoloured and
as well – a perfect marriage social-political songs that But they’re not messing the coolest people ever, kicking up a storm. The
of modern and traditional. were successful in ways around, some of the he was only about 25 album was a great cipher
Music’s always been that would never happen playing is quite angular, when he made this. That too. I heard soul, jazz and
a transporting thing for now. Even now it’s not and the soloing is muscly. documentary I Called Him funk, all things that are
me and this sends me particularly safe it was I like a slight tone of dread really important to me. It’s

approved of our version, Martin Freeman

which tickled me!” digs jazz, Mod
and 2-Tone tunes.
G For fans of: Mazzy Star,
The Gun Club, Black Lips
G “We never really think
of ourselves as ‘women in
music’,” notes Sanchez, “but
if that strikes a chord, and
helps girls to wanna start a
band, then that’s definitely
MOJORISING special for us.”
Crazy coven:

“Loving reverb partly comes G Kill My Baby Tonight
L.A. Witch rail on from hearing it in a lot of bands G Drive Your Car
(from left) Irita G Get Lost
Pai, Ellie English, I like, like The Cramps and The
Sade Sanchez. Jesus And Mary Chain,” she states,
Noir reverb rockers proffer brooding “but another huge part of it comes from being the guitarist
garage blues through the desert dust. in a three-piece, and having to fill out the sound. On my first

amp, there were just two effects dials, for gain and reverb,
e had a lot of cool women in rock music,
and I quickly discovered that one way to hide being
growing up in the ’90s,” says L.A. Witch’s singer/ self-conscious about my playing, and to make us feel
guitarist Sade Sanchez, “like Kim Gordon, P.J. bigger, was to just wash it out with a shit-ton of reverb,
Harvey and Courtney Love. I guess we got lucky.” and that just sort of stuck.”
The influence of these artistically savvy females has Suitably emboldened, L.A. Witch took a similarly
been more spiritual than directly musical on the trio that self-defining, DIY approach to every aspect of their work,
Sanchez formed in Los Angeles in 2012. On last September’s designing flyers and handcrafting their early CD EPs
self-titled debut album, Sanchez summons the frostily themselves. Sanchez adds the band only properly “felt real”
enigmatic allure of Hope Sandoval singing Mazzy Star’s “IN THAT once they’d cemented it onto vinyl, with their album on
Ghost Highway, amid the reverb-heavy garage-blues
twang of primetime Gun Club. Her songs, mostly written
SONG, I GET Seattle’s Suicide Squeeze label, where the EP’s more
TO DRIVE introspective tracks were axed in favour of “uppity songs”
about a long-term relationship which derailed during her – that is, the brooding, twangsome, deserty rock’n’roll
band’s formative months, go by no-nonsense titles such as HIS CAR.” which has now become L.A. Witch’s irresistible calling card.
Kill My Baby Tonight and You Love Nothing. Another track, As for their first photo session, Sanchez turned down
Get Lost, features the glowering couplet, “Save me from offers of digital trickery, instead teaching a friend how to
myself/I don’t need nobody else.” Drive Your Car, mean- use her own 35mm camera, thus enabling her to shoot and
while, is “a song about power and control. In LA we spend a ‘direct’ it her way, onto film. She further indulges her love
lot of time in our cars, and in that song, I get to drive his car.” of 35mm photography in an ongoing tour diary.
Initially learning to play as a pre-teen on her classic- “I love the way you have to wait to get your prints –
rock-loving dad’s guitar, Sade (pronounced Shar-day) soon something tangible – developed,” she says. “It’s like
formed a punk-garage duo called Pow Wow with drummer everyone these days has ADD. They need instant
Ellie English. Their later regrouping as L.A. Witch with stimulation, all the time!”
bassist Irita Pai had a dramatic effect on the band’s sound. Andrew Perry


“I wanted to observe every little dark corner of the

hurt, and give voice to the less obvious parts,” says
New Zealand crooner MARLON WILLIAMS
W ith subject matter including warrior women,
reincarnation and the apocalypse, Triomphe
Agnès Gayraud’s second album as LA FÉLINE
Boris Barthes, Steve Gullick, Marco Hernandez

of his second album, Make Way For Love, which is an alluringly bold collection of post-Radiohead,
chronicles the end of the 27-year-old’s relationship progressive pop songs. Taking her nom de plume
with singer/songwriter Aldous Harding. A former from Cat People, Jacques Tourneur’s uncanny
chorister switched-on to country via honky tonk and 1942 horror movie, Gayraud’s music is melodically
Hank Williams, his 2015 debut announced a star-in- modern, but has an ancient, Dionysian undercur-
the-making. But Williams’ heartbroken follow-up rent. Inspired, she says, by the “balance between
is the real deal, a swoonsome, dreamy, blackly- lyricism and innovation” of the last two Talk Talk
humorous set cycling between regret, desolation albums, another level of mystery is created (to
and revenge, and even featuring Harding on its Anglo-American ears at least) by her allusive use
penultimate track. “It was absolutely therapeutic,” of the French language itself: “To not understand
he reflects. “A voice wants a bended ear.” Stevie Chick can be a beginning for enchantment.” Joe Banks

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Critics loved them, but in ’79 Swindon’s avatars of super-smart,
energised art-quirk seemed destined to remain outside the chart’s
higher reaches. Then a line-up rethink, a newly-energised bassist/writer
and a song of misplaced parental concern propelled them into the nation’s
living rooms and concert halls. But what was going on beneath the surface?

Wiltshire slam!: (main) XTC get
ready for their close ups (from left)
Dave Gregory, Colin Moulding,
Terry Chambers (bottom) and Andy
Bass/voice Colin Moulding recalls the
Partridge; (bottom row, from left) writing, recording and repercussions
Colin in the studio; the Drums And
Wires LP; the previous line-up with of the song that changed their lives.

keyboardist Barry Andrews (far left);
Andy with merch; scenes from the e’d done two albums [1978’s White Music and
video with manic lipstick’d Partridge; Go 2] that had been quite well received and
(insets) the 45, board game, badge. had edged into the Top 20, but Virgin, the
label, was looking for blood and for us to have a hit. Up
until then I don’t know if anyone really took my songwrit-
ing that seriously. Andy [Partridge, voice and guitar] had
been perceived as the writer and I was very much a
sideshow. Dynamics between personalities in bands are
funny things, and when Barry [Andrews, keyboards] left
[in January 1979] it seemed to set something off in me,
perhaps the desire to be myself.
My whole approach to writing became more melodic
and, rather than being fairly nebulous in substance, which
it had been, the subject matter became specific and
about something. I came up with …Nigel soon after Barry
left, and suddenly we were talking about dominating
parents, shyness, family dysfunction, this kind of thing.
My dad was pretty upset that I’d forsaken my education at
16 to play in a band. Was I Nigel? I don’t know. There were
Nigels, at school. My dad did kick up a bit but I think he
got it after a while, he wasn’t as domineering as the song
makes out. The subconscious mixes it all up, doesn’t it?
My style was pretty basic then – I had an old acoustic
and I used to play all downstrokes. I unleashed it on the
band in this very cold barn we used to rehearse in, in the
middle of a field on the outskirts of Swindon, which Dave
[Gregory, new guitarist] used to take us out to in his Morris
Oxford. That was where we wrestled it to the ground. Andy
was very enamoured with Devo’s cover of Satisfaction, in
that certain parts of the beat were played on unusual parts
of the drum kit, so we thought that might be applicable to
Nigel. Terry [Chambers, drums] kind of fashioned it a bit
– what was initially the hi-hat part became the floor tom,
and it had this throbbing pulse. Dave did the guitar
chords and Andy did the icing on the top – getting him to
play the chords on one of my songs was very much like
getting him to take castor oil off a spoon.
We did a demo in the catacombs of Swindon Town Hall
in January/February, sent it to Virgin, and it pretty much
took on a life of its own. In those days record companies
chose the single. We recorded it in April at the Virgin Town
House on Goldhawk Road. It was an old film studio, I think
Hitchcock worked there. We recorded [album] Drums And
Wires there as well. They’d built what was known as the
Stone Room in Studio 2, which was a new concept then –
to have more room ambience and a live-er sound. We
liked what Steve [Lillywhite, producer] and Hugh
[Padgham, engineer] had done on the first Ultravox!
eco nd I think we were pioneers of that drum-heavy
so d [on …Nigel], y’know – Peter Gabriel and Phil
lins went on to have that sort of sound too.
We made a video with Russell Mulcahy, the chap
most people went to in those days for videos. We
did two in a day, …Nigel took pretty much all day,
with half an hour for [April ’79 45] Life Begins At
The Hop. I never quite understood the video [for
…Nigel] – Andy got turned into Batman’s arch-
emy The Joker. Very strange. The cover was left to
th ecord company, maybe Andy had something to do
with e game [given away with the first 20,000 singles].
I think it was my attempt to make us less quirky, and
when it became a hit [in October] it did change our
fortunes. It did a strange thing, though. When it reached
Number 17, the girl from the record company said that
there was some kind of balls-up with the counting
system, so who knows what kind of figure it might have
reached had it not had the wind taken out of its sails? I
also remember getting a phone call from one of the union
leaders at British Steel saying, ‘Really glad you’re
supporting the cause.’ What the cause was I didn’t know
– the words ‘British Steel’ had just popped into my head.
in here (4)

It could just as easily have been British Pharmaceuticals.”





had a better light
XTC BREAK BIG WITH show, ’cos you’d be
following The
MAKING PLANS FOR Stranglers or The
Clash at these

NIGEL sticky period in other ways. Colin was

married, and he struck up a bit of a
relationship with a young lady in
Happy in their
work?: (clock-
venues, so you had
to step up. …Nigel always went down
well when we played it live – at that
Drummer Terry Chambers Australia and actually brought her wise from top)
XTC play kids TV
point I think we nearly always ended
on the hilarity and farce of back. I dunno what his wife thought of ’79; another the set with it, it was the one that
TOTP, spangly trews and that. He patched it up, but Christ. Then badge; green couldn’t be topped really.
we went to Japan for two weeks but suit on TOTP; The band was cooking then. We felt
a vicious treadmill. there was no time to soak it up. Terry Chambers;
rejuvenated, and we were really on top

outside the
t was a whirlwind, at that time. Top Of The Pops was a bit of a laugh Whisky A Go-Go, of it for the next two years. My view was,
We were rats of the road. In – we were on with Lena Martell and Los Angeles. having two songwriters is to the benefit
between the demo and the Peaches & Herb – but it was a farce, as of the band. The idea of going on hiatus
recording and the album we were well. The problem was, we weren’t a before making the next album was
touring constantly. We were in fashion conscious, Duran Duran-type unacceptable, though: we were signed
Australia when Drums And Wires came band, and none of us was particularly “SEX for ‘album a year for the next six years,
out [August 17, 1979]. That was a very good looking. Sex wasn’t selling our WASN’T and singles by the truckload.’ So it never
ecords, that’s for sure! So stopped – you were touring, recording,
ou’d have to go on these SELLING
rehearsing, TV, radio, more touring. If
rantic buying sprees on the OUR we’d been managed a bit better, in the
ing’s Road, buying spangly RECORDS, long term, Andy wouldn’t have been as
ants, or whatever. Colin wore THAT’S FOR ill as he was [exhausted, Partridge
green suit one time. But we SURE!” retired from touring in March 1982]. It
ad to go along with the record was a horse that was flogged to death,
ompany, and they tried their Terry basically. We should have had a rest. But
most to kiss the arse of the Chambers there’s no money in that.”
BC. I preferred the
histle Test – all the g Colin Moulding: “No one saw the, Barry Plummer, Rex

nds played on that success of …Nigel coming, least of all

I could never see … me. I think Andy was pretty pissed off
coming a single, to I’d had a hit. I don’t think he ever got
nest. It’s incredible over it to be honest – I think I
it of radio play and remained his adversary throughout
pearance on Top O our career, from that point on.”
ps can do. We’d go As told to Ian Harrison
m the college circu Colin and Terry’s new project TC&I’s EP,
city halls. The PA Great Aspirations, is available from
tem was bigger, yo and

26 M

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Val Wilmer: “Everybody who interviewed him
had a story about what he ordered to eat. It
was extraordinary things, could be raw eggs
and hot water. He was perfectly charming,
but I was too young to appreciate it all.”
VW: “I’d met Milford in
1966, he was one of the
first people who talked
about Black Music. This
was a street festival; you
can see in the background
a supermarket that
had been burnt out

in the riots.”


VW: “I was lucky enough to stay at Ornette’s Prince Street
loft. It was an open house for all musicians and friends, and
Braxton used to go there all the time to play pool with him.”

Reprinted! Scholar and snapper Val Wilmer’s

classic of Black Music, As Serious As Your Life.

hen Val Wilmer, a dean of British music writers (and photogra-
phers) set out to write As Serious As Your Life, first published
in 1977, modern jazz was under pressure, but its onward
momentum was unrelenting. Reissued this spring, the book remains
a definitive document of the music and its times.
Wilmer drew on dozens, if not hundreds, of interviews for the work,
but more important still was the informal time she spent with charac-
ters like Ed Blackwell, Ornette Coleman and many others. The book is
uplifting and inspirational, despite the omnipresent spectres
of racism and misogyny. Which makes it especially timely
today. “In the introduction, a drummer called Kat Cowans
wrote how white musicians had taken credit from black
musicians in the 1920s,” says Val. “And of course that was still
happening then. And still is today.”
These champions of the New Music aimed to keep
pushing forward, vacating a musical past which had been
colonised by whites. Hence both their music, and Wilmer’s
writing, is a polemic. Yet in a greater sense, it’s about
humanity. Wilmer knew how to listen, despite formidable
barriers. “Everything was very polarised racially. It wasn’t an
“ALONGSIDE easy time to be documenting that music – it could be quite
THE ANGER, hostile. Fortunately, I had people befriend me, Lynda
Sharrock, Carol Blank, Carmen Lowe, sophisticated women
THERE WAS who took me under their wing.”
A LOT OF Today, the book stands alongside the music. Although,
GENEROSITY.” sadly, it’s a memorial, too. “In person, it was very exciting,
you never knew what you were going to hear. Alongside the
anger, there was a lot of generosity. I did make friends and
miss them a lot. So there’s sadness that so many didn’t live to
the good age that they should have.”
Val Wilmer (3)

Paul Trynka
As Serious As Your Life: Black Music And The Free Jazz Revolution,
1957-1977 is published by Serpent’s Tail.


MARCH 1978 ...ALAN (clockwise from

main) Tim
McIntire plays

FREED’S MOVIE Alan Freed in

American Hot
Wax; crowd

REHAB FALTERS scene in the

movie; the real
Freed; McIntire’s
Freed and the
whisked off to wardrobe,” he
recounted, “and then to the ’50s. The
1978 was a busy year To promote its launch, Paramount
MARCH 17 for music movies, came up with a one-hour TV show
real Jerry Lee
costume designer fitted me with ratty
tennis shoes, an apron, a T-shirt and
with numerous films released that are entitled Thank You, Rock’n’Roll (A
still – with varying degrees of affection Tribute To Alan Freed) which boasted a little white hat and handed me a
– remembered today. However, while Ray Charles, Rita Coolidge, The package of ketchup. ‘Just spread a
Saturday Night Fever, The Rutles’ All Coasters, The Carpenters, William “WE’RE little of this on yourself,’ he instructed.
You Need Is Cash, The Wiz and even Shatner, Smokey Robinson, Screamin’ TRYING TO ‘Be here at eight in a couple of days’.”
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Jay Hawkins, Sissy Spacek, Dion and CAPTURE The rest of the cast list, spread
below the starring names of Tim
retain their interest, March of that year more on its guestlist. …WHEN McIntire (playing Alan Freed) and Fran
brought another piece of pop Other pre-screening hoo-ha ROCK’N’ROLL
celluloid which rarely finds its way into involved Grammy-nominated director Drescher (Freed’s secretary), was
the rankings. Cameron Crowe. Then a Rolling Stone WAS BEING impressive. Jay Leno, Chuck Berry,
Enter American Hot Wax, a biopic scribe, he was designated to cover BORN.” Jerry Lee Lewis, Screamin’ Jay
Hawkins, Kenny Vance, Brenda Russell,
that surveyed a week in the life of the the making of the film. But soon after John Kaye, Hamilton Camp, Artie Ripp, Frankie
legendary DJ and TV personality Alan his arrival at Paramount screen-
Freed, who gained infamy by being at he found him Ford and Nils Lofgren were all on the
the heart of the 1959 payola scandal hauled into payroll. And the film’s song credits
that shook American broadcasting. reaches of th seem set to roll on forever, providing
The film began its trek around the list – alongs fodder galore for an A&M double-
screens of some 600 US cinemas on biz names B album soundtrack put together from
March 17. Much was expected from it. Ezrin, Richar the original hit recordings and
Paramount’s follow-up to Robert Perry and Er contributions from new vocal groups
Stigwood’s blockbusting Saturday Mercury – a assembled for the film such as The
Night Fever, it was produced by Art informed he Chesterfields and The Delights.
Linson, who had delivered 1976’s was playing The film was a tribute to ’50s rock
screwy comedy Car Wash with some the unname that was tied loosely to the story of
aplomb, and directed by Floyd Mutrux, Delivery Boy Freed’s efforts to arrange a rock’n’roll
writer of Freebie And The Bean (1974). “I was anniversary show at the Brooklyn

Kate wins the
fight! (inset) the
triumphant 45.
Paramount, and his accompanying
stand against those who sought to
maintain segregation and keep the
youth in line. American Hot Wax
portrayed him as the enthusiastic and
principled hero of the coming music
culture, but glossed over his indict-
ment for accepting kickbacks to play
particular records on air – and the fall
from grace that followed. BOOGIE DAY
Also ignored was the ongoing feud
between rock legends Berry and
Mayor Lionel Wilson
of Oakland, CA
it ‘Jackson
Lewis, and most reviewers panned the Day’ and gives The
picture while acknowledging that Jacksons (above) the
McIntire made a believable Freed and keys to the city.
that Berry, Lewis and Hawkins HYPE OUT
provided moments of genuine
excitement. The New York Times 4meeting
Billboard reports on
an emergency BPI
observed, “American Hot Wax has a “housewives and
plot so thin you could thread a needle students” being used to
with it,” though the Village Voice buy specified singles
appeared more enthusiastic, printing from UK chart return
shops to secure higher
interviews with Floyd Mutrux and Top 40 placings.
screenwriter John Kaye, who claimed:
“It’s not a documentary but the spirit QUARK
and authenticity are there. It’s a period
6NewHawkwind play

piece. We’re trying to capture the The Bottom Line in
naive excitement of a time when York to promote
their new Sire album

rock’n’roll was being born.”
Quark Strangeness And
Though American Hot Wax proved Charm. Sci-fi poet
to be a disappointment, Paramount Robert Calvert is back
Six weeks after its release, Kate Bush s debut single Wuther-
boss Michael Eisner loved the film and on vocals.
reportedly viewed it around a dozen ‘COCK IT ing Heights replaces Abba’s Take A Chance On Me at Number
times, even though it pulled in less TO ‘EM 1 on the UK chart. The song will remain there for four weeks. On March 25,
than eight million dollars at the US box
office and was considered a bomb. 10 Buzzcocks’
debut LP Another
Music In A Different
Bush makes a short promotional visit to Ireland, where she appears on Gay
Byrne’s The Late Late Show, and declines to reveal her Waterford-born
The soundtrack also failed to live up to Kitchen is released. mother’s maiden name, as “my family at the moment are getting a lot of
sales expectations, clambering to 31 in Initial copies come in a people ringing them up and getting bothered.” British promotional efforts
the Billboard charts. silver bag with the word include posters of her face appearing on London’s buses.
As for Tim McIntire, he didn’t quite ‘PRODUCT’ printed on it.
disappear from sight, surfacing to ROYAL FLUSH TOPTEN
portray country star George Jones
in the TV movie Stand By Your Man 17 Billboard reports
among America’s 600 U.S. COUNTRY
in 1981. But McIntire’s reliance on a Elvis impressionists,
diet of drugs and alcohol led to an due to a BMI edict that

early death when on April 15, 1986, he anyone performing
more than three Elvis WAYLON & WILLIE
passed away from congestive heart songs in their act would WAYLON JENNINGS &
failure, aged just 41. He was only two be deemed a license NELSON RCA
years younger than Freed had been infringement.
when the great DJ, in Palm Springs MASS BOOT 2 TEN YEARS OF GOLD
exile, died of cirrhosis of the liver on UNITED ARTISTS
UK record

January 20, 1965. companies are
granted the right to YOU COME AGAIN
seize bootleg and pirate
recordings of acts
AD ARCHIVE 1978 signed to their labels.
Wheezy going:
Frampton sees
the light.

29 Genesis start a

world tour with
dates in the US. TAKE THIS JOB AND
30 Tonight’s Top CIG TIME EPIC


Of The Pops,
presented by David ‘Kid’ RONSTADT ASYLUM
Jensen, features a mix

of soul, country, MOR It’s announced that IS JUST A GAME
Alamy (5), Rex (2), Advertising Archives, Getty Images

and rock from Mud,

Tina Charles, Elvis
Bic are to introduce LARRY GATLIN MONUMENT

Costello and more. a Rock Lighter, a standard butane

disposable igniter that comes decked
out with the logo of 12 popular rock 8WE MUST BELIEVE IN

Clash members acts, namely the Bee Gees, Boston, TH
Paul Simonon Doobie Brothers, Peter Frampton, STA
and Topper Headon Commodores, Jefferson Starship,
are arrested for shooting
Steve Miller Band, Fleetwood Mac,
pigeons from the Chalk
Farm Studios’ roof. It’s Foreigner, Marshall Tucker Band and HE
alleged that four police Yes. All the acts involved will receive a JU
cars and a helicopter AWAY
You haven’t stuck plastic name-tags on royalty on sales. It’s hoped that the list KEND
your “tins of nuts and bolts” or linen cup- were employed to catch
the miscreants. of bands involved will rise to 75 by the OVATION
board? Then the DYMO 1750’s for you.
end of the year.
Gayle force: Crystal
at 8, with Muppet
Miss Piggy (left).

FOR 8.50


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Album: Masekela
(Uni, 1969)
The Sound: Turning his
back on pop-jazz,
Masekela married African
rhythms to explicitly
political material. Later, on
1975’sTheBoy’sDoin’ It, any
1939-2018 barriers between funk,
jazz, disco and Afrobeat

Mandela), yet found
himself picketed by
Eyes on the
protestors in 1987
South African jazz giant Huddleston he would stop misbehav-
prize: the young when he participat-
ing if he had a trumpet. The Anglican
and anti-apartheid priest found him an instrument and
Hugh Masekela ed in Paul Simon’s Graceland tour.
blows for Masekela’s reasoning was simple: the
activist Hugh Masekela set up a band for him to play with and, liberation.
tour was bringing the culture of an
left us on January 23. later, persuaded Louis Armstrong to
oppressed people to the world.

send a trumpet for the prodigy. In
n 1968, Hugh Masekela, who has 1959, The Jazz Epistles, featuring In 1996, with apartheid dismantled,
died of cancer aged 78, found Masekela and Dollar Brand, recorded Masekela returned home, recording
himself somewhere few jazz the first South African jazz LP, Verse 1. the album Notes Of Life in Johannes-
trumpeters – let alone one raised in With the ruling white minority burg, his first recordings in South
a South African township – have been: cracking down on resistance, Masekela Africa since going into exile. He was
his single Grazing In The Grass was left South Africa in 1960, becoming now able to enjoy his status as an
Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. ambassador for South African jazz,
part of a New York jazz community “LOUIS and, in June 2016, The Jazz Epistles
Yet chart success had never been that understood the effects of racism
Masekela’s goal; like his fellow émigré ARMSTRONG reunited for the first time since 1960,
and encouraged him to retain an
(and former wife) Miriam Makeba, he African feel in his music. He also made SENT A to pay tribute to those who had died in
wanted to bring attention to the himself available to progressive white TRUMPET the 1976 Soweto Uprising. A circle had
brutality of the apartheid regime at musicians (that’s him on The Byrds’ So FOR THE been completed.
home. A month after hitting the top You Want To Be A Rock’n’Roll Star). PRODIGY.” With his passing, South Africa’s
spot, he recorded another single, Mace As the US authorities began president, Jacob Zuma, paid tribute
And Grenades. His days as a pop star putting pressure on black militants, he to a man who never took his eyes off
were over. He never looked back. returned to Africa, promoting concerts, the prize: “He kept the torch of
It was the Kirk Douglas film Young recording increasingly experimental freedom alive, raising awareness of
Man With A Horn that had filled his albums and setting up his own music the evils of apartheid. His contribution
Getty Images

head with dreams of a life in jazz. An school. In the 1980s he recorded what to the struggle for liberation will
unwilling school student, he told would become his signature tune, never be forgotten.”
anti-apartheid activist Trevor Bring Him Back Home (Nelson David Hutcheon

uncommon levels of emotional
DOLORES intensity that reflected much
O’RIORDAN childhood anguish and adult CLARKE
CRANBERRIES struggles with anorexia and MOTÖRHEAD
SINGER bipolar disorder. Among many
celebrity and fan tributes to
BORN 1971 Dolores, Ireland’s Taoiseach BORN1950
Aged 18, Dolores Mary Eileen Leo Varadkar called her “The Born in Twickenham, Eddie Clarke
O’Riordan (right), the youngest of voice of a generation… she blazed (right) learned guitar under the
seven children from Friarstown, a trail and might just have been influence of the blues. In his
Kilmallock, joined local Limerick Limerick’s greatest-ever rock star.” twenties, he played with former
band The Cranberries Saw Us in Jenny Bulley Hendrix collaborator Curtis Knight
1989 after answering a newspaper in Zeus, and in Continuous
ad. O’Riordan’s first song for the Performance with Be-Bop Deluxe’s
band, Linger, was inspired, she said Charlie Tumahai, as well as with his
later, by her first kiss at a nightclub own outfit Blue Goose. He joined
called Madonna’s, aged 17. The Lemmy and ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor
song became the renamed in Motörhead in 1976 – admitting
Cranberries’ second single from the decision involved little
their debut album, Everybody reflection – and would be central
Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? to the group’s golden years playing
Eventually, both were hits, loud, hard, speeding, outlaw
especially in America, while rock’n’ roll. The LPs Motörhead Clarke would depart the
follow-up No Need To Argue (1977), Bomber, Overkill (both 1979) band against his will after 1982’s
sold 17 million. O’Riordan’s voice and Ace Of Spades (1980) all Iron Fist in 1982: he later played
was a remarkable instrument; achieved consecutively higher with Fastway, reunited with
pitched bright and loud over radio chart placings: suitably for such Lemmy on occasion and released
rock hits like Zombie, with darker a formidable live act, the 1981 his last solo album Make My Day
timbres on quieter material such tour document, No Sleep ’Til – Back To Blues in 2014.
as I Will Always; both conveying Hammersmith, reached Number 1. Ian Harrison

HAWKINS (b.1943) LASALLE (b.1939) was a served Jimi Hendrix, among (b.1941) played with The
unexpectedly popularised soul-blues singer and prolific others. He died on January 25. Mike Cotton Sound before
gospel when his Singers’ Oh composer of often feisty FLAUTIST, VOCALIST and co-founding Argent, with his
Happy Day, reached Number songs to which her earthy multi-instrumentalist RAY vocalist cousin Rod, in 1969.
2 in the UK (4 in the US), voice lent a racy, heartbroken THOMAS (b.1941) was a After their split, he joined The
distinguished by Dorothy or defiant tone. Having founder member of The Kinks in 1978, playing with
Combs Morrison’s powerful moved north, 1971’s Trapped Moody Blues in 1964. His them from 1979’s Low Budget
lead vocal. She went solo By A Thing Called Love on woodwind performance on until their 1996 dissolution.
soon after, but Hawkins, born Westbound was Number 13 the group’s Nights In White He later played with Hilton
in Oakland, CA, stayed true to pop hit, and follow-ups like Satin, a hit in 1967 and 1972, Valentine’s Animals II, the
his faith, encouraging gospel Married, But Not To Each would prove an early marker reformed Zombies, The
to adopt modern soul styles. Other and Your Husband Is for the orchestral progressive Swinging Blue Jeans and
Pianist in his family’s gospel Cheating On Us set a standard rock era. He would compose leaves behind songs that The Kast Off Kinks.
group in the late-’50s, in the for Millie Jackson and other for the Moodies until 1999’s everyone in France knows.” STEEL PULSE drummer
late-’60s his North straight-talking women Strange Times, retiring from STEVE ‘GRIZZLY’
California State Youth singers. She moved to ABC/ IMPRESARIO, DEAL maker,
the group in 2002. Thomas plugger and manager TONY NISBETT (b.1948) played in
Choir recorded Let Us Go Into MCA during the ’70s disco also released the solo albums soul bands before joining the
The House Of The Lord, boom, but was better served CALDER (b.1943) was a
From Mighty Oaks (1975) and freelance PR when he helped Birmingham reggae stalwarts
whence sprang Oh Happy in the ’80s on Southern Hopes Wishes & Dreams (1976). in 1977. He appeared on all
publicise The Beatles’ Love
Day, a modified 18th century soul-blues label Malaco, their LPs from Handsworth
YÉ-YÉ SINGER FRANCE Me Do in 1962. He founded
hymn. The Singers backed her sass undimmed, as Revolution until 1997’s Rage
GALL (above, b.1947) the IMAGE PR company with
Melanie on her US Number it was when she moved to And Fury: after 1998 he gave
started her French chart Andrew Loog Oldham,
6 hit Lay Down (Candles In Memphis label Ecko. Her up his drum- stool to play
hit-making run with 1966’s Ne handling the affairs of groups
The Rain) and won several final album, Pay Before You percussion with the group
Sois Pas Si Bête. With Serge includingThe Rolling Stones,
gospel Grammys Pump, came in 2007. in concert. He left the band
Gainsbourg writing most of Beach Boys and The Hollies.
RAMMY-WINNER CLIFF her material, subsequent hits Two years later they set up in 2001, for health reasons.
WHITE (b.1945) wrote would include ’65’s Eurovision Immediate Records, scoring WILD CHERRY drummer
owledgeably about soul, Song Contest-winner Poupée hits with Small Faces, The DON BEITLE (b.1954)
Alamy (2), Getty Images, Avalon

es, R&B and rock’n’roll for de Cire, Poupée de Son and Amen Corner and P.P. joined the Ohio rock band in
NME, Black Music and the suggestive Les Sucettes Arnold, among others; 1965 1975. Confronted by a crowd
ers before moving to in 1966. The rock era led to a also saw Calder produce expecting music for dancing
rd companies such as downturn in her commercial Marianne Faithfull’s hits at a Pittsburgh club, singer
y, Demon, MCPS and fortunes, though her Come Stay With Me and This Rob Parissi wrote Play That
r in a career stretching collaboration with songwriter Little Bird. Accounting Funky Music. The group took it
o late-’60s fanzines. His and future husband Michel irregularities led to imprint’s to US Number 1 in September
rammy, for co-writing Berger led to appearance in demise in 1970. Calder later 1976. The group toured with
eevenotes to James the popular 1978 rock opera worked with Black Sabbath, Commodores and Earth,
wn’s Star Time box, Starmania and her 1987 Scott Walker, Bay City Wind & Fire, and won two
which he was also million-seller Babacar, among Rollers and Eddy Grant, Grammy nominations and
producer, was apt for other late successes. As she promoted three Number 1s a Billboard new band award,
become a strong devoted herself to charitable for Jive Bunny & The Master but none of their subsequent
d of the Godfather works, her appearances Mixers, and co-wrote a releases cracked the Top 40.
Of Soul’s. Prior became less frequent after biography of Abba with Beitle later worked as a
Edwin to journalism, her official retirement in Loog Oldham in 1994. “Tony furniture installer, joining the
Hawkins: White worked 1997. Upon her death, had ears and balls,” Loog band for a 40th anniversary
the gospel. at the first President Emmanuel Oldham told Variety. “I loved charity show in 2016.
HMV store in Macron said in tribute, “She him and he will be missed.” Clive Prior


Punk’s Mystery Man beguiled

with rich pipes and Munsters
rig, as bandmates rucked,
split, rejoined, split again.
Yet could The Damned finally
be The Redeemed in 2018?
“Our minds are weirdly in the
same place,” says Dave Vanian.
Interview by PAT GILBERT t Portrait by ANDREW COTTERILL

HIRTY MINUTES LATE AND SPLENDIDLY from punk pioneers to ’80s high-goth heroes and beyond, the

robed in fake fur coat, pin-stripe grey trousers group’s (often quite literally) inflammable drummer, Rat Scabies,
and a red velvet jacket, Dave Vanian swishes into and initial driving force Brian James having long ago fallen victim
the King’s Head private drinking club in Hackney to intra-band warring. However, Paul Gray, author of the eloquent
and heads straight for one of the many stuffed bass parts on The Black Album and Strawberries, returns after a
beasts adorning its ornate interior. “Ah, an ocelot,” 35-year absence.
he says, delicately stroking the ex-creature’s pelt. As we sit down to chat beneath a rampant polar bear, Vanian
“Look at those markings, extraordinary…” – his jet-black hair, complete with white Mallen streak, swept
That The Damned’s vocalist should find pleasure in this vast back from his forehead, and a silk cravat poking from his shirt
imaginarium of taxidermy, pinned lepidoptera and careworn – proves to be surprisingly chatty, candid and down-to-earth, his
leather furniture ought to come as no surprise. As UK punk’s debonair outward bearing seemingly at odds with his flat-vow-
iconic horror-movie ghoul and, in later years, Byronic goth-rock elled, fringes-of-London accent and ready humour.
pin-up, Vanian was – and remains – the focus of The Damned’s Throughout, he is polite and courteous, rarely swears, and
dark exoticism. Such is his reputation for reclusion and secrecy occasionally seems endearingly unaware of his crepuscular
that even today his bandmates admit to knowing little of the man image, at one point confiding, having scrutinised a wall-case of
behind the tinted glasses and doomy baritone. colourful butterflies, “I have a collection of moths at home.”
“We’ve no idea what he does, what Why of course…
motivates him,” said guitarist Captain WE’RE NOTWORTHY Essentially, though, you sense he’d rather
Sensible recently. “He won’t do stuff he not be here. “I’ve never liked the whole
doesn’t want to do. He’s a complete enigma.” Henry Rollins on LA punk’s interviews and photographs thing,” he
Vanian – born David Lett in October 1956 debt to The Damned. explains. “I never wanted to do interviews
– is here somewhat reluctantly on promo- “I play Damned records because I thought the music should speak for
tional duties for his group’s new studio with as much enthusiasm itself. It has nothing to do with who I am as a
album, Evil Spirits, recorded last year in and frequency as I did person. In a world obsessed with transpar-
when I first heard them. All
Brooklyn by venerated Bolan/Bowie sound- the time. Dave Vanian is a ency, I value my privacy, and having a private
smith Tony Visconti. These days, incorrigible singular talent. He achieves life. But here I am…”
showman Sensible is the only other survivor an ever-increasing mastery So, for the next two hours, MOJO will

of The Damned’s tempestuous peregrination of his voice and is now a vocalist’s vocalist.
After decades of global exposure, there
attempt to finally unmask the mystery ➢
remains a bit of mystery about the man.”

¢ Growing up, was music important at home? was the drummer, said, (adopts growly spiv
man who has been the only constant
member in The Damned’s 42-year career. When my dad was in the RAF he brought back voice) “This is going nowhere… There’s
from Germany a whole pile of 78s, which was someone I want you to meet,” and that was
What was your early life like? Brian James. The rest is kind of history.
my introduction to recorded sound. Some of
I was born in Newcastle but I was only there for it was German tango music, sung in French, Was it instantly clear there was musical
a couple of months, as my parents moved to which was weird, in high falsetto voices. Then chemistry between you, Brian, Rat and
Hemel Hempstead. My mother ran a hairdress- there was stuff like The Everly Brothers’ Captain Sensible?
ers when she was young, but she was a typical Claudette and Les Paul & Mary Ford’s How
’50s and ’60s housewife, quite glamorous in High The Moon, one of the first stereo When I heard Brian play, I knew he had
her own way. My father had recordings, with the sound ping-ponging something different. He had double-jointed
been in the RAF and did shift work. He was a from speaker to speaker. But at school, I was fingers. He was very nice, but he wanted things
bit of a rebel when he was young. He used to increasingly drawn to film soundtracks, done a certain way and was very much the
wear a black three-quarter-length aviator’s classical music and American ’60s boss. Captain was incredibly quiet at first. I
leather jacket and rode a BSA motorbike, black psychedelic bands. remember Malcolm’s words when Rat
and chrome. He was quite a character. Very introduced him to us: “What the fuck do you
quiet, with an abrupt manner, but never rude. In 1975, when you were working as a want him for? He’s just a fucking hippy.” He
He’d push his car down the road before gravedigger, you started to frequent had this really long hair, like Marc Bolan, a
starting it, so as not to wake the neighbours. Malcolm McLaren’s shop on the King’s velvet shirt. It was at the second gig that he
Who’d do that now? Road. Was that when you adopted your became the Captain Sensible character. The
ghoulish image? show was put on by these two social secretar-
Did living in a new town near London like
I just wore what I liked. I didn’t feel the need to ies, who were trying to get things going,
Hemel Hempstead instil a desire to escape? follow anyone else. When the other kids at throwing things and jeering. Captain suddenly
They were still building it when I was growing school were suedeheads, I’d be wearing tight looked up and ran at one of the guys and
up. Everyone had moved there from some- jeans and winkle-pickers. I always liked nice kicked him in the balls (laughs). Then he took
where else, and seemed to hate each other. In clothes. I’d met a lot of people before punk his beer from the top of his amp and poured it
some ways it was beautiful, set in rolling hills, through things like The Rocky Horror Show, over his head.
but in others it was violent and dangerous. I which was down the King’s Road. You’d go into
spent a lot of my youth dodging gangs and London and never knew where you’d end up. I What did you make of Scabies?
getting into fights. The town itself was quite was with [future punk scenester] Jordan and a Rat was a great drummer. He was like the Artful
space-age. It had a big circular car park, with few other people one night and ended up in Dodger. He was the villain. You knew you had
a satellite on top that used to turn. an open-back Land Rover with [Rocky Horror to watch him… watch your
writer-star] Richard O’Brien driving. We ended valuables (laughs). He was a loveable rogue.
You seemed quite culturally advanced,
up at [’60s pop-art scenester] Duggie Fields’ The thing about the band was that everyone
going to see the New York Dolls at Biba in
place or somewhere. It was a lot of fun. had an incredibly strong personality. As
1973, and checking out midnight matinees
of cult ’60s films and horror movies. Malcolm McLaren roped you into early individuals they would have been stars in
punk non-starters Masters Of The Backside. their own right; put them all together and
The thing was, I didn’t have any friends into the it reminded me of a wild jazz band, and
same thing. I was a loner, and the school I went Did you have ambitions to be a singer?
Brian reminded me of a jazz player in the
to wasn’t very good – a very modern second- It had become apparent that I wasn’t going to way he approached the music.
ary modern, which burnt down. I had a be a graphic artist, which was my first choice.
girlfriend who came to see the Dolls with me. I was in Malcolm’s shop and he came over to Your Dave Vanian identity involved
She was wearing a see-through top with no me in that sly way he had, and said he was dressing as a vampire and acting aloof.
bra, pretty risqué for the time. She looked putting a band together. He thought I was a Even to the rest of The Damned you
stunning. As to old films, I always loved them. singer. He introduced me to Chrissie Hynde appeared intensely private and mysterious.
I liked living in the past; I still do to a degree. but after a few rehearsals, Rat Scabies, who How do you explain that?

Visions of Vanian: those Damned days.

1 The young Dave Lett, ready

for a night in the Smoke: “I
didn’t have any friends into the
7 Changing of the guard:
Vanian with punk fan Marc
Bolan, March 24, 1977.

same thing. I was a loner.” Phantom of the popera:

2 Gurn to earn: “I loved a bit

of theatricality” – Vanian
on-stage with Captain
Dave enjoys the band’s
40th anniversary show, Royal
Albert Hall, May 20, 2016.

Sensible, Exeter, June 4, 1979. Don’t cry wolf: “We

3 Tell it to the marines:

considering career
options, The Damned in New
watched The Abominable
Dr Phibes all the time. I always
loved Vincent Price,” says Dave

York, April ’77 (from left) Rat in vampiric guise, 1977.
Scabies, Captain, Brian
James, Vanian.

4 The flexible label:

Courtesy Dave Vanian, Getty Images (5), Photoshot (2), Mirrorpix

outside Stiff’s
offices with co-founder
Jake Riviera and (in bin)
Nick Lowe, producer of
the band’s (and UK
punk’s) debut single,
New Rose.

5 Final Damnation:
Rat, Dave, Brian and
Sensible back together
in 1989. “It was odd.”

6 Vanian and Rat

indulge themselves,
1986, after signing with
MCA: “I was still only on 1
£100 a week,” says Dave.

38 MOJO 4
(Pause) I don’t know, really. I wasn’t trying Did you participate, or disapprove of it? in conversation at the bar. It was surreal. Every
consciously to do anything. Maybe I was It blew some great opportunities for us. It was song on the jukebox was Thin Lizzy.
different to people they knew before. I’ve a bit stupid, basically, overgrown schoolboy
always preferred my own company – not that I Around the time of your second album,
stuff. But we were all guilty, no one was Music For Pleasure, released in late 1977, a
haven’t had friends, occasionally. I never blameless, me included. Did I drink much? I
wanted to lay back, whereas Rat and Captain £60,000 deal with EMI was on the table but
wasn’t a beer drinker, which was another thing fell through. Would that have stopped the
would do anything to get out of work. I used to I didn’t have in common with the others. I’d
hear their stories of finding secret places at group splitting up the first time?
have a whiskey or a brandy. They smoked No.6
Fairfield Halls [Croydon, where they worked as and roll-ups, and I smoked Russian cigarettes. I didn’t know about that deal until years later.
cleaners] so they could sleep all day. I’d say, I just preferred the taste. Nor did Captain. Rat knew about it, apparently.
“That’s terrible!” I always wanted to work and Jake Riviera was an eccentric and interesting
earn money. How mad did things get? character but he did make a lot of mistakes.
In October 1976, New Rose, You have to remember everything was done He wouldn’t let anyone film us unless they
famously the first UK punk single, paid, so there’s very little early
propelled you into the limelight. footage of us.
Did you find being the band’s
frontman liberating?
““In The Damned Scabies quit in late 1977, then Brian
James left a few months later. Was
It was weird. I had nothing to draw
from but the music. I didn’t have any
preconceived ideas. I guess I was
everyone had a really that because of the poor reception
for Music For Pleasure?

always drawn to slightly darker things,

so on-stage I wouldn’t smile, or say,
strong personality. It wasn’t a bad album. The production
[by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason] should
have been more fiery. But Brian
“Everyone clap your hands.” I’d skulk
around. I love a bit of theatricality,
I suppose, but not when it’s fake.
It reminded me of a leaving was a shock. I didn’t see it
coming. I knew he was having issues,
but even though we spent a lot of
The Damned went to America in
April 1977, the first British punks to
wild jazz band.” time together I never knew him that
well. I could see he wasn’t comfort-
do so. Were they ready for you? able with it all. He was amazed we got
on a shoestring. There were no riders. I as big as we did, and maybe that was enough
New York was hard to crack and had great
remember one night we were in Manchester, for him. They were his songs.
[punk] music already – Tom Verlaine, Richard
and our manager [and Stiff Records partner]
Hell, Patti Smith, the Ramones of course, the After you’d re-formed in late 1978, with
Jake Riviera had booked us into the worst
Dolls. It felt gritty and grey and serious. But LA Captain on guitar and newbie Algy Ward
hotel you can imagine. This lady in slippers
was colourful and vibrant and wilder. California playing bass, things seemed to get even
and a cardigan took us to this attic room
embraced us right from the beginning. I more chaotic. There was an incident in Le
where there were a just bunch of mattresses
remember stepping out of the minibus onto Havre where Rat was jailed for throwing
on the floor. We found out Phil Lynott’s mum
Hollywood Boulevard, and for someone who a Molotov cocktail…
had a private club nearby [the infamous
loved movies so much it was just great. Back
Clifton Grange Hotel] in this row of Victorian (Sighs heavily and rolls eyes) Hmm…
then it still had that ’30s, ’40s, ’50s feel. I’d walk
houses, so we went over there as it stayed
around at night in the warm, with everywhere …then you failed to show up for a tour of
open all night. It was full of villains, policemen,
still open, and I’d think, “Clark Gable would sit Scotland. Coincidence?
musicians. I remember being blind drunk and
seeing these two guys with scars down their I was ill at that time, that’s why I didn’t go. It
What was your attitude towards Rat and faces, a CID officer and the Captain, still in his was only two shows I missed. [Actor/musician]
Cap’s reputation as drunken hellraisers? size 13 Doc Martens and a nurse’s uniform, all Gary Holton stood in for me, and only ➢

knew the words to one song. So the [without Captain] we needed to write more
audience pelted him. He said, “Never again!
Your audience are animals!”
songs. It wasn’t my idea that the whole band
should suddenly look gothic. Rat said to the
Were your occasional no-shows signals of
your dissatisfaction with things?
others, “Oi, Vanian’s getting all this action – we
need to dress a bit more like ’im.” Rat saw that
what I was doing was getting known. I used to
bands go
(Pause) There were lots of times in the past
when I should have spoken up. My mistake
laugh about it, actually. I remember at one gig
they were lined up backstage by the sinks, into a bubble,
was turning my back on things and
pretending they weren’t happening. Now
I don’t suffer fools so easily. I used to get
crimping their hair. I never thought they’d do
that. It was funny. and get more
frustrated when things were dragging us
down. And I’ve also been guilty of apathy
down the years, unfortunately.
You’ve talked about being a reluctant
frontman. Did you enjoy that Vanian-centric
major-label period?
Machine Gun Etiquette (1979) and The Black
Album (1980) saw this great unlocking of the
I did, yes. It gave you a chance to indulge
yourself a bit. If there was a bit more money
looking. I
new line-up’s latent talent. And you have
your first chart hit in April 1979 with Love
you could get a nice frock coat, for example.
We were on Top Of The Pops, but I was still on
only £100 a week. You have royalties and other
didn’t realise
Song and appear on Top Of The Pops…
We were all champing at the bit to write.
Captain and I never socialised together, and
bits coming in. When bands get successful
they go into this bubble, and get more
outrageous-looking. They don’t realise they’re
my hair was
still don’t, but we became great together
creatively. When you look at MGE it really is
doing it. I didn’t realise my hair was standing a
foot high until I saw a picture of it. You don’t
standing a
a different band. Different line-up changes
have brought different things. That’s what
I like about it.
think about it. But after the second MCA album
it all went horribly wrong and we were back
where we started.
foot high
The Black Album included the epic Curtain
Call, which was as far away from New Rose DAVE’SFAVES
until I saw a
as you could get. Was that your influence
coming through? Three Vanian victories, picture of it.”
I guess a lot of that was. I was more into by Pat Gilbert.
classical music and film soundtracks, where
the music moves and is about emotions. DAMNED FINE ALBUM
Curtain Call took ages. I had bought a
harmonium for £40 when I lived in a basement
The Damned
flat in Islington. It used to creak and groan and ####
I’d put a microphone in the back of it and tape Machine Gun Etiquette
it. That became the first part, then Captain (CHISWICK, 1979)

added his guitar lines. Every time we did any In 1977, Damned Damned
demos we’d write another bit. I saw it Damned introduced the world
unfolding like a movie. Before we knew it, it to the group’s dark, metallic Taxidermy for Mr Vanian!:
was 18 minutes long. Luckily, people got it. KO, but it was the band’s first “It never gets any easier
post-split LP, sans founder and it’s never as glamorous
The Black Album was also the moment when Brian James, that unleashed as it should be,” says Dave,
the band acquired that dark, gothic feel. their hidden genius, blending punk, prog, King’s Head, Hackney, east
lieder and pop to create music sui generis. London, December 19, 2017.
Was that intentional?
Vanian’s rich baritone took stirring operatic
No, it was just a reflection of us at the time. flight on Plan 9 Channel 7, whose riff he wrote
[The Black Album track] 13th Floor Vendetta on an old acoustic guitar with but four strings.
was inspired by The Abominable Dr Phibes. We
watched it all the time, I always loved Vincent RAVE FROM THE GRAVE
Price. It’s beautifully shot and stylised. I had a You and Roman had your own band at this
piece on the piano and Captain liked it. Rat The Damned time, the psychedelic garage covers outfit
went to bed, “Aw, forget it!”, and Captain said, #### Naz Nomad & The Nightmares. Was that you
“We’ll get some work done now…” We stayed The Black Album as an actor, living out your fantasies?
up and finished it at 6am as the sun was (CHISWICK, 1980)
I loved it. I got a blond wig, a suntan, an
coming up. It was the last song done on the Spurred by MGE’s success, the American accent and chain smoked. I became
album. I had the movie on in the background, group became more experi-
this totally obnoxious character, a bit like
writing the lyrics. The Dog on Strawberries was mental, the singer’s fascination
Sky Saxon but totally full of himself. The first
about Claudia in Interview With The Vampire. with gothic romanticism,
soundtrack music and horror time, I went up to our tour manager, Craig
The release of Strawberries in 1982 films exerting its influence. Duffy, and started having a go at him in an
coincided with Sensible’s UK Number 1 solo The epic 18-minute Curtain Call, begun from American accent. He got all, “Hang on, listen
hit, Happy Talk. The following year, he left. Vanian’s eerie harmonium chords, unspooled here mate…” He didn’t know who I was! Even
Did that experience wound you? like a Hammer melodrama, while 13th Floor in some Damned songs, you have to be a bit
Vendetta saluted the heroes of the horror of an actor. I didn’t write them, so I find
No. I was the only person who wished him myself acting them out.
genre. Funereal artwork also the singer’s.
good luck. But Rat thought it was a shambles.
He hated every bit of it. To be fair, Captain had GOTHABILLY IDOL! The original Damned reunited briefly for
a manager, he had lots of money coming in, he shows in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Then
was being treated like a king. He felt he’d made Dave Vanian And Brian quit a US tour after Captain made an
it and was enjoying it. I was disappointed that The Phantom Chords on-stage remark about Guns N’Roses
he left. We had some dates booked in Europe
and were sitting around wondering what to do.
### covering New Rose.
Dave Vanian And He insulted Guns N’Roses, and Brian didn’t
We said to our keyboard player, Roman Jugg, want to upset the apple cart because he stood
“Why don’t you play guitar?” We did The Phantom Cho
(BIG BEAT, 1995) to get the publishing. The record hadn’t come
a festival in France and it worked really well. out at that point. But there were also other
The Damned had lost both
Then Roman and I started writing together. things going on that I wasn’t party to. Brian
the Captain and Rat, so Vanian
The Damned then signed to MCA and and group multi-tasker was on the plane out of there the next day. It
released Phantasmagoria in 1985. It was Roman Jugg pursued a was odd. We’d do one set with Brian on guitar,
the band’s commercial zenith and you parallel career in their retro and then the Captain would take over guitar
rockabilly-goth act, The for the second set because Brian didn’t know
became a gothic pin-up. Did you feel
Phantom Chords. Covers of Frankie Laine’s the other songs.
comfortable with that?
Jezebel and Peggy Lee’s Johnny Guitar fit
I had to. I had to up my game, because snugly besides twangy originals on an album Did you become accustomed to people…
oozing vitality and class.

…coming and going? (Laughs) It wasn’t so made any money was when we signed to MCA, I didn’t have much to do with So, Who’s
much of a shock any more. There have been but even then I was still living in a small place Paranoid?, though I sang on it, and Captain
about 35 people in this band down the years. in London, scraping by. I’m not complaining, didn’t have a great experience making it. But
And I’m the only constant. Except for the two but sometimes people have this illusion we our minds are weirdly in the same place with
Gary Holton shows. were millionaires, like Billy Idol. I’ve never come this album. It was amazing working with Tony
close to being a millionaire. Visconti, though at first it was difficult for the
I’m Alright Jack And The Bean Stalk (1996)
band to accept that he wasn’t going to wave
caused a major rift between you and Scabies. Post-Rat, you kept The Damned going with a magic wand. We had to learn how to work
Is that why he isn’t in the band today? various line-ups, while playing in your own with each other. And it ended up being
No, I’ve talked to Rat since then. Captain and noir-ish rock’n’roll group, The Phantom great. Every track’s a winner on it. The
Rat have fallen out, and that isn’t reconcilable, Chords. Whose idea was it to ask the mixes are really complex.
it seems. But Rat did do a dirty move on me Captain to rejoin The Damned in 1996?
– it’s hard to forgive that. I’m Alright Jack And He was on the same bill as The Phantom You and your wife, Patricia Morrison [of Gun
The Bean Stalk was only meant to be available Chords, as support. We got talking and I said, Club/Sisters Of Mercy fame], have a 14-year-
in Japan and it was to finance another Damned “Why didn’t you ever come back?” He said, “No old daughter. Has fatherhood changed you?
album. Rat said I wanted publishing on it, but I one ever asked me.” He’d fallen out with Rat as Having a daughter later in life meant I could be
was cut out of the whole contract. It was well, over something. there to see her growing up. When I was
probably lost in the translation to Japanese. I young, I was away from home, recording or on
gave Rat the chance to fix it, but he wouldn’t. In 2008, you wrote the soundtrack for
the road. She’s amazing. A bit worryingly, she
dreamy film noir homage, The Perfect Sleep.
The Damned’s Stiff catalogue – you and Rat wants to get into music. It’s only recently she’s
How was your Hollywood experience?
bought it when it Stiff went bust, but the realised what we did. Some of her friends even
Captain didn’t invest. Didn’t that cause It was really exciting. I was working in the have Damned records, which is funny.
more problems? basement of a house in the industrial area of
LA, where they shoot all the porn films. It took So is The Damned a happy ship these days?
Yes it did. Everyone was told we had an me three months, working every day. But I was Two things don’t change: it never gets any
opportunity [to buy it] but a limited time to in Hollywood, and it felt like I was living the easier and it’s never as glamorous as it should
make the decision. Captain had plenty of dream for a while. I thought I would release the be. What’s driven me is the feeling The Damned
money at that time, but nothing happened, so soundtrack myself – there was talk of redoing it always had another good album in us. I’m not
Rat and I did it. We were the only ones keeping
Andrew Cotterill

with the Prague Philharmonic, though that under the illusion that this will last forever. In
The Damned going at that point. Captain had never happened.
been out of it a long time. It seemed a way of fact, I’m amazed we’d lasted this long. But I’m
very proud of what we’ve done. M
making some money, because we never made This new album is the first since So, Who’s
any money out of Stiff. The only time I ever Paranoid? in 2008. Why did it take so long? The Damned’s Evil Spirits album is out on April 13.

ed on January 24, it provoked
utpouring of affection and esteem.
he online Smith had spent a lifetime catalysing op-
ns, there posites: high and low culture; the avant-
the Daily garde and bubblegum; the deadly serious and
s and Le comedic. Whether or not The Sun and Ra-
on e, tweets o respect rom om Yorke, dio 3 really knew it, they were marking the
Sonic Youth and Pavement, and other tributes passing of a talent whose four-decade, 30-
courtesy of the BBC’s Newsnight, Manches- plus album legacy rivals Dylan, Captain Beef-
ter City FC and the Icelandic national broad- heart or Miles Davis for sheer uniqueness.
caster RÚV. Add some MPs, Guy Garvey and But what would this bloody-minded so-
Grayson Perry – not to mention simultaneous and-so have made of the expressions of
internet salutes from the Daily Mail and The fondness and respect? Former Fall bassist
Pop Group – and the weird array of suppli- y, who served a tour of duty from
cants resembles the raw material for the lyric 98, does not hesitate: “He’d have
of a particularly curdled Fall song. ed all of it.” ➢
Always different,
always the same:
Mark E Smith (left,
with Martin Bramah)
at the Lyceum, 1979,
and (right) the
Beacons Festival,
Skipton, 2014.

HERE WERE MORE STREET-LEVEL TRIBUTES IN Smith initially tried playing a black Les Paul, and early lyrical
January in Smith’s home patch of Prestwich in north Man- runs, including Sten Gun Rock and Race Hatred, were described by
chester. Portraits and quotes were posted in public places, Bramah as “a bit sub-Clash”. They hit on the name in January ’77.
including on the wall outside a favoured off-licence, Bargain Booze “You saw the lights going on gradually, to the point where he
on Bury New Road, and on a lamppost outside historic Smith became very obsessive about his writing,” says Bramah. “Something
drinker The Foresters. From the time The Fall manifested in early clicked when he realised you could write about Prestwich and char-
1977 until his death, he dwelt here, living modestly as he let the taps acters in the pub. You could do for Manchester what Lou Reed did
of warped creativity flow, terrorised bourgeois smugness, and con- for New York, or something. Mark took his responsibilities seri-
spired with the forces of chaos. ously – in the early days he used to say, ‘This is our Second World
“He’s led the same life since he was 18,” says Una Baines, The War, lads!’”
Fall’s co-founder keyboardist. “He went to the same pubs. It’s quite From the outbreak, there were casualties. One month after the
unusual for someone to get that much attention and maintain their March ’79 release of debut album Live At The Witch Trials, Bramah
life as it was. He didn’t actually change very much. He was never a quit, leaving Smith in full control. Assisted by forceful manager (and
materialistic person. But he had a vision, something he wanted to Smith paramour) Kay Carroll plus drummer Karl Burns and Marc
accomplish.” Riley (guitar/bass), and bolstered by the arrival of ex-roadies Han-
The vision belonged to a literary-minded working-class man ley on bass and Craig Scanlon on guitar, this was an intense new era
born on March 5, 1957. A grammar school boy and dock clerk for the group. Produced by Grant Showbiz, soundman for anarcho-
hipped to ’60s garage, New York punk and ’50s rock’n’roll, he was hippies Here & Now and, later, The Smiths, October ’79’s Dragnet
among those who saw the Sex Pistols at Manchester’s Lesser Free sounds as heavy and oppressive as its songs of hauntedness and
Getty Images (2), Paul Slattery (3)

Trade Hall on June 4, 1976. A group was duly formed, with Smith’s mental fracture.
friend Martin Bramah. “Words were a joy for him and there was so much coming out of
“Mark was always a striking character and a sharp lad,” remembers him,” says Showbiz. “Every night lines were switched, things that
Bramah. “I remember seeing him on the street locally before I was happened that day ended up in songs. There were puns, all kinds of
introduced to him – he caught your eye. He kind of reminded me of references to the news or books… He was convinced that what was
Brian Jones, with a leather jacket and a basin haircut. We had it in coming out of his head was brilliant, and the words were quintes-
common that we loved the Stones, though he’d probably deny it.” sentially central to what was going on in the band musically.”

begun. Rather than normal groups’ preoccupations with
politics or hedonism or love, here were song-texts as hor-
ror story, coded message and whodunnit. The influence of
HP Lovecraft, Philip K Dick, and poet-artist Wyndham Lewis
could be discerned as he jeered and judged, in cryptic word-
blocks, all borne on a clanking Panzer of lab-stitched punk,
Krautrock and country, on such epic assaults on reason as 1980’s
Grotesque (After The Gramme) (water rates, class friction, political
murder frame-ups and amphetamine provide grist for the lyrical
mill) and 1982’s elemental Hex Enduction Hour, Smith’s self-
described “fuck off to the music industry”.
It was never easy to get Smith to talk about his writing process
(“I’m not telling you my secrets” was a default response) and band
members are in no better position to elucidate. Recalls early
’80s drummer Paul Hanley, “I don’t pretend to understand them,
but his lyrics on Garden [on Perverted By Language, 1983] are
incredible, they’re like Blake. Really strange. But if you tried to
say anything, the first thing he’d say is, ‘What the fuck’s it got “Early on The Fall was a group of people who
to do with you?’” had things in common –
books, art and music, like Can and The Velvet
Underground – and it evolved
While Fall members were allowed more input into the group’s like a music collective. Karl [Burns, drums], Marti
n [Bramah, guitar] and
music (basically, they wrote it), Smith knew what he wanted, Tony [Friel, bass] were such great musicians and
everybody had a vision to
and didn’t. “He had a way of hearing music that was different to be experimental. Mark sang that way from the
beginning. I loved it when
other people,” says Steve Hanley. “That’s how he was good at we did Industrial Estate, because it was such a
true reflection, it sounds like
moulding people to play the sound that he heard. There was a lot machinery ! And Frightened, it had a dark gothi
c quality. I’m sad I didn’t play
on [1979 debut] Live At The Witch Trials, becau
about putting energy into it, and simplifying it, and chopping it se I was ill, but I still love it .
Once the original line-up left and Steve [Hanl
down. You’d go in with a song with four riffs in it and end up with ey, bass] and Craig [Scanlon,
guitar] joined, Mark had free rein. But he alway
one. It sounded like Dexys Midnight Runners in your head but s had his own vision.”
it’d end up having a one-note piano all the fucking way through
it. That said, when we did English Scheme [on Grotesque] he
played us a tape of an ice cream van and birds tweeting outside his
window and said, ‘I want it to sound like that.’ I can get the com-
parisons to Captain Beefheart, who was another non-musician,
and how he worked with The Magic Band… but Mark never
actually starved us, not really.”
“When you start knowing the rules it becomes harder to break “I was still in school when I joined. It was very intense. Gigs were a matter
them, so he discouraged that in musicians,” says Paul Hanley. of life and death. It wasn’t about having a laugh, but there was massive
“When we did Totally Wired, which is a great, totally succinct pop satisfaction doing it. The first thing I recorded was New Face In Hell on
Grotesque and it was a fantastic experience. Mark was very encouraging.
song, he said, ‘Why can’t you make it sound more like a cardboard You can moan about his methods – later, one famous instruction was, ‘Play
box?’ Which was impossible, but somewhere between what was it like a snake’ – but the records were great. Listen to Grotesque [1980] or
in his head and what we were capable of doing, there was a Hex Enduction Hour [1982], the power is unbelievable. I enjoyed it until
brilliant record. When I left The Fall to be a pop star [in Kiss The Room To Live. You had stuff being made up on the spot, people recording
Blade, renamed Shout Bamalam] the music I made was shit, apart… Throwing everything up in the air kind of worked though.
because I wasn’t enough of a visionary to make decent music It was a big change when Marc Riley [guitar] left, a positive one; I loved
without Mark Smith pulling me in a certain way.” ­ Perverted By Language, what Craig did. It worked that well we never
did it again. I don’t think The Fall got ‘better’, but they got different.”
There’s no thanks from the loading bay ranks; Smith surrounded by
loyal retainers Steve Hanley (left) and Craig Scanlon (right), North
London Poly, November 24, 1980. “Gigs were a matter of life and death.”

“Brix [Smith, guitar] had come in, and it was

that she got us to write pop songs. Songwritin
g got
quite competitive around that time. I took six
off in 1985 and in that time they wrote This Natio
Saving Grace – a great, great album – toured
and America, and had two singles out. Maybe
thought we were sounding a bit slick; we follow
ed it
with Bend Sinister, the one he mastered off a
It was a time of relative calm, really. We just got
and better in the ’80s, constantly touring and
[1988 ballet/ musical] I Am Curious, Orange was
pinnacle really, one of the best things if not the
thing The Fall did. It was unique, like there was
nothing that The Fall couldn’t do. Beggars Banq
were the perfect label for The Fall and we shoul
have stayed with them, but there was more mone
on the table with Phonogram.”
with fast chemicals, beer and spirits, Smith ruled with a rod
of iron, with an album a year, constant touring and line-up
tinkering. The murk lifted somewhat with Perverted By Language,
and more fully with 1984’s The Wonderful And Frightening World
], which was a good one. Dave Bush Of… Now signed to Beggars Banquet, and with Smith’s American
“Martin Bramah came back for Extricate [1990
Code: Selfish [1992] and The guitarist wife Brix fully integrated, they made more approachable
was putting electronics and programming into
], which got into the Top 10, though he did become Mark’s music, with polished press portraits and greater media visibility. A
Infotainment Scan [1993
it starte d to go downhill a bit after that; zenith was achieved with 1985’s marbled This Nation’s Saving Grace,
whipping boy. They were good years but
t [1994 ] was one of my least favou rite ones. At that time we never an album of thunderous menace that even satisfied The Leader.
Middle Class Revol
that comr adesh ip we’d had, and he seemed to
really saw Mark. We seemed to lose “I thought This Nation’s Saving Grace was fucking amazing,”
we were on a different record label
lose control of the business side; it seemed like Smith told me in 2016. “Very very good. It was, I remember, com-
doing Levita te. Julia Nagle had got involved and she
every year. In 1997, we were pletely ignored, nobody took any fucking notice. But it was a great
red. That year, Mark, Steve and
and Mark became an item. The group were fractu
band and we were prese nted with a VAT bill for £40,000. LP. People who reviewed it said, ‘This is shocking’, they’d written us
me were partners in the , basically.” off. I didn’t read the music papers. I don’t wanna read [the NME],
to quit the group
My daughter had just been born, so I had
because it’ll fucking change what I’m doing. It can fucking change
your mind if you’re not strong.”
Sensing that greater acceptance might indeed compromise his
vision, the later ’80s output would draw back. At this time, The Fall
might have cracked the proper Top 40 with covers of R. Dean Tay-
lor’s There’s A Ghost In My House and The Kinks’ Victoria, but it’s
arguable that other projects were intended to deter the unserious.
As well as albums that made minimal concession to the casual lis-
“It was a very challenging tim tener, The Fall also produced the papal murder musical Hey! Lu-
e when I was in The Fall. The VAT ciani and I Am Curious, Orange, a ballet exploring the Revolution
havoc, and Steve [Hanley]’s atti bill caused a lot of
tude had really darkened. We Of 1688 and its ramifications. As the ’80s, and Smith’s marriage to
of America in 1998 that wasn’t did a shoestring tour
great [the last date saw the ban
Brownie’s in New York, and Smi d split on-stage at Brix, neared their end, Martin Bramah (recalled to The Fall, briefly,
th in jail for three days]. After
Suite [1999] was hard to do bec that, The Marshall in 1990) remembers Smith telling him he felt he’d achieved what
ause people kept walking out,
members. There were plans for there were no he wanted to and was ready to jack it in.
an all-female Fall at that time,
used to lads. Once the line-up but Mark was more
for The Unutterable [2000] had
settled in, there was a
Yet, possibly aware that he had bandmates relying on him, Smith
good atmosphere in the band.
Then Mark decided to fire everyon tried his luck with a major label and signed to the Phonogram’s
This is going to be never-endin e again. I thought,
g. It was time to throw the tow Fontana imprint, where, with production assistance from Coldcut
things were settling down for el in. But by that time
them, and getting better fina and Adrian Sherwood, and an increasingly polished techno-rock
sound, releases like the prescient, surveillance-fixated dance pop of
Telephone Thing found The Fall approaching a contemporary style.

Get up, make a buck; Smith with wife and Fall guitarist Brix in September
1985, circa the release of This Nation’s Saving Grace. “It was a great LP,”
Smith told MOJO in 2016. “People who reviewed it said, ‘This is shocking.’”

] had split, and I joined in 2004.

“The line-up that did Country On The Click [2003
He was a brilliant raconteur,
There was a period when me and Mark were close.
ct for him. Fall Head s Roll [2005] was a proper album;
and we all had a lot of respe We also did a lost album,
ine ever!
Blindness is the dirtiest, most relentless bassl choose the worst possible
was Cocke d. Then Mark mana ged to
whose working title stion. Before the
us to the point of exhau
time to tour in America. He’d pushed was walking out, and
n, the Amer ican tour mana ger said he
last gig, in Tucso
Mark was attacked by
we thought, This is a mutiny. On-stage that night
rt band ’s singer with a rottin g plant ain; there was this Benny Hill
the suppo
leggi ng it aroun d chasi ng him before coming back.
moment where Mark was
with [hast ily-assembled Americans]
After that, we did one, and Mark carried on
ded Refor matio n Post-T LC [2007 ].”
The Dudes, and recor

“I’d never heard of The Fall whe

n I joined. Two weeks later we
Mark was a gentleman, a love were in Norway.
ly feller. All four of us just click
on call with The Fall. It was like ed. You were always
being in the fucking SAS – he’d
the morning saying, ‘Leave now call at 4 o’clock in
, you
So you’d belt some ideas out and ’ve got to make an album, I want 10 songs.’
probably half of it would end up
But he got the best out of you. on
Imperial Wax Solvent was the mos the album.
made – two weeks in Düsseld t mental one we
orf with Mark wrecking the plac
Facts Emerge – you can hear the e. And I do like New
bass for once. It’s still not sunk
I don’t think it ever will. I’ve had in that he’s gone.
the best time doing it, and he’l
a massive part of me. Eleven and l always be
a half years and I’ve still not bee
And I never will be sacked.” n sacked.
The spine führer of
Hoboken! Smith with
drummer Karl Burns
(left) and guitarist
Marc Riley (right),
Maxwell’s, New
Jersey, June 4, 1981.

Drummer Simon Wolstencroft recalls the time

fondly. “Mark was was such a generous guy to me.
He set up a pension scheme for us in 1990, ’91, had
us checked out by private doctors… he was always
the first to get his hand in his pocket, he’d always
throw you a bonus if we did a big festival. He was
hilarious company. I did love him.”
With Manchester’s indie-dance wave in the
spotlight, The Fall, with Dave Bush’s programming
to the fore, were in a position to capitalise. Yet the
scathing Idiot Joy Showland on 1991’s Shift-Work
showed what Smith really thought of the scene:
“Out of their heads on a quid of blow… shapeless kecks flapping up HE WIDER WORLD’S APPRECIATION OF SMITH
a storm… the working class has been shafted, so what are the fuck was also soon to be tested. While the Number 9 success of
you sneering at?” 1993’s synth’d up The Infotainment Scan seemed to settle
Although a lifelong resident, Smith was never one for local pride. The Fall’s place as established stagers of British alternative music,
“Manchester hates The Fall – always fucking have!” he told me collapse was looming. Soon after she joined in 1995, keyboardist
with demonic pleasure. “Why? Have you heard the lyrics? Ha ha! Julia Adamson [née Nagle] was in The Fall’s offices in Manchester.
We fucking hate Manchester, that’s fucking obvious! And nobody “I remember looking at the filing cabinets, and they were empty,
likes what’s good on their doorstep. It’s a fact there was nothing in the drawers or the desks,” she says. “I said,
of fucking history. Nobody appreciates it.” Nipper Conspiracy!
The Fall play nice at Where’s your paperwork, you need to keep it for accounting rea-
HMV, Oxford St, 1988, sons. They said, ‘Mark burned it.’ I asked him about it and he said,
signing The Frenz
Experiment album.
‘I burned a lot of stuff.’ He used to have bonfires in his back gar-
den… maybe it was like a purging.”
Tales of Smith’s volatility flourish in this period. One involves the
singer attacking the soundman at The Acropolis in Edinburgh in
August ’94, for eating. It was the returned Brix’s second gig. Before
an October 1996 show in Motherwell, Smith’s treatment of an-
other hapless soundman provoked Brix to threaten to brain him
Tom Sheehan, Rex, Getty Images

with her Telecaster. “The fury of years of suppressed anger boiled up

inside like a raging torrent of Devil’s sputum,” she wrote in her
2016 memoir, The Rise, The Fall And The Rise. By 1997, Smith
told me, he was putting away “nearly half a bottle of whiskey a day…
I was gonna kill myself!” Mention of unpaid VAT bills and rumours
of bankruptcy provoked an icier stare. “No you can’t say that, Ian,”
he decreed. “You’ve no right to ask me that. If you do that you’re ­

gonna be arrested, that’s blasphemy.” Smith’s urge to move upwards was frustrated
Exhausted and deranged on-stage at Brown- in early 2017, when his health began to deterio-
ie’s club in New York on April 7, 1998, the old rate. Concerts in the UK and US began to be can-
Fall flatlined and split. It seemed like the end. celled, and his appearance caused concern,
Three weeks later a new, three-piece Fall was though July’s New Facts Emerge sounded feral and
playing at Dingwalls in north London. acute. The shows that would be his last were both
While recorded output in the first half-decade affecting and stirring. MOJO saw The Fall play at
of the 21st Century was strong (2003’s The Real London’s 100 Club on July 27, and while he
New Fall LP (Formerly Country On The Click) was looked unwell and sang several songs off-stage,
especially focused) the line-up was rarely settled his performance was forceful and intense.
until the 2007 arrival of Mancunians Dave Spurr “He was so fucked before we played the 100
(bass) and Keiron Melling (drums) plus Brum- Final Fall: in 2017 with (l-r) Keiron Club,” says Melling. “I was surprised he managed
Melling, Pete Greenway, Dave Spurr;
mie Pete Greenway (guitar), joining keyboardist (opposite) Smith in 2013: “Words were to… he was trying to get his breath. To go back
– and Smith’s third wife – Elena Poulou. a joy for him,” says Grant Showbiz. and finish the gig with that kind of delivery, it’s
“This last band was almost like a post-mod- just incredible. He’s the hardest man I know.
ern Fall,” says Grant Showbiz, who returned in 2008 to produce When he came up on the chair lift [Smith sang from a wheelchair at
the Imperial Wax Solvent album. “They knew how to listen to Mark Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Union, November 4], that was incred-
and be very aware of what he was saying, and how not to take it the ible. The applause when he finally made it onto the stage… you
wrong way. In the past, it could get quite agonising. Recently, it was could tell he felt that, and that’s how he got through the gig. Every-
all on the up. He couldn’t retire, his brain wouldn’t let him. People one in the room was on the same page, all behind Mark, together as
say he was chaotic, but – with some amazing warrior women one. He showed the ultimate courage.”
sustaining him – he held a band together for 40 years.” It was to be his last gig. A show in Bristol on November 29 was
Smith was both proud and protective of these musicians. “I’ve got pulled as the taxis were arriving to take the band to the venue. An
a group that is musical perfection,” he told me. “They’re all 10 times apology from MES, which soon achieved tremendous poignancy,
better than these knobheads, these cruds who used to be in The Fall.” ended, “From head patient to you, the patients. I love you all but
cannot embrace you all.”
Yet he was planning another album; eight tracks were demoed and
Showbiz was set to produce, but no vocals were recorded. “I called
members of the last Fall are numbed and in mourning. Yet him over Christmas and didn’t get a reply,” says Melling. “I didn’t
soon Greenway is remembering Smith the charismatic dis- realise he’d gone back into hospital. I was just waiting for a call to say
rupter, whose diversions included making nuisance calls to Fall-in- come and visit. I really thought he were gonna pull through. He was
fluenced neo-post-punkers These New Puritans, and, when sharing always having a laugh about stuff, you know, he wouldn’t let things
a festival bill, creating elaborate booby traps for Mumford & Sons. get him down. I do feel like he’s not gone, that I’m gonna get a call.”
Spurr, meanwhile, laughs at memories of American Fall recruits (of “I’m not a big crier,” says Dave Spurr, who intends to keep making
2006-2007 vintage) looking on in disbelief as MES enjoyed a break- music with his bandmates. “Every time I do get upset, I think, Mark
fast of champagne and Opal Fruits, or restaurant orders for offal, or wouldn’t want to see you upset, so pull yourself together, you soft
his insistence that he knew secret indoor smoking techniques, em- twat. Everything I’ve picked up from him, I’ll carry on. I’ve studied at
ployed in airports, that involved hiding his cigarette up his sleeve. the Mark Smith school of rock’n’roll. I’m not gonna waste that.”
“At 4 o’clock in the morning after a gig, that’s when Mark came
alive,” says Greenway. “You’d see the years come off him, and his HEN MOJO SPOKE TO SMITH FOR THE LAST
brain would be working on all cylinders… He was a great and funny time two years ago in a Manchester pub, he seemed
guy, and we all adored him.” uninterested in discussing his legacy, preferring wide-
Smith’s techniques in the studio and on-stage were, it seems, ranging conversation that touched on his mother Irene, late New
largely unchanged. “We only got to hear most of the albums when Order manager Rob Gretton, and why dentists were not to be trust-
everybody else did, when they came out!” says Keiron Melling. ed. Suitably for a man whose output defined the uncompromising
Andrew Whitton/Knitzing

“Live, you were playing the same set but no gig was the same. You’d alternative, and whose stern guru role offered disdain for the herd
be waiting for Mark’s delivery and his cues. If you tried to bring it over comforting communion, he cackled at the very idea of praise.
back down, he wasn’t into that. He wanted to go up, up, up! You’d “I don’t think about it,” he said. “It’s a disease, I think. I don’t
see him twizzling his hand, to bring back up again. And if you didn’t, accept compliments. Do you think everybody goes around compli-
he’d come and knock your toms off.” menting me?” He gurgled a laugh. “That’s not what I want.” M

wastes grim life (“my step-sister’s Blunkett,secretritesandtheViaDolorosa

(fromLiveAtTheWitchTrials,1979) got a horrible growth”) on the internet (fromIAmKuriousOranj,1988) into a remorseless juggernaut àla Locust
of the ’80s, over the trebliest guitar AbortionTechnician-Butthole Surfers.
Poetically-illuminated, scraping “Check the guy’s track record!”
northern English punk gravel about the of the trebliest decade. The hip priest borrows from his own
indignity of labour. Why’s he saying back catalogue, and proves how
“yeah, yeah”? The sound of rubbish in Australians In Europe a kind of mantric skiffle can have
(B-sidetoHitTheNorth,1987) One final ‘pop’ crossover, as a hook-
bracken, glimpsed through wire fences. genuine insidious menace. up with German techno auteurs Mouse
One of a glut of exceptional ’80s B-sides
On Mars, under the nomdeguerre
(see above); streamlined Route One
Von Südenfed, produces this
(fromTotale’sTurns,1980) motorik-ramalam, bespoke invective, (fromShift-Work,1991) industrialised Motown stomper.
Medieval demon-gargoyle meets heavily reverbed whooping... Ace. Max-wistful sequel to 1990’s Bill Is
speeding alco-rockabilly, amid the Dead, Smith addressing an ex-partner
slathering-on of deep heat treatment. Bremen Nacht (Brix?) with dreamy equanimity: (fromNewFactsEmerge,2017)
“I’m not going back to the slow life,” (fromTheFrenzExperiment,1988) “I hear you are inHampstead/Ihope Simultaneously more focused and
sings MES, who never did. Fatal historical vibrations burst into youcangetmarried.” less comprehensible than ever before,
the present, furiously, on tour in West this metallic pavement slab-chucker
Germany. Steve Hanley hated playing finds MES goading the village witch-
(B-side to Look, Know, 1982) the bassline because it was so (JohnPeelSession,2004) burners and invoking “Homeric cogs
Smith’s vividly drawn psycho herbert physically demanding. MES stitches then-Home Secretary David of steel”. Sublime.

Wandering star:
Jonathan Wilson,
contemplating the
desert, Yucca Valley,
California, 2017.
E’RE OUTSIDE THE by Father John Misty, Roy Harper, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
house, waiting for a and Conor Oberst, as well as his own album Fanfare
cab, when we see the and now, finally, its follow-up Rare Birds. It’s lush and
UFO. A streak of light widescreen. “Maximalist”, he calls it and, later, “fucking
shoots through the trees complicated”, as if any of his albums were simple.
then swells into a huge, “I wanted a fresh sound,” he says. “Before it was sort of
transparent, fish-like ob- ‘spot the influence.’ I don’t want to keep seeing ‘Sounds
ject with bright, piercing eyes. As it hangs over Los Angeles, like CSN.’ I love CSN but for God’s sake, it doesn’t.”
Jonathan Wilson and MOJO stand transfixed, wondering if
it’s man-made or natural, cosmic or apocalyptic (it turns ILSON HAS A HABIT OF MOVING. BORN
out it’s one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets). We conclude 43 years ago in Forest City, North Carolina,
that all that matters is that it’s moving, trippy and beautiful. population 7,000, he moved with his parents
Inside, Wilson’s house smells of knotty pine and incense. and brother to Thomasville, twice the size, 75 per cent
The ratio of studio to home, as it has in most of the places black. He wrote his first song aged three: “Old Jackson it
Wilson has lived as an adult, favours studio. The narrow was called. My parents have a cassette of me banging on a
kitchenette where, earlier, he brews us tea, overlooks a guitar and singing.” There were four or five guitars around
spacious room with a Steinway grand, as well as Hammond the house and a lot of old gear; his dad had a rock band with
organ, cymbals and a platoon of guitars. Giving MOJO the some Forest City friends who “could moonlight on banjo,
grand tour, he points out “the little bedrooms that we play bluegrass and sing gospel harmonies that would knock
turned into gear graveyards – this one is where the bass you out.” The records he was raised on were Beatles,
amps hang out and this one’s a drum booth, basically me Eagles, Warren Zevon and Jackson Browne. At 13 he got a
copying Room B at Ocean Way.” Stratocaster and at 14 his first real band, The Curb Tones.
In the six and a half years since Wilson left his little “We had a black dude named Steve who was sort of a blues
wooden house and studio on a hill above Laurel Canyon prodigy, and I was trying to be like Joe Bonamassa, playing
Boulevard to move into this wooden house on a hill above Jeff Healey songs at all these crappy little gigs in bars.”
Echo Park, he’s produced a number of acclaimed albums, When he was 16, Wilson’s family moved to ➢


Charlotte, but Jonathan wouldn’t go. “I didn’t want to move to owned the Hornets, Charlotte’s basketball team. Which is why, on
what was basically fucking Trump Town, where there were no black his first trip to LA, Wilson stayed in Beverly Hills.
kids in the school and it was all Future Farmers of America. I had a When the rest of the band gave up and went home, Wilson re-
band in Thomasville and I was in love with this girl there, so I ran mained, moving to Venice, taking odd jobs: from making an album
away in the middle of the night with her and we took a bus to Philly with The Cages (a band touted as the next Eagles) to constructing
and lived with her cousin in the projects.” When he got a gig playing IKEA furniture for the son of the president of the Krishna com-
at a bar and grill, he figured he was set. munity – a useful skill for someone who liked musical puzzles and
“But stuff had happened in Thomasville,” he says. “The girl I was making strange parts fit together.
involved with was black, and she was like a star basketball player,
homecoming queen, so some of the black dudes were not stoked HEN HE RETURNED TO CHARLOTTE, WILSON
that she was with me. One night we came back from a party and looked up Benji Hughes, “who was the best thing
walked to my car and they drove by and shot 16 holes in it to give about that Beverly Hills band.” They formed Muscadine.
me a message.” Wilson set up a studio above his parents’ garage and they made
So Wilson went to Trump Town. Lying on his bed in a place that demos, then a rich friend fronted them $10,000 to record their
Chiara Meatelli (3), Getty Images, Tom Oldham, Sylvie Simmons

he didn’t want to be, his heart “shattered”, he started reading Miles album. “Even then I was putting in little samples and found
Davis’s Autobiography. When he reached the part where Miles is sounds,” recalls Wilson. “I think I was subconsciously influenced
lying on a bed, trying to kick heroin, “I had the feeling that it sort of by Dark Side Of The Moon.”
paralleled my life. And that was when I got completely obsessive There was a buzz and record companies started coming to Char-
about jazz.” lotte, including Sire’s Seymour Stein. “He was a freaky guy and so
He began studying with Bill Hanna, “a legendary North Carolina were we. We signed with him. One of the worst things we could
jazz educator. He’s a talented, crusty, mean, tough-love guy who have done.” Still, Stein gave them $300,000 for an album (1997’s
screams at you if your tempo is dragging or rushing. He sent me to The Ballad Of Hope Nicholls) that cost them $10,000 to make;
jazz boot camp. This was right around the time when Pearl Jam and $60,000 they spent on equipment – “my dream stuff ”. But when
Hootie And The Blowfish were top. Jazz was my punk.” Muscadine came back from tour to start a new album, the studio
Then Wilson met a guy who said he was going to LA to start a owner wouldn’t give Wilson his gear, saying he owed it in rental
band with “the coolest dudes in Charlotte” and asked if he wanted costs. Muscadine dissolved and Wilson moved to New York.
to come. The ringleader was the moneyed son of the man who “It was a Strokes-ian sort of time,” he says, “and it was never my

Inside he built a studio, Canyon-
stereo. Outside they started having jams.
First it was Wilson and his friend, Black
Crowes singer Chris Robinson, “but it
just grew and grew.” To the point where
the landlord read about it in Rolling
Stone and used the article in court to
evict Wilson. Though not before Wilson
recorded his breakthrough album, Gentle
Spirit, which critics hailed as resurrecting
the early ’70s Canyon sound.
After Laurel Canyon, Wilson’s friend
★★★ Conor Oberst suggested they get a place
together in Echo Park. Oberst owns the
(Sire, 1997) property and keeps a guest house. The
Benji Hughes’s slacker vox float main house is now Wilson’s live-in studio,
in a vast, multi-textural soup of Five Star. He brought none of the Canyon
Wilson guitars, heaviness offset
by disorientating key changes
spirit with him, he says. “Gentle Spirit
and outbreaks of jazz madness [2011] had to do with the space and what
(cf. Mon Petit Chou). Think was going on there and the organic sound
Mark ‘E’ Everett fronting Smashing Pumpkins
when they were good. You can hear why some
we had with that gear. There are moments
of this music made Seymour Stein cry. on my new album that touch back on that
vibe, but now we’ve expanded to a much
more expensive hi-fi, though still from
★★★★ 1976 – this is the board that made [Cat
Stevens’] Tea For The Tillerman.”
(Bella Union, 2011)
Wilson’s solo breakthrough is UT WILSON HAD A HARD
an ever-evolving revue of killer
songs and head music delights.
time starting Rare Birds. The
The baroque acoustic and five-year gap since Fanfare was a
mellotron of the title track! The big factor. He’d spent much of that time
gorgeous Fleetwood Santana working on other people’s music,
stylings of Desert Raven! Yet while retro
references abound, its sense of a specific place, producing albums or, with Roger Waters,
authentically described, is what stays with you. filling a David Gilmour-shaped hole on a
tour that will continue into 2019.
So when Wilson sat at the Steinway
Gentle spirit: “It was never my vibe to be in a
★★★ and tried to figure out what to do with the
leather jacket band,” says Wilson (above) at first song, Loving You, his mind went
Joshua Tree; (clockwise from far left) in his (Bella Union, 2013) blank. “I had no idea what it was, just a
home/studio; on-stage at Latitude, July 15, 2012;
Lots to enjoy on Wilson’s sort of John Lennon thing. And then
with Jackson Browne, London, 2011; studio time
at home; (inset centre) Elon Musk’s SpaceX lengthy follow-up (Dear Friend
rocket as seen by Wilson and Sylvie Simmons. proves that, on top of Laraaji came into town.” The Eno col-
everything else, he can cut it on laborator added zither, chanting and
vibes), although it tips over played the flute sound on a phone app.
vibe to be in a leather jacket band. So into bombast and the cameos
I became a bassist in a bluegrass group.” by legends (now pals) like Cros, Nash, Jackson “He just stood there with his eyes closed,
Meanwhile, he found another studio in Browne et al rather accentuate the mood of playing it with all the undulations of his
‘Look Ma, I made it!’ Too perfect by half. body. And that was it. My whole fucking
the basement of a SoHo theatre and be-
friended the owner. “I recorded my first album started.”
Wilson talks about creating little
album Frankie Ray [2007 there. It took a
while; I was still bruised.” To live, he
★★★★ Frank Zappa soundscapes in some songs,
found a niche building replica vintage gui- giving shout-outs to Steve Jones and Billy
(Sub Pop, 2017)
tars, over which he took astonishing pains. Shears in others, leaping from LA to Lon-
Wilson’s forensic grasp of
“I would dig inside vacuum cleaner classic tropes helped him craft don in the lyrics and creating little places
bags for the right dust to put in the cracks an exquisite high-concept, for the listener to dream about. “I love
mid-’70s singer-songwriter that kind of patience,” he says.
and in the case. If they took out the screws soundbed for Josh Tillman’s
and looked inside there’s dust and dirt. It gravid lyric style and But it’s time for him to leave for
became a thing. I would sell them by the love-’em-or-loathe-’em persona games. Elton tonight’s show – one of a three-night
year – if it was a 1955 guitar it was $1,955. John always wanted to be David Ackles; Pure residency at downtown’s Moroccan
Comedy imagines it was the other way around.
I realised that I could make way more Lounge (Laraaji supports). As we walk
money at this than in the ghetto that is the out together Wilson talks of maybe mov-
dying music business.” But being shut in a
basement with toxins started feeling unsafe.
★★★ ing again, saying, “No musician since
1971 can really afford to live in this
“I thought: I have to get back to California.” town.” He’s contemplating the desert,
He ended up in Laurel Canyon. “A (Columbia, 2017)
maybe Joshua Tree, where he wrote
place came up,” he says, “a shitty little bun- The new David Gilmour? A Desert Raven on Gentle Spirit while think-
galow on the property of a massive house challenge for anyone. Wilson’s ing about America’s Ventura Highway
that had burned down. It was cool having guitar can conjure similarly and coming down from ’shrooms. It
pearlescent qualities, but he
no neighbours. The nearest place was Rick avoids cheap emulation, would be nice to have a separate place to
Rubin’s mansion where the Chili Peppers instead adding apocalyptic live and a bigger studio, he says. And then
recorded, so they weren’t complaining.” nuages to Waters’ moiling dystopia. Although, we look up and see the UFO. M
as those who’ve seen him live with Waters will
attest, he does a pretty mean Breathe, too.



“Early success allows
a lot of other things to
happen”: David Byrne
photographed in New
York, December 2017.
New feeling: Talking
Heads in Amsterdam,
June 1977 (from
left) Chris Frantz,
Tina Weymouth,
David Byrne,
Jerry Harrison.



N A FRIGID JANUARY olina before the 2016 election – dressed, he To My House are the closest Byrne has come,
afternoon in New York cracks, “as a Southern white gentleman”. in a very long time, to the sonic world travel
City, David Byrne takes And Byrne points with delight to a detail in a and heady juxtapositions of 1983’s Speaking
the stage of an auditori- photo of LP sleeves stapled to the ceiling of a In Tongues and 1985’s Little Creatures.
um at the New School Harlem club – the cover of Talking Heads’ “There’s a little less of having to redis-
looking like a fine-arts 1980 avant-funk classic, Remain In Light. cover the wheel – I’ve been doing this long
professor ready for It is a fond, unexpected reference to his enough,” Byrne, 65, affirms, laughing heart-
poolside cocktails: black shirt and pants old band. Between 1975 and 1988, Talking ily during an unusually wide-ranging two-
offset by a salmon-pink sports coat and a Heads – drummer Chris Frantz, bassist Tina hour conversation at his SoHo office. “Yeah,
full head of snow-white hair. He is hosting a Weymouth, guitarist-keyboard player Jerry there’s something familiar in there to what
cultural talk, part of a series he calls “Reasons Harrison and Byrne, their singer, primary I’ve done before. But musically and in other
To Be Cheerful” after Ian Dury’s hit, chal- writer and undisputed leader – made eight ways, I’ve taken it somewhere else – I hope.”
lenging the pervading national gloom in studio albums fusing punk, R&B, electronics,
politics and cable-TV news.
The singer, songwriter, theatrical com-
poser and former leader of Talking Heads
also takes this opportunity to announce his
first solo album in 14 years. Its title: American
Nigerian highlife and the Latin tinge for pop
radio and the dancefloor. But the pioneering
ended in rancour. The group officially split in
1991 and has reunited once, at its 2002
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
tours, Byrne took some light reading
along: Democracy In America, Alexis
de Tocqueville’s 1835 critique of the United
States’ young experiment in religious, politi-
Utopia. “It’s an odd thing to be saying these Since then, Talking Heads are a subject cal and economic freedom. It was “good for
days,” he tells the rapt lunchtime crowd. that Byrne usually discusses obliquely, at bus rides, consuming a little here and there,”
“But when we need to help ourselves, we best, in most interviews. Yet it is hard to miss Byrne notes with a grin. “You realised the
look for reasons to be cheerful.” the strong echoes of that band in the buoyant American experiment was something ex-
Byrne is loose and funny as he speaks futurism and topical urgency of American traordinary, utopian. And it hasn’t all gone
about urban traffic innovations in Bogotá, Utopia. The Indo-Brazilian flair of Gasoline away. It’s imperfect. But as an idea, it holds
humane drug treatment in Vancouver and his And Dirty Sheets, the catchy electro-melan- a lot of promise. And you wonder, ‘Is there a
own civic engagement, showing a photo of choly in Every Day Is A Miracle, and the way to reactivate all that?’”
himself canvassing black voters in South Car- Afro-Memphis surge of Everybody’s Coming Byrne has been here before. The clash of

runaway capitalism and am I going to do this
daily shoe-string strug- for me, so it’s not
adopting the style
gle at street level was of someone else?
crisply present in the Of course, I loved
wiry tensions and title of The Velvet Under-
Talking Heads’ second ground, David Bowie
and Iggy Pop. At the
album, 1978’s More same time, I was a big
Songs About Buildings And fan of Al Green and a
Food. And Byrne is still lot of R&B. I thought,
asking – in the treach- “What if I can meld
erous aspiration of those two worlds?”
I wanted to have
American Utopia ’s something that
Doing The Right related to the body,
Thing and It’s Not the way R&B does,
without copying it “I loved The Velvet
Dark Up Here – a Underground”: Byrne
– and invoke
question that goes something of the ideas and innovations (right) on-stage with
How often do you Lou Reed and John
back to the rhythmic I heard in rock. actively think about Cale, Ocean Club, New
turmoil and see-saw In your linernotes on the new album, writing songs now amid York, July 21, 1976.
fortunes in Once In A you write that music is “a model” that your other projects? Do
Lifetime on “points us toward how we can be.” you apportion your direction on a given day?
Remain In Light: “How When did music first tell you that? There is a lot of compartmentalisation. I find
that easy, practical and efficient.I can go,
did I get here?” Probably as a kid – in junior high, high school,
“Today, I am going to stay home and write
American Utopia when you start listening to pop music and you
realise it’s telling you more than what the lyrics in that bedroom.” Then I’ll work on another
features Byrne with a say. It’s describing another world that you haven’t project, which is a great way to clear the head.
younger cast of produc- experienced, but it’s letting you know it’s out You come back to the music and go, “This part
ers and guests including there. I remember, in high school, trying to write is brilliant, this part is crap,” rather than try to
a song, and it was completely derivative (laughs). keep pushing when there’s no ideas there.
Rodaidh McDonald (the There were intensive periods where I’d be in a
xx, Adele), Sampha and As first songs always are. recording studio, working on this album for two
Thomas Bartlett AKA Then I had another stab at it years later. I came up weeks straight every day. But there are periods
Doveman. But here is with Psycho Killer [on Talking Heads’ first album, where it’s incremental. It’s not going any faster
Talking Heads: 77]. Chris and Tina helped me with than it wants to go. You may as well keep moving,
more déjà vu : Byrne fill your time with other projects. Otherwise,
started composing the some of the French stuff. I realised, “That holds
up. That’s a song.” I may have been inspired by you’re just sitting around waiting.
songs over dr um- other things when I was writing it, but I hadn’t Was that a problem in the band? You
machine tracks re- heard anything quite like it before. I was also were the singer, dominant writer and
corded by his friend and col- writing completely from the character’s point conceptual force in Talking Heads. If you
laborator of four decades, Brian Eno. The of view. We played it. People liked it. I thought, weren’t doing it, nothing happened?
“Oh, I can do more.”
loops “were interesting, a lot of skittery stuff It becomes a thing if you want to explore other
going on,” Byrne explains, sipping espresso. What was the next leap forward? interests. How much am I obliged to follow my
Warning Sign was one [on More muse, to see where that goes? Record companies
“I said, Can I try writing over these? We expect you to deliver a record
both liked where the results were going. He Songs About Buildings And Food].
That was less conventional once in a while. You’re on
said, ‘This is yours now. Run with it.’” musically. It felt more completely a schedule, especially when
me, like, “We’re beginning to things are going well.
discover something new here.” Did you resent it?
There is an interesting credit on the album.
Under “studios”, the first one listed is “DB I didn’t resent it so much, because
Spare Bedroom”. What’s in it? it’s nice and it facilitates a lot of
It’s a little smaller than this stuff. It allows you to do the music
(gestures around the back lounge videos you want, all kinds of stuff
of his office). There is a desk with you wouldn’t be able to do
a computer screen, some gear, otherwise. But it’s also restrictive,
a pole with a microphone that I and eventually I resisted. I could see
can swing in front of my face and where things were going, towards being
file folders – manila folders, very more of an arena act. It didn’t seem like
organised – with all of the songs a lot of fun. You have even greater
in progress. There’s a bunch of pressures and more obligations.
guitars, a keyboard and a whole How do you look at a band like
shelf of songbooks – bossa nova, Radiohead? They found a place
Bob Dylan, country & western, to be creative, even contrary, in
Latin standards. Not having gone their music. But they can still fill
to music school, there was no one arenas and play at huge festivals.
to point out, “This is what they did
here…” When I’m writing, if I have Good for them – I can’t explain it. You can
say the music’s good, which is true, but
an idea, it’s a likely place to look:
lots of people make good music, and
“Bob Dylan might have done this.”
they can’t do that. I remember touring in
Was there a songwriter that was the mid ’90s and seeing Radiohead. OK
important to you as a teenager or Computer had just come out. They were
as you started Talking Heads? way more of an arena rock band. Then
they swerved away from it. But they had
Dylan, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles –
Getty Images (2), Alamy

developed this following that helped

that opened a world of possibilities.
them wander off the path. It wasn’t like
I also realised that’s not me. I can’t be
Remain in white: they started doing what they do now
in that. Bob Dylan has his persona.
Byrne on-stage from scratch. Neither did I.
The lyrics are all written as if that guy, at Millenaris,
whoever he is (laughs), is singing those Budapest, Hungary,
songs. Still, it became a process: How July 16, 2009. CONTINUED ON P60

Soul master Al
Green; (insets
below) the song’s
1974 LP source
Explores Your Mind;
Talking Heads on-
stage at CBGB, New
York, March 3, ’77.

S song because it’s less risky.

It’s like people doing movie
sequels – something’s already
known and successful. So then
a band gets known for covering
somebody else’s song as opposed
to writing their own material.
Harrison: We recorded it in the Bahamas. We
Forty years ago, Talking Heads’ Byrne: There’s a mixture of the sacred were the first white band to record at Compass
and the profane, sex and God and Jesus. Point, a brand-new studio that Chris Blackwell
cover of Al Green and Teenie The imagery, to me, was fascinating. had built. We felt like pioneers. There were
Hodges’ Take Me To The River Jerry Harrison: I believe it was already in their
repertoire when I joined. David taught me the
times where a storm would knock out the
power and the generator would come on.
set the eclectic tone for their song, but I never went and listened to the original. Eventually the salt air caused corrosion in the
Brian Eno-produced second When I finally listened to Al Green’s version equipment so you started having breakdowns.
years later, I was like, “Wow, this is different!” You had to have a tolerant attitude.
album, More Songs About Byrne: The normal influences for bands in that Frantz: We recorded that album very quickly
Buildings And Food, then place and time would have been pre-punk bands,
The Stooges or The Velvet Underground. We had
because we’d been playing those songs for
a long time already and we didn’t really have
broke them as a chart act. those influences as much as any of the others did, to work up any new arrangements.
“It solved the puzzle for people,” but we wanted to also point to, “We actually
listen to a lot of R&B music.” Which would
Byrne: Brian Eno was attuned to that. He saw that
we were a good live band and felt like, “My main
the band tell RAY PADGETT. have been anathema to some of that crowd.
job at this point is just to capture what’s there.”
Frantz: A lot of the people down at CBGB were,
Harrison: We had met Brian in London on our first
when it came to music, pretty racist. If it was
THE INSPIRATION any black musician other than Jimi Hendrix,
tour and got along with him great. We went over
to his house and it was one of those things where
Chris Frantz: I was a big fat fan of Al Green from they weren’t very cool about it. The whole idea
the first time I heard Tired Of Being Alone. When of performing a song written and recorded by
Tina would come to visit me in my little apartment a black artist is something none of the other
in Providence when David and I were in college, bands were doing. So we tried playing it.
I would put on Al Green records to try to woo her. I’m not sure anybody knew it was even an
David Byrne: Chris and I were in a band in Al Green song, but it got a really good reaction.
Rhode Island. We used to do another Al Green
song, Love And Happiness. Then, when THE RECORDING
Talking Heads got going we thought, “Let’s Byrne: It was a bit of a decision whether to record
do a different one. We already did that one.” it or not. There’s sometimes a little bit of resistance
Frantz: We chose Take Me… because it had to recording something like that because it’s a
a great bass line, first of all, and second of all we crowd pleaser. I’d seen it happen before, where
could really appreciate the weirdness of the lyrics. radio programmers will play a band doing a cover

Chris Frantz
you go look at somebody’s library and think, “Oh with. With Take Me… being more traditional, Byrne: Our versions, they do seem very much
I have these same books.” It was love at first sight. it had that chorus that could grab people. And that they’re ours. That’s what makes a successful
Frantz: He made a condition in his role as those are key to one of our songs becoming a hit. cover, I guess. You make it yours.
producer that we couldn’t do any overdubs unless Frantz: Later, David said he didn’t want to do
they were just like one little note per two bars. any more covers. The Al Green song was our first THE AFTERLIFE
He didn’t want us to clutter up the songs with hit on Top 40 radio and I think maybe he felt, Frantz: After the Remain In Light album [1980],
additional parts. Brian [also] suggested we slow “I’d rather have one of my own songs be a hit.” David said, “Oh we can’t possibly play this music
it down. The Al Green version is actually a pretty Byrne: With my own tours and things like live.” He basically didn’t want to tour any more.
uptempo song and we had been playing it at that later, I was happy to do lots of cover songs. I believe it was Jerry who came up with the idea
a fairly fast tempo. Brian suggested, “Why don’t Do a Whitney Houston song and a Missy Elliott of, what if we toured with extra musicians
you play it as slow as you can?” We tried it and song, all kinds of stuff. I didn’t include any of playing the other parts to fill out the sound?
it really worked. them on the albums. Byrne: [The Stop Making Sense arrangement
Frantz: As much as we hoped Take Me To of Take Me To The River] came from a little bit
THE IMPACT The River would sound like Al Green, it never of [Parliament/Funkadelic keyboard player
Harrison: After the first album, everyone was did. I’m sure I felt like, “Oh wow this is really and Talking Heads collaborator] Bernie Worrell
like, what is this music? What is it even influenced funky”, but it still sounded like a bunch of and probably a lot of Nona Hendryx, who helped
by? And then we put out Take Me To The River white kids from the suburbs. us come up with that version. Which was a lot
Getty Images (3),

and people were like, “Oh, it’s R&B.” It solved Harrison: If you’re too good at copying [a song], more of a gospel vibe. It was still our groove
the puzzle for people. it doesn’t seem original. But if you’re only OK as opposed to Al Green’s groove, but it brought
Frantz: I was not surprised it became a hit at copying, then whatever you do will seem a lot of the gospel stuff back into it.
because it was so good, and so sexy. Most of quite original. Harrison: When you added backing singers,
our other songs you wouldn’t call sexy. then the chorus became that much more
Harrison: If you think of a lot of the other dramatic and huge. It has a drama and it reaches
songs on More Songs…, the abstract an impassioned peak, so it’s a great song for the
nature of them or the lyrics makes them end of the show. Which is really why we recorded
not quite so easy to grab on to sing along it in the first place, because of its reaction when
we were touring supporting the first album.
Byrne: I met [co-writer] Teenie Hodges a few
times in Memphis. I invited him on-stage to play
along on the song once. Of course, it was our
version, not his version, but still, it was pretty
cool. He was incredibly happy that we covered
he song and, I think, probably also happy that
we realised that he had a part in it. That it wasn’t
just Al Green. That acknowledgement, I think
Going Green: (from far left) Byrne and Take that meant something.
Me To The River producer Brian Eno; the Compass
Point studios, Nassau; the single; say Hi to the Ray Padgett is the author of Cover Me: The Stories
song’s co-composer, Teenie Hodges.
Behind The Greatest Cover Songs Of All Time.

acterised as remote and cere-
bral, elusive on matters of the
past and his private life, Byrne
is in fact wide open – relaxed,
charming, eager to make a point – about his
creative process and the joyful purpose he
still finds in music. He is also direct and
fluid in his explanations, reflecting the
analytical streak in the former art-school
student. At one point, while talking about
the lyrics for American Utopia, Byrne hands
over examples of his handwritten drafts for
Bullet Doing The Right Thing with alter-
native titles, crossed-out lines and literal
cut-and-paste: stanzas removed with scis-
sors and glued to another page.
Byrne was born in Dumbarton, Scot-
land in 1952. His family emigrated to
Ontario, Canada when he was two, then
to a suburb of Baltimore a few years later.
His father was an electronics engineer,
and Byrne first investigated the mysteries
of recording in high school with a reel-
to-reel tape machine his dad brought
home from work. He attended Rhode
Island School of Design but dropped out
of art studies, forming the Artistics in
1974 with Chris Frantz, another RISD
student. They started Talking Heads
after moving to New York, encouraging
Tina Weymouth – Frantz’s girlfriend
and futu lay bass. The trio
played it ne 1975, became
unlikely f BGB – perform- Burning down the
ing bon -pop alongside house: Byrne in The
Big Suit, Connecticut,
Television and the Ramones – and had September 1983,
a record deal by the fall of ’76. Jerry promoting Speaking
In Tongues; (top left)
Harrison joined the following year. December ’83 at
LA’s Greek Theatre.
The tour spawned
Did you ever have a Scottish accent? the Stop Making
Sense film.
I did until about second grade. Then
like a lot of kids, I rapidly got rid of it.
I felt like an outsider. I could tell there was
a difference between my family and
others: “When I go home, we do things this way.
We eat different foods.” You can feel alienated
and ostracised. Or you can look at it as, “There is
more in the world than some Americans know
about.” (Laughs) Keep that in your pocket. ‘OK, G A E .
I saw you live with Talking Heads in 1977,
on your first major American tour. You had
this reputation as a nerd on-stage. But you
looked entirely in control at the mike –
maybe not comfortable, but certain
that this was the right place for you. SAY WE TOLD YOU S
At that time, it was someplace I had to be.
Off-stage, I was very shy. I didn’t quite
know how to fit in socially and was
uncomfortable around groups of people.
I discovered that being on-stage can
be an outlet. You can let your inner voice
be heard, and some people kind of like it.
It was definitely a refuge. There’s a certain
desperation in being there: “I have to do
this – for my own health.”
What was going through your head on
that first tour? This wasn’t another Friday
at CBGB – you were introducing yourself
to new people every night.
It must have seemed pretty odd to people.
Now I can let go and allow more of the emotional
content of the songs, the feeling, to flow through. Byrne bright: (above) with St. Vincent,
Then, I was purely focused on the technical stuff: January 2013; in Contemporary Colour,
“Are we playing well? Do I switch to a different Barclays Centre Of Brooklyn, June 27, 2015;
(right) Here Lies Loves rehearsal, Public
guitar? Is this vocal line working or should I sing Theatre, New York, March 31, 2013.
it a different way?” It was putting the emotions
and fear aside, focusing on the technical to let
the other stuff flow through, which it did. about the autocratic Filipino diva Imelda
Marcos. Contemporary Color, a 2017
In Talking Heads’ 1984 concert film, Stop
Making Sense, you wore The Big Suit, which documentar y about US college/high
I took to be your metaphor for stardom: “Yes, school ‘color guards’ (synchronised
I’m getting bigger.” You also danced in it. dance/display teams: the non-playing, You announced that you are performing
You took something deliberately ungainly flag-and-rifle-spinning contingent of a Talking Heads songs on this tour. Do
and made it swing. you miss playing them?
marching band) was based on a performance
I saw it as a man trapped in social conventions. event conceived by Byrne, roped in St. Vin- They’re fun to play – not all of them. There are
The suit represented this big thing encasing the a few in the Remain In Light era that can segue
character, who is trying to wriggle out of it. cent, Nelly Furtado and Ad-Rock and fea- into the current stuff. People enjoy them because
tured his original score. And Neurosociety, they’re so rhythmic. Those are easy to update.
Like a cloth cage. an interactive exhibit created with Mala I don’t know if there is anything [in this show]
Yeah. But I also thought it was a way of admitting Gaonkar, opened in October at a gallery in from the first or second albums. Some songs
the theatricality of the show. I’m not pretending seem like they are what they are – a little “song
that these are my ordinary clothes. And that’s
hit”. There’s not much you can do with them.
OK. Things that are real can be communicated Then in December, Byrne fired off the
through that. What is the saying? Art is the lie first word on his 2018 plans in a Twitter post Will the songs on American Utopia actually
that tells the truth. I remember after one of our promising a tour with new songs, old hits make people more cheerful? One song,
tours, I stayed on in Japan and went to see a lot This Is That, opens with an argument
of traditional Japanese theatre. This was pre-Big
and his “most ambitious” production “since about whether music matters any more.
Suit. And I went to Bali and saw local temple the shows that were filmed for Stop Making There’s an earlier draft of the lyrics where
performances, shadow-puppet plays of the Sense.” In fact, at the end of this interview I got specific. I dropped the names of all these
Mahabharata [an ancient Indian epic poem]. – just two months before the first dates – artists – Jay-Z, Limp Bizkit, Kool Moe Dee –
It was extreme artificiality. There was no Byrne confesses that he is still in the meeting talking about when I hear these artists, they
attempt to be naturalistic whatsoever. have this effect on me. But others pointed
This exaggeration and artificial aspect – it stage “because the construction is so com- out, “David, that’s gonna get really dated –
isn’t just in Las Vegas. It’s pervasive around the plicated: ‘You’re going to do this here. You’re it’s not gonna age well.” (Laughs)
world. And there is something deeply human going to be in a harness there.’ There’s a I still think a live performance is important.
about it, where the performer and audience choreographer and,” he adds with a comic It’s something happening in the here and now.
come together in something that is outside Records – I don’t know. Obviously, in my
ordinary life. I wasn’t buying into the theatricality
sigh, “a lot of prep work.”
generation, a song would somehow strike
of a lot of rock and pop. It seemed too phony. The concept is similar to the riveting a chord, unlock something about life or tell
But seeing all those theatrical forms, I had an minimalism and gymnastic charge that he you that other people are sensing the same
epiphany: There’s another way to do this. And and director Jonathan Demme devised for thing you are. I wonder if that is still happening.
there’s a basic human impulse at work here. Stop Making Sense – as Byrne puts it, “Let’s When was the last time someone offered
start from nothing, add things one by one to you a huge amount of money to reunite

Alamy (3), Rex, Getty Images, Eyevine

YRNE WAS CHARACTER- show what it takes to put on a show, then Talking Heads?
istically busy and eclectic dur- activate it. This is slightly different, but it It’s been a long time now, 10 years or so, since
ing 2017. Last spring, his rock also starts with a completely empty stage. those kinds of offers came in. I remember some of
oratorio, Joan Of Arc: Into And the band gets to move around freely” – them – they were complicated offers. It wasn’t like
The Fire, debuted at New including, he notes, five drummers. “We’re going to give you this obscene amount of
money to do a show.” It included a whole tour,
York’s Public Theater – the same venue that “I’ve been very lucky,” Byrne declares. a record album, a whole 360-degree package.
first presented Here Lies Love, his “The currency you get from “We’re going to own everything you do.”
2010 musical with DJ Fatboy Slim Ballet who: on-
stage in Milan, early success allows a lot of I thought, “This is a pretty risk-free invest-
2009, promoting ment. Yet I’m the one that’s beholden to produce
other things to happen. I all the stuff. I have to spend years making it work.”
the songs of Byrne
and Brian Eno. don’t think I can ask for any- I added up the money. When you break it down,
thing better – I’m allowed as far as individual concerts and records, it’s
these possibilities and people not that much. (Laughs). “You have to do
don’t say, ‘What are you doing? a lot better than that.”
The nerve…’ But music is still your most reliable utopia.
“You get that occasionally,” It’s pretty good for me. I have this streaming-
he says with a shrug and a grin, radio thing I do [at]. This month,
“though surprisingly not that it’s gospel. I listened to my own gospel playlist
last night with a friend. There was a part where
often. People will grant you, we were singing along, then I got up and started
‘OK, go ahead. If you fail, dancing in the living room. (Laughs) I just
we’ll say we told you so.’” thought, “Yep, I still like music a lot.” M

AND THE 25-YEAR-OLD BRYAN FERRY, A traffic leaving, I saw the same girl in the car in front of me.”
diffident art graduate with side-flicked and mod- Back in London, an intrigued Ferry sometimes spotted this mys-
erate-for-the-times collar-length hair, had driven tery girl’s red Mini Clubman parked outside the Georgian town-
alone from London to the 11th National Jazz And Blues Festival in houses of Wilton Crescent in Knightsbridge. “The number plate of
Reading. On arrival, he’d somehow wangled his way into the enclo- the car just seared itself into my memory,” he remembers. “So I put
sure in front of the stage – not exactly the exclusive or pricey ‘golden her in the song.”
circle’ of modern times: more a few feet of muddy earth divided The song was Re-Make/Re-Model, track one, side one of Roxy
from the bulk of the audience by a row of waist-high metal barriers. Music’s eponymous 1972 debut album. In its lyric, the girl was
On the rickety-looking platform before him, over three days, openly worshipped by Ferry as “the sweetest queen I’ve ever seen”
passed a procession of the hirsute, heavy and improvisational: Ar- before her number plate – CPL 593H – provided the chorus’s un-
thur Brown, East Of Eden, Colosseum, ably supported by the likes likely chant-along hook. These days, it might be an act worthy of a
of Daddy Longlegs, Clouds, Universe and Warm Dust. restraining order – or at least a privacy action. Back then, there was
Getty Images (5)

Today, Ferry doesn’t remember any of them. But he does, of possibly no more potent way to woo someone than sending a coded
course, remember the girl. message of desire through the medium of revolving 12-inch plastic.
“A blonde,” he smiles. “She was spectacular. Then in the slow Sadly, although he’d immortalised her on vinyl, there was no ­

Remade and remodelled:
Roxy Music, posed and
labelled, west London,
September 18, 1972.
“Everyone was tasked
with having their own
little moniker.”
At your Command
studios: early Roxy
session (clockwise from
top left) Andy Mackay,
Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry,
Graham Simpson,
Paul Thompson, Davy
O’List; (insets) first
tape and handbill.

Myth-making and Minis: (above) Ferry

¢ leads Roxy to the rescue; (left) the first
response from the sub- album, with model Kari-Ann Muller; (far
left) red Mini Clubman, lyric inspiration,
ject of Ferry’s admiration. “I blonde driver/number plate not shown.
never met her… she was
probably into a different said, ‘Fuck, wow. It sums it all up in
kind of music,” he softly one track, everything that was best
chuckles. “Probably never about Roxy.’”
heard it. She probably In the midst of all this pop art fun
wouldn’t even know the and noise, Bryan Ferry showcased
number of her own car.” not the louche croon to be found
Nonetheless, Re-Make/Re-Model introduced what was to be- elsewhere on the record, but its angsty flipside: an R&B singer in the
come a recurring lyrical theme for Bryan Ferry – pining for the throes of an anxiety attack.
unattainable female – as well as providing a stunning curtain raiser “It’s funny,” he says now. “It’s kind of searching for a voice re-
for everything that Roxy Music were about. With its driving, Velvet ally. The music I listened to, like early blues, is very passionate and
Underground-inspired groove, the track was a retro-futuristic col- intense. And I thought, Well, that’s how music has to be mainly.
lage of sound, not least in its miniature solos where each member of “I think the playfulness of collaging different musical styles is
Bryan Ferry Archive (6), Rex, Retna/Avalon

the band was given a few seconds to identify their particular influ- one of the most interesting parts about it,” he continues. “And it’s
ences: drummer Paul Thompson’s thunderous Bonham-like tri- the same with the voice. Y’know, it’s like, What am I? Where are we
plets, bassist Graham Simpson’s nod to Day Tripper, Brian Eno’s going to? Who are we?”
future music bleeps and sax-player Andy Mackay’s blast of Wag-
ner’s Ride Of The Valkyries. Guitarist Phil Manzanera aped the ERE AND NOW, THE 72-YEAR-OLD BRYAN FERRY
bendy riff from Duane Eddy’s version of the Peter Gunn theme, sits in the white cube basement of his HQ and studio in
before Ferry offered a demented trill of freeform jazz piano. Olympia, under an enormous framed print of his for-
“Everyone was tasked with having their own little moniker,” re- mer paramour Jerry Hall, from the cover of Roxy Music’s 1975
members Manzanera. “But just as a concept. So many people have album, Siren. One-on-one, Ferry remains a slightly uneasy mix of

Roxy at the Special Summer
Garden Party, Crystal
Palace Bowl, July 29, 1972
(from left) Manzanera,
Mackay, Thompson, new
bassist Rik Kenton, Ferry.

quiet self-assurance and – with eye contact coming only in short Back then, like most young bands, Roxy Music would have taken
snatches – a still-lingering shyness. “Uh…” he gently laughs at this any deal that was offered. Ferry, born and raised in Washington,
latter trait, “nothing’s changed, no…” County Durham, had left Newcastle University (where he’d studied
On the table before him lies a proto copy of the four-disc super- fine art under pop art notable Richard Hamilton) for London in
deluxe reissue of the Roxy Music album, replete with 136-page 1968. A veteran of bands including The City Blues, the Banshees
book, demos, outtakes, radio sessions and live footage, including and The Gas Board, he’d started writing the Roxy songs in 1970 in
their rarely-seen November 1972 show at the Bataclan in Paris. his Kensington flat – unusually, on a harmonium. “I played kinda
Ferry has been fastidiously involved in every aspect of its slowly and very tentatively,” he says now. “It kind of suited them.”
creation, checking paper stock and dispatching his assistant, Millie Gradually, month-by-month throughout 1971, the first Roxy
Thompson, to the Prague factory where it was being made, to Music line-up fell into place. Ferry’s friend from Newcastle
ensure that it is every inch a product befitting the Roxy name. University, Graham Simpson, added bass to his songs, before
“Well, it’s good to keep an eye on it, ’cos it’s an important part another uni buddy, Tim Head, recommended Andy Mackay, saying
of my career,” he says. “It’s an important album for me.” he had a synthesizer. “It just so happened Andy played oboe – which
The members of Roxy Music haven’t shared a stage since their is one of my favourite instruments,” says Ferry, “and was dabbling
reunion tour (sans Brian Eno) came to a close in Auckland in March in saxophone. And then of course Eno came along later with the
2011, and there’s no prospect of their return. But, ahead of this tape recorder.”
reissue, most of them agree to talk exclusively to MOJO. We speak Mackay had first encountered Brian Eno at Winchester College
to Paul Thompson on the phone from his home in Northumberland Of Art, where the latter was gaining renown for his experimental
and meet Phil Manzanera in his west London studio – surrounded music performances. Fatefully, he bumped into him again on a Bak-
by Roxy relics such as the 24-track tape machine used to record erloo Line train at Elephant & Castle, whereupon Mackay invited
parts of 1982’s Avalon and even the original VCS3 synthesizer him to tape the nascent band.
owned by Andy Mackay and put to such pioneering use by Eno on These murky, echoey demos of four songs, including Ladytron
the first two albums. and 2 H.B., recorded in Ferry and Mackay’s now-shared house in
Eno, however, declines to be interviewed, in keeping with his Battersea (with a line-up completed by guitarist Roger Bunn and
recent policy of discussing only current projects. Mackay, mean- imaginative, jazzy drummer Dexter Lloyd) are released for the first
while, despite several approaches, is determinedly on promotional time on the reissue of Roxy Music. They reveal a band taking the
strike, due to an on-going dispute with the reissue’s label, Univer- psychedelic prog of the times and giving it sci-fi uplift.
sal, over royalty rates. “They certainly had a feeling,” Ferry says of the tapes, “and
The topic also came up in a recent meeting between Manzanera they had a direction. I mean, they had several directions really. But
and Eno. “I just happened to drop in the fact, Oh, d’you they were edging towards what the album became. They didn’t
know we’re on the same royalty rate we were in 1972?” says the change a great deal.”
guitarist. “And Brian was shocked (laughs). I said, I’ll just leave you The membership of Roxy Music did change, however, with the
with that. Bye!” arrivals of former The Nice guitarist David O’List and Newcastle- ­

The bored meeting: Roxy Music,
waiting for the phone to ring,
1972; (below) the breakout 45;
(bottom) former King Crimson
sound manipulator Pete Sinfield,
producer of Roxy’s first LP.

born drummer Paul Thompson, the latter “People would come up and talk to him and he’d
answering a tantalising Melody Maker ad: “Wonder say, ‘Hang on a second,’ and he’d start doing the
drummer required for Avant-Rock team”. “I called harmonies on Would You Believe?”
the number,” Thompson recalls. “Bryan didn’t
have a Geordie accent, but he recognised mine and N THE EARLY MONTHS OF THIS
we seemed to get on pretty well straight away.” Roxy incarnation, however, certain
“Paul comes to this audition,” remembers Ferry. fissures began to appear. There was an
“Fresh from the building site, covered with brick air of apartness, for instance, about David O’List.
dust. Immediately, he started playing and I knew Phil Manzanera, who’d initially auditioned as
this was it.” guitarist for the band before O’List was given the gig, had Christie, Photoshot/Avalon, Getty Images (2)

Thompson’s kicking and stomping style was the bedrock remained a friend and fan. But he recalls witnessing one
on which Roxy Music could build a more robust rock sound, telling scene when the group played at the Christmas party
along with Eno’s notion – likely inspired by Pete Sinfield’s for the Friends Of The Tate in 1971.
similar experiments within King Crimson – to have all “The van pulled up, driven by Bryan,” he remem-
of the band’s instruments fed through Mackay’s VCS3 bers. “Andy and Graham in the front seat and they’d
and tape echo for sonic treatments that lent them an slotted Eno in the back with all the equipment ’cos he
otherworldly quality. “Eno was great because he was so was quite little (laughs). They were humping all the
inventive,” Ferry marvels. “It was a perfect combina- speaker cabinets in and Dave was just standing against
tion, really, of talents.” a wall with his arms crossed. I thought, Oh fuck, he’s
Initially, though, Eno wasn’t on-stage with the not even helping. Of course, he’d been in a professional
band. At early shows, he performed his sonic alchemy band. He wasn’t gonna be carting gear around. I sort of
out among the crowd at the sound desk. “The funniest felt sorry for them, so I helped out.”
thing was that although he was mixing the sound he Graham Simpson, meanwhile, was often lost in a fog
would still be doing backing vocals,” Thompson laughs. of marijuana smoke, a matter which first became trou-

bling in January 1972 at the recording of the band’s first John Peel
radio session and would lead painfully to his sacking immediately
following the album sessions. “Graham just seemed in a total world
of his own,” says Thompson. “He sat cross-legged on the floor,
able noises, which of course I liked.”
virtually comatose.” Initially an electronic auxiliary
The arrival of David Enthoven and John Gaydon, the pair of Old stationed at the mixing desk for Roxy
Harrovians who comprised E.G. Management, brought much- gigs, Eno was soon promoted to the
needed momentum. Hedging his bets the previous year, Ferry had stage and, by the recording of their
debut album, was fully integrated into
auditioned for the vacant singer position in one of their bands, King the group, bending and filtering the
IN EARLY 1972, Brian Eno still had one
Crimson. The group were in fact looking for a singer/bassist to re- foot in London’s avant-garde band’s instruments with an armoury
place Greg Lake (and gave Boz Burrell the job), but advised Ferry composition scene and had recently that included Revox reel-to-reel tape
to visit E.G. stopped making a meagre living machines, an Ampex cassette
trading second-hand PA equipment recorder and a customised delay unit,
“John Gaydon loved the music immediately,” says Ferry, while alongside the VCS3. Engineer Andy
rescued from the many cinemas then
remembering being impressed by both of the managers’ hippy chic being converted into bingo halls. Hendriksen and producer Pete
demeanours. “They were kind of straight out of Easy Rider. Leather Before his second encounter with Sinfield would sometimes struggle to
jackets, cowboy boots, and lots of motorbikes. They were an inter- Andy Mackay, which led to his taping wrangle Eno’s wilder flights onto
the embryonic Roxy, the self-styled tape, even though the latter had
esting bunch, and they seemed to have loads of girlfriends.” ‘non-musician’ had dallied with been live instrument processor for
Initially, E.G. wanted to sign Ferry as a solo artist. “That cropped Cornelius Cardew’s experimental King Crimson, using his own VCS3.
up, yes,” he says. “I thought that was out of the question because it Scratch Orchestra and played in Eno’s alien presence is palpable
Gavin Bryars’ studiedly amateur throughout the modernist collage
was such a collaborative thing. It felt like a band.” that is Roxy Music. Instructed by Ferry
Portsmouth Sinfonia; his main tool of
To showcase the group, Ferry offered to audition Roxy Music sonic expression had been the tape to provide a backing that sounded
for E.G. in the Granada cinema in Wandsworth. It was to prove a recorder. That changed after he “like the lunar landings” for Ladytron,
pivotal moment, not least because Phil Manzanera had been heard Mackay’s recently acquired he reworked a piece of tape-and-
EMS VCS3 synthesizer. synth atmosphere, previously used to
brought in to mix the sound that day, and a ruckus involving cover on-stage tuning sessions. Its
Peter Zinovieff’s Electronic Music
Thompson and O’List sealed the latter’s fate. Studios had invented the ‘Voltage eerie shimmer provided Mackay’s
“It wasn’t a punch-up,” Thompson insists with a laugh. “Dave Control Studio’ synth in 1969. It haunting, Prokofiev-like oboe melody
was quite fond of getting out of it, and subsequently not being very comprised oscillators, amplifiers, with a perfect, cosmic frame, while on
filters, a noise generator, voltage- The Bob (Medley) equally disorienting
punctual the following day. When he arrived I was just really pissed drones and electronic scree heighten
controlled reverb unit, joystick
off with him. I might’ve grabbed him by the collar. All of us were in controller and a simple patch-board the unsettling middle section’s
a chance of a lifetime situation.” into which coloured pins were battlefield clamour. Elsewhere, Eno
E.G. signed Roxy, but O’List was out. A second try-out was inserted to connect permutations of fed instruments through the VCS3,
its various components. More transforming Phil Manzanera’s guitar
quickly organised for Manzanera, held in a large house in Notting solo on Chance Meeting into a thing
compact than contemporary Moog,
Hill owned by the band’s friend and sometime benefactor, prop- ARP or Buchla synths, the VCS3 came of metallic, Theremin-like oddness
erty developer Charlie Ware. with a detachable monophonic and rendering Mackay’s saxophone
keyboard which tended to slide out woozily synthetic on If There Is
“Two days previous to that,” Thompson remembers, “me and Something. Meanwhile, the mission
of tune. None of that mattered to Eno,
Graham Simpson went round and cleared a room out. It had had who, abandoning keys entirely, used statement opener Re-Make/
squatters in it and there was loads of rubbish and hypodermic nee- the synth purely as a sound Re-Model, featuring his splenetic,
dles lying around. It was pretty horrendous.” generating and processing tool, as he atonal synth ‘solo’, was effectively a
told the Daily Telegraph in 2011. job description for Eno’s role.
Manzanera had already learned O’List’s guitar parts from a tape Eno would develop his processing
“The VCS3 was quite a difficult
copy of Roxy’s Peel session. He dearly wanted the job. “I had the instrument to use,” he explained, aesthetic on the ensuing For Your
perspective of seeing them fresh,” he says. “To a certain ex- “though at the time it was a Pleasure LP, most tellingly on a track
tent almost like the public saw them. I knew it was gonna fantastic thing to have for left unfinished from the debut album
someone like me, who sessions: the multi-textured The
be successful.” Bogus Man. Soon after, his facility for
couldn’t actually play
Ferry recalls these cold, damp days, intensively any conventional immersive soundscaping would
rehearsing in Notting Hill, with a certain romanti- instruments… You evolve into his ambient music marque,
cism. “I remember burning furniture to keep could take the output and his instrument processing into
of a filter and feed it stellar album productions, often
warm,” he says, “and there was a marvellous café betted by a briefcase-housed
back into itse f and
round the corner where we used to go to get warm. de of the VCS3.
The deprivation seemed to be part of the challenge. ll, Roxy’s debut endures as
ment to Eno’s potency as a
It was like going on an expedition.” cative interventionist. As he
In March, Roxy’s great adventure took them to in a 2001 interview with Djuna
Command Studios, 201 Piccadilly, a former BBC radio s: “I listened to that record
studio-turned-recording facility, where over four weeks tly and I thought, God, I can
nly see why people thought
they would make their first album, financed by E.G. to the as weird! But to me, it didn’t
tune of £5,000. Pete Sinfield was brought in as producer, at all weird. In fact, I was
and the band urgently nailed down their live set. “You had t ed that it sounded too normal!”
take a deep breath,” remembers Manzanera, “and just go Sheppard is the author of On
and say, Right, OK, we’re gonna do this.” Faraway Beach: The Life And
The scribbled covers of the 16-track master tape boxe Of Brian Eno.
featured in the artwork of the Roxy Music reissue show tha
there was much nifty editing work involved in the creation
of some of the songs: the multi-movement Sea Breeze
and The Bob (Medley) were cut-and-pasted from numerou
takes. Meanwhile, the studio chatter on the outtakes reve
underlying stress.
“There was just a couple of un-nice notes in those breaks
the sax comes in,” says Sinfield.
“I couldn’t hear what I was fucking playing,” protests Ma
The result, however, was music that seemed to look to t
and the future simultaneously. “I could do chaotic really wel
Manzanera. “Mad feedback and stuff like that. Eno comes fr
the Planet Zog, so his approach was totally his. He obviously had
his influences, whether it was musique concrète, systems music, Ra-
diophonic Workshop…”
Meanwhile, in the likes of Ladytron, 2 H.B. and Chance Meet-
ing, Ferry updated the croon for the space age. “Sentimental music,
y’know,” he says. “The Ink Spots. Nat ‘King’ Cole. And Fred Astaire
was a bit of a crooner, remember. I loved his voice.”
In the closing Bitters End, Ferry even affected a lightly haughty,
tongue-in-cheek Noël Coward delivery, with the song’s last line
seeming to sum up the headspinning mélange of styles: “Should
make the cognoscenti think.” A bit of a throwdown?
“Well, if you like, yeah,” says Ferry carefully, as if slightly embar-
rassed by this audacious younger self. “The band were all game to
reprises spooky-threatening Roxy of enjoy these oddball tracks as well. They embraced any of the songs
yore. Ferry, back on top of the mix, that I chucked at them.”
sounds possessed on Whirlwind.
Both Ends Burning defines danceable HE ODDBALL STANCE DIDN’T END WITH THE
rock. Just one question: how much
longer could Ferry write about the music. Visually, too, Roxy Music were ludicrous fun in a time
emptiness at the end of the party? when rock music had become entrenched in denim and
##### Answer: a lot longer. beardy earnestness. Behind the band was a troupe of female fashion
(Island, 1973) designers (Carol McNicoll, Wendy Dagworthy, Dinah Adams) who
“A danceable solution to teenage contributed increasingly outré costumes.
revolution” could be Roxy’s
manifesto, as they wipe the late ’60s
## “When we started, we would’ve been very happy to have played
(E.G., 1979) in the dark,” Ferry stresses. “So it wasn’t about swagger in the con-
off the slate. Eno’s still here – his VCS3
solo on Editions Of You is well chewy Disco or new wave? ventional sense of showing off. But I think we realised that we had
– but the clarity and poise brought by Roxy jumped both
ways after a long to try to be interesting in the performance of the music if we want-
producer Chris Thomas is almost
more marked. They would never hiatus during which ed to get anywhere at all. So, yeah, we kind of went for it.”
again be as dark and weird as they are Ferry polished his “There was no sitting down and talking about, ‘What are we
on Can-like The Bogus Man or nail personal brand. gonna wear?’” says Manzanera. “It was always getting stuff done and
post-modern ennui as thoroughly as The result was a bit of a mess. Trash
In Every Dream Home A Heartache. may be Roxy’s worst song. Even then getting to the gig and saying, ‘You put your outfit on.’ ‘No, you
the original album versions of Angel put yours on.’ ‘OK, Eno, put yours on. Oh my God… what the
Eyes and Dance Away are inferior to fuck… what’s that?’”
the (admittedly exquisite) dance-
The arrival of Antony Price as band stylist cemented Roxy
#### floor revamps that became UK
smashes (Number 2 and Number 4) Music’s outlandish look – a riot of animal prints, quiffs and bug
(Island, 1973) in short order. One thing was clear, shades. And with the futuristic Hollywood revival look of model
Roxy’s game attempt though: future New Romantics were
to pretend that Eno paying attention.
Kari-Ann Muller, Price also set a what’s-wrong-with-being-sexy
hadn’t really left. style for Roxy’s sleeve art.
It’s there in the traffic- It was the look as much as the sound of early Roxy Music that
noise discords of the
caught the attention of the rock audience. But not, at least initially,
album-opening anthem Street Life,
### in altogether positive ways. “I remember we supported Rory Gal-
(E.G., 1980)
while epic slowburners A Song For
The first thoroughly
lagher at the Liverpool Stadium,” says Manzanera of a June 14 show
Europe and Sunset ape the ‘Arty Side two days before the release of their debut. “Waterbombs flying onto
Two’ balance of the first two albums. smooth-era Roxy
Special mention is due Manzanera’s album is often the stage (laughs). They thought we were a bunch of gay nancy boys.
eccentric funk riff on Amazona, disparaged. What the fuck is going on? Who are these people? Then the music
which sounded equally good on Certainly the covers
(In The Midnight would be quite heavy at times. So it was like, This is confusing.”
the 1993 single version of Ice-T’s
That’s How I’m Livin’. Hour and Eight Miles High) are, In fact, this combination of outrageous style with often intense mu-
respectively, lazy and inc h xy Music started attracting a following in the
However, connoisseurs o ss-up working-class towns of Liverpool, New-
pop hail the title track, Oh
lasgow. “Especially Glasgow,” notes Manzan-
### You and Same Old Scene
Ur-texts (Duran Duran im urther north we went, the more intense the
(Island, 1974) the last-named track who
Roxy’s fourth album
ere. You had to somehow get back to the hotel
Girls On Film), while No St
begins with the Delight calls back to form
0 people running down the street.”
exciting churn of The peculiarities. rowing stardom – attested by the LP’s Num-
Thrill Of It All, but 0 chart position – was accelerated by the
after that there’s too
much pastiche and
ase of Virginia Plain in August 1972. A
water-treading. Out Of The Blue is #### ndalone single Ferry had written since the
just In Every Dream Home… speeded (E.G., 1982) m sessions, it burst out of the radio with its
up; If It Takes All Night is rock’n’roll mering beat and picture puzzle lyric refer-
revivalism with 1972’s subversion
and surrealism leeched out; you can
define th ng everyone from the band’s lawyer Robert
dawning ee to Warhol film star Baby Jane Holzer. A
almost hear Bowie sniggering at
age of
the lumpy Brecht-Weill stomp of ing 45, it gave the group a Number 4 hit.
Bitter-Sweet. A Really Good Time
is brilliant, though.
adult po As soon as we played that take, it was obvious
But while Avalon’s songs gonna be a hit,” says Thompson. “It’s just
to sink into its creamy bat
sound, tugged along by
ical feeling when you hear a track and you
people are gonna love it.”
math-like grooves (drum
Andy Newmark in excelsis Not loved so much by the band was their ap-
(Island, 1975) tone of melancholia and arance on Top Of The Pops which,
Getty Images (4)

Chris Thomas adds depth, with The Spa

resumes complete Between pointing forwar spite its subsequent place in pop
charge on this return the Talk Talk of The Colour Manifesto-era
legend, was a grin-and-bear-it moment
to form. Love Is The Spring. After this, Roxy Mu Ferry, Philadelphia, for Roxy Music.
Drug’s opiated funk were done; as opener Mo March 30, 1979.
dukes it out with Than This has it, “It was fu
Young Americans. Sentimental Fool for a while…”
Changing basses: in Manchester, November
1972, with new bassist John Porter (centre,
behind Ferry and Mackay); (right) listening
to a playback, ’72, with Mackay (far left),
Thompson (on sofa at back), Eno, Ferry
and producer Chris Thomas (front right);
(below) advert for the second Roxy album.

“I mean, we didn’t feel at home there, that’s for sure,” Ferry

admits. “You’re kind of placed in a setting with lots of pop
bands. You don’t really feel part of the same aesthetic, as it were
That’s tough. But we smiled through it and all these bright lights.”


Roxy Music took a sonic leap. They’d lost Simpson
(bass duties would pass from Rik Ken
ton to John Porter and, later, John Gustafson)
and gained producer Chris Thomas. But Eno’s
hatred of touring, plus his disagreements with
Ferry, led him to quit. Ferry has admitted he felt songwriting within Roxy. “There were issues com-
the band was “my baby”. Was everyone else hap- ing up,” Manzanera admits. “From Stranded
py with the arrangement or was there sometimes [1973] onwards, me and Andy started co-writing
dissent in the ranks? stuff. Y’know, it wasn’t a comfortable change. But
“I think it probably at times pissed people change often can be uncomfortable.”
off,” says Manzanera. “I always had a lot of faith “Later on with Roxy we did a couple of co-
in Bryan. He was always good at making the right writes,” says Ferry. “Especially with Andy. I had
decisions and his vision to me was always cor- some successful collaborations, y’know, like Love
rect. It was always the way to go.” Is The Drug and A Song For Europe. Some of the
“I remember Eno saying, ‘Oh maybe the best things came out of that in the end.”
second album cover should be tartan,’” laughs As for the younger, more eccentric self Ferry
Thompson. “I thought, Why not? Make it some- sees in footage circa the Roxy Music album, the
thing different. But obviously Bryan had this singer says he can barely watch him. “It’s quite
concept, y’know, like the thing in pop art of a ‘se ow, obvi strange looking at yourself 40 years younger,” he muses. “Your mind
ously, that makes a lot of sense.” is full of lots of different thoughts. It covers all the emotions really.
Ferry has subsequently lamented the fact that Eno didn’t com- I’d probably turn it off actually (laughs).”
bine a solo career with membership of Roxy. But he has absolutely What Ferry values more than ever, though, is the strange chem-
no time for the theory that Roxy Music lost the ‘art’ from their art istry at work in the early days of the band.
rock upon Eno’s departure. “Well that wasn’t the case really, no,” “There are not many Brian Enos or Andy Mackays knocking
he says. “I’m not sure that’s what anyone thought (laughs).” about,” he concludes. “Or Phils or Pauls and Grahams. We were
What’s certainly true is that post-Eno, Ferry opened up the lucky to have worked together. It was a fortuitous moment.” M

Free the music:
Neil Young on the
campaign trail at
Key Arena, Seattle,
November 10, 2012.
page from the lost days of hot metal:
black lettering on slightly weathered
paper, gothic typeface. Beneath the
masthead is the date, and on either
side a pithy epigram, denoting the
newspaper’s philosophy: “Quality
whether you want it or not”;
“Ever ything is cheaper than it
looks.” Even the name of the news-
paper consciously evokes a bygone
age: the NYA Times-Contrarian
Old ways in the com Two days earlier, Neil
however dated the lo Young had been in uncom-
promising mood, even by
28 edition of the Tim amously dogmatic standards, railing against the tech gi-
is built from state of t r crimes against recorded sound, long a pet obsession.
e abortive attempt to launch Pono, a dedicated music
digital art. And today and download service, his latest vehicle for restoring
is on the phone to M egrity of music to the standard of the analogue era is
issuing what sounds al eil Young Archive: a website which offers the entirety
ng’s recorded output to stream in hi-res audio, plus
like an apology… k, lyrics, films and sundry esoterica, presented as a
r timeline and a funky old filing cabinet, with labels
“I was on such a rant when we written in Shakey’s inimitable scrawl. It’s an audio-
talking the other day,” Neil Young s leviathan, and it’s growing. The many unreleased
“that I just wanted you to have ms in his canon will be made available in due course.
opportunity to read something I wro na find out when? Need the inside skinny?
that is much more succinct and cover k up the Times-Contrarian.
it in better detail. I’m putting an articl eil, what’s up with that name?
Alamy, Jan Persson/Getty

called Free The Music up on the Tim y’s it called the Times-Contrarian?
Contrarian. So if you get a chance, read It is what it is.”
and you’ll get probably a better-stated c il Young sighs.
All right? I didn’t use the word ‘shit ust feel like I’m maybe out of step with
much. Ha! Ha!” going on.”

The Loner: Young with Graham Nash
(left) and David Crosby in Copenhagen
on CSNY’s first European tour, January
11, 1970; (opposite, top) read all about it
at a computer near you – the Neil Young
Archives’ Times-Contrarian; (below)
“Liar-in-Chief”, cheaper than he looks.

UGUST 27, 2006, NEW YORK CITY. DONALD TRUMP name Trump, Young asserted the song had been used without his
gets up from his seat in the Theatre at Madison Square Gar- permission. Trump’s team insisted they obtained a licence from US
den and begins singing along to the band. Crosby, Stills music rights agency ASCAP. In his online statement, Young also
Nash & Young have just begun the encore segment of the twenty- clarified that a subsequently circulated photograph of himself shak-
eighth show on their Freedom Of Speech tour. The song that’s got ing hands with “this candidate” dated from a previous meeting
Trump to flip his wig is a new one, taken from Neil Young’s latest when Young was fundraising for Pono. “I do not trust self-serving
album, Living With War. Its title? misinformation coming from corporations and their media trolls,”
Let’s Impeach The President. Young said. “I do not trust politicians who are taking millions from
“He was right in the centre of Row 8, sitting next to Salman those corporations either. I trust people. So I make music for
Rushdie, for God’s sake!” says Graham Nash today, his voice people not for candidates. Keep on Rockin’ In The Free World.”
cracking with disbelief. “You can’t make this shit up!” That Rockin’ In The Free World could be deployed so cavalierly
Almost 10 years later, in the same city, Neil Young would find his illustrates the power of ambiguity in a protest song. It was written
work endorsed by Trump in no less unlikely circumstances. The in February 1989, as Young rumbled through the Pacific Northwest
billionaire property magnate and host of TV show The Apprentice on a short tour with his latest band, The Restless, essentially the
launched his campaign to become US President on June 16, 2015, core of his previous band The Bluenotes: drummer Chad Crom-
in the basement conference room at Trump Tower. Pounding from well, bassist Rick Rosas, plus Frank ‘Poncho’ Sampedro, the guitar-
the loudspeakers as he took the stage was Neil Young’s 1989 song ist whose arrival in Young’s life in 1974 had reignited Crazy Horse,
Rockin’ In The Free World. A report later that day on the website the group with which Young enjoys a mystical bond to this day.
of US entertainment magazine Variety quoted Young’s manager Beyond the tourbus, turmoil ruled: Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini
Elliot Roberts claiming Trump’s use of the song was unauthorised. had just called on “all the intrepid Muslims in the world” to kill
“Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders Rushdie and his publishers. Inside, headed for Portland, Young and
for president of the United States of America,” Roberts said. Poncho were reading a newspaper and musing on global events.
The following day, in a Facebook post that didn’t specifically “There was supposed to have been a cultural exchange ­

World was debuted at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre;
Cromwell and Rosas heard it for the first time as they
played, with Poncho calling out the chord changes. To
date, Neil Young has played it 594 times since, solo
and with bands. Assuming he didn’t drag Salman
Rushdie away early to see his gold lift, Donald Trump
would have heard it close the CSNY show back in Au-
gust 2006. Presumably he enjoyed the lyric’s critique
of US consumerism and environmental policies (“We
got styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer…”).
Perhaps he appreciated the song’s swipes at the
disconnect between newly elected President
George HW Bush’s platitudinous rhetoric and
the true impact of his policies (“We got a
thousand points of light/For the homeless man/
We got a kinder, gentler machine gun hand”),
or its anticipation of Bush Jr’s calamitous War
On Terror (“Don’t feel like Satan/But I am to
them”). Maybe he even dug its nod to the
Reverend Jesse Jackson’s speech to the 1988
Democratic National Convention: “Got a man
of the people/Says keep hope alive.”
“It is a subversive song,” says Graham Nash. “An
ncredible song. So vibrant, so pointed, so angry and so
oday. Like Springsteen’s Born In The USA – it’s not a
ro-American song at all. But songs can mean different
ings to different people.”
Neil Young, more than anyone, could attest to that. In the
same year, 1970, that CSNY’s Ohio indicted the US
President by name for the Kent State University
murders, Southern Man (“Now your crosses are
burning fast”) and 1972’s Alabama (“You’ve got the
rest of the union/To help you along/What’s going
wrong?”) provoked a backlash. Calling out Nixon for
taking down some anti-Vietnam War protestors on a
Bad moon rising: (clockwise from above) Young college campus was one thing; flagging up the racist
in London, 1989; Rockin’ In The Free World 45 and
Freedom album; CSNY’s Ohio, released on June 1, systems of the former Confederacy was too much.
four weeks after the Ohio National Guard killed four Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama made it
students at Kent State University; Young’s Southern
Man and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama. personal (“Well I heard ole Neil put her down”) and
¢ clearly rattled Young. By 1975, he was laughing off the
between Russia and the United States,” controversy, saying in a radio inter view that he
Sampedro says. “Russia was getting Neil Young preferred Sweet Home Alabama to Southern Man.
& Crazy Horse and we were getting the Russian With Rockin’ In The Free World, Young dusted off
ballet! All of a sudden, whoever was promoting his soapbox once again. His journey had taken such
the deal, a guy in Russia, took the money and e twists in the interim that the fact of him
split. We were all bummed, and I looked at Neil ng up there at all was as notable as what he was
and said, Man, I guess we’re just gonna have to keep on ying. In the early ’90s, he reflected to his
rockin’ in the free world. He said, ‘Wow, Poncho, that’s iographer Jimmy McDonough: “There’s
a good line. I’m gonna use that, if you don’t mind.’ nothing I did before Ohio that would be in the
“So we’d checked into the hotel in Portland. And we ame category – and very little since.” Yet from
needed a song. We needed a rocker. We’d written some within the personal domain, his dissident,
songs and they were good but we didn’t have a real ebellious, often cryptic but always contrarian
rocker. I said, Look man, tonight, get in your room, think erspective intensified. The clues were out there,
about all this stuff that’s going down – the Ayatollah, all th ne clearer than Walk On, from 1974’s On The
stuff in Afghanistan, all these wars breaking : “Some get stoned/Some get strange/Sooner
out, all the problems in America… ‘Keep on t all gets real – walk on.”
rockin’ in the free world’, you got that: put On June 11, 2016, with Donald Trump now the
something together man, let’s have a song! presumptive Republican nominee for the White House,
Tom Sheehan, Jay Blakesberg

And the next morning, we got on the bus to Neil Young took to Facebook again. Under the headline
leave and he says, ‘OK, I did it!’” “YOUNG CONTINUES TO DENY TRUMP PERMIS-
Between Portland and Seattle, Young ION TO USE HIS MUSIC”, he railed against the can-
taught Sampedro the new song, and they idate, his appropriation of Young’s music and that in-
worked out a harmony part. That night, on reasingly embarrassing Pono photo-op. For avoidance
February 21, 1989, Rockin’ In The Free Continues on page 82

cameras, and think that that applies to every-
thing. ’Cos it doesn’t. They are using the audio
that you would use for a podcast, or the audio
that you would use for a phone call, and applying
that to the recorded arts. The audio part of
recorded sound. And the decades and decades
of recorded sound that is now trashed and held
We met in 2000 and you were talking about quo of what’s happened in music. When people in people’s devices is the lowest common
the Archives project even back then. This has listen to Spotify, they only hear less than five per denominator. Everything about it reeks of easy
been a long time coming… cent, about three-and-something per cent of money for tech, and killing an art form.
Well, it had taken a long time even at that time. It what the original music was. The rest of it is filled
with garbage. It’s like having only the surface of So is the archive partly motivated by your
started in 1990. desire to assert control over your art and take
the sound. Music is my life and I can’t stand by
Was there any point in the process where you and listen to the crap that people are paying for it away from these streaming platforms?
felt like giving up on it? today and be part of that. That’s why I already Well, they still have it. And I’m inviting people to
No. No, I always wanted to do it. The only thing dropped out of streaming once and I’ll probably compare what you can hear on my site, and what
that held it up was technology. do it again. you can hear on theirs. I’ve done this before – I
did it with Pono, and I encountered a lot of
In what way did technology hold you up? So you’re a contrarian when it comes to the resistance. From people, quite rightly, who’ve
Technology not being good enough to play the mainstream drift of how music is being spent a whole bunch of money buying all kinds
music. Also, the gathering of the information consumed – fair? of MP3 files and the like, whatever you call them
that’s in the archive has been an ongoing thing, I guess you could say that. I think I’m a defender – when someone comes along and says you have
and it’s still happening. Also, the architecture of of the quality, rather than a contrarian. I’m for it a piece of shit, that’s a very negative message.
the archive itself, the physical architecture of being like it is, not like it’s been made. Because if Unfortunately the truth is not always positive.
how it works and everything like that, it takes a you can’t hear the sound, and feel it… if you can
long time to build and to refine. It’s been recognise it seems to be enough today. ‘Oh, I Obviously there are people who have never
through several iterations, with several know that’s a song. I recognise that song’. That heard music any way other than on a phone or
different approaches to the techno ms to be enough for the tech through a computer. This might be a tough
ogy, especially the streaming and mpanies. But everybody seems to sell to them…
the sound technology that we wer so engrossed in technology these All I can say is, if you can hear it… First of all, you
trying to get together from the ver s that they go with the tech have to like my music. If you don’t like my music
beginning. mpanies. And they should not there’s no sense in going to NYA, there’s no sense
take the fact that the tech in reading [Young’s online newspaper] the
What’s the motivation? mpanies have spent a lot of money Contrarian [on the NYA site], there’s no sense in
Well, I’m not accepting the status lot of research on making great doing anything, you should just continue on ­

Flower power: Neil with

his electric hybrid LincVolt
1959 convertible, 2015;
(inset) RIP Pono, Young’s
digital music player, gone
but not forgotten.
They come from a lifetime of music with their
father, Willie, and that’s who they are. That’s who
I’m playing with. They sound amazing to me and
I love playing with them.
You hadn’t played Hippie Dream for almost
20 years and suddenly you were able to
play it.
The version we did on [2016 live album] Earth is
incredible. It may be better than the first one.
The original is pretty out-there too.
(Laughs) Yeah, I’d say it is. I like that one.
When building the archive, did anything
surprise you?
On the beach: Young m always surprised by what we find. We
with Crazy Horse (from
left) Frank ‘Poncho’ ecorded everything and we filmed almost
Sampedro, Billy Talbot, verything, so there’s really a lot of stuff. And
Ralph Molina, 1975. e’re still finding it. I mean, we have an
bum that we did in 1976 called Odeon-
¢ udokan that also has film. So it’s another
with your life as it is. But if you’re azy Horse live album that has film that
interested in hearing what the music oes with it. Part of it’s solo, part of it’s with
is capable of sounding like, which I e band. It’s like the other ones in that
am and which I believe in, since it’s spect but it’s before Rust Never Sleeps. It’s
my life’s work, I want it to be e first one of these. It’s just been a great
represented truthfully. The record perience because I’m taking care of the
companies settled for a piece of shit Eastern hero: Neil
usic. I’m making it sound as good as it can;
and sold their art down the river, not with happi coat on ting people hear it and it’s costing them
thinking that people would just grab Crazy Horse’s tour ry little, if not nothing to hear it.
onto this piece of shit and pay a small of Japan, March 1976.
amount for it and think it was great es the NYA have an office?
because it came in a phone. They , at the Times-Contrarian there’s an
made a huge mistake. And they imaginary office. We have meetings about
devalued an entire art form. I don’t do that. I have company because nobody wants to buy their how much people will pay. We’ve only been able
my own technology, and if you have enough music! If they had a record company maybe to make arrangements to do it for nothing for six
bandwidth where you’re listening it’s possible for more people would know they have music! months. We’re into the second month. I can’t not
you to get all the hi-res that’s available on a have the record companies make any money.
Blu-ray or anything else. What’s in the Shakey Pictures archive that we They have to be paid for something. Especially if I
can look forward to coming onto the NYA? take away all the streaming everywhere else. The
Ultimately, is analogue – ie. vinyl – still best? Everything that Shakey Pictures ever did, and more I talk to you, the more I get pissed off and I
Yes. there’s a lot of things that Shakey Pictures did that want to stop all the streaming services, which I
it hasn’t put out. It’s all going to be available and it’s already did once. I turned them all off and said,
The Times-Contrarian has two mottos: going to be premiered on a movie night that we’re Hey, you’re just not having my stuff. But if I turn it
“Quality whether you want it or not”… gonna have occasionally. I think the first movie off, I’m told, “You’re losing all of the people who
That was from my friend Larry Johnson at Shakey night we have will be the Alchemy [2012-13 Neil listen to your music.” But you’re not listening to
Pictures. Larry passed away about five years ago, Young & Crazy Horse tour] version of …Hurricane, my music, you’re listening to shit!
and since then we’ve been using “quality and there’ll be some other shorts that go with that.
whether you want it or not” as our own slogan. It’s a half-hour version, during one of the largest Surely you could quit Spotify et al, now you
Then when I came up with the newspaper, we weather events… well, definitely the biggest have the NYA?
used that as the slogan. The other slogan weather event I’ve ever played in. It is ridiculous- From one stand-point I could. If you want to
changes all the time – right now I think it’s, looking. And sounding. It’s an interesting thing to listen to my music, you go to NYA and listen to it.
“Everything is cheaper than it looks”… see. That’ll give people some idea of what Alchemy But people like to listen to music with other
is all about: a live performance by Crazy Horse things, not just my music all the time. So that’s
According to the Times-Contrarian, the NYA which goes farther into the depths of the songs. why I’m still at Spotify and I’m still at Apple. Even
will eventually be available at a “low-priced though either one of those companies could use
and attractive subscription” – can you say One thing apparent from seeing all your work [NYA hi-res streaming player] Xstream and serve
what a ballpark figure might be and when on the NYA Timeline is how relatively few people with the real music. But then, the record
you’re going to roll this out? records you’ve made with Crazy Horse…. companies would want to charge more money
Not yet, we haven’t figured it out, but we’re That’s right. That’s why they’re so special. for hi-res. Because they sold it so cheap that now
working on it. It’ll be very low. I mean, it’s just me they have to nickel and dime you for quality. I’m
– it’s not hundreds of artists. But on the other Is there a deeper emotional connection to the still thinking about that, because in a way I’m
hand, you get to hear the whole thing. You don’t music you have with Crazy Horse? cutting my own throat saying nobody can listen
have to hear five per cent of it. My thing is, you Oh yeah. Absolutely. But I don’t want to wear it to me unless they go to my website. I’ve put
should never charge for quality. Quality should out. If I’d made Crazy Horse my band on every myself on an island if I do that. But I’m not happy
be what you sell. And that’s where the record record I’d ever made, I’d have made a lot fewer with the status quo. I think the masses have been
companies all went wrong. records, and I don’t think that the breadth and cheated and it’s all on the record companies and
depth of what I created would be there. And I Apple and similar companies to Apple. It’s their
Do you still need a record label? don’t think the intensity of the records I made bed, and they’re going to have to lie in it.
Record labels are great. There’s nothing wrong with Crazy Horse would be the same. You can’t
with having a record label. keep doing the same thing over and over. You Where do you get your energy from?
have to give it room to breathe, then come back. I don’t know. It must be the world and the people
But the NYA points to a new ownership that I know. I get my energy from people.
situation – could you foresee a time when you You don’t seem to make records that are espe-
wouldn’t need one? cially political with Crazy Horse. Have you ever had an actual job?
It depends on what ‘wouldn’t need them’ means. Yeah. I think Crazy Horse probably gets to a more I had a job once, it lasted a couple of weeks. I
Jay Blakesberg, Henry Diltz, Getty

There’s a lot of human beings over there, there’s cosmic place. Sometimes. It has in the past. think I was licking stamps or something. I was
people who are working the music, who are Although, I think that Promise Of The Real is an putting price tags on books.
trying to get it into places. The whole tech thing unbelievably great band. It allows me to play
is a myth – ‘you don’t need this and you don’t whatever I want, whenever I want to play it. And You’ve been doing your own thing ever since.
need that ’cos now you can just go directly to the they’ve taken the time to learn all of the songs so Yeah, I love what I do. I love music. I don’t like to
consumer’. Well, you can, but I still want the I can call out any song I want and we can play it. see music mistreated. I don’t like to see people
record company because there’s human beings The Nelson brothers and the band are top notch; taken advantage of whether they know it or not.
there. Some people don’t need the record they’re great players but not just technically. So I’m not going to shut up about this.

Grunge never sleeps:
Sampedro, Young and
Talbot bring the Crazy
Horse Alchemy to Seattle,
November 10, 2012; (above)
2016 live album Earth,
home of an “incredible”
version of Hippie Dream.
Continued from page 78 banner calling for the president to be impeached.
of doubt, the post was topped by a clip of Young on-stage with his Young isn’t just voting with his feet. Four weeks before the end
latest band Promise Of The Real, prefacing a performance of of 2017, he released The Visitor, a second studio album with Promise
Rockin’ In The Free World with the declaration “Fuck you, Donald Of The Real, his current go-to rock band, featuring Willie Nelson’s
Trump!”, and ended with a full transcript of the song’s lyric. “Don’t sons Lukas and Micah. The anti-corporate Earth-consciousness of
just listen to the chorus,” Young wrote. “Listen to the verses.” their 2015 collaboration The Monsanto Years was closer to the blunt-
Presumably Donald Trump just listened to the chorus. Certain- instrument polemics of Living With War, reaching its utilitarian
ly, he kept on rockin’ to the White House. Fuck you, Neil Young. apogee on verse three of A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop: “When
the people of Vermont voted to label food with GMOs/So that they
NTERVIEWED BY MOJO’S DAVID FRICKE SHORTLY could find out what was in what the farmer grows/Monsanto and
after the November 2016 election, Neil Young seemed almost Starbucks through the Grocery Manufacturers Alliance/Sued the
optimistic about the incoming president, zooming in on state of Vermont to overturn the people’s will”.
Donald Trump’s pathological desire to be liked: “What if a lot of The Visitor, however, is stronger, more nuanced work. Although
people didn’t like what he was doing and told him?” he pondered, never named, Trump, AKA “the liar in chief ”, is lampooned and
describing Trump’s shock victory as “Water on the garden of chastised – “I’m livin’ with a game show host/Who has to brag and
activism”. After the psychic trauma of Trump’s first year, that now has to boast”; “The Boy King don’t believe in Science/It goes against
feels a bit like saying at least Mussolini got the trains to run on time. the Big Money Truth/His playpen is full of Deniers/They’ll flush our
Still, as the hundreds of thousands who marched across the US future down the tubes” – while Young helpfully points out that
and beyond on the anniversary of the president’s inauguration ‘Make America Great Again’ is tautological nonsense, for the simple
prove, Trump has certainly reason that America is “already great” – I should know, says Neil on
mobilised an opposition. the album opener, ’cos I’m Canadian and I love it here.
Neil Young was among the The record’s most remarkable song is Children Of Destiny, an
women’s rights marchers anomaly inasmuch as it was recorded in LA’s Capitol Studios, as
n Los Angeles on January opposed to Shangri-La in Malibu, with Promise Of The Real joined
0, arm in arm with his by a 56-piece orchestra, pumping out a heart-swollen folksy
artner Dar yl Hannah, reveille readymade for massed sing-along, be it in kindergartens,
hotographed in front of a football stadiums or community halls: “Stand up for what you be-

Rebel discontent: Young gets in

the ring with Promise Of The Real
(from left) Lukas Nelson, Corey
McCormick, Anthony LoGerfo,
NY, Micah Nelson, at the Greek
Theatre, Berkeley, October 17,
2015; (inset) Young and Daryl
Hannah, ERA March, Los
Angeles, January 20, 2018.

Credit in here
lieve/Resist the powers that be/Preserve the ways of democracy so
the children can be free.” Again, its lyrics are so malleable as to
invite co-option by either end of the ideological spectrum; whether
that’s an asset quite likely depends on your perspective.
“It can mean something different to whoever’s listening, and in
my opinion that’s an improvement on The Monsanto Years,” says
Lukas Nelson. “It makes it more accessible. Although, Neil’s not
necessarily trying to make music that is accessible to everybody. He
doesn’t care about that.” He laughs. “He really does not care.”
Children Of Destiny feels like one of Young’s periodic attempts
to write a secular hymn, like the Star Spangled Banner, the US
national anthem whose line “the rockets’ red glare, the bombs
bursting in air” he has pillaged twice: for Western Hero, on 1994’s
Sleeps With Angels, and then on the title track of
Living With War. That album, released in May
2006 amid the second Iraq war under a Bush
president, saw Young reunited with Niko Bolas,
the Los Angeles engineer who also co-produced
Rockin’ In The Free World.
“Bush Jr was stumbling his way through some
monosyllabic speeches at the time,” Bolas recalls.
“I was at Neil’s ranch doing something at his stu-
dio. The phone rang. ‘Come up to the house for
The Campaigners:
dinner, I wanna talk to you.’ We had some supper Young at 2015’s
and lit a fire. He says, ‘How come nobody’s doing Bridge School
a protest record?’ I said, Because people these Benefit; (inset)
with Pegi Young
days are naive, complacent and lazy? OK, you at the 1994 event.
write something. He said, ‘I’ve only got one
song…’ I went, Get a bunch more, then call me.
Two days later, he says, ‘I still only have one song,
but we’re gonna start. It’s coming, I can feel it.’”
Three days later, eight songs were written,
recorded and ready to mix. From Young telling
Bolas, “Get up here, I have a song”, to delivering
the album to Warner Bros, took nine days. It would have been even resources would Neil draw upon to
quicker had Young not decided he needed a 100-voice choir. Bolas fuel his socially conscious work?
scrambled together all the singers he could find – including his My observation was that Neil would
mother – and had the lyrics to Let’s Impeach The President et al become aware of a situation that
needed addressing and would act on
projected onto the huge white wall in Capitol Studio A. it. For example, our son Ben [who has
“He was driven and furious and frustrated,” says Bolas. cerebral palsy] is a daily reminder of
“Because of the political impact of that record, CSNY got back the importance of doing what we can
Neil cited you as ‘Inspiration’ on to enable persons with disabilities to
together to tour. One night, he came walking off the stage and the achieve greater independence in
one of his most overtly political
audience were booing. I said, What the fuck, how do you handle records, Living With War. Did your their daily lives. The same could be
that? He goes, ‘That’s what I’m supposed to do, I made them feel political beliefs coincide? Was said of work done with Farm Aid, the
something. It’s not supposed to be good or bad, they’re just politics a topic of conversation at LincVolt project and so on.
supposed to feel something.’” the dinner table? To what extent do you consider
Oh right! Thanks for that reminder! Neil a ‘political animal’?
It was to Bolas that Young turned once again in June 2017 to co- We did join forces on many projects I know that Neil is an aware person
ordinate the rock-orchestral grandeur of Children Of Destiny. The over the years and, in doing so, who observes the human condition
producer’s mother had just died, and amid the frenzy of organising whatever the issue we were working and takes action when he thinks it
on became all consuming.
both her memorial service and the recording, it suddenly occurred Sometimes I was involved
will be effective in getting
to Bolas as Young counted off the intro that he hadn’t actually heard others to think outside
directly, as in Greendale their boxes. He has
the song yet. “I slam the machines in ‘record’, stood back, it hit the for instance, and other always been a leader
first chorus and I just started crying. Neil knew what he was doing.” times I took on the and a visionary, quite
role of supporter and
Children Of Destiny was another quick turnaround: recorded often ahead of the
cheerleader. I was
general population.
on June 9, mixed on the spot by LA studio legend Al Schmitt, it was also very fortunate to
Take the Human
released on July 4. No accident there: a film clip on Young’s Face- help bring so many of
Highway movie for
his beautiful songs to
book page saw Neil and Micah Nelson in holiday mood, announcing life in live and recorded
instance. Filming for
the song by hurling confetti – or “confeve”, as Nelson had it – that movie began in 1978
performances. Our
and was completed in 1980.
carrying the word “Resist”. If the lyric was opaque, the accompany- children were raised in a very
It is as topical a movie today as it
Jay Blakesberg (3), Courtesy Neil Young/Facebook

ing video was like David Lynch does Independence Day: splicing creative and aware home environ-
was when it was originally released,
ment, and as a result they have a
slo-mo happy families, America’s vast natural vistas, and scenes of if not more so.
strong sense of social consciousness
war and protest, with a tonal palette defaulted at red, white and and know the importance of Which of Neil’s projects and songs
blue; the “colours on the street” from Rockin’ In The Free World. speaking out when they see a wrong do you consider the most
and doing what they can to give back successful?
“Neil thinks his job on the planet is to wake people up,” says to others in need. I think that the only true measure of
Niko Bolas. Do you think you were an influence success is when an artist feels
Who is ‘The Visitor’? on Neil’s songwriting? satisfied with the work they have
I think that most, if not all, artists are done. Looking for external validation
That’s what Donald Trump wants to know. influenced to a greater or lesser is an exercise in futility.
Got an answer for him? extent by their surroundings.
Do you envisage the Bridge School
Things they see and hear are all
Nope. There’s a lot of different ones. ­ fodder for inspiration.
Benefit Concert returning in 2018
or beyond?
The life of an artist can tend I never count anything out. My motto
toward self-absorption – what is never say never!
He’s not named specifically on The Visitor so I guess we can draw
time. It was a softer blow in the States our conclusions.
than England, where people really
were affronted, and understandably I don’t like talking about Trump. I think he already gets too much press.
so, but still, don’t fucking boo. To this There’s nothing there, he’s a waste of time for everybody. It’s going to be
day, people apologise to me, like, “I over. It’s not going to keep on going. It’s just what happens when people
didn’t realise I was seeing such a cool aren’t interested in voting.
thing, I get it now.” But we were ready
for it, and Neil handled it, though he So it’s just a question of mobilising enough people to vote next time?
did get upset sometimes. Once in I think he’s already taken care of it. We’ll see.
England, he took the band off stage,
and returned to play Helpless on his EIL YOUNG’S FATHER SCOTT WAS A JOURNALIST,
“A lot of our friends and heroes were own, like, “Can you see what’s joining the Winnipeg Free Press at 18, then working for a
dying at a young age. Our dear happening to me up here?”
But at the Roxy, LA was home for Toronto news agency during the 1940s, and later a star
friends Danny Whitten and Bruce
Berry had come after Hendrix, Joplin everyone involved, so it was a bit like columnist at Canada’s most prestigious daily, the Globe And Mail.
and Morrison, and Neil wanted to playing your local pub. There was a According to Neil’s 2012 memoir Waging Heavy Peace, “It turns
make an anti-production record, looseness, an openness to the idea of
something wild and new. And with
out he taught me everything I need to know. He said ‘Just write
something raw, powerful and rough,
to capture our reactions. It the stage set-up, with 16-inch glitter every day, and you’ll be surprised what comes out.’”
culminated in this beautiful, dark, boots nailed all around the piano, a There’s an echo of the old man’s hot metal rigour in the primi-
little palm tree with a lightbulb on it,
reckless record, and we were ready to
and a wooden Indian, like you’d see
tive energy propelling much of Young’s latterday work. Peace Trail, a
recreate that no-holds-barred feeling 2016 collection of mostly humanist treatises, was recorded in four
on-stage. Neil was following an idea, outside a cigar shop, and Neil talking,
to just be true to yourself. rapping and storytelling, all this crazy days and went on sale eight weeks later. “I wish somebody would
The tour was another beautiful stuff, there was this instant vibe. To share the news,” repeats Young in the chorus to Indian Givers,
learning experience. We started at me, it was kinda punk.
We all wore cheap seersucker equating such projects as the Dakota Access Pipeline as acts of war
the Corral in Topanga Canyon,
before we played the Roxy. suits, like we were in some on America’s native people. Living With War’s sleeve design,
We were the first to play Miami beach club [every meanwhile, was a brown paper bag with the title stencilled on. The
show, Young would say,
there – we all knew David
“Welcome to Miami
music within was no less crude. “Like someone standing on a soap-
Geffen and Neil’s box in the park,” said Young, “I didn’t waste time on a melody…”
manager Elliot [Roberts] Beach. It’s cheaper than
who were partners in the it looks”]. The look and But the same intensity also defines Young’s greatest, most
Roxy with Elmer feel of the shows was a enduring work, political or otherwise. Graham Nash still marvels at
Valentine, who ran the rough, dark world to
escape in. I never asked Neil how Young wrote Ohio in an hour and then urged CSNY into the
club, and Lou Adler. It was fun
to be playing on the [Sunset] to explain the boots and the studio to get the message out while the public mood still simmered.
Strip, and the club had great tree and the rapping, it just felt right “Neil is a human being and he reacts to everything that happens to
sightlines. And a short residence is to me. And because you were making
music with friends, there was hope him. And my God, Ohio happened to Neil Young in a big way.”
always fun, as everything stays in
place – I could throw my bag in the there. It felt like a commiserative Beyond the periodic CSNY reunions, Ohio dips in and out of
corner, and I could play my little project, a healing way to get Neil Young’s setlists but it’s never too far away. On June 5, 1989, he
through dark times,
boombox quietly, which kept my
like a wake, and
played it in response to the killing of student
spirit up. Otherwise, I was wrapped protestors in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, and
up in the music and the camaraderie. groundbreaking too,
I’d started playing electric guitar with no restrictions there it stayed for the next six months, played be-
on-stage for Neil as well as piano and on what you felt, fore Rockin’ In The Free World. But there’s an-
acoustic guitar, and Ben Keith’s added sang, played or did.”
As told to other song, not nearly so renowned, performed
slide guitar was a beautiful other
colour to bounce off and weave Martin Aston less than two dozen times, that’s just as sympto-
through. We didn’t labour through Nils Lofgren’s “raw and matic of his rebel-contrarian spirit, if not more so.
soundchecks, the theme was to play reckless” digital video Campaigner was written in July 1976 and
what you feel, and feel free to change project, Blind Date Jam,
at any time. One time, when Neil sang is at
debuted on the last night of the ill-fated Stills-
about a helicopter [“a million miles Young Band tour, after which Young ordered his
away, from that helicopter day” from bus to head in the opposite direction and sent Stills
Roll Another Number (For The Road)]
I did a gliss [slide] on the piano, like an
the immortal kiss-off: “Dear Stephen, funny how
improv situation. It was about ideas some things that start spontaneously end that way.
and affinity for the song. at a peach, Neil.” Recorded the following month with
We knew this tour would be s favoured producer David Briggs at Indigo Ranch in
different because audiences
expected Neil to play their favourite Malibu, it’s one of Young’s luminescent solo meditations,
songs, which we weren’t going to do, hose narrator – “a lonely visitor” – evinces sympathy for
and they hadn’t heard the Tonight’s devil: “Even Richard Nixon has got soul.” Six years
The Night songs before. The
diabolical twist at the end of every rlier, Young had cited him for murder; now, he was feel-
show was Neil saying, “We’ll play g sorry for the disgraced former president, the shy,
something you’ve heard before.” The charismatic career campaigner, who resigned before he
place would go bananas, and we’d
play Tonight’s The Night a second uld be impeached, who was, according to biographer
chard Reeves, “always a man alone.”
Young wrote the song after a TV show he was watching
th his son Zeke got interrupted by a news bulletin
Winging it: Nils Lofgren
owing Nixon entering a hospital where his wife Pat was
and Neil Young on the overing from a stroke. “I guess I felt sorry for [Nixon]
Santa Monica Flyers’ UK
tour, November 1973;
that night,” he later told Rolling Stone’s Cameron Crowe.
(inset, from left) David Such flip-floppery was anathema to those for whom CSNY were
Geffen, Elliot Roberts and the four horsemen of hippiedom. But Young had long since
Young make plans, 1971.
disdained orthodoxy, and alone among the West Coast rock royalty
he shone a torch on the seamy truth beneath the Aquarian myth.
Getty, Henry Diltz

The title track of the hazardously loose Tonight’s The Night was
haunted by the heroin overdose deaths of Crazy Horse guitarist
Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry, while Tired Eyes told of a
1972 Topanga Canyon drug deal gone murderously wrong. Shelving
Sooner or later, it all gets real:
Young in 1971; (inset, right)
Neil signals for peace on CSNY’s
Freedom Of Speech tour,
August 20, 2006; (below)
‘Tank Man’, Beijing, June 1989;
winners Pat and Dick Nixon.

the recordings, Young’s lues, the same night.

idea of light relief was As notable as the re
1974’s Revolution Blues, ppearance of any los
where he hitched his ogs from the ‘Ditch
chiding whine to some- il ’, was the choice o pp m to encore in
one who kinda possibly n, Nebraska on June 11, 2015. This extraordi-
definitely coulda once song dates from the most beleaguered period
been Charles Manson. Neil Young’s career. During the first half of the
The song’s creepiest im- 80s, his artistic choices appeared to progres-
ages aren’t the headline vely transgress the DMZ that separates ’brave’
grabbers – “bloody foun- m ‘challenging’ and ultimately ‘suicidal’: he
tains”, killing Laurel Canyon’s stars “in their car lowed the knuckle-dragging country honk of
verse two’s fingering of California’s nascent tech 0’s Hawks And Doves with the lacklustre Crazy
“Yes that was me with the doves/Setting them fr e-backed Re-Ac-Tor, then flounced away from
factory/Where you build your computer love/I hop g-time patrons at Warner-Reprise for a big
connection/’Cos I can’t take the rejection.” with David Geffen. The last thing his new
Naturally, Young had CSNY play the song on their stadium filling benefactors expected was an album of electro-new wave featuring
1974 reunion tour. “David Crosby especially was very uncomfort- Young’s vocals vocodered beyond recognition, and when Trans was
able,” Young later told journalist Adam Sweeting, “because it was so followed by the half-baked ’50s retro of Everybody’s Rockin’, Geffen
Henry Diltz, Frank White Photography, Alamy

much the darker side. They wanted to make people feel good and sued Neil Young for making records that were “not commercial
happy… and that song was like a wart on the perfect beast.” and… musically uncharacteristic” of Neil Young. The legal huffing
For a long period, it seemed Revolution Blues was too contrar- lasted 18 months until a settlement in mid-1985, during which
ian even for Neil Young to go near. It had been almost 30 years since time Young went the full redneck, made an overcooked country
he’d performed the song when, on April 26, 2016 he encored with album, Old Ways, and wilfully wound up interviewers with his
it on the opening night of that year’s Rebel Content tour with bellicose support for US President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy.
Promise Of The Real. It would not be the only problem child reha- By 1986, Geffen must have hoped the beast was tamed when
bilitated by Young’s adoption of the Nelsons’ band: L.A. had been Young went into suburban LA studio Record One with Danny
absent for over 40 years until it dropped to widespread disbelief at ‘Kootch’ Kortchmar and Niko Bolas, who had produced and engi-
the Inglewood Forum on October 14, 2015; likewise Vampire neered Don Henley’s hit-encrusted solo LP Building The Perfect ­

better bands I’ve ever been in,” says Poncho, drily. “Neil’s
always a big show guy. He brings a little extra. It was Satur-
day Night Live, it was the first show of the season, we had
this song. Neil wanted to make an impression.”
Hurricane force at Young himself has a different explanation.
Hammersmith Odeon,
London, March 28, “We always have something to prove. It’s just some
1976: “Neil just does nights it’s more vivid than others. You might want to check
what he wants.” the date and see what the moon cycle was. It always has an
impact. I’m a Pagan, so that’s probably what it was. I
believe in the moon and in nature. I believe those things
have an impact on us just as they do the tides.”
Sure enough, that night saw a waxing crescent moon,
the first phase after a new moon, when it’s said the growing
magnetic energy assists in sparking creativity, bringing new
plans or projects to fruition.
Alternatively, the song just rocks. And keeps hope alive.


the Neil Young Archives. He has, however, found
some mistakes. The entry for 1988’s live recording
of the 12-minute marathon Ordinary People, for instance,
credits Sampedro only as organ player. “I doubled vocals!”
he says. “Damn, I memorised all those words! I told Neil –
he said if you can send corrections, please do.”
Poncho understandably wants to see the Saturday Night
Live performance of Rockin’ In The Free World up there.
Maybe Shakey Pictures will eventually get rights clearance
¢ for that. One fascinating video snippet that is on NYA
Beast. Instead, they got Landing On Water, one of the wildest- shows Young and his archivist Joel Bernstein in 1997 leafing through
ever Young albums, thanks to combining his one-take ethos with some press clippings. Bernstein is particularly tickled by a quote
new digital techniques and monster drummer Steve Jordan. After from Crazy Horse’s Danny Whitten: “Neil is one of the nicest guys
years of recording and mixing perfectionist studio wonks like Toto, in the world. But really, he is stubborn at times. If he wants to do
now Bolas was urged by Young to cut loose. something bad enough, there ain’t nothing can stop him doing it.”
“The first roughs went to Geffen, and they flipped out,” says Poncho laughs. “There you go! The only person who could stop
Bolas. “They thought Danny was going to ‘Henley-ise’ Neil and Neil sometimes, or put a dent in that force, was David Briggs. No
make a very early-’80s-contemporary pop record. Instead we were one else could even get in front of him. Briggs would get in his face.
making this bombastic explosion that literally scared James Taylor In the studio he would say, ‘You guys are playing really good, but
out of the control room. So they threw him off the label. They cut Neil, you’re just noodling.’ It would piss Neil off! But the next takes
off his purchase order in the middle of the record. Neil said, ‘I’ll pay we played, there was meaningful stuff going on. Boy oh boy, do we
for the rest of it. Nobody tells me when I can record.’ The record miss David Briggs or what…?!
got finished on Neil’s dime. It’s named Landing On Water because “But Neil is that way – he made the Archives happen, he made
when it was finished, he was flying to Hawaii with his wife, and in Pono happen, if he wants to play country he’ll find country guys to
the seat back are the escape cards. He told Pegi, ‘This new album play with… He just does what he wants. He’s done a lot of good
has about as much a chance of surviving as these people.’” things, and some things that aren’t so good, but it keeps him young,
With references to “wooden ships… capsized with excess”, the and it keeps him going. And we all get to go for the ride with him.”
bizarro-bleak Hippie Dream – Devo do Swans – is part-inspired by Whether Young saddles up again with Crazy Horse remains to be
David Crosby’s decline into freebase hell, but it’s such a savage seen. The spirit is willing, although at 69, Poncho would be the only
swipe at the boomer generation’s failure to live up to their own participant under 70, while bassist Billy Talbot missed 2014’s world
rhetoric – the opening lines reference Tired Eyes: “Take my advice/ tour following a stroke. “Billy’s good, I talked to him 10 days ago,”
Don’t listen to me” – that you sense other targets: maybe David says Poncho. “He told me he really missed the music. He said, ‘I
Geffen, maybe Young himself. miss the long jams on-stage, I think about ’em a lot…’”
Within two years, the great contrarian had re-signed with Poncho has, however, heard “rumblings…”
Reprise, and with Bolas as co-producer he began cooking up his “There’s always rumours. There’s only one person who can an-
latest unlikely return. The oncoming new decade would see Young swer this question. The last time he called, I said, Please don’t say
reunite with Crazy Horse and David Briggs for Ragged Glory, tour you’re gonna make me leave Hawaii!”
with Sonic Youth, and affirm his status as the Godfather of Grunge. And Neil said?
But the song that would propel him back to currency was Rockin’ “He said, ‘I’ll call you back!’ Ha! Ha!”
In The Free World, as rendered before the cameras of Saturday Neil Young, meanwhile, directs all enquiries about tour plans for
Night Live on September 30, 1989, by a one-off band of Steve Jor- 2018 to the editor of a certain newspaper.
dan on drums and Charley Drayton on bass, Frank ‘Poncho’ Sampe- “There will be something but I’m not announcing anything to-
dro on guitar, and Young, who worked out beforehand in order to day. It’ll be in the Contrarian before it’s announced anywhere else.
stimulate the equivalent adrenalin rush of a live show’s climax. So that’s your message: keep an eye on the Contrarian?

“I know this might shock Crazy Horse fans, but that’s one of the “If you’re looking for that kind of thing, it’s the place to go.” M


s Jack White brings the funk
s Anna Von Hausswolff’s dark magic
s Neuroactivity with The Breeders
s Buffalo Tom keep calm and carry on
s Plus, Imarhan, Graham Coxon, Tracey
Thorn, Gwenno, Young Fathers, Yo La Tengo,
Ministry, Seun Kuti and more.

s Experience even more Hendrix
s Tom Waits takes Asylum
s Hot wax: fourth volume of Stax singles
s Plus, Pet Shop Boys, Sonny Rollins, Miles
Davis & John Coltrane, Spirit, Concert For
George and more.

s The legendary Hansa Studios, Berlin.
s Big Wu: U-God’s autobiography
s Plus, a Jack Kerouac soundtrack, Yacht rock,
the famous Alpha Boys’ School and more.

s Bob’s full house: Dylan musical thrills
s St. Vincent: still working on her solo

“The Breeders are very good at

making the smile die on your lips.”


Your guide to the month’s best music is now even more definitive with our handy

##### #### ### ## # $

Electric landlady
Seeking reinvention, Jack White channels his inner funkmeister in an uneven but
eventful quest for new directions. By Stevie Chick. Illustration by Levente Szabo.

Jack White irony in the artist who’s done more than most to
revive the vinyl LP delivering an album that
### demands the programmability of the compact disc.
Beyond such non-sequiturs, however, Boarding
Boarding House Reach House Reach contains much that thrills, carrying the
electric, kinetic charge of an artist redrawing his
frontiers, reinventing himself in real time. Much of

he shortest distance between two points the album is unabashedly, gloriously, weirdly funky.
holds little interest for Jack White. Talking to Built around some badass clavinet, a guitar line
MOJO [overleaf], he describes his creative lifted from some unreleased J.B.’s jam and bongos
process as one of placing himself in “uncomfortable and conga worthy of Master Henry Gibson,
positions”, drawing inspiration from outside his Corporation plays groove with lithe, lunatic gusto, its
comfort zone. Indeed, The White Stripes’ entire hookline “Who’s with me?” an infectious call to arms,
career made a virtue of such fertile struggles, whether KEY TRACKS emboldening White’s improvised anti-Trump freestyle.
through White’s craftsman-like passion for everything G Corporation From here, White’s playful funk excursions spin only
G Over And Over
analogue or antique, the duo’s bare-bones set-up, or the further out. Hypermisophoniac fuses the loose, jammy
And Over
emotional complexities that must have been thrown up by G Connected By Love
menace of Exile-era Stones with offbeat loops and cut-up
sharing the confines of a two-piece punk-blues group with G Humoresque
vocals, while Ice Station Zebra collages metallic blitzes,
your ex-spouse. Each of those choices was an obstacle White shuffling bass lines and slamming piano chords, Jack’s rap
placed in his own path for seemingly no good reason. But far invoking Odelay-era Beck but swapping cynical slacker poise
from painting himself into corners, these complications for something more impassioned and unhinged. Over And
were the grit that made the pearl, essential ingredients in Over And Over, meanwhile, is a funk-rock monster, with
whatever made The White Stripes extraordinary. overdriven backing-vocal choruses, a slithering riff and
White’s first two solo albums – 2012’s Blunderbuss and cochlea-rupturing guitar freakouts, White seeming to
2014’s Lazaretto – abandoned many of the strictures that reason, “If I can’t decide between being Prince or Captain
had inspired the Stripes. But while Jack was expanding his Beefheart, why not both at once?” Not a bad place to be.
palette beyond red, black and white, there was also a sense Not everything works. The seething, carnal, S&M
that he was often painting within the lines, his eccentricities blues at the heart of Respect Commander is compelling,
submerged. Those albums were solid, occasionally brilliant but is almost lost beneath an avalanche of restless studio
– but a certain weirdness, a kink, was conspicuous by its cut’n’pasting, while Get In The Mind Shaft, an oddball
absence. For his third solo turn, however, White has again robo-funk epic composed of wheezing cuica, rasping
relocated himself to those uncomfortable positions, turning vocoder vocals and squealing Bernie Worrell-esque synth,
his creative process inside-out – songs mostly written feels unfocused, undercooked. The Parliafunkadelicment
incognito in a nondescript Nashville apartment, recorded sweep of Corporation is a joy, and if the lyrics had
in unfamiliar cities, and featuring transposed some of the majestic spite White’s previously
musicians he’d never worked with manifested as broken-hearted love songs to the political
before, many hailing from a hip- realm, they would have landed a knockout punch, rather
hop universe far removed from the than the glancing blow his satirical polemic delivers.
garage rock scene that birthed him. But the sheer unpredictability of Boarding House Reach,
The resulting album pushes not to mention the impact of its best moments, ultimately
White in unexpected directions, wins out. It closes with Humoresque, the very sweetest,
with little in his back catalogue to gentlest breeze of pre-pop songcraft, a lullaby adrift on
prepare listeners for what follows. inky, choppy piano chords, its simplicity and innocence a
Perhaps only two songs on Boarding “THERE IS world away from the rest of the album. Yet in the context
House Reach could easily have fit on MUCH THAT of Boarding House Reach, it makes perfect sense. This is an
past albums: What’s Done Is Done, THRILLS AND album restless in its search for the new, the sound of
a lovely, maudlin country duet, and White’s reinvention in progress, scorching the Earth in
the swaggering, synthesized gospel CARRIES
anticipation of what might follow. If it misfires on
of opener Connected By Love. The THE KINETIC occasion, it’s certainly never dull. And if it never quite
rest composes his wildest LP yet, CHARGE OF reaches its destination, it’s still quite a ride.
albeit one that’s also wildly uneven. AN ARTIST Quite how the hordes who bellow Seven Nation Army
Of its 13 tracks, three are oddball REDRAWING at sporting events will receive such a polymorphous,
spoken-word vignettes, with Aussie HIS perverse set remains to be seen – and White seems to
bluesman C.W. Stoneking spieling FRONTIERS.” anticipate Boarding House Reach’s divisive impact on Ice
like a garrulous dustbowl lawyer on Station Zebra, snarling, “I’m never gonna go where you
Abulia And Akrasia, and White want me to go… Listen up if you want to hear/And if you
playing brimstone preacher on can’t stand it then scream right here.” But for those whose
Everything You’ve Ever Learned favourite Stripes album was Get Behind Me Satan – uneven,
and double-tracking himself on perhaps, but roiling with its own madness and scaling
Ezmerelda Steals The Show, a blast maverick peaks – there’s much to explore and decode
of baffling alliterative verse that within these transmissions from outside the comfort zone.
gives off serious ‘Vogon poetry’

p g p
vibes. These tracks neither beg nor
reward repeat spins, and there’s an JACK TALKS! WHITE ON NEW WAYS TO WRITE AND RECORD,

Talking coffee
shop blues:
Jack White If this was the ’60s or ’70s, a record label might
takes it black. tell me, ‘No, no, no, you can’t make a record
like that – go back to what you were doing,
that’s what people like.’”
Were you consciously trying not to make
another record like Blunderbuss or Lazaretto?
“I’ve always tried to do something different than
what I’ve done before, even when I was in The
White Stripes, but it was hard for people to tell there
was anything different between, say, The Hardest
Button To Button and Let’s Shake Hands – to them
it was all rock’n’roll, but, actually, those were
incredibly different ways of attacking music. It’s a
lot easier to hear on this album, for sure. My friends
were saying to me, ‘I love it, but how are you going
to play that live?’ And that used to be my biggest
concern: I need to be able to make this sound live.
This time I didn’t care if I can’t reproduce it live.
Like on Respect Commander, where we sped the
drumbeat up so fast it’s almost impossible speed
for a drummer to play. The engineer said, ‘Well,
this is unplayable now.’ But I said, No, we’re just
on the edge of it being unplayable. That sounds
like a good, uncomfortable place to be.”
You’ve said that after you finished the album
it sounded bizarre to you…
“I meant that as a compliment to myself. Not that
I’m patting myself on the back, but ‘bizarre’ and
‘weird’, these are good terms in my family (laughs).
I just knew that this was very different, and it was
striking a chord within me, but I still don’t know
what people out there in the world will think of it. I
know my friends and other musicians I’ve played it
to all like it – but maybe they’re just being polite.”
On Corporation, you rap, “I’m gonna start
a corporation, nowadays that’s how to get
adulation.” Is that political statement?
“Yeah. I was thinking specifically of Donald
Trump at that time. I did that whole vocal in one-
take as a freestyle, and he was on my mind.”
What’s your take on the recent political
developments in America?
“It’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing to be
American right now, I think. I think everybody
in America should admit it. He’s an absolute joke,
and I’m ashamed. That’s all I can say.”
The sleeve – is that your face morphed with
Black Belles singer Olivia Jean on the cover?
“No – I don’t know who the model is. The idea
was, if you put your hand over my eyes, it looks
like a woman, but if you put your hand over the
bottom part of the face, you can see it’s my eyes.
So, depending what part of the face you cover,

“I don’t feel male or female.”

it becomes a man or a woman.”
That ties in, I guess, with the idea of this album
delivering us a different Jack White…
York and LA, places I’d never recorded before and “Yeah. I have an overall sense of ambiguity within
Jack White speaks to Stevie Chick. with musicians I’d never worked with before, then myself whenever I’m creating. I don’t really think
The new album pushes you outside finished it in Nashville. My goal was to not worry too much of myself as being ‘male’ – the pronouns
of your comfort zone. about what made the sound any more. In the past, have never meant too much to me. The world
“I was shocked! I thought I had tried so many if anyone asked me, ‘What made that sound?’, reminds you who you are. Like, when I’m writing,
things on other records and other songs in the I could say, like, That’s a Hammond B3 plugged I feel like I’m 19 years old – and I’m not any more,
past that I wasn’t going to think of any new into a Leslie with some reverb on it. That mattered I’m 42 – and I don’t feel male or female, or that I’m
approaches… But I really did find new ways to me. But this time I attacked it like, I don’t care a Detroiter or a Nashvillian or anything. I just feel
to put myself in uncomfortable positions, to what makes the sounds. Because I don’t think most like some young… entity. But the world quickly
work in ways I had never worked before.” teenagers now care what makes sounds. And that reminds you, puts you back in the boxes they
used to upset me, but I think I shouldn’t let that made up to label people. It’s funny how your spirit
You holed up in an apartment in Nashville bother me any more. If the tone is beautiful, feels, compared to how you look in the mirror.”
with a quarter-inch tape recorder to write some it doesn’t matter where it came from. Finally,
of the songs, like Michael Jackson used to. Some time ago I asked you if your songs
I was playing with these strange new musicians
were about your private life then, and you
“That’s how I started the album. I didn’t use I’d never played with before, and we had to hurry
said that you had a reservoir of songs you
any amplifiers or drums, because I didn’t want to become musical friends in just three days.”
were recording years after you wrote them.
the neighbours to hear me. I had to be very quiet A few of the tracks here – Corporation, Have you exhausted that backlog yet?
and do everything wearing headphones, so I used Get In The Mind Shaft – feel as if they’d
drum machines instead of real drums, and plugged “I wish I could just sit and write about things
fallen off a classic Parliament album. that happen to me and straight-up tell people
guitars straight into the recording equipment.
And I wrote songs by singing the melodies – “There’s a lot of funk and hip-hop vibes on the that’s what it is. It doesn’t happen very often to
Connected By Love and Why Walk A Dog? came record. These projects I’ve worked on the last few me. I like to write about imaginary characters,
David James Swanson

from just singing what was in my head or my gut years, with Beyoncé and Q-Tip and A Tribe Called about other people – it’s just a lot more
at that moment. I’d never written like that before.” Quest, have brought up other environments for interesting. When I think about my own problems,
me to work in, so there have been a lot of ideas I’m just like, Eh, what do I want to think about
What other uncomfortable places did swimming around all the time. I’m lucky to still feel that for the next 20 years for every time I sing
making the album take you? inspired that way, and also lucky that I live in an this song? (Laughs) It’s way more interesting
“I recorded the album in three-day sessions in New age where I can follow those inspirations… for me to push myself out of my own scenario.”

Anna Von
Nordic spells
and shuddery

Organ-playing Swede opens
doors to “disturbance and
anxiety”. By James McNair.
Anna Von
Dead Magic
more esoteric kind of magic you wouldn’t whoops, shudders and sandpaper-throated
HOW GRATIFYING it is likely associate with Ali Bongo. expulsions, her singing sounds like an exorcism.
to know that Hausswolff Throughout the record, the sense of Hausswolff’s father, the composer and
– as opposed to, say, unease wrought by the black and blood- controversial visual artist Carl Michael Von
Johansson, the ubiquitous Swedish equivalent red album cover’s smudged image of a young Hausswolff, has conducted studies into and
of Smith – is this Gothenburg-born singer’s bona girl is exacerbated by all kinds of arresting attempted to record paranormal electronic
fide appellation. If surname is destiny, then Dead sonics. Twelve-minute opener The Truth, The interference. His daughter, too – whose previous
Magic is surely Anna Von Hausswolff’s destiny Glow, The Fall begins with what sounds like shot album titles have included Singing From The
fulfilled: a lupine howl of truly epic proportions, plaster crumbling down a chimney, and features Grave (2010) and The Miraculous (2015) – seems
and a record positively rabid with self-belief, a truly extraordinary climax wherein increasingly driven by the arcane and the
daring and mystique. Hausswolff’s absolutely barking vocals go way abstruse, making music that seems to emanate
Recorded in nine days, largely using beyond feral. Elsewhere, Ugly And Vengeful (16 from another, not altogether knowable place.
the hulking 20th century pipe-organ at minutes, that one) initially recalls the There’s something ritualistic, almost
Copenhagen’s Marmorkirken, or Marble Church, inscrutable opening soundscape of Led devotional about the echoing pipe-organ
Hausswolff’s fourth album was overseen by Zeppelin’s In The Evening, then builds to arpeggios of The Marble Eye, while hypnotic
Randall Dunn, a producer who has brought include haunted-sounding ‘carny’ organ and closer Källans Âteruppståndelse – it’s part-
sonic depth and heft to experimental metal guitars that are struck, not strummed. inspired by the Swedish author Walter
band Sunn O))), among others. With its spidery If there’s something of the P.J. Harvey-meets- Ljungquist’s mystical 1975 novel Källan and
strings, drones, suspensions and drama-rich Diamanda Galás about The Mysterious Vanishing cross-references an earlier Hausswolff organ
support from Hausswolff’s five-piece backing- Of Electra, there’s a singular heaviosity to its work of the same name – comes on like the
band, Dead Magic comes on like a horror massive backbeat, which guitarists Karl Vento casting of some mysterious Nordic spell.
soundtrack-in-waiting, its 47-minute journey and Joel Fabiansson stamp with one repeated, All told, Dead Magic is Hausswolff’s
bridged by just five songs. Thematically, it’s big Richter scale-hitting chord. Here, too, finest work to date; a record of remarkable
on myths, legends and oblivion, and the darker, Hausswolff’s voice is astonishing. With its potency and intent.

picks over a failed relationship “me and my girl”, was doctored all been signed to the listens, then I’m flattered.”
and its aftermath via cosmic- to invite interpretive confusion. reactivated Impulse! label. It’s a shame he’s set his sights
sounding lyrics, Rare Birds (Who’s Michael? Who knows?) This, his first offering for the quite so low, because his 15th
unpacks a wealth of sonic Other key songs more plainly company, is a provocative, album is a big, brooding beast
detail. In the best way, this tap into contemporary anti-establishment critique of that deserves an audience.
feels like a record you could lose preoccupations such as smart- the blind idolatry received by Updating the electro-blues
yourself in for months. phone overdosing (TSLAMP) the British monarchy and finds of ’99’s ubiquitous Play, Moby
James McNair and social media anxiety (title each of the nine tracks paying himself occupies an ethereal
track). Penned by Californian homage to Hutchings’ list presence throughout
alt-songsmith Ariel Pink, When of notable women that he Everything Was Beautiful…,
You Die is only derailed from
MGMT radio-beating glory by the
believes are worthy alternative
monarchs. These range from
like some disembodied guru
offering world-weary, spoken-
Jonathan Wilson #### line “go fuck yourself”. Such
irreverence only multiplies
US slavery abolitionist Harriet word homilies over dark
Little Dark Age Tubman to Doreen Lawrence, shuffling beats, mournful
the feeling that these mavericks
are right back on form.
mother of the black British piano figures and gospel vocal
Rare Birds teenager Steven Lawrence accompaniment. It’s an arena
Ironised return to synt p Andrew Perry who was murdered in a racist into which his driving take on
innocence of 2007’s Ki hate crime in 1993. Propelled the old spiritual Feel Like
In-demand producer, busy as After scoring by thunderous polyrhythms A Motherless Child, featuring
a bee with solo album three. one of the Sons Of Kemet from Seb Rochford and Tom the Los Angeles singer Raquel
Rodriguez, slots in nicely.
With guests including Lana
Del Rey, Josh Tillman and US
biggest ### Skinner’s twin drums, the
music crackles with politically- Missteps do occur late on when
new age musician Laraaji, leftfield hits, Your Queen charged righteous anger. he overplays the “woe is me”
Charles Waring pontificating (The Middle Is
Wilson’s lengthy, stylistically- this too-cool- Is A Reptile Gone; This Wild Darkness), but
discursive latest mentions Sgt. for-school New York duo IMPULSE! CD/DL/LP
Pepper’s Billy Shears and nods followed up with a pair of on this evidence, Moby should
Major label debut for - have no qualms about cheer-
at Zappa, Talk Talk, mid-’80s-
era Peter Gabriel, and The
“success freak-out” records,
first left-turning into obscurist winning alt-jazz fours Moby leading himself and his music.
Byrds in country mode. Still, neo-indie psychedelia Featuring two ### Matt Yates
it’s the pensive sensibility of (Congratulations, 2010), drummers, a Everything Was
Roger Waters, with whom then melodically elusive tuba player
Wilson recently toured as conceptualism (MGMT, 2013). A and sax, Beautiful, And
guitar/vocal-for-hire, that five-year lay-off seems to have Shabaka Nothing Hurt
seems to inform 49 Hairflips, eased their angst, as album four Hutchings’ LITTLE IDIOT. CD/DL/LP
Me and Sunset Boulevard, reverts to their initial template Sons Of Kemet are patently
while the delicate coda of of hyper-melodic, lyrically not your average jazz quartet. Downtempo electronica by
joyful album stand-out There’s skewed, synth-pop. Prospects It’s a measure of Hutchings’ the man who gave techno
A Light is an obvious Floyd of a repeat mainstream cross- growing renown globally spirituals to the masses.
homage. This is the first Wilson over rest upon the tunefully that Sons and his two other These days, Moby admits
solo album to use synths and deranged hooks of Me And groups (Comet Is Coming and he has “no expectations” for
drum machines, and as he Michael, whose original chorus, Shabaka & The Ancestors) have his records, that “if someone

The big bang:
The Breeders (from
left) Jim Macpherson,
Kelley Deal, Kim Deal, after The Breeders’ Last Splash
Josephine Wiggs. incarnation reunited for 20th
anniversary celebrations.
Mimicking the band’s whole existence, it flickers
between light and shade, its clouds fast-moving,
sunshine blotted out before it breaks back
through. It’s a record that covers all the
emotional ground between the merry “Good
morning!” that opens the bristling, buzzy
Wait In The Car, a masterclass in snappy Deal
phrasing, and the joking-but-not-really doom
of MetaGoth, based on a poem written by
Wiggs’ mother and sung by the bassist in a voice
that falls between witches’ coven and WI. Often,
it all unravels across the same song. Opener
Nervous Mary – “she ran for the exit but she
never got away” – triggers disturbing echoes
of 1990’s Steve Albini-produced Pod, but its
glorious repressed thrum is a thing of pure joy.
There is also delight in hearing the intuitive

second album Last Splash. playing on Howl At The Summit, a primitive
“The hours?” Such buoyancy Throwing Muses swoop (complete with backing
was not, unfortunately, to vocals from Courtney Barnett and her band) or

ast: in September 1994, the the muddy hot-springs bubble of Skinhead #2,
ine-up of Kelley Deal and her but The Breeders are very good at making the
venerated twin, Pixies’ Kim smile die on your lips. Entrapment, alienation,
eal, bassist Josephine Wiggs disassociation: these are themes that keep
and drummer Jim Macpherson pushing their way through, colouring
Last Splash line-up bottle layed their last show Spacewoman’s slow sludgy dissolve, the
together for nearly 20 years. Behind this stalling stalking title track, or the drowsy death-wish
more lightning with fifth lay stories of drug busts, drink problems, rehab. of Walking With The Killer. A cover of Amon
album. By Victoria Segal. Kim Deal moved back to Ohio to look after her Düül II’s apocalyptic Archangels Thunderbird
ageing parents; there were side projects upon doesn’t quite turn the mood around.
The Breeders side projects and two more Breeders records,
but nothing quite the same. There are more
The album closes with the deceptively
epic Blues At The Acropolis, a strange little
#### tragic sagas that unravelled across the grunge-
scarred ’90s, but The Breeders’ tale of success,
narrative about the alienation induced by
visiting classical monuments. “Drunks take a
All Nerve collapse and subsequent survival remains piss/Where heroes once bled out,” sings Deal,
alarming, a near miss both ways. It could have watching human history reduced to grubby
gone better for them – a golden, Foo Fighters- basics. There is, however, something noble –
“WHAT’S NOT to enjoy?” guitarist Kelley style second career, maybe – but it also could heroic, even – about All Nerve, evidence that
Deal cheerily asked an interviewer in 1994, have gone a lot worse. not everything has to crumble, not everything
nine successful months after the release All Nerve – the title sounds suggests both has to be spoiled for good. Some magic
of The Breeders’ soon-to-be million-selling steely strength and raw neurosis – took shape sticks around. What’s not to enjoy?

Meloy’s Stipeian vocal jazz fusion, Southern swamp sounding as loveably semi- a path for Rick Froberg
inflections. Though he’d never meets Afro-funk, sublimely inebriated as ever – excels at screaming like he’s awoken
thumbs-up the title, there’s tight and gloriously loose- sucking you into the everyday in Orwell’s Room 101, with
also a distinctly Macca-like limbed – pushes it towards drama of his life, especially on haemorrhoids… again. The
playfulness to Everything Is classic disco, in its 12-inch mix Above The Bodega (Local scene is duly set for 10 songs
Awful, all of which cements form. Of these six tracks, only Business). It is, however, telling of sometimes preposterously
the notion that The Kwango Zop comes in under that this and other standouts aggressive motorik tribal
Decemberists’ ace and six minutes; statement-making – the string-led Crass Tattoo revels, like Link Wray jamming
absorbing eighth album lead single The Magnificent – are also the shortest. The with Killing Joke. Nothing
is rather more traditionalist Moon unwinds over nine album suffers whenever excess fundamental has changed, the
than they’re letting on. percolating, rippling, creeps in. Fans preconditioned attack is just more scrupulous.
James McNair kaleidoscopic minutes, by the last outing may admire Reis now deploys a nauseously
The Decemberists with Kevin McDowell
(synths, Rhodes, vocals)
the seven-minute sprawl of
Real Talk or (I’m) Like A Rolling
effective string bend
technique, while the singer’s
#### Mildlife the Joe Zawinul-style pilot Stone, the ultimately fruitless
reimagining of Bob Dylan’s
baleful holler has weathered
I’ll Be Your Girl of this cosmic enterprise. like a true bluesman on the
### Martin Aston classic. For everyone else, it
will likely detract from this
keystone pairing of tense
Phase title track – which echoes
An “apocalyptic dance compelling reinvention. the version of Graham Nash’s
RESEARCH. CD/LP George Garner
party”, says frontman
Colin Meloy. Melbourne quintet’s retro- Titus Andronicus Military Madness by Froberg’s
other band Obits – and
Portland, Oregon’s The futurist adventure. ### frenzied Death Camp Fantasy.
Decemberists know how to Like Hot Chip, A Productive Cough Hot Snakes “I feel peremptory forces
standing in my way,” he
seize the day. Recent ventures
have included a Grammy-
Mildlife are
the human
#### declares. Hot Snakes’ caustic,
nominated trad-folk album incarnation of New Jersey punks regr Jericho Sirens erudite commentary is
with Olivia Chaney under the crate-digging on exploratory fifth re . more welcome than ever.
project name Offa Rex, and that still Arguably, Titus Keith Cameron
even their own crowd-funded recognises the attributes San Diego post-hardcore
board game, Illimat. Produced of hooky melody/vocal and previous LP, doyens’ first LP since 2004.
by John Congleton (St. songsmithery. Unlike Hot Chip, The Most Reactivated in 2011 after a
Vincent; Lana Del Rey), I’ll Be though, Mildlife’s electronic Lamentable six-year cessation of hard blast
Your Girl is billed as a direction- component eschews 21st Tragedy, took activity, you imagine any
change, but though purported century digitalism for strictly their gruff punk as far as it qualms Hot Snakes may have
New Order and Roxy Music ‘70s synthesizers, yet their could go: a 92-minute, 29-track felt about diluting the aura of
influences certainly inform debut album sounds as much auditory marathon. Its follow- their original three-album run
Severed and glam-stomper ‘now’ as ‘then’ by virtue of lush up is something of a necessary were dispelled within the first
We All Die Young, respectively, syncopation. Somehow, the palette-cleanser, with the 10 thrilling seconds of opener
Once In My Life and Cutting melting pot – Santana meets howling of old supplanted by I Need A Doctor: John Reis’s
Stone are essentially fine folk Can and Weather Report, West relative quietude. Throughout, tendonitis-inducing
songs, and a happy home for Coast rock meets East Coast frontman Patrick Stickles – downstroke guitar scorches

Dungen & Woods Soul Investigators, best known
for backing singer Nicole Willis.
### The result is pure indulgence ###
Myths 003 as Hawks recreates the Where Wildness
Blaxploitation and KPM library
recordings he collects with
Sweden dominates un f an exacting approach, mainly TRANSGRESSIVE. CD/DL/LP
international psych he on the flute. But there’s Second flowering from
Last April, enough genuine joy and com- darkly flamboyant
Sweden’s mitment in his performances Londoners.
prime contem- to lift the album above the With their
porary explor- status of vanity project, debut, 2015’s A
ers of progg especially with the street- Dream Outside,
(sic) and sussed title theme and the there was a
psychedelia were in Marfa, atmospheric The Scorpio Walk. sense moody
Texas at the Mexican Summer Lois Wilson quartet Gen-
label’s third Marfa Myths festi- gahr were being measured up
val. As one of the two artists in for that ceremonial role, “the
residence, Dungen were future of British guitar music”.
paired with the folkier yet Where Wildness Grows isn’t
simpatico Americans Woods. It their coronation, but they
made sense: folk is a prime should be pleased: their music
ingredient in progg. The bands
comes with slight refractive
collaborated on-stage and also
error that pushes their songs
recorded together, and the
just off-centre, edges blurred
all-new Myths 003 is the result.
and emotions unsteady. There
The half-hour album is more
are traces of Radiohead in Felix
Dungen than Woods, not least
Bushe’s etiolated keen and
due to the former’s Gustav
John Victor’s elastic
Ejstes and his trademark flute.
While the marriage has more POLIÇA and guitar, and a psychedelic
assertive drums and a conse- stargaze Echo And The Bunnymen
grandeur engulfs Left In Jonny Greenwood
quential groove than Dungen
have ever had, the emphasis #### Space, but Rising Tide’s #####
Music For The gentle agitation, with its
on dynamics and interplay is
repeated sigh of “maybe you Phantom Thread
a trait of the Swedes rather Long Emergency were right”, is more typical NONESUCH. CD/DL/LP
than that of Woods. Instead TRANSGRESSIVE. CD/DL/LP
of a bona fide entry in either of their atmospheric drift. Radiohead guitarist’s score number
band’s catalogue, chalk this Orchestral manoeuvres and Even the bitten-nails drama four for Paul Thomas Anderson is a c
up as a Dungen sidebar. electronica in haunting of Carrion plays out at a BY RIGHTS, Jonny Greenwood should have already won a Best
Kieron Tyler collaboration. remove, Bushe’s lyrical intent Original Film Score Oscar for his work with Paul Thomas
Following on from last year’s blotted out by clouds of Anderson (above left, with Greenwood), but red tape and
single, Bruise Blood: guitar. It’s to their credit, Academy snobbery have so far scuppered his chances. Maybe
though, that this album’s
Ernie Hawks Reimagining Steve Reich’s
Music For Pieces Of Wood, uncertain focus works with
Phantom Thread will break his duck. Recorded in London with a
60-piece string orchestra conducted by Robert Ziegler,
And The Soul Music For The Long Emergency them, thickening the plot, Greenwood’s score draws from the film’s 1950s London setting
Investigators once again draws together the rather than losing it.
Victoria Segal
and PTA’s stylistic references to US and UK post-war “women’s
skittering electro pop of pictures”, referencing such ’50s film composers as George
Minneapolis four piece POLIÇA Duning and Frank Skinner, Dimitri Tiomkin’s work for Hitchcock,
Scorpio Man and the tender melancholy of Glenn Gould’s Bach recordings, and, throughout, Nelson Riddle’s
TIMMION. CD/DL/LP Berlin-based chamber
orchestra, s t a r g a z e. This
Jerry David orchestral settings for Sinatra’s late-night Capitol LPs. The result
is an album that goes far beyond emulation or pastiche to
Loungecore and cinem imaginative collaboration DeCicca capture the emotional heart of a strange and elusive film,
funk from prolific Finn reveals itself as a ghostly and soaring from rapturous highs to quiet, introspective lows, vital
musician. brooding collection with a romantic life undercut by a melancholy twilight sadness.
Flautist, trom- healthy dappling of rainbow- Time The Teacher
bonist and bright harmonies. Album IMPOSSIBLE ARK. CD/DL/LP
vibes player opener Fake Like recalls the Black Swans frontman ALSO RELEASED
Erno Haukkala languid rhythms of US rapper, his inner Lou Reed.
AKA Ernie
Hawks can
Childish Gambino, while the
juddering, schizophrenic A co-founder Kenji Kawai Max Richter
match his playing skills to Cursed brings an abrasive of sadcore ##### ###
pretty much any genre. Having balance to the lush electronica folkers The Ghost In The Shell Disconnect
appeared on over 70 record- found elsewhere on the Black Swans,
ings over the past two decades, album. It’s in the latter that DeCicca con-
tinued largely After years of Thankfully, Richter’s
his CV includes progressive POLIÇA and s t a r g a z e score campaigning by score to Henry Alex
metal (Barren Earth), hip-hop highest however. On Agree in the same vein for his 2014
fans, Kawai's Rubin’s 2012
and reggae (Jätkäjätkät) and and the project’s sprawling solo debut Understanding incredible score for ensemble drama
funk (The Bad Ass Brass Band). title track, singer Channy Land. Time The Teacher takes Mamoru Oshii’s about human
On his debut solo album, he’s Leaneagh’s ethereal vocals a different route. Still beseech- 1995 manga masterpiece finally disconnect in the digital age
teamed with the Timmion prove this is a union with long- ingly melancholy, DeCicca gets a proper vinyl release. didn't get buried with the film, as
label, Helsinki’s answer to term potential. has moved towards making Somewhere between Ennio it’s the perfect showcase for the
Daptone, to record with The Matt Allen poetry that happens to be Morricone’s Navajo Joe, composer’s twin skills: heart-
supplemented with music, Vangelis’s Blade Runner, and rending unresolved string
much like Lou Reed’s later kosmische experiments with arrangements and pulsing
albums. Ideas and emotions gamelan rhythms, this is surely digital nightscapes.
Cannon fodder: ghost in and out of these one of the finest film sound-
Ernie Hawks, tracks like half-remembered
tracks of the past 25 years. Jon Brion
funkin’ fluter. dreams, but moments of
Marcelo Zarvos ###
clarity harden their focus Lady Bird
in the most unexpected ## LAKESHORE/FIRE. CD/DL
ways, as saxophone, piano Wonder Like Marcelo Zarvos
or trumpet lend some late- MILAN. CD/DL (review, left) Jon
night accompaniment, Brazilian pianist and Brion specialises in
gospel-tinged backing vocals composer Zarvos happy-sad Nilsson-
adding to the hymnal feel. specialises in esque musical
Sounding remarkably main- intimate, piano-led miniatures for US indie cinema.
stream and yet with a definite scores for Sundance Yet, like his friend and
Shin Katan, Sissi Vuorjoki

sense of outsider surrealism, indie quirk. His cues for Stephen collaborator Aimee Mann,
DeCicca walks a thin line Chbosky’s 2017 family drama are Brion’s 3/4 step-step micro-cues
between the twee and the no different; cute music-box – for Greta Gerwig’s perfect
gut-wrenchingly soulful, sad waltzes that will simultaneously comedy drama – come with the
warm your heart while also necessary sprinkling of
but somehow happy in his
rotting your teeth. inexplicable sadness. AM
Andy Fyfe

Waiting for the fall:
Buffalo Tom (from left)
Tom Maginnis, Chris
Colbourn, Bill Janovitz.

with raw yet dignified sonics and

0 new resolute reflections upon
he swiftness of time’s arrow. Opener
All Be Gone nails the deal, heartland
Buffalo Tom guitar glory lapped
by Hammond organ, Janovitz
compelled by the dying light: “Now
my time behind is greater than my time ahead/
Save up the minutes like flowers before they are
all dead.” Next up, Overtime blows in like a
hickory wind from Muscle Shoals in late ’69,
as a female chorus offers soulful lamentation
to a dark-edged domestic vignette. The
cadence-crashing Freckles, meanwhile,
summons electricity surges to buoy its wry
observations: “The freckles on your nose/When
you wrinkle it I suppose/I’m in trouble now.”
As became customary with 1992’s touchstone
Let Me Come Over, Chris Colbourn contributes
a handful of impish songs that offset Janovitz’s
more traditionally poetic confessionals. Roman
Cars and Cat V Mouse groove bittersweetly,
while misty waltz See High The Hemlock Grows

New England’s dreaming

frames middle-aged nostalgia through the
memory of a favourite old record: “Ocean Rain in
our ears/We won’t be 17 long.” Slow Down pulls
a similar trick, its beleaguered subject urged
Boston alt-rock stalwarts universe where the 19 episodes of My So- to “hold on” against an echo of JAMC’s Some
Called Life stream on permanent loop. In Candy Talking. Fading exultantly, it’s the logical
give middle-age a good 1995 they released a single called Summer, finale, but the album actually closes with a cover
name. By Keith Cameron. but their splintery powerchordage felt forever of Simon & Garfunkel’s Only Living Boy In New
autumn; even Summer’s chorus was a mournful, York: on paper, a hostage to fortune, yet it
Buffalo Tom “Summer’s gone/You wasted every day.” So no
surprise that Buffalo Tom’s eighth album – and
succeeds by not over-venerating the celebrated
original. Janovitz and Colbourn take a verse each,
#### first in seven years – sees the fabled New England
melancholy in full effect. “Leaves fall around us,
while Bill’s daughter Lucy adds backing vocals.
Rock bands aren’t supposed to make their
Quiet And Peace we come kicking through,” Bill Janovitz sings near new best record 25 years after their previous
the record’s end. “It’s the least that we can do.” best. Perhaps an alignment of space and time
Quiet And Peace is the third album main occurred with producer Dave Minehan, former
EVEN AS ruddy-cheeked youths, Buffalo Tom songwriter Janovitz has made with bassist Chris frontman of Boston new wave trio The
sounded old beyond their years. Few songs Colbourn and drummer Tom Maginnis since the Neighborhoods who now runs the auspiciously
better evoke the sad realisation that all is band reconvened in 2007 after a 10-year hiatus. named Woolly Mammoth studio. Nothing
ephemeral than the Massachusetts trio’s 1992 Although its two predecessors were perfectly prehistoric about the latest Buffalo Tom: this
anthem Taillights Fade, still a hit in that parallel respectable, this taps fresh seams of inspiration, is the golden sound of a band in their element.

star,” he sings over guitar NIN-style bombardment, meek to cringeworthy, so this sound, which, in tandem with
strumming and whistle on while Magazine brings in combined effort of the Young impressive melodic directness,
the tender She Left The Light Blanck Mass to maximise ‘Uns, Paul Sartin, Nancy Kerr, should make them one of
On. In My Room, meanwhile, its synthy weight. On the Benji Kirkpatrick, Rachael 2018’s hastiest crossover bands.
is reminiscent of a Lee other end of the spectrum, McShane, Greg Russell, Saul In curled-lip, peroxide-scruffy
Hazlewood ballad. Whatever the piano arpeggios of (the Rose and narrator Matthew Julia Cumming, they have a
style, it all works, both on the perhaps unfortunately titled) Crampton, to provide modern star-in-waiting, convincing in
screen, and as this standalone No Sound But The Wind relevance and context is to be her sublime, Stevie Nicksian
16-track download and LP. could – and possibly will – applauded. They tackle the vocal clarity, and in delivering
Lois Wilson soundtrack a Scandinavian original work with appropriate spiky generational ripostes to
noir thriller. There’s nothing guile and sensitivity – Paul contemporary socio-political
here inviting enough to really Sartin’s Us Poor Fellows is evils. Crisis Fest threatens

Graham Coxon Editors convince floating voters, but

Editors continue to thrive in
sublime. Yet while there are
modern parallels to be drawn
youth uprising in the face
of daily news horror, while
#### ### their own dark universe. (underlined by the addition of Twentytwo rails at our culture’s
Tom Doyle Dark Water, Michael Hughes’ youth-fixated callousness
The End Of The Violence heroic saga of a Syrian refugee) towards women, each locating
F***ing World constant modern references deeper issues behind obvious
GRAHAM COXON. DL/LP Birmingham quintet’s
sixth swings between Various can dilute the majesty of the
core story, Bellamy’s original
targets Trump and Weinstein.
Guitarist Nick Kivlen’s vocal
Soundtrack to psychodrama
based on Charles Forsman’s
rawness and tenderne ### street singer character and all. presence towards the end
Colin Irwin seems only more empowering
2011 graphic novel. Having The Transports – think Debbie Harry’s defiant
started out HUDSON. CD/DL
The End Of The F***ing World’s as essentially ‘Blondie Is A Band’ T-shirt.
director Jonathan Entwistle
cites Coxon as his favourite
a British take Peter Bellamy’s folk-o
masterwork given sev Sunflower Bean The Cumming-sung big-
hitters up front, however, are
guitarist and he’s the perfect
on Interpol,
Editors have new licks of paint. #### outstanding, and, unreservedly,
soundtracker for Entwistle’s outlasted most of their mid- Bellamy’s Twentytwo In Blue Rumours-rivalling fantastic.
TV series, connecting with noughties contemporaries meticulously Andrew Perry
and interpreting the bored through a subtle morphing of researched
adolescent voice and high their sound as opposed to any and highly Female-fronted ’70s pop
tensions in the script over 40 great stylistic overhaul. Down dramatic 1977 remodelled with ’teens
songs. Written, recorded and the years, they’ve gradually narrative of the Brooklynite bite.
produced entirely on his own become more electronic and first convicts transported to “Fleetwood Mac go shoegaze”
in his home studio, these range industrial, with even ravey Australia, involving most of the was the (favourable) response
from skronky Sonic Youth- touches, that have ensured leading British folk musicians to this young NYC trio’s debut,
Lily Rose Garceau

styled blasts and typical their gigs remain sold-out of the day, is rightly regarded 2016’s Human Ceremony.
Coxon punky scribbles to and their chart positions solid. as something of a sacred Second time out, they’ve all
more considered pieces fixed in Violence, befitting its title, is landmark in Brit folk. Previous but eradicated the ‘gauzy’
blues, country and folk. “I really mostly intense, with Hallelujah attempts to stage/revive/ abstractions, in favour of a
thought you were the morning (So Low) throwing itself into update it have ranged from cards-on-table, powerpop

Gwenno Hebden. What FitzGerald’s
second full-length album,
#### All That Must Be, reveals is that ###
Le Kov he’s got a way to go before AmeriKKKant
being truly at home among NUCLEAR BLAST. CD/DL/LP
such esteemed company.
Kernow-how: cosmic It certainly has its moments, Misanthropic industri
Cornish-language alb though – the sparse, post- metal veterans target
from former Pipette. dubstep of Burns, with its Trump’s America.
With her solo hypnotic vocal chants, is an Creatively
debut, 2015’s early highlight – but on dormant since
Y Dydd Olaf, occasion, such as with the the death of
Gwenno by-numbers, meandering guitarist Mike
Saunders trance of Outgrown, which Scaccia in 2012,
blazed a just drifts by, FitzGerald’s it has evidently
glittering trail between sonic approach is altogether taken Donald Trump to
Welsh sci-fi and Krautrock. too tentative, too hackneyed. provoke Al Jourgensen’s
Her second album shifts both A mixed bag all round, then, Ministry to record again. As
into Cornish, a language she from a gifted producer not one would expect from an
speaks fluently, and creative quite ready to squeeze onto album that depicts the Statue
overdrive. Le Kov – the title dance music’s top table. Of Liberty face-palming itself
refers to “the place of Matt Yates on the cover: you are officially
memory” – is another entering a subtlety-free zone.
immersive statement of That said, subtlety is an
identity and survival in Insecure Men acceptable casualty here as
AmeriKKKant delivers a barrage
a fractured world, catching
the light between the ancient ### of molten industrial riffs, air Various
and the modern. Daromres Y’n Insecure Men raid sirens, Trump quotes
and, perhaps as a soothing
Howl, featuring Gruff Rhys, is
a summer traffic-jam jam, its
philosophical balm, samples In Death’s Dream Kingdom
Fat White Family of Charlie Chaplin’s speech HOUNDSTOOTH. CD/DL/LP
queasy blare as much New
York as Newquay, yet the offshoot ventures into from The Great Dictator. While A first-rate collection of
futurist electro-punk of Eus ‘wholesome’ exotica. there is an absorbing, hypnotic forward-looking electronica.
Keus? or ozonic head-rush FWF’s guitarist quality to droning songs like ONCE THREATENED with extinction due to the threatened
of Den Heb Taves feel like and creative Twilight Zone, the exceptional closure of the club Fabric (that begat the label), In Death’s Dream
transmissions from the sea engine Saul thrash of We’re Tired Of It Kingdom is something of a celebration for Houndstooth – albeit
bed. There is shared ground Adamczewski offers proof that a few more one whose prevailing mood is sombre. Anointed artists were
with Broadcast, Jane Weaver kicked off this gear changes would have asked to riff on a line from TS Eliot’s poem, The Hollow Men –
and Cate Le Bon – the whirling parallel project been welcome. Still, 14 albums “in death’s dream kingdom”. The result is two and a half hours
Aremorika, folk tale of the with Childhood singer Ben in, frontman Jourgensen’s of music from contemporary electronica’s avant-garde. Cain,
unexpected Hunros – but here, Romans-Hopcraft in 2015 rancour shows no sign of by Otto Lindholm (pictured), with its tortured voices and shards
Saunders marks out her own during the troubled genesis of losing its edge. Long of cello, is like William Blake soundtracked by Arthur Russell.
terrain, seeing how far she can his main band’s extra-sordid may that continue. Koenraad Ecker’s Rat’s Coat is the crossroads where movie sound
go forward, and how far back. Songs For Our Mothers album. George Garner design and dark ambient meet; rising star Lanark Artefax brutally
Victoria Segal After being sacked by the Fat shreds the Amen break for Styx’s twisted drum’n’bass; and solace
Whites, he emerged from a is found in the tranquil Trembling With Tenderness by Abul
spell in rehab with a rough
Young Fathers Mogard, a former Serbian steel worker-turned-ambient drone
George self-recording of the songs
on Insecure Men, which duly #### kingpin. Like a C86 for leftfield electronica, this is challenging
yet edifying music, reflecting uncertain times.
FitzGerald assumed for him a drastically Cocoa Sugar
### more approachable and
poppy (ie, ‘clean’) vision, with
All That Must Be traceable influences including Close-knit Edinburgh t -
some defy Mercury cu
DOUBLE SIX. CD/DL/LP The Carpenters and Arthur
Lyman. In his hands, however, with avant-pop maste . Nanook Garden City
Hit-and-miss second
tootling tunes like Subaru Young Fathers
Of The North Movement
from rising post-dubst
Brit dance producer.
Nights assume the sinister are the #### ###
surrealism of Dean Stockwell’s slipperiest of Nanook Of The North Apollonia
Since the mid bar in Blue Velvet, or on propositions.
Teenage Toy, Go-Kart Mozart’s Graham ‘G’
Soho record unsettling retro-futurism. Polish duo Nanook There’s a pleasing,
Hastings, Of The North’s narcotic reverie
store worker Furthermore, with lyrics from Alloysious Massaquoi and
George FWF’s Lias Saoudi variously debut is devised about Garden City
Kayus Bankole developed as a contemporary Movement. The
FitzGerald has touching on queasy subjects an intuitive, seemingly soundtrack to Israeli trio deliver
been building his reputation such as Whitney Houston, Cliff unbreakable chemistry a 1922 silent documentary a stylish, stoned variant of
on the global DJ-ing circuit Richard and Gary Glitter, as in their early teens and, ever film about Canadian Inuits. leftfield R&B in quick-fire bursts,
while simultaneously hawking well as Adamczewski’s own since 2011’s eight-song debut Encompassing heavy drone, exhibiting pop smarts (Bitter
his own music, which has wilderness days as a crack- EP Tape One, have evolved John Carpenter-esque analogue Moon’s jangly funk), sojourns
evolved from a garage- addicted labourer in Penge, a magpie sound meshing old synths and neoclassical gloom, into shimmering, skewed house
influenced sound towards these are exotic lullabies school hip-hop with twisted its melodies inch past like (Sans Titre), while the seductive,
the more eclectic tech/ which, superficial cosiness Motown motifs, vamping icebreakers, sparse and glacial, psychedelic soul of A Means To
house-driven stylings of such notwithstanding, lead only bass lines, potty percussion while bass elements are of the An End calls to mind Junior Boys.
contemporaries as Jamie xx, to nocturnal anxiety. crockery-rattling variety.
and the ceaseless buzzing
Jon Hopkins and Kieran Andrew Perry Borusiade
of shrill, dissonant analogue
synths. A refinement of
Appleblim ###
that melting pot mélange, #### A Body
diced into pop-sized chunks, Life In A Laser CÓMEME. CD/DL/LP
their third album marries SNEAKER SOCIAL CLUB. DL/LP
out her Saturnine, earnest
own terrain. foreboding imagery and Like fellow forces are at work
offbeat raps (often used sonic ravers Paul on Bucharest-based
texturally) with explosive, Woolford and artist Miruna
interlocking choruses (In A Sagittariun, Boruzescu’s debut.
My View; Lord; Picking You) Laurie ‘Appleblim’ Mittel Europa dark synth vibes
and rattling, brittle Suicide- Osborne’s new album captures meet art pop in a form that
like propulsion (Tremolo; the joyful, unfettered spirit of wraps itself around you like
Wire; Holy Ghost). Typically late-’80s dance music without a vampire’s cloak. Borusiade
unvarnished – there’s a resorting to pastiche. Instead, shuttles between bubbling,
homely primitivism here, the former dubstep maven fuses Leftfield-style stadium techno
perpetually teetering on all- hardcore, rave and drum’n’bass (An Aquarian Feeling), seductive,
out cacophony – Cocoa Sugar tropes with juggernaut basslines Nico-esque, electro slow-
is an audacious high-wire for full melon-twisting thrills, burners (A Body) and ghostly
most delirious on the mercurial minimalism (Breathe), delivered
act which captures them techno/jungle soundclash of NCI. with elegant sangfroid. SW
at a potent peak.
Andy Cowan

Creep Show Mary Gauthier This, however, promises to be
a hard one to beat for fire and
### #### fury. Fela would be very proud.
Mr Dynamite Rifles & David Hutcheon
UK’s dark electronic PROPER. CD/DL/LP
warlords Wrangler join Tissues at the ready fo Shannon And
forces with John Grant.
veterans’ traumatic ta The Clams
John Grant’s lifelong
passion for electronic music
Co-written ####
with veterans
reverberated through half
via the
of 2015’s all-conquering Grey EASY EYE SOUND. CD/DL/LP
Birth Of Joy Tickles, Black Pressure. Creep Guy One programme
Songwriting The album title refers e
### Show finds him jumping
further off the deep end #### With:Soldiers, many layers that make
Hyper Focus #1 which pairs songwriters a person… and a recor .
alongside analogue synth
with service personnel in an This fifth
attempt help overcome their album, pro-
Dutch rockers embark and Stephen Mallinder (the Frafra music – created in trauma, these 11 songs are all duced by Dan
on an organ-infused early ex-Cabaret Voltaire man adding Ghana, made in Germany.
a few spectral whisperings performed by Mary Gauthier. Auerbach in
’70s-style thrill ride. Yet another singer turns No stranger to cathartic song-
of his own). Grant sets aside his Nashville
Hyper Focus kicks off with his personal dramas for more their life upside down by writing herself, even her sub- studio, cap-
Join The Game, a muscular, absurd theatrical antics, as moving to Berlin to record. stantial power as a lyricist is tures The Clams’ girl group
Hammond organ-driven giddy feelings of liberation Guy One had barely been boosted by the experiences sound with soulful feeling.
workout marking Dutch trio and mischief collide on the heard outside the villages of these damaged men and Did You Love Me is their finest
Birth Of Joy as firmly in the title track’s pitched-down of northern Ghana, where women. Instead of the usual moment: Shannon Shaw’s
tradition of Fireball-era Deep threat and the disorienting K he sings at weddings and war clichés we hear of the heartbreak vocal reeling over
Purple, and also their country- Mart Johnny (where warring funerals, when label-owner female mechanic whose the group’s wall of wobbly
men Golden Earring. Taking parties quibble over old toy Max Weissenfeldt turned up, sexual harassment by so-called organ and surf guitar. If there
the sound of 1971-’73 by its dinosaurs). Grant’s trademark fairy godmother-like, with comrades reaches a level are touchstones, they are Etta
scruff, as The Datsuns did and baritone returns, at its plans to record an album. where “my enemy wasn’t Iraq”. James and Ronnie Spector,
Elephant9 do, the Lowlanders’ persuasive best, on Modern Armed with his kologo – Or the veteran who looks at his but Shaw is her own woman,
fifth studio album stands apart Parenting and Endangered the two-string banjo is this long-suffering carer with guilt driving the song with an
by imbuing their selected Species – laid-back LCD-like season’s must-have African and pity on The War After The unguarded intensity. The
musical palette with a sense funkers in Snug Slacks mode accessory – Guy One then War: “Who’s going to care for angsty psych-pop of It’s
of careening delight. Choosing – although it’s wonderfully recorded eight tracks in the the ones who care for the ones Gonna Go Away provides
organ, drums and guitar as ruminative nine-minute German capital over the who went to war/With land- another high, as does The Boy,
weapons is proof that a surfeit closer Safe And Sound that course of a couple of years. mines in the living room and an exhilarating coming-of-
of tools is unnecessary to resonates long after the end. As with last year’s King eggshells on the floor.” age story. Meanwhile, the
making an impact. Head for Andy Cowan Ayisoba album, the repetitive, It’s uncompromising stuff, poignant paean Don’t Close
the prog-edged Forenoon insistent kologo rhythms – but these unsung horrors are Your Eyes is dedicated to the
and the swirling Witches “frafra” – feel familiar to ears unsung no more. Peace, love Oakland artist community
Hammer – with its oddly more accustomed to rock, and understanding indeed. from which the band
Ozzy Osbourne-esque but here the more expansive Andy Fyfe emerged, and their Ghost Ship
vocals – for evidence that production adds horns, synths, warehouse, which burned down
the greatcoat and loons a drum kit and keyboards to in 2016 causing 36 deaths.
have a very real possibility vary things and keep the
of making a comeback. groove flowing. Meanwhile, Seun Kuti Lois Wilson
Although tonal shading comes Guy One’s mother roars her & Egypt 80
with instrumental interludes
i, ii and iii, Hyper Focus is
approval in the background.
Authenticity be damned; #### Ty
heavy. Huge fun too.
Kieron Tyler
this is an instant party.
David Hutcheon
Black Times
A Work Of Heart
Fruit never falls far from the JAZZ RE:FRESHED. CD/DL/LP
tree, but still tastes sweet.
Peel ’em and weep: Perhaps for the first time, it Brixton rapper re-ups
Shannon And The feels as if Fela Kuti’s youngest after seven-year hiatu
Clams’ world is a son has been told to do what
great big onion. he wants in the studio, and Ty’s integrity
let somebody else worry about is unquestion-
the cost, and the results are all able. An MC
the better for it. Boiling it who abstained
down to two tracks that ought from the
to be everywhere in 2018, verbose rah-
Struggle Sounds and rah of his London counter-
Corporate Public Control parts for sharp-eyed social
Department are gold-standard comment on a trio of early ’00s
Afrobeat, the latter nailing jazz-rap odysseys, he’s been
the profit-driven insanity of curiously silent since 2010’s
private prisons – “You promise over-wrought Special Kind Of
jobs then you close the Fool (although no less busy,
factory/But there’s always running workshops and doing
work at the penitentiary” – spoken word). Ready proof
while the former sees him that the 45-year-old’s appetite
at his most messianic. Three is undiminished arrives in
months into the year that the form of Eyes Open, Ty
would have been his dad’s maintaining its quick-witted
80th birthday, the projects double-time fluidity over
that coincide with that the flute-driven positivity of
anniversary are piling up. Somehow Somewhere Some-
way alongside The Last Poets’
Umar Bin Hassan. If that sets a
high bar, he rarely dips below
it, whether battling modern
life’s tribulations on Marathon
or trumpeting his fidelity to
hip-hop above the title track’s
wonderfully squidgy, treacly
funk. Politically astute,
Alysse Gafkjen

philosophical and profound,

Ty’s comeback is a tad too long,
but only because he cares.
Andy Cowan
Updating the desert
blues: Imarhan make
space in the Sahara.

Will the newest Saharan
sounds upstage the
Asks David Hutcheon.
but benefit. Not just from the guitar interplay, hook-laden melodic simplicity.
HAVING WATCHED the knowledge of the pioneers, but from What can they do that we haven’t heard any
ascent of Tinariwen from he advantages of geography and other Tuareg band do? If the opening bass
focal point of Tuareg echnology (primarily access to the salvo on Azzaman suggests intent, the guitars
resistance to international nternet and all the music they could on Tamudre announce a desire to update the
stars, the quintet who digest), and by the fact the world’s ears desert blues for the Tame Impala demographic.
formed Imarhan 10 years ago must have were primed by the time they released their Ehad Wa Dagh rattles along at the sort of speed
wondered whether or not there was room for debut album in 2016. their elders would avoid, the rhythm guitar
another Saharan blues-rock band. And, Older musicians, they said, had a message owing more to Nile Rodgers than Ali Farka
arguably more importantly, how would they that did not always apply in the second Touré (not the only time disco is an obvious
create their own space? decade of the 21st century. The goal was not influence); and the climax of Tumast is a trance-
As the first out of the traps, their – culturally to communicate to a small number of drone masterpiece that the band would be
and literally – cousins found themselves in compadres, but to treat the world as a stage. foolish not to stretch to its limits in concert.
uncharted territory. Tinariwen were instinctive Not for Imarhan, then, the rounds of arts Only closer Ma S-Abok suggests there is a
musicians, but they weren’t born entertainers. centres and folk festivals: they opened their comedown side to Saharan psychedelia.
They split, they regrouped, they dug deeper European account supporting Kurt Vile. A What they don’t do, however, is pull the
into their heritage for poetic inspiration, mismatch, to these eyes and ears, because carpet from under the feet of their elders.
they ventured out of remote parts of the desert where the headliner was deliberately, by his Indeed, Tinariwen’s bassist, Eyadou Ag Leche,
and they got bored fending off questions own admission, “all over the place”, the co-produces – but this may be the last leg-up
about Kalashnikovs. Africans were tight, focused and in command. Imarhan need from the previous generation. It
Living in Tamanrasset, a Tuareg-dominated OK, so we know what they can do. The turns out there is plenty of room in the Sahara
city in southern Algeria, Imarhan couldn’t help camel-walk rhythms, the vocal harmonies, the for another gang of guitar slingers.

of Eternal Returns struck new single Istanbul Is Sleepy Granada, is familiar. Alongside their 34-year career, from
regularly by lightning bolts of but loaned the band his Berlin members of jazz-prog combo country covers to fuzz pedal
skronkular scree, the soothing studio. Fuzzy Mediterranean Dungen, the slightly taciturn drone rock, but still, this
ambient tendrils of A Basketful psych still washes across the Gunrup earned buckets of one’s a bit of a surprise. The
Of Trumpets harvested from album, but influence comes praise for last year’s angsty material was all composed
the trippier regions of Jimi from the German capital too, Ambulance. This go-round, from spontaneous playing
Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, and bringing a driving, metallic things have brightened. Pull is in their studio. But any
locating newfound beauty sheen to the duo’s yé-yé a gorgeously deft lullaby, sketchiness only adds to the
within Carlton Melton’s charms. Pleasingly evocative Reine Fiske’s guitar lines impressionistic atmospheres
throbbing heaviosity. of New Order (The Gift, glittering like ice, Gunrup’s that the musicians create.
Stevie Chick featuring Hook) and Beta Band Michael Stipe-like vocal If there is a riot going on
(De La Part Des Copains) yearning and hopeful. More outside, Yo La Tengo are busy
grooves, The Limiñanas have mellow still, laid-back stoner
Carlton Melton The Limiñanas returned all their favours by anthem Never Be offers West
exploring an inner space. On
She May, She Might Ira Kaplan
### ####
creating a blast of colourful
Coast harmonies, Frampton-
esque guitar breaks and
intones a delicious wisp
of a song over pattering
Mind Minerals Twisting The Paul Stokes sudden cleansing stabs of jazz. percussion and a gentle swell
AGITATED. CD/DL/LP Frequently mixed in with the of abstract sound, while
If Brian Eno formed a stoner-
Shadow People delicacy are psychedelic Polynesia #1 finds Georgia
rock band, they’d sound BECAUSE MUSIC. CD/LP playouts, occasionally 10 Hubley singing a sweet
something like this. Kaleidoscopic French e minutes long, of Hendrix- melody over luminous guitar
Californian acid-rockers return with reinforce . worthy explosiveness. Je chords. Dream Dream Away is
Carlton Melton jammed most The Limiñanas Travaille Dans La Banque, a softly textured, spacey
of their previous cosmic have released naturally a story of early instrumental with echo delays
output in a geodesic dome on five cultily death, is gentle, heady folk giving a ticking rhythm, and
a friend’s property. However, appreciated rock with elements of Air and then, after four minutes,
their sixth album completes albums in just Nick Drake; bringing up the Kaplan fades in with a
the journey begun with 2015’s over six years. rear is a cacophony worthy of languidly strummed vignette
Out To Sea, out of the dome As a result, the Perpignan Gong. Therapeutic. of a song.
Glyn Brown
and into a proper studio.
Thankfully, the transition
duo – husband and wife
Lionel and Marie Limiñana –
The Amazing Mike Barnes

hasn’t spooked their gift for can now cadge favours in a ###
trancey psychedelia, nor manner that matches their In Transit Yo La Tengo
suppressed their fancy for
hazy wandering and crackling
songwriting, with friends,
co-workers and now Peter
ambient hum. In that latter Hook, French actress Fifth outing from Swedish There’s A Riot
jazz-rock ‘supergroup’.
mode, The Lighthouse and Emmanuelle Seigner and Going On
Snow Moon make like side Anton Newcombe guesting It takes hubris to call your MATADOR. CD/DL/LP
two of ‘Heroes’, daubed in on songs. Indeed, having band The Amazing: or self-
doomy drone. But it’s their sought out the Brian effacing irony, something with The trio’s 15th album comes
more rock-oriented excursions Jonestown Massacre man to which lead singer and with a fresh approach.
that appeal most – the cover The Kinks for MOJO last songwriter Christoffer Gunrup, Yo La Tengo have covered a
monumental super-structure year, he not only appears on ex of dark indie-poppers lot of ground stylistically in

Soccer Mommy,
vulnerable teen:
Sophie Allison
comes clean.

singing about “old man river

and snow-white cotton fields”
Nathaniel Rateliff
shouldn’t work, but it does. & The Night
Mark Blake Sweats
Lucy Dacus Tearing At The Seams
#### Coming of age second m
Historian from the Denver band
2015’s self-
Richmond, Virginia’s titled debut
wanted. placed Rateliff
Lucy Dacus’s centre-stage
2016 album – he wrote the
debut No Bur- album,
den unexpect- demoed it, worked it up. This
edly triggered follow-up, after two years on
a 20-label the road and a live album, is
bidding war, majors included. more of a group effort, songs
Choosing Matador, home of created from woodshedding in
Kurt Vile, Julien Baker and a New Mexico studio. The
Stephen Malkmus, shows benefits are immense. The
where her heart – and her Night Sweats’ woozy, loose
DNA – lies. The Joni gene grooves are hypnotising and
that’s inspired fellow aces are perfect accompaniment to
Nadia Reid, Phoebe Bridgers Rateliff’s gravel-worn rasp. A
and Sharon Van Etten is here, Little Honey taps into the
but Dacus’s aura is heavier, Muscle Shoals sound. “I need
giddier, inflamed by Jacob you baby,” Rateliff cries over
Blizard’s treacly guitar. Slow- the intimate union of organ,
burning opener Night Shift piano, horns and rhythm sec-
establishes a kind of blissful tion. Gospel harmonies bring
grunge, to match her gor- uplift to the contemplative
geous stately alto, steeped in Babe I Know, while Shoe Boot
lust and longing: “I feel no and Intro, the latter not actu-
need to forgive but I might as ally the LP’s opener but track
well/But let me kiss your lips seven, are greasy jams and
so I know how it felt.” Even the proof the band are perfectly
less bristling episodes feel housed at the relaunched Stax.
luminous and ecstatic, but Lois Wilson
mostly the magnificent Histo-
rian thrives on tension, peak-
Guided By Voices melodic immediacy, and ing on Pillar Of Truth’s brass- Soccer Mommy
Pollard’s opaque, flab-free
driven climax: “If my throat
can’t sing, then my soul ###
screams out to YOU!” Clean
Space Gun James McNair
From bedroom to the studio
Fresh from Coachella, with
Holly Miranda for Nashville alt-rocker.
newbies Mark Shue (bass)
and Bobby Bare Jr (guitar). ### Mélissa Laveaux There is a moment, seven
Writer’s block has never ailed Mutual Horse #### minutes into Sophie Allison’s
debut album proper, when
GBV linchpin Robert Pollard, DANGERBIRD. CD/DL/LP Radyo Siwèl Cool’s chewy guitars wobble
but after 2,000-plus songs, NO FORMAT. CD/DL/LP and decelerate, as if a tremolo
Lack of focus undercu
and two new albums last year arm’s malfunctioned. Or
alone, he’s being a tad more
impact of US singer-so
writer’s first LP since 2 John Oates Re-doing that vodou t
she does so well. perhaps it’s a sign of musical
frugal with his pop-sike treats
this year. Space Gun – 15 more Holly Miranda’s ### Montreal-born
am-dram, proof the 20-year-
old hasn’t forgotten her DIY
blink-and-you’ll miss ‘em fourth solo Arkansas but Haitian by
Bandcamp origins (reworked
hook-fests with reliably wacko outing collects THIRTY TIGERS. CD/DL/LP heritage (her
for 2017’s mini-LP Collection).
phraseology – will be GBV’s 14 of the 23 parents fled
One half of Hall & Oates finds Clean’s bolstered tones of
only 2018 release, but it’s a songs written Papa Doc
his inner bluesman. ’90s-evoking alt-rock – take
generous and potent fix of for the album. Duvalier as
Based on his back catalogue of note, Breeders, Belly and
Pollard eccentricity. King The pruning process suggests teenagers), Laveaux has
shiny pop-rock songs, John Waxahatchee followers – is the
Flute’s rollicking tale of a royal the articulation of a particular already made waves with her
Oates might seem like an better for echoing Collection’s
exulted for his woodwind vision, yet its Codeine-esque first two albums and a splen-
unlikely candidate for an spindly charms, in perfect-pop
prowess comes on like a lead-off single Exquisite fea- did version of Beyoncé’s Crazy
album of country blues. Yet epistles (Last Girl; Your Dog)
Magnus Mills novel in 1 minute tures a distracting co-vocal In Love, but here she puts the
and stripped solo voyages like
23 seconds, while Blink Blank – from TV On The Radio’s Kyp Arkansas picks up where 2011’s emphasis on the rhythms of
Still Clean, whose words nail
“…experts pondering the lost Malone. On the album’s next Mississippi Mile left off. It’s a her family’s homeland, mixing
the LP’s dovetailing narratives
monocle,” sings Pollard track, the pure tones of My labour of occasionally self- the odd original with covers
of love and hate: “A ring finger
unfathomably – works Brightest Diamond’s Shara indulgent love, but Oates has from Haiti’s years of American
fell to the water from your
wonders with monosyllables. Nova crop up to counterpoint the voice for it, and a good occupation (particularly rebel
bloody teeth/I guess I’m only
It’s the title track, though, Miranda’s husky tenor. When its contacts list in his phone. spirituals such as Legba Na
what you wanted for a little
ushered in with retro sci-fi creator reclaims proceedings, Recorded in Nashville, his Konsole), traditional country
while.” Allison’s verge-of-tears
shooter fire, that impresses the hard-edged – as if P.J. Har- Good Road Band features songs and some vodou that
delivery is another sign that
most, this latest GBV line-up vey were wrestling with Low – mandolin-playing royalty Sam may sound familiar. With an
Clean’s grown-up vibe can’t
clearly in thrall to the dumb is offset by satisfyingly cracked Bush and other country innocent, school-girly voice
hide the vulnerable teen within.
thrills of thrumming guitars, and downbeat contemplations luminaries. Between them, that somehow hints at a 60-a-
Martin Aston
like Let Her Go and the sepul- they rework several standards, day habit, Laveaux may have
chral, sparse Sing Like, on including Champion Jack set out to rediscover Carib-
which the mood and voice have Dupree’s Stack-O-Lee. Yet bean roots, but she also
room to breathe. Mutual Horse Oates’s two originals hold their underlines how much the
takes its title from a photo of own in such company. Dig islands influenced the early
singer-songwriter Cris William- Back Deep is a little rock’n’roll and soul that
son and another woman hold- perfunctory, but the title track emanated from New Orleans
ing the reins of a horse: a shines. Here, Oates brings his – indeed, it’s hard not to hear
shared equine. Similarly, Miran- day-job’s attention to melody Iko Iko in La Sirèn La Balèn
da’s unwieldy new album and craft to what might – but with the modernist
comes across as showcasing otherwise have been a sheen of France’s A.L.B.E.R.T
unreconciled viewpoints. by-numbers homage to the production team.
Kieron Tyler Southern state. Hearing Oates David Hutcheon

Johnny Cash American estuary-Brum observations. they’ve turned their backs on Dancefloor, it’s the hour when
Recordings job; she handles Standouts include should-be the pigeonhole they found she’s with her friends, slightly
the grittiness of Henry’s Civil hit When You’re Depressed themselves in after 2011’s drunk, lost in music. Planned-
War with calm assurance. (which confides/boasts, “seven Smart Flesh album, which was parenthood anthem Babies,
There’s even a nod to the years since I had sex”), followed five years later by the though, finds her feeding a
tradition on Tim Eriksen’s bungling criminal farce more experimental Eyeland child in a rocking chair at 3am,
I Wish The Wars Were All Over Chromium-Plated We’re So and a terrifying tour van crash. begging it to sleep. Record
sung with heartfelt simplicity Elated and Relative Poverty’s To these ears, the differences – the title has a doubled-
– always her forte. knees-up in the workhouse, between the albums are less edged glint – is a diary of
Colin Irwin which horrifies like a Victorian dramatic, and the central female evolution, from the
children’s toy. His delight in concept of The Salt Doll… – a teenager of Guitar, realising
melody leavens the bitterness, fable where the titular doll is cool boys don’t own the stage,

David Byrne Moaning and you’re left with that rare

thing – a record whose maker
absorbed by the sea in
exchange for wisdom – largely
to the empty-nester of Go.
Sister (“I fight like a girl”) offers
#### ### has poured his life into it. obscured to the listener. timely defiance, but there’s
Ian Harrison Occasionally, delicate subtler power in Thorn’s
American Utopia Moaning folktronica beauty mixes
targeting of subjects that
TODOMUNDO/NONESUCH. CD/DL/LP dreamy acoustic music with rarely get a pop airing. The
Post-hardcore/nu-gaz intense, layered electronics, slightly muted beats across
Quixotic state-of-the-union
intermingling from LA while at others, the ambient Record suggest the memory of
address from Talking Head.
It would take wash leaves so little to focus good times, but the joyous
Initiating a project called on it’s hard not to wonder if flash of self-recognition on
a colourful
Reasons To Be Cheerful, David they didn’t simply fall asleep Dancefloor shows they are far
band indeed
Byrne recently tried to offset in the studio. from over: “Someone’s
to transcend
the ‘hell in a handcart’ view of Andy Fyfe singing/And I realise it’s me.”
the negative
humanity with a database of Victoria Segal
global goodness: barrio
of a name like Moaning. On
libraries, Parisian bike-shares.
American Utopia, his first solo
the surface, this early- Tracey Thorn
twentysomething trio don’t
album since 2004’s Grown
Backwards, accompanies the
seem well cut out for the job: You Are Wolf
scheme, acknowledging the
Sean Solomon’s disengaged-
slacker non-singing on #### Record
darkness while keeping its face Keld
unexceptional unlucky-in-love
to the light. Backed by Fourth post-Everything But
themes topping off a FIRECREST. CD/DL/LP
collaborators including The Girl solo album from
superficially dreary Dinosaur Kerry Andrew continues her
Sampha, Oneohtrix Point Bedsit Disco Queen.
Jr-meets Pale Saints aesthetic. individual amalgamation of
Never and enduring foil Brian
Behind the absence of vocal traditional and original song. Three in the morning, it seems,
Eno – co-writer of LCD
charisma, however, lurks a is the time of Tracey Thorn’s
Soundsystem clatter Folk songs are resilient enough
deceptively rich sonic attack, life. On the euphoric disco of
Everybody’s Coming To My to take all sorts of treatment
with New Order synth textures
House – Byrne filters grace, and while Kerry Andrew sings
within the Hüsker Dü-like
wonder and apocalyptic George Collins in a fairly
buzzsaw pop of (somewhat
portent through his fractured straightforward manner, she
perennially themed!) opener Then and now:
worldview. The jubilant Every often reconfigures the source Tracey Thorn’s
Don’t Go, and My Bloody
Day Is A Miracle celebrates material. In taking these memories of
Valentinesque whammy-bar
love, but there’s unease and liberties she is more drawn good times.
wooziness on Tired. At their
ambivalence on the sinister to the strange poetry, the
best melodically, Artificial
automated clang of I Dance magic realist aspects of folk
lopes on Pornography-era Cure
Like This, the cryptic geopolitics song, rather than finger-in-
beats to a rousing Interpol
of Here, or Doing The Right the-ear earnestness. The
angst chorus. Further on
Thing’s flaunting of ruling- arrangements are spartan,
though, the various ’82-91
class good taste. If, as Byrne with her cool, sweet voice
moves become too familiar,
sings on Everybody’s Coming accompanied by guitar and
and the mood of despond
To My House, “we’re only occasional drums and tuned
too oppressive.
tourists in this life,” he remains percussion, although Witch Of
Andrew Perry
a fine guide through its The Westmerlands features
disruptions and disturbances. eerie violins and groaning
Victoria Segal cello. Andrew’s own material
carries recurrent themes of
rivers, and their ability to give
Joan Baez and take life. She embellishes
Dragonfly and Drowndown
### with dazzling echoed and
Whistle Down multilayered vocals and sings
a duet with Lisa Knapp on The
The Wind Weeper. The album closes with
PROPER. CD/DL/LP a different form of lyricism, Let
The matron saint of fol g Them Be Left, a recitation of
the Gerard Manley Hopkins
sails serenely on.
Go-Kart Mozart poem, with children singing
She may not be over airy background drones.
on the Mike Barnes
frontline any Mozart’s Mini-Mart
Baez still has a
voice and she Ex-Felt pop-yurodivy’s The Low Anthem
knows how to use it. Indeed, at
77, she doesn’t sound
17-song EP.
“I am a nub end in the bottom
profoundly different to her of a Coke can,” yawps cult
The Salt Doll Went To
heyday and, with a shrewd genius and lunatic Lawrence Measure The Depth
selection of material by the on a thumping 55-second Of The Sea
likes of Tom Waits, Josh Ritter, sketch of the same name. “I’m JOYFUL NOISE. CD/DL/LP
Eliza Gilkyson, Mary Chapin a sardonic Lucifer with a
Carpenter, Anohni and Zoe 50-foot wing span.” On this Rhode Island duo dust
Mulford (a highly pertinent long-awaited sequel to 2012’s themselves down afte
The President Sang Amazing On The Hot Dog Streets, he is near tragedy.
Grace) some effectively subtle, indeed both irritant and To paraphrase,
engagingly tasteful accuser, over the most boiled- if it looks like
arrangements and an down songs of his career. Here indie folk and
immaculate production by Joe are queasy Polaroids depicting sounds like
Henry, it all sounds of the day rock bottom realities of indie folk, it
for the day. The overall picture violence, poverty and probably is
may be of sedate melancholia frustration, rendered using indie folk. And yet The Low
and forlorn resignation, but novelty electro-pop, petty Anthem’s Ben Knox Miller and
this is no croaky, world-weary thief punk guitars and mordant Jeff Prystowsky have decided
Pete Astor Black Moth Gloria Judas Priest David Kitt
#### ### ### #### ###
One For The Ghost Anatomical Venus Oîdophon Echorama Firepower Yous
Creation Records’ foundation Third and best album yet by Six-track mini album from the No band better defines the After eight years touring in
hero Astor recruits members the Leeds band. Songs are Lyon six-piece expands their sound and aesthetic of heavy other people’s bands, Dubliner
of Ultimate Painting and Wave more sludgy than refined, yet poised, ’60s-rooted harmony metal than Priest. This 18th LP Kitt returns with an eighth set
Pictures for a classy revamp there’s a glamour to Black pop to encompass soulful is their finest since ’90’s of his own sweetly introverted
of his VU-loving roots in The Moth that sets them apart freak-beat, fuzz tones and Painkiller. Lightning Strike is folk; using guitar and violin,
Loft. Literary, rockin’, and still from generic metal. Sisters brass. Their female voices hit a fierce, Traitor’s Gate revisits mostly, plus the digital pulse
pathologically possessed Of The Stone sounds like Patti sophisto-pop climax on subtle, metal’s ‘man awaiting execution’ of electronic beats on album
of above-par tunes. AP Smith fronting Metallica. JMcM immediate The Rain Is Out. JB trope to potent effect. PB highlight Like Lightning. JB

Loma The Lovely Eggs Public Access TV The Magic Gang Prana Crafter
#### ### #### ### ###
Loma This Is Eggland Street Safari The Magic Gang Bodhi Cheetah’s
As Dark Oscillations stutters like Lancastrian duo Holly Ross and Channelling Duran Duran’s Good natured guitar pop from BEYOND BEYOND IS BEYOND. DL/MC
Bauhaus’s intro to Bela Lugosi’s David Blackwell called on US swagger and the vibe of Brighton-via-California by a William Sol’s jams are wood-
Dead, this new project from psych mage Dave Fridmann Young Americans-era David young all-male quartet with a shedded in Washington State
Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg to complement their anarcho Bowie, this New York four- flair for radio-ready melodies, forests, but his mellow guitar
signals serious sonic intent but leanings with his dense piece deliver a second a fondness for Weezer’s pop freakouts often traverse inner
wears its experiments lightly, melodies. Peaks on Witchcraft, album that’s brimming with hooks and Beach Boys’ teen space, not folk’s hinterland.
thanks to Emily Cross’s a perfect Bikini Kill-Pendle pop hooks and instantly romanticism: “Caroline/You’ll At once meditative and –
ethereal vocals. JB Witch coven induction song. JB memorable choruses. MA be fine”, that sort of thing. JB weirdly – choogling. JM

Moon Duo
Jukebox Babe/
No Fun
Sunwatchers Superorganism nown for their kaleidoscopic
K sounds, it might initially
seem surprising Moon Duo
have opted to create a covers EP
TROUBLE IN MIND. CD/DL/LP DOMINO. CD/DL/LP tackling two stripped back, no
The rumbustious skronk of Eight-piece London-based
nonsense anthems from Iggy Pop
Brooklyn’s Sunwatchers has collective’s skewed, Devo-ish and Alan Vega. However, Ripley
antecedents in NYC No-Wave. millennial pop uses jarring Johnson and Sanae Yamada have
But further eclectic influences sonic cut-ups, beats and sped- managed to not only embellish
– Thai guitar pop, Saharan rock up voices to underpin/under- Jukebox Babe and No Fun, but
– give a focus and momentum; mine the smoother elements they’ve added their own
a groove underpinning the of voice and melody. Cute, characters without watering down
bracing freeform racket. JM but tiring over a whole LP. JB each song’s lean impact. The
former rattles along with pulsing
beats, while chiming synths and
cascading guitars bring added
colour. The latter – originally
conceived to celebrate Iggy’s 70th
last year – exposes the song’s inner
groove via a giant lolloping bass.
Good jukebox fun all round. PS
Find it: YouTube/ Streaming
The Temperance UB40 featuring
Ali, Astro Nathan Fake Juanita Stein
Movement Sunder America
### & Mickey Norfolk producer’s four Acoustic EP
A Deeper Cut ### sparse, ambient tracks
on new EP. From fretful
Former Howling Bells
frontwoman acoustically
EARACHE. CD/DL/LP A Real Labour Of Love openings, highlight reworks six tracks from
Scottish band still swimming UMC. CD/DL/LP Serotonin Drops gives her 2017 solo LP America
against the cultural tide with a Founding members resurrect a moody adrenalin rush. with smoky brilliance.
Mehdi Benkler

third LP of blues rock. The title Labour Of Love with readings Find it: Various Find it: Various
track and Another Spiral offer of mainly ’80s reggae. Best is streaming services streaming services
antique Faces-esque blues rock, a cover of a ’60s Stevie Wonder
lots of grunting, mind. JMcM song given a Trojan reading. LW

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Sunny spells
The latest archival trawl digs out more alternate takes and all-star sessions,
but tends to muddy the story. By Mark Paytress.

Jimi Hendrix alongside Hendrix in The King Kasuals in 1962.

Helming an all-black trio (his future Band Of
### Gypsys), Hendrix drained the blues from the song,
recasting it for everyday people on the city streets
Both Sides Of The Sky of late ’60s USA.
First aired on Blues (1994), the version here is
live-in-the-studio unedited, rather than the earlier

ver a few summer weeks in 1970, Jimi composite ransacked from the night’s multiple
Hendrix finally got serious about his fourth takes. Hendrix took the new direction seriously –
studio album. Two years had passed since his guitar break lasts all of 10 seconds.
he’d finished work on Electric Ladyland, time that Hearing Hendrix rock-a-funk a song he would
had seen psychedelia evaporate, funk and soul have played as deep blues just months earlier is
proliferate and the album market streamline into enlightening, entirely worthwhile. But as the set
two contrasting strands, soft rock and hard rock. KEY TRACKS progresses, the random nature of the material tends to
Having risen from a sharply routined sideman on black G Mannish Boy undermine the sonic revelations. Both Sides Of The Sky is
G Hear My Train A
America’s chitlin’ circuit to become the hippy generation’s the final part in a trilogy consisting of the Experience-
most potent symbol of a beautiful, all-creative future, G Woodstock
dominated Valleys Of Neptune (2010) and the Band Of
Hendrix believed in the power of sound to transform G Cherokee Mist
Gypsys set, People, Hell And Angels (2013). But it lacks the
lives. “The body of the music itself is what counts,” he focus of either.
said. “My goal is to be one with [it]. I dedicate my whole Lover Man and Hear My Train A Comin’, which follow,