Lola in Slacks, The Cosines & Kurt Cobain’s Favourite Songwriters

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Lola in Slacks Glad Cafe

Quite a few very promising shows in Glasgow this weekend that locals might be interested in.

First up, Lola in Slacks will be making an appearance at the Glad Cafe in Shawlands tonight (27 September) and this is one not to miss if you have the chance.

For a band that have still only played a handful of gigs, Lola in Slacks have already made a very positive impression on those who have came across them and I have no hesitation in naming them the best new Scottish act I’ve heard this year.

Vocalist Lou Reid (yip, her real name) possesses the kind of intriguing, timeless vocal delivery that would likely have gone down just as well in a Weimar era cabaret bar as a music venue in modern day Glasgow and collectively the band complement her perfectly, in fact, guitarist Brian McFie (formerly of The Big Dish) reminds me at times on tracks like False Lines of her near namesake, the Velvet Underground legend.

I really think that in the not too distant future they could make a album full of great songs.

From a demo recorded by former Simple Minds keyboard player, Mick MacNeil, this is False Lines, a track that would make a fine debut single:

If you want to hear another version of the song along with five others from a recent session the band recorded for Billy Sloan, click here.

Tonight will also see the first visit to Scotland from The Cosines, whose recent album Oscillations I enjoyed a lot. Think C86 meets Stereolab.

They’re playing the Bowlers Bar, which I’d say was the best pub in Bridgeton – although some might see that as damning with faint praise – and support is supplied by Duglas T. Stewart favourites, No More Tiger and Citizen Bravo, who is Matt Brennan of Zoey Van Goey.

I’m told admission to the show is only a fiver and the Bowlers booze is very reasonably priced – a real rarity in any venue with live music nowadays.

Here’s some Pure Pop for Neu! People in the shape of Out of the Fire, the opening track of their album, which is out now on Fika Recordings:

 
And finally, I did promise some Vaselines last week, and coming out on Monday on their own Rosary Music label is their third studio album, V for Vaselines.

The plan seems to be that Eugene and Frances will be play two acoustic sets in-store at Monorail in Glasgow this Sunday (28th September ) between 4pm & 6pm. More details here.

V for Vaselines is a great listen and if you’re interested in hearing my further thoughts on it, here’s my review for one of my favourite sites Louder Than War.

The band also play Edinburgh’s Caves along with Teen Canteen on Monday night and later, after some dates in England and Europe, Kurt Cobain’s favourite songwriters will be returning to Glasgow on November 28 when they’ll playing at the Art School.

This is the new single High Tide Low Tide, filmed if I’m not mistaken in the Costa del Largs. Enjoy:

For more on Lola in Slacks, click here.

For more on The Cosines, click here.

& for more on The Vaselines, click here.

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The Man Who Sold The World

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The Man Who Sold the World.Concert 2014

David Bowie recently announced details of a new single Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) which will be part of a career-spanning box set retrospective titled Nothing Has Changed due to be released sometime in November.

The new song was recorded earlier this year and was produced by long term collaborator Tony Visconti, who has also been busy organising a show where Bowie’s album The Man Who Sold the World will be played in its entirety with Visconti being joined on stage for the first time since 1971 by drummer Woody Woodmansey, the last remaining Spider from Mars. Also taking part are singer Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17, Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman as well as Visconti’s singer/songwriter son Morgan and backing vocalists Holy Holy.

Tomorrow night the show’s on at the O2 ABC Glasgow and after swithering for a while over whether the gig was actually a good idea or not, I eventually decided to head along.

Would Fat White Family, who are playing up the hill at the Art School, be a better night out?

Who knows? Not me.

But I guess I’ll get many more chances in the future to take in that band live in Glasgow.

Anyway, here’s Bowie performing the title track of the album:

 
Compare and contrast time, folks.

Bowie himself is quoted as saying he was blown away when he found out that Kurt Cobain liked his work and described the Nirvana version as ‘heartfelt’. It takes a wee while to get started properly but from November 1993, this is Nirvana live on MTV’s Unplugged:

 
Nirvana’s finest cover? Possibly, although I’m very partial to Molly’s Lips myself too, a song of course written by The Vaselines, a band that I’ll be covering on here in the very near future.

For more on David Bowie click here

Goodbye, Robert Young

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As you’ll probably already know, former Primal Scream guitarist Robert ‘Throb’ Young died yesterday, aged 49, in Hove.

Bobby Gillespie, Andrew Innes and Primal Scream paid tribute in a statement that noted: ‘We have lost our comrade and brother Robert Young. A beautiful and deeply soulful man. He was an irreplaceable talent, much admired amongst his peers.’

‘Robert ‘Throb’ Young was a beautiful human being and a genius musician,’ Alan McGee told Louder Than War, before adding: ‘He was not just the lead guitar player he was a huge creative part of the Scream.’

Many thousands of tributes appeared too on Twitter. Irvine Welsh, for example, observing: The man was more rock n roll than rock n roll itself.’

This is Come Together:

Blindfolded, The Return of Simple Minds & Some Psychedelic High-Rise Flats

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There’s a new Simple Minds album due out in November. Ten years ago this information wouldn’t have really interested me very much. I’d largely given up on the band and doubted that any real return to form was ever very likely.

Once though, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, they’d been a favourite band of mine when their sound was like Neu meets the Velvet Underground by the banks of the river Clyde.

I Travel, written about their experiences while touring Europe for the first time, was post-punk disco, arty but also accessible – it gave a lyrical nod to Eno’s Music For Airports and used to fill the dance floor in Maestro’s in a flash. Or listen to Theme For Great Cities for further evidence of just how fantastic they could sound, with the almost spectral, sometimes shimmering synth of Mick MacNeil and Derek Forbes’ indestructable bassline.

Simple Minds Glasgow City Hall 1980

Like the high-rises in Toryglen where Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill had grown up, the music of Simple Minds gradually fell out of favour. The flats were demolished and at one point the band were left label-less.

Jim Kerr appeared more concerned with opening sushi restaurants and following Glasgow Celtic than making music. Covers album Neon Lights was the nadir, failing to climb any higher than #141 in the UK charts. Simple Minds soldiered on though and, to their credit, refused to join any I Love the 80s money spinning nostalgia fests.

With their 30th anniversary looming, Simple Minds began celebrating their past while also looking to the future, planning to make an album that as Jim Kerr put it: ‘belied the fact we’d been together for three decades’.

2009’s Graffiti Soul, just about lived up to this hope and was their finest for a very long time. The newly recorded tracks on last year’s Celebrate compilation kept up the good work. Although still a little too glossy for my liking, Broken Glass Park showed a revitalised band determined not to just go through the motions. Stagefright, a free download from 2011 also included in Celebrate was even better.

I instantly liked new track Blindfolded when I heard it on Sunday night’s Billy Sloan show on Clyde 2 (and the first live session by Glasgow band Lola In Slacks on the show was superb too incidentally). Anyway, see what you think, shot in Paris and Berlin by Damien Reeves of Noisebox, this is Blindfolded from the forthcoming album Big Music:

 
For more on Simple Minds: Facebook

And finally, seeing Toryglen from a distance on several bus journeys some years ago, I couldn’t work out what had happened to the tower blocks there as they suddenly looked distinctly psychedelic.

Nope, I wasn’t on acid or magic mushrooms and I did later discover that, pre-demolition, they had been used for an award winning TV ad:

Get Outta Your Head: An Interview With Ming City R*ckers

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Ming City Rockers Album Cover

Regular readers of this blog might remember a post from earlier in the year called Mo-dettes (& Ming City Rockers) which featured the latter act’s second single, I Wanna Get Out Of Here but I Can’t Take You Anywhere.

Since then Ming City R*ckers have went from strength to strength, with increasing numbers of converts identifying with their on-stage passion, outsider attitude and, of course, their caustic lyrics and bludgeoning, hook-laden songs.

The band may wear Oxfam black suits, white shirts and the skinniest of skinny black ties but they also have a liking for eyeliner and singer Clancey has Russell Brand hair, together they look as if they’ve tried to combine goth and glam metal with mod, while musically they fuse elements of punk, blues and R&B into their own scuzzy and exhilarating brand of modern day rock’n’roll.

Here’s the new single, Get Outta Your Head:

 
Recorded in a week at Sheffield’s Tesla Studios, the Mings’ self-titled debut album is out on the fifteenth of September and so far advance reviews have been highly favourable with Mojo saluting their ‘live-fast, die-young romanticism’ and Q praising their ‘slash’n’burn intensity’.

The praise is definitely deserved. Ming City R*ckers is a collection of ten of their own numbers along with a cover of Robert Johnson’s Crossroads and each song is amphetamine paced with vicious basslines, great clattering drums and guitar riffs that aim straight for the jugular, while Clancey always manages to sound mightily pissed off whether complaining about crap relationships (Rosetta); life generally being so crap that you need to blot out as much of it as possible (Get Outta Your Head) or bemoaning living in a crap small town, the aforementioned I Wanna Get Out Of Here but I Can’t Take You Anywhere.

Small town blues is a theme that the band seldom stray too far from and they do a nice line in putting down their home town Immingham, never missing the chance to point out that Ming City, as it’s apparently nicknamed, is best known for its massive petrochemical plant and that the most ‘famous’ person to have ever lived there was Soham murderer Ian Huntley. Suffice to say, it’s unlikely that many employees of the Lincolnshire Tourist Board will be numbered amongst their growing fanbase.

Ming City R*ckers strikes this listener as entirely authentic, as if they collectively came to the conclusion while holed up in the studio that the opportunity to make a kick-ass album might just be their best shot at escaping a grim future in a Britain of zero hour contracts and benefits sanctions.

Not that this necessarily meant they weren’t also hellbent on having some fun at the same time.

I wish more young bands sounded as angry and urgent as this lot do.

Ming City Rockers

Ming City R*ckers are: Clancey Jones (vocals, guitar & harmonica), Morley Adams (lead guitar and backing vocals), Jakki Walsh (bass) and Doc Ashton (drums).

Congratulations on making such a fine album, it really is a cracking listen. 

Thank you.

How do you all feel about it?

We’re really happy with it. It sounds like us live and that’s pretty much what we were going for so we’re happy.

Were the band really all pissed in the recording studio?

Absolutely hammered at some points. It got to the point we were drinking beer for breakfast… y’know in preparation for the main days piss up.

So what were your drinks of choice while laying down the album?

Cheap lager of course.

You paint a bleak picture of your home town Immingham but is Ming City really that bad?

It’s fucking shocking. We’ve toured all over the country and we’ve yet to go somewhere even half as bad.

Do you still live there?

Unfortunately, yeah. Everyone who’s lucky enough to leave always ends up coming back, it’s fucking weird, like the twilight zone or something.

Does Morley really get mistaken for a man and Jakki for a girl?

Yeah, it’s been known.

Is this only in Immingham?

No, but it’s always in those fucking backwards small towns where women are short, fat, bleached and orange and the men are angry and dickless from the constant injecting of steroids. I guess Morley and Jakki don’t fit that description so some people get confused.

The album’s only half an hour long but I like to see that as a positive. Life’s too short for fillers, eh?

Absolutely. We wanted to make an album where people wouldn’t have to skip past songs they don’t like. We only put songs we thought were fucking ace on the album.

Why should people buy Ming City R*ckers?

Because the combination of our album and a bottle of Frosty Jack’s is better than sex.

There seems to be some kind of new wave of straight-ahead guitar bands like yourselves, what do you think of acts like Fat White Family and The Amazing Snakeheads?

It’s cool to see bands that don’t play that same old generic indie shit.

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Sleaford Mods, Bass Drum of Death, Palma Violets and The Franceens.

And which acts do you really hate?

You can’t really hate someone’s music that they’ve worked hard to write and play and whatnot. It’s either to your taste of it’s not.

Is it true the band are Magma fans?

Only half of us like Magma, the other half it’s y’know… not to their taste. You’ve gotta admit you’ve never heard a band like Magma. They obviously don’t give a fuck what people think, that’s cool.

When are you bringing your skinny asses up to play in Scotland? You’d be great in a venue like King Tut’s or Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow.

Someone book us for a show! We’d love to play in Scotland. We wanna try that Snake Venom beer.

What does the future hold for Ming City R*ckers?

Death by misadventure.

Good luck with the album and hopefully a promoter lines something up in Scotland soon. And finds some Snake Venom beer for your rider!

This is track 6 on the album, their debut single Chic and the Motherfuckers:

 
For more on Ming City R*ckers:

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