Saturday, July 29th, 2006
Everybody Come Down
Scotland’s Delgados hung it up a year ago, which would make about now the proper time for an attic-clearing collection of singles, b-sides, rarities, etc. The Complete BBC Peel Sessions is not that collection, but instead as the title suggests, a collection of all the band’s sessions for the late, great BBC DJ who was a huge fan of the quartet, as well as an early session for Radio Scotland. And for those, like me, who already have the similarly-titled BBC Sessions disc, fear not – only five of those eleven tracks are duplicated on the new comp. It’s not wholly redundant. Yet.
Over two discs and 29 tracks, it covers the breadth of the band’s career from their first single through to the swan song of Universal Audio and combined with the expansive and enjoyable liner notes by bassists Stewart Henderson, offers a very good overview of the career of a band that never quite got the due it deserved. It’s amazing how much a leveling of production can affect the songs across a band’s career – the older songs are still scrappy but more polished while the Great Eastern and Hate-era material sounds spare and stripped down without the Fridmann touch. But perhaps most interesting is how consistent the band sounds – even though they went through some serious stylistic and songwriting-style changes, you could easily put this collection on shuffle play and believe that whatever combination came out was off the same record. This isn’t meant as a slight or to suggest they didn’t grow, just that they had a certain uniqueness of sound and creative vision that was there from the get-go.
As for what the band members are doing a year hence, they continue to run Chemikal Underground records and both Alun Woodward and Emma Pollock are pursuing solo careers. Nothing of Alun’s work has come to light yet but Emma has a deal with 4AD and an album due out sometime this year. A demo is streaming off her MySpace page.
The Chemikal Underground website has a couple of Delgados goodies for download – one is an acoustic, Emma-only demo of “I Fought The Angels” from Universal Audio and a musical rendition of Robert Burns’ poem “Parcel Of Rogues”, arranged and recorded for a Burns Night special broadcast and which also appears on The Complete BBC Peel Sessions. There’s also a video for “Everybody Come Down”, again circa Universal Audio.
Continuing on with the retrospective angle – a Mercury Rev collection called The Essential Mercury Rev: The Weird Years 1991-2006 will be out in the UK on October 2. Considering it covers the many incarnations of the band, from the psychedelic sonic anarchy of the David Baker era through the polished dream-pop of the Jonathan Donahue records, it should be an interesting if jarring listen.
Meanwhile, fellow psych-vets (as in veterans, not veterinarians) The Flaming Lips are putting together a live record, due out for release next year. The idea of a band that is far more interested in the spectacle of a live show than the musical performance releasing a live album is interesting to say the least. Good thing it comes with a DVD. Billboard has more.
And if you (I) weren’t feeling old enough with favoured bands being boxed up and compiled, observe this new compilation from Sanctuary Records – Like A Daydream: A Shoegazing Guide, a collection of noise and effects pedal fetishism covering the big guns to the also-rans. Obviously not comprehensive – it’s just 16 tracks and no My Bloody Valentine, but not a bad sampling. Maybe I can get a copy and just let it run at the Shoegaze Tribute Night at The Boat on August 23, which I’m apparently DJ-ing. More on that at a later date. But what I want to know is, is this collection a replacement for the Shoebox box set that Andy Bell mentioned a couple years ago? I hope not, though considering that Sanctuary is drowning in red ink, I doubt a box set with questionable sales appeal is on their schedule anytime soon. Alas.
Here’s a pleasant trend – record label blogs. Both Merge and Matador have dived headlong into ye olde blogosphere in the past week, launching the Merge Blog and Matablog, respectively. It should be noted that the honchos for each label, Mac McCaughan and Gerard Cosloy, also have their own blogs – Portastatic and Can’t Stop The Bleeding. Mac’s focuses on but isn’t limited to his musical project of the same name whereas Gerard’s is heavy on sports.
So I’m going to Lollapalooza next weekend. A last-minute thing thanks to one of my sponsors but instead of seeing Land Of Talk, Starflyer 59 and Husky Rescue here in Toronto over the long weekend as I planned, I will be seeing Sleater-Kinney, The Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth and, well, Husky Rescue in Chicago. Woot.
np – Okkervil River / Down The River Of Golden Dreams