Thursday, September 06, 2007
Yow to // British are coming
many highly anticipated scenarios in life fail to live up to one's expectations, but talking to David Yow on the phone is not one of them. i was fortunate enough to interview the singer--late of Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard and currently of Qui--for a Time Out piece a few weeks back and he was pretty awesome to talk to.
yeah, he's a pretty raunchy dude as you might expect, but i was also really struck by his sincerity. he sounded really psyched to be learning how to actually sing (apparently the Qui dudes are pretty up on their theory) and to be really pushing his vocals past what they were in the Lizard--the new Qui record is a real showcase for what this guy is capable of. (anyone who knows "Zachariah" from the Lizard's "Liar" knows that the notion of Yow actually singing is no joke at all.) also he was very frank about the pressures of living up to his wildman reputation. all in all a very honest, funny, down-to-earth guy. hopefully that comes through in the conversation, which can be found here.
in utterly disparate musical realms, i'm obsessed with the following track by U.K., a progressive-rock supergroup with a weirdly generic name from the late '70s. Thymme Jones from Cheer-Accident turned me onto them and Mr. Steve Smith (maybe the galaxy's foremost King Crimson expert?) was kind enough to loan me their debut disc.
by far the raddest thing about these guys is that at their inception, they included two beasts from the sickest of the early-'70s King Crimson lineups: bassist-vocalist John Wetton (above) and drummer Bill Bruford. rounding out the group are violinist and keyboardist Eddie Jobson and guitarist Allan Holdsworth (a well-known fusion wanksman). this is really Wetton and Bruford's show though. the keyboards are a tad garish, but still, check out how gorgeously lean, soulful and funky this track is once it gets moving:
U.K. - In the Dead of Night (released 1978)
this is the sound of prog inching its way toward pop and the rest of the disc moves even further in that direction. but nothing else on the record has the righteous focus of this track. i'm no Crimson completist; my favorite stuff is the really heavy, raunchy stuff like "Lark's Tongue in Aspic, part 1" and "Easy Money," and Wetton and Bruford obviously made huge contributions to the ballsiness of that music. Wetton in particular may be the grittiest, most powerful vocalist in prog. i love me some Geddy and Jon Anderson, but Wetton has really got a pair--he sings from the throat and the heart, not to mention from the abacus--this tune is wicked complex and he makes it sound so natural! i can't get that damn verse melody out of my head. oh, and damn if he isn't fucking ripping on bass simultaneously...
god bless prog--this is a real apex of the form: concise, catchy, hugely funky in its way, brutal, sinewy, and wizardly in its design. dig it!