Skip to main content

Jeremy Thoms - The Stereogram Revue

When Jeremy Thoms decided to start a record label, it was initially to put out the debut album by his own band, The Cathode Ray. Three years on, Stereogram Recordings has a roster of eight acts, six of whom will be taking part in the two-night mini package tour this week styled by Thoms as The Stereogram Revue. A seventh, The Band of Holy Joy, will be represented by proxy, but more of that anon.

“It's something that hasn't happened for a very long time,” Thoms says of the initiative. “I was inspired by the likes of the Stax revues in the sixties, and the Live Stiffs tours in the seventies, where all the acts on the label play on the same bill. With the Stereogram Revue, everybody plays twenty minute sets and hopefully leaves their ego at the door. There will be rough edges to it, I'm sure, but I quite like that. All my favourite artists, like Vic Godard, just plug in and thrash it out. Even so, I suspect I'll be a complete nervous wreck on the night.”

With James King and the Lonewolves closing each night, the rest of the bill will be made up of Dunbar-based wunderkind, Roy Moller, St Christopher Medal, formed by veterans of 1990s combo, Life With Nixon, and velveteen female-fronted sextet Lola in Slacks. The Cathode Ray and another of Thoms' musical vehicles, The Fabulous Artisans, will also appear on the bill.

In terms of running order, other than the Lonewolves, acts will be “shuffled round like a pack of cards,” says Thoms. “It's all about the collective.”

To accompany the events, the label will be releasing The Sound of Stereogram, a limited edition cut price CD featuring all the bands from the shows plus latest Stereogram signing, Milton Star. While the album will feature a track by The Band of Holy Joy, The Stereogram Revue will see them represented by actor Tam Dean Burn. As a long time artistic collaborator of the BOHJ's driving force, Johny Brown, Burn will present a piece of performance art in the guise of the Band of Holy Joy Scrap and Salvage Movement.

“There will be visuals projected,” says Thoms, “and that opens the night up to other areas. It's a very art thing, and will probably be quite freeform.”

If the roots of The Stereogram Revue are in old-school package tours, the label itself has umbilical links with Alan Horne's Postcard and, especially, Bob Last and Hilary Morrison's Edinburgh-based Fast Product. Douglas MacIntyre's Creeping Bent label, which was also inspired by Fast, can be regarded as a fellow traveller.

Many of Thoms' signings have roots in the original wave of post-punk, with James King and The Lonewolves and The Band of Holy Joy the best known of the Stereogram roster. This taps into a recent resurgence of interest in the original Sound of Young Scotland, exemplified best in Grant McPhee's film, Big Gold Dream, which documents the era.

“There's definitely a continuum,” says Thoms, whose own musical pedigree dates back to fronting The Presidents Men, who released two singles on Aberdeen's Oily Records label. Moving to Edinburgh in 1982, Thoms formed the Strawberry Tarts before playing with the likes of The Sour Grapes Bunch inbetween touring with The Revillos.

“From a distance you realise how important all that stuff was, but when you're in the thick of it you don't know it. But Stereogram seems to have tapped into that as well. It's people who did stuff, then dropped out of the scene, got a job, got married, had kids, and who've now come out the other side and are still making music that matters.

“With The Stereogram Revue, hopefully we'll be reaching fans of all the bands who are playing, and maybe introducing something new to fans of one band who maybe haven't heard some of the others. Although none of the bands on Stereogram sound similar, there is a shared ethos there that these two nights are trying to cement in some way. In it's heart of hearts, it's like a good old-fashioned variety show.”

The Stereogram Revue, The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Wednesday; CCA, Glasgow, Thursday. The Sound of Stereogram is released on Wednesday.
www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk

The Herald, December 1st 2015

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…

James Ley - Love Song to Lavender Menace

James Ley had never heard of Lavender Menace when he won an LGBT History Month Scotland Cultural Commission award to write a new play. While Edinburgh's pioneering gay book shop that existed between 1982 and 1987 before reinventing itself in new premises as West and Wilde wasn't on Ley's radar, he had vaguely heard of the Gentlemen's Head Quarters, the nickname for the public toilet that existed at the east end of Princes Street outside Register House. He was also half aware of Fire Island, the legendary gay nightclub that existed at the west end of Princes Street in a space that now forms the top floor of Waterstone's book shop.

As he discovered, Fire Island was a central focal point for what was then a still largely underground gay scene in Edinburgh's capital. Alongside the likes of the Laughing Duck pub on Howe Street, Fire Island was one of the few places where HI-NRG music could be heard in what would these days be dubbed a safe space for gay men and wo…