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

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…