SF Calling: A Chat with Glasgow’s Elaine O’Connor

I’m not sure how this will pan out. In my head, I’d like it to be a conversational chat about music from the point of view of our respective cities. Thanks for the tip on the ‘Happy Particles’. Once again, I can say I heard about it from Elaine. What are you looking forward to musically in the new year? I’m very excited about the upcoming Chris Devotion and the Expectations release.

“If it’s not already clear, I love the Happy Particles, so I’m glad you like them as well. What I’m looking forward to is something I have been thinking about today. I have one of the CDEX singles which I like a lot, so that should be a good one. I’m fond of the label they’re on – Armellodie (did you happen to get their free sampler, which was released over Christmas? (http://armellodie.bandcamp.com/album/armellodie-records-sampler) If not you should check it out.) 

I also want to hear the mini-album which Holy Mountain is set to put out on Chemikal Underground – their noisiness is very appealing live and will be good to see how it sounds properly recorded. I’m looking forward to hearing what PAWS are going to come out with next, as they’re apparently going in to the studio in the next couple of weeks to record. Also, the Miaoux Miaoux album, whenever it appears, is going to be pretty amazing. Of course, there will be plenty more but I can’t think what right now.”

Has the re-release of Big Country’s ‘The Crossing’ come across your radar? I’m a little dismayed by the 30 years of it all, as I was 18 or so when that came out. 

“I’m afraid I’m not big on Big Country. Should I change my mind on this? Tell me what I’m missing out on?”

I am not sure it would work that way. Personally, I rarely ever go back and look for something before my time. On the other hand I just discovered the Skids. Had I known them before Big Country who knows how I would have felt about it. It certainly would have been different. And considering the tragic circumstances, I doubt it would have much meaning for someone of today. I won’t put it down to nostalgia though.

This time of year has always been completely devoid of U.K. acts touring here, but now that I’m focusing so much on Scotland, I’m really ‘jealous’ of not being able to attend any of the Christmas shows. Did you take in any?

“I did just a couple during a very busy December. Went along to Last Year’s Girl’s (http://lastyearsgirl.pixlet.net/) show at the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow, which was not Christmassy per say but definitely kicked off the festive season. She had a mix of offbeat singer songwriter types David Hughes, Chris T-T and Franz Nicolay, and all were very entertaining but Chris T-T was hilarious as well as talented so he won the day for me. 

I saw the We Were Promised Jetpacks, Remember Remember and Endor show at the ABC in Glasgow, which was a great triple-bill. Endor are just a lovely band, and Remember Remember get better every time I see them. WWPJ were very good fun, and it was the big office party night Friday in Glasgow so packed with drunk people, which they handled well.

I also went to see the Second Hand Marching Band’s Christmas show, with Withered Hand and the Last Battle which was a nice mix. SHMB I have a vested interest in because of my brother who plays with them, but I genuinely enjoy them too – also they did a cover of ‘Stay Another Day’ by East 17 – which probably doesn’t mean much outside of the UK, but was a Christmas number 1 which is a big deal here.

There must have been a couple of good local shows over there in the festive season, did you go along to anything?”

Sadly I was a bit laid up and didn’t even make it to the Fakeyourowndeath New Year’s show. (Like missing SHMB almost). I can redeem myself  a week Friday. I did pick up a couple of Twilight Sad and Wedding Present Tickets today though. Seamonsters live! I missed buying Bombay Bicycle Club tickets. Ian McCulloch coming to town and I better go and snag some Imperial Teen tickets before that sells out.  I wanted your opinion on FYOD. There was a time, I’d counted the previous incarnation as my favourite band. That is no small declaration. But I’ve always felt I might be just a little to close to them to be truly objective.

What do you think? http://www.facebook.com/FakeYourOwnDeath?sk=wall

“First off, I was immediately intrigued to see they had recently been playing with The Velvet Teen, a band I love. So thought, ‘this can’t be bad!’. And indeed it wasn’t. While they’re probably sick of hearing Interpol/Editors comparisons, it is true; but in a really good way. I liked the urgency behind the guitars and drums, and the intensity of his voice. I also enjoyed that I could have had a wee dance to ‘Bombs Don’t Show Up’ which had a bit of a Franz Ferdinand tinge for me. In short, it ticks many of my boxes and the band is now on the list for purchases. Thanks for getting me to listen to them.” 

I take it you didn’t get a ticket for the Nov 17th Arab Strap ‘reunion’. Do you have any direct feedback from someone who did manage to get in?

“Sadly I did not, no. I’ve heard from a few friends that it was pretty special which is not unexpected — Stuart McHugh’s review was good (http://www.isthismusic.com/arab-strap-3) and I trust his opinion. I was obviously quite disappointed, but I did see them a tremendous amount of times when they were alive, so I guess I can deal with it. 

In a further blow, I was also unable to go to the shows both Aidan and Malcolm did during December because of other commitments; so it just really wasn’t my year for Arab Strap related activity!”

Coincidentally, I went to see the Chameleons (Vox) that  very night at the same venue that I had seen Arab Strap on their last North American tour.  I had passed on this opportunity before as I am extremely leery of falling into the nostalgia trap. In short, it was amazing. Mark Burgess (despite the jeans tucked in short boots look ) was phenomenal. I think it highlights how far ahead of their time they really were.  Are there any bands you wished you could have seen? 

“Tons, I’m sure… Although I’m very lucky in that the one band I loved the most who had split up were The Pixies, and thanks to the reformation I’ve seen them a couple of times. Both were amazing shows for me, although I’m sure they weren’t quite the same as they would have been.”

 In terms of musical generations (say every 5 years) we are quite a bit apart. This actually fascinates me. So many of my generation stop looking for new music or are just  looking back nostalgically on the ‘good old days’.  I fear in my case, it is probably a case of arrested development in that my musical passion is still adolescent.   Are you able to talk about bands of your ‘youth’ yet?

“I’m terrified of the day I stop looking for something new. While I hope I’ve developed somewhat, a lot of my tastes are still quite similar and there are bands who I guess I’ve now had long love affairs with (Mogwai are probably the best example of this). Some are very much of the past – most of those could be classed in the pop punk bracket; certain of them I’m still a fan of but for the most part I’ve put them aside. It’s strange to think there are bands I had huge obsessions over who I now haven’t listened to for years. My friend Lesley is a champion reminiscence partner for such things. In school we were constantly going to see a British band called My Vitriol; who kind of imploded after touring their first album to death. We saw them on a ‘we’re sort of back together with half the band changed but the same old songs’ gig a couple of years ago and it was completely bizarre and almost sad. They’re of a certain time, for sure, but I can still remember how much I loved them back then.”

I don’t think it is a coincidence that I consider  ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ as the best overall release of the past year. The idea of aging obviously resonates with me.  In fact, I just ordered the triple vinyl. Which means I have paid for the download, bought the physical cd and now have the deluxe edition.  What would you hail as the year’s best?

“That is *some* dedication to an album although I do agree it’s fantastic. I’ve only got the CD! I have enjoyed a lot of albums in the last year, but standouts are probably Remember Remember, Happy Particles, Mogwai, Monoganon, Conquering Animal Sound, Dead Boy Robotics – every time I try and think about it I remember something else. My ultimate favourite is a toss up between the first two but Remember Remember’s new album might just edge it. Might. I think it really pleased me most because I had that second album worry – because the first RR album I was very attached to and I was nervous I wouldn’t like this one as much. But the changes, additions of more members and more instruments, have added so much to it; I probably enjoy it even more than the first.

Scotland aside, I’ve probably listened to the Cults album more than any other this year. I basically like anything with fuzzy guitars which is a bit girl-band-ish, so it was a no brainer. “

That reminds me that I should get a Veronica Falls ticket. My first impression was the new Lush (without the acerbic wit) The blog ( of a ‘professional’ fan) is now a full 3 months old. 2100 hits is not very much. But it is something. In reality, it probably should be closer to zero. In fact, the other day I noticed a click through from Pop Cop. I’m listed as a music site! And as of now I’m on Ayetunes! What would say was your ‘professional’ highlight?

That’s very exciting, the Pop Cop is excellent. I still feel like a glorified fan also. My favourite thing is when someone I like, likes something I write about them. That makes me very happy.”

I smiled the other day when I noticed The King Hats thanking you for linking up with them on twitter after our post about them. Surely not a coincidence. Lastly,  Campfires in Winter (not on the Radar artist list yet)   cough  cough …

 “I admit I hadn’t got round to chasing this up further, but I’ll punt it again! Thanks.”

Thanks so much for agreeing to this experiment. We’ll see what the future holds. Until next time, San Francisco out.

T&P

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