Tuesday, October 15, 2002
To the Arts Cafe for Unwed Sailor. Great as Johnathan Ford's instrumental indie-rocking trio were, reallyrather has to confess that the most enduring memory of the evening is that of Maude, bass-player with supporting Swiss band Toboggan. A diminuitive Pre-Raphaelite vision in baggy jeans and boots, she held this blog's attention longer than any bass player since..oooh..Hem's Catherine Popper last week, actually. But the interest wasn't entirely superficial since Toboggan's brand of (largely instrumental) ambient 'post-rock' gives the bass a far more involved role than merely rooting the sound. Playing a lot of arpeggiated chords around the top half of the neck, Maude's bass was more in harness with guitarist Valerie than Jeremy the drummer (can't really remember what he looks like - funny that) in producing their attractively unpredictable sound. Calmly deliberate, slightly off-kilter, their's is a distinctly European coolness and they made plenty of friends on the night.
posted by SMc at 4:27 AM
Johnathan Ford is also a striking bass-player, rather too literally so if you're close to the stage as he stands side-on, swinging the guitar neck with abandon. In an all-too-short set Unwed Sailor whipped up some shimmering, thrilling crescendos, kind of how Wheat might sound live if they weren't song-oriented. Cherry-picking their enduring '01 album Faithful anchor, House of hope, Our nights and Golden cities (with slide guitar assists from Tobaggan's Valerie) all shone. Highly melodic instrumental rock with no artsy obtuseness in sight. Recommended...
...as is another new release on their label BurntToastVinyl. Just when it was beginning to look like Pedro the Lion was cruising unopposed to the reallyrather year's best title, Denison Witmer steps up to the plate with Philadelphia songs. So, can this album of 31 minutes and nine tracks, one of which appeared on his previous album, really be a contender? Watch this space...