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October 21, 2004 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-21

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16B -The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 21, 2004
Delados bing noise-pop to Blind Pig

By Punit Mattoo
Daily Arts Writer
Often for bands the most difficult
part in attaining success is actually
getting their initial music released,
but The Delgados
overcame this bar- he DelgadoS
rier to become one
of Europe's most Sunday
innovative groups. 8 p.m.
At the same time,
they created the At The Blind Pig
Chemikal Under-_._
ground label to address the problem
that at the time of the band's inception
"there were loads of Scottish bands and
no labels" in hometown Glasgow.
The Delgados (named after Spanish
cyclist Pedro Delgado) were formed
by friends Alun Woodward (gui-
tar/vocals), Paul Savage (drums) and
Stewart Henderson (bass) in 1994.
Woodward describes their formation as

"an act of vengeance" toward the band
they "were chocked out of because the
wanted to pursue a different musical
direction." After a few practice ses-
sions with friend and new member
Pollock, the indie pop/rock group was
The band experienced the usual
problems in their first few years with
one exception. Woodward explained, "I
was at university in England and would
come back on vacation and weekends
in order to practice." A few publish-
ing deals gave the group the financial
security to continue full-time, and
they eventually released their first full-
length effort, Domestiques, in 1997 and
then their second, Peloton. Although
both releases garnered local praise for
their noise-pop sound, The Delgados'
true coming-out album was The Great
Eastern - a nominee for the Mercury
Music Prize, the British equivalent of
Best Album Grammy. Their follow-
up, Hate, was equally impressive with
its melodies featuring vast, sweeping

The band has taken its music in a
different direction for this year's Uni-
versal Audio. Gone are the orchestral
tracks featuring additional studio musi-
cians and choirs; instead the new sound
relies upon simpler harmonies and Pol-
lock's beautiful voice. Somber themes,
although not completely absent, are fea-
tured less in their new music. "Emma
and I can write very tuneful songs and
it can be quite up, but collectively we
always darken those songs ... We decid-
ed if something was up and happy then
we weren't gonna make it sad," Wood-
ward says. "We kept the music happy
and it turned out good."
As for Chemikal Underground,
Woodward still recalls the hectic days
when they managed both the band and
the label. "A few years ago it was get-
ting ridiculous. We'd be preparing to
go on stage and somebody would be
phoning from America asking about
something and we just didn't want to
deal with it."
Overburdened, they eventually
hired office managers and staff. The

Delgados still hold creative con-
trol and recruit new talent, includ-
ing the recently signed Mothers and
the Addicts. The band spurned major
labels to sign with Chemikal Under-
ground, which has been successful in
discovering new talent like Interpol.
The label released Interpol's first EP,
but was unable to continue working
with the band. Woodward regretfully
explains that "we wanted to release an
album (with Interpol). We're not a tiny,
tiny label, but we don't have that much
money and working with an American
band that hasn't sold that many records
is really, really difficult and we simply
didn't have the funds to do it."
Touring will keep The Delgados
busy for the next few months as they
cross the United States before heading
back to Europe and eventually Japan.
They're releasing another single in
January and a possible EP early next
The Delgados will perform at the
Blind Pig on Sunday at 8 p.m. with
Crooked Fingers.

Courtesy of Chemikal Underground
Behold the wild Delgados as they
emerge from their woodland home.


Dears prepare for
upcominig world tour


By Evan McGarvey
Daily Arts Writer
It's been an interesting morning for
Dears frontman Murray Lightburn.
The lead singer of the Canadian indie-
rock band is getting ready to open for
his personal hero (and object of fre-
quent comparison), former lead singer
of The Smiths and post-punk legend
Morrissey. What's more, a friend has
just text messaged him in the middle
of the interview to inform him that the
Dears' album No Cities Left, has sold
500 albums in their first day of release
in the United Kingdom. He seems
genuinely astonished simply because
only their homeland has shown similar
interest, "We sold 900 records in Cana-
da in our first week," he remarked.
On the cusp of their first world tour,
so much seems new to the Dears. Light-
burn himself says he's filled with opti-
mism. "We're going to Europe for the
first time and we're looking forward to
that. It's a teenage dream come true.
When I first heard we were going to be
doing this gig (opening for Morrissey
in Canada), I just started weeping for a
couple hours. Everything is still kinda
new for us."
Lightburn, thanks to his sweet, soar-
ing voice, has had critics dubbing him
the "black Morrissey," and for his part,
Lightburn seems to be taking it in
stride. "It's kind of flattering, Iam abig
fan. It could be worse; I mean I could
be called the black Meatloaf."
It's not just Lightburn that seems to
be getting the critics' attention. Besides
the Dears, the Great White North'has
exported some fantastic indie-rock
bands in recent years. The Unicorns,
The Stills, The New Pornographers
and Broken Social Scene, whose deep
orchestral rock bears the most similar-
ity to the Dears, all hail from Canada.
"It's a slightly generational thing, I

reactionary thing, because we've been
pummeled by shitty Canadian music,
now we went through a long period of
being represented by Celine Dion and
Shania Twain. People got sick of the
crappy material on the radio. There is a
huge renaissance now."
Though he's upbeat about his own
country, he said his worldview has
taken a serious downturn recently. "The
world is lost ... it's so lost, it breaks my
heart," he says.
The Dears are planning to release an
EP tentatively titled Protest EP on the
AceFu label on Election Day. When it
comes to protesting, he's is especially
critical and observant.
"There are people who really care
about these issues and just protesting
... It makes the issues trivial; it turns
it into a big joke. Protesting, to me, is
useless. There are some systems that
you can't change. All we can do, as
human beings in our daily interactions,
is to treat people with respect in dig-
As for the future, Lightburn is con-
cerned with taking the Dears and their
sound in new directions, "A big chal-
lenge for us is to make our message
more concise, more approachable. We
still don't want to lose people who like
our arty stuff ... "More than ever I'm
still into the journey of self. It's an
individual thing. There are songs that
might seem relationship-y. It's not in
the traditional way. It's the relationship
with ourselves, our intentions towards
other people."
Still, he's is perpetually aware of
what he thinks of rock music's role in
"The only solution is to interact in
a peaceful manner. There is a so much
animosity, I'm far too sensitive. If the
Dears can bring anything to the table,
that represents ... dare I say peace and
love, we're gonna bring it."

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