- Stewart Smith
- 14 August 2009
Ecstatic folk-rock magic from Glasgow
Alex Neilson’s questing spirit has led him to play with Will Oldham and Texan outsider Jandek, make free jazz with saxophonist Sonny Simmons, and explode traditional folk songs with Scatter and Directing Hand. But with Trembling Bells, the mercurial drummer has switched his focus to songwriting. ‘I felt it much more in the spirit of experimentation to try something I had never done before,’ he explains.
The results were remarkable enough for legendary producer Joe Boyd to invite the band to join Fairport Convention and Incredible String Band at his Witchseason Weekender in July. ‘It was a real honour to share a stage with people who helped expand my idea of what music could be,’ Neilson says. Debut album Carbeth is one of the year’s best, with Neilson and co-vocalist Lavinia Blackwell leading the band through a collection of ecstatic folk-rock and visionary ballads that suggests a basement jam between Fairport Convention, Palace and Sun Ra. Catch them now before they escape to the studio to record next album, Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day.
Electric Circus, 226 4224, 25 Aug, 8pm, £4; Stereo, Glasgow, 26 Aug.