Any list of 80s bands that should have been much bigger than they were would be incomplete without the inclusion of Love and Money, a Glasgow, Scotland-based group whose combination of strong pop hooks with the soulful baritone voice and intelligent songwriting of frontman James Grant resulted in a stream of songs that were radio ready. But even though the group had some moderate success at home in the UK, they failed to even make a dent in the US charts. Perhaps it was because by the time their biggest UK hit “Strange Kind of Love” came out in 1989, the US market had already moved on from the New Romantic sound that the band was building on to other things. Whatever the reason, when the band split in 1993 after their fourth album Littledeath, they did so largely unknown outside of their home country.
Aidan Moffat has built a career out of poetic and oddly tuneful (despite being mostly spoken-word) musings and mumblings about sex and death. As the frontman of storied Scottish duo Arab Strap, Moffat spent a decade refining his often-understated poetic odes to drunkenness and debauchery across six albums. The group split in 2006, and Moffat went on to release a string of electronic albums under the name Lucky Pierre, as well as several releases under his own name. Arab Strap reformed for a series of live dates last year, but in the meantime, Moffat also found the time to record a collaborative album with Scottish guitarist RM Hubbert, titled Here Lies the Body. The album was released a few weeks ago, and this past Thursday, Moffat and Hubbert played their first live show for the album at Glasgow’s Saint Luke’s, a former church turned music venue in the heart of the city.
On Thursday night, Scottish post-punk band The Twilight Sad came to the Rock and Roll Hotel in support of their latest album, Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave. While the band was just here in November opening for We Were Promised Jetpacks at the 9:30 Club, this was their first headlining show in the District in quite some time (a previous scheduled show at the Rock and Roll Hotel in 2012 was cancelled at the last moment due to visa issues).
In this episode, the gang ditches their fake id’s, shares their true feelings about some of indie rock’s royalty and ponder the true power of a Scottish accent and forty odd pints of beer. PLUS! New music from Nick Cave and The Bad Seed, Screaming Females, Beach Fossils, and who else, Scotland’s FRIGHTENED RABBIT!!!
EPISODE 21: If It's Not Scottish...
1. Slow Jam Of The Week: Survivor - "Is This Love"
Oh sure, Frightened Rabbit sold out The Black Cat, but the fact that this band from Selkirk, Scotland isn’t one of the biggest bands in the world right now and others who ape their sound ARE may be one of the biggest crimes, culturally speaking, of the past five years.
The band formed in 2006 around brothers Scott and Grant Hutchinson. Their debut album Sing The Greys received moderate praise from critics, but it wasn’t until the emotional, a-bomb sized gut punch of 2007’s The Midnight Organ Fight, that the now five piecegroup’s raw, powerful indie-rock saw the success that it so very much deserved. The product of an absolutely excruciating break up that frontman Scott Hutchinson had recently been through (if the songs that make it up are to believed),, Organ Fight demonstrated with a powerful grace that sometimes it really is best to simply say what you feel. That willingness to simply put it all out there not just lyrically, but performance wise as well, not only earned Frightened Rabbit a reputation as a band to look out for, but turned Hutchinson into sex symbol and consummate frontman almost overnight.
Touring in support of their recently released EP State Hospital, you might think that five years after the fact, Hutchinson is over all of the pain. And while that might partially be the case, if anything their performance demonstrated that not only is there always more pain to go around, but there’s a whole lot of joy too. Imploring the crowd to drink between practically every song, Hutchinson and his thick Scottish accent treated the crowd as if they were all good friends hanging out in his flat. Maybe you had been there for him before, or maybe you were a new friend that he met along the way to getting back to something normal, but everyone in attendance left at least feeling like they were all connected, all there to support Hutchinson and each other.