Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Message Personnel

Poptones poses Questions of Doom to chanteuse Dot Allison. If you’re not familiar with Dot Allison, the article is a pretty good primer – but if you’re too lazy to click, I’ll give you the run down.

She stared out as vocalist for Manchester acid housers One Dove, then after the band and scene imploded she disappeared from the scene for several years. She made a somewhat surprising return in 1999 with Afterglow, a wonderfully eclectic record blending electronica, torch songs and pop, simultaneously warm and chilly, and anchored by Allison’s wonderful voice. It was also notable a guest appearance on one track by My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields, who was just beginning to emerge from the chinchilla obsession that kept him a recluse through the latter part of the ’90s.

2002’s We Are Science took a darker turn, with more electronic and programmed sounds and a colder, detached vocal persona on Allison’s part. Think Factory Records – she certainly was. It’s grown on me since, but I still reach for Afterglow when I’m in the mood for her stuff. However, if she’s correct in describing her forthcoming third record as sounding like “Low or Mazzy Star“, I may have a new favourite.

In between working on her own records, she also lends her voice to records and tours by the likes of Death In Vegas and Massive Attack. I sort of wish that I’d gone to see her open – in 2002, I think – for Saint Etienne. Ah well, next time, perhaps. has some sample clips for your perusal, if you’re interested.

Sticking with news out of Scotland, Idlewild have finally revealed details of their fourth album, Warnings/Promises, which will be in stores March 8. Produced once again by Dave Eringa, I believe this will be the first time that one of their records gets a North American release concurrent with the UK/Europe. The first single, “Love Steals Us From Loneliness”, will be released February 21 in the UK, and both British and North American tours will follow in March and April. NME has full details.

Idlewild frontman Roddy Woomble was so excited about finishing the record, he went straight away and wrote about it in his journal. In addition to reminiscing over the year that was, he outlines the rough plans for the band in ’05 and recaps some of his favourite records of 2004. Amongst his picks, Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born, Bjork’s Medulla and Britney Spears’ My Prerogative. Roddy, Roddy, Roddy. Don’t you know that compilations aren’t eligible for year-end lists? Tut tut.

Okay, I made that last bit up. Compilations are fair game.

Feist gets her dancing shoes on in the new video for “One Evening”. Follow the link and click through to ‘videos’. And if you click on the ‘Live pics from the Canadian tour’ link on the homepage, you’ll, uh, end up right back here. Hopefully I will have some more tomorrow night after the Phoenix show.

Exclaim! has posted their year-end lists – pop album of the year? Arcade Fire’s Funeral, a pick I expect to see repeated ad nauseum over the next month or so. For my part, I will begin assembling my year-end features (yes, plural) shortly, expect something mid-December. I will probably spread it out over a number of days since December is generally news-light and I need something to write about…

…and speaking of Arcade Fire, Pulse Of The Twin Cities has a profile on the band. From LHB.

The Portland Mercury brings us the story of a man who found an acetate master of the Velvet Undeground’s first recording session at a yard sale for $0.75.

Comic artist legend Jim Lee has a set of videos linked off his blog which show him creating a sketch of The Authority‘s Jenny Sparks. It’s mesmerizing to watch. And another comic creator who’s been blogging is Brian K Vaughan, writer of Ex Machina and Y – The Last Man, amongst others.

Left-field question… If I want to find some sort of apparatus that will let me use my bicycle as a stationary bike, that is, some sort of jig or blocks that gets my tires off the ground indoors, what am I looking for and where can I get it?

np – Six By Seven / The Things We Make

By : Frank Yang at 9:19 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Gary Campbell says:

    Bike as stationary bike: If you go to any decent bike shop (like Pedlar on Avenue at Dav) you can pick up one of these kits. The best ones are liquid resistence (as opposed to wind, magnetic or otherwise). They apparently feel the most natual when riding stationary. The kicker is that you’re in for about $300. Once in a while you can get a cheap indoor trainer, but you get what you pay for. Still, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything south of about $200. Each year around this time I plan to buy one, but the the price of them makes me conclude I could just get a 6-month gym membership for the same price and use their bikes.

  2. Torr says:

    Capitol Records has NOT set a U.S. release date for the new Idlewild album. And so I also think that Roddy’s saying they’ll tour here in March or April is premature.

  3. Frank says: listed the March 8 release date, and their info is usually accurate. between that and Roddy mentioning the touring plans, I’m fairly confident that it’ll shake out that way. Unless, of course, you have information from Capitol explicitly contradicting this…

  4. Jules says:

    I have a magnetic resistance trainer for my bike and am quite happy with it. There are quite a few on Ebay for reasonable prices (under $100). Avoid the wind resistance ones – they tend to be annoyingly loud.

  5. SvenGolly says:

    Another option for indoor cycling is to get a set of Keitler Rollers. Takes some getting used to (the bike isn’t *stationary*, at least left-to-right). Also expensive, but a snap to use, and keeps up your riding skills in the off-season.


  6. SvenGolly says:

    (typo above, sorry… Kreitler Rollers. ;-) )

  7. mc says:

    Don’t feel bad about missing Dot Allison open for St. Etienne. She was terrible-just her and a acoustic guitar. Plus, Stars made a surprise appearance opening for the opener and they blew her (and arguably, St. Etienne too) out of the water.

  8. Torr says:

    Multiple people from Capitol specifically told me yesterday that they don’t have a release date on their schedule yet for the new Idlewild album, though I hope is right about March 8th.