Filed under: Press | Tags: Album Reviews, NME Magazine, Press, Trashcan Sinatras
6 out of 10 was what NME’s Roger Morton gave the Trashcans’ debut long player, ‘Cake’, but after reading his review, that could have been a misprint.
Here’s what he had to say…
IT MUST be tough to say no in the groove-pushing ’90s. With Morrissey missing, presumed vacillating, and surrounded on all sides by computer-looters, psychedelic organ-grinders and remixed up kids, you must be pretty bloody-minded to set up stall in the nation’s rhythm-blasted shopping centre under a huge banner proclaiming ‘Like Funk Never Happened’.
This, however, is precisely what The Trash Can Sinatras, Scotland’s newest traditionalist songwriters and accidental conscientious objectors to Club Culture, have done with their first album. They must be very determined, or very depressed.
‘Cake’ has some good things going for it. The first is that there is nothing conspicuously Scottish about it. Bluster free and bereft of local namechecks in the lyrics, TCS speak to us in the Esperanto of well-crafted, harmony-kissed, pastoral pop. If their acoustic strumming and afraid-to-rock recalcitrance connect them with early ’80s Postcard label Scots, as is often claimed, then it also serves to make friendly signs at a mixed batch of nimble pluckers and hummers, from Bradford to The La’s to The Housemartins.
The key word here is ‘sensitivity’. TCS bicycle through this album, clear-eyed and sober-headed, smothering you with mother lovable three part vocal sweetness, and attacking their guitars with the savagery of macrame mat makers. They are about as raving as a string quartet and as rock’n’roll as a bunch of Christian birdwatchers on a canal boating holiday, but they are capable of achieving a swooning, scintillant, petal strewn mix of elation and poignancy that makes you want to…what?
In the case of their pleading, propulsive first single ‘Obscurity Knocks’, it makes you want to act like Mozzer doing ‘This Charming Man’. Elsewhere, on ‘Maybe I Should Drive’ their rattle ‘n’ chime is sturdily beat braced, allowing for folkish anthemic possibilities, and ‘Even The Odd’ swings along in pleasantly dreamy fashion with a touch of Smiths-ian booming guitars.
There are, then, positive things to be said of The Sinatras refusenik situations. Bereft of any fad trappings and with Roses’ producer John Leckie opting to emphasise clarity and naturalism, the focus is all on the songs. It is sort of brave, but on this first album it has a lot of drawbacks too. When they’re good, the songs have the sort of deceptive simplicity that’s come to be expected from The Beautiful South (singer Frank Read has a touch of Paul Heaton’s wholesome crooning style to him).
The lullabye strum of ‘Funny’ has both the necessary wisdom “I know she doesn’t play the field/But she likes to know the strength of the team” and weirdness, to keep things a bit challenging: “She’s a funny kind of girl/Set sail in a ship in a bottle/She’s a funny kind of girl/And do the Swiss fake it when they yodel?”. What the hell does that mean?
Too many maudlin minor chord changes, too many “Give me the strength to face another lazy day” type lines and they start to sound just depressed. Midway through ‘Cake’ you might find yourself accidentally humming songs by the favourite TCS comparison, Aztec Camera, and realising that if they’re going to breathe life back into literate, jangling waif pop, the Sinatras still have a long way to go. Roger Morton
30 June 1990 NME Magazine
Filed under: Press | Tags: Concert, Gig, NME Magazine, Steve Lamacq, Trashcan Sinatras
…was the advice given to the Trashcans by one-time NME editor, Steve Lamacq.
With little or no help from the skinny git and his newspaper, the Trashcans thankfully did. Stick. At. It.
As you already know there’s a bit of history between Mr Lamacq and the Trashcans. Here he gives a review of an early gig at the London Borderline complete with the obligatory Orange Juice/Aztec Camera comparisons.
2 June 1990 NME Magazine
Filed under: Press | Tags: Album Reviews, CD, Is This Music?, Magazine, Music, Stuart McHugh, Trashcan Sinatras
…is an independent music magazine and focusses, primarily, on the Scottish music scene. The first issue appeared in late 2003, and is probably best known for printing the first ever interview with Glasgow popsters Franz Ferdinand.
It’s a cracking read and includes reviews, interviews and views on various Scottish artists and the odd one or two from around the world.
An added bonus with each issue was a 10-track CD – a sort of summary of the best new sounds coming out of Scotland – and this one, Issue 13, from the Winter of 2004 – included the Trashcans’ ‘All The Dark Horses’ from fourth album ‘Weightlifting’.
ITM? now appears online and includes many reviews and features not present in the printed version of the magazine.
Allegedly, is this music? takes its name from the song featured on Teenage Fanclub’s album ‘Bandwagonesque’
Here’s the article in full…
Refuse to give up The Trashcan Sinatras have battled through various setbacks and released a new album Weightlifting. itm?’s Anna Battista talks to Frank Reader.
“I’m quite tempted to try it. My nephew says they also have a gentle slope, so if I stick to it I think I will be fine” Trashcan Sinatras, Frank Reader reassures me about his snowboarding session with his nephew, which should happen right after our chat. In a way, the career of Trashcan Sinatras can be compared to a roller coaster ride, rather than to snowboarding down a slope. Leaving behind the collapse of Go! Discs, their bankruptcy and the loss of Kilmarnock based recording studio Shabby Road, the Trashcans, affectionately supported by their loyal fans, have just found a new strength and released a new album, Weightlifting (out on the band’s label Picnic Records), their fourth in eight years. The album starts with what many thought is a prophetic song, ‘Welcome Back’, with the opening lyrics, “Welcome back, back to health” yet, Reader doesn’t think they’re just ‘back’. “It has just taken us so long to record the new album.” he explains, “It’s not like we’re either coming back and staying or coming back and going away. We’re just carrying on doing things the way we do them, that means writing and writing and recording until we are happy and it sometimes can take a long time.” We are sitting in a flat somewhere in Glasgow West End, outside it’s unusually sunny and not too cold. Reader finds unusual the fact that Weightlifting has received quite a bit of attention and very good reviews, “People seem to be a bit receptive towards us, maybe they just admire the fact that we’re so stubborn, ” he shrugs, “we’ve been mentioned a lot in passing in diaries in the Guardian and in other papers and that’s nice and very helpful, especially now that we don’t have a lot of money behind us, because it makes people aware of the name.”
Recorded in Glasgow, the Trashcans new album was mixed in New York by Ivy’s Andy Chase, “At the beginning we thought we were probably trying to mix it ourselves and we tried to do it with one or two songs, but it was becoming very messy.” Reader remembers, “then this guy phoned us up saying he wanted to do it, so we sent him the tape. He did one mix for free, we heard it and thought we didn’t like it at all. So we went back to mix it ourselves and then, just for fun, one night, after doing a mix of one of the songs ourselves, we put his mix on to compare it with ours and it really blew us away. We ended up phoning the guy, saying sorry and asking him if he would have liked to come back. He did, so we sent him the music files on CD and later on we went to New York for a week to tidy things up. He was fantastic, opinionated and very articulate. For us it was unusual to let go so much control and I’m glad we did it. It’s because we let go so much that ‘Weightlifting, sound like our most direct album.”
The Trashcans promoted their album in the States, throughout September and October. “it was so much fun, everybody responded to the new album really well,” says Reader, “we did about thirty gigs, but we also played in radio stations and in a lot of stores. I wouldn’t say that we did a hard job while touring, but towards the end we were getting a little bit tired since we were always up early and we were in traffic all the time.” There are actually plans for the band to go back to America during the first week of December for a radio station tour, in the meantime Reader says he’s quite happy about how things are going with the band, “The main problem we had before was that we weren’t communicating much with each other. Now we are a lot closer than we used to be. John has also become part of my family and therefore John’s brother, Stephen, has become part of my family too. So we have to accept we will be together in some way probably forever. We have actually learnt to accept each other and I think now we are a bit nicer to each other as well.”
Reader tells me he will try to write new songs in the next few weeks, “I’m thinking about what kind of record we’re going to make next, I’m not sure what it will sound like, but I’m really fed up with Aztec Camera comparisons and I’d like to get away from that. Our first album was a bit reminiscent of ‘High Land, High Rain, and I know I might sound a bit like Roddy Frame, because I have a youngish voice, but I can’t see more comparisons beyond these. The rest of the band get quite annoyed about being compared with Aztec Camera, also because Paul doesn’t like them at all.”
The future at present seems to be quite uncertain for the Trashcans, but there is one thing Reader wishes it would happen, “It would be good for us if the record would sell enough to allow us to play, travel, meet people and do the things that make life a little interesting,” he states. Now that many weights have been lifted from their career, and they have found new inspirations, freedom and independence, Reader’s wishes will be more likely to become true. Anna Battista
Phew, and relax. Here’s the free CD…
The Trashcans ‘All The Dark Horses’ is listed as track 2, it is in fact track 9. Those of you with eagle eyes will also spot a track by Ostle Bay – a one time TCS side project, which I’m sure you already know about.
And here, from the same issue, is the review of ‘Weightlifting’…
Is This Music? Issue 13: Winter 2004
Filed under: Press | Tags: Fanzine, Hard-to-Find, Music, Press, Stephen Maughan, This Almighty Pop, Trashcan Sinatras
…is a legendary music fanzine that was produced between 1988 and 1990. It was is created by Stephen Maughan and during that time he produced four issues which included articles, fan letters and reviews on a host of new and upcoming bands.
This one – Issue Four – included a piece on the Trashcan Sinatras and was issued during the summer of 1990. Each issue was accompanied by a flexi-disc (not included here).
In the Autumn of 2008 – after an 18 year hiatus – Stephen released Issue Five of This Almighty Pop, embracing modern technologies such as colour and CD-Rs.
A great little project.
This Almighty Pop Fanzine Summer 1990