|Fall News||10 November 2000
This is the latest news and gossip off FallNet for those with weak stomachs.
001021 Stanza festival, HighSmith Teeth, comedy
Download the interactive promo for the
album here (520 K)
The Fall will be doing an in-store appearance at HMV in Oxford Street, London
on Wednesday 15th November. Doors at 8.30, on stage at 9 pm, followed by a signing session (new LP only, they haven't got that long to sit there). Audience is strictly limited to 500 - you can pick up tickets at HMV, but I have 60 to give away if you can't make it to HMV to pick one up. Mail me ASAP if you want one - any requests with addresses I get before Monday will be posted on; otherwise you'll have to meet me in the Pillars of Hercules beforehand to pick them up.
Another instalment in HighSmith Teeth:
Media Unutterable reviews:
Think that everyone should be try harder to be nice? Reckon that we should
all resolve to smile more? That the reason the world is so widespread
sodding miserable is because everyone is so hopelessly hate-filled? Well,
fuck you. Here's curmudgeon in yer eye. Here comes the bile-filled,
rat-faced, bad-tempered, scalpel-sharp witted and bloody funny (important,
that) Mark E. Smith to rattle your cage of attempted cheerfulness with his
barely coherent, thrillingly choleric rants. Again.
The Fall have been clattering about since the dawn of time, it seems. In
fact, when man first banged two sticks together, failed to make fire but
thought the noise sounded cool, The Fall were born. Their merging of raw
punk and art rock was what made them so vital and, 21 years and 544 skronky
albums on from 'Live At The Witch Trials', it's still the case. 'The
Unutterable' is as sonic roughage to all the processed sugar currently
clotting the charts' arteries, a cool and surprisingly funksome strut
through modern life and it's attendant rubbish that frequently hits deep,
loping, fabulously fat grooves, but is cut through with the deadpan,
twig-dry, Burroughs-like whine of Mr Smith. Check 'Dr Buck's Letter', which
is pinned down by massively distorted bass and features a hilarious ramble
through Smith's daily checklist ('one: sunglasses - I wear them all year
round and seem to need them more often'). Made for everyone who reckons the
over-riding shittiness of Things generally provides life's best and biggest
With this their 34th (or is it 340th?) album, Mark E Smith's ability to come up with the goods year on year is a feat we must now take for granted. To truly dig The Fall you've got to appreciate the three "r"s - riffs, repetition and rapping (well, Smith-style). The Unutterable honours this formula with some colossal hooks (Two Librans, Way Round), robust rhythms and stray nuggets of inspired poetry ("Walking tower of Adidas crap" - genius!)
When Mark E Smith sacked his band in 1998 it seemed as though the old
curmudgeon had finally tipped the scales from being an institution to
entering one. However, it has rejuvenated the group. Last year's The
Marshall Suite - the first with his new line-up of fiery whippersnappers
- was excellent, but this is a career peak. For the first time since their
1980s chart period, the Fall are engaging the wider world. Cyber Insekt
and the rest are classic Fall pop tunes, whether borrowing a drumbeat from
the Sweet or depicting a crypto-fascist state where drunkenness is an
offence. Smith's scattergun muse has certainly been refreshed by
something, and the old vitriol is increasingly laced with delicious
humour: Doctor Buck's Letter documents his hilarious struggles to obtain
an American Express card. The living, drinking legend may be, as he puts
it, "in a dark corridor" of his own art, but it's a joy to stumble down
it with him.
"The only record to come close to 'The Unutterable' in skill, variation, anger and pure menace this year is Primal Scream's 'XTRMNTR', and on repeated listens this stomps that record like a mad bear."
Fallnet's Unutterable reviews:
Okay, first impression - it's fucking marvellous. And, as Stuart said,
quite unlike anything they've done before. The songs are all very dense -
there's obviously been a lot of attention paid to the production - with
sounds coming out from all over the place. The guitars are very prominent,
the drums crystal clear (with an almost heavy metal feel to them), the
keyboards adding all kinds of melodic pulses and twists and turns, while the
bass, although deeper in the mix than Hanley's ever was, carries everything
nicely along with a low, menacing (g)rumble. The band play very well
together - there's an artfulness to the way the songs are constructed, as if
they'd been rehearsed more than a few times. And there's an overall
'professional' feel to the record - it sounds like a fucking monster rock
album. Which it largely is. It's very exciting.
I'm astounded but this has qualities only found in early punk records. Rock is supposed to be dead and everyone is away off their heads listening to three hour Ibiza Trance Anthems, so what does MES go and do? I reckon Two Librans would be top ten if released as a single. I look forward to Jamie Theakston intoducing it on Top of the Pops. With a headset on, Devolute scares me - is that an empty cassette box being banged angrily as the track concludes? Mark sounds good and Nev is a revelation on vocals and guitar. For some strange reason Serum reminds me of Hex's Iceland - all dinky riffs mulching together, kinda aesthetic aneasthetic again. Evil bass sounds live on as well. Looking back now, to the early to mid 90's when The Fall were churning product out on basically a habit basis, I can see that perhaps it would have been better if MES and Hanley/Scanlon had split earlier. (Heresy or what? - lynch me gently.) Good to see that Das Katerer keeps the tradition of Simon Wolstencroft assisted tracks finishing LPs. I hope he's getting the royalties.
Levitate/Marshall/Unutterable are the best trio of LPs since Dragnet/Grotesque/Hex. Thanks Mark, Julia and crew.
Michael Flack's review of The Unutterable at
I've been listening to mine on and off all day. It's very good. The riff from Dr. Buck's Letter reminds me of a Throbbing Gristle song, I think, but I can't put my finger on which one. I'm not sure I can identify the Grant Showbiz touch, but the production on Cyber Insekt certainly adds a whole new dimension to the song. MES occasionally uses a new voice quality which I haven't heard from him before - a kind of growl, what we phoneticians call ventricular voice. It sounds good.
Here, for what it's worth, is the review from the local free sheet News North-West.
3/5 From one example [Fatboy Slim] of how to be in the music biz for ages,
make loads of money and retain your credibility, to another (only minus the
money bit). Mark E. Smith's The Fall have been following an erratic and
off-kilter path through the pop undergrowth for nearly a quarter of a
century. Yet while almost every other feisty punk from the 1970's has grown
contented, fat and old, Smith remains bitter, twisted and thin as a rake.
from dotmusic.com, a review of the RFH
In these dark days where youth is cherished over talent, experience and
ability, there are still, happily, one or two people who defy the prevailing
trends and demand respect.
URL (with pics): http://www.dotmusic.com/reviews/Live/September2000/reviews15525.asp
Paul Saxton again:
In this month's Q they've got a feature about pop celebs and their fridge magnet poems. MES is there, alongside such salubrious company as David Coverdale, Tim Booth, Suzanne Vega, Vengaboys, Bernard Sumner and Luke Haines. Smith's fridge magnet poem goes like this:
Marvellous huh? And Q's poetry expert, Roddy Lumsden (who he?), says this about it:
The Fall's legendary dismantler of language dispenses with metre.
"Anyone hearing Chaucer in the Middle English will see where Mark got his trademark Uh! intonation from. This poem seems to confirm that, beyond the lies, blood and bitterness, he longs to be a dreamer." (6/10)
The highest rating goes to Suzanne bleedin' Vega who, apparently, comes closest to writing a "real poem".
This month it's the ever-entertaining Julian Cope, next month's guest is Elton John. But the month after it's... The Fall's very own Mark E Smith!
So if you want to put your question to Smith - and stand a chance of winning £25 in the process - send your entry to:
i have *finally* gotten the tripple gang recording off of minidisc, onto computer, turned into mp3s, correctly named, and uploaded to the interbjork. aren't you lucky. for those of you who don't remember, the tripple gang were a band who played all of This Nation's Saving Grace in a row, in two shows this summer, in kimo's at san francisco. a few of us were there. the only way we know this is that it was well documented.
and click 'go to public files.' click the 'plus' sign next to 'My Public Files' on the left, then on the 'tripple gang' folder. select each song, and hit the the download arrow at the upper left. they're in mono (single lav mic to minidisc) but they sound fuckin ace.
> I am sorting a load of old NME/MM/Sounds articles for Stefan's bibliography > which will appear eventually. I forgot to put the Family Tree in the initial > list but if Stefan can mail me and figure out how to make an A3x2 feature > more manageable then I'll have a go. I've uploaded Conway's jpg to the bibliography. Not sure how you'd go about printing it out full-size, but the quality is very good and you can always read it online with scrolling. http://www.visi.com/fall/gigography/fall_familytree.jpg
Lying get slot:
A correspondent tried to book tickets for the provisional Oxford Zodiac gig (now not going ahead) and was told by the Zodiac Guy:
ZG: At least this time MES gave us some notice
Now the last time they played at the Zodiac:
Gary Long spotted last week:
Staying in a haunted house on a dare, a group of students inadvertently awaken the demonic creature that has been locked in the basement for over a century. They then get exactly what they deserve in a gory slasher movie loosely adapted from H. P Lovecraft's short story.
"Now this, only a thousand-fold enhanced, was the effect upon me of the gas: and its first result was to make peal through me with unutterable power the conviction that Hegelism was true after all, and that the deepest convictions of my intellect hitherto were wrong."
And Martin Heidegger postulated: "The projecting saying is that which in preparing what may be said, brings to the world the unutterable, at the same time."