Fall News 10 November 2000

This is the latest news and gossip off FallNet for those with weak stomachs.

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ta to biv for this

Recent news....

001021 Stanza festival, HighSmith Teeth, comedy dogs
001011 RFH reviews, new Cog Sinister releases
000912 DOSE interview, Fall calendar
000822 Portugal, Manchester gigs 
000809 bits & pieces
000723 Psykick Dance Hall, Pure As Oranj details, Triple Gang reviews
000709 few bits
000620 Ashton, Hull, Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Edinburgh reviews, old Volume piece
000530 LA2 reviews
000522 few old LP reviews
000502 bits & pieces
000424 TBLY #19 details, Prop details
000408 more Leeds reviews. WSC interview, other interview snippets
000326 Doncaster, York, Leeds reviews, BravEar interview (plus others)
000314 various reviews, old Liz Kershaw i/view
000224 Past Gone Mad details
000213 few bits & pieces
000130 tour details, Tommy Blake stuff
000120 TBLY #18 details, Hanley in Mojo
000110 Dragnet doylum, New Year message, etc

Old stuff: Nov 1997 - Dec 1999


The Unutterable
The album's out - it's great. Order it from Action Records. Reasonable prices, great service to UK & abroad, and they'll give you 10% off if you say you came thru The Fall's website
actionlogo.gif - 2002 Bytes

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.

21 - Nottingham - Rock City
22 - London - Dingwalls
24 - Liverpool - Lomax
25 - Edinburgh - The Liquid Room
26 - Glasgow - The Garage
27 - Sheffield - Sheffield University
29 - Manchester - Jilly's Rock World
30 - Leeds - Irish Centre

1 - Whitley Bay - The Dome
2 - Leicester - Princess Charlotte

Another instalment in HighSmith Teeth:


Media Unutterable reviews:

Time Out:

The Fall
'The Unutterable'

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 laugh.
Sharon O'Connell

First new Fall Lp of the 21st Century.

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!)
More unexpected is Pumpkin Soup and Mashed Potatoes, a Fall jazz song no less. Tight, witty and deliriously catchy, The Unutterable registers high on Smith's barometer of all-time best.
4 Stars.
Simon Goddard


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.
Dave Simpson

Found another Un-nutterable review (which also has a Pumpkin Soup clip):

"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:

Paul Saxton:

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.
Standouts for me so far are Cyber Insekt (great drum riff, reminiscent of The Sweet's Ballroom Blitz), WB, Way Round, Ketamine Sun, Serum (which utilises the descending ringing keyboard riff from The Crying Marshal - here played on guitar), Midwatch 1953 and Devolute. Those last two differ a bit from the rest of the LP inasmuch that they're a little more 'experimental' - they would have fitted quite well into Levitate - and for me they're the most interesting and yet, at the same time, most recognisably 'in the spirit of The Fall' songs. But they're all great, really.
One of the best things about the LP is that it does sound different to what's gone before - so there's a feeling that I'm going to be spending a lot of time with this record, discovering things anew - a la Levitate. It's a stayer, and no mistake. And, most impressively, there's so much energy there, they sound like a bunch of nineteen-year-olds. Or, like how a bunch of nineteen-year-olds *should* sound (Coldplay should have a listen and then hang their heads in shame). Very punky too - in the best sense.
"What would life be like without comedy?" is, so far, the standout Smithism. No doubt there are dozens more.
Hats off to The Fall yet again then!

Initial impressions: current line-up has really come of age. The record sounds (a) nothing like any other Fall album and (b) nothing like the band that made The Marshall Suite. Lovely clattering noises, synthy strings, etc. etc. Not as poptastic as MS and I have absolutely no idea what some of the songs are about at the moment, but there we go. "Serum" is especially fabulous.


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.

Pete Diaper:
My first impression, skimming through the tracks as soon as I got in, was massive disappointment, I was honestly thinking of taking it back. Glad I gave it a second chance though, cos now I absolutely love it, it's a great mad pop record. I think Levitate had more interesting individual tracks on it, but as an album this works much better. I reckon I'll actually be listening to this all the way through without skipping anything.
Midwatch is my fave at the moment, it reminds me of The NWRA (I think the rhythm is the same) crossed with Shoulder Pads. A lot of the tracks on here are like sci-fi versions of previous Fall stuff - imagine yourself back in '89, wondering what the Fall would sound like in the year 3000. Hot Runes is classic Fall, sounds like something off Frenz, in fact it nearly nicks the bass riff from Guest Informant. I actually get spinal tingles from Ketamine Sons - unashamed Pixies rip-off? Like something off Trompe le Monde. Even got the Kim Deal style backing vocals. There are a couple more borrowed bits, like Two Librans which has a meaty guitar riff which sounds a lot like Interstellar Overdrive. It shouldn't work but it does.
My Classic MES Moments are the laughter on Dr Buck's Letter and when he says "fat arse!" on Devolute (it's the way it suddenly leaps out at you, fecking great).

Michael Flack's review of The Unutterable at


Paul H:

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.
More importantly, he is still a scorchingly relevant pop firebrand, a continued influence to many and a maddeningly perverse outsider who seems incapable of stopping making music. Latest LP The Unutterable sees Smith and his current band cooking up a curious collection of bass-rumbling rock'n'roll and bizarre electonica, which rests somewhere between Add N To (X) and Tom Waits.
There's something entertainingly theatrical and stubborn about the music here, as it lurches from warped rockabilly to lo-tech, sci-fi pop. The reason, of course, is the presence of Smith himself. He is The Fall, but The Unutterable suggests he'll be standing for some time to come.

Neil O'Connor:
The Unutterable is what the Dragnet Fall would have sounded like had they been locked away for the last twenty years, and then introduced to new technology for a day before being sent into the studio.

Paul Saxton:

from dotmusic.com, a review of the RFH gig:

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.
One such is John Peel, veteran broadcaster and greying eminence behind tonight's marriage of newly hip pre-rock guitarslinger Dale and inscrutable British institution Mark E Smith, accompanied by the latest incarnation of The Fall.
It's not as odd or arbitrary a line-up as it might at first appear. Both The Fall and Dale draw on rock's primal inspirations, and both sets are driven by an understanding and intuitive grasp of raw, rootsy rockabilly.
Dale cuts an unlikely Colonel Kurtz-like figure in cowboy boots, black leather jacket and bandana. His is a unique guitar technique, staccato plectrum work and outrageous string-bends lending songs like 'Ghost Riders In The Sky' an other-worldly yet abrasive quality.
Comfortable with the source of his new-found fame, he introduces 'Miserlou' as "Pulp Fiction!" and even finds time to mime a little piece of Uma Thurman's dance from the movie in between guitar licks.
That he then turns the tune into a medley that encompasses Deep Purple's 'Smoke On The Water' and Duane Eddy's 'Peter Gunn' just underlines the fact that this is a man whose innovations predate practically every lauded rock guitarist extant, yet is still able to captivate and innovate.
Smith, meanwhile, is as reliably perverse as ever. This current Fall line-up is still locked tight between rattling guitar and walking bass despite the absence of long-time sidemen Craig Scanlon and Steve Hanley, and the set draws heavily on last year's umpteenth comeback, 'The Marshall Suite', and material presumably culled from the forthcoming 'The Unutterable' LP.
Clearly enjoying himself, Smith roams the stage, his mic lead inevitably snagging on every possible protuberance, at one point causing the surreal spectacle of a clearly well-oiled front man dragging a monitor speaker half way across the stage behind him.
Yet for all his evident (to trained Fall-watchers at any rate) bonhomie, it's still easy to see why Smith has been through so many band members over the years.
Giggling to himself like an errant infant, he alters the settings of guitarist Neville Wilding's amplifier while he's not looking, totally ruining one carefully planned solo and sending Wilding scurrying over to his equipment in a state of puzzled annoyance.
You'd have thought all concerned would know better by now. "Thankfully, they clearly don't.

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:

dream why
blood fell behind
black apparatus
delirious void
spray bitter water

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".

but also:
Q magazine has a feature every month where a celeb is invited to answer loads of questions put to them by readers, fans, smart alecs etc. It's called 'Cash For Questions' - because Q pays out 25 to each reader whose question gets answered. It's actually quite good.

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:

Q Magazine
Mappin House
4 Winsley Street
Fax: 0207 312 8247
Email: q@ecm.emap.com

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.

go here:

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
Me: I hope he's told the rest of the band
ZG: Last time the band turned up and he didn't arrive until 12.30 am, by which time the band had gone home and the club was shut. At which point MES proceeded to trash the place.
Me: Oh. So you haven't rescheduled the gig then.
ZG: No

Now the last time they played at the Zodiac:
a) they were a bit late on-stage but still played 40-odd minutes.
b) then the Zodiac pulled the plug at about 10 pm and we got the great acapella Mummy when Karl refused to leave the stage.
c) there's never been a no-show at Oxford (in fact precious few anywhere).

Gary Long spotted last week:

The Unnameable
BBC1 12.35am

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.

the word "unutterable" also occurs in heel's phenomenology of spirit, page 66: "what is called the unutterable is nothing else than the untrue, the irrational, what is merely meant [but is not actually expressed].

William James on NO2:

"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."