Fall News 28 January 2001

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

Click to receive email
when this page changes
Powered by NetMind

If you have anything to say, you can mail Stefan, but you can't mail the FallNet mailing list direct anymore. To subscribe to FallNet, send mail to majordomo@lists.freedonia.com with SUBSCRIBE FALL YOUR@E-MAIL-ADDRESS in the body.

ta to biv for this

Recent news....

010101 some ace Castlefield pics
001219 more reviews
001201 tour reviews, crap interviews
001110 Unutterable reviews
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 - have you all got it now? Hope so.

The Fall play Dublin Red Box on 24th Feb
The gig at Haarlem Patronaat is being rescheduled.

Michael Pinto:


The Fall: What's It All About, Mark E.?

Do you suffer from Ken Burns-induced frontal-lobe fatigue? Are you listless, bored, feeling bland? Saddled with nagging PC guilt? Do you occasionally find yourself slipping into a soporific haze with repeated viewings of the same-you could swear!-black-and-white images of famous jazz musicians beamed through your TV? Are the words "...which would change the face of jazz forever..." echoing constantly in your ears? Take heart, friends, there is an antidote. Just put on The Unutterable (Eagle Records), the 41st album (or thereabouts) by the Fall. It's sure to jolt you back to grim reality.

Mark E. Smith, who has presided as M.C., clown prince and agitator in chief of the Fall since the group first stepped into the second wave of British punk in Manchester in 1977, is the anti-Ken Burns. Mr. Smith was not put on this earth to glorify and sanctify our most hallowed institutions; he came to shout them down. For the past quarter-century, he has survived in the rock world by making inspirational anti-rock music: a grating, strange, uncompromising brand of funk over which he muses, pontificates, rants and blurts like some backwoods evangelist spitting fire and brimstone at a medicine show. All in all, it's pretty entertaining-if you can make out what he's saying.

Honestly, Fall albums should come with a special decoder ring. Mr. Smith's utterly unorthodox lyrical delivery, which veers from guttural mumbles to oblique shout-outs, all punctuated with his signature verbal tic, an "uh"-as in "I just can't find my way 'round-uh!"-remains the biggest hurdle to any casual listener. But then, as FallNet, the band's officially sanctioned and painstakingly compiled Rosetta stone of a Web site, goes to show, there's no such thing as a casual Fall listener. They are the cult band to beat all cult bands. And as anyone who admits to owning (and not re-selling) a Fall album can attest, Mr. Smith's fevered, oracular ramblings are the key to the cult.

As rock prophets go, Mr. Smith is our John the Baptist, hovering out there on the fringe of an increasingly lame society, eating grasshoppers, gulping lager, speaking in tongues. And his faithful love him for it. No sooner had The Unutterable come out than lyrics were already being parsed, both on the Web and in print. What does Mr. Smith mean when he says, at the end of "Dr. Buck's Letter," "I was in the realm of the essence of Tong-uh"? And who is he talking about in "Octo Realm/Ketamine Sun" when he yelps accusingly, "You're a walking tower of Adidas crap"? Enquiring minds want to know. I'll bet even he wants to know.

It makes for some hard listening. For all of the pretension and bombast-the oblique references to H.P. Lovecraft horror stories, the Blakean tirades, the acid-tongued culture-crit smackdowns-you get the feeling, if you've stuck it out this long, that, for Mr. Smith, the Fall has been a 24-year-long Dadaist piss-take. Whether this makes you want to slug Mr. Smith or celebrate him, this much is true: His musical career makes for a much more interesting oeuvre than, say, the collected works of Marilyn Manson.

Like countless rock demigods before him-the very demigods he rose up to challenge-Mr. Smith has been known to behave badly. There are many sullen guitarists, keyboardists and drummers out there (some of whom he was once married to; some of whom maybe you were once married to) who wear their time in the Fall like a Purple Heart. He always seems to be firing somebody.

The current lineup (Adam Helal on bass, Neville Wilding on guitar, Julia Nagle on keyboards, Tom Head on drums) has been aborning for the last two years following a fairly pathetic episode. In fact, it's hard to figure why Ms. Nagle stuck around. The low-water mark of Mr. Smith's career, so far, involved a short, abortive tour of the northeast U.S. in April 1998 that collapsed when he was arrested at the Quality Hotel Eastside for allegedly punching Ms. Nagle, then his girlfriend. She'd apparently hit him in the head with a telephone only a week earlier, forcing him to take the stage at Coney Island High in the East Village with a shiner.

According to a report filed on Rocktropolis Allstar News at the time, Mr. Smith spent the night in jail, was arraigned on misdemeanor assault charges the next morning, pleaded not guilty, was released and basically went AWOL. The group disbanded. Asked what caused the fracas, their tour manager replied, "Getting the truth out of [Smith] is basically impossible. He's pretty much inebriated all of the time. I don't think he's got a thread of reality running through his life right now."

Did he ever? It depends how you define "reality." As he told The Wire magazine in May 1999, in the aftermath of his New York debacle and the bad press that ensued, "They think you're that daft, but sometimes it's good to have that image of being drunk and arrogant."

To judge from The Unutterable, his grip remains tenacious, if a bit more garbled and opaque than usual. The good news is that the band is experiencing a return to form. Their sound-a throwback to the tight, dark, pounding, guitar-driven strains of such mid-80's classics as This Nation's Saving Grace-is augmented on The Unutterable by synthesized techno blorps and clanks that bubble up everywhere.

The album serves up one excellent blast after another. It opens with "Cyber Insekt," a chugging snare beat floating on a scrim of Twilight Zone-ish reverb and synth loops, followed closely by "W.B." Mr. Smith's homage to William Blake, which is washed with more synthesizers and rides a repetitive surf-guitar riff. "Look up! The fire, the fire is falling," Mr. Smith proclaims, "Nebuchadnezzar never knew times like this." What he said. "Sons of Temperance," a punk rant against a "crypto-moralist nation" (I think), segues into "Dr. Buck's Letter," a weird, plodding recitation of regret over falling out with a friend that ends with a checklist of things the bourgeoisie never leave home without. "Five: AmEx card. They made such a fuss about giving it to me but I spent more time getting it turned down."

The second half of the album is more haphazard, though just as ... redeeming. On songs such as "Serum," with its bass throb, programmed urban jungle drums and guitars pulsing in a minor key, or the totally conventional verse-chorus-verse garage rock of "Hands Up Billy," it's as if Mr. Smith is being dragged in the band's wake for a change.

Most anyone who once was acquainted with the Fall but let that intrigue slide will undoubtedly greet this album with Urgh-not another one! exasperation. But Mark E. Smith hasn't crumbled to dust-yet-which is good news indeed for those who've grown sick to death of the boring sameness of hip-hop, pop and what's left of the "alternative" scene on both sides of the Atlantic. Does Mr. Smith see a way out of this predicament? He has this to say about that: "What would life be without comedy? Comedy and music, music and comedy. Devolute!" Words to live by-uh.

-Jay Stowe

Another appearance by Brix, in the Telegraph before Xmas (300k)


See a french review of The Unutterable at: http://www.chronicart.com Check for The Fall on the "recherche" button.

Ollie found a review in Spex magazine:

Anyway, in the same issue of Spex there's a half-page ad for the Unutterable:

In May 1988, Spex had MES on the cover, topless. Just a tiny picture from a Spex's backissue flogging campaign:

Here's the review, feed to Altavista for an English version:

Utter 1: Total, vollkommen, unverbesserlich. Utter 2: sagen, äußern, ausstoßen, verbreiten. Beim wiederholten Hören dieser Platte habe ich versucht, mir vorzustellen, dieses wäre die erste Fall-Platte meines Lebens, die erste Fall-Platte überhaupt. Es geht nicht. Die Fall-Geschichte folgt keiner anderweitig bekannten Logik. Es gibt keine erkennbare "Entwicklung" in eine "Richtung", außer zu sich selbst. Es gibt keine erkennbaren Verfeinerungen. "The Unutterable" hätte zu jeder Zeit innerhalb der letzten 15 Jahre auftauchen können, so lange dauert die Posthistorie von The Fall, die Epoche, da da eine neue Fall-Platte von den Gläubigen als eine weitere, more of the same, begrüßt wird, vom Rest ignoriert. Die Gläubigen vertrauen sich dem unverbesserlich unäußerbaren Hieroglyphensystem an, der Gnade des Unwissens, Gewissheit der Ahnung, dem Rumble & Mumble der Fall-Maschine aus Low-Tech, Northern Rockabilly, Störsounds, das fast immer Zugehörigkeit stiftet, ohne dass man genau wissen möchte, wozu man da gehört. "The music that they constantly play says nothing to me about my life", sang einst Morrissey, der aus der selben Stadt kommt wie Mark E. Smith, in seiner Anti-Dance-Polemik "Panic", und begründete damit seine Forderung, den DJ zu hängen. Wenn noch zu beweisen wäre, wie einsilbig blödsinnig diese Smiths-Vorstellung von "Inhalten" und ihrem Transport schon immer war (bei aller Hübschheit drumherum), dann wäre die Fall-Geschichte als Beweisstück prädestiniert. Diese Musik, der endlose Geheimsprachen-UTTER des Mark E. Smith sagt mir viel mehr über mein Leben, auch wenn ich nicht mehr weiß, was. Allein die Vorstellung, dass The Fall angefangen haben mit The Jam, The Clash, The Ruts? Und wieviele neue Wörter Smith erfunden hat: in "Devolute" murmelt er was von "English Glasnost". Die Platte beginnt mit "Cyber Insekt" (mit "k") und endet mit "Das Katerer". Unutterable.
Klaus Walter

From Voiceprint:
Price: £ 12.99
Cat No: COGVP125CD
Track Listing

1.Tempo House
2.The Classical
3.Eat Y'Self Fitter
4.Hexen Definitive
5.I Feel Voxish
6.The Man Whose Hand Expanded
8.Kicker Conspiracy
9.Look, Know

Information: Mark E Smith and the boys are back . . . . Live in Reykjavik was voted best live "unofficial" recording by the fan club. This recording has been specially mastered for the official CD issue of Live in Reykjavik and the sound quality is much enhanced.

This brilliant 1983 recording has expressly commissioned artwork and sleeve notes by Tony Herrington, the editor of The Wire Magazine. Live in Reykjavik is sure to be a welcome addition both to the casual and serious Fall collector alike.

from the latest issue of OOR (leading Dutch music mag):

The Fall - The Unutterable

We're up to the 27th edtion of The Fall, with keyboardplayer Julia Nagle as the longest serving member except Mark E. Smith. Smith: "if it's me and your granny on bongo's it's The Fall". Since starting the band in the fall of 1976 he has been releasing three records every year on average, so go figure. In all honesty I hadn't lost track of all the counting but also of most of my interest until "The Marshall (Suite)" appeared. Meanwhile guitars have been pushed to the background in favor of keyboards and computers but musicwise it sounds exciting and adventurous again. Smith declaims, rages and japes as of old and while you can hardly tell rhyme or reason, like ever you can almost never catch him using cliches. The band plays mostly beats, samples, riddims and grooves. Contemporary soundmagic. The title song is no more than a minute of a grumbling Smith while somebody in the background is playing a radiator ritmically. Also fun is is "Pumpkin Soup And Mashed Potatoes", a kitsch song with piano, flutes and hooters which has to be heard to be believed. "Hands Up Billy" is a return to the roots of rock 'n roll (with vocals by another bandmember). But the summit is reached by "W.B." (about the great poet William Blake), "Sons of Temperance" and "Dr. Buck's Letter". And "Cyber Insekt" and "Serum" are not bad either. Master Smith, we are paying attention again.
(Bert van de Kamp)

Derek Westerholm:


The Unutterable Cog Sinister/Eagle ****

As compact, cryptic and compelling as the music it contains, The Unutterable is a surprisingly good Fall album title. After 20-odd official releases -- augmented by a recent deluge of live and outtakes discs that were likely sanctioned by Fall leader Mark E. Smith in exchange for pints -- you'd think they'd have run out of possibilities. But never forget that the Fall cannot be stopped. With 1999's The Marshall Suite and now The Unutterable, Smith has emerged from the aftermath of a disastrous U.S. tour -- which involved assault charges and the departure of pretty much every member except for the person Smith allegedly assaulted, girlfriend/keyboardist Julia Nagle -- with the most focused version of the group in a decade. The new songs combine the askew rockabilly rhythms of 1979's Dragnet with the techno propulsion of the excellent early-'90s triptych of Extricate, Shift-Work and Code: Selfish. Meanwhile, Smith ponders imponderables like Oprah Winfrey, Amex cards, "das katerer" and pumpkin soup. Once again, you're moved to believe every word he says, or at least every word you can understand. -- JASON ANDERSON

Lots of people repored that the BBC have been using WB on the trailer for Two Thousand Acres of Skye on BBC1. And Paul Kaye, who appears in it, made a further bid for linkage in this piece:

Guardian Questionnnaire MEScon; Today it is that Paul Kaye who was Dennis Pennis and this is his answer to "What vehicles do you own?".....

"Drunkenly cycling through Camden recently, I spotted Mark E Smith at a bar, parked up the bike and went in to bother him. I forgot to lock up, and some bastard nicked it. So, the answer to your question is none."

Carlton: This is not elaborated upon in any fashion, so it is presumed that the average Guardian reader would know who MES is and that PK "bothering" him is quite OK.

fallawbb.jpg - 34987 Bytes Sales note for:

A World Bewitched
The best of 1990-2000

Release date 06/02/01
Catalogue no artful cd 35

Track listing
Sing! Harpy (Extricate)
I'm A Mummy (Levitate)
Idiot Joy Showland (Shiftwork)
Powder Keg (The Light User Syndrome)
M5*1 (Middle Class Revolt)
Inevitable (The Marshall Suite)
Immortality (Code: Selfish)
Arid Al's Dream (Sinister Waltz)
The Mixer (Shiftwork)
4 1/2 Inch (Levitate)
The Caterer (The Post-Nearly Man)
One Day (Cerebral Caustic)
Middle Class Revolt (Middle Class Revolt)
Glam Racket (The Infotainment Scan)
Black Monk Theme (Extricate)
Strychnine (Live Various Years)
Noel's Chemical Effluence (The 27 Points)
Light/ Fireworks (The Infotainment Scan)
Blood Outta Stone
Why Are People Grudgeful
Ed's Babe
The REAL Life Of The Crying Marshall
The Legend Of Xanadu
Seventies Night (Edwyn Collins feat. Mark E Smith)
Calendar (The Fall feat. Damon Gough, AKA Badly Drawn Boy)
Now I Wanna Be Your Dog (The Clint Boon Experience)
I Want You (The Inspiral Carpets feat. Mark E Smith)
Repetition (Tackhead feat. Mark E Smith)
The Heads Of Dead Surfers (Long Fin Killie feat. Mark E Smith)
Plug Myself In (D.O.S.E feat. Mark E Smith)
KB (Elastica feat. Mark E Smith)
Happy Holiday
Fistful Of Credit (w. Mild Man Jan)
Life Just Bounces

On February 6th, The Fall release A World Bewitched, a double CD compilation featuring rare and previously unreleased material.
CD1 is taken from The Fall's 1990's albums, Extricate ('90), Shiftwork ('91), Code: Selfish ('92), The Infotainment Scan ('93), Middle Class Revolt ('94), Cerebral Caustic ('95), The Light User Syndrome ('96), Levitate ('97), The Marshall Suite ('98) and the spoken word album, The Post-Nearly Man. CD2 consists of unreleased or impossible-to-find tracks from the same period, including collaborations with Elastica, The Clint Boon Experience, Badly Drawn Boy, Tackhead, The Inspiral Carpets and Edwyn Collins. Mark E Smith's dour lyrical surrealism and half-chewed delivery front The Fall's corrosive, acid-like take on techno, rockabilly, raggae, glam and punk. There are also some bizarre cover versions as The Fall twist out of all recognition Black Monk Theme (originally performed by The Monks as I Hate You) and Bob McFadden's I'm A Mummy. It adds up to an album which is random but oddly consistent; chaotic and abstract, yet stitched into sense by the only man who can - Mark E Smith.

Tim W:

Kazuko Hohki of Frank Chickens & 'Cyber Insect' fame is doing 2 gigs at Hoxton Hall, Hoxton in Hackney 9th/10th Feb info 020 7739 5431

Hooray! Death metal tosspots Fall are back. Alex Cook spotted them at:


The Festive 50 needed a few additions, ta to Matt Bryden:

1 'Twist The Knife' - Neko Case & Her Boyfriends
2 'Good Fortune' - P J Harvey
3 'Dr Bucks Letter' - The Fall
4 'Mistakes And Regrets' - And You Will Know Us By Trail Of Dead
5 'Come On Lets Go' - Broadcast
6 'Big Exit' - P J Harvey
7 'Greedy Ugly People' - Hefner
8 'The Light 3000' - Schneider TM
9 'No Danger' - Delgados
10 'American Trilogy' - Delgados
11 'Dinosaur Act' - Low
12 'Day That Thatcher Dies' - Hefner
13 'I Hate Scotland' - Ballboy
14 'Accused of Stealing' - Delgados
15 'Good Fruit' - Hefner
16 'Your Charms' - Cinerama
17 'Wow' - Cinerama
18 'Mess We're In' - P J Harvey
19 'Prayer to God' - Shellac
20 'In a Beautiful Place' - Boards of Xanada
21 'Somewhere Some Night' - Laura Cantrell
22 'Ballad of Cable Hogue' - Calexico
23 'Two Librans' - The Fall
24 'Whores Hustle, Hustlers' - P J Harvey
25 'Kid A' - Radiohead
26 'Brutal' - New Order
27 'Two Seconds' - Laura Cantrell
28 'The Second Line' - Clinic
29 'Vinyl Countdown' - Cuban Boys
30 'Popping Song' - Cowcube
31 'Drug Dealer in Park' - Herman Dune
32 '24 hr Garage People' - Hmhb
33 'Wonderwall' (session) - Catpower
34 'Theme From P&P' - Cuban Boys
35 'Candyman' - Lab 4
36 'Fresher Than The Sweetness' - Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
37 'Irk The Purists' - Hmhb
38 Delgados - Witness 39 Mighty Matt - Soulboy 40 Bill Callahan - Smog 41 Cinerama - Manhattan 42 Laura Cantrell / Kantrell (?) - Washing and Ironing and Picking Up 43 The Fall - WB 44 Hefner - Painting and Kissing 45 'Seached' - Orbital
46 'Little Boy Blue' - Bonnie Prince Billy
47 'Svefn G Englar' - Sigur Ros
48 'Idiotique' - Radiohead
49 'Fought in a War' - Belle & Sebastian
50 'Crystal Lake' - Gandaddy