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The Fall play

  • Thursday, Nov. 29 at the Footage and Firkin, Oxford Road, Manchester.
  • two weekends next April (19-21 & 26-28) at All Tomorrow's Parties, Camber Sands Holiday Centre, East Sussex. This looks like quite a line up of bands - very tempting.

It appears that Spen Birtwistle is no longer in the band. There was a new drummer at the Footage and Firkin gig who had 45 minutes to rehearse beforehand, according to Jim Watts. It's a shame -- I was very impressed with his drumming at the New York gigs.

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There are vast quantities of recent gig reports and photos in the Fall News archive: UK dates in October 19, European dates in November 5, the London Forum gig in November 13, and the US tour in November 28.

If you want to send me a review, it's not too late. I'll add them to the relevant edition.

Here's a link to yet more photos of Sunday's NYC Knitting Factory show (Nov. 25) thanks to Alexei Dechevoi.

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I found a few French and German reviews of the new album on the web; if someone can translate any of these for me I'd be very grateful. I've seen the results with the Alta Vista Babelfish translater, and they aren't pretty; I think it'll need a more organic approach.

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From Andreas Dobbert, news of a German radio show on the Fall:

I just wanted to let you know that German radiostation "Deutschlandfunk" is sending a 2-hour-programme called 'Rebellious jukebox - Mark E Smith & The Fall' on Friday night (or rather Saturday morning, Dezember 15th) from 1.05 am to 3.00 am (that's the time in Germany). Anyone interested can listen to it at http://www.dradio.de -> livestream.

Although these nightly features are usually a bit lame they are also quite enjoyable in an old school way of radio broadcasting.

Also, although this has probably been mentioned somewhere in the Fall News before: Amongst many others the discography in David Toop's excellent book 'Ocean of Sound' contains a record by Avante-Composer La Monte Young. Never had a chance to hear it but it's title sounds promissing and to some extend familiar: "The Second Dream of the High Tension Line Stepdown Transformer from The Four Dreams of China".

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There's still no news about the postponed / withdrawn The Present EP, or about the rerecording of the tracks for Pander, Panda, Panzer.

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Footage and Firkin, Manchester, Nov. 29, 2001

Peter van Der Bruck kindly sent in some photos.

Chris Eccles:

Got to get one thing out of the way first, the support band. Usually, they are pretty dull before a Fall gig but these stood out as the biggest shower of shite I have ever had the misfortune to experience. Dunno their name, but they were from Runcorn, a fact easily discernible as they were constantly calling out to their mates in the audience. The strange thing was they appeared to have bussed about fifty of the pseudo-scouse fuckwits over to the gig, including, tragically, their parents complete with video cameras!! They sounded like an even worse version of Stereophonics with a female singer . Parading like megastars with their sub HM shite. Look, Heavy Metal was never good and the fact that these turds are trying to justify their dodgy childhood music tastes is sickening. When the Fall hit the stage the entire entourage retired to the balcony which they had privately booked where the mums and dads and friends dressed in party gear looked on aghast and disinterested. Reminded me of the Kurious Oranj story about the women in the front row in the theatres in ball gowns with their fingers in their ears. I know this is a bit of a rant but it was pretty irritating having the entire gig hijacked by a gang of pseuds.

Any, THE FALL. I saw an earlier show on this tour and the most noticeable thing about this gig was the extent to which the band has tightened up and developed the set. Jims The Fall then Cyber Insekt kicked it off, complemented by an excellent sound and an MES that appeared to be enjoying(!) the proceedings. An excellent stripped down version of And Therein followed which really showed how comfortable the band are. It seems that in recent years MES has allowed the vocals to be raised to an audible level. Or is this because I always stood at the front in my youth where I now stand at the back tapping my feet? Excellent versions of Two Librans, Way Round, Bourgeois Town, My Ex-Classmates Kids, Kick The Can Mr Pharmacist and I am Damo Suzuki. And as a special treat a MES monologue taking in bits off Post Nearly Man and rants about Blackpool FC and his mate Michael (apparently a fuckin bat eared twat). Probably some other songs too but I'll have to leave the memory bit to other people reviewing this gig.

Another excellent night, the last three shows I have seen have surpassed any others I have been to (and I have been to many). The sound is good, the songs have regained that FALL edge and MES seems to have found his second wind. If you don't have the new album, get it, Reprise alone makes it worth it.

Paul Hopkins:

First impressions having just got home:

A curate's egg. Some magic moments, but some moments when MTV hits! on the double big screens was more interesting, particularly Sophie Ellis Bextor dancing to Way Round.

Mark was in good spirits and good voice, drinking from what appeared to be a glass of water - surely not. Near the beginning he said something like "Escape from New York! But no fucking favours for you lot".

90 minutes, which amazingly seems standard now. Usual set list.

They re-worked And Therein as a very pared-down, spare, bluesy number - sounded good.

Damo sounded a bit by-the-numbers.

Snatch of Beefheart (Dropout Boogie) during Dr Buck as at Liverpool, and a bit from Kurious Orange during Crop Dust (that one that goes 'give it to me softly baby uh-huh' or whatever).

But the best bit by far was the My Ex-Classmate's Kids - Northern Quarter/Modernity - Wake up in the City sequence. Absolutely spellbinding, a great Fall moment.

Worth the price of admission, then.

Good to meet Yousef, Simon and Ian.

Johnny Alpha:

Just got back too, missed the second encore (if there was one). Best songs were 'Borgeois Town', 'Kick The Can' (which went on & on & on) & 'Two Librans' - it was my first time seeing them, and when he approaches the front of the stage, about to sing, he does this little thing with his throat that reminds me of that guy from "On The Buses". Really good gig - Aziveed supported - reminded me of a dodgy indie- rock band I was knew. Great gig, great atmos, great. I agree it was odd that pop videos were being played on a double screen over the bar.

Good gig - 8/10

And I almost forgot - that woman out of 'Ladytron' was there, too.

The signs next to the stage said

9-9.30 Aziveed
10 - The Fall
12- Curfew

No Trigger Happy.

Yousef Sheikh:

That would account for the "fuck, is that The Joke...? oh shit we're still upstairs" moment.

Still a bit torn on this one, meself. Crop Dust was a tremendous thing and Mr Pharmacist was great (bluesy guitar squaks notwithstanding.) Though I have to say that hearing Folding Money played slick as you like was a bit strange. All very competent and loud and energetic but a lot of the time something just wasn't clicking.

So for tonight I'll say great band and a good gig but I've yet to be convinced they're a great Fall line up. J-Lo swingin that big butt of hers to Dr Buck's is a sight that'll live with me forever, though.

Nice to meet Paul and Ian and always a pleasure to see Simon (sorry about the mystery trip)

More thoughts to follow...

posted later...

Last night's gig was exactly a year to the day since the brainmelting show at Jilly's and not one member of that line-up remains. (Well, one does.) So here are my thoughts on Mark E. Smith and the Fall (feat. Mark E. Smith) in Manchester 29/11/01.

Terrible, terrible venue - ceiling so high you could almost forget it was there and the most prominent security I've ever seen at a gig. I don't know if the dual large screen TVs were left on as a joke or to provide entertainment for the band (Jim certainly seemed to be getting an eyeful of Kylie, Geri et al) but they gave the impression that you were down the pub for the evening and there just happened to be a band on in the corner.

Support (Aziyeed?) were crap but different enough from your usual indie support sludge to be mildly diverting (and they cheekily did a dead ringer for Deadbeat Descendent.) Trigger Happy's surprise non-appearance meant that Simon and Paul and I were still upstairs scrutinizing the fool who had modelled himself on a c1982 MES when the band took the stage.

No surprises on the setlist - Joke, Two Librans, Cyber Insekt, And Therein, Way Round, Touch Sensitive, that three song medley with Foldin Money & Kick the Can, Mr Pharmacist, Exclassmates' Kids-spoken word-Wake Up in the City, Damo. 1st encore was Dr Buck, 2nd - Crop Dust. (Slightly out of order and I guess there must've been a couple more new ones, didn't make much of an impression, though - I'll sort out a correct listing over the weekend.)

As has already been said, it was a competently played and reasonably energetic set. The highlights were great, but there were more than a couple of moments when I felt completely bored; Wake up in the City and the stripped down Way Round just went on too long. MES sounded pretty bored himself during And Therein but seemed to be genuinely enjoying Pharmacist, so I'll forgive him.

Touch Sensitive was a horrible parody of what was once quite an enjoyable tune; very little 'hey hey hey'ing, strange new 'up to the hilt' lyrics and some inappropriately tuneful backing vox from what I assume was Ed Blaney. This was another one that went far over length. As it finished, some wag was clearly heard to ask, 'who was that cunt on backing vocals?'

Dr Buck's also featured this additional vocalist - you could see what they were trying to achieve by singing against each other, but they couldn't quite pull it off. If they get it sorted out it could be quite impressive.

For me, this line up is the first one that confirms the granny on bongos theory - these are efficient musicians and the quality of the gigs would appear to be pretty constant; the only variable is MES himself. Which I guess has always been the case to some extent, but there was something soulless about last night's performance and I reckon the presence of what are essentially session musicians must be related to it.

I'm sounding way too negative here; it was a good gig and the band were great so if I'm pining for the sound of 96 I guess that's my lookout. As Simon pointed out, if you think back to how the Marshall Suite line-up sounded at this stage of their development, things bode well for the new lot.

So if Ark was like watching your best mate die on stage, last night was a bit like a nice evening down the pub with him (and a couple of his new mates.) All very entertaining and enjoyable but nowt to write home about. He says, 500 words later.

SimonFB:

i thought that the roundabout tune worked suprisingly well considering it was just guitars and drums - crop dust was an excellent ending to the night - i also thought that this new band have grasped how to play Mr Pharmacist a lot quicker than the last one did.

support band seemed competent but were ignored (the sandmen destroyed my interest in fall support awhile ago) and unless we got there late i dont think trigger happy played (am i wrong on this?)

1) the roundabout theme was very good for bass geetar and drums - altho i thought that jim was asked to fill in for way too many parts for a bass guitar player - doing a keyboard solo was way past the normal call of duty. i will disagree with Y on this one - it did not go on to long

2) during toush sensitive i thought jess conrad had appeared for a medley of Joseph and his Technicolour Dream Coat (Blackpool Grand arounf 83/4)

3) during Dr Buk i had trouble working out what ed (was it ed?) was singing - if it had been a bit louder it might have been a lot better - sont on the whole was ok

4) damo wasnt good - after that i was glad they didnt do paintwork

5) crop dust was fan-fucking tastic-and well worth the price of admission (ie swapping a sexy pic cd of the holy bible for a non pic disc version) alone

6) not normally sexist - but where do all the corsetted lace busted and apparently single women of manchester fall gigs come from ? - we spotted the smith entourage and these girls were not with them - why are they never in the "Indie F" section of vinyl exchange?

struck dumb and full of young thumbs

Dave Harrop:

This was a polished performance by Fall standards and strangely I got home feeling neither disappointed nor elated - just sort of somewhere in between.

Liked the spoken word thingy, enjoyed Two Librans, F-olding Money, the medley type thingy, Damo Suzuki. Can't really think of any standout comedy moments.

Nice to meet Matt who was horribly young - I felt like giving him some fatherly advice on what will happen is he persists with following The Fall. You think you can handle it now but...

Ian Leaver:

Managed to spend the evening avoiding Y, S and P. They finally caught up with me while I was in the bog at the end. What a great night; a shit day at work, a few pints with my mate Peter and then the mighty Fall. MES was on top form, sober and in fine voice. Great band, much punkier than previous versions, with a very definite sound of their own. Final encore of Crop Dust was a particular highlight. Crappy venue though; ceiling too high and ugly bouncers marring the view. That gig performed in The Wychwood would have been tops. Great to meet you lads; sorry it was so brief. Back to Leicester in a bit; I do love seeing The Fall in Manchester!

Toby Jeffries:

Well, I managed to get to the Footage & Firkin gig last night and got near the stage - but regrettably no set list (I was told that there had been none - they were making it up as they went along!) I am sure that there was a piece of paper on the guitarists amp and that Mark consulted a scrawled and tattered piece early on in the gig. Nevermind, my track record on setlists remains derailed. If I ever get access to a decent scanner, I will e-mail the images of the ones I've got to you.

A few brief thoughts on the gig from my vantage point at the front-side of the 'stage':

Yep, the support were crap, but half as bad as the bloody audience they had brought with them. Bet they're all from Runcorn New Town too (sorry, me Mum is from Runcorn Old Town).

I'm sure they opened with The Joke, but I thought the set generally was very good - decent selection rather than just the new record - nothing to prove. Mark certainly seemed to be on form and enjoying himself.

MES & Guitarist - a running entertainment - MES would turn the volume up, only for guitarist to look pained and turn it back down as soon as he could. This happened a few times. Guitarist also broke a string about two-thirds of the way through but kept on (MES commented on this - I though he called guitarist 'Dan'). MES also turned him to face the audience at one point when he was playing with his back to us.

MES seemed to be drinking wine (as well as a can) - the glass looked like it had wine in it and from behind the stage a wine bottle (empty) was handed in to the bar staff...didn't look worth $500 though.

Bouncer - When MES arrived on stage, a bouncer was there too looking very conspicuous. MES stared at him with a 'who left that on my stage??' look. Bouncer shortly moved.

The stage was crap - a drinking area with solid wooden rails surrounding and obviously awkward access, provoking band to leave/return to stage through the audience. MES seen climbing over said rail for first encore.

Drummer - seemed to have a folder of hand written notes by him of the '3/4 time' variety.

Any ideas who the other (occasional) singer was? - or indeed who the band members are these days (and where does MES find them?? Surely there can't be any musicians who haven't heard that 'the Fall' and 'job for life' don't go together by now??!)

Strange to hear some of the songs done by a four piece - in the past when I've seen them there has always been a fifth person to add some texture, second guitar, fiddle etc

Really good gig overall - band and crowd, a good way to spend yer 31st birthday (not sure wife agrees, but I she is coming round to the idea that if the Fall are playing and I can go, I will go).

Simon Roberts:

Travelled up from Brum / watched the gig / all the evidence of my senses told me that it was a belting performance / delighted that my bike wasn't stolen from outside the pub / got the 2.04 train back and then couldn't find anything even slightly interesting to say about it.

Ever had that feeling at a gig that you are watching a 'live' video at 2.30 am? And you can't be bothered to get into it because you know that you can rewind it and watch it again, or pause it to nip out and make a cuppa, or watch it again later when you are not tired? And you only half watch it anyway because you know it has been selected and edited to be a 'respectable' performance, not embarrassing, not mindblowing? And you have stayed awake to watch it purely because you are a completist twat wanting to tick off this previously unseen footage in your mental twitch book? And all these aforementioned thoughts are distracting you from the performance as they arise anyway? Feels like the front of yer brain has been injected with a mild local anaesthetic? And you can already see the black poxy plastic video case with a thick layer of dust on it as you shove it into a black bin liner 5 - 10 years down the line? Must have a cold coming on or something.

Disappointment there was no Jims The Fall / irritated that the bass couldn't be heard / glad the knob fiddling was very little in evidence. Ibis-Afro Man I would like to have heard again too as at Liverpool it was one of those startling snappers that slaps you round the ears like The Fall versh of Strychnine used to be, leaving the audience stunned and thinking "Hang on... what was THAT?", much, much better than the album versh. Cycled past a hotel Ibis on my way back to Piccadilly Station. Agreement on Touch Sensitive - it was reduced to a sludgey riff, I used to like the drums only part which has now gone. The Enigrammatic Dream more than compensated though, it left me more in the mood for a whole evening of chanted word backed by lone guitar than for the gig in hand.

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Are You Are Missing Winner (Cog Sinister COGVP131CD) is out on CD in the UK (and Europe?). It's also been spotted at a few stores in the USA, e.g. Vintage Vinyl, Other Music, Newbury Comics. Sadly it wasn't available at the US gigs, and there doesn't appear to be a US distributor, again.

If you want to order it from Action Records (£11.99), tell them you came from the Official Fall website to get a 10% discount (they ship very quickly too - I've had great success ordering from the USA).

are you are missing artist 1 Jim's "The Fall" (M.E. Smith/J. Watts)
2 Bourgeois Town (R. Johnson arr. M.E. Smith)
3 Crop-Dust (S. Birtwistle/M.E. Smith)
4 My Ex-Classmates' Kids (M.E. Smith/E. Blaney)
5 Kick the Can (M.E. Smith/B. Pritchard)
6 Gotta See Jane (R. Dean/Taylor)
7 Ibis-Afro Man (M.E. Smith/J. Watts/I. Pop)
8 The Acute (Smith/Fanning)
9 Hollow Mind (Smith/Blaney)
10 Reprise: Jane - Prof Mick - Ey Bastardo (Spencer/Blaney)

A few unconfirmed grapevine items:

  • there'll be a limited edition vinyl picture disk.... the horror. On Nov. 8 Rob Ayling of Voiceprint sent a message to Fallnet saying there'd be a pressing of 1,000 numbered picture disks.

    and according to Opal Music:
    "FALL Are You Missing A [sic] Winner -- (UK double LP picture disc) ... 13.95 released 03 Dec 2001"

  • Jim Watts says the shop version of the CD will have different artwork -- although it looks like the ones in the shops now are the same as the ones sold at the UK/Euro gigs, except that they've inexplicably switched Crop-Dust with My Ex-Classmates' Kids on the cover.

  • MES called Rob Ayling at Voiceprint "requesting some changes to the tracks."

The Artwork
(further creative critiques would be welcome; email them to scooke@sdf.lonestar.org)

  • The cover is truly, TRULY dire, breathtakingly, dreadfully crap.
  • They should have had somebody crap on a piece of paper and photocopy it - that would have been better. May have got a bit squished in the photocopier though.
  • The new fall cover looks like a fall cover, is all. most are crappy looking, but at least they're shabby in a way that's recognizeable as being fall shabbiness. when i saw the unutterable cover, i thought, oboy, this looks halfass. of course, i was pleased to hear what the album sounded like. it's among the band's recent best. then i took a closer look at other covers, like infotainment scan, marshall suite, cerebral caustic, the frenz experiment, the wonderful and frightening world of the fall, middle class revolt--some of which are cool-looking, if shabby--and i realized that the fall are more hit and miss with art work than they are with music. still, i s'pose fall fans like to grouse as much or more as anyone else. here's hoping for more crap covers to come!
  • Jesus.. it's appalling, isn't it? Looks like some monkey was let loose on Corel Draw 5 for 10 minutes. You know what... it actually discouraged me from buying the album. I was wavering already (what with the negative views prevalent on the list), but the artwork tipped me over the edge. A shame :-(
  • Thanks to Ian Willey, here's the cover inversed with Photoshop. That's Mark and Elenor (sp?), his wife, I've been reliably informed.

Voiceprint has two Real Audio selections (encoded @ 16 Kbps) on their site:


The first batch of album reviews are on the November 11 news page, the second batch is in November 28; the latest ones follow...

From the Sunday Times, November 25, 2001:

Pop: New Releases: The Fall
Three stars: Outstanding
Two stars: Good
One star: so-so
No stars: Give it a miss

THE FALL Are You Are Missing Winner?
Cog Sinister COGVP131CD

"THE FALLís quarter-century odyssey has seen all front-man Mark E Smithís former band-mates slain or abandoned on rocks. The new incarnation eschews the electronica of recent years for the needling rockabilly sound they slithered from Salford with in 1976. Scuzzy production foregrounds Smithís unmistakable misfiring moped voice, as he hurls words at us like plates in a Greek restaurant. Highlights are Ibis, evidently recorded in a tin filled with seagulls, the steamroller garage punk of My Ex-Classmatesí Kids, and Ey Bastardo, a cover of R Dean Taylorís Gotta See Jane recycled to back Smith playing various disgruntled foreigners. As he extemporises upon his doubtful parentage and responsibility for a bass playerís hair loss, Smithís daring self-awareness threatens to humanise the aloof persona he has cultivated for 25 years. Two stars, Stewart Lee

Trent D:

Your humble narrator, here with a review of sorts.....

* * * * *

The Fall Are You Are Missing Winner?

GOOD EVENING LONDON, YOU LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY PEOPLE!

I'm trying to counter the accusation that all of my reviews boil down to just: the words "BUY IT", or, infrequently (because they say I like too much), "DON'T BUY IT".

What makes The Fall a real force to be reckoned with (for about 25 years now) is the fact that main guy Mark E. Smith just keeps on making choices that are really close to being correct (or, leeway granted, are actually correct). As close as damn it really. I'll look you in the face and freely admit I couldn't do any better, and I'm a big stupid big shot know all music crit who thinks he knows how every song should be played.

Simple as that: correct choices and perhaps precious little else.

Perhaps.

Amazing, though, what a good M.O. that is. Just amazing. Quite a bit better than the reverse, wouldn't you say?

All of which I must modify by asking: are The Fall world famous yet? Are they? Are they?

Well not really, but after listening to this I must say I think it says more about music's current distribution channels & quirks in its hype machine than about either humanity or this one long-lived fiercely-uncompromising band from Manchester that keep REFUSING to suck for about 25 years now (okay, there was that whole Kurious Oranj phase that kept me away for a while).

If they are known much at all, it's usually by word of mouth, and even then only by a small core flock. But left to is [sic] own devices, and even knowing he's is own worst enemy, Mark probably sees the life of The Fall very clearly (probably much clearer than any of is diehard fans):

(1) people will ask you things
(2) people will demand certain things
(3) you will want to do certain things
(4) all you have to do is choose correctly

(5) simple as that

Amongst us small core flock types, there are only a few bands that have done what The Fall have done, and -- upon hearing this new one -- continue to do.

Sorry. Strike that last comment. I added a clause in haste and it ruined my point.

NO OTHER BAND exists that CONTINUES to do what The Fall do.

Most have learned that they didn't become world famous, and eventually quit. Simple as that.

(Just look at Pavement. They only had one really killer album, and even then it was only because it sounded a lot like The Fall. Seriously. Hey, I love Pavement as much as anyone but this isn't exactly secret knowledge I'm espousing here. For that matter, the only Cornershop song worth listening to is the one that sounds like The Fall ("Call All Destroyers")).

After a while, they all start to sag, fade, wither, wane.

After a while they start to suck.

In the world of art, painting, music, writing etc. we have a stereotype of the person who is so involved in the decisions they are making that they don't have enough room to experiment. In fact, almost nearly every time, if you see someone experimenting, it's almost a sure sign that they have the basics down and are somewhat bored with the basics thank you. We don't need no steenking basics.

People who are worried don't have the time.

This new Fall album has all the time in the world, actually, which I must modify by creating an analogy: it's a whole whole lot lot [sic] like seeing an unfamiliar sketch by Picasso HASTILY TAPED TO THE WALL IN THE FUCKING LOUVRE thank you.

No one knows how it got there. Someone must've just come in with it and scotch-taped it to the wall next to the fire extinguisher, &c. The stupid little piece of scotch tape is an insult to the work it is barely adhering to the wall, see, but there it is.

This album has NO production values. ZERO. Forget it.

Cover art? NOPE. forget it. You don't get any. Sorry.

Song titles? YEP, but they're fucked up & out of order. Forget it.

Songs? Well, yeah, but in some ways not really (it's almost Anti-Songist in how it observes Can's techniques of building a groove up slowly, methodically, over time........lot of time? yeah sometimes....but build it all the same). But yeah. Definitely. The songs contain this shit so yeah. There are some good songs. But not really.

What it does have are a lot of correct choices. The real choice choice [sic] being: completely get rid of your band. Get rid of your band.

WHY?

Because it was so great.

Absorb that for a second while I prattle on about one of the songs here: "Ibis-Afro Man".

Pinning the entire nine minutes some odd seconds down is a bass riff so relentless that it completely DESTROYS. It's a Mozartian/Wilsonian ascension of decidedly Punk fucking currency. It just goes UP UP UP constantly. It just won't stop, we've tried asking. Meanwhile, Smith completely DESTROYS the game rules of MELODY and even MUSIC-uh the exact same ways he did with elder tracks like Bug Day, Paintwork, Midwatch 1953 and so on with other parts played out of sync with the main lead like he really DOESN'T GIVE A FUCK. Too bad: he does. Obviously. Because he made all the right choices. This song is about nine fucking minutes of realizing a tape is running and ergo filling it up with whatever will make the most impression: a completely corroded tape sample of monkeys screeching? Great! throw that on for a couple minutes. Then bring back in the instrumentation (but leave the corroded taped voice of a prior take running please). It's completely relentlessly unreal the effect created here. Sure, it's not for everybody; sure it's not for the Brittney Spears crowd, granted. Sure it's not for the casual indie-rock fan, although ... now that I think about it. .... and speaking really honestly from rock-critic to reader: this review is probably most likely an attempt on my part to show how the casual indie-rock fan may in fact really benefit from hearing this shit. Someone on Fall Net called it a Lo-Fi masterpiece and I would say that taking out one or two of these tracks & substituting "I Wake Up In the City" (from a recent limited edition 7") would pretty much seal that charge.

I've been a writer for many years, and have learned the nine and ninety rules of art for describing various situations. I have no description for this song.

Nada.

All I can do is just mumble and point, just like all of them ever did, just like all good writers can ever do.

This review in one word: great.

This review in three words: fucking really great.

This review in several words: fucking really great, though this is for people who don't have to understand music on a formal level, but happen to know what they like, and happen to like, well, more often than not, really on-point fucking rock and roll.

This review in a paragraph: fucking really great, but there are no attempts made by the band to satisfy their fans in the way of PACKAGING in the way of PRESENTATION, things that fans get off on myself included. Only by belting out solid on-point fucking rock and roll the way old garage bands used to do in the sixties, and in general roughing up their sound to where even the most ardent punt rotter will start headbanging a bit, and (and this is crucial) while keeping their own idiosyncratic decidedly uncompromising (but let's face it, how uncompromising are you when you clearly have nothing left to lose) version of history, music, sound, and most important: versions, et. al. intact.

This review for lovers (solely) of The Unutterable: not the same sort of approach at all. Please consult your physician. Your mileage may vary.

This review for Fall Fans: get it. It's not quite as good as some of the classics, but it really is good.

This review for CONFIRMED Fall Fans: is there really any choice at this point?

-=trent, starting to feel [sic], ahem....clears throat.....BUY IT!

John Varner:

This weekend I was pleased to find AYAMW at Vintage Vinyl (St. Louis), as well as Speed Trials. My review of Speed Trials will have to come later, because I keep listening to AYAMW over and over.

First listen was on headphones, while waiting for the yyprg to finsih something up as we were on our way out the door. I just gave each song 30 seconds to get an overall feel. The production sounded utterly fantastic - akin to Dragnet, Grotesque, or 27 Pints.

Second listen was in the car with the yyprg. We both thought it all sounded better live than on the CD. I particularly liked "Crop-Dust," she particularly liked "Gotta See Jane." After a bit of Ibis-Afro Man, we fast-forwarded, and the rest of it seemed pretty spotty. She rolled her eyes at the silly lyrics in "The Acute" and kept singing "Jerusalem" over top of "Hollow Mind."

Third through dozenth listens during the last few days (I'm using up vacation days that won't roll over to 2002). The overall scummy garage sound is more appealling to me than the slickness of Unnutterable. "Crop-Dust" sounds like a Fall classic. "Gotta See Jane" and "The Acute" remind me of 90-91 Fall - seems like not much effort or passion went into them, particularly when compared to all the snarly rocking going on around them. "My Ex-Classmates' Kids" kicks ass, but part of the power might come from it being ten times louder than everything else. "Kick The Can" is a grower. The others all have the wonderfully clattery, raw Fallness that I love, but it's a bit different. More distortion than ever before.

"Ibis-Afro Man" starts out with a long and thoroughly unenjoyable piss-take (shrieking monkeys sound good on paper, but not on tape), although it kicks into something fairly interesting once MES starts singing "Race With The Devil." Similarly, "Reprise..." is the junk I've come to expect at the end of a Fall rekkid until it turns into a take of "Gotta See Jane" that obliterates the earlier version.

Verdict: I like it. Love it in parts. "Wake Up In The City" shoulda been on here, though.

Todd Jones:

I love The Fall and I heard horrible things about this album. When I got it, I was not expecting a classic but I was not expecting garbage. There are some incredible songs on this album but the extreme lo-fi sound quality and extremely cheap cover will throw people off. It seems like it only took 10 minutes to make the cover and it was made in my basement... Still, my favorite Fall albums include "Extricate", "Frenz Experiment", "Infotainment Scan", "Levitate", "Marshall Suite", and "Light User Syndrome". The new Fall album "Are You AreMissing Winner" is right under those albums in terms of great songs. The sound quality can't help but bring it down a bit.

"Jim's 'The Fall'" is a great way to kick the album off.

"Bourgeois Town" is a classic track! It's perfect! It has everything I love about The Fall in this song! "I'm in a bourgeois town, spread the news all around..."

"Crop Dust" has some great rhythm but does not stand out lyrically nor is it catchy. That is one reason I like it. ply

"Kick The Can" is a two-part song. The first part is slow and loud but the rward 2nd part is quick with an upbeat somewhat rockabilly sound.. "Gotta kick the can (or they'll send ya to a foreign land)".. I don't know what he says but the backing vocals of the band gives it a great touch.

"My Ex-Classmates Kids" is a great track but the vocal level is all messed up and Smith's yelling will hurt eardrums. The hook is great and will have people singing along. Too bad the mixing and levels are messed up.

"Gotta See Jane" is perfect! This cover track only reinforces that I think The Fall should put out an LP of all covers one of these days. Real catchy, real upbeat. Even with the lo-fi sound, it sounds great!

"Ibis-afro Man" is a joke. This song is so long and boring. At first listen, it's funny since the monkey sounds truly throw the listener off. But after a couple more listens, I use to do songs like this when I was 13 years old and stoned out of my mind. Sure, it's bold but The Fall has done stuff like this before and it's not needed.

"The Acute" ... another wonderful track!

"Hollow Mind"... another wonderful track!

" Reprise: Jane - Prof Mick - Ey Bastardo".. This is a long track that uses reprises "Gotta See Jane". I love how it stops and then starts up again.. This happens a couple of times. It's obvious that this was an improve but the whole "Svet is a bastardo" repetition is hilarious. The weird Spanish-like accent that Smith uses is fresh. He's never did that before (at least that I know of).

As a whole, I don't think this album will gain the Fall NEW fans. This is for die-hard Fall fans...really, Mark E. Smith fans. Since the old band were sacked, this is Smith and some new musicians. I wish the sound mix was better and of course, I would love it if they used some keyboards. "Bourgeois Town" uses these extremely cheap sounding keyboards but it sounds so perfect. This is The Fall very stripped down, very loud and guitar driven. It's almost the antithesis of "The Unutterable" since that album seemed like it was produced well. "Are You Are Missing Winner" with it's mis-spelled title has the 'back to basics' approach. It's not for everybody but since when is The Fall for everybody? It's another great Fall record....period.

Other Music:

THE FALL "Are You Are Missing Winner" (Cog Sinister, UK) CD $14.99
http://64.27.65.90:8080/ramgen/othermusic/fallare1.rm
http://64.27.65.90:8080/ramgen/othermusic/fallare2.rm

The Fall's 22nd non-compilation studio album is one of their weirdest and messiest ever, right up there with "Room to Live" for the "what the hell were they thinking?" factor. "We are the new Fall," the band bellows, and once again it's true -- the indefatigable Mark E. Smith and lead guitarist Ben Pritchard are the only survivors of last year's lineup. A mangled cover of Leadbelly's 'Bourgeois Blues' is inexplicably credited to "R. Johnson arr. M.E. Smith," and they've dipped into the R. Dean Taylor catalogue again for 'Gotta See Jane'; otherwise, the band approximates rockabilly, Smith attempts with some difficulty to form words, and the album's filled out with a ProTools collage of session fragments. The disc's centerpiece is 'Ibis-Afro Man,' a freeway-blocking pileup with several discrete recordings of a galumphing groove superimposed for almost ten minutes, along with random parakeet squawks and semi-coherent Smith mutterings ("I eat a monkey for breakfast-uh! I use no fork or knife-uh!"). Either his brain has completely dissolved, or he's a deeper genius than we'll ever understand. [DW]

________________________

from Jeff Cashdollar:

I have a remix I want to give you that I just finished. It is called Fall At Once and is made up of 310 Fall songs being played simultaneously. Sounds kind of like getting hit by a train and then thins out as various songs end. An interesting experiment in horror.

http://www.nextsally.com

There's also a remix of Smile on Jeff's site.

____________________

There's a novella out by Camden Joy and Colin B. Morton (aka Carlton B. Morgan, one-time Fallnetter) called Pan.

Quoted from http://www.highwaterbooks.com/books.html#pan

"At a performance in New York on 7 April 98, Mark E. Smith did all he could to break up his band, The Fall. He fought the drummer, shoved the bassist, and repeatedly whipped the guitarist. The sole untouched member was Smith's girlfriend, the keyboardist (later that same night, Smith was arrested for beating her).

Colin B. Morton (one-half of the cartooning genius behind Great Pop Things) joins Camden Joy in savagely satirizing their very favorite Manchester band, outlining a delightful conspiracy of time travelers, primal gods, pun-filled Welshmen, nostalgic lesbians, corporate raiders, and Captain Beefheart enthusiasts. Full of unsparing observations and bracing wit, Joy and Morton give us rock's first sci-fi occult hagiography thriller.

There's also a review of sorts here: http://www.laweekly.com/ink/01/41/weekly-dalton.shtml

____________________

An interview with Mark from Time Out New York by Jay Ruttenberg (November 2001).

Dec. 12, 2001

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Recent news...

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