Indie CV
Category

The Indie CV – Jez and Andy Williams

Comments (0) Carousel, Carousel1A, Feature, Indie CV, Latest, Slider

It is unusual for someone to spend their whole working life at the same organisation and that can pretty much be said for band members and artists. In this regular feature Rob Morgan (@durutti74) maps out the career chronologically of a selected band member.

In this edition Rob compiles the CV for Jez and Andy Williams

_________________________________________________________________________________

Jez and Andy Williams

Born: 18th February 1970, Manchester

Jeremy and Andrew, as their birth certificate names them,  are twin brothers and grew up very close and very interested in music, Jez learning the guitar and Andy the drums. During their education at Wilmslow High School they met Jimi Goodwin, a bass player, and the trio played in many local bands during the mid eighties, at that time a particularly fertile musical scene in Manchester.

1987 – Metro Trinity

Jez became guitarist with Metro Trinity, a little known Manchester band who issued one single on their own Cafeteria label. A four song twelve inch EP titled “Die Young”, it was a typically post C86 indie record, lots of jangle and strum. Easily the best song was “Michael Furey”, a mid tempo strum of nicely layered guitars easily comparable to the Railway Children or a less frantic Bodines. Andy joined his brother in Metro Trinity after the EP was released, and the band recorded one more song, “Stupid Friends”, which was issued on a flexi with Debris fanzine later in 1987 alongside “Garage Full Of Flowers”, the debut recording by the Inspiral Carpets which was already referencing the Stone Roses’ “Garage Flower”. But Metro Trinity folded around 1988, just as the Williams twins met up with Goodwin again at the Hacienda.


1991 – 1996 Sub Sub

Influenced by their nights at the home of acid house, Goodwin and the Williams twins ditched their conventional instruments and started to create dance music. They were soon signed to Rob’s Records, run by Rob Gretton, who also became their manager. After a little underground success with their debut “Space Face”, their third single “Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)”, credited to Sub Sub ft Melanie Williams, was a huge success, Melanie’s soulful vocal over the funky seventies disco groove was highly infectious and the single reached number 3 in the UK charts, and garnered a performance on Top Of The Pops.


Sub Sub would not reach such heights again, but continued to issue singles during the mid 90s, and an album “Full Fathom Five” (it’s a Shakespeare reference, Roses fans). They were well regarded by their peers too, recording singles with Tricky and Bernard Sumner as guest vocalists. However their studio was destroyed by a fire on the Williams twins’ birthday and they took the chance to rethink their direction and motivation.

1998 to 2010 – Doves

Goodwin and the Williams twins decided to return to their electric instruments, Goodwin on bass, Jez on guitar and Andy on drums, naming themselves Doves. Still managed by Gretton, Doves started attracting attention with their debut single “The Cedar Room”, released in 1998. Mark Radcliffe played it often on his afternoon Radio One show and it’s mesmerising slow trudge of glacial guitars and a soaring chorus made Doves a band to watch.


A few more singles led to a deal with Heavenly Records and their debut album “Lost Souls” was issued in 2000. Admittedly Goodwin was their lead singer but both Williams brothers were given lead vocals on each album as a measure of democracy. Indeed the album’s lead single “Here It Comes” contrasts verses sung by Andy with Goodwin’s chorus.


The heart of the album was the song which kicked off side two (in old money). “Melody Calls” was again sung by Andy and describes how music can express thoughts which are hard to speak, the second verse is perfect:

“The words don’t come so easy
She can’t say what’s inside
The sounds they do speak for me
The sounds remain forever
Stays with her till morning time”


“Lost Souls” is an album full of heart, rising like a phoenix from the tragedy of the Sub Sub studio fire, defiant and ready to battle again. The LP was dedicated to the memory of Rob Gretton who had passed away during the recording of the album. It was well received and nominated for a Mercury prize for album of the year and “Catch the sun” became a surprise hit single too.

2002 saw the return of Doves, first issuing the single “There Goes The Fear”, an eight minute monster of a song culminating in a Brazillian percussion carnival, and “The Last Broadcast” LP. While “There Goes The Fear”, “Pounding” and the gorgeous “Caught By The River” all charted well, the album allowed the Williams twins to shine too. “M62 Song”, sung by Andy, sounds like it was recorded on a Walkman beside the titular motorways (and Andy sounds oddly like James Roberts of the Sea Urchins and Delta here). On the other hand, Jez gets the opening song “Words”, a powerful statement of intent over driving drums and circling guitar arpeggios, while Jez sings of resilience and self belief, an absolutely cracking album opener.


Doves’ third album “Some Cities” was released in 2005 and again was highly anticipated, the thumping lead single “Black and White Town” was another success but if anything the album suffered from sounding slightly too similar to their previous work in places. Again each Williams twin sang a song, Andy’s “Shadows of Salford” sounded like ‘M62 Song” on piano, but Jez’s “The Storm” was an orchestrated beauty, slow and gorgeous, which in places sounds like a Bond theme. The best song on the album was the closer “Ambition”, recorded live in a church – they were making a video there and were taken by the acoustics. There’s something of the feel of Bark Psychosis in that song.


Maybe Doves knew they were repeating themselves because when they returned in 2009 with their fourth album “Kingdom Of Rust” their music felt familiar yet refreshed, and the electronic elements on songs such as opener “Jetstream” made a difference. That song, sung by Andy, pulsed like Kraftwerk taking “Trans Europe Express” to an airport and was an early album highlight alongside the title track.


Later in the album Andy had another lead vocal on “Compulsion”, where the strangely funky rhythm pattern sounds like A Certain Ratio throwing Chic down the stairs (in a nice way). “Kingdom Of Rust” was a great return to form but after a tour and a greatest hits album, Doves went on hiatus in 2010.

2014 onwards – Black Rivers

Jez and Andy began working on new material outside of Doves from 2012 onwards and started releasing songs and performing live from 2014 under the band name Black Rivers. Their debut album was issued in 2015 and takes in some wider influences than Doves, there’s hints of 60s psychedelia on opener “Diamond Days” while “The Ship” is a second cousin to Portishead’s “The Rip”.


 

Andy and Jez share vocal duties equally and it sounds enough like Doves for most fans to find something familiar in it, especially those characteristic guitar arpeggios of Jez’s on “Voyager 1”. Black Rivers are touring this summer (blimey, they’re playing the Trades Hall in Hebden Bridge, clearly a hotbed of indie in Yorkshire) and should be worth seeing if you have the time.

It seems like the Williams twins still have plenty of great music in them to add to their considerable legacy.

_________________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.com) and also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589).

He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

Whose CV will Rob be writing next?

Read more

The Indie CV – Margaret Fiedler

Comments (1) Carousel, Carousel1A, Feature, Indie CV, Latest, Slider

It is pretty unusual for someone to spend their whole working life at the same organisation and that can pretty much be said for band members and artists. In this regular feature Rob Morgan (@durutti74) maps out the career chronologically of a selected band member.

In this edition Rob compiles the CV for Margaret Fiedler

________________________________________________________________________________________

Margaret Fiedler

Born: Chicago, Illinois
Education: Sarah Lawrence College, Trinity College Dublin
Instruments: Cello, guitar, keyboards, samplers

1987 to 1988 – Child’s Play / Ultra Vivid Scene
Fiedler’s first foray into music was during the mid 80s when she formed Childs Play with Moby in New York. Both Fiedler and Moby became members of an early lineup of Kurt Ralske’s Ultra Vivid Scene project (for want of a better word, as UVS never felt like a band). Sadly there are no recordings to prove this, unless Ralske wants to dip into his vault which seems unlikely. She didn’t even appear in the “Mercy Seat” video broadcast on Snub TV in 1988 where Moby can be briefly seen. But it was a start. In 1990 Fiedler moved to the UK.


1991 to 1993 – Moonshake

Fiedler’s move to the UK allowed her to form Moonshake with Dave Callahan, former guitarist with The Wolfhounds. Inititally they signed to Creation Records who issued their debut EP “First” during the summer of 1991, the summer of shoegazing. In some ways the EP fitted in with that trend – the first track “Gravity” was hazy, full of distorted waves of guitars and Fiedler’s calm vocals.


Other tracks showed more promise. “Coward” was a speedy blast of noise, “Coming” was based on looped percussion and was all tension and release while closing track “Hanging” was slower, more considered but equally tense. Fiedler’s gentle sigh of “Left me hanging yesterday / I cut the rope today” was frightening in its lack of intensity. The EP was produced by Guy Fixsen, who was also working with other shoegazing acts like Revolver, Moose and of course My Bloody Valentine.


Around this time Fiedler also recorded a cello part for “Please tell mother” by The Telescopes, a high point on their second album which wasn’t released until June 1992, by which point Moonshake had fallen out with Creation and moved to Too Pure Records.


Too Pure issued Moonshake’s second EP “Secondhand clothes” in the Spring of ’92 and the band were becoming more distinctive, moving away from the waves of guitar and more into loops and samples. The title track featured Callahan snarling about modern life, a subject he would develop over time, while Fiedler’s “Blister” accentuated off kilter rhythms, and was more personal, a stark description of PMT and the feelings surrounding it. Moonshake’s debut album “Eva Luna” came out in the autumn of ’92, heralded by Fiedler’s “Beautiful pigeon” as a single,featuring more tension and threatening drums that sounded like cannons firing into a ballroom (a sound Fixsen had used on “Untitled Love Song” by Moose).


“Eva Luna” was the perfect Moonshake record – Callahan’s tales of urban decay matched by Fiedler’s more intimate and personal songs while the whole band work as a perfectly oiled machine through strange rhythms and bass lines that wander around bar lines and irregular rhythms. If “Spaceship Earth” was Callahan’s best moment, “Little thing” was Fiedler’s. While loops fall over themselves in 7/8 time, and more layers of sound are thrown into the mix Fiedler whispers in character about unmaternal feelings for an unborn baby inside her. “Shut my eyes, make a wish, count to ten, will it be gone? Maybe I’ll start bleeding, maybe I’ll stop breathing”. Unnerving and slightly terrifying.


Moonshake toured with The Wedding Present at the end of 1992 (a bill that also included little known but wonderful Leeds quartet Tse Tse Fly, three quarters of whom ended up in the Wedding Present) and contemporary reports state that Moonshake were at the height of their powers. Tightly coiled with every song running perfectly into the next and alternating between Callahan and Fiedler. Also around this time, they recorded a Peel session where Callahan sang Fiedler’s songs and vice versa. An interesting experiment, Callahan snarls through “Sweet Heart”, Fiedler is lost in the loops within “Mugshot Heroine”and the version of “Coming” is a thrill ride of rhythm and feedback, more ferocious than the original version on their debut EP.


1993 would see another Moonshake release, a six song mini album called “Big Good Angel” and the creative tension between Callahan and Fiedler nearly explodes over the songs. Fiedler’s trio of songs point to her future. The frantic looping of “Two trains”, swampy textures of “Girly loop” and a celebration of bodily fluids in “Flow”. Callahan can barely compete. Whilst his songs are great, Fiedler’s are in another class. During an American tour the creative tension between the two became toxic and personal and Fiedler left Callahan with the band name and the drummer, taking dextrous bass player Mig Morland and producer Fixsen with her to her new band.


1994 to 2003 – Laika

The trio of Fiedler, Fixsen and Morland were the perfect fit, all they needed was a name. So Fiedler ran a competition in the Melody Maker inviting readers to submit names and she would pick the winner. A few months later the band name was revealed as Laika, the name of the first dog sent into space by Russia back in the late 50s. Laika’s debut album “Silver Apples Of The Moon” was also a perfect fit for 1994, which wasn’t just nascent Britpop. Laika’s music fused the loopadelic sounds of trip hop with the more adventurous sounds of the dance scene, as likely to be played on Peel as on Radio Three’s Mixing It show. “We’re just like trip hop, but much much faster” as they said in interviews. Debut single “Marimba Song” was more frantic looping and falling over rhythms while Fiedler sings about… god knows actually.


“Coming Down Glass” is a strange song with a steamy atmosphere to match the lyrics. “If You Miss” sounds like a train approaching, while Fiedler sings about aiming for the stars. The album was well received and earned a lot of praise. Around this time, Laika recorded a cover of Wire’s “German Shepherds” for the “Whore” Wire tribute LP, a fine cover of a fine song.


Second album “Sounds Of The Satellites” was issued in 1997 and earned them a support slot with Radiohead who loved them and offered them much support and praise in the media. Maybe it gained them a few more fans too, it certainly raised their profile. The sound was slightly smoothed down, less rough edges but still off-kilter enough. It still wasn’t exactly pop music, and Laika remained a cult band. Third album “Good Looking Blues” was issued in 2000 and includes probably the best known Laika song, “Badtimes”, where the jazzy groove is built up then Fiedler starts talking about what the Badtimes virus will do. From rewriting your hard drive to drinking all your beer and generally ruining your life.“Badtimes will make you fall in love with a penguin…it will kick your dog…it will leave your toilet seat up…”.


By the time of Laika’s next album in 2003 the band itself was falling apart, Fixsen at home making tracks while Fiedler was performing as part of PJ Harvey’s band. Laika would end around 2003, although they are said to be on hiatus. Fiedler also claimed that the increase of illegal downloading effectively killed the band, noting how sales of their fourth album were a third of previous albums, which she claimed was down to fans downloading the album instead of buying it.

2003 – Present

Fiedler studied in the College of Law where she received a post graduate degree in 2005, then working in the copyright department on the BBC, while also starting a successful business making candles in teacups.

http://www.magsmcginnis.com

She married David McGinnis of Mute Publishing (she is now known as Margaret Fiedler-McGinnis). In 2008 she toured with Wire (in support of their “Object 47” album) as second guitarist, replacing Bruce Gilbert who had retired at this point, though she does not perform on the album. On the other hand, she appears on the rare “Strays” EP by Wire, playing guitar on “German Shepherds”, which rather squares the circle.

So raise a teacup – with or without a candle in it – to Margaret Fiedler-McGinnis

_________________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.com) and also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589). He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Whose CV will Rob be writing next? 

 

Read more