Friday, March 31, 2006

kraut rock ----> haggis rock?

to some it may seem unusual for a band like Mogwai to come out of a town, Glasgow, often noted for the depth of it pop artists. even beneath their noise, scene grandfathers the Jesus and Mary Chain and primal Scream were heavily and openly influenced by pop music. if you dig a little deeper though, say ten years back, you'll find a band that seemingly sets a precedent to the post rock tinkering of one of Scotlands bigger musical imports. a lot of people expected the Telstar Ponies to be just another pop band. after all, they featured the ex-drummer of Teenage Fanclub, Brendan O'Hare, and it's founder was in another popular, Big Star striving band called 18 Wheeler. the group in fact began with some poppier singles before evolving towards the realms of twelve minute, epic, noise-riddled compositions. this track is from the 1996 ep Mor Factum Musica, which preceded their album Voices from the New Music, serves as a nice bridge between the early hybrid of guitar-heavy psych-rock and kraut rock and the impending free jazz and japanese noise rock emulations on the full length. astute Mogwai fans may know where this comes full circle as O'Hare would depart the band and become Mogwai's second drummer, appearing on their debut studio album before taking leave from them as well. a majority of the Telstar Ponies are now playing in the group the Porch Song Anthology and insist the Ponies, who haven't released anything since the '99 single "Farewell, Farewell" are simply on a long-term sabbatical.

Telstar Ponies "Innerhalb Weniger Minuten"


At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Jason, great article, good to see some recognition for this amazingly good band. You are right that they started off poppy, and gradually got more and more "out there", before coming back round the other side as a folk band with noise-tendencies.

The best gig I've ever seen was T*P at Manchester Roadhouse, May '96, about 10 people in the audience but my God, what a show, what incredible songs. Innerhalb Weniger Minuten actually also appeared on their debut album, In the Space of a Few Minutes (which is Innerhalb... in English!). Brendan O'Hare reckons Voices From The New Music is the worst album ever made (and says he was forced at gunpoint to record drums for the song Brewery of Eggshells). I think it is astoundingly impressive and he should be proud of his part in its creation.

Pleasing to hear they are merely on sabbatical, although I'm not sure they will ever top that 1996 gig in a near-empty Manchester dive.


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