The Jesus and Mary Chain

Monqui Presents

The Jesus and Mary Chain

Cold Cave

Tue, October 24

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Hi-Fi Music Hall

Eugene, OR

$35.00

This event is all ages

The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Stooges, the Ramones, Einstürzende Neubauten, The Shangri-Las: an eclectic range of influences for sure, and one that inspired brothers Jim and William Reid as The Jesus and Mary Chain emerged from Lanarkshire, Scotland, to become one of the most influential bands of their era.

What followed was a rush of creativity and controversy in which the power of their music – most strikingly the landmark debut ‘Psychocandy’ – was matched by the volatility of their relationship. Their journey sparked a wider influence. Not only did their success help Alan McGee’s Creation Records to flourish into the home of Britain’s most critically acclaimed bands from My Bloody Valentine to Oasis to Super Furry Animals, but early drummer Bobby Gillespie made history of his own with Primal Scream.

By 1998, however, chaos had devolved into terminal conflict and the JAMC story was over.

“At the time it was the old, ‘I’m never gonna do this again, no matter what’,” recalls Jim Reid. “And then as the years go by, you can’t really remember the reasons why you broke-up in the first place. Maybe we could’ve repaired the relationship back then, and we were too quick to end it.”

A spirit of sibling stubbornness continued, with each Reid assuming that the other wouldn’t want to reunite. Eventually they found what sounds like a reluctant common ground by agreeing, “I’d do it if you do it.” As Jim adds, “We thought, ‘Well fuck it, why not?’ It seems crazy not to. And if we leave it any later maybe we’re gonna be too old.”

In their absence, the list of bands influenced by the JAMC blueprint seemed to run on and on, while Sofia Coppola’s use of ‘Just Like Honey’ in the closing scene of ‘Lost in Translation’ allowed a new generation the chance to discover JAMC. In the years that followed, Coachella repeatedly tried to persuade them to reform the band: a ploy that was finally rewarded when JAMC made their big comeback in 2007 – accompanied by special guest Scarlett Johansson.

And while the live shows kept on coming – including a special back-to-back ‘Psychocandy’ tour – the prospect of a new album remained tantalisingly out of reach. The challenges were multiple: disagreements on where and how to record, together with Jim’s reluctance to leave a comfortable-but-quiet life with his young family to spend months abroad.

So what changed?

“We started to – can you believe? – listen to each other a bit more,” he explains. “In the last couple of years, we’ve buried the hatchet to some degree, and thankfully not into each other. Most people who know us would say that we haven’t mellowed that much. I think it was to do with the fact, dare I say it, that wisdom comes with age. Let’s live and let live, and let’s take each other’s opinions into account. The thing that surprised both me and William was that there wasn’t much animosity in between us in the studio.”

Work on the album, subsequently titled ‘Damage and Joy’ (a reference to the English translation of schadenfreude), began in September 2015, with producer Youth also contributing bass and diplomacy to proceedings during sessions in London, Dublin and Granada, Spain. It was a process, notes Jim nonchalantly, “that didn’t feel as weird as you might expect.”

News of the album broke to the world at large via Alan McGee – now again their manager – in November 2016 and the lead track ‘Amputation’ emerged just a few weeks later. Its waves of distorted guitar flow under Jim’s insouciant vocal delivery collide to create a hypnotic address to his feelings of “being edited out of the whole music business and wondering what had gone wrong. We didn’t seem to fit in anywhere and I felt like a rock ‘n’ roll amputation.”

Elsewhere, ‘Damage and Joy’ expertly judges that precarious balancing act of needing to both grow and to remain true to the spirit that captured people’s imagination the first time around. William’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ is a refined re-energised version of the song that previously appeared on ‘Upside Down: The Best of The Jesus and Mary Chain’ in which tales of hedonistic excess simultaneously feel like both a cry for help and an extension of their sardonic black humour.

That’s a trait that emphasised in ‘Facing Up To The Facts’ with the couplet “I hate my brother and he hates me / That’s the way it’s supposed to be.” It’s also not a lyric that Jim considers to be at all remarkable. “At times we do hate each other, it’s been largely what’s fuelled the Mary Chain. It would be just as correct to say that I love him too, but that doesn’t sound so good, does it?”

It’s easy to assume that McGee’s management of the Reids was effectively his training ahead of guiding the Gallaghers. “There are a lot of similarities, it’s quite spooky actually,” laughs Jim. “We certainly laid the groundwork for him in terms of having to deal with sibling rivalry within a band, and being brothers that wanted to kill other.”

Not that he’s so interested in tracing the impact of JAMC upon their many followers. “If you’ve listened to music for as long as I have, you find a cycle. You start off with Joy Division and if you stay tuned there’ll be some young band like them decades later. Rock ‘n’ roll is a borrowed art form. I’m sure when Mary Chain came along there were old guys calling us to the new Velvets or what have you. Personally I’d rather listen to my old Beatles, Joy Division and Velvet Underground records, and not bother with the bands that sound like them.”

Ultimately, the triumph of ‘Damage and Joy’ is one in which its sonics transcend its story. “The interesting thing about this record is what comes out of the speakers. To make a good record is an achievement if you’re twenty-two, but to do it in your fifties, the way we are, I think is a minor miracle.”
Cold Cave
Cold Cave
Cold Cave are an experimental electronic pop group from Philadelphia who make melodic synthscapes with jackhammer beats. They acknowledge the dark roots of synthesizer music as well as its potential for making the brightest pop. They recall that Cabaret Voltaire attacked political systems using keyboards, while Throbbing Gristle threatened to cancel out civilization as we knew it with their hard songs of sexual and societal loathing.

As with their ancestors, for Cold Cave the synthesizer is as much about mayhem as it is melody. It is a means of conveying, via dissonance, ideas about disturbance and decay as effectively as the harshest guitar rock. It comes as no surprise to learn that mainman Wesley Eisold is a writer with a past in hardcore punk and noise bands. Caralee McElroy has spent the past few years performing and recording with Brooklyn's acclaimed Xiu Xiu. Manhattan-based Dominick Fernow is known for many projects, mainly of an extreme nature, including the noise group Prurient, and the NYC record store and label Hospital Productions.

And yet the three individuals who comprise Cold Cave strive for balance, between the ugly and the beautiful, between rupture and rapture. This is why even the most extreme Cold Cave songs feature alluring chord sequences and pretty female vocals. In this way they mark that transitional moment when synthesizer music went from a subversive device for sound collagists to a serious commercial force. They are cerebral and savage, yet sweet and seductive. The songs on Cold Cave’s debut album Love Comes Close have an immediacy that belies thought-provoking titles like “The Laurels of Erotomania” and “The Trees Grew Emotions And Died”.

Cold Cave are a forward-looking venture, not an exercise in nostalgia or even reclamation. According to Eisold, if anything, their music reflects what it feels like to live in the present. “We don't wish to reclaim anything,” says Eisold, whose baritone is as rich and resonating as that of Phil Oakey, Nick Cave or Iggy Pop.

“Of course we love the lineage of the genre, early experiments with machines to convey human emotion; the marriage between pop and industrial music. At the time it was documenting the early stages of a new world, and we are recording what it feels like to be alive in that world. In the past people found it fascinating to imagine a future where robots and computers take over the human race. I think this has already happened.”

Cold Cave, Eisold explains, came about a couple of years ago via his tentative experiments with synthesizer equipment and analogue/digital technology. “These were rudimentary attempts to learn how to play and record at the same time,” he says. The name Cold Cave, he adds, “was as vague as it was specific. I wanted a reference and my head felt like one.”

When asked whether there is a set of guiding principles at work here, a Cold Cave aesthetic that runs from the artwork to the music, he answers: “We spend a lot of thought choosing what we do. The artwork is as imperative as the music. It is the only imagery attached to the recording. We judge books by covers everyday and it is my hope to have the sleeves represent the emotion, or lack of, of the music.”

He concedes that even though there are few explicit references to the heart of darkness on Love Comes Close, there are hints in the language used in the song titles at depravity and desolation. And he agrees that this makes Cold Cave heirs to the synthpop noir of Fad Gadget, Non, New Order, Ultravox, Throbbing Gristle, and Soft Cell circa Non Stop Erotic Cabaret and The Art Of Falling Apart. “Yes, that’s fair,” he says, but he would also like it to be known that in Cold Cave’s pantheon of alternative electronica greats reside the likes of Muslimgauze, Trisomie 21, Minimal Man, Permutative Distorsion, Grauzone, No More, Metal Urbain, The Screamers, and The Normal.

Cold Cave will be touring extensively through the end of 2008 and in early 2009.