Slug In Session – 2019 – Past Daily Soundbooth
Slug in session to kick off the week. Recorded literally hours ago in session for Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music.
According to Timothy Monger at Allmusic:
Slug is the solo project of British musician Ian Black, a former touring bassist for angular indie rockers Field Music and a fixture of the Sunderland area indie scene since the early 2000s. Mixing quirky, melodic guitar pop with art rock, ’70s funk, and an array of other eclectic influences, Black recorded his debut in 2014 with help from Field Music brothers Peter and David Brewis, who co-produced the album. Rounding out the ensemble are guitarist Rhys Patterson and bassist Andrew Lowther. Slug’s debut LP, Ripe, was released in April 2015 by British indie Memphis Industries. The follow-up, 2018’s HiggledyPiggledy, departed from the debut in being a completely solo effort, with Black playing everything and producing as well. Inspired by the Residents and the Holy Mountain soundtrack, Black took a minimalist -approach to recording that focused on drums and rhythm while lyrically detailing the Dadistic nature of modern life.
You might want to check out their (his) latest album, Higgledy Piggledy which came out last year to good reviews, like this one:
The first Slug album, Ripe, was co-produced and helped along by Field Music’s brothers Brewis, which wasn’t surprising considering Slug’s Ian Black was once that band’s bass player. The record didn’t fall too far from the art-rock-with-hooks tree, but was colored by a weirder, more playful streak that Black brought to the mix. When it came time to record a second album, Black decided to go it alone. 2018’s HiggledyPiggledy doesn’t suffer any from the lack of Brewis brothers — Black has more than enough skill and imagination to make Slug sound great all by himself. While still orbiting around the same angular, witty, and sometimes goofy sound as the debut, this time Black seems a little more willing to experiment and stray from delivering big hooks in favor of sneaky, off-kilter songcraft that relies as much on the sounds he creates as it does the words or melodies. Many of the tracks were built up from the drums and bass, and they both sound powerful and occasionally thunderous. Tracks like “Basic Aggression” and “Humming and Hawing” really have the feel of two musicians battling it out in an overheated studio, not of one guy doing overdubs. This live-sounding, athletic undercurrent gives Black a solid foundation to build quirky, oddball arrangements on top, adding flutes, synths, prog rock guitar lines, Steely Dan smooth vocal harmonies, and his own strong vocals like a not-so-mad scientist. Along with a batch of thoughtful, musically complex numbers that are sure to please both fans of Field Music and the kind of prog that is devoid of any metal influence, Black sneaks in a few pure pop songs that Andy Partridge, or going back further, Todd Rundgren, would have been glad to call their own. “Lackadaisical Love” is a thumping love-ish song with a big fat chorus pasted over loping drum beats, steel drums, and a rippling guitar solo; “Dolly Dimple” is another jerky delight with cute wordplay, nice vocal interplay, and a fun new wave feel, and “Petulia” is basically the best song XTC never got around to writing. Black balances his pop leanings and prog inclinations well throughout the record, never tipping too far in one direction or the other, and always making music that is pleasing to both the part of the brain that wants to think and the part that wants to feel.
So, my suggestion to you is, head over to their website – check out their store – pick up both of their albums (vinyl on Higgledy Piggledy is sold out) and keep an eye out for a tour which could make it over to these shores at some point.
In the meantime, crank it up and stay sane.