Former Smog frontman Bill Callahan will give a special acoustic performance at Heimathafen in Berlin this February. Callahan began working in the lo-fi genre of underground rock, with home-made tape-albums recorded on four track tape recorders. Later he began releasing albums with the label Drag City, to which he remains signed today. With support from Drag City labelmate Scottish folk singer and guitarist Alasdair Roberts this is truly an exceptional double bill for anyone interested in modern folk music and the timeless art of the singer songwriter.
Callahan is a highly experimental artist, using substandard instruments and recording equipment. Much of his early output was instrumental, a stark contrast to the lyrical focus of his later work. Apparently, he used lo-fi techniques not primarily because of an aesthetic preference but because he didn’t have any other possibility to make music. Once he signed a contract with Drag City, he also started to use recording studios and a greater variety of instruments for his records.
Smog | Rock Bottom Riser
In 1994 Alasdair Roberts formed ‘Appendix Out’ with school friends Dave Elcock and Kenny McBride and started playing small venues. Roberts was also a classmate of Ladytron’s Helen Marnie. While attending a Will Oldham concert in 1995, he offered a demo tape to the American singer, and a contract with US label Drag City soon followed. The band’s first release was a double A-side single, “Pissed With You/Ice Age”, and the band released its first album around a year later.Between 1997 and 2001, Appendix Out released three albums, two EPs and some limited-edition recordings that were never widely distributed. They recorded a session for John Peel’s BBC radio show in 2001.
Alasdair Roberts | Fairwell Sorrow
After three albums with Appendix Out, Roberts recorded his first solo album, The Crook of My Arm. This album consisted almost entirely of solo vocals and guitar in marked contrast to the occasionally experimental sound of the Appendix Out records. All the songs are traditional, and Roberts credited the singers from whose performances he’d learnt the songs (these included his father, Alan Roberts, and Alan’s sometime musical partner, Dougie MacLean). Since then, Roberts has released two further albums of traditional folk songs – No Earthly Man and Too Long in This Condition – plus three albums of original songs – Farewell Sorrow, The Amber Gatherers and Spoils. A fourth, A Wonder Working Stone, was released in January 2013.
Bill Callahan & Alasdair Roberts LIVE
Saturday, 15 February 2014 | 20:00 CET
Heimathafen Neukölln| Karl-Marx-Straße 141 | 12043 Berlin/Neukölln