Following my post voicing my thoughts on mainstream music, I thought it would be interesting to share with you the artists that have composed the soundtrack to my life – all of whom are definitely (sadly?) not mainstream.
My love of Malcolm Middleton’s A Brighter Beat drove me to seek out his earlier work, including his involvement with the group Arab Strap. Although they may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s hard to deny the raw power they convey with their music and lyrics.
A power that has resulted in them becoming one of my favourite bands of all time.
Arab Strap were an indie rock band from Falkirk, Scotland that consisted of core members Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton. The band were signed to independent record label Chemikal Underground, and split in 2006. As indicated by the title of Belle & Sebastian‘s third record, The Boy with the Arab Strap, and by Aidan Moffat’s involvement in the two Reindeer Section albums, they were a central part of Glasgow’s influential late 1990s music scene.
Arab Strap’s marked characteristics include sordid, personal, yet honest, lyrics – described by the NME as “fly on the duvet vignettes”. Like fellow Scottish band The Proclaimers, their lyrics are sung in their native Scots tongue. At first essentially an electro-acoustic band with a brooding, spare sound, later albums and gigs saw them develop a fuller sound that drew deeply on both indie and dance music.