Angela Lewis on pop

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The Independent Online
Scud Mountain Boys' music flows with the sort of laid-back, country rock gentleness that lulled America into MOR wonderland in the early 1970s. Which makes it strange that they should be on scruff rock label Sub Pop, or such current faves among indie types usually satisfied by noisier Yank arrivals. Probably it's because Scud Mountain Boys' lyrics are fascinatingly intense, owing more to The Carter Family than Crosby, Stills & Nash. On their album Massachusetts, softly sung lyrics of personal destruction are etched into every song, as if giving stories to the world helps the wounds heal better. "At the time we started the band, I had just come out of a bad relationship that blew up in an ugly fashion," recalls bassist Bruce. "We in the band were all going through a similar thing, and we thought it would be a fun thing to do, sit around and play heartbreak songs. We were definitely indirectly influenced by the Carter Family, old traditional music which had this really bleak and sad streak to it."

Scud Mountain Boys (right) have just finished touring with Jimmy Dale Gilmour. Which means the audience will drop about 25 years in age when they arrive in Britain and plunge into the festival, The Camden Crawl II. Like last November, the Crawl invites punters to exchange their ticket for a free CD and a pass to six venues, where they can indulge in a feast of mostly new bands currently on hip street. Plus, there are celebrity DJs, Halloween Society short films, and an unsigned band showcase. So basically, it's all the happy, happening event of the month. So good, that you'll probably be too busy watching one of 27 bands and traipsing around Camden even to remember to drink.

Scud Mountain Boys/ The Camden Crawl II, London, 19 Sept (0171-344 4444)

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