The Best Thing I Ever Bought in Texas
Life Without Buildings "New Town"
Life Without Buildings "Philip" (live acoustic)
Although they only released a handful of singles and one album, Scotland’s Life Without Buildings
remains one of my favorite bands of the new millennium. 2001’s Any Other City
(buy it here
) has been in semi-regular rotation on my jambox for close to four years now, and the good times show no sign of abatement. If you think you’d be into a more rocking Sugarcubes, or if you ever wished that Mark E. Smith was a lady, and that the Fall sounded like Television (and nothing at all like the Fall), then Life Without Building is the band for you, bro.
A lot of people can’t get past Sue Tompkins’ expressionist vocals and free associative lyrics. But for me, and (I would suspect) for most of the band’s fans, her singing is what makes their music worth listening to. Without Tompkins voice splattering all over the place, Life Without Buildings’ songs would be good, but unremarkable, ‘80’s-style indie-rock. Tompkins elevated the material into something wholly unique and distinctive, and in the process helped create one of the best records of the decade. Unfortunately, the band broke up in 2002, after Tompkins decided to refocus on her visual art. That might have been for the best, though, as their last recorded work, 2002’s “Love Trinity”, is probably their weakest song; it sounds like mid-‘80’s U2, with a completely out-of-place, bombastic guitar solo in the middle.
Anyway, ”New Town”
is my favorite song from Any Other City
, and a fairly amazing piece of work. They build the tension up real well on this one. Also, here’s a previously unreleased live rendition of ”Philip”
from an acoustic show they played in Glasgow on December 9 2001. This recording was made by Luke Fowler.