Lola In Slacks Press

Glasgow’s Lola in Slacks recall the Velvet Underground with debut single “Tramlines”. By John Curley

The release of their atmospheric debut single “Tramlines” has been the highlight of the year for the rising Glasgow-based band Lola in Slacks. Their moody sound has drawn comparisons to the Velvet Underground and Marianne Faithfull. The band celebrated the release of the “Tramlines” single at the end of August with a very-well-received August 28th release party at the CCA in Glasgow.

The band have been receiving a good bit of praise in the Scottish music press. BBC Radio Scotland DJ Billy Sloan said, “‘Tramlines’ is a stunning debut single…Lola in Slacks are the most original group I’ve heard in years. With its perfect blend of pop hooks and underground allure, ‘Tramlines’ deserves to be a massive hit.”

Lola in Slacks are comprised of lead vocalist Lou Reid, lead guitarist Brian McFie, drummer Lesley McLaren, bassist Davy Irwin, rhythm guitarist Martin Stuart Taggart, and pianist Villy Karagouni. (McLaren is also the drummer for Clare Grogan’s Altered Images.)
Reid recently did an e-mail Q&A with GOLDMINE in which she discussed the “Tramlines” single, the formation of the band, the great success of the single release party, and the band’s plans to record an album next year. The Q&A follows:

GOLDMINE: How and when did the band get together?
LOU REID: Lola in Slacks was born in the summer of 2013. Brian, Lesley, and Davy had been playing together as The Scimitars. (GOLDMINE featured The Scimitars in a November 2010 blog item – Ed.) Brian discovered that I was living in Glasgow after some time abroad in my beloved France. We got together and started writing songs, something we had wanted to do for a long time. Brian brought the band together, with his trusty Scimitars already on board. Villy and Martin joined the band a little further down the line.

GM: Who are the band’s influences?
LR: Musically, I am inspired by the work of many. Most notably the vocal prowess and lyrical content of the likes of Piaf, Jacques Brel, Tim Buckley, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Iggy Pop, Serge Gainsbourg, Juliette Greco, Elizabeth Fraser, early Roxy Music.

The songs carry a vivid imagery. That comes from my love of literature and film. “False Lines” (one of the demo tracks) is inspired by the Wim Wender’s classic, Wings of Desire. I think it has a real Blondie feel to it, too. The influences behind the songwriting are definitely a mélange of music, literature, and film.

GM: The “Tramlines” single has received a lot of praise from the Scottish music press. BBC Radio Scotland DJ Billy Sloan said of the single when he debuted it on his program, “A bit of Marianne Faithfull, a bit of the Velvet Underground and Nico, and a bit of a great record.” How does the band feel about this reaction to the single?
LR: Billy has been really supportive of the band from our not-so-distant beginnings. He played our three-track demo on his show a lot and has been playing “Tramlines” since its release on 31st August 2015. We don’t have management, so Billy’s support has been really appreciated. We did a live radio session for him last year. We had a lovely French picnic out on the studio terrace. He was laughing at the picnic basket. He remarked: “Not very rock n roll. I thought you were going to show up with a bunch of transvestites and some wine.”

We have also received luminous reviews by Gus Ironside for Louder than War online magazine, again from the three-track demo to present. It’s lovely that we have a strong document of what we’ve achieved to date.
GM: The band held a single release party at the end of August at the CCA in Glasgow. How did that go?
LR: Quite an occasion! Everything was right. The visuals, the sound, the band, the crowd. It doesn’t always happen like that. The stars were in alignment that evening. The gig was fully attended, too, which was lovely, and we received some great reviews. I wear the dark glasses, so the tears of joy welling up in my eyes weren’t noticeable. You could hear them in my voice, I’m sure. It was a really special evening for us. Playing “Tramlines” live for the crowd was a moment I’ll never forget. There was a lovely sense of achievement in the air, after some pretty colorful ups and downs earlier in the year for the band. We conquered! And what a lovely song to conquer with.

GM: The single has been released as download only. Will there be a physical release?
LR: We would have loved to release the debut single on all formats. Of course, there will be a physical release when the budget allows us to do that. We do plan to re-release “Tramlines” further down the line on vinyl. I feel like she is out there very much alone right now. I hope she’s not perishing cold. It’s amazing how protective you can become over a song. That song is a real celebration of the female spirit.

GM: Are there plans for an album in the works?
LR: We are planning to release our debut album in 2016 and want it to reach as wide an audience as possible, so we’re looking at options.
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GM: What are the band’s touring plans?
LR: We would love to venture out on the road. We really need to wait until we have more material released and something bigger to promote.

GM: What is the remainder of 2015 looking like for the band?
LR: We are writing and recording for the remainder of 2015, and will definitely be playing another live show before the year is out.

“Tramlines” was produced by Sandy Jones at Foundry Music Lab In Motherwell, Scotland and is released on Sterogram Recordings. It is available from Amazon and iTunes in the United States.

Lola in Slacks appeared on STV’s The Riverside Show on July 16th, performing “Bisous du Mistral” and “Tramlines.” The performance can be seen on YouTube at

A few additional tracks by Lola in Slacks can be heard on their SoundCloud page at
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‘TRAMLINES’ Single Release Soirée. CCA, Glasgow. 28th Aug 2015

Launching their debut single ‘Tramlines’, Lola in Slacks emerge fully-formed as the most vital new Scottish band since the Jesus and Mary Chain. Gus Ironside slips on his shades and ventures into their bohemian netherworld.

It would be fair to say that expectations for this concert were rather high.

Since they first started to make an appearance on the Glasgow live scene last year, Lola in Slacks have quickly built a following and established a reputation as an act with considerable potential. All the elements were in place: a charismatic singer with an extraordinary voice, deployed with exquisite taste; a full line-up of top-notch musicians, each bringing their own distinctive musical personality to the mix, and a core song-writing team (singer Lou Reid and guitarist Brian McFie) who have been producing notably high quality material right from the start.

The group’s three track Soundcloud demo made an instant impact and veteran Glasgow music journalist Billy Sloan was quick to pick up on their potential. As well as an interview and live session for Billy’s radio show, Lola in Slacks have been championed by Louder Than War since November 2014.
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To launch their much-anticipated debut single ‘Tramlines’, Lola in Slacks chose Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts as a simpatico venue, and enlisted fellow Stereogram Recordings act Roy Moller to open the show. Moller elected to showcase his superlative Lou Reed inspired album, ‘My Week Beats Your Year’… recipient of a 10/10 Louder Than War review last year- backed by a stellar band consisting of former Win multi-instrumentalist Ian Stoddart on drums, with New York anti-folk pioneer Lach and David Paul on guitars.

Moller’s set was somewhat reminiscent of Alex Chilton’s raw and dangerous ‘Live in London’ album, or Tav Falco’s classic early shows- a loose, rattling rock & roll jalopy with a solid core of great songs. Literate and dissonant, Moller’s songs bucked and brayed like Leadbelly or T Model Ford, while the Dunbar-based poet-singer sketched his moving and insightful vignettes of Leith and New York.

One of the highlights was a raucous ‘Captivity’, Moller delivering priceless couplets like “Who comes on tough as a lifer in jail? Who’s got a lover called Rachel (she’s male)?”. Lach took a memorable solo slot with his own ‘The Edie Effect’ while Stoddart held everything together with aplomb and Paul made a strong impression with his Velvets-inspired guitar-work.

Moller’s songs deserve to be heard in a full band setting so it is to be hoped that the band will go on to play further shows this year. Sterling stuff.
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Lola in Slacks opened their set with ‘Bisous du Mistral’, its dramatic Phil Spector ‘Be My Baby’ beat instantly recalling the Jesus and Mary Chain’s finest three minutes. Like the Mary Chain, Lola in Slacks are classicists, consciously part of a lineage that takes in 70s New York, French chanson, and maverick individualists such as John Cale and early Roxy Music.

Right from the start, the sound mix was excellent, the combination of good room acoustics and a skilled sound engineer ensuring that each instrument was heard with precise clarity. A slideshow backdrop featured details from paintings by McFie, further enhancing the sense that this was more of a beatnik ‘happening’ than a conventional concert.

‘Bisous’ is the Glasgow band’s standard set opener and it has blossomed and developed over the last year, the structure taking its final shape and Brian McFie’s perfectly-judged blues licks having been honed to perfection. Typical of Reid’s song-writing, the lyrics allude to deeply personal memories while conjuring irresistibly vivid images which speak to everyone. ‘Bisous’ was a perfectly-formed simulacrum of the show that was to unfold, primed with poetic imagery and riddles trawled from the depths of the collective subconscious.

With a sublimely sequenced set list, every song felt like a new peak. ‘Trocchi’s Canal’ thrilled with its dizzyingly romantic imagery and McFie’s guitar-playing at its most eloquent, while ‘Tramlines’ was indeed the belle of the ball at its own party, the perfect mix of pop hooks and Noir atmospherics.

Lola in Slacks are a million miles from the cult of amateurism that too often characterises post-punk/indie bands. There are no passengers in this band and every member proved their worth tonight. Lesley McLaren, in particular, was on fire, her drumming a master-class in taste, intelligence and sheer skill, combining the supple dynamics of JD Daugherty with the power and soulfulness of Scott ‘Rock Action’ Asheton. A truly great drummer who combines effortlessly with the perfectly judged bass-playing of Davy Irvin. Together, they make Lola in Slacks swing like Serge Gainsbourg on a booze cruise down the Seine.

Martin Stuart Taggart was a rock throughout the concert, his rhythm guitar playing releasing McFie to give free rein to his creativity, which tonight included judicious use of feedback and overdrive. As always, the serene Villy Karagouni supplied the icing on the cake with her elegant piano-playing.

And then there’s Lou Reid.

The petite chanteuse looked in her element tonight, clearly enjoying playing to a full house and content in the knowledge that the band had a clutch of vital new songs in the bag. Reid’s stage presence and vocal prowess define Lola in Slacks; a pocket-sized distillation of iconic torch singers from Piaf to Dietrich, fortified by a triple shot of Berlin Bowie & Pop nightclubbing with Marianne Faithfull.

Reid has a third string to her bow; as a lyricist, there are few who come close. Roy Moller is a kindred spirit in that sense, a sublime poet whose song lyrics are replete with insight and intelligence, but Reid takes a different path, delving deep into her memories and emotions and painting evocative images that unite the deeply personal with the universal in the songs she co-writes with McFie. The combination of Noir lyrics laden with doomed romance combined with virtuoso musicianship evokes The Only Ones at their peak.

New song ‘Ocean Atlas’ is a case in point; “Unmade beds, little bursts of crime”, Reid sings, “dead neon flickers in the chaos of her eyes.” The skilful dynamics of McLaren’s drumming again enhanced an already fine song, as the concert reached its emotional focal point, with the stunning ‘Little Vandal’ and ‘Souvenir de Toi’. The three new songs formed a mesmerising triptych which caused jaws to drop all around the room. If Echo & the Bunnymen had ever collaborated with ‘Honi Soit’ era John Cale, perhaps the results might have sounded like ‘Souvenir de Toi’, a looping, spiralling vortex of sound and an instant classic.

It was very clear by this point that Lola in Slacks had made a quantum leap to another level, and the mood was one of celebration as the band- led by a beatific Reid- surged through a joyous cover of Roxy Music’s ‘A Really Good Time’ followed in rapid succession by ‘Nostelgessent’ and a triumphant ‘False Lines’.

Called back for an encore by the rapturous audience, the band dug deep for a surprise airing of ‘Missing Venus’, one of Reid’s earliest songs that brought us full circle.

Lola in Slacks have arrived. This is song-writing at an exceptional level, but don’t take my word for it; buy ‘Tramlines’. Check out their excellent Soundcloud tracks. This is the start of something very special.

“Silver line your dreams”.

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LOLA IN SLACKS AT CCA, 28/8/15. Published September 7th, 2015

Lola in Slacks have it: whatever it is they are in its possession; that indefinable thing called star power.
Who knows, you may be so blessed; if so congrats and please do cherish it – you shall go far, my friend.
This evening is a soi-disant soiree in support of the August 31 release of the excellent debut single ‘Tramlines’ on Stereogram Records.
Charisma flows out of the entire sextet tonight especially the, previously relatively unnoticed, drummer Lesley McLaren, displaying dexterous pitter patter rhythm as well as a fine old thwack when required: it may be an intimately low key event, but the curious and mellifluous shimmer seems to be being shared out beyond the noted lead singer.

Fronted by Lou Reid, Lola display influences from the Velvet Underground to Bowie to Piaf to Marianne Faithful: chuck in a bit of Marlene Dietrich and it’s positively dripping with archness; no surprise when a Roxy Music cover creeps into proceedings.
This isn’t to sell the band short as a simple amalgamation of touchstones however: references are easy to define, but the unusual ability to transcend these presences lurking stage left is deft, to say the least.
Moody grooves like ‘Souvenir de Tois’ and ‘Little Vandal’ just work really; far more successfully in fact than more lively closing numbers intended to make us dance (I was happy with the free badges handed out by then to be honest).
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A group operating with frighteningly accurate, but always relaxed precision they’re an amiable bunch: the room-filling vocals of Ms Reid and some lapel decoration; always gonna be a winner.
Short but sweet there’s new material and old (if we can describe it as such for a coltish new concern) and does nothing but wet the appetite for a proposed first album in 2016.
Best new band featuring guitars in Glasgow right now? You bet.

Very very much ones to watch: plus I ended up in the wrong toilets again, which seems a habit of mine at this venue for some reason.
A fitting little bending of genders after a bending of slinky genres from onstage. Check them.

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LOUDER THAN WAR. Tramlines – single review and interview by GUS IRONSIDE. 22 August, 2015

After a series of attention grabbing performances around Glasgow, louche bohemians Lola in Slacks release their dramatic debut single Tramlines. Fans of Echo & The Bunnymen, PJ Harvey and The Velvet Underground will find much to love in this bold debut, reckons Gus Ironside.

Tipped by Louder Than War as one of the bands to watch in 2015, Lola in Slacks are set to release their debut download only single, Tramlines on August 31st on Stereogram Recordings. In keeping with the band’s distinctive Francophile style, they have announced a Single Release Soirée at the CCA in Glasgow on August 28th to launch the single. Stellar support is provided by special guest Roy Moller, who will be performing tracks from his acclaimed album My Week Beats Your Year, accompanied by a full band that includes New York anti-folk instigator, Lach.

Fronted by spellbinding chanteuse Lou Reid, Lola in Slacks exude the garage swagger of The Velvet Underground spiked with the bold confidence and freedom of Tim Buckley. Having developed her distinctive vocal and performance style busking on the streets of Paris as a raw 19 year old, Reid brings a Piaf-like authority to the group’s noir atmospherics and superior song writing. The singer evokes comparisons with Marianne Faithfull, Nick Cave and Jacques Brel in the songs she co-writes with guitarist Brian McFie, who cites Stooges guitarist James Williamson and Al Green’s guitarist Teenie Hodges as key influences.

Tramlines draws the listener into a dramatic world of dark, shimmering beauty, illuminated by tantalising shafts of sunlight. Reid’s gift for imagery is readily apparent as she conjures sepia tinged scenes wrenched from buried memories. It’s an instantly addictive entry into Lola in Slacks’s bohemian netherworld, captured beautifully by producer Sandy Jones at Foundry Music Lab in Motherwell. Fans of Echo & The Bunnymen, PJ Harvey and The Velvet Underground will find much to love in this bold debut, which refuses to play along with current trends for the ephemeral, marking Lola in Slacks out as a class act with grand musical ambitions.
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When asked by Louder Than War about her influences, Reid cites an intriguing range of inspirations: “Musically, I am inspired by the work of many. Most notably the vocal prowess and lyrical content of the likes of Piaf, Jacques Brel, Tim Buckley, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Iggy Pop, Serge Gainsbourg, Juliette Greco, Elizabeth Fraser and early Roxy Music.”

Turning to the world of literature, the singer continues “I love literary outlaws like Alex Trocchi and Jean Genet – maybe I have felt like a bit of an outlaw myself most of my life. With a rebellious and criminal heart like mine (laughs) it wasn’t difficult to fall in love with the works of Trocchi and Genet. The French Symbolists too. I adore the work of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Mallarme ….”

Well, that certainly makes a welcome change from the usual run of the mill influences cited by many bands, and it puts Lola in Slacks in good company with similarly literate label mates The Band of Holy Joy.

Reid is also an aficionado of a key influence on The Stranglers‘ Jean-Jacques Burnel, as she explains: “I’ve been devouring the works of Yukio Mishima lately. Spring Snow is one of the most beautiful and despairing books I’ve ever read. His imagery and use of metaphor are relentlessly breathtaking. Mishima’s own journey fascinates me too, which is ever present in his work.”
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Reid’s affaire de coeur with Scotland’s ancient ally runs through the band’s songs. “Paris at any time of the year, except for August – all the Parisians leave town in August – is truly inspiring for me. My spiritual home. It breathes and glistens like nowhere else.”

Expanding on her, at times, picaresque years in the French capital, Reid adds mysteriously: “Most of my secrets are hidden there. I like to return to Paris and remember, not repeat, my youthful follies from time to time.”

A telling Edith Piaf reference makes an appearance in the final inspiration she cites: “Falling in love inspires me, however fleeting or enduring that may be. The surge of exhilaration often comes with a heavy cost though – paid for with scalding bitter tears.”

Stooges fixated guitarist/songwriter Brain McFie is also driven by compelling values, as he explains: “I think that, to a large extent, music, art and literature, in fact culture in general, has been hijacked by overt commercialism. Procreation and consumption are pushed as the only important human functions. Those who set great store by the enriching and life affirming nature of the arts have been marginalised by burgeoning capitalism.”

Making an oblique reference to the hurdles the band has had to surmount to release their debut single, McFie continues: “I am a great believer in thriving in and to a certain extent, on, adversity. It’s a cause which Lola in Slacks has at its core. Important values such as craft and rigour are innate to our process. This set of values or philosophy has been tested recently and unsurprisingly came out on top. Cynicism is a tiresome stance to take. Understandable but futile. It’s a great time to be creative.”

So, what are Lola in Slacks’s ambitions for the future? Reid’s answer demonstrates the extent of their ambition. “To continue writing songs, playing live and recording. The goal for 2016 is to release the debut album and for it to reach as large an audience as possible. I would also love to play some shows in my beloved France at some point. A European tour would be lovely in fact, and then perhaps further afield.”

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LOUDER THAN WAR. New Band of the Day: LOLA IN SLACKS. Written by GUS IRONSIDE. 21 December, 2014

Ahead of our bands to watch in 2015 we encourage you to take a listen to Glasgow’s Lola in Slacks.

Lola In Slacks made a startling arrival in Glasgow this year, releasing an astonishing three-song demo that showcased their ambitious, literate songs.
The group is fronted by spell-binding femme fatale, Lou Reid (!). Like her famous namesake, Lou is never seen without her shades, but has been captivating audiences with her distinctive and mesmerising voice, which effortlessly fuses Eartha Kitt and Marianne Faithfull.
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Lola In Slacks exude the sexy garage swagger of The Velvet Underground and the bold confidence and freedom of Tim Buckley.
Their indelible songs are written by Reid and guitarist Brian McFie and brought to life with the help of a stellar line-up featuring Lesley McLaren on drums, Davy Irwin on bass, Villy Karagouni on keys and Martin Stuart Taggart on second guitar.
A single is expected in 2015, and I’m holding my breath for a full album in the same year