If you think by us saying that legendary British label
Parlophone picked up and passed this guy over some
6 or seven years ago, that this meant Kidbrother
was in any way shape or form pretty much spent by now,
you'd be wrong.
Whether or not the unflinching, English home of Sparklehorse,
Radiohead and Blur was right in passing him over (for
being a little too 'obscure' and a 'little rough round
the edges' by all accounts) it's fair to say he's found
" They thought I had the right ideas but the wrong approach.
Whatever that means.." suggests Kidbrother (and who's
totally unwilling to disclose his real name), "...and
to be perfectly honest, I haven't changed. I'm still
as crap now as I was then. But crap's in now, isn't
being remarkably pretty or adept musically may go some
way towards explaining Pops Noble Underground's
failure to grasp the limelight during those halcyon
years of the nineties. That and the fact he doesn't
perform live. But hasn't he ever been tempted?
"Truth is, it scares me shitless", Kidbrother concedes.
"The few times I've done it, I've done it rather badly,
so it would be pretty foolhardy to pursue it now, wouldn't
Not that he shrugs it off lightly. Kidbrother states
emphatically that his failure to 'hack it live' ruined
one particularly inspired project, at one particularly
" It was sometime around '93 or '94, just when I was
starting off. I'd stepped into a band at a point when
they'd just lost their bass player-singer. It was a
grungey kind of thing. A little bit bluesey, a little
bit retro - very New Yorky to be honest. Mojo Pin -
that was the name of the band. Just three of us. Things
were really beginning to happen. Creation sounded interested
and were eager to see us play...but it was at that point
it just gave way".
Creation were indeed interested - not least perhaps
because the band had just been voted Making Music's
Demo of The Year by McGee's critically endorsed Teenage
" They loved it. They thought it was cool, which was
great 'cos we thought they were cool. But I was just
feeling kind of phoney. Christ, we sounded like the
Velvet Underground! We had somekind of cod New York
thin going on, and I sounded like a parallel universe
Lou Reed who'd been brought up in Burnley or something.
And this wasn't cool. That was my problem. And becasue
of that I neshed it. But if I'd known someone like The
Strokes, The White Stripes or Andrew W.K was going to
come along and scab it five years later, I'd have just
kept on going with my head down.
Better to be famous for scabbing it than not being famous
"Exactly. But at the time I was being a little bit sheepish.
I had a lot to learn."
And so back to the bedroom it was for our Kidbrother.
With little more than a DR-5 and $250.00 4-track to
his credit, Kidbrother went about stringing together
a number of chemically inspired lo-fi recordings in
the vein of....
" Well Daniel Johnston always gets mentioned of course,
But most people thesedays are aware of him through his
influence on bands like Sparklehorse, Grandaddy, Flaming
Lips - all those slacker type things they've got going
on. Basically anybody with a 4-track and limited vocal
Well you certainly can't argue with that. Not that Pops
Noble Underground - Kidbrother's latest project - suffers
demonstrably from this particular deficit slant. Vocally
quite capable but bare, unfinished 'kitchen-sink' style
mannerisms performance wise ensure the lo-fi slacker
generic tag. Songs like "You Shouldn't Really Tell Me
Anything" and "Little Titanic Ship" are unashamedly
English however, cutting off clean any inferences that
he's just another Daniel Lanois wannabe.
" They're lo-fi and surreal becasue they're done on
a budget. I had a publishing deal with a company in
London some years ago, when I was writing stuff for
other artists - and I did these on the sly. I recorded
most of what you hear in a music-cupbaord I have in
my kitchen. It was the only means I had of cutting the
traffic out, and then I added some guitars in a studio,
locally. All done very secretly. All done very cheaply.
And if they're smart enough they'll figure out that
they probably own the rights to these songs... and others.
But as they're not so smart, they'll stay with me."
And yet we couldn't possibly leave it there, without
first asking about his name.
"Why Kidbrother? I'm the youngest of four in our
family. I'm eight years somewhere behind the second
youngest in the family. I'm eight years somewhere behind
the times musically. It what I get called. It just kind
of fits. But if you'd prefer a different story, I could
We like that story just the way it is, our Kid. Just
the way it is..
Crud Magazine© 2001