Life Without Buildings

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I can't believe how underrated and swept-under-the-carpet their one and only album "Any Other City" is. I think it's one of the most original and interesting guitar albums of the last couple years, and no one ever seems to give it any credit. If you haven't heard this band, I recommend you start with "New Town".

The band broke up in 2002, and I don't know if there have ever been any other side projects or anything like that. Does anyone have any idea what anyone in the band, particularly Sue Tompkins, is up to now?

pppp

pppp, Sunday, 7 August 2005 00:09 (fifteen years ago) link

sue tompkins is an artist http://www.themoderninstitute.com/artists/s_tompkins/index.shtml

the australian only single is great as well http://www.trifekta.com.au/artists/artist.asp?id=3

zappi (joni), Sunday, 7 August 2005 00:16 (fifteen years ago) link

sue is also a sometime child minder. she looks after my business partner's son from time to time.

will and robert were briefly also in proforma but will left to concentrate on writing and robert left soon after to focus on his graphic design business. none of them are involved with music any more.

stirmonster (stirmonster), Sunday, 7 August 2005 01:00 (fifteen years ago) link

none of them are involved with music any more.

No matter how many times I read this line, my brain just won't process it. Maybe if I read it one more time, word by word, very slowly...

The Spiderwebbed Wilderness (Bimble...), Sunday, 7 August 2005 01:06 (fifteen years ago) link

DOES NOT COMPUTE

The Spiderwebbed Wilderness (Bimble...), Sunday, 7 August 2005 01:06 (fifteen years ago) link

Everytime a LWB thread comes up, I get very sad.

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Sunday, 7 August 2005 03:43 (fifteen years ago) link

me too. i rate the leanover as one of my all time favourite tracks.

gem (trisk), Sunday, 7 August 2005 03:48 (fifteen years ago) link

such a horrible waste of talent. they were definitely the most exciting band to come out of glasgow for ages... a couple of years too early for there own good.

simon 803 (simon 803), Sunday, 7 August 2005 09:07 (fifteen years ago) link

Agree with Simon 803. It's an excellent album, just a little ahead of time.

Michael Lambert (Michael Lambert), Sunday, 7 August 2005 20:55 (fifteen years ago) link

it's totally beautiful. i hear more of a subdued-Fall influence throughout the album than i did back in the day, vocally and in the riffs sometimes.

nicholas de jong (nicholas de jong), Monday, 8 August 2005 00:34 (fifteen years ago) link

"horrible waste of talent" = a little melodramatic dontcha think? they didn't commit suicide or anything.

my favorite cover band, crystal shit (Jody Beth Rosen), Monday, 8 August 2005 00:37 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah, I was gonna say.

As it stands, my favorite thing by them is an admittedly straightforward but still fun cover of Prince's "Pop Life."

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 8 August 2005 00:42 (fifteen years ago) link

it's not as if he said it was a horrible waste of life. it doesn't seem melodramatic to me to say "horrible waste of talent". FWIW i think simon knows/ has worked with those guys.

jed_ (jed), Monday, 8 August 2005 00:47 (fifteen years ago) link

...so may well feel quite emotional about it.

jed_ (jed), Monday, 8 August 2005 00:49 (fifteen years ago) link

it does seem a big shame that none of them are continuing, especially the guitarist dude

shine headlights on me (electricsound), Monday, 8 August 2005 00:51 (fifteen years ago) link

still, it's not like they're incapacitated and can never make any music again.

my favorite cover band, crystal shit (Jody Beth Rosen), Monday, 8 August 2005 01:08 (fifteen years ago) link

and it ain't like they're cuttin' off their hand to spite their band

my favorite cover band, crystal shit (Jody Beth Rosen), Monday, 8 August 2005 01:12 (fifteen years ago) link

Sue also recorded a lead vocal track for a Piano Magic tune in 1999. I don't think it was ever released though.

Pharmaceutical Executive, Monday, 8 August 2005 16:11 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
Man, I still get bummed out thinking about LWB. Any Other City was my first favorite record of the new millennium. I was fortunate enough to help release it in the States. Their break-up was really depressing, even though it was a long time coming. They definitely seemed to be on the verge of something, which made it all the worse. Anyways, yes, this is an excellent record.

Garrett Martin (Garrett Martin), Wednesday, 14 September 2005 18:48 (fifteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
Revive coz I was just listening to them again and *swoon*. I'm now hearing all sorts of new things in these songs. So sad to remember they broke up.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Saturday, 8 October 2005 05:01 (fifteen years ago) link

two years pass...

Jesus H.

This album is just...the best goddamn thing of the last 10 years. Did I say that already?

THE RIGHT STUFF

Bimble, Tuesday, 25 December 2007 07:30 (thirteen years ago) link

LOOK BACK AND SAY THAT I DIDN'T

Bimble, Tuesday, 25 December 2007 07:32 (thirteen years ago) link

There was a Magnet article in 2001 on the five bands that represent Nu No Wave:

Liars, Ex-Models, Life Without Buildings, Seconds and _______?

Whiney G. Weingarten, Tuesday, 25 December 2007 09:02 (thirteen years ago) link

...erase errata, if i remember correctly.

spastic heritage, Tuesday, 25 December 2007 14:13 (thirteen years ago) link

Goddammit, for a split-second I thought the thread was revived for a new album. It seems like the only real reason I check ILM these days.

Did anyone get that live album that came out this year?

alex in montreal, Tuesday, 25 December 2007 15:06 (thirteen years ago) link

i did, and it's terrifically fun. and since i can't currently find my copy of "any other city" that's all i have to listen to right now.

they were always my secret band that i sprang on anyone who liked the fall or the pixies or post-punk in general. such a shame. but it's kind of nice in some ways that it is what it is, and we just have the one great album to love.

Emily Bjurnhjam, Tuesday, 25 December 2007 16:44 (thirteen years ago) link

The one new/unreleased song on the live album, "Liberty Feelup," is as wonderful as anything on Any Other City, too.

maciej recognizing trill, Tuesday, 25 December 2007 17:11 (thirteen years ago) link

one year passes...

I can't believe how long it took me to notice how much this band takes after Sonic Youth! The guitar playing is a whole lot like how Thurston plays rhythm, just cleaner and low-gain and pretty (e.g., "Young Offenders"); he even likes to throw in ringy harmonics in a Thurstony way; and the vocals are really not unlike something Thurston or Kim might sing, only higher and a rate of about 5x as many more words per minute.

Which isn't weird, since probably most indie guitar stuff could be compared to Sonic Youth in some way or other -- I just can't believe this never even crossed my mind before, and then suddenly I'm listening through the record and it's, like ... the distance between some of these things and a poppy SY track is surprisingly short!

nabisco, Friday, 22 May 2009 19:04 (eleven years ago) link

(Ha, googling around suggest I might just have been slow on this point -- I guess a decent number of reviews at the time identified that template under there)

nabisco, Friday, 22 May 2009 19:08 (eleven years ago) link

Huh, I'm not sure that would've crossed my mind, but I like both Life Without Buildings and pop-oriented Sonic Youth enormously, so I wouldn't be surprised if there is indeed a connection.

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 22 May 2009 19:10 (eleven years ago) link

What has crossed my mind is how well the music would work without vocals as just a nice breezy post-rock record, like Tristeza or something.

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 22 May 2009 19:12 (eleven years ago) link

Heartbeat always skitters across a couple of grooves seeing a LWB thread get revived.

Enemy Insects (NickB), Friday, 22 May 2009 19:15 (eleven years ago) link

^^^ Such a wonderful track.

Enemy Insects (NickB), Friday, 22 May 2009 19:17 (eleven years ago) link

xxp Which maybe has to do with a tendency to play little melodic riffs and arpeggios as much, if not more so, than outright chords -- which I do think is true of Sonic Youth and also, incidentally, Sleater-Kinney's The Hot Rock.

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 22 May 2009 19:18 (eleven years ago) link

thx for the video link. I'd stopped looking for videos a while ago.

Johnny Fever, Friday, 22 May 2009 19:18 (eleven years ago) link

Not a video I'm afraid, just audio :(

Enemy Insects (NickB), Friday, 22 May 2009 19:19 (eleven years ago) link

:(

Johnny Fever, Friday, 22 May 2009 19:20 (eleven years ago) link

Also: a friend introduced LWB to me as "the Sugarcubes meets Pavement" for whatever that's worth.

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 22 May 2009 19:26 (eleven years ago) link

!

That's bizarre.

When I first heard the album, the combo I made in my mind immediately was Altered Images vs. Sleater-Kinney.

Johnny Fever, Friday, 22 May 2009 19:29 (eleven years ago) link

my realization was based on watching SY play a thing all morning, then having "Young Offenders" pop up on shuffle on the way home; if you can engineer a similar situation of being SY-sensitized and then hearing that track, it might have the same head-slapping quality

nabisco, Friday, 22 May 2009 19:30 (eleven years ago) link

That Love Trinity track is really good. Haven't heard it before. Can someone up it?

van smack, Saturday, 23 May 2009 00:03 (eleven years ago) link

gimme 1 sec

jump in the looool (electricsound), Saturday, 23 May 2009 01:26 (eleven years ago) link

oh thanks

van smack, Saturday, 23 May 2009 01:39 (eleven years ago) link

Oh wow we're turning people on to LWB songs here they haven't heard before! Nice work, ILM!

Sacriligiously Dead (Bimble), Sunday, 24 May 2009 10:35 (eleven years ago) link

Alas, limit reached. Re up please?

phantompenguin, Sunday, 24 May 2009 14:19 (eleven years ago) link

What has crossed my mind is how well the music would work without vocals as just a nice breezy post-rock record, like Tristeza or something.

― Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 22 May 2009 19:12 (2 days ago)

^^^ this. it's the vocals that really push the songs over the edge. case in point: http://www.imeem.com/people/wgMI9AD/music/0B6wbnjb/life-without-buildings-daylighting/

a somnambulist in an ambulance (r1o natsume), Sunday, 24 May 2009 14:43 (eleven years ago) link

don't know if this has been mentioned already but seeing as we're talking about soundalikes, thomas tantrum sound very very much like LWB:

NI, Sunday, 24 May 2009 16:26 (eleven years ago) link

i mentioned that somewhere, and i agree, sadly their album was v disappointing

jump in the looool (electricsound), Sunday, 24 May 2009 23:54 (eleven years ago) link

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Other-City-Life-Without-Buildings/dp/B00005AKO2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1243287289&sr=8-1

This is insane, the LWB studio album listed at £83.52 - 2 copies, one of the sellers admitting that the digipak is pretty worn. My first copy was £2, and was given to a friend when I found another copy recently in better condition for a whole 10p. Spotted "Is Is & the IRS" cd single for 1p on Amazon, so have broken my self imposed "no CD purchases in May" rule to get it.

Does anyone have an MP3 of "Daylighting" they'd be willing to provide me with? Or know where I can get a legit download of it, I don't fancy paying the £66 someone wants for a copy of "Young Offenders" to complete the collection.

MichaelJLambert, Monday, 25 May 2009 21:46 (eleven years ago) link

yesssss

imago, Thursday, 5 November 2020 12:26 (five months ago) link

this kind of thing has a 100% success rate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSIrQBGfUtw

kiss some penis reference (breastcrawl), Thursday, 5 November 2020 18:59 (five months ago) link

they're coming here
they're coming here
they're coming here
from africa right now
from south america
angelic reinforcement
angelic reinforcement
i hear the sound of victory
i hear the sound of victory
i hear the sound of victory

cajunsunday, Thursday, 5 November 2020 20:13 (five months ago) link

two months pass...

I see they're a meme now

marg bar āmrikā (||||||||), Monday, 11 January 2021 13:35 (three months ago) link

no fucking way is life without buildings being used on 19k tiktok’s like this hahahaha pic.twitter.com/BqeWFY5zuu

— LaurenN🦷 (@1aurenmoose) January 11, 2021

kites aren't fun (NickB), Monday, 11 January 2021 13:38 (three months ago) link

Wow! Its so cool to see a new generation discovering them.

cajunsunday, Monday, 11 January 2021 13:46 (three months ago) link

It's weird how seeing someone else copy something can make it diminish or disappear; with Tompkins, it somehow makes her more unique.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Monday, 11 January 2021 13:55 (three months ago) link

this is amazing

stylish but illegal (Simon H.), Monday, 11 January 2021 14:15 (three months ago) link

that compilation definitely peaks with the hair dyeing one though

stylish but illegal (Simon H.), Monday, 11 January 2021 14:23 (three months ago) link

life without buildings has gone from 30k monthly listeners on spotify to 210k lol

— basic charnel 2021 (@basic_charnel) January 10, 2021

cajunsunday, Monday, 11 January 2021 14:25 (three months ago) link

a lot of that does seem to be going to "The Leanover" but I'm sure some people are exploring

stylish but illegal (Simon H.), Monday, 11 January 2021 14:27 (three months ago) link

lots of sue tompkins activity recently. have seen her twice in the last week in my neighbourhood and she followed me on twitter today. must be preparing for a comeback. ;-)

stirmonster, Monday, 11 January 2021 18:32 (three months ago) link

hope she knows about the uptick in young fans!

kites aren't fun (NickB), Monday, 11 January 2021 18:37 (three months ago) link

squeeeeeeee

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 11 January 2021 18:38 (three months ago) link

She will surely notice the massive surge in streaming revenue. I bet next time i spot her she is being chauffered around.

stirmonster, Monday, 11 January 2021 18:45 (three months ago) link

From 12 cents to $1.28! Good for them!

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 11 January 2021 18:49 (three months ago) link

ker-ching!

stirmonster, Monday, 11 January 2021 19:01 (three months ago) link

Getting ready for their performance on Top of the Pops.

cajunsunday, Monday, 11 January 2021 19:01 (three months ago) link

This is awesome. Kinda warms my heart. I actually first heard about LWB from this board about 16 years ago thanks to an early 00's album poll at the time.

gman59, Monday, 11 January 2021 19:35 (three months ago) link

sea shanties also v big on tiktok right now pmsl

2021 is the year of the sea shanty pic.twitter.com/ohOAGvkbtC

— Tim - Poster of Hugo Pics (@Beertheist) January 11, 2021

marg bar āmrikā (||||||||), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 18:32 (three months ago) link

Aw. I'm hoping Sue did or will do something with Underworld... In some notes to do with their year long "Drift" series one of the guys talks about discovering the album and meeting with Sue. There's apparently more Drift coming sometime.

maf you one two (maffew12), Friday, 15 January 2021 19:32 (three months ago) link

Aw bless! Is that your piece GM?

kieth chagrin (NickB), Friday, 15 January 2021 19:33 (three months ago) link

Interesting (though not shocking) detail about not seeing a dime from the original US release of the CD. They must've gotten a little from the 2014 vinyl release? Should be able to do another run now.

maf you one two (maffew12), Friday, 15 January 2021 19:35 (three months ago) link

Aw bless! Is that your piece GM?

Yes! Sorry for the self-promotion!

charlie brown from outta town (GM), Friday, 15 January 2021 19:43 (three months ago) link

Not at all - good job getting in touch with them and thanks for sharing! <3

kieth chagrin (NickB), Friday, 15 January 2021 19:45 (three months ago) link

From the Guardian:

Life Without Buildings: in praise of the cult Glasgow band revived on TikTok
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/jan/19/life-without-buildings-cult-glasgow-band-revived-on-tiktok-sue-tompkins

kieth chagrin (NickB), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 14:31 (two months ago) link

i have no idea why that piece mentions math rock and post hardcore. i don't see them in that lineage at all?

kieth chagrin (NickB), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 14:40 (two months ago) link

I always thought there was something mathy about LWB, FWIW (NB: not W very much), if I think about the airy chug of, say, "Daylighting" it's a comparison that makes sense to me. I don't think I know what "post-hardcore" is so I can't really comment on that but I do know that Jennifer Hodgson knows what's what.

Tim, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 14:52 (two months ago) link

Rhythmically I always heard some post-rock and math-y stuff in there.

Ray Cooney as "Crotch" (stevie), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 14:55 (two months ago) link

Indeed. when they formed, Glasgow was overflowing with post / math rock bands. It was hard to walk down the street without seeing someone carrying a Slint album under their arm. LWB were a hugely refreshing breath of fresh air at that time.

I'm not sure what post hardcore is either.

stirmonster, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 14:56 (two months ago) link

As she mentions the 80s specifically, I'm guessing it's a reference to groups like Rites Of Spring and Shudder To Think? Again, I can hear parallels.

Ray Cooney as "Crotch" (stevie), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 14:57 (two months ago) link

Glasgow was big on midwest style indie back then, some of which , eg music of the kinsellas,slint could be considered post hardcore

Fenners' Pen (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 15:01 (two months ago) link

Rodan would be another post hardcore example

Fenners' Pen (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 15:01 (two months ago) link

Ah, i see. Yes, of course; i had completely forgotten about all those bands. All were hugely popular in Glasgow around that time and it is of course very possible that their influence rubbed off on them.

I also know Robert Johnston was a big Joy Division and post-punk fan back then.

stirmonster, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 15:08 (two months ago) link

Glasgow was big on midwest style indie back then, some of which , eg music of the kinsellas,slint could be considered post hardcore

― Fenners' Pen (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, January 19, 2021 9:01 AM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

Yeah, I can hear some shared musical DNA between Any Other City and, for instance, the American Football debut that came out a year earlier. Just thinking of like the guitar tones and interplay.

jaymc, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 16:15 (two months ago) link

Both Life Without Buildings and the first American Football album were a big influence on a friend and I and the music we were making in the mid-2000s. Both separate but satisfying in a similar way - the cleanliness and deftness of the music. I love that Sue’s voice is an instrument; the words aren’t just there as words.

hamicle, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 16:25 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

New and quite in depth interview with sue here:

https://toneglow.substack.com/p/050-sue-tompkins-life-without-buildings

would a nit be nice? (NickB), Thursday, 4 February 2021 07:59 (two months ago) link

no fucking way is life without buildings being used on 19k tiktok’s like this hahahaha pic.twitter.com/BqeWFY5zuu

— LaurenN🦷 (@1aurenmoose) January 11, 2021

I can't get over her magnificent hair.

Heavy Messages (jed_), Thursday, 4 February 2021 16:00 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

Looks like Any Other City is being reissued again:

https://www.resident-music.com/productdetails&product_id=76644

would a nit be nice? (NickB), Monday, 15 March 2021 08:23 (one month ago) link

(^ that's just a link to my local record shop btw, you might want to order it from elsewhere if you live in any other city. in any other city in the world)

would a nit be nice? (NickB), Monday, 15 March 2021 08:24 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

Just saw someone post this on Facebook. I felt emotional watching it.

kitchen person, Thursday, 1 April 2021 23:59 (two weeks ago) link

been a fan of this band for nearly 20 years and that's the first i've ever seen of them, astonishing

Clay, Friday, 2 April 2021 02:19 (one week ago) link

Yeah, I'd seen the same 4 or 5 photos over the years, but never actual moving footage of them performing. Did Sue always sing from notes?

Johnny Fever, Friday, 2 April 2021 02:24 (one week ago) link

I'm finally seeing visual footage of my life's soundtrack

flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 2 April 2021 02:48 (one week ago) link

Stuart Murdoch in the audience at the end stops clapping way too early IMO.

kitchen person, Friday, 2 April 2021 04:47 (one week ago) link

xxp She uses notes in a lot of her spoken word performances.

This was so great to see

maf you one two (maffew12), Sunday, 11 April 2021 05:39 (four days ago) link

of COURSE she's jumping around everywhere :D

imago, Sunday, 11 April 2021 08:42 (four days ago) link

When I saw them there were notes for only 2 songs I think, maybe The Leanover & New Town? Even then it seemed more of an affectation or a comfort, rather than actually relying on them for a memory aide. The band were really tight but visually static, and then this whirling dervish monopolising the full stage space

Jonathan Hellion Mumble, Sunday, 11 April 2021 15:36 (four days ago) link


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