Focused: The Filthy Tongues climbing Jacob’s Ladder

Focused: The Filthy Tongues climbing Jacob’s Ladder

The Filthy Tongues have occupied a unique place at the heart of Scottish alternative rock, in various manifestations, since the mid 80’s.

The single Jacobs Ladder, taken from the bands album of the same name has received numerous BBC Scotland plays and the album a 4 star Scottish Express review. God is in the TV said about the album “These songs wrap themselves around you like a warm blanket and effortlessly soothe your soul.”

Martin Metalfe (Goodbye Mr MacKenzie) is co-writing the Skids 1st LP in 35 years, due for release later this year and the band support The Skids on numerous dates in May and June, plus their own band dates throughout summer… (some of which are below).


You can see the video to the single to Jacob’s Ladder

Martin Metcalfe, Fin Wilson and Derek Kelly were the core-members of Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, a stunning live band with Metcalfe resembling the MC of a debauched, vaguely gothic cabaret, which effortlessly churned out pop classics, sinister dark Blues and full-blown stadium-fitting anthems. The core trio, along with the Mackenzies’ keyboardist and backing singer, Shirley Manson, evolved into Angelfish, ably aided and abetted by Taking Heads and Blondie manager Gary Kurfirst, and quickly established a hardcore following as the band appeared in both the UK  national and US College charts. They recorded a well-received album in Connecticut with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth from the Talking Heads, and the video for the single Suffocate Me caught the attention of producer and musician, Steve Marker, who was actively sourcing possible lead singers for a new project he was working on with fellow musician/producers Butch Vig and Duke Erikson. The project was Garbage. Manson was lured from Angelfish to front the nascent Garbage and the rest, as they say, is history.

The amicable split left behind ‘the most complex, fascinating musical footprint of any Scottish band yet’ – The List magazine

Two further albums in the UK followed, as Isa & the Filthy Tongues, featuring the core-trio and American-born frontwoman Stacey Chavis. These releases attracted 5 star reviews and saw them played regularly on BBC6 Music. The band also featured on the soundtrack to ex-Skids’ frontman turned director, Richard Jobson’s New Town Killers film and caught the ear of Hollywood in David Mackenzie’s film Spread. 2016 and The Filthy Tongues are once more back to the original, ever-dependable trio, but working a revolving-door policy featuring various musical and literate contributors and collaborators. The new eight-track album finds The Filthy Tongues in familiar territory – highly literary musings on their hometown of Edinburgh, but also evocative of such celebrated US Deep South scribblers as William Falkner and Flannery O’Connor, possibly why Nick Cave and The Bad Seed’s classic Delta-Blues First Born is Dead album comes to mind.

But it’s definitely an Edinburgh album, a journey through the dark, damp closes and stairwells of the Old Town and all that goes with it. It’s claustrophobic, and menacing with nary a glisten of sunlight, but it’s all the more compelling and captivating for that. The LP is pleasingly grotty and more than a bit gothic. All based around a dark neo-feudal Edinburgh. In a colourful career the band have worked and toured with Blondie, The Ramones, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, Vic Chesnutt, New York Dolls, Big Audio Dynamite, Aztec Camera and many more. When listening to The Filthy Tongues, musical critics recognise Pixies, Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, Nick Cave and Scott Walker influences, and other plumbers of the murky musical depths, but the style of this ever evolving band remains strikingly and individually their own.


14th April Aberdeen Cafe Drummonds

15th April Bathgate Dreadnought

5th May Edinburgh Liquid Rooms (supporting the skids)

6th May Glasgow O2 ABC (supporting the skids)

19th May Kirkcaldy Windsor

20th May Stockton George theatre (supporting Brix smith)

17th June O2 ABC 2 Glasgow.

29th June Montrose town hall (supporting the skids)

30th June Dunfermline (supporting the skids)

31st Aug London hope and anchor Islington

2nd Sep Corby    /

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Focused: The Filthy Tongues climbing Jacob’s Ladder