Sunday, 6 February 2011

Hugo Largo: Post 'Mettle' recordings, KCRW and more

My unrequited, unhealthy and colossal ultranerd fanboy obsession with REM in the latter half of the 1980s has been documented elsewhere on my other Blog - 'Big Plans For Everybody'....and will be referred back to with nauseating regularity I'm sure. It did lead me to some interesting and inspiring music including Big Star, Game Theory, Let's Active...and Hugo Largo. You can only imagine the joy I felt when I heard that Stipe had produced an album for an NY band. The ArtSchool poseur in me wept with delight that the band consisted of two Bassists, an Electric Violinist, a Vocalist and NO Drummer and the album was called 'Drum'. How postmodern. I ordered it all the way from America, not knowing what to expect. Suffice to say, that album is one of my favourite albums of all time

I began to obsess about the band. In those pre-internet days, I had to trawl through fanzines and lord knows what else to get any kind of info about them -the occasional comment in the UK music press, a review in 'Flipside'...and that was it. The album got a British release (with extra tracks, no less!) and I scooped that up. And then finally, they came to the UK for a gig. Oh my days. They played at the Cambridge Theatre, London on July 9th 1988 and were first on the bill supporting The Durutti Column and David Byrne. ...quite a concert, let me tell you. They played for about 30 minutes and my twentysomething mind turned to jelly. Intense is not the word. I dragged my girlfriend of the time back to London to see them headline at The ICA later that year...she hated every minute but I was in raptures, but that's the effect they had on people.

( 'Fancy' from 'Intruders at the Palace' 1988)
('Eureka' from 'Intruders at the Palace' 1988)
( 'Turtle Song' from 'Intruders at the Palace' 1988)
( 'Scream Tall' from 'Intruders at the Palace' 1988)

Inevitably, they signed to Brian Eno's Land record label for a not-quite-so-transcendant second album ('Mettle') and toured the UK, supporting That Petrol Emotion...a pairing that I couldn't quite understand. And then...nothing. Violinist Hahn Rowe has gone onto sessions and production, Bassist Tim Sommer  was a top-dollar record company executive and is involved in a number of projects including ambient soundscapers Hi Fi Sky. The other Bassist, Adam Peacock...has dissapeared. Vocalist Mimi Goese has done the solo thing as well as collabrating with Dance Music Polymath, Moby.

These recordings came as a trade about 20 years ago from an American fan, whose name I have sadly lost...if you're reading this, please accept my apologies and a million thank-yous. The first part is their Tim Sommer-less third album*, which is sadly unreleased and (IMHO) is better than 'Mettle' but not quite as good as 'Drum'. The rest collects an amazing KCRW session (hosted by the fabulous  Deirdre O'Donoghue ) along with demos and three songs from a live gig from an unknown venue.

The perfect addition to 'Drum' and 'Mettle' .

*Thanks to some information from Hahn Rowe (check the comments in this post), I've since found out that there wasn't actually a 'third' album at all...he says these may be soundboard recordings (?) The links should be working again too...

Oh yeah, a MASSIVE 'Thank You' to Hahn and Tim for being so gracious as to let these recordings remain available to fans.  

Hugo Largo: Unreleased/KCRW/Etc Part1

Hugo Largo: Unreleased/KCRW/Etc Part2

Hugo Largo: Third/KCRW/Etc

Part One
Reasons for the beach
Patient goodbye
Dead centre
It's unclear
Violets Violins violence
Deal away
Heads or tails (instr)
Heads or tails

Bali Hai
Tell the truth

Violets violins violence
It's unclear
Hot day

Part Two
KCRW (July 30, 1987)
Blue blanket
Turtle Song
In my own
Tall girl (Scream tall)
Arms akimbo
Hot day
Shaking your head
Grow wild
Dazed and confused (Led Zep)
Jungle Jim
Fancy (Kinks)
Dead or alive (Bon Jovi)


  1. thanks very much for these. i used to have a cassette--possibly from the same American fan you mentioned (long forgotten how i came in contact w/ him). i wager that the live songs are from a gig at Texas Hotel Records--also was a label that released early Downy Mildew albums--also a group Stipe led me to (great video here: ). never got a chance to see Hugo perform, but was mesmerized from the first listen of Drum when it came out (also lead to HL thru Stipe). All of Hugo are on Facebook now (and Mimi has great old pics of the band).

  2. Hi - this is Hahn Rowe. My sister just sent me a link to this blog post.

    I would like to point out that there is NO unreleased 3rd album.

    This is most likely (link is down) a live performance board tape from one of the last Hugo Largo shows at the original Knitting Factory in NYC. How did you get this? I don't even have a copy ;)

    There were some nice tunes and a couple of clunkers as I recall (it was never intended to be for public consumption). In any case, I hope you enjoy listening to it!

  3. Hi, let us know if you manage to put this up again!

  4. These comments are so old that I hesitate...but this band was very special to me as a teenager.
    I went to Phoenix from Albuquerque to see them with Throwing Muses in 1988 but HL had cancelled. I met a young woman some years later, working at a bakery, and she was singing
    lines from "Hot Day" and that just floored me - in Albuquerque! The lyrics make you think in that
    way good poetry does and the music seems to set a landscape up for that...HL helped my mind go into rooms that the normal world had nailed shut. I thank them.

  5. i'd argue that the utterly gorgeous and sublime Mettle beats...ummm Drum. i'd only seen them live once and recall eagerly hotfooting it down to the Garage in Highbury and Islington to hear those songs live only to find a "gig cancelled" note taped to the door. Heartbreaking. They never came back to the UK. Thank you to everyone who made these tapes available (the links may be dead but i procured them from elsewhere). What an incredible band.

  6. could anyone please reupload these archives? I'm dying to hear it...

  7. Hi Rushbo -

    I realize I'm incredibly late to this party . . . but I would very much enjoy a copy of this Hugo Largo music, if you still have it available. I'd be very happy to provide you with anything in return from my voluminous music collection, some of which is available on my own music blog ( If you could forward these to my email address (, I'd be eternally grateful! I look forward to hearing from you soon - thanks!

  8. I check back every year to see if anyone has re-uploaded these and no one ever does. i would love to hear these recordings, is there anyway the files can be shared via dropbox or google drive?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I have these recordings and can upload them to google drive for you.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I would love to hear these recordings. I have recordings I made of two of the Knitting Factory shows in 1991. The sound quality is not great (they were made with a cassette recorder in the audience and the digital transfer is amateur), but I'd be happy to share them.


      I will remove this link tmrw 3/22

    6. Thank you! I will upload mine later today (NYC time) and post a link for you.

    7. Here are recordings from two shows in 1991. The first one, I believe, is the first show with the new line-up. It was at the original Knitting Factory, packed to the gills. Undoubtedly many of the song titles (in the filenames) are wrong. Some are just blank. However, as this is the better of the two shows (and I listened to it a lot more than the recording of the second show), I did put crowd noise and extended interludes as their own tracks to facilitate skipping.

      The second show is from another stint the band did at The Knitting Factory the next month. It was much more subdued, and not as well-attended. We all sat at tables, rather than stood as at the earlier show. The set list is different, and I didn't try to name the files by song, nor isolate the interludes, etc.

      Both shows were recorded on an Aiwa portable cassette recorder with a lapel mic.

      I'll leave this link up through 3/22 NYC time.

    8. Just saw your comment and requested access to d/load.

    9. THANKS! THIS was just published two days ago!

  9. HEY EVERYONE! Drum is 30 years old. Ugh. And this appreciation of Hugo Largo was published two days ago!

    1. Thanks for posting that article. I remember that feeling of seeing them for the first time (also in 1988). They opened for Swans at the Ritz in NYC. Their small sound filled the room better than Swans.

      FYI, I just shared the files from the Knitting Factory shows with Mimi on Facebook. It's nice to know she'll be able to hear them.