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Group Members: Emma Pollock
All Music Guide:
While failing to earn the same critical renown and cultish devotion lavished upon countrymen Belle & Sebastian or Mogwai, the Delgados were in many respects the true epicenter of the contemporary Scottish pop renaissance. Through their renowned Chemikal Underground label, the group not only launched the careers of acts from Bis to Arab Strap, but their own recordings rank among the most sublime pop experiences in recent memory, blossoming from the lo-fi simplicity of their earliest work to an increasingly ambitious palette defined by achingly beautiful melodies, soaring string arrangements, and intricate waltztime rhythms. Childhood friends Alun Woodward (vocals/guitar), Stewart Henderson (bass), and Paul Savage (drums) first collaborated as members of the group Bubblegum before defecting to form the Delgados (so named in honor of legendary Spanish cyclist Pedro Delgado) in 1994. Singer/guitarist Emma Pollock completed the lineup, and after founding Chemikal Underground the quartet issued its debut effort "Monica Webster" in February 1995, earning "Single of the Week" honors in Melody Maker. The label's second release was Bis' "Disco Nation." Subsequent offerings included Arab Strap's underground classic "The First Big Weekend" and Mogwai's debut LP Mogwai Young Team.
After issuing the Lazarwalker EP on the Radar imprint, the Delgados returned to Chemikal Underground for the 1996 release of the single "Cinecentre." Two more singles, "Under Canvas Under Wraps" and "Sucrose," as well as a U.K. tour in support of Elastica, preceded the October bow of their first full-length effort, Domestiques. The album's near-unanimous critical acclaim was echoed by the BBC's influential John Peel, who christened the Delgados "the best in Britain." Named "Single of the Week" by both Melody Maker and NME, the remarkable "Everything Goes Around the Water" heralded the release of the band's sophomore album, 1998's Peloton. The record's second single, the haunting "Pull the Wires From the Wall," later earned the number one spot on Peel's annual "Festive Fifty" countdown. That September, the Delgados also mounted sessions for their third LP. As months in the studio dragged by with no end in sight, the resulting tapes were ultimately given to producer Dave Fridmann, much acclaimed for his work on the Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin. The end result, 2000's The Great Eastern, was among the year's most brilliant albums, a majestic and richly textured masterpiece light years removed from the ragged noise-pop of their earliest outings. In March of 2001, the Delgados also appeared at London's Barbican Centre to perform their original score to a film based on the work of painter Joe Coleman. Their next album, Hate, was also produced by Fridmann and arrived in early 2002. In 2004, the band released Universal Audio, a tight, melodic and occasionally sunny pop album that signaled a departure from the orchestral rock of their two Fridmann-produced records.
The Delgados were a Scottish indie rock band from Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. The band was composed of Alun Woodward (vocals, guitar), Stewart Henderson (bass), Paul Savage (drums) and Emma Pollock (vocals, guitar).
The band was formed after friends Woodward, Henderson and Savage were ejected from the band Bubblegum. Joined by Savage's then-girlfriend Pollock, the band named themselves after Tour de France winning cyclist, Pedro Delgado.
Their first commercial release came with the inclusion of their track "Liquidation Girl" on the compilation album Skookum Chief Powered Teenage Zit Rock Angst from Nardwuar the Human Serviette. Instead of signing to a record label, the band started their own, Chemikal Underground, on which they released their own records and also some from other local bands, among them Mogwai and Arab Strap. Chemikal Underground's first release was the Delgados first single "Monica Webster / Brand New Car". The single caught the attention of BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, and the band quickly became one of his favourites, going on to record fifteen sessions for his show.
The cost of Chemikal Underground's second release, the single "Disco Nation 45" by Bis, left the cash-strapped label unable to afford another release by the Delgados, so their next release "Lazarwalker" came from the London-based Radar Records. Tempted by Radar to a five album deal, the band declined, instead poaching their A&R contact, Graeme Beattie, for work at Chemikal Underground.
Another single, "Cinecentre" followed in early 1996 as the band juggled work at the label with several tours, and recorded their debut album. The band released two more singles, this time taken from their album Domestiques released in November 1996. The song "Under Canvas, Under Wraps" being voted number three in John Peel's Festive Fifty.
The band released their second album in 1998. Peloton - also a cycling reference. The single "Pull the Wires From the Wall" gave the Delgados their first hit single in the UK Singles Chart, reaching number 69. The band's close relationship with Peel continued, with "Pull the Wires From the Wall" voted to number one in the Festive Fifty (it would also make the all time chart made in 2000).
The Delgados' evolution continued with The Great Eastern in 2000. The record was produced by Dave Fridmann. Their next single, "American Trilogy", reached number 61 in the UK chart. The record was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
Their fourth album, Hate, was released on Mantra rather than the band's own label. The song "The Light Before We Land" was used as the opening theme for the anime Gunslinger Girl, while the song "Woke From Dreaming" is played at the beginning of episode 7.
The band returned to their own label for 2004's Universal Audio.
The band announced they were splitting up in April 2005 due to the departure of Henderson who found it difficult "to pour so much of my energy and time into something that never quite seemed to get the attention or respect [he] felt it deserved." The four will continue to run Chemikal Underground together. Songwriters Pollock and Woodward are pursuing individual projects, while Savage will continue production duties at the band's Chem19 Studios in Hamilton and in a new studio.
Since the band's separation, the track "I Fought the Angels" from Universal Audio has been used in the fourth episode in the second season of the Golden Globe-winning medical drama Grey's Anatomy in 2006, and in the opening scene in the series premiere of BBC Three's Lip Service in 2010.
A double disc containing 29 tracks, The Complete BBC Peel Sessions, was released on 12 June 2006 in Europe, and later in the year in the United States. Woodward released his debut solo album in June 2009 under the name Lord Cut-Glass. Savage also played on the album.