Naming your band after a sexual device may have seemed like commercial suicide at the time, but since when did that bother Arab Strap's founder members (pun intended) Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton? The grouch-rock/ sadcore/ mizzystep/ trip-strop (*delete where inappropriate) outfit weren't in it for the guest appearances on Titchmarsh and, boy, did it show on some of their music, issued on Glaswegian indie, Chemikal Underground (founded by The Delgados).
Their debut-album, 1996's "The Week Never Starts Round Here", had a title of dead-end desperation about it (or endless weekend hedonism, depending on what you read into it) and featured the band's monologue-packed single, "The First Big Weekend". The track was ironically used by Guinness - the lyrical excesses obviously lost on the suits at the brewery's ad agency.
After issuing several fine singles and albums, Arab Strap switched themselves off (ha!) in their tenth year, to indulge in separate solo projects. Moffat dabbled with Mogwai and a pseudonym (Lucky Pierre - best not to ask), while Middleton has crafted some fine singles, including the nonchalant love-paean, "F**k It, I Love You" and the joyous "We're All Going to Die", plus his first post-Arab Strap (and third solo) album, "A Brighter Beat" with the aforementioned singles. "....Die" earned him his only significant hit, by the way.
After declaring that he wouldn't be continuing with music a few years back, Middleton has announced the complete opposite - here comes a new tour and new (as-yet-untitled) album. He's lined up a provisional half-dozen shows in December, starting with York on the 1st and followed by Bristol, Nottingham, Cambridge, London and Oxford on the 8th. Tickets have just gone on sale and cost £12.50 - £14.50. His other project Human Don't Be Angry will also make an appearance during the tour.
According to his Twitter page, Middleton also has a new album announcement to make 'very soon'.