The Scottish alt rock group Idlewild formed in Edinburgh in late 1995, originally comprising singer Roddy Woomble, guitarist Rod Jones, bassist Phil Scanlon, and drummer Colin Newton. A year of steady touring preceded the release of the band’s 1997 debut single, “Queen of the Troubled Teens,” which immediately found favor with Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq. The resulting media exposure brought Idlewild to the attention of Fierce Panda, and the London-based label agreed to issue their sophomore single, “Chandelier,” which doubled as their first recording with new bassist Bob Fairfoull. A mini-album, Captain, followed in early 1998, and as word spread of their chaotic live shows (described by one U.K. magazine as “a flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs”), the group signed with Food Records and released Hope Is Important in late October. 100 Broken Windows followed in early 2001, with a subsequent U.S. tour launching later that spring.

The next year, Idlewild issued The Remote Part. “American English” and “You Held the World in Your Arms” were massive hits in Europe, making the album Idlewild’s most successful project to date. Not everyone in the band was happy, though, and bassist Fairfoull was kicked out of the lineup after an Amsterdam show in September. Guitar technician Alex Grant stepped in to fill his shoes for the remaining European dates. Gavin Fox (bass) and Allen Stewart (guitar) were added permanently to the lineup early the following year, just prior to the American release of The Remote Part in March.

Warnings/Promises followed in 2005, featuring songs that had been written during an inspired four-month session in the Scottish Highlands. Fox left the band the following spring and was replaced by former Astrid bassist Gareth Russell, who made his debut on the 2007 album Make Another World. Meanwhile, Woomble made his solo debut with My Secret Is My Silence, an intimate acoustic album featuring background vocals by Kate Rusby, and joined folk musicians Kris Drever and John McCusker to record the collaborative Before the Ruin in 2008. One year later, Idlewild bucked convention by releasing their sixth album, Post Electric Blues, as a free, fan site-only download; a traditional release followed in October. In 2010 the band went on a hiatus which was to last three years. During that time, Jones launched a solo career and formed the side project the Birthday Suit, while Woomble released two further solo albums. Idlewild reconvened in 2013 on the Isle of Mull to start sporadic work on their seventh studio album, with new bassist Lucci Rossi replacing Russell. The album was finally finished and set for release in February 2015. Entitled Everything Ever Written, it was produced by Jones and self-released through PledgeMusic. The grungy lead single “Collect Yourself” saw the band exploring a new direction, with a distinct funk influence.

I’ve enjoyed much of what the band have released over the years and they never disappoint in the live setting.  Here’s a single from the 100 Broken Windows era:-

mp3 : Idlewild – Little Discourage



  1. I love 100 Broken Windows and the track Quiet Crown is just wonderful. They did an admirable take on The Bunnymen’s Rescue as a b-side to These Wooden Ideas which was the albums second single. It’s even got some similar vamping a la McCulloch. I have to figure choosing to do the song must have made Food Supremo David Balfe smile, as he was one of the original Bunnymen producers along with Bill Drummond, credited as The Chameleons on Crocodiles – Ian Broudie produced Rescue, of course, just to mess with my musical ley line.

  2. Gotta disagree with Wiki – PeB was originally issued by the band through a prototype Pledge campaign – subscribers got the CD as well as a bonus of selecting live tracks from their series of album gigs at Tut’s. Don’t remember getting a download of the actual record. Cooking Vinyl subsequently put the album out.

    Also. whilst Collect Yourself is indeed grungey, the last album isn’t – it’s ther folkiest record to date.

    Going to disagree with echorich too – I think their cover of Rescue is hideous – lumpen and lacking all the charm of the original. I’m sure I included it in a series of Bad Cover Versions and think you agreed JC!

    Do agree that they’re a great live band – I’ve seen them at least 15 times since ’99, indeed half a dozen times since they got back together again as MPK2 is a huge fan.

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