Alex Neilson

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Alex Neilson (born 22 September 1982) is an English drummer, percussionist and singer who is based in Glasgow but grew up in Leeds.[1] He is a founding member and main songwriter of folk-rock group Trembling Bells. He is also known for his continuing collaborations with Alasdair Roberts and Richard Youngs, and for his work with elusive American singer/songwriter Jandek, for whom he has drummed regularly - four of these live performances have been released by Corwood Industries as Glasgow Sunday, Newcastle Sunday, Glasgow Monday and Glasgow Friday on both CD and DVD. He has also drummed for Will Oldham (Bonnie 'Prince' Billy), firstly on a Scottish tour in April 2006.

Additionally Neilson has performed alongside a large number of bands and artists including Lucky Luke, The One Ensemble of Daniel Padden, Ashtray Navigations, Alastair Galbraith, Isobel Campbell, Ben Reynolds, Matt Valentine, David Keenan, Baby Dee, Tanakh, Six Organs of Admittance and Taurpis Tula, as well as Directing Hand and Scatter, both of which he founded. Collaborating with other musicians, including Trembling Bells members, he has accompanied on tour several folk artists who have enjoyed a late rediscovery of their work, including Scott Fagan, Nick Garrie, Mike Heron and Shirley Collins. He also drummed on Collins's 2016 comeback album, Lodestar.[1]

Neilson's debut solo album, Vermillion, was released under the name Alex Rex in April 2017.


In early 2007, Neilson left his position at Glasgow-based record shop and distribution company Volcanic Tongue and rejoined Oldham for some tour dates, subsequently spending much of the year touring with Alasdair Roberts, with Ben Reynolds (as Motor Ghost), with David Keenan (as Tight Meat) and with a fresh incarnation of Directing Hand consisting of himself and vocalist/harpist Lavinia Blackwall.

In 2008, he toured with Baby Dee - he is heard on Dee's Safe Inside The Day record - and Current 93. Having already appeared on a handful of Current 93 releases, he was confirmed on their Durtro webpage as a participant in various forthcoming recordings. A new Will Oldham live album featuring Neilson was also released.

Neilson spent much of late 2008 and early 2009 concentrating on Trembling Bells. The band consisted of Neilson on drums and vocals, Lavinia Blackwall on lead vocals and guitar, Mike Hastings on guitar, and Simon Shaw on bass. Their debut LP Carbeth was released on Honest Jon Records to widespread critical acclaim in the spring of 2009. Neilson also spent considerable time on tour with Ben Chasny and his Six Organs of Admittance live ensemble.

In early 2013, Neilson joined forces with artist Lucy Stein and artist/writer/musician Sybren Renema in Death Shanties, a saxophone-drum duo with live visuals. Their mini-tour and self-released CD-R were generally well received.[2][3]


Solo (Alex Rex)

Ashtray Navigations

  • The Love That Whirrs, CD (Last Visible Dog, 2005)
  • To Get Beyond Nihilism By Revaluing Combat, CD-R (Hypnagogia, 2005)

Current 93

  • Birth Canal Blues Live, CD (Coptic Cat, 2008)
  • Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain, CD/LP (Coptic Cat, 2009)
  • Monohallucinatory Mountain, CD/LP (Coptic Cat, 2009)
  • Aleph on Docetic Mountain, CD (Coptic Cat, 2009)
  • Baalstorm, Sing Omega, CD/LP (Coptic Cat, 2010)

Death Shanties

  • Crabs, LP (Bomb Shop, 2014)
  • Psychic Rome, LP (Goldenlab, 2015)

Directing Hand

  • Bells for Augustin Lesage, CD/LP (Secret Eye Records, 2005)
  • Love Will Waste My Body, CD-R (Memoirs Of An Aesthete, 2005)
  • An Old Soul At The Helm, CD-R (Chocolate Monk, 2005)
  • What Put the Blood, LP (Dancing Wayang, 2008)
  • Songs from the Red House, LP (Singing Knives Records, 2008)


Tight Meat Duo/Trio

  • Vanishing Fist, CD (Bo’Weavil, 2007)
  • Tight Meat Duo, 8" (Altvinyl, 2007)
  • Ganges Letdown, CD-R (No label, 2007)

Trembling Bells

  • Carbeth, CD (Honest Jon's Records, 2009)
  • Abandoned Love, CD (Honest Jon's Records, 2010)
  • The Constant Pageant, CD/LP (Honest Jon's Records, 2011)
  • The Marble Downs with Bonnie Prince Billy, CD/LP (Honest Jon's Records, 2012)
  • The Sovereign Self, CD/LP (Tin Angel Records, 2015)
  • Wide Majestic Aire, CD/LP EP (Tin Angel Records, 2016)

Richard Youngs & Alex Neilson

  • Ourselves, CD (VHF Records, 2004)
  • Beating Stars, LP (HP Cycle Records, 2005)
  • Partick Rain Dance, CD (VHF Records, 2005)
  • Road Is Open Life, CD (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, 2006)
  • Electric Lotus, CD/LP (VHF Records, 2007)


  1. ^ a b Jude Rogers (3 May 2017). "Alex Rex: 'Authenticity is a red herring. It's better to try something new'". The Guardian.
  2. ^ "Death Shanties - Nunatak". 19 April 2013.
  3. ^ "review of DEATH SHANTIES @ SOWERBY BRIDGE PUZZLE HALL, Tuesday 5th February 2013".

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