2007 And All That..The Heroes, The Villains

“Blitzed” By the Raveonettes

Songs Of The Year : (released and unreleased)
1. Blitzed- The Raveonettes
2. Lasso- The Duke Spirit
3. Crucify – Screaming Ballerinas
4. So Much For Love – Slow Down Tallahassee
5. Weight Of The World-Editors
6. Goodbye- Asobi Seksu
7. Apartment Store -The National
8. Somewhere -The Hot Puppies
9 The Last Significant Statement- The Indelicates
10.That’s Not My Name- Ting-Tings
11.Silently-Blonde Redhead
12 Jessica -Screaming Ballerinas
13.Adrennaline- Emma Pollock
14.The Towering Inferno- Lucky Soul
15. Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Very Drunk-The Wedding Present

“Goodbye” By Asobi Seksu

Albums Of The Year:
1. Lust, Lust, Lust -The Raveonettes
2. An End Has A Start-Editors
3. Make Love To The Judges With Your Eyes- Pony Up
4. The Great Unwanted -Lucky Soul
5 In Our Bedroom After The War-Stars
6 Citrus-Asobi Seksu
7 Sound Of Silver- LCD Soundsystem
8 Favourite Worst Nightmare – Arctic Monkeys
9 We Live And Die In These Towns – The Enemy
10 Lady’s Bridge- Richard Hawley
11 Made Of Bricks -Kate Nash
12. Gaps -Monster Bobby
13. 23- Blonde Redhead
14. Into The Blue – Charlotte Hatherley
15. Overpowered – Roisin Murphy

“The Night Starts Here” By Stars

Gigs Of The Year:
1. Editors ( Liverpool )
2, The Pipettes (Manchester)
3. The Wedding Present (Liverpool)

Remix Of The Year :
Let’s Dance To Joy Division – The Wombats -KGB Remix

Heroes Of The Year:
Eric Matthews
Miki Berenyi
Laura Trouble
Nick Levine
Bec Newman
Rose Dougall
Dogwood
Juila Indelicate
David Gedge
Jason Christie
Tony Wilson
Mikey Guitar

Villains Of The Year :
Tony Blair
David Cameron
Gordon Brown
Connor Mc Nicholas
Johnny Borrell
John Sim
Spice Girls
Simon Cowell
Chris Moyles

TV Of The Year :
Heroes
Extras (Xmas special)
Dr Who

Discoveries Of The Year:
Screaming Ballerinas
Fight Like Apes
Slow Down Tallahassee
Paloma Faith
Lilly Rae
The Pan I Am (well sort of new!)

Comeback Of The Year:
The Jesus & Mary Chain
The Wedding Present

Films Of The Year :
The Future Is Unwritten
The Last King Of Scotland
Control
The Departed (ok so it’s basically a remake-but in a terrible year for movies all the above stood head and shoulders above the dirge)

Disappointments Of The Year ;
“Lucio Starts A Fire” – Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong (oh dear, I think there must be much better in their arsenal)
Avril, regressing musically to the level of a 6 year old and sharing the world view of a 12 year old-hardly a progression, artistically eh! Next year will see Avril riding a trike, and making romper suits the must have leisure wear item.
The finale of Dr Who (If that made sense to ya then lay off the LSD )
“Panic Prevention“-Jamie T ( After the majesty of “Sheila” I was expecting so much more)
Monkey Swallows The Universe- Split (?)
Regina Spektor Live (Liverpool) (Flat, and slightly dull -the “kooky” behaviour between songs just grated after a while)
“Neon Bible” – Arcade Fire
“The Good, the Bad & the Queen” – The Good, the Bad & the Queen
The Hot Puppies gigs cancellation (sniffle)

Quotes Of The Year ;
“Kaiser Chiefs just scare me. Every single one of them looks like a weird scary ventriloquist dummy. Specially the little man with the hat.”- Linda Hollywood (Havana Guns)

“Settle Down” Dogwood

“What gets me is that we really don’t have stars anymore. Bowie looked like he was from another planet, and behaved like a star – you’ve got to be a bit arrogant and tread that fine line, but few people really do anymore. The Internet has made bands / people too accessible – and that weird desire that everyone has to be ‘really normal, actually’ is bollocks. What’s interesting about being normal?”
Ollie Pound (Screaming Ballerinas)

“We’ve never seen anybody who looks like Andy, dance the way Andy does” – Monster Bobby

“I’ve never heard that Alanis-thing before. I am not naked with a blurred crotch in my videos! I’ve never been to India! I fully understand the actual meaning of the word “ironic”! I’ve never even done a cameo on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” –Marit Bergman

“I have never seen anything referring to me as the male Yoko Ono before” –Simon Indelicate (the Indelicates)-Interview coming soon!

“After reading Cheryl Coles’s comments branding me a “chick with a dick” I was feeling pretty low. I know I’ve said bad things about people in the past but this is mean… I may not be as pretty as you but at least I write and SING my own songs without the aid of autotune. I must say taking your clothes off, doing sexy dancing and marrying a rich footballer must be very gratifying, your mother must be so proud, stupid bitch.” –Lilly Allen on the ever intelligent Girls Aloud WAG, Cheryl Cole

“F**k Girls Aloud. I’d rather be a fat chick with a dick, than an F**king asshole. It’s hard to feel good when magazines say you’re ugly, so I know how Lily feels.”-Beth Ditto

“One minute I’m waiting for Kate to arrive to join me in the Jacuzzi for a romantic evening. The next thing I can remember is doing cold turkey in a vomit-filled cell.” Pete Doherty

“It’s like people going up to Paul McCartney and saying: ‘So, Paul, who’s this fool, and where’s this hill? This is what we’re up against. This is what Kurt Cobain had to put up with. And what did he do? He blew his head off.” – Kaiser Chiefs Nick Hodgson on people asking who Ruby is –(Comparing themselves to the Beatles and Nirvana? -hahahaha ! So please people keep asking who Ruby is , there’s still hope!)

“Johnny Borrell is an idiot, he just makes trouble for himself. Having his own tour bus or chauffeured car that drives behind? And at Reading apparently he had his own dressing room, his own tent that was his. I mean what’s that about?” –Tom Clarke -The Enemy

“Conor doesn’t understand how the relentless stream of “cheers mate, got pissed last night, ha ha” interviews that clutter every single issue of the ‘new’ NME are simply not interesting to those of us who have no trouble standing upright.” Morrissey on NME’s Connor McNicholas

Breakthrough Acts;
Those Dancing Days
Operator Please
Kate Nash
The Enemy

Big or Bigger Next Year ?
Strange Idols
Screaming Ballerinas
The Hot Puppies
Fight Like Apes
Howling Bells
The School
Kat Flint
The Ting Tings
Paloma Faith
The Indelicates
The Hussy’s
Havana Guns
Bauer
Soko
Black Kids
Asobi Seksu
The Duke Spirit
Glasvegas
Cut Off Your Hands
Let’s Wrestle
Lucy And The Caterpiller
The Hot Melts

“Crucify” By Screaming Ballerinas

Nicest Waistcoat
1. Ollie Pound (Screaming Ballerinas)
2. Joe Lean – (Joe Lean And The JJJ)

Worst Lyrics

1 French Dog Blues -Babyshambles

“I model lack lustre panicky in vain search for the remedy
No words only melody come so I take the day off
My love, my love, she sits with me, I love, I love her company”

2. Tranquilize– The Killers

Always here, always on time
Close call, was it love or was it just easy
Money talks when people need shoes and socks,
Steady boys, I’m thinking she needs me”

and of course
“Acid rain, when Abel looked up at Cain
We began the weeping and wailing
A hurried high from pestilence pills and pride,
It’s a shame, we could have gone sailing “

3. Ruby-Kaiser Chiefs

Due to lack of interest tomorrow is cancelled
Let the clocks be reset and the pendulums held
‘Cos there’s nothing at all ‘cept the space in between
Finding out what you’re called and repeating your name”

(so who is Ruby? ;))

4. Good Life – Kanye West

Have you ever popped champagne on a plane
While gettin some brain
Whipped it out, she said “I never seen snakes on a plane”

Genius or a slightly childish. Misogynistic or new man?

Y’all pop the trunk, I pop the hood, Ferrari
And she got the goods
And she got that ass, I got to look, sorry
Yo it’s got to be cause I’m seasoned
Haters give me them salty looks, ….”

Oh dear !

Videos Of The Year

The Truth About Cats And Dogs ( Is That They Die ) By Pony Up

“Serious” – By Richard Hawley

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So This Is Christmas…..

VPME CHRISTMAS EDITION 2007

Without further ado lets kick off with one of the best Xmas songs to be released, it’s by an old friend of mine……yes all the way from the Wirral, it’s Halfman Half Biscuit

“It’s Clichéd To Be Cynical At Christmas” By Halfman Half Biscuit

Well, the baubles have been vigorously polished, the tree has been erected, the turkeys been roundly stuffed, and we await Santa’s heaving, bulging sack with bated breath. But meanwhile, away from the buxom snowcapped, twin peaked mountains of the magical “Land Of Double Entendre” and back in the real world, parents are preparing for their annual blitzkrieg in “Toys-R-Us” over this seasons “must have toy/gadget.” This is of course due to the fact that if little Johnny doesn’t get exactly what little Johnny has demanded, then the child who has yet to be acquainted with the word “no” or even the concept of compromise may well grow up to be psychologically damaged. (or worse, a solicitor ) It is against such a background that the corporate giants expertly manufacture this kind of hysteria. Huge advertising campaigns, involving the sort hyperbole Alistair Campbell could only dream of, are launched, which cleverly exploit parental guilt, the basic message being, if little Johnny doesn’t get this product you are a CRAP parent, a loathsome individual and you deserve to live a life of friendless, unremitting misery, forever haunted by your shameful neglect. With this in place they then deliberately undersource retail outlets of said product in the run up to Xmas, thus creating the kind of Seasonal pandemonium, that sees quite reasonable, educated people fighting over Nintendo WII’s in order to assuage their guilt. Meanwhile others are cramming their shopping trolleys to bursting point with ludicrous amounts of food that they quite frankly, could never eat, even if the entire population of Birmingham had been invited for Christmas dinner! But hey-ho, if nuclear war ever breaks out, let’s pray it’s over the Christmas period , as we, as a nation, will be well stocked ! It most certainly is “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” the season of goodwill and indeed the season to be jolly! So bollocks to all that negative humbug ! We love Christmas, and as the song says “It’s Clichéd To Be Cynical At Christmas” so let’s be thankful for all the positives, as we reflect on the year, and what Christmas means to us. It is also a chance to thank all the readers, musicians and contributors who have joined in and to wish everybody a very Happy Christmas.

As a seasonal treat we thought it would be fun to quiz some of our favourite artists and special friends, enabling them to share their thoughts on the festive season, how do they spend Christmas?… what do they love about it (or not) ?? and/or , what are their most cherished Christmas songs that warm the cockles of their hearts and induce a fierce and compelling desire to roast their chestnuts on an open fire.

Well, Christmas certainly has arrived early for Mr VP as one of his all time heroes ex- Lush legend Miki Berenyi agreed to share her favourite Christmas songs with us:-

MIKI : “Frosty the Snowman” featuring Angela McCluskey
from “The Rumor Mill’s Christmas On Clinton St.” charity album. Heard this very recently and knew nothing whatsoever about Angela McCluskey (that’s how out of touch I am). What a lovely voice! Also an excellent cause (http://www.savefrosty.org) and a lovely video on YouTube (below)

“Sleigh Ride” by The Ronettes
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by The Crystals

“Both from the Phil Spector Christmas album – I’d pick every track but these 2 are my favourites. Genuinely the most HAPPY renditions of any Christmas songs EVER, this is a staple of our family Christmas and will induce dancing, singing and genreral whoops of delight from me, Moose and the kids.”

The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl “Fairytale of New York”

You’re a bum,You’re a punk, You’re an old slut on junk, lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed You scumbag, you maggot, You cheap lousy faggot, Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God its our last ! “Lyrics that just beg to be yelled out as you stagger home from the Christmas booze-up”

“Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses
“Reminds me of being a teenager – I think I was about 15 when it was out! I remember seeing the Waitresses on some music programme miming or whatever. I thought Patty Donahue looked so amazing – this giant leggy geeky thing in a mini skirt. Brilliant! Love the sweet love-story soap-opera story line, too.”

“Frosty The Snowman” Angela McClusky

Fairytale Of New York” The Pogues And Kirtsy McColl

James from The Hussy’s Top Xmas themed Songs are

1/ Come on Let’s Boogie to the Elf Dance- Sufjan Stevens
2/ Snow plus Xmas- Pearlfishers
3/Santa Claus is Coming to Town- The Crystals
4/ I Was Born on Xmas Day- St Etienne
5/ The Wizzard One

“Come on Let’s Boogie To The Elf Dance”- Sufjan Stevens

For Yuki from Asobi Seksu it sounds like Christmas is a chance to rest
“I’m looking forward to wearing sweat pants and eating lots of food that is “bad” for you. Mostly this holiday, I’m looking forward to being in one place for an extended period of time. And in 2008- can’t wait to make a new album!”

Asobi Seksu have just released a fabulous reverb soaked festive cover of The Ramones “Merry Christmas ( I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight )”backed by the fantastic “New Year” get it here from One Little Indian Records

Rowena from Santa Dog describes her perfect Xmas thus ;

“It’s all about the food! Full on turkey, all the trimmings, flaming pudding, too much booze and sharing with those you love (aaahhh). Every other year we’re in Aberdeen and then it often snows – perfect. 2008 plans? To keep having fun and to get to Japan!”

And if you’ve ever wondered what Charlotte Hatherley gets up to at Christmas….apart from causing a near nationwide stampede at job centres in the rush to fill out those Santa Claus job application forms…..


Charlotte :” Every year I try to go to Sydney for Xmas where most of my family live (lucky bastards). I have Xmas on the beach drinking beer in the sweltering heat thinking how great it is to get out of London.”

Toby from The Duke Spirit will be full of Xmas Spirit and indeed possibly spirits !

“My parents live on the Isle Of Wight, so I like going to visit them for Xmas day. It feels like a cool adventure getting the train and boat down there. I’m a big Xmas fan. I love the excuse to cook huge meals, more food than you can eat, and drink for 3 days without feeling like an alcoholic. I like the suppressed childish excitement you can see in peoples eyes too. It’s a good time of year. 2008 The Duke Spirit start spreading their wings once again.–My hope for 2008 ?- to reap the rewards of 2007. It’s been a hard year but things can only get better.”

“Just Like Christmas” By Low

For Screaming Ballerina’s vocalist Laura Trouble its all about animal welfare, champagne and big eared farm boys !

“What I like about Xmas is lots of presents please. Christmas is good because i get to go home and see my beloved dogs (April and Ulie) (RIP Rosie and Scampy and Sooty) and cats (George and Oscar )and its the only time of year where my lunatic family get to be all together in a big ball off tinsel and fuzz and love. Watching Dad’s Army (“WHAT IS YOUR NAME , BOY? ….’Dont tell him Pike! ‘”….) and Black Adder “YOU SHOT MY SPECKLED JIM! “) is good . Throwing wrapping paper at the TV while my gran sleeps through the queens speech is bad. Going to the farm near my dads house to drink with all the inbred big eared locals and having to leave when some member of my family insults someone unintentionally- is bad but hilarious so its good. Getting over excited at 9 am and drinking so much champagne that i peak to soon and need a cat nap at 1pm – is bad. Eating a bloody nice xmas dinner – is good. Eating too much bloody nice xmas dinner – is bad and extremely uncomfortable. Listening to lots of music and wearing your slippers all day – is very good indeed. Fairy lights are the best invention in the world, so thats good, because they are EVERYWHERE . The apocaliptic blood bath that is 10 million turkeys getting slaughtered in the most in-humane way possible in an extremely short space of time – is very very bad.And makes me sad inside. But over all I do love Christmas, its a time for loving and giving and skipping and swaying and glowing and eating and shitting and singing and that my friends is a good thing.”
My fave xmas songs are

1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Sinatra

2. Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade

3 . “I Hope You All Die You Blood Hungry Carnivorous Christian Bastards”
– Laura Trouble (that’s a joke)

Merry Christmas Everybody -By Slade

And Beth Gibson from The Hot Puppies tells us about her stockings!

“What do I like best about Christmas?. Going home to my Mum and Dad’s and spending time with family and friends mainly. That’s the big bit! Then, singing Christmas carols, Christmas stockings full of bits you’ll find throughout the year that take you right back to Christmas, Christmas morning with “The Philadelphia Story” and Christmas evening eating too much chocolate! and the songs;
“Fairy Tale Of New York” The Pogues
“Oh Holy Night ”
And anything christmassy by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin!”

Christopher Seink Of Seinking Ships

“What Christmas means to me….
-24 hour marathons of “A Christmas Story”
-Avoiding the malls at all cost (shopping online)
-Spending time with loved ones
-Mastering the art of regifting”

Favorite Christmas tunes….
Skating (A Charlie Brown Christmas)
Let It Snow
Feliz Navidad
Nutcracker- Op. 71: No. 2 March

“The Christmas Song” By The Raveonettes

Mr Von Pip, who having a birthday on Xmas Eve is rather fond of the festive season…” There are toooooo many great Xmas songs to mention , but here’s my top 10

1. Fairytale Of New York- the Pogues and Kirsty McColl
2. Merry Xmas From The Family – Jill Souble
3. It’s Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas – Halfman Half Biscuit
4. Just Like Xmas – Low
5. Christmas Lullaby -Shane Mac Gowan
6. The Christmas Song – The Raveonettes
7. Donner And Blitzen – Badly Drawn Boy
8. Frosty The Snowman -The Cocteau Twins
9. All Alone On Christmas-Darlene Love
10. Same Old Christmas-Hilary Duff (!!)

And then theres the carols “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” “Silent Night” “O Little Town Of Bethlehem.”

And to this years festive releases:- as well as The Rumour Mills Christmas Charity Album mentioned by Miki which you can get HERE on I-tunes and Asobi Seksu’s single, there’s also Lucky Souls “Lips Are Unhappy” backed by an exclusive festive cover of “Lonely This Christmas” (all profits go to the War Child charity). Buy it here its only £0.40p !”

For films,well Christmas Eve wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without “It’s A Wonderful Life” it is possibly my favourite film ever. Not only is it thoughtful, emotive, magical and Christmassy…it’s possibly the most subversive film ever made. George Bailey is on the brink of suicide on Christmas Eve, and gets a chance to see what the world would be like if he’d never been born.”Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”“You’ve been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you.” It appeals to me on every level, its humanity , its politics, it’s message, it really is so uplifting, people can make a difference, the little guy does matter! The good will out! The performance of Jimmy Stewart is incredible and it makes me cry-everytime! A perfect film! (sniffle)

All Alone On Christmas” By Darlene Love

Merry Christmas From The Family” By Jill Souble

Dogwood , who surely will one day be delivering the Christmas message to the nation, has this to say about the festive season :

“Hello Dogwood here, Settle down….

I don’t think Christmas has been Christmas since Andy Williams was forcibly removed from the schedules by the likes of Grade the Younger. Thank you Michael Grade, for reducing Christmas Day to an unceasing conveyor belt of Eastender ‘your gonna get yours’ storylines featuring nervous breakdowns, petty revenge, petty larceny, grand larceny, gay vengeance, straight vengeance, children coming out of the woodwork to unwitting parents, parents coming out of the closet to unwitting children – processed misery for the masses. Orwell would be proud. I’d like to sit down with my snowball and unshelled nuts and watch the afore-mentioned Williams or Como gad about in a sleigh against a filmed background of Aspen or some such place with a load of dolly birds in scanty Santa suits and white teeth. I can’t do that now because some idiot down at health and safety has decided that unshelled Brazil nuts represent too much of a litigation risk with the flying shell shrapnel that occurs when one applies their nutcracker.Back in Preston when I was a lad, Christmas would begin when Ma Dogwood would skin the tripe and allow us to mix the rendering pot whilst singing Industrial Revolution carols. My Dad, fresh from his Chartist meeting, would mix up a gin punch and serve them in a custard jug as we didn’t have any glassware. I would swig mine from a jam jar. Santa Claus would bring a variety of treats including a Satsuma, a root vegetable, a tin of pilchards, half a pound of cough candies, a box of matches and some woodbines. One year I got a scale size Anthony Eden whittled from driftwood. I still have him and he sits on top of my 4’ tinsel tree that I’ve had since 1968. Ipodman? I wouldn’t have known where to start lad.

As for my favourite Christmas songs, well:
Perry Como and Angie Dickinson – The twelve foods of Christmas. It starts off with ‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a de-licious chocolate éclair and climaxes with ’12 Artic rolls, 11 Jaffa Cakes, 10 Swiss Rolls, 9 Wagon Wheels, 8 Mince Pies, 7 Iceland Bannofee Kebabs, 6 Lidl Lincoln biccies, 5 Crepe Suzettes, 4 Crunchie Bars,3 Selection Boxes, 2 Tins of Roses and a de-licious chocolate eclair’

The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forget – Vera Lynn. This always reduces me to tears as I WAS that boy in 1952.

Perry Como – ‘A Christmas Dream’ from The Odessa File. I admire Jon Voight immensely.

Have a seasonal fest.”

“A Christmas Dream” By Perry Como

Monster Bobby’s Xmas Faves

1 “Poetry For The Winter” By Komon (free download here)
2 As Above
3 As Above
4. Little Saint Nick By The Beach Boys ( or is it Hanson?)
5 Mary’s Boy Child (?) Boney M

BOBBY: ” I think my two favourite artists at the moment are Boney M and Komon (god knows what that says about the direction for the next Pips album..!) ” (Pipettes in Boney M- direction shocker!!? 3 female singers and a dude called Bobby ???!!!;)-VP)

“Mary’s Boy Child” By Boney M

For Marcella Puppini its “all-a about-a da family, capiche?”

For me, Christmas is all about going back to Italy and spending time with my extended family. We are really lucky as we all get on really well, and even my parents, who’ve been divorced for 20 years, get together during the holidays for family dinners. Our Christmas lunch is an absurdly lavish affair: the silver cutlery and embroidered table cloth come out, and we have about 6 or 7 courses, of which the main one is a whole rosted leg of pork. Every year we hope for snow, but these days it doesn’t snow until the new year. When I was a kid we sometimes would get snowed in for a couple of days and read by the fireplace. I loved that. The Christmas song that we listen to every year is an italian one called “Un Natale da buttare via” – a Christmas to forget. It’s a really tragic song about being dumped on Christmas day and it has always appealed to my melodramatic side. And there’s another song that my father requests every year, which me and my sister have been singing since we were about 7. It’s another Italian one, and my dad makes us sing it from the garden as it’s about the baby Jesus being cold on Christmas day. Us Italians do love a bit of drama!!! That one always makes us giggle.It’s a wonderful life is also a staple, which we usually watch on Boxing day.

Nick Levine From Tack! Tack!Tack! tells us what he’ll be up to:-

“This Christmas I’ll be listening to the soundtrack of The Ghosts Of Oxford Street. I’ve had a cassette copy for years and finally managed to track down a CD of it earlier in the year. The Ghosts Of Oxford Street was a made for TV film/musical presented and written by Malcolm Mclaren about the history of Oxford Street. It features music by a whole array of peeps like Tom Jones, Kirsty MacColl, and true to form a pretty bad stab at a Stock, Aitken and Waterman techno style track by McLaren himself. To my knowledge it only aired once, in 1991. And its a great shame that it isn’t shown each and every Xmas as it would make a pleasant change from The Snowman.

The Ghosts Of Oxford Street (Sinead O Connor-Silent Night)

 

The final word however, with regard to the meaning of Christmas, I`ll leave to Eric Matthews who has been producing astonishing and innovative music for many years on the Sub Pop label and has worked with Tahiti 80, The Dandy Warhols, Ivy, Man of the Year, Elliott Smith, Paula Kelley, Pugwash, Volovan, and Bug 2000. 2007 has seen Eric as industrious as ever, which included working with Miki Berenyi and Christopher Sienk on the Seinking Ships album, due for relase next year .

“To me Christmas is a two fold thing. It is both a bizarre time where we I get all jazzed about spending stupid money on those closest to me and getting cool presents. But it is also an intensification of the general message of my religion. I think of Christ 300 days a year anyway but in this time it becomes more intense somehow. I surround myself in His glory and it really helps get me through.

3 songs: Christmastime Is Here, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and (from the hymnal) It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.

Movies: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Ben Hur, Groundhog’s Day, and Jesus Of Nazareth.”

Quote Of The Year

Monster Bobby after a recent Pipettes gig in NYC discussing Mr Von Pips dancing!

(Courtesy Of Dave Cromwell)

“Christmas Lullabye” By Shane MacGowan

Happy Xmas , we’ll leave you with a special Christmas verse, from Neal Zetter

“When The Music Ran Out”

I had a horrid nightmare about
On Christmas eve the music ran out
The radio had no sound
There was silence all around
The magic that made the melody
Was just a distant memory
A buried treasure underground
Lost and never to be found
When the music ran out

iPods were idle
CDs ceased – all blank
The notes were all stolen
From the musical bank
Concert halls stood empty
Discos deserted and dead
No more songs left to write
Or to stick in people’s heads
So they read
Books instead
When the music ran out

A, B, C, D, E, F, G
Were consigned to history
F-sharp, A-minor, B-flat too
All unemployed with nothing to do
Standing in a long dole queue
On that day
When there were no tunes left to play
They packed the instruments away
Coloured rainbows turned to grey
Rappers were wrecked
DJs in disarray
Buskers broken in dismay
Andy Von Pip said “I’m anything but ok”
When the music ran out

Whistlers couldn’t whistle
Dancers couldn’t dance
Hummingbirds that tried to hum
Didn’t have a chance…
But on Christmas morning I woke up from my dream
I could feel my heart beat
I began to tap my feet
I switched on my MP3
The best possible presents were waiting there for me
My ears enthralled in ecstasy
Screaming Ballerinas, Wedding Present, Clash and the Pipettes
Hot Puppies, Operator Please, Pulp, the Raveonettes
Long Blondes, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Charlotte Hatherley
Ladytron, Duke Spirit, Smiths and Morrissey,
Left me without a doubt
That there will NEVER be a day
(I’m sooooooo relieved to say)
When the music runs out

HAPPY CHRISTMAS-“It’s A Wonderful Life”

Festive Greetings !

“Everthing’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas” By Eels

 

“Going Nuts Across The Land” The Duke Spirit Interview

“Lassoo”By The Duke Spirit

The Duke Spirit have been compared to many great bands , Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, The Pixies, The Velvet Underground etc and such juxtaposition’s are clearly well founded, as the Duke Spirit are truly an incredible band, a veritable force of nature who know their musical history and how know how to rock and rock hard! Initially a three piece rather uninspiringly named “Solomon,”they evolved into to a quintet, consisting of Liela Moss, Luke Ford, Toby Butler, Dan Higgins and Olly Betts. They then gave careful consideration to the wisdom of Solomon being a suitable moniker for a self respecting rock band and after some cogitation became the primal, thundering, crashing, fragile, beauteous, cool as f**k entity that we now know and love as The Duke Spirit . At the outset their incendiary brand of rock n’ roll led to a huge word of mouth buzz due in no small part to their amazing performances, for those who had witnessed the power of The Duke live, where quite simply blown away …. Following the release of their debut album “Cuts Across The Land” in the US , they took on a grueling tour schedule, which may have sent lesser mortals completely barkingly howling at the moon, underpants on head stir crazy bonkers and which included a show stopping turn at the 2006 Coachella festival. This year the band have toured on a slightly saner scale and have been recording their second album “Neptune” with Queens Of the Stone Age and Melissa Auf Der Maur producer Chris Goss. The Duke Spirit are quite simply one of the coolest bands on the planet and 2008 will be their year, of that, there cannot be any doubt…

Toby Butler had a chat about music life and going crazy on the road

VP: Although you’ve been performing beforehand is it safe to say that The Duke Spirit came into being in 2003 ? Where did the name come from ? And what was your initial thoughts on what the band should be about?

TB : Yes, Luke, Liela and myself have been writing and playing together since about 1999. We put The Duke Spirit together in 2003 when the band we had before split and a moment of clarity presented itself to us. I guess when something you’re putting all your energy into comes to an end, you naturally re-evaluate your situation. We decided that we actually wanted to write and play rock and roll in it’s most pure and exciting state. We just listened to loads of our record collection and soaked it all up. The name was an accident really. The label were pressing up our first 7″ and we hadn’t decided on a name yet. We were at Simon Raymonde’s office (who was producing our first e.p. with us) and we found it in one of his books. It sounded like a gang or an attitude.

VP: After your debut was released in the US in 2006 you appeared to spend much of the year “on the road” there. Many bands talk about touring the U.S being a test of endurance. due to the sheer scale of the place . Was there ever a time it got a little crazy or you thought you were “losing it”

TB: The album can out in the UK in may 2005, but didn’t get released in the US until march 2006, so our touring schedule was really drawn out. The US is a vast place to tour, mainly because of the distance between each city. So somedays, we’d play a show, leave straight after playing so that we could get 4 or 5 hours driving in. Then sleep for 5 or 6 hours and get up and drive another 9 or 10 hours just to get to the next city in time. That can get pretty exhausting after 4 months. Plus we all like to drink, so your mind does start to suffer after a while, yes. We were falling out with our record label too at the time, so our morale was taking a bashing. It’s a cliche, but we knew if we could survive it then it’d make us stronger…… and we collectively feel pretty tough at the moment!

VP: You have been recording your new album”Neptune” with QOTSA Producer Chris Goss at RDLL in Joshua Tree, and have just released the excellent “Ex Voto Ep” as a taster to precede the album- as well as touring through November-. when will “Neptune” finally surface ?

TB: Neptune will surface at the start of February ’08 (only 2 months away now)! We spent 2 months out in Joshua Tree in the Joshua Tree recording with Chris Goss in Dave Catching’s studio ‘Rancho De La Luna.’ The area, as well as the studio, has an amazing feel to it. The vastness of the sky and the surroundings infuses itself into the whole recording process. Everything had to sound huge, or heavy, or delicate.

VP: What would you say have been the highlights over the past couple of years ?

TB: Recording the album in Joshua Tree was definitely an experience that will stay with us all. We played the Coachella festival in California last year, which i managed to do with a broken elbow. So that was pretty memorable! I think doing a headline show at the Astoria in London when the album came out was my favourite highlight. It seemed to creep up on us, and suddenly we were there playing to a huge crowd in our local venue where we’ve seen so many gigs ourselves. It was pretty surreal and exciting.

VP: Critics have compared you to everything from Nico and the Velvets through to My Bloody Valentine and PJ Harvey but who would you say are your major musical influences ?

TB: We obviously love all those people. It’s a little strange sometimes, because as fans it feels a bit odd being compared to ‘the greats.’ Like they’re putting too much praise on us….. or saying we’re completely unoriginal! I guess those comparisons are just meant to help people who haven’t heard of us know what genre we lay in.
I find it weird to talk about influences, as when I’m writing I tend not to listen to anything at all. Otherwise I find myself ripping songs off, consciously and subconsciously. We use more wide terms when writing and recording, like “make it sound like Ron Ashton” or “do the Shangri-Las thing.” We listen to a lot of old rock and roll, The Stooges, The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Gene Vincent, Nuggets box-sets, old soul like Candi Staton, Erma Thomas, Eddie Floyd, more recent stuff like Spiritualised, JAMC, QOTSA. There’s a new band called The Rascals I really like.

VP: What do you make of the current music scene in the UK

TB: It’s been pretty stagnant for a while now. I’m sick of hearing post-libertines bands, with the exception of a few, like The Arctic Monkeys who are clearly a great band. I’m slowly hearing some good new bands now though, so maybe things are changing. I like The Rascals, Future Of The Left, Creepy Morons.

VP: The Internet and music ? Has it helped or hindered.

TB: Both

VP: So you’ve worked with UNKLE, Chris Goss and The Jesus & Mary Chain , whose next ? Anybody else you’d love to collaborate with in the future?

TB: We’ve just got Teenage Fanclub singer Gerry Love to duet on a song, which was some thing Liela had wanted to do for a long time, they are heroes of hers. It’d be cool to do something with Bjork. I’d love to get Mark Lanegan to sing a song with us.

VP: The Spice Girls Reunion , a sign of the Apocalypse or harmless entertainment for some cash strapped old dears ?

TB : Harmless pop fun. I prefer Girls Aloud though.

VP: Five words to sum up Leila’s reaction to being asked to sing “Just Like Honey ” live with the Mary Chain….?

TB : Festival Hall? I’m in Glastonbury!

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

EX VOTO EP:

 

3 of the songs (Lassoo, Dog Roses, & MASCA) were recorded
earlier this year at Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree, California
with desert Czar Chris Goss. ‘A Wild Hope’ was produced by The Duke Spirit.

 

[Available on 10″ vinyl, CD, & Download]

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE EP
ON 10″ OR CD

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Videos

“Lassoo” By The Duke Spirit

 

“Lion Rip” By The Duke Spirit

“Cuts Across the Land” The Duke Spirit

Wallpaper

Single Of The Week – “Go Faster Stripes” By Kat Flint

“Go Faster Stripes” By Kat Flint

Okay, so we’ve all heard it before – hotly tipped young Scottish singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar is going to be the next big thing – but with Kat Flint it’s going to be a serious miscarriage of musical justice if she isn’t. The first single from forthcoming album Dirty Birds (due for release in 2008 on Albino Records), ‘Go Faster Stripes’, is, as her press release informs us, “a tale of impatience, disasters and happy accidents”, which showcases three of the most appealing aspects of Kat’s music: her voice, her lyrics and her amazing musical talent. This is not your run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter.

The single is backed with ‘Joseph’, a song which tells the story of the Nativity through the eyes of (you guessed it) Joseph, presumably because of the festive release date of the single. Unfortunately, this single is never going to be Christmas number one, but it’s certainly not because it doesn’t deserve it. So make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, sit in front of an open fire with your feet up and download Kat’s single. You won’t regret it.

‘Go Faster Stripes’ is released by Albino Records as a download on Monday 17th December, 2007.
Elz Russell

Kat Flint My Space

“Music For Pleasure” – Client Inteview

“6 In The Morning” By Client

Sexier than Goldfrapp, darker than Depeche Mode, more fun than The Human League? Yes, if you like throbbing electro pop perfection then you certainly need look no further than the splendour that is “Client” Members of group are known only as Client A and Client B and are often joined by occasional members who conveniently share similar names such as Client D,E,F,G etc .(is there hope for “J” from Five?) However the mainstays of the band are in reality Kate Holmes, formerly of Frazier Chorus and Technique and Dubstar vocalist Sarah Blackwood. Their take on electro glam synth pop has been a huge hit in Europe, whilst they have been quietly bubbling just under the radar in the UK for a while now. This years album “Heartland” is typically, hypnotically, brilliant, it flirts with the listener ,whilst drawing them into Client’s darkly erotic world, they promise to seduce and then state in no uncertain terms “you can look, but you can’t touch.” (bah!) and then of course there are “the uniforms!” For anyone with thing for airhostess, or maybe leather or quite possibly both, Client’s image will doubtless be a draw, indeed it would be no stretch of the imagination to suggest that they make Alison Goldfrapp seem about as sexy as Thora Hird wearing incontinence pants. But this regimented look fights in perfectly with the music and whilst their image is undoubtedly something which is visually provocative, and, without sounding like Benny Hill hiding in the bushes in a mac, rather naughtily pleasing, it is undoubtedly their music that really grabs the attention. Client are a relentless, hypnotic tour de force combing sweeping synths, guitars and glam rock beats fused with a fabulous pop sensibility. They have collaborated with a number of high profile musicians and directors, their video for “Pornography” was directed by French director Jamie Deliessche . It featured Carl Barât (formerly of The Libertines and now singer with The Dirty Pretty Things on vocals. “Down to the Underground” features Pete Doherty, also formerly of The Libertines, and when not being detained at Her Majesties pleasure, sometime front man of Babyshambles. “Overdrive” features Martin L. Gore of Depeche Mode and “Where’s the Rock and Roll Gone” features Tim Burgess of The Charlatans.
Lager fetishist Mr VP donned  his studded leather lederhosen and thigh length boots and had a chat with Sarah Client B to discover more about the band…

VP : How,where and when did you meet ? What prompted you to form Client?

Client B: We were introduced by a friend. Kate had just been offered 3 gigs supporting Depeche mode and her singer had run away!!! I stepped in.the 3 gigs turned into 15 and we formed Client and wrote the first album on the road with Depeche. At first we were just experimenting but our epiphany came at the leipzig gig where we decided to really go for Client!!

VP: If you were to verbally illustrate your music using media friendly sound bites what would they be ?

Client B: I think the song ‘Client’ sets out our manifesto…satisfaction guaranteed…innovate never imitate…we aim to please….at your service!!!!

VP: Your image is very impressive and rather striking, the uniforms? Was that something decided on at the outset ?

Client B : Absolutely yes! We wore them on the Depeche tour as we wanted to look like working girls not ‘popstars’…we didn’t want anyone to throw anything at us! It was also following the tradition set by electronic pioneers such as Kraftwerk and Throbbing Gristle.
We loved the Orwellian theme of letters not names became clients A and B and the image and music are now 50/50.it wouldn’t be Client without the uniforms!!

VP: Your latest album the marvelous “Heartland” was released this year, described as perfect electro new wave disco pop ! Who would you say your major musical influences are?

Client B : Our influences are: Kraftwerk,Throbbing Gristle,D.A.F. Joy Division, Caberet Voltaire, New Order and Bowie.

VP: You’re now on your own label in The Uk , has this made major difference to you as a band , is it harder or does it give you more freedom ?

Client B: Defiantly more freedom! It’s great to be completely in control!

VP: Will you look back on 2007 with affection? , what have been your highlights ?

Client B: Absolutely! It has been our busiest year for touring so far.I think the highlights were playing the festivals in the summer.we played to big really appreciative crowds and it was such a buzz!!!! Especially when we turned round wiggled our bums as the lights go out
and they all screamed. It made me feel very emotional!!!!

VP : Ok, so the band members are Client A And Client B , is there a Client C or D in place yet ?

Client B: Oh yes! It’s always going to be 3 girls on stage now and Robert Gorl sometimes too! He is client R !We also have another Client R and Client M and Client C too!! Client C is Charlotte Hatherley who played with Ash! (and former VPME interviewee)

VP: What’s your view on the music scene in the UK at the moment ? Any bands that grab your attention ?

Client B: We don’t spend enough time in the U.K. to hang around the various scenes but there seems to be a lot of post punk influenced bands around as well as the nu rave thing which is the progression from electroclash…all style no substance…and I wore day glo the first time round and it looked terrible then…..

VP: What’s the weirdest fan request/Message you’ve ever had ?

Client B : It’s unprintable!!!!

VP: Use five words to sum up Client’s time together

Client B: Exciting…frustrating…airports….adventures…..wonderful…..I love it!!!!

(Additional thanks to Dave Cromwell)

Links

On Myspace

Client Website:
client-online.net

German Client Website:
client-online.de
Loser Friendly Records

CLIENT Shop their latest CDs, T-Shirts, posters etc

BUY CLIENT RECORDS

Client - Client
Client - City

The CLIENT VIDEO PODCAST on iTunes

Join the free Client Podcast on iTunes
Subscribe to it to get the latest episode direct on iTunes!

Video

“Pornography” by Client

“It’s Not Over” By Client

Wallpapers


The VPME Review………. November 2007

We are grumpy for no good reason!!!!! Yes it’s the VPME’s “Time of the month” …. …when we look back over the last four week period and cast a critical eye over the new musical releases.

This months guest panel comprises

Marit Bergman : One Of Sweden’s biggest stars, award winning Marit has now moved to New York ,(yes just like that Wombats song) but is she pop or is she the Swedish Indie queen ? I don’t know but she’s blooming good…Why not have a listen here and decide for yourselves

Dogwood : After last months reviews the public have decreed that this old chaps no nonsense approach and common sense is just what the doctor ordered . Despite problems with the Council and trouble at the local allotment Dogwood has found time to tell it like it is ! His world view on more general matters can be found here

Mr Raisin Cakes : Former member of never popular 80’s nut jobs “White Rabbit” their songs included “Do the Robot” with the legendary line “won’t you automate with me?”. Don’t let that put you off, they were rather good! Mr Cakes now provides spiritual guidance to the young chaps who play for little known London football team Crystal Palace, they certainly need a miracle. Oddly Mr Cakes is also known as Chris Roe (absurd Internet name I’m sure you`ll agree)

Mr Von Pip : Founding father of the VPME “is that a tache or is your eye brow thirsty ?” He pretends his tache is “ironic” but secretly thinks he looks rather rakish.

David Heulun ( pronounced David Heulun) .. Illustrator, painter, and all-round arty bohemian, Dave list his hobbies as , illustrating , painting and being arty in a truly authentic bohemian sense. When he’s not supping real ales or knocking back cocktails, he can be found perusing the book shops and ukulele emporiums of Shoreditch and Spitalfields. Dave’s love of music is second only to his splendid and discerning taste, making him an ideal source of expertise on what’s hot and, indeed, what’s not.

Beth Gibson ; Beth is one Hot Puppy ! No I’m not being sexist or coming over all unreconstructed man like Rodney Marsh, she really is a Hot Puppy being a member of the truly wonderful ” Hot Puppies”. If you haven’t heard their fantabulous music remedy the situation right now by going here . They have a new album out soon called “Blue Hands” -Hurrah! Beth is also the nicest, kindest reviewer in the world, possibly ever.

Bateman: Member of the power pop punks The Young Playthings. A little known fact : The nickname ” Bateman” derives from the character in American Psycho and reflects the fact that he’s quite, quite mad. Disagree with him at your peril, unless you fancy having your brain removed with an egg spoon, while he smiles…oh yes he loves it !

This Months Songs

Paramore Crush Crush Crush

Dogwood : Oh cripes Americans! Either that or it’s the bunch down at the local church hall singing in their septic (septic tank = yank) accents again. It sounds like them. Bloody cats chorus. Is this what they call emo? I don’t do emo, I find that dark thoughts and self-mutilation are not conducive to commanding respect at the local civic offices when I need to battle those faceless bureaucrats about a new padlock for the allotment front gate. I gave this a chance, I really did, but halfway through I picked up my Su Pollard biography (chapter: “Stringfellow’s And Champagne”) and it was a full 28 minutes before I realised it had finished playing. I find this sort of coco is like butternut squash – all talked up by ‘knowing’ experts but when experienced in the flesh as it were, is actually a profound disappointment. Verdict = Miss with knobs on.

Beth: I said I wouldn’t make comparisons when I did this but to me this sounds quite like Avril Lavigne. I think the kids with the pent-up anger could like this. er…moving on…

Mr Cakes : A fine ditty by these youngsters. Like the members of Garbage all had kids who grew up and formed a band. Fulsome, melodious, and satisfying, like a pork sausage deliciously cooked in onions and gravy, topped off with eggs benedict’s. Yes, it’s quite good.

VP ; More like “hush. Hush! HUSH !!” Never seen the appeal of this lot, her voice is alright, but I’ve never liked their songs, they don’t really seem to go anywhere at all, they remind me of the English football team, talented, good looking, well paid, yet they never deliver. Bland Americana I’m afraid , Avril for Emos. I get a bit miffed when the NME compare her voice to Debbie Harry , more like Pat Benatar listening to Evanescence’s Greatest Hits (short album that.) There’s only one voice out there that reminds me of Debbie. But I digress… Anyway not my bag. Thumbs down

Marit : I’m not sure I care much for the song, but I like the sound, it’s very teenagy, and I like voices like hers, it seems very effortless. I bet the next single is gonna be great and I’m looking forward to going to a stadium show and singing along to it together with 10,000 depressed young souls.

Dave: For some reason I thought this lot might be Australian, they’re not, but this is still pretty ‘spunky’. Her voice really reminds me of Veruca Salt which is a good thing, but the music is a bit cold and polished to really rock. I can imagine them making a great cameo appearance in a teen horror film or funky hair dye advert singing this tune.

Bateman :RAWK! I’m a huge fan of American music – American music made me fall in love with the US and provided the soundtrack to some of favourite memories, from being 9 years old and coveting a Public Enemy tape I got at the American PX near where I lived in Germany to being in a skate punk band when I was a teenager to listening to country rock driving around So Cal with Kimberly Renee. “Fuelled By Ramen” recently signed one of my favourite ever hardcore bands, Lifetime, who reformed last year after splitting up in 1997, the same year I got a Lifetime tattoo. But this just sucks. It’s that kind of RAWK that gets quite popular in the US; heavy enough not to be ‘college rock’ but bland enough to be, like, on the soundtrack to some primetime American college emo TV show and thus win the band a few corporate RAWK sponsorships from brands like Zildjian and Vans. This kind of thing makes me think of ‘My Life Is Good’ by Randy Newman. Listen to the bit where the narrator simpers about meeting Bruce Springsteen and being offered the chance to be ‘the Boss for awhile’ before yelling ‘blow me, man!’ to the sound of an obnoxious saxophone blast – that summarises this cock-sucking poser shit.

On My Own – Vincent Vincent and The Villains

Dave : Is this skiffle music? Whatever it is I like it. This song has a real ragged charm delivered by what sounds like a bunch of highly accomplished buskers. Love the lyric about not cutting oneself on other peoples broken dreams. I’ve noticed these fellows are a hard-working bunch too, seemingly playing some London dive every day of the week. The video for this track is brilliant too featuring some of the finest hula-hooping action I ever did see.

VP : So good they named him twice, this is jolly good toe tapping little tune, yes I can sense the brylcreem, the sweaty dancehalls. and the bobby sox. Almost makes me want to strap on a pair of beetle crushers and cruise down the strip- but that sounds a bit Rock Hudson, so I’ll give it a miss. Mind you, to hear doo-wop or 50’s crooning updated and made a new look no further than the genius of “Winter Garden” By Special Needs or of course the excellent Richard Hawley …..Still, a Thumbs up for Mr Vincent and His chums!

Beth: I made a mistake here and listened to Love and Pain instead, which I really like. It’s quite 50s sounding and the bare guitar and backing vocals are great, very Ink Spots. A good soundtrack to some self-indulgent melancholia.

Bateman : This is okay. It’s one of those songs where you’re not sure if they’re being serious in a jokey way or ironic in a serious way; like, are they affirming libertarian beliefs in the importance of the individual over the lumpen masses or are they mocking the self-importance of avowed individuals? If it’s the former then great, fine, but it’s not very convincing; if it’s the latter, well, as the aforementioned Lifetime once sang, irony is for suckers. But maybe, just maybe, they’re ‘avin’ a bit of a larf, and just wanted an excuse to go ‘oh-wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh-own – rock and raowll!’ and do a kind of hur-hur-aww-shucks slapstick rockabilly thing. And that’s cool – we live in a democracy and so long as I don’t have to have this imported into my dreams courtesy of the soundtrack to some vapid new advert then, be my guest, carry on jokers.

Dogwood : Now Vincent, that’s a solid rock’n’roll name and this sounds not unlike Gene Vincent pepped up with Viagra and given a contemporary spray job. With a name like that I would expect more petty villainy, e.g. smashing up the odd bus stop, but I’m not getting that impression. I think they could scowl quite nicely, as well as wearing that grease monkey gloop that spells ‘attitude’ but why do I think that all this retro malarkey has a bit of a stage school feel about it. It could be that they are waiting to audition the remake of ‘That’ll Be The Day’ but does the world need another David Essex? Of course it bloody does, it’s got to be better than the mental enema that is Paramore. Dogwood likes = Hit.

Marit: Afropop and rockabilly? Hmm. Kind of works. Liking the backing vocals in the choruses.

Mr Cakes : This rather tame and uninspiring ditty by hormonal ragamuffins VV & The Vs reminds me of 70s rock n roll throwback “groups” like Darts and Showaddywaddy. Although I’m sure they are nice lads loved by their mothers, this track is sadly unsatisfying – not unlike wondering how Daleks differentiate between genders.

Small Town Girl – Good Shoes

Marit : I’m pretty sure that if I lived in Morden and was 15 years younger I would be soooooo in love with every single member of this band. You understand just from listening to the music that they’re gonna be really cute. (And according to the pictures they are). I like the way they play together, a bit scattered but meticulous at the same time.

Dave: Finding a good pair of shoes, or indeed slippers or moccasins can be bloody hard work. Finding a young British four-piece playing stripped down DIY rocky pop is by comparison, a piece of piss. These whipper-snappers are doing it better than most of the current crop it has to be said, and this little tune gets better with repeated listens. I’m sure I’d dance to it after a couple of Malibu and cokes in a some exclusive swanky nightspot like Popstarz. It’s a perky little number with one of those weedy but pretty guitar solos that those Libertines boys made so popular. Seven Odour-Eater inner soles out of ten.

Mr Cakes : Quite literally, quite reasonable and pleasant, a fairly enjoyable little ditty that ain’t gonna change or shake the world, unlike my anti-gravitational mouthwash system that is currently awaiting patent pending

Dogwood :
This is the equivalent of trying to do a weeks washing up with a thimble-full of Lidl’s economy washing up cordial that’s been diluted on a 1:10 ratio. It sounds washed out, uninspired, like my old pillow case that I’ve had since I was at Poly. If you held this up to the light you’d see right through it viewing the local council estate hoodlums gathering, it’s that thin. Said hoodlums would be smashing up the local bus stop with a professional vigour that VV and the V’s could mimic stylistically but without the same destructive efficiency. Sorry I’m drifting off the point but that’s what this song does to you. You put it on and immediately you’re thinking that the windows need doing. Verdict = An instantly forgettable miss.

VP:
This isn’t bad really, he’s trying to come across a bit Pete Doherty but without the love of needles and I think he’s been listening to Bryan Ferry’s vocal delivery on Virginia Plain whilst somebody was whistling New Orders “Love Vigilantes” …They are pretending to be a bit shambolic , but they play rather tightly in reality. Thumbs up as its is indeed growing on me with every play

Bateman : Yep, yep, this is good. In fact, it’s more than good, it’s pretty fucking great. A bit Clash, a bit Libertines, a bit Rancid, a bit happy/sad/bittersweet/nostalgic/teenage etc. Nifty fretwork too (watch the video fellow guitar geeks). I’d buy this except, oh, wait, I just downloaded it from Limewire. Free music is wicked.

Beth : This is quite good, happy and live sounding. I like the handclaps. They sound a bit like the Jam but not as heavy (sorry, another comparison – it’s hard not to!)

Remi Nicole -Rock N Roll

Bateman : Holy shit! I heard this song on the radio the other day, when we were on tour, and thought it was great – finally I know who it’s by! This is my pick of the bunch – just slightly von pipping Good Shoes’ Small Town Girl. Okay, fair enough, she sounds like the black Kate Nash (is that un-PC? Whatever, Kate Nash can be the white Remi Nicole if it bothers you that much), but it’s such a great tune. Her backing band in the video look like posh white boys modelling a Marks & Sparks rockabilly line (yes, unfathomable and lame) but Vinnie Vinnie could well do to take some pop notes from Remi because it’s winningly happy-go-lucky yet completely sincere and, as a result, totally loveable.

Beth: This is unfamiliar territory for me, I think its urban (?) First off I love the myspace picture – definite points for cute little girls looking hard! The beat’s cool too and the message is spot on – rock n roll IS good, bravo! It’s not my thing really but I’m sure others would be into it. I wish her good luck.

Mr Cakes :
I saw this young lady at the Boogaloo pub a while back, where Joe Lean & the Jing Jang Jong were supporting. Clearly in the same mould as Lily Allen and Kate Nash, Remi Nicole is more folk chav, and this is a good tune that gets catchier with each listening. A thumbs up with a healthy 7 out of 10.

Dogwood : When I was a lad rock’n’roll was all Edwardian drape coats, crepe soled shoes and Tommy Steele rocking with the cavemen. Unless you were really hard, in which case you were into Marty Wilde. The thing is, rock’n’roll is no longer rock’n’roll it’s become all Bruce Springsteen and credit card sponsorship. What I want from my rock’n’roll is the urge to have a ‘rumble’ or wield a flick comb in a threatening fashion. I think this lass has to be admired for her back to basics policy on music. She keeps it simple and quite tuneful, without getting all John Major about it which would be highly inappropriate as a marketing ploy. The world would be a better place if beat combos concentrated on playing 2 minute 58 seconds of twelve bar blues and limited their imaginations to getting girls, arguing with the boss and driving fast in cars. Going beyond those parameters beggars the question: is that just plain self indulgence? Getting back to Ms Nicole = Hit.

Marit: Have you ever heard a Swedish singer called Asha Ali? She is of African heritage and plays some kind of folky Indie. A lot of reviews of her album still said it was R n B though. (people…sigh). So I’m guessing Asha would love this song for the subject it brings up. And I kind of love it to, I’m looking forward to seeing a show with Remi. Remi is absolutely my favourite amongst all these bands and artist. Thank you for introducing me to her.

VP: This is very nice, a lot of fun, and fun’s not to be sniffed at, mind you I don’t think her management have decided if they want her to be Lilly, Kate or Avril yet though, come on chaps let her be Remi … I thought I’d have a listen to her album about her friendship with Jiminy Cricket after enjoying this and again it’s all very pleasant and bright and breezy, but after a few plays it seems a little contrived and empty . The lyrical content certainly won’t be worrying any budding Ani DiFranco’s out there- I don’t suppose I’m really the target audience, I mean an album that includes misty eyed reminiscences about Sean Maguire , Grottbags, Top Shop , Grange Hill and Byker Grove will probably mean more to young ladies under 20, then me though it might provide Peter Kaye with fresh “do you remember ?” type stand up material he seems to rely on these days ,( I can’t actually remember the last time he changed his material myself…1989? ) But back to this track, it’s a very good pop song, it wont change the world but you`ll love it for a week or so. On the down side looks like she’s an Arsenal supporter, oh well …..Thumbs up!

Dave: Rock n’ roll tends be my musical preference too, but sadly instead of delivering a big slice of dizzying, high octane, swaggering anthemic rock n’ roll action Ms Nicole gives us modern, lively, polished Kinksy girlie pop. Oh well, it’s got a certain charm to it and it’s better than Britney Spears’ cod reggae version of ‘I Love Rock n’ Roll’. She gets extra points for doing a cover of the Only Fools and Horses theme on her myspace page and citing ‘Pugwall’s Summer’ as one her main influences!

Sister Rose – Ian Brown

Mr Cakes : The legend that swaggers like an orang utang at a Happy Mondays reunion gig whilst singing flat has the joyous disposition of coming up with jolly fine tunes. Though not in the same league as “F.E.A.R”, this is nonetheless a reasonably satisfying melody, rather like discovering new trousers in “Top Man” that fit very nicely, thus showing off the perfect roundness of your torso.

Beth : I could only hear a 20-second bit of this – in Japanese! so it was slightly surreal. I don’t think the English version will be as interesting though, the music didn’t really sound like anything – a bit like an advert. Sorry!

Bateman : I used to understand the cult around Ian Brown; back when he was in The Stone Roses he was the coolest – and yes, I mean the coolest, cooler than Ozzy, Morrissey, Liam, Damon, Freddie Mercury, Debbie Harry, Chuck D, Ian MacKaye, Bruce Springsteen, Axl Rose, Gwen Stefani – front(wo)man EVER. To some extent, I understand the cult around him now; his insane ideas for a utopian world are hilarious – cars fuelled by chicken-shit and restraining orders for Bono and Bob Geldof – brilliant! But this just sucks. I wish Ian Brown was frozen in Elephant Stone and just kept releasing poor imitations of the Stone Roses’ best songs instead of, ya know, trying to grow as an ‘experimental’ artist.

Marit : No

VP: I’ve not slept too well since Mr Brown sang about “Dolphins being Monkeys”( more believable than John Squire being a painter I must say) but nice to see the simian king and trolley dolly’s fave comes up with another reasonable tune. His shell suit wearing ways don’t really appeal to my aesthetics but he’s still doing it after all these years. His last album may well have been his strongest solo album yet , but his work will always be compared to the Stone Roses , and that standard will not be attained again I wager , I just hope they don’t reform. Incidentally this track features Paul Cook and Steve Jones from the Pistols , they reformed, and quite frankly smashed my dreams , Finding out Johnny Rotten votes Tory is tantamount to discovering Billy Bragg is a huge Jim Davidson fan…But Back to Mr Brown Good song I just wish he’d acquaint his hair with a great new invention. it’s called shampoo. Thumbs up !

Dogwood : Is this the monkey feller? You know what this made me do when I heard it? By god, you won’t believe this. I got dead excited and I dug out my old lilac shell suit that an old lady friend bought me in 1991, plus my pair of deck shoes and I went strutting – yes, strutting – down to the Megadrome Wine Bar in Esher. I didn’t go the full David ‘Diddy’ Hamilton and wear a baseball cap but by Charlie George it was close. These reactions come every ten years and when they do the Dogwood Paradigm changes somewhat. I was that inspired that I recorded a rap tune (you can hear it on my myspace page). I don’t do rap as a rule, I find it a monotonous jibber-jabber that should know better but sometimes you have to eat the curry that you’d swore you never would. Mr Brown, Dogwood salutes = Hit.

Love’s Not A Competition (But I’m Winning) – Kaiser Chiefs

Beth: I liked the feel of the song, some of the sounds (ethereal sort of plinky glockenspiel) and the melodies are nice. But I thought it went on a bit (I didn’t make it to the end, oops!). And you can’t win if its not a competition (‘Love’s not a competition, but I’m winning.’) I know its pedantic but it annoyed me!

Bateman : This is the English equivalent of Paramore. I love English/British Indie music – all the same bands as you lot probably, except Bloc Party, who I just can’t really get into. But this can fuck off.

Mr Cakes : Quite literally the Chiefs best single to date. A beautiful, subtle melody that tips the hat to early Blur and looks back in wistful nostalgia at the Moody Blues in their heyday. An understated arrangement that builds up to a soothing climax, this is a maturity far beyond “I Predict A Riot” that leaves one nicely satisfied, quite literally like a full English breakfast on a cold winter’s day

Dogwood : My sentiments exactly. I was expecting a right clattering of saucepans and bing bang bosh – isn’t that what this lot usually do? However, this one caught me offside with the ball at my feet at least ten yards ahead of the nearest defender. The one troubling thought is that this lot are from across the Pennines and I don’t do ‘across the Pennines’ as a rule. Still, let it be known that Prestonians are generous in spirit if not pocket and I cannot find anything sarcastic to say about this. Begrudgingly I nod my head in approval. Let it not be said that Dogwood can’t be a man when he has to be = Hit.

Dave : ‘Everything is Average Nowadays’ sang the Kaisers not so long ago. And they cleverly manage to continue the average theme with this single. It’s more carefully studied indie pop for students from Sheffield’s own ‘The Kaisers’ (not to be confused with the proper really good Scottish rock n roll band The Kaisers) This one’s unlikely to set the student union bar alight though as it’s a mid-paced attempt a sinister love song. I’d give it four student loan repayments out of ten.

VP: Not the worst on their latest atrocious “Indie sing-a-longs for two year olds” album, but it’s still Indie by numbers crud. I find that fat, terminally ill looking, moon faced chap incredibly annoying and his lyrics trite and clumsy, with his daft terrace sing-a-longs, but here he attempts to go all intellectual and deep, unsurprisingly he sounds about as deep as Peter Andre and he should be taken as seriously as this statement “Christopher Biggins is a national treasure. “ In a nutshell caring about the Kaiser Chiefs is like being passionate about cling film. Nope , thumbs down

Marit: The verse is absolutely brilliant, but it kind of promises more than what you eventually get, see what I mean? I also don’t think that the line “love is not a competition but I’m winning” holds enough levels or smartness or beauty to be repeated as many times as it is. Like, two or three would be enough.

Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)- The Spice Girls -Video and “song”

Dave : Jesus H Macy! Could they cram in any more shots of Geri Halliwell’s super- toned abdominal muscles? Is this to distract us from the fact that everyone’s favourite two original members of the Spice Girls are sadly absent from this desperate cash-in reunion- ie. Geri’s knockers. The video basically looks like an M&S advert with the old Spices done up like their sisters in faux feminism the ‘Sex and the City’ girls. The song is pure syrup and drenched in auto-tune. Yuk- what did we ever like about them in the first place? Oh yeah- the knockers.

VP :”HILARIOUS !” I loathed this bunch of loud vapid Fuckwits in their “heyday”… Their cynical use of spurious feminist sound bites to mask basic greed, their obvious lack of musical talent, guile or indeed charm, and the fact that their empty headed brashness and inane shouty ramblings were held up as some sort of post feminist template for young ladies to aspire to, quite frankly appalled me. They can’t even be bothered trying anymore can they? The video almost says “Look we can’t be arsed, we are indeed shite, that’s an unassailable fact, we don’t want praise or credibility, but we do want to be even richer) “Bonkers” Spice looks the most natural in the video, but then her mental capacity has ensured she has absolutely no sense of self awareness or shame, “Surgical” Spice looks about as sexy as Joan Rivers undergoing colonic irrigation. Meanwhile “Paternity” Spice attempts to contrive to appear “bothered” but I’m afraid I can only think of her as the prosthetic “Bo Selecta” caricature every time I see her nowadays( “crab paste” anyone?), Ahhhh poor daft little “Chubby “Spice -she looks about as comfortable as Dawn French at a local diet groups weigh in, whilst “Butch” Spice may well be credited with having the best voice out of this sorry bunch, but by heck, she still does a fabulous impression of a strangled parrot, she can no more hold a note than Tony Blair can tell the truth and why pray, is she wearing a “Billy the Cat” outfit? … What? that’s not a helmet? that’s her actual hair?? blimey! and what the Rose Dougall is this video all about? are they having the world’s most boring Ann Summers party? Do friends often strip off and roll around on tables during a girl’s night in..all very odd. As we know they were never ever about “girl power,” marketing men where behind the whole concept, as “cod feminism” became a saleable commodity. I do wonder if any of this sorry lot have ever had a single, original thought in their entire lives? Mind you when they are left to their own devices without the scripted empty sound bites they say things like ….(Gerri) “women should be softer these days so as not to intimidate men” (D’OH! ) Just donate to charity, because buying this would make as much sense as appointing mathematical genius Janice Dickinson head of The International Monetary Fund…Spice Girls get a resounding Thumbs down, down ,down !

Marit : There’s nothing wrong with a song being calculated, but if it shows, and it’s the first thing you think of when you hear it, then you have failed as a songwriter. I also want to say that if the Spice Girls phenomenon says anything about being a woman today, 2007, it makes me sad, cause it means the only place your allowed to have fun these days is in the gym. Which sucks. As much as this song does.

Bateman : My friend’s dad calls his mum’s fake tits ‘top bollocks’. Why any man would want to associate some of his wife’s most feminine assets with male genitalia is utterly beyond me, but ‘top bollocks’ does, actually, summarise Posh Spice’s chest in this video quite accurately. I mean, they may as well be nuts they look so unnatural. And look, I’m not against fake tits; some girls are bigger than others and I like all sizes – real and, like, totally unREAL dude! But when you also realise that Geri Halliwell looks and moves like Weiland from Velvet Revolver (if he had longer hair), and when you compare this with the thrilling innocence of ‘Wannabe’ (back before ASBOs and chavvy female thugs became a fixture of Middle England the multi-cultural (black ‘n’ loud, ginga twat, baby-fat, prissy gold-digger, pikey muff-diver girls-just-wanna-have-fun fake girl-gang thing was truly refreshing), it really highlights what a grotesque charade this is. None of them share the same scene. They clearly all don’t even recognise each other anymore. Girls Aloud are fitter and, apparently, are all really close mates. Sugababes are genuinely more multi-cultural and have better songs. Pop Idol and X Factor are at least horribly entertaining. This is bland and boring and unconvincing and, yeh, I like money too, but if you’re gonna blatantly cash-in you should at least do it well.

Dogwood : I didn’t do these five talent-less harridans first time round so I am hardly going to smile benignly this time, even if they are in their dotage and so in desperate need of cash that they have to emulate those other camp icons Take Gary Barlow. So let’s talk about the video. It’s conceited, flesh revealing, lying in provocative poses empty titillation that might do for Gordon and Ahmed down at the local Kebab shop but just gets right up my crack. With Halliwell it’s a case of ‘Ooh ooh let me get the angle right so that my six pack stands out’ and Beckham just looks faintly ludicrous pouting in some sub Blackadder torture contraption. As for the song – one word: rhubarb. It’s yet another shameless lucre gathering exercise by those who collectively already have more wealth than a fair proportion of Manchester. I don’t usually condone revolution but this lot are good candidates for first against the wall. Verdict = Miss (but will probably be a hit thanks to the duped masses).

Beth: I tried to watch this to the end. Honest I did but I just had to walk away – for many reasons. First of all they’re so obviously not all there in the same room, which is ok as far as a music video goes but it’s not very ‘Girl Power’ is it? Secondly it looks like a nightmarish version of the Weakest Link where they have to out-sexy one another to win at the end. And I think there’s a song playing but couldn’t tell you anything about it – I don’t think it really matters. Hm, sorry again, I can’t think if anything redeeming to say!

Mr Cakes : The Spice Girls re-form, charge ludicrous and exorbitant prices for a worldwide tour during which they lip-synch instead of singing live, and we all fall for it like the suckers we are. They then record a single for charity (reasonable tune) and pose and pout throughout the video in ballroom dresses or bras. Take That have pulled getting back together off – the Spice Girls are quite amusing in the Tesco ad, but the song and video are safe, boring, predictable and irrelevant. Rather like going out to a Moroccan restaurant and settling for a full English breakfast instead.

Well, looks like Remi Nicole (von)pips it ! Well done young lady . If anyone thinks my vote counting somewhat amiss, worry not, for we have , all they way from the U.S.A. an extra special guest , he has scrupulously studied the verdict and double checked the stats. A big thank you to Jeb Bush for validating the result !