Music News 27/02/09

This Week ; The Indelicates, Keane, Gloria Cycles, Royal Treatment Plan, Little Boots , Ono Palindromes, Grammatics, Lizzyspit and The NME Awards

Song Of The Week

“Undercurrent” By Royal Treatment Plant

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KEANE

Keane have set-off on the South American leg of their world tour but have still had time to commission a remix by Innerpartysystem of their album’s title track ‘Perfect Symmetry’. You can listen to it  below or “right click save as” to download it here

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GLORIA CYCLES

www.myspace.com/gloriacycles

‘Chancer’ is the third single from Gloria Cycles, a four piece from Brighton who look set to make their mark in 2009’s most. If you like your indie accompanied by intricate guitars and heavy bass, then this could be the band for you.

They spent most of last year on the road playing up and down the country wowing audiences with their snappy basslines, catchy melodies and never-ending hooks. They were asked to go on tour with Cage The Elephant and Fight Like Apes, as well as playing to 25,000 eager German music fans at Taubertal Festival. They also played unmissable sets at Great Escape, Liverpool Soundcity and Offset.

‘Vegas’ and ‘No Zero’s’ (released on limited coloured vinyl) grabbed the attention of those odd folk at Radio 1 and their debut single whizzed straight into the top 30 of their indie chart on word of mouth alone. The band have a true DIY ethic, they make their own dazzling artwork, promote their very own club night in Brighton and also direct their own videos.

Their debut album mixed by John Cornfield (Oasis, Stone Roses and Supergrass) is due for release later this year. Keep your ears out for a full UK tour around the release of the single.

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THE INDELICATES

The Indelicates are playing the opening night of Club Cog at The Lexington on Saturday the 7th March. Ticket links are here: and here:

They have also written a Recession Song, featuring Mikey Art Brut, Keith Totp, and Nicky Biscuit, as well as the usual Indelicate lot. The song is accompanied by a video specifically designed to make you buy the T-SHIRTS. I think you’ll agree, it does a very effective job of explaining quite how super cool you’ll be if you wear one, especially if you team it up with a brown cardigan handed down to you from your sisters first trip to a charity shop in the 80’s. It’s recession chic, it’s hot, it’s glamourous, it’s dirty, it’s…Indelicates Recession wear!!!

Download the song on here:

Watch the ahem… HILARIOUS! video

And buy the T-SHIRTS here:
Simon Indelicate has been writing and recording a concept album about Waco called “David Koresh Superstar”. It’s really quite something, you can listen to some of the songs here:

And you can buy Merchandise for David Koresh Superstar, as well as T-shirts based on the signs used in “Julia, We Don’t Live In The 60’s” here:

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LITTLE BOOTS ON TOUR

“Meddle” By Little Boots

27th February – Mad Hatters, Inverness – Tickets

28th February – Moshulu, Aberdeen – Tickets

1st March  – The Sub Club, Glasgow – Tickets

7th March – JD Set Gig, Manchester *SOLD OUT*

12th March – 53 Degrees, Preston – Tickets

13th March – The Cornerhouse, Middlesborough – Tickets

14th March – The Faversham, Leeds *SOLD OUT*

2nd April – Bucks Uni, High Wycombe – Tickets

3rd April – Carling Academy, Bristol – Tickets

4th April – We Are Rockstars, Unit, Southampton – Tickets

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Lizzyspit

Talented singer songwriter Lizzyspit has a free download of her latest double A-side single available “Little Dan/Stars In The Water “here. And you can read an interview with her here

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THE NME AWARDS

Blur’s Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon played a surprise reunion gig at this year’s NME Awards. It was their first performance together since 2000,  thankfully they only played one track. Those yearning to hear more will have to wait for the band’s full reunion concert at London’s Hyde Park in July. Personally I really CAN wait. Blur’s other members, the posh farmer fella who smells of cheese and the one who sounds like a pack of fruit gums were also at the ceremony, although they didn’t do anything to merit anything more than this ill formed sentence.

Brit-pop’s resurrection continued with Oasis winning the best British band gong. The decision was not without some controversy, amusingly large parts of the crowd started to boo when the winner was announced. Hapless host Mark Watson appeared confused, saying: “I don’t know why you’re booing, you lot voted for them, c’mon people, if  not for the Gallagher’s sake then please show some respect for the venerable Alan McGee”. Unfortunately for Watson this was like fuel to the fire , and he was soon engulfed in a tidal wave of rage, he was last seen being carried in the direction of a huge rudimentary Wicker Man that had been hastily erected on Hampstead Heath. The Gallagher’s were not in attendance, due to technical problems with their “mono-brow”. James Allan from Glasvegas, was apparently still sulking yesterday after hearing a word his ears have not been accustomed to of late.Namely a “no” from The NME, when he asked that a huge ice sculpture be provided at the awards show.

Sadly the ceremony was also horribly marred by a series of cheesy pop duets that seem to be in-vogue at present, but which invariably have the audience mumbling “god, make it stop”. Franz Ferdinand teamed up with La Roux to cover Blondie’s Call Me, and Florence and the Machine joined Glasvegas to tackle the Elvis Presley hit Suspicious Minds. Not wanting to be outdone, Friendly Fires brought out a troupe of Brazilian dancing girls and glitter cannon. Nice to see bands still being as subversive as ever isn’t it ? The spirit of Phil Collins is alive and well and in safe hands.

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ONO PALINDROMES

“Eat Your Make Up”

We like this lot, they are a bit on the cuckoo side of the clock. Yes, Exeter 5 piece Ono Palindromes unleash their latest offering of perfectly crafted art pop, the Kitty Magic EP looks  set to enhance their rapidly increasingly critical and commercial reputation.

“Eat Your Make Up” is a song influenced by an early John Waters movie where young girls are taken in from the streets, and forced to live on a diet of make-up from their matron/pimp. Including a verse which centres on the concept of Alice in Wonderland being a crazed alcoholic it clearly indicates their effortless ability to combine well known popular culture with an artistic twist – surely the very definition of art-pop or what we called in my day “mad as a clown with TWO balloons “

Myspace

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GRAMMATICS SINGLE OUT MARCH 16th

SHADOW COMMITTEE / TIME CAPSULES AND THE GREATER TRUTH

From its staccato opening, of linear cello and guitar, to its achingly beautiful coda, Shadow Committee is the epitome of Grammatics’ heroic art rock.  It’s a-side companion Time Capsules And The Greater Truth a second movement of glacial acoustic wordsmithery, or something,  released 16h March.

Grammatics are about to head out on tour with Red Light Company, here are full dates:

10 March – Glasgow – Nice’N’Sleazy

11 March – Newcastle – The Cluny

13 March – Sheffield – Leadmill

16 March – Nottingham – Bodega

17 March – Birmingham – 02 Academy 3

18 March – Manchester – Roadhouse

20 March – Southampton – Joiners

21 March – Cheltenham – Frog and Fiddle

22 March – Bristol – Thekla

23 March – Cardiff – Barfly

24 March – London – Borderline

25 March – Norwich – Arts Centre

Official site

Myspace

What the critics are saying:

“An epic slice of paranoia-pop mixing bass and twinkly keys to mesmeric effect… ” – NME

“Grammatics bowl you over with washes of high-IQ indie. Great stuff.” – THE SUNDAY TIMES

“The summit of a glittering sonic scape.” – ARTROCKER

“Proper Bo, I tell thee.” – VPME

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Laura Trouble’s Word Of Fashion Part 1

Laura  Jean Marsh (aka Laura Trouble,) glam and stylish singer with Screaming Ballerinas casts a critical eye over how the pop gliterrati shape up in the fashion stakes, as we present Part 1 of  …

Laura’s first three fashion victims are

Laura on Johnny

“Oh Johnny Johnny Johnny, I’m sure you’re a very nice boy, but there’s something about your horse-having-an-orgasm-face and your freshly waxed, puffed out, pigeon chest that make me want to head butt you. Both these poses are really not saving this contrived, camp, infuriating outfit. Im sure this was the work of some coked up stylist who thinks a plunging, white, v-neck t-shirt and skin tight white jeans are androgynous and rock n roll. But he just looks like a public school brat who’s ‘doing a spot of modelling’ in his gap year.”

Laura on Pete

“Pete looks really cool here! I  wouldn’t want to suck his toes or anything but this is probably one of his best looks. Probably from the Kate days, he couldn’t have managed this on his own. Nothing better than a man in a suit. And he’s about 8 ft tall so he cuts a fine figure in this Saville row-esque creation. Pity he is probably just on his way to court.”

Laura on Bjork

Greatful Grapefruit! I love this dress so so so much. Bjork can do no wrong. I bet she just skipped down to a lake and sang to her swan friends, romancing one into a trance thus convincing it to wrap itself around her gorgeous little body. I would die for this dress! its just so ridiculous and fabulous! I would probably draw the line at laying an egg though. Probably.”

The real Laura!

Screaming Ballerinas on myspace

The DollyRockers Club

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Fasten Your Seatbelts-Isaac’s Aircraft Interview

“Nothing to Relate” By Isaac’s Aircraft

We’ve had Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, the B’52’s, and the Blue Aeroplanes to name but a few. Well now you can add Isaac’s Aircraft to your list of bands that have aviation themed monikers. The name may conjure many images, but for me, in my minds eye, all I can picture is John Locke and Jack Shephard from “Lost”, having one of their regular tête-à-têtes on the rights and wrongs of leaving that infuriating island…

Locke:What if everything that happened here happened for a reason Jack?- I don’t think the island’s gonna let you leave Jack.”
Jack : “Goddamn it Locke, I’m getting on board Isaac’s Aircraft and I’m getting off this island. You’re insane! ”
Locke: [looking annoyingly enigmatic] “I don’t think the island’s finished with you yet Jack, I don’t think it’s gonna let you get on board Isaac’s Aircraft
Jack: “You don’t think so?”
Locke:No Jack, no, I don’t”
Jack: “You’re Insane-I’m leaving”
Locke:I really don’t think so Jack, the island won’t let you go Jack”
Jack: [doing his “earnest yet slightly constipated face”] “You Think so?”
Locke:Yes, Jack, yes I do Jack, yes….I do……Jack..”
Jack: “You’re insane Locke”
Locke:[cocking his head to one side, like a small bird] “Am I Jack? Am I really?… Am I ?…. “

To realistically replicate the conversation Jack and Locke invariably have at least once during every episode of “Lost”, simply copy and paste the last five lines approximately 200 times.  While you do that I’ll get back to the music….

Since forming at the back of a former factory workers house in Cambridge, Isaac’s Aircraft have received high praise and become  firm favourites on the Cambridge music scene.  Their latest EP “Friends & Foes”, has been featured on BBC6 Music, and quite clearly showcases the progression the band have made since their debut, “Holding Up The Line” in 2007. People may lazily compare their thundering but melodious piano sound to, say, the likes of  Keane, and there maybe some merit in that comparison, but I’m sensing a harder edge here. This of course may be entirely due to the fact that, unlike Keane, the don’t have a lead singer whose features resemble one of  Rafael’s cherubs after inadvertently swallowing a hot air balloon.  Isaac’s Aircraft’s lyrics suggest a band that despite introspection, are socially aware and their songs cover contemporary themes such as alienation, isolation and Hervé Villechaize’s metaphysical quest for meaning.

Stylistically they move effortlessly between the James Dean Bradfield-esque chorus of “Nothing To Relate”, which  sounds like The Manic Street Preachers discovering Billy Joel, to the more rock infused “Big Mammoth”.  Whilst the band’s songs definitely have quite an immediate and radio friendly feel, their pounding rhythms and lyrical dexterity should ensure they appeal to Indie-Rock and non Indie-Rock fans alike. We had a brief chat with them to find out whether they had their feet firmly on the ground, or their heads in the clouds….

VP: How did the band get together and what the devil is the name all about?

Zak: All of us met at sixth form and after discovering that our taste in music was similar enough and there was a good average skill level, we thought why not. Originally we were called The Aircraft, but after our bassist Isaac disappeared just south of Peru, we hung up the role of bassist and dedicated the band’s name to him (we hope that he  is still out there, somewhere).

VP: How would you describe your music ?

Zak: Indie-Rock-Pop, with heavy piano influences

VP: ….. And who are your all time musical heroes?

Calum: Freddie Mercury
James: Tom Jones
Zak: David Bowie
Martin: Erik Satie

VP:  Your single “Friends Or Foes” is out soon. What’s it all about then ?

Zak: The song is about going away and coming back, to find that everything is not quite how you remembered it to be.

VP:  What sort of things inspire you to write songs?

Zak: Usually my family, but I also like to write about experiences and situations.

VP:  Do you think the Brit awards were fairly representative of the UK music scene in 2008?

Zak: It is a true enough representation of the mainstream culture, but in no way broad enough to encompass all the music that you can find in the UK.

VP:  Are there any releases in 2009 that you’re particularly looking forward to ?

Zak: New Arctic Monkeys

VP:  What sort of state is the music business in at the moment? Major labels seem to be running around like headless chickens trying to claw back control, but others say its a golden age for music with more freedom for artists, legends making comebacks etc ?

Zak: It’s hard to gage, no-one seems to know what’s going on, but with the quantity of new music coming about, it will inevitably continue to change.

VP:  What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?

Martin: Muse in Berlin 2002
Zak: Foo Fighters @ V festival 2003
Calum: Bloc Party @ O2 (NME Awards)2007
James: Reading 2007

VP:  Five things you hope to achieve in 2009?

Zak:

1. Have fun .
2. Have more fun.
3. Have slightly more fun .
4. Be predictable and have more fun .
5. Topped off with a healthy dose of fun.

Isaac’s Aircraft release their new EP, Friends & Foes, on April 6th via Crash Records.

Links

On Myspace

Facebook

Wallpaper

Video

“Feeling Like I’m 41” By Isaac’s Aircraft

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Music News w/e 20/02/2009

This Weeks News

Howling Bells Album pre-orders,(click pic), The Maccabees New Video & Free Mp3 (with Matthew Horne), Issac’s Aircraft, Alessi’s Ark  Free Mp3, Modern Clichés new single, Emmy The Great On TV !

Howling Bells Pre-orders, new remix


“Radio Wars” is released 2/03/2008 “Cities Burning Down” 7″ and Digital Single 23/02/2008 and in the meantime here’s a fabulous remix for your delectation.
“Cities Burning Down(Disco Bloodbath Effect Mix)”

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The Maccabees New Video “No Kind Words” (Featuring  Matthew Horne)

No Kind Words Is Still Available as a free download here

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Isaac’s Aircraft Release New EP via Crash Records


Cambridge band Isaac’s Aircraft release their new EP, Friends & Foes, on April 6th via Crash Records.
It’ll be available physically from HMV, and all good record stores across the county, as well as digitally via iTunes, Napster, Amazon and all other major download sites.

They’ll be performing at the following venues to the support the release:
Fri 27 Feb – Neale Wade Community College, Cambridge

Fri 6 Mar – Commemoration Hall, Huntingdon

Wed 1 Apr – The Ship, CroydonThu 2 Apr – White Heart, Corby

Fri 10 Apr – Man On The Moon – Cambridge – EP Release Party Fri 1 May – Jericho Music Box – Oxford

More live dates to be confirmed soon. Check the MySpace page for more details – www.myspace.com/isaacsaircraft


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Alessi’s Ark Free Mp3

The rather amazing Alessi’s Ark  has a Free Mp3 for you  ‘Magic Weather’ available now – HERE
Alessi is also currently out on tour with Mumford & Sons. Remaining dates of your below

01 Mar 2009, Communion at Notting Hill Arts Club, London

04 Mar 2009, The ICA with Mumford & Sons, London

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Modern Clichés

“You Got To Tell Me” By Modern Clichés

Modern Clichés release ‘You Got To Tell Me / The Same Place’ on April 13th via Crash Records.

Established in 2006, having won a ‘Battle-of-the-Bands’ at Oxford’s Zodiac Club to play Reading Festival, still shy of 18, Modern Clichés have gigged heavily on the London scene and beyond, learning their craft and holding their own alongside acts such as Reverend and The Makers, Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong, and Scroobius Pip, among others.

After recording demos at Prism Studios with producer Sadegh Hakimi at the end of 2007, the band were signed to indie label Crash Records, who released the demo EP Falseness & Fairytales for digital download in September 2008. While reviews were positive, there was a general consensus that the EP, while well performed and produced, failed to capture the energy and rawness of their live sound, which began to win great acclaim, among fans and critics alike, as the band endured a hectic gigging schedule to promote the release. They played packed out venues in London, including headlining at the Dublin Castle, the Hope and Anchor, and Storm in Leicester Square, and marked their debut release with a headline slot at Oxford’s Carling Academy.

Towards the end of 2008 the band turned their attention to their next release, with new tracks, as well as the odd impromptu cover, appearing in their live sets. They played the ‘In the City’ showcase in Manchester, and at SoundsLive at the NEC, before entering the studio to record their double A-side release ‘You Got To Tell Me/The Same Place’, due in April 2009. Determined to capture their raw live energy, the songs are recorded largely live, and offer a concise illustration of their fresh blend of earthy drum and bass, stylish retro-pop, and the clanging guitars of ‘60s/’70s Garage-Punk.

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EMMY THE GREAT ON TV NEXT WEEK !

(Interview Here, Gig Review here)


Did the Brits piss you off ? Well let’s face it, if they were a true testament to talent then our fave singer, Emmy The Great, would have Brits and Grammys  by the bucket load !  But at least those of us “oop north” can see her on telly soon as she gives a fabulous performance on “Channel M” , or “Channel Em“, as we will call it in her honour. Witness the wonderful moment when she is interviewed, and asked the question ” So Emmy, where is  the best place for people to buy your CD ? “ To which she responds, …“erm…not Wooloworths ?” – Genius ! Gotta love her ! Check out the TV schedule here and previous performances here

Song of the week

“Dylan” By Emmy The Great

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And finally in local news, postman turns ankle shocker “I blame the council” says Reg Smythe…oh wait sorry wrong story …

Revolution’s 1st Birthday-O2 Academy Liverpool

Wednesday 25th February (over 18s only)

10pm – 3am / £3 B4 11pm / £4 after

O2 Academy 2 Liverpool

11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool , L3 5UF

www.o2academyliverpool.co.uk

It’s been one year since Revolution was unleashed in Liverpool and after 12 months of mid-week mayhem it’s time to celebrate the city’s best alternative night.

On Wednesday 25th February, Revolution presents an alternative birthday bash  Fancy dress is essential for any good knees up and with the theme being Zombie School Disco you can create some twisted costume creations. Think Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video crossed with Britney Spears and you’re in the right ballpark. There will be ticket giveaways for the best outfit and the first 100 people through the door get a limited edition Revolution gift.

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Love Like Blood-VV Brown Interview

“Leave” By VV Brown

“This Charming Man” By VV Bown

“Crying Blood” By VV Brown

If the critics are right then Northampton born, London based artist, VV Brown, could soon replace James Allan (Glasvegas) or Morrissey as having the most recognisable quiff in pop. She was named in the BBC’s Sound of 2009 list, alongside acts such as Little Boots, La Roux and Lady GaGa, as one to watch in 2009 and has featured in practically all  the other “Tips  for 09” lists. It is to her credit that through self belief and determination she  turned her fortunes around, as her musical career got off to a less than auspicious start. After being signed to Polydor she was dispatched to the USA to work with top producers, alas the resulting unions didn’t  exactly prove to be  matches made in heaven.  On the whole VV  felt she was being asked to produce music that wasn’t representative of her, indeed Morrissey’s words “It says nothing to me about my life” seemed to fittingly sum up VV’s musical experience there.

And so she returned to England, skint and demoralised, to reassess her future, having to deal with the additional “emotional hell” of a failed relationship. Once back in London, all Brown could afford was an acoustic guitar, which she struggled to master, having been brought up on primarily on the piano. Removing all the strings bar one proved to be her “Eureka” moment in terms of discovering the type of music she wanted to produce and she proceeded to write the bulk of her album” Traveling Like The Light” using this rather unconventional method. “It forces you to concentrate on the melody, so you naturally go to swing and rock’n’roll.” One thing VV was determined to establish was to have complete artistic control over her work and not be turned into a scantily clad, booty shaking big label puppet.  “Some artists say they’ve produced a record and it’s just  bullshit, but this is my baby. I’ve played bass, drums and the synth parts, even the trumpet. Anything else, I’ve told musicians what to play. I want people to know I’m not just this young girl who’s been signed and given a load of songs or been sat in a studio. This is my blood and my tears.”

Her first release was a limited non-chart eligible single called “Crying Blood” which incidentally will also be the title song for upcoming movie “The Lesbian Vampire Killers” from the Gavin and Stacey team of James Corden and Matthew Horne.  Brown who describes her style as “Indie doo-wop” says she’s influenced by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, The B52, Pulp, Elvis Presley, Imogen Heap, and erm… Nintendo. In October 2008 she was invited by Damon Albarn to attend the Africa Express trip, during which she performed with artists such as Babyshambles, The Magic Numbers, and “Flea” from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bashy, and Kano in Lagos, Nigeria.

VV releases her eagerly awaited debut single, proper, “Leave!” on March 2nd through Island Records and explains  “Leave is about being intoxicated and confused by being in love and the conflict between listening to your heart and your mind.” We had a chat prior to her embarking on a major tour along side The Ting Tings and Ladyhawke.

VP: Your debut album “Traveling like the Light” is due for release this year, was written entirely on a one string guitar, upon returning from America after both your career and relationship took a wrong turn. Was writing the album a form of therapy?

VVB: Yes, writing “Traveling Like The Light” was definitely a cathartic process. I never knew a one string dilapidated guitar would take me this far.

VP:  You’ve previously said that when in America there was an attempt to turn you into a “booty shaking” R n B Diva. Did you feel pressurized to conform to this stereotype and was it  difficult to speak out at the time?

VVB: I was young and impressionable. I didn’t speak out. I trusted the instincts of others around me rather than my own.

VP:  Do you think these experiences shaped your desire to take control of your career and write and produce your own album?

VVB: Absolutely. I never wanted to compromise so much again. It’s you who has to represent that sound, if its not you then you’ll forever be supporting something you don’t truly believe in. I wanted to make music that whether it was a success or a failure it was something that meant something to me. Art is like internal Buddhism, if it means truth to you then you’ve found  inner peace and success in yourself. It took me a while to realise that and not be validated by the success that is socialised around you.

VP:  You’ve described your music as “Do-Wop Indie”, reflecting your own musical tastes, which bands and artists have had the biggest influence on you?

VVB: There are so many I can’t even begin to start. The Specials, Kim Burrell, Ruth Brown, Nintendo…my parents were huge fans of old school ska and reggae so that was what I was brought up on alongside Gospel and Jazz. I took  classical piano lessons so I became fond of that which led me to my love for film music and instrumentals. During my teens I started to love electric pop and music from computer games.

VP: I assume 2008 has been taken up in the main part, working on your album. Did you get much time to catch much new music and if so what stood out for you?

VVB: I got extremely interested in African music after my trip to Africa. It took a while for my ears to warm too as it is very different from what my ears are use too but after a while it  became so deep and hypnotic to me.  A beautiful complex simplicity. A freedom.

VP:  What have been your own personal highlights of 2008?

VVB: Obama.
Falling in love with someone I hardly know just from a wonderful kiss.
Performing on Jools Holland

VP:  On to your image, how long does it take to sculpt your mightily impressive quiff?

VVB: 2 min and a few secs. Being on tour makes you do some crazy things, quickly.

VP: What have been the biggest shows you’ve played so far?

VVB: Forum, Astoria, Scala. Forum is my fave so far. It’s beautiful when you look up. Something about old English architecture

VP:  As a music fan yourself which medium would you say  you use the most to discover new music, the radio , the net, MTV type TV channels  or traditional music magazines ?

VVB: The internet. It’s how I find out about everything. I’m always googling, finding out about interesting things, music to animal habitats, online documentaries and even to watching old  cartoons like Bevis and Buthead and Mighty Mouse.

VP:  If you were granted five wishes for 2009, what would they be?

VVB:
1. Happiness
2. Consistency/credibility in my career
3. Octa-Herdra (musical instrument)
4. No war
5. Better conditions and opportunities for children who live in social care.

Links

On myspace

Official Site

Wallpaper

Videos

“Leave” By VV Brown

“Crying Blood” By VV Brown

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Magazine + Ipso Facto Live – The Forum, London 13.02.2009

LOOK WHAT FEAR’S DONE TO MY BODY: MAGAZINE + IPSO FACTO. THE FORUM. LONDON 13.02.09

“Shot By Both Sides“By Magazine

Nobody was probably more surprised by the mad clamour for tickets for this reunion than the band themselves. What initially started out as a 2 date comeback, one in London, one in Manchester, had to be expanded to a 6 date “tour” of sorts to satisfy the demand. When Magazine first faded away after the ghastly damp squib of their final LP Magic Murder & The Weather, they were regarded as a significant but still highly cultish act, known mainly to a hardcore of devotees. Over recent years their reputation, like that of other angular “post punk” bands like Wire, has grown massively due to the increasing dropping of the name, and their obvious influence on bands like Franz Ferdinand and Radiohead, and so tonight’s audience in a packed Forum is not just, well, middle aged old buggers from first time round like myself, but has a healthy smattering of what we like to call “the young people”. Pesky and annoying as the over-enthusiastic teenager can be, it’s better that they’re here for bands like Magazine than fodder like White Lies et al.

By way of a curtain raiser (quite literally, as a large black cloth conceals the rear half of the stage!) we get a very short set from Ipso Facto whose front line sport almost identical Louise Brooks shiny jet black bob haircuts and matching black dresses. They seem to be going for the aloof, contemptuous “you feeble man, I could crush you with one good blow from my spiky heels” attitude, but the “hello, we’re Ipso Facto” and the polite requests that we buy their single from the merch stall kind of puts the kibosh on that one! They seem like very nice girls who are very slightly over-awed at playing to a somewhat larger audience than they’re used to. Their music is actually pretty good in a leftfield girlie indie pop kinda style, the highlights being “Eyes And Ears” and a rather sweet cover of “You Don’t Own Me” which I am somewhat taken aback to learn is lifted from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack!

“Harmonise” By Ipso Facto

After much faffing about of roadies from behind the aforementioned black curtain, the recorded version of Magazine’s instrumental The Thin Air booms out over the PA and is followed by a bizarre spoken word intro from an unseen Howard Devoto. Often criticized as a cold, detached, intellectual egghead, (Pete Shelley’s priceless description of him: “Howard? Oh Howard’s as mad as a brush”) he is in fact possessed of a wry if bizarre sense of fun, and after some spiel about how Dave Formula instigated this comeback, he reveals he is doing it personally “because there’s this woman I want to impress”. Cue laughter in the crowd. The laughing stops pretty much straight off as the curtain falls away revealing a massive backdrop of the hideous leering faces from the Real Life sleeve, and the band launch straight into The Light Pours Out Of Me. Time seems to have been quite kind to the older members of the band, particularly Barry Adamson for whom, clad in Cuban heels, black jeans, waistcoat and fob, top hat and shades, the words “cool” and “dude” appear to have been invented. Devoto, looking a good deal healthier (and several pounds heavier!) than the gaunt angular stick insect of yore, strolls on wearing a get up that only serves to confirm his status as one of the Great British rock n roll eccentrics: Chinese style cut-off pants and soft cotton slippers, a white shirt and a truly ghastly pale salmon pink jacket. But once he starts singing, quite frankly we don’t care if he’s wearing one of Ipso Facto’s black cocktail frocks because it is one hell of a special moment. It’s perfect, and the ovation that greets the song’s end is one of the most prolonged I’ve ever heard for an opening number.

The set that unfolds draws mainly on their two most highly regarded albums, 1978’s Real Life, and their most critically regarded The Correct Use Of Soap, pretty much two thirds of each of them getting an airing. Not counting The Thin Air as tonight’s recorded intro music, their majestic 2nd LP Secondhand Daylight sadly only gets raided for two numbers, but at least they choose wisely, a menacing and brooding Permafrost, and a terrific jagged Rhythm Of Cruelty, which is touchingly dedicated to their late great guitarist John McGeoch, whose stand-in tonight, Noko, does an excellent job of recreating McGeoch’s unique spiraling sound. His scarlet velvet suit and matching pointy boots however are perhaps not so inspired.

There are only a couple of minor quibbles: the sound mix is occasionally a bit muddy and loses some of the layers of Dave Formula’s keyboards, they make a complete dog’s breakfast of The Great Beautician In The Sky, and for the first half of You Never Knew Me, Devoto seems to be drifting about in an entirely different key to the rest of the band. But when they hit form, such criticisms are rendered pointless when you feel the hairs on your neck stand on end. The main set ends, as we inevitably know it must, with the adrenaline surge of a truly chaotic Shot By Both Sides. Cue middle aged punkers leaping up and down in the moshpit with wild reckless abandon and scant regard for the risk of cardiac arrest… Even wilder is the pogo-a-gogo frenzy of the final encore thrash through I Love You, You Big Dummy.

And that’s it: standing ovations, beaming smiles, and group hugs all round. Like all such reunions, there’s always a risk that your heroes are going to tarnish their good name, but to their credit Magazine only served to enhance their reputation as an innovative and unique force of the British New Wave. And you can’t really ask for much more than that can you?

Words and Photos :
Richard the Goth

Links

Magazine on myspace

Ipso Facto on myspace

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Emmy The Great Live, Liverpool Academy 2- 12/02/08

“We Almost Had A Baby” (Acoustic) (right click to download)By Emmy The Great

The futures female, the futures electro, I know this because the N.M.E. said so, so it must be true. Nowt wrong with that of course, but maybe a listen to Emmy The Great’s remarkable debut long player “First Love” will convince you not to rush off and trade in your guitars for a “Tenori-on” just yet.  Emma-Lee Moss has been steadily working her way up from the indie underground, and her album has been a long time coming but thankfully it’s been well worth the wait. With lyrics sharper than Oscar Wilde’s  freshly sharpened quill drizzled in  lemon juice and the sort of musicianship that should make many on the various “ones to watch in 09″ lists hang their heads in shame , it has instant classic written all over it.

In an age where the music business is fast becoming a place of refuge for frustrated IT technicians, whose musical ability seems to consist of nothing more than being able to whistle in tune occasionally, it’s nice to encounter a band who seem so effortlessly talented, and who really care about what they do.

Ex-Lovers

Thursdays show proved without a shadow of a doubt why Emmy and her band are indeed “Great” and Liverpool “Academy Two” was the perfect setting to showcase their album. It’s an intimate venue with wonderful acoustics that tends to bring out the best in most bands.  Ex-Lovers provided the support and produced a tight, hugely enjoyable set which included a  number of  stand out tunes such as “Weightless”Just A Silhouette” and “Phone Booth”, and managed to conjure up the ghosts of classic 4AD bands past.  Their performance more than  suggested they have the potential to progress to much bigger things. (Free mp3 here)

“We Rock Harder Than Testament”

By the time Emmy took to the stage , noise merchants Testament were in full throttle next door at “Academy One“-unleashing hell,” no doubt ..  and giving many the impression that the venue next door was undergoing some major building works ! It was the sort of  cacophonous racket that set the walls a-shaking, and prompted Emmy to say “Wow they rock! Shall we listen to them?” Thankfully we were spared that dubious pleasure and instead witnessed Emmy and the band perform a flawless set that when it wasn’t shot through with brilliance, was merely magnificent. The crowd were enraptured as Emmy scattered songs amongst them like pearls from a broken necklace, whether it was the 60s-style girl group pop of “We Almost Had A Baby” or the sparse sublime contemplative beauty of “On The Museum Island” the results were  uplifting, moving, and life affirming.

“Catching Up With The VPME 😉 ”

After the show there was a real sense of camaraderie between the bands and Emmy was charming, engaging and great fun.  The band even sprang to my defence as an over enthusiastic  security guard insisted I had apparently contravened every Health and Safety regulation known to man, by not wearing a magical backstage wristband, and  insisted I left the premises forthwith. Despite the bands protestations he would not be swayed and was only mollified when said wristband was produced and strapped onto my person… (thanks guys!) Still if there’s a better way to spend a Thursday evening, I’ve yet to discover it! As I left Emmy gave me a CD telling me that this was the proper version and quite different from the “promo” version. After listening to the “CD proper” it does seem to be a more rounded, expansive sound, and  reveals subtle nuances that aren’t hidden by overproduction, it  just makes a great album even greater. If this album doesn’t make Emmy a star, then serious questions should be asked in the Houses of Parliament. The status of “genius” and “legend” are often bestowed upon people a little too liberally these days, but as I reflected upon the evening I felt maybe I’d been in the presence of both! If you get the chance to see Emmy The Great live seize it, because it’s everything music should be.

“When The Ridiculous Meets The Sublime!”

Recent audio Interview

Videos

Emmy The Great Live In Liverpool

“First Love” By Emmy The Great

Wallpaper

On Myspace

Interview With Emmy

Buy The Album

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