Music News we/3/04/2009

News – Kids Love Lies, Manic Street Preachers, Kasabian, La Roux , We Were Promised Jetpacks, Levelload, Sound Of Guns and The Trouble with James Allan

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The ‘Power-Pop’ quintet play  @ The Lexington in light of their new single ‘Count In My Head’ released 13th April on Cherryade records. Frontwoman Ellen writhes around on stage with the same gusto as Karen O whilst Leigh Harrison, Claudia Mansaray, Matty Saywell and Raf Singer play  frenetic post punk.

‘Count In My Head’ refers to the Brit post punk scene and is a short, catchy jagged pop song that sounds like the Noisettes covering Sleater Kinney with Jemima Be Your Own Pet on vocals. Ellen melodically yips about a broken relationship and being tired of the constant fight “Only said what you want me to say, only did what you want me to do”. Other songs featured on the single are the girly angst ridden “Fight Face” and an acoustic mix of ‘Perfection’ which is a tirade against social climbers and name droppers!
Check out their amazing video (made up of 3,500photostills )

Kids Love Lies – Count In My Head


Manic Street Preachers

Official Site

Album ‘Journal For Plague Lovers’

18th May 2009

Columbia Records

Manic Street Preachers return this year with their ninth studio album, ‘Journal For Plague Lovers’ released on May 18th on Columbia Records.

Produced by Steve Albini and recorded live at Rockfield Studios in Wales during the Winter of 2008, the album features lyrics left behind by former guitarist Richey Edwards across all 13 new tracks. An original piece of Jenny Saville’s art is the cover of ‘Journal for Plague Lovers’, whose painting graced the cover of 1994’s ‘The Holy Bible’.

Nicky Wire said of the decision to use Richey’s words after all this time, “The brilliance and intelligence of the lyrics dictated that we had to finally use them.  The use of language is stunning and topics include The Grande Odalisque by Ingres, Marlon Brando, Giant Haystacks, celebrity, consumerism and dysmorphia, all reiterating the genius and intellect of Richard James Edwards”.

Musically the band draw on their classic Holy Bible sound with elements of Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’, as well as a delicate, acoustic side.

Track-listing for Journal For Plague Lovers:

‘Peeled Apples’

‘Jackie Collins Existential Question Time’

‘Me & Stephen Hawking’

‘This Joke Sport Severed’

‘Journal For Plague Lovers’

‘She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach’

‘Facing Page: Top Left’

‘Marlon J.D.’

‘Doors Closing Slowly’

‘All Is Vanity’


‘Virginia State Epileptic Colony’

‘William’s Last Words’

A UK tour will be announced shortly.



On Tuesday 31st March, Kasabian will release their new track Vlad The Impaler as a free download from It’ll be available until midnight on 3rd April.

The single is taken from their forthcoming album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, out 8th June.



Spotify Session live at YOYO

The red haired one has teamed up with the digital service of the moment to release the La Roux – Spotify Session live at YOYO. In a first for the service, three tracks recorded during La Roux’s oversubscribed four-week residency at YOYO are available exclusively to Spotify premium users . The session features tracks from La Roux’s forthcoming debut album, due out in the summer, including both singles released so far, Quicksand and In For Kill, alongside live favourite Tigerlily. The session will be made available to all Spotify users from 3 April.

Free download bundle

Meanwhile, the original studio version of Quicksand is available to download free from for a limited time. The track is being paired with the demo version of Fascination as an exclusive digital bundle available only from the official site.

NME Radar Tour + US dates

La Roux has been announced as the headline act on the NME Radar tour with support from Heartbreak, Magistrates and The Chapman Family. The tour which has famously given a leg up to the likes of Crystal Castles, White Lies and Friendly Fires, will kick off in Nottingham on 29 April ending with a grand finale at London’s Koko on 19 May. Before then, they will play a handful of dates in the US . Head to for the tour dates in full.


We Were Promised Jetpacks

‘Quiet Little Voices’ – 7″/DL out May 4th

‘These Four Walls’   – CD/DL out June 15th




15 Apr – Scala, London (supporting Frightened Rabbit – SOLD OUT)

30 Apr – Hinterland Festival, Glasgow

1  May – Hinterland Festival, Glasgow

14 May – Water Margin, Brighton (FatCat Showcase – Great Escape Festival)

15 May – DrownedinSound Stage, Brighton (Great Escape Festival)

09 Jun –  Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh

10 Jun –  Doghouse, Dundee

15 Jun –  King Tuts, Glasgow

16 Jun –  Night & Day, Manchester

17 Jun –  Bodega, Nottingham

18 Jun –  The Lexington, London

19 Jun –  The Cockpit, Leeds

20 Jun –  The End, Newcastle

We Were Promised Jetpacks’ ‘Quiet Little Voices’ represents the lead-up to a debut album that is already highly touted, several months before release. The band’s youthful energy (their average age is 21) explodes thunderously as ‘Quiet Little Voices’ reaches its indescribably huge chorus. Every space is filled, the tension bristles achingly in Thompson’s vocal delivery as the rest of the band crashes around him with a perfect balance of force and harmony, but the romanticism and accessibility of a pure pop sensibility is never hidden too deep. B-side ‘Let’s Call This A Map.’ is no different: an energetic, Interpol-esque introduction gives way to the kind of intertwining, effortlessly stirring chorus that has inspired such confidence in and excitement around this band.

Assembled in Edinburgh as high school friends in 2003, “We Were Promised Jetpacks'” first ever gig saw them winning their school’s battle of the bands competition. Proceeding shows were after-school performances around the city of Edinburgh which were well attended and fuelled the band with a hunger and ambition. The 4-piece came to FatCat’s attention when listening to some of the friends on the Frightened Rabbit Myspace page. Before even releasing a single, WWPJ have laid claim to some recent successes which suggest the heralding of a major talent bursting to emerge. A well recorded three-track demo was circulated and managed to pick up a KEXP track of the day over the pond, and plays on national stations in the UK were popping up on XFM, BBC and Q radio.

A tour through September 2008 as main support for Frightened Rabbit garnered great reviews for WWPJ.  This being their first jaunt into England, healthy crowds arrived early on each evening due to the huge buzz in Scotland now filtering down south of the border.   Already WWPJ have been reviewed by NME, The Fly, WIRED, Vanity Fair and Clash, have been featured as Q’s Track of the Day and played on Zane Lowe to great acclaim.  A demo version of ‘Quiet Little Voices’ recently won Zane Lowe’s ‘Fresh Meat’ as well.

Fresh off the heels of a successful SXSW jaunt (performing alongside Glasvegas and Primal Scream) and with an album scheduled for 15 June 2009 titled These Four Walls, the forthcoming year of releases and touring is set to be a busy one for We Were Promised Jetpacks.



‘I’ve Been Thinking’

Released on 25th May 2009 (Flightpath Records)

A snarling testament to obsession, mistakes, stalking and demented cruelty, ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ is simply a song about all the things that makes love painful and addictive.  Bringing together gleeful messiness and proper pop sensibilities with the duo’s trademark combo of electronics pushed to the point of meltdown, thrashing guitars and Karen-O-in-a-bitch-fight vocals, ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ harks back to the glory days of Devo and adds a pinch of Late of the Pier.

Mariko Doi and Tony Wade collided one night under Tokyo’s neon sky, bonding over a mutual love of Blondie, Gang of Four, Link Wray, and the colour yellow.  After the first song they wrote – ‘Palookaville’ – was instantly played by the venerable John Peel they realised that maybe they were on to something. Their quickly released follow up single ‘HND in RNR’ proved them right, setting the press and industry abuzz and even getting featured on ‘Dirty Sanchez the Movie‘.  Since then they’ve toured Japan, faced down blizzards whilst touring Germany, and shared stages with the likes of Metronomy, The Hives, XX Teens and Cornelius.

No other band around today could make the music they are making, smashing Japanese and British influences to create punchy, visceral, new wave punk, all in the laudable search for “the perfect pop song”.

With “I’ve Been Thinking”, they may well have just found it…


And in Local News …….

Liverpool indie band The Sound Of Guns found themselves at the centre of a firearms scare in Wakefield on Saturday (March 28) after a misunderstanding.

The group were preparing to play the Escobar venue with Detroit Social Club, when around 30 police officers sealed off the road. They were ordered out of their van by armed officers and told to put their hands where they could be seen.

Manager Paul Finney told theWakefield Express: “The only conclusion we can draw is that there was a gang of Scousers talking about The Sound Of Guns, and it got overheard.”

A police spokesperson said: “Police were called at 6.25pm on Saturday by a man who reported seeing a man with what was believed to be a handgun in the city centre. Police attended and a full search was carried out, which included speaking to a group of men in the area who were not involved. It proved to be a false alarm – with good intent. We have now apprehended the real villains ( pictured below)  and we deny that there was any stereotyping whatsoever …..”


And Finally

The Trouble with James Allan

” I drink Bollinger instead of Buckfast,” says Glasvegas frontman James Allan

This article also contains the following gems which sees James embrace, snog and enter  “luvviedom” with gusto.  Check out these gems

“” I hate to say that but my palate has become refined”

Or  “I have found it difficult carrying the burden of those songs”

Burden ? He wants to get a grip pronto , the countries in recession and singing songs are a burden ? A BURDEN!

“Every day, I am bombarded with thoughts” Wow ! Really ? Like the rest of us arent ? Ah, but ours arent sent by the muse are they ?

And the classic up my arse statement

I feel that my focus isn’t clouded by anything. A lot of the poems I have been writing have come to me because of my clarity of that focus . I need to make sure I get them down or I forget them. Certain words are coming into my head time and again and certain moods that will sum up the next record.  As an artist, the state of mind is what makes an album and my state of mind has changed

Dear God!  I think he should read this article ………here from last weekends Guardian by the always excellent Marina Hyde. Reality Check!

Time was when entertainers knew their place. Today they run riot, adopting orphans by the pramload, extolling oddball religions and even brokering peace deals. What’s going on?”

One Bono’s enough for any civilisation surely ?

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Next Stop Dawn-Fanfarlo Interview

“I am A Pilot” By Fanfarlo

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Fanfarlo are

Amos, Cathy, Justin
Leon and Simon

Normally my heart sinks faster than Dawn French ensconced in a leaky pedalo when I hear one of pops elder statesmen tip a new upcoming band for greatness. Morrissey for example has such a woeful track record for predicting “the next big thing” that one imagines he’d have trouble tipping his own hat. Who can forget his misguided patronage of, and gushing praise for, the lamentable yet incredibly accurately named Ordinary Boys? To be fair its not just singers whose judgment is questionable, take Jonathan Ross’s new best mate,  former Creation label boss Alan  McGee and his ludicrous assertions that Oasis are the greatest band that ever drew breath, James Allan is the messiah, and his current hobbyhorse, The Grants, are apparently  the greatest scouse band to emerge from Liverpool since The Beatles.  Unfortunately such over the top hyperbole can actually hinder a bands progress and  credibility (Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong anybody?) and is normally viewed with deep suspicion by the music buying public.

So when  news reached me  that a band called Fanfarlo had gained  David Bowie’s approval I didn’t get my hopes up, I mean the mans got taste, but he also he did live in a basement in West Berlin with Iggy Pop BY CHOICE and also considered Tin Machine  a really  good idea.   However a quick listen to Fanfarlo via myspace did leave me suitably impressed, this was quickly followed by a fantastic performance on Manchester’s Channel M recently that only confirmed what a fine band they are, and I have to admit, Mr Bowies got it 100% right!

Fanfarlo’s recently released debut album “Reservoir” is an album of such quality you’d swear the band were seasoned veterans and comparisons to the likes of  the legendary Talking Heads are not, actually, that far off the mark.  The album is without doubt  a lush, soaring melodic tour de force and  has provided my ears with unadulterated aural bliss since its release, it soothes yet excites, is streaked with  melancholy, yet is uplifting, and it’s definitely in  “top albums of the year” territory.   In between supporting Snow Patrol and jetting off to SXSW we had a quick chat to the band, who must be one of the busiest around!

VP: What’s the bands back-story, how did you all come together?

FANFARLO: A sort of mass exodus from the cultural void to the locus of much that is good i.e. London.

VP:  The bands name is a reference to Charles Baudelaire’s short story “La Fanfarlo”, are you all fans? What are you all most likely to be caught reading on the tour bus?

FANFARLO: None of us are huge fans. It’s a pretty little story and the title spoke to Simon at the time. We are all big anthropologists so we tend to read philosophy, history or travel books. Our guitarist reads Heat or Nuts magazine which adds some light relief.

VP:  Your debut album has recently been released- where can people get hold of it?

FANFARLO: Internet, shows or the Music and Video Exchange.

VP: What’s it been like playing massive arenas supporting Snow Patrol, Exciting? Daunting? Has the crowd reaction been positive?

FANFARLO: The rigmarole surrounding the big shows makes the arena shows very exciting. Stepping onto a stage in front of twelve thousand people has no rival, being enveloped by the sound onstage is something you can only get at an intimate gig. Crowd reaction is favourable anywhere we go.

VP:  You’re playing at SXSW again this year? What do you make of it out there?

FANFARLO: Austin is incredible. Think of Camden Town, London transplanted to the middle of Austin, Texas with less crackheads, goths and gross food.

VP:  What inspired you to write a song about Harold T. Wilkins? Can we expect one on Erich Von Däniken in the future?

FANFARLO: We come across interesting characters in the books we read. Sometimes one of them inspires us. Wilkins was a strange one. I guess the subject matter was laying dormant and Harold was a sort of catalyst. A lot of our songs are about random interesting characters.

VP: You’ve gigged tirelessly over the last few years, what’s the most depraved tale of rock n roll excess that you feel able to share?

FANFARLO: There have been a lot of very interesting scenarios due to excess. All of them in Europe where home was a distant memory. Rape was attempted on our drummer by a dwarf in Sweden. That sounds like a lie but is so very true.

VP:  I know the year is still in its infancy, but have you heard any albums released thus far what have made you swoon with joy, and conversely any that have made you want to stuff socks in your ears?

FANFARLO: (Amos Justin)  I personally am into the the new records by BLUT AUS NORD and WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM. Great Black Metal, none of which originates from Norway.

VP:  How do you keep healthy on tour , or is it a losing battle, awash with fast food, alcoholic beverages and irregular bath nights ?

FANFARLO: I think we eat quite well compared to a lot of bands we know. Most of us are vegetarians which dictate the quality in a lot of cases. Catering at the big gigs is gourmet. We are being spoiled.

VP:  If Fanfarlo had a motto what would it be?

FANFARLO: “There’s a bit of gay in everyone.”


On Myspace

Official Site



“Fire Escape” By Fanfarlo

Harold T. Wilkins or How To Wait For A Very Long Time” By Fanfalro

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Shoot It Up-Sound Of Guns Interview

“Alcatraz” By Sound Of Guns

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Sound Of Guns are

Andy Metcalfe – Vocals –Lee Glynn – Guitar-Nathan Crowley – Guitar
John Coley – Bass –Si Finley – Drums

You’d think being from Liverpool originally, I’d be forever extolling the virtues of the cities most famous musical sons, explaining why they are the greatest band in  pop history, forever droning on about how innovative they were and eulogizing about how they “broke the mould”. Problem is I don’t really like The Beatles. It may come as a shock to many, but, not everybody from the city conforms to the stereotype and worships at the altar of Lennon and McCartney (although I admit, some stereotypes are true and perms are never far from our consciousness.)  Of course such a statement is regarded by many within the city as heresy, but the truth is, many years ago I had arrived at a point  whereby the only way I could  envision feeling  the inclination  to play a  Beatles album in its entirety would be if  the warm barrel of a “revolver” was pressed against my temple.  I had reached saturation point, my patience eroded by incessant Beatles-inspired nostalgia, and both the band and their slightly self-satisfied fans became inexorably linked in my mind with all that has been wrong with the Liverpool scene ever since. Shocking eh? But let’s face it, the “best band in the world” tag seemed a rather obtuse assessment to somebody who’d been brought up listening to the glorious splendour that was Pyschocandy“.

My aversion to all things mop-top peaked, when I started to suffer from vivid, recurring nightmares in which “The Fab Four” made regular, if rather unwelcome appearances. One in particular harrowed me to the very core of my being and went something like this; ….. I am descending into the ninth circle of Hell,  I note my guide, Virgil has surreptiously secreted cotton wool into his ears, this I fear,  is not a good sign, and then…. I see…the abomination… for waiting below is Lucifer himself.  The atmosphere is polluted with a tangible evil and fills me with the sort of desolation I had only experienced once before whilst inadvertently tuning into GMTV .  The pestilent one observes me coldly, malicious glee flickering in the foul dead lights of his pitiless eyes. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” he snarls, as he slowly and deliberately extracts a small golden harmonica from a bag bearing the logo “The Cavern Experience”. He carefully presses the instrument to his putrid, rancid lips, and winks slyly before embarking on a totally uncalled for sonic assault on my ears in the form of a particularly jaunty rendition of “Love Me Do” … Arrrgh !

I’m over it now of course, but as a one time punk The Beatles hardly resonated, they seemed irrelevant and decidedly “safe”, the sort of music my Uncle Colin would describe as “proper music” whilst performing a funny little dance.   Only now I can appreciate that they did actually change the face of music, and probably  wrote some decent songs in the process,  although I’d still take The Jesus and Mary Chain over them any day of the week ( 8 days a week in fact). There’s no denying The Beatles phenomenal success put Liverpool on the musical map, which was great, but for every up there is a down. It could be argued that The Beatles legacy also meant that (aside from the bands that emerged from the “Eric’s” scene , The Bunnymen, Wah Heat, Teardrop Explodes, etc )  far too many  seemed intent on replicating the Merseybeat sound.  The results were often tragic, unoriginal and spirit crushingly dull. As a consequence Liverpool seemed a city forever locked into it’s past, a prisoner of history. …Happily over the past few years, the times have been a-changing ….

Finally bands and artists are emerging from the City and its environs, who don’t want to follow the well trodden Merseybeat path. One of the most exciting to surface recently  is Sound Of Guns, a band whose reputation has been based upon their electrifying live shows, infectious chorus’s and a singer who exudes an edgy charisma and expends more energy on stage than an entire Olympic sprint team on amphetamines.  They are a band who clearly acknowledge and draw upon influences from the past but aren’t defined by them. Their music is an incendiary anthemic mix of swirling guitars and impassioned vocals which looks set propel them far beyond their Merseyside base.  Sound Of Guns have also created a huge stir within the industry, with pasty faced A& R men flocking into Liverpool to see what all the fuss is about.   They are set to embark on a nationwide tour, release a single as well as play Liverpool’s “Soundcity” festival (which has been another motivating factor in helping Liverpool became, musically at least, far more outward looking.) We had a chat with guitarist Nathan about how things have unfolded and what the future holds.

VP:  How did the band meet up and how long have you been together?

NATHAN: It’s an incestuous music scene in Liverpool so we all kind of new each other anyway and the band came together really easily…except for Coley. Andy and Si placed an ad on a local music forum. I came down for a jam, I asked my mate Lee down and things just clicked, the chemistry was there straight away. We couldn’t find a bass player at first so we played a couple of gigs with bass parts recorded onto a Macbook. Coley, a good friend of mine, was just leaving a previous band and was in the crowd at our first Liverpool show. He said he was blown away and joined the next day. That was in July last year.

VP:  What have you released so far, what’s the plan for 2009?

NATHAN : We released ‘Alcatraz’ in December last year as a download single through iTunes and pressed up some limited edition CD’s which sold out pretty quickly. The track made Radio 1, 6 Music, Myspace Radio, Radio 2, loads of local stations and the XFM evening playlist. We also had Virgin Radio in France and some other random European stations playing it. So far we have recorded and produced everything in our rehearsal room.

The plan for 2009 is to gig as much as possible, release more records and ride the wave of what comes from it!  We just singed a deal with Distiller to release the next single, I think it’s going to be ‘Architects’ and it’ll be out before the summer. We’ve just done some NME Awards shows with Tricky, we’ve got a UK tour in March/April, some dates with Detroit Social Club and a big Liverpool gig with The Zutons at St Georges Hall in May. Were on the main stage at Lattitude Festival and will hopefully we’ll be getting on a few more festivals too. There’s lots of things in the pipeline we can’t tell anyone yet.

VP:  Last year you played one of your biggest gigs @ Michael Eavis’ Village Party. What was that like and how did it come about?

NATHAN: I think it was only our 3rd or 4th proper gig. A few weeks earlier we played a gig in Pilton, and from that got asked to play at the village party. It a big annual event, Scouting For Girls were headlining so there were loads of screaming girls. It was our first big stage experience and a crowd of 1,200 in Glastonbury, it was a really good experience. We met some great people and a lot of things have happened for the band as a result.

VP: What sort of music would you say has influenced you as band?

NATHAN: We have different personal influences but when we get together we naturally share the same ideas about what our band’s sound is. And the sound is developing all the time. We like good songs, good musicianship and bands with substance and longevity. There’ll always be a fight for who’s Ipod is going on in the van so for an example I’ll want some classic rock, Coley will want The Who, Si some Foo Fighters, Andy some Doors and then Lee will put some Australian band nobody has ever heard of. Give it up Lee.

VP: Do you think the music scene on Merseyside tends to be a bit retrospective and inward looking? Is the Liverpool legacy a burden to young upcoming bands who don’t want to do endless covers of ” Penny Lane ” and “There She Goes”?

NATHAN: There is no denying that in many people’s opinions Liverpool + Music = The Beatles and I can only speak for our band, but we obviously don’t feel any pressure ‘cos we don’t sound like that. Over the years there probably should have been more bands with more ambitious sounds coming out of Liverpool but there is a pretty diverse scene in Liverpool now with Eugene McGuinnes, Ladytron, The Wombats and new bands emerging all the time. I think there will be a lot of good stuff coming out of Liverpool very soon.

VP:  What would you say are the major problems facing a band in today’s music climate? Illegal downloads? Simon Cowell’s flatulent corporate karaoke pop? Labels playing it safe?

NATHAN : Well everyone wants it in the first 30 seconds and great bands of the past probably wouldn’t survive in the industry today, which doesn’t give much hope to the possibility of another Pink Floyd or Bob Dylan coming along anytime soon. With illegal downloading, ultimately as a band you want people to hear your songs so I would rather 1000 people downloaded it illegally than only 100 people paying for it. Then we can fleece them at the gigs!

VP:  What where your highlights from 2008?

NATHAN : Well apart from forming the band, the response we have had from people all over, winning new fans, getting on radio and playing some brilliant gigs.

VP: Individually, pick one album that you’d say had the biggest effect on you growing up, and why?

SI – Nirvana – “Nevermind” –  The first time I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” I was blown away by the sheer brutality of the sound. It was so different than anything I had heard before. And of course their drummer was quite good.

NATHAN : – Oasis – “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” – The Gallagher brothers were so influential to me as a youngster, they are the reason I picked up a guitar.

ANDY– The Doors – “Morrison Hotel” – My uncle gave me it on a tape when I was 13. I got caught listening to ”Roadhouse Blues” in assembly in school on my walkman and the teacher confiscated it for two days, so I confiscated all the air from his car tyres.

LEE – Everclear “So Much For The Afterglow” – This was my foray into the darker side of lyricism and unashamedly raucous guitars. It is still, even after all these years, still on high rotation on my stereo. This album shaped me as a musician and taught me that the guitars have to bring out the best in a song, not just sit as a backing track.

COLEY- The Beatles “Abbey Road” – I’m not ashamed to say the Beatles are one of the greatest bands of all time just because its an obvious choice or because I’m a Scouser, but “Abbey Road” for me really had an influence on how music could be put together piece by piece, to make some sort of flowing musical journey.

VP:  Any upcoming bands you’d like to see do well in 2009?

NATHAN : Sound Of Guns

VP:  Five words to describe Sound Of Guns…….?

NATHAN : An Experience Of Epic Proportion


On Myspace


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In With A Bang- Kyoshi Interview

” Your Own Beat” By Kyoshi

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Kyoshi are ; Leanne King (20): Vocals, Chris Curtis (24): Bass, Ben Moore (23): Drums, Dan King (23): Guitars

Leanne King, fronts Kyoshi, a band who originally formed in Leicester and have since upped sticks to do the ‘being in a band in London thing”. Now I don’t want to go all Tim Westwood on you, but Kyosi are “banging” and this girl’s got the attitude and the rhymes to enable them to make a make a huge impact in 2009.

Personally I’ve always had an ambivalent attitude towards Hip-Hop, and after hearing Grandmaster Flash’s sleep inducing comeback single, I was left with the impression that they had exhumed the corpse of hip-hop in a futile attempt to force one last breath from its decaying carrion. Indeed its stereotypical blandness merely served to confirm that the genres influence has waned to a point somewhere below “total insignificance”.  However Kyoshi appear to have extracted the best from Hip Hop,  given it a musical kiss of life and ripped up that  tired old template of yore for something much more dynamic and exciting.  They’ve mixed it up, ripped it up and flipped it inside out, fusing their own influences such as ska, Indie and pop, and have produced a sound that is fresh, imaginative, relevant and contemporary.

Kyoshi’s debut single “Bang!” on the surface, appears to  be the tale of an ex-boyfriend  who has all the physical dexterity of Norman Wisdom and it’s a tune that is  impossible to shift from your head from the moment you  first hear it. All three tracks on the debut clearly demonstrate the bands ability to produce tight beats and sing a long chorus’s whilst leaving an overriding impression of a band imbued with boundless energy, flair and vitality. In singer Leanne they have unearthed a genuinely talented, exciting  singer/ songwriter, who half sings, half raps and is blessed with both wit and wisdom.

We had a chat with Leanne to discover more about the world of Kyoshi.

VP: Initially things started off with Ben, Dan and Chris, did  you have to do much arm twisting to join?

LEANNE: Me and Dan would always sit around the house singing and playing songs when we were growing up so it was just a matter of my age really. I think I was 15 when we first got a band together. It happened really naturally.

VP: When you started out making music together did you have a definite idea of what sort of sound you wanted to make? Any disagreements about direction?

LEANNE: Our sound has developed organically. We always liked hip-hop and some dance music like Faithless but we love live instruments and guitar bands so I suppose we wanted to bring it all together in a new way. No disagreements really, we all play our own part in the way we sound.

VP:  Your debut single “Bang!” is due out on what’s it about?

LEANNE: ‘Bang is a spiky sounding word. And the lyric ‘That sound follows you around’ sounds soft and rounded. When you listen to Kyoshi you’ll notice a lot of contrast, light and shade, tension and release. That’s what I initially focused on when I was writing “Bang!” The story itself is about a clumsy ex boyfriend but it’s also about the times we all have when things in life just keep recurring and incidents feel like they’re linked.

VP: What’s the plan for 2009? Recording more material? Gigging ?

LEANNE: We’ve got some wicked new songs we’re just finishing off, a great track called ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ which people are really getting into at our gigs. We’ll be going in the studio some time soon and we’re gonna be playing out a lot around the UK in the summer too and maybe in Europe towards the end of the year.

VP: Who are your biggest musical influences?

LEANNE: I’m less influenced by other artists nowadays but when I was young, I loved Lauryn Hill’s ‘Miseducation Of’. She’s been a big influence on me musically. We grew up as a band listening to the Chilli Peppers, Fugees, Hendrix, Stone Roses. We’re all influenced by a lot of stuff: Chris like’s Led Zeppelin and Jamiroquai and Ben’s in to his reggae.

VP:  Where did the name Kyoshi come from? And does it have a special relevance for the band?

LEANNE: It’s a Zen word. Or it comes from a Zen word- Hyoshi. Dan saw the word and read it wrong! Kyoshi, to us, means ‘we are one’ and it stands for our togetherness as a band.

VP: Who writes the songs? Is it a collective thing or is there a main songwriter?

LEANNE: The only consistent thing about the way our songs come about is that I write the lyrics and melodies; any one of us could come up with an initial idea and we develop it together. It’s a collective thing.

VP:  There are a few strange things going on via the internet lately, some of the major labels have limited songs on myspace to 30 second clips, You tube has pulled all “Premium content” music videos. What do young, up and coming bands make of the way the industry is reacting to the “digital age”?

LEANNE: Well you can hear all our tracks on myspace so if people are missing full length songs, come and listen to ours! Ha ha! I just wanna make great music for people to listen to and feel something for 3 minutes. I don’t care how the industry react, if it’s good music people will like it and people will pay for it. Whether that’s pay to see it live or pay to own the track.

VP: What’s your preference, Vinyl, CD or download?

LEANNE: They’ve all got their merits but I’ll go for download coz it’s quick. I can get a song when I want it.

VP: If Kyoshi had a catchphrase, what would it be?

LEANNE: Good question. I just read a review of “Bang!” and it said we were cooler than Mike Skinner! We’ll have that as a catchphrase for now!


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News From Nowhere-Orphans & Vandals Interview

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“Terra Firma” By Orphans & Vandals

Orphans & Vandals are :

Al Joshua – guitar, harmonica, vocals, toy piano
Francesca – violin, piano, glockenspiel, percussion, backing vocals
Gabi Woo – drums, percussion, backing vocals, harmonium, glockenspiel
Quinta – viola, musical saw, percussion, piano, backing vocals
Raven – bass guitar, backing vocals, harmonium.

Orphans and Vandals are one of the most unique bands I’ve heard for quite some time; their music is shocking, disturbing, brilliant and compelling. It will challenge your prejudices and draw you in to a murky, unsettling world that quite frankly, makes Nick Cave’s darkest musings seem about as sinister as a particularly upbeat episode of Balamory. You may be moved by its poetic nature, you may shocked by its content, but you will certainly never be bored, for their music holds a dark fascination which is impossible to turn away from. Orphans and Vandals create a tone of doomed grandeur, of rebirth and decay, like an Emile Zola novel reinterpreted and set to music. It deals with the disconnected, the dissolute and the lost but conversely is not without hope.  Al Joshua’s poetic streams of consciousness conjure up moods and atmospheres with a turn of phrase or an intonation that Pete(r) Doherty would kill for and brings to mind TS Eliot, William Burroughs, Nick Cave and even Mark E Smith.

Following up their critically acclaimed debut single, the 8 minute epic that is  “Terra Firma”, they are set to release their debut album “I am Alive And You Are Dead“.  It’s a work of spellbinding brilliance using a wide array of instruments including complex arrangements of viola, violin, harmonium, guitars, drums, clarinet, glockenspiel, and musical saw to back up the haunting vocals.  As previously mentioned  there are suggestions of,  and nods to,  The Velvet Underground, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, William Burroughs and Steve Reich – all of whom the band cite as influences – but the songs are so perfectly crafted, that they come across as something quite unique. Each listener will doubtless draw their own conclusions.

We spoke to Al about the band, who 6 Music’s Tom Robinson recently described as “The single most  exciting band I’ve encountered in a long time”

VP: Firstly a bit of background, how did the idea for the band formulate and how did the band get together?

AL : I had been a touch waylaid.  Desperation, nausea and failure shed new light on life.  I ran away to consider things and when I came back I was nobody’s wife.  Merciless and full of contempt, I decided I didn’t care about anybody else and would do only things which would excite and interest myself.  Raven and I drank all the whiskey someone gave him as a present one night and decided to start a band and then luck sent us the girls.

VP:  Orphans and Vandals? Does the name have a special significance?

AL: I’m not sure.  It was the title of a song I heard and later we stole it for our name.  I thought about calling the band Ghost of a Chance.

VP: Would you say your work is influenced by other musicians, or is  literature, poetry and spoken word  more of a significant  factor?

AL: I have stolen indiscriminately from music, writing, painting, films, anything.  I’ve walked around the city with a dictaphone looking for ideas, recording noise and random conversation.  If there is something good to steal, I steal it.  It all goes into the grinding machine.  But whatever different sources we might steal from, what Orphans & Vandals do is music.  I don’t know anything about poetry or performed poetry.  The words are just part of the music.  And I would never think of it as spoken word.  Sometimes I use intense fragments of ordinary voice when I’m singing, because singing is just using your voice in a musical way.  Voices talking can sometimes be very beautiful and melodious, full of microtonal changes and the notes in-between the cracks.  Harry Partch composed for voices using microtonal intervals and it sounds a lot like a weird kind of talking.  Steve Reich used recorded fragments of speech as the basis for pieces like Different Trains and It’s Gonna Rain. Also, I knew a poet once when Ashley and I lived on an ex-Mersey Ferry on the Thames.  It was mostly derelict.  There was a caravan that had been winched onto the top deck and this Poet locked us in and showed us his small and withered privates even though we asked him not to.  He had a drinking problem and smelled funny.  Who wants to be a poet?

About influences again though, I don’t pay much attention to contemporary bands.  Except the ones with pretty boys and cute girls.  But that probably doesn’t count as the things I would be interested in doing to them do not include listening to their music.

VP:  Lyrically there is beauty but there is also a dark side,  which at times can disturb, confuse, provoke and shock,  what sort of subjects inspire you to put pen to paper?

AL: Francis Bacon said he wanted his paintings to assault the viewer’s nervous system, and so return them back to life and consciousness more violently.  I’m just trying to do that for myself.  I’m looking for images and sounds that fray my nerves.  Disturb, confuse and provoke myself is exactly what I want to do.  Because it wakes me up and brings me back to life.  And if it does this for me, then it will for a few other people too.  Out of twenty people, nineteen might not like us, but for one person it will ring out like the right note being played in the right room and suddenly resonating.

VPThere’s also quite a bit of ambiguity within the prose,  split perspectives …was this intentional, to enable the listener to take their own meaning from the songs.

AL: If you don’t like the way the circuits light up, rip out the wires and disconnect the cables.  Use chance and instinct to re-wire it.  You have to short circuit logic to get to the heart of the matter.

VP:  Some of the characters within your songs seem to be deeply disaffected souls who on one hand seem disconnected but on the other,  appear to have an urge to take extreme measures, almost a wish to be savagely shocked out of inertia.  Do you feel that today’s society needs to reawaken to connect with who they are once more? Will the recession light the fuse?

AL: I don’t know anything about society, but the first part of what you just said is exactly right. You have nailed it to the wall.

VP:  What have been the most exciting experiences for the band thus far …

AL: Raven got into a car with a stranger who offered him chocolate when he was 13.I went into convulsions on the upper deck of the night bus. Quinta won a high stakes bet involving bigamists, midgets and a trip to Tangier. Francesca asked for just one more leetle drink and then painted the town black and blue and red. And Gabi gets excited whenever she even thinks about oranges.  Funny, she can’t stand the taste or smell though.

VP:  When is the album due out and will there be a series of gigs?

AL: The album is out officially on April 27th, but the launch party is on April 23rd at Madam Jojos in Soho and the album will be for sale there on the night.

A proper series of gigs would be good.  I think we’re trying to sort a series of dates out now.  Keep an eye on our gig listings on myspace.

VP:   What’s the audience reaction been like when you’ve played live, do you think some are taken by surprise?

AL: The audience reaction has been mixed.  Ha ha ha.  My favourite so far was Club NME at Koko.  Within a couple of minutes of the first song half the crowd started booing and shouting faggot and stuff.  So other people started cheering trying to drown them out.  It was fun.  I guess not everyone likes to be surprised.  We haven’t been beaten up after a gig yet though.  Maybe we should quit while we’re ahead.

VP:  I   normally finish with “describe your music” in five words although I think in your case we may need more. ……

AL: I find it difficult to describe music in words.  You have a go.  Forget five words.  Do it as a haiku.  Or as a knock knock joke.  Go nuts.  This could be fun..

VP: Erm, ok but I’m sticking with the five word thing “A shock to the senses”


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Music News w/e 20th March 2009

Slow Down Tallahassee, Gomez, Glasvegas, The Answering Machine, Black Box Revelation, Liverpool SoundCity

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Slow Down Tallahassee New Single

Trick By Slow Down Tallahassee

Slow Down Tallahassee follow up their highly acclaimed debut album “The Beautiful Light” with new single “Angel Of Death”/”Trick”. These two new songs continue to display their knack for perfectly fuzzy pop and the darker side of life.

Joining them on this release are the latest band to join Thee SPC roster, Standard Fare. They’re a three piece fronted by Emma, who’s soaring vocals are a mix of Isobel Campbell and Debbie Harry.

Slow Down Tallahasse on Myspace

Standard Fare on Myspace


Glasvegas predictably take the stadium Rock route

Bono -Mrs Doubtfire

After saying “B’ Jeezus that song, ‘It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry’ is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard in all me days so it is “ in the NME last month, Mrs Doubtfire look alike Bono, and his roadies U2, have specially invited Glasvegas to support them on a number of their UK stadium shows this summer, including the following dates:

Friday 24th July – Dublin Croke Park

Tuesday 18th August – Glasgow Hampden Park

Saturday 22nd August – Cardiff Millennium Stadium.

One wonders if the venues will be big enough to accommodate both Bongo and Mr Allan’s  gargantuan ego’s?





On their new album Gomez mark a return to their freewheeling and experimental roots. With those distinctive voices, breezy harmonies, ceaselessly evolving rhythms and a melodic restlessness that sees vocals shared and verses cut in two, A New Tide is released on Eat Sleep Records on APRIL 6th.

Gomez have stood apart from the very beginning, earning critical praise and an ardent fanbase for their eclectic and ambitious musical tack. In October 2008, Gomez celebrated the 10th anniversary of their Mercury Music Prize-winning debut BRING IT ON, with a string of live dates showcasing the classic album.

A NEW TIDE also sees Gomez accompanied by a number of illustrious guest musicians, including vocalist Amy Milan (Stars/Broken Social Scene), bassist Josh Abrams (The Roots /Godspeed You Black Emperor!), cellist Oliver Krauss (Paul Weller / Beth Orton), and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Bogie of Brooklyn’s world renowned Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra.

As ever, a wide range of styles is incorporated into Gomez’s matchless musical brew.  Flavours of Delta blues, psychedelia, and Krautrock all come into play, resulting in a musically mischievous and remarkably forward-thinking collection.  In short, A NEW TIDE is Gomez at their inimitable, incomparable best.

Gomez will tour the UK this spring


The Answering Machine

(Hit or Heist Records)  Free Mp3 of ‘Another City, Another Sorry’Here (right click save as)

Single ‘Cliffer’ out now

Official site:


The Black Box Revelation

The Black Box Revelation are are 19-year-old Jan Paternoster (guitar/vocals) and 17-year-old Dries Von Dijck (drums).
BBR are the dirty, sleazy, blues offspring’s of Jack White, Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page, a flaming hybrid of rock ‘n’ roll guitar excess.
The Black Box Revelation were born in Brussels, Belgium in 2006 out of the ashes of  4-piece The Mighty Generators, when two friends formed a unholy union, to use up the spare time of the studio they’d already paid for. There they recorded demos for the aforementioned contest, from which ‘Love In Your Head’ still survives to this day.

Since then BBR has built a solid fan base in their native land with several number one singles and a formidable reputation for their ferocious live shows and the news is starting to spread further afield.

Having already toured America, Europe with The Eagles Of Death Metal and now showcasing at SXSW, BBR will release their debut album “Set Your Head on Fire” on 20th April.

The album will be followed a week later by single “Love, Love Is On My Mind” on 27th April.

Watch the video


Liverpool SoundCity 2009 Launch Party  26th March 2009    O2 Academy Liverpool

Having already secured the esteemed services of chart-topping White Lies, sonnet starlet Little Boots, as well as Jon McClure and co. from new super group Mongrel for the festival – the Liverpool SoundCity Launch Party on Thursday 26th March will get things going with a bang.

In the underground, innovative and free-spirited style of SoundCity, the headline acts for the launch party – presented by Liverpool-based promoters Evol and Meshuggy – are representative of what the festival is all about.

Animal Collective and Dent May are two names synonymous with creativity and, with both having released albums celebrated for their startling originality in recent weeks, they will take to Liverpool’s O2 Academy on Thursday 26th March for the official festival Launch Party

SoundCity: Wednesday 20th – Saturday 23rd May

In total, more than 400 acts from around the world will play to 25,000 people across 30 of Liverpool’s most prestigious venues for four days. Early Bird tickets cost £35, with regular tickets £60 in advance and £80 on the door. Festival and conference passes are priced at £99 for Early Bird and at £120 for regular tickets.

SoundCity champions up and coming talent and captured the zeitgeist of 2008 with highlights that included: Santogold, Hercules and Love Affair, Glasvegas, Hadouken, Reverend and the Makers, Laura Marling, The Whip, Iglu & Hartly, Crystal Castles, Ladyhawke and The Wombats.

Liverpool SoundCity

Wednesday 20th May – Saturday 23rd May 2009 /

Festival Pass – entry (capacity permitting) to all live events and showcases at SoundCity:

Advance: £60

Walk up: £80

Festival and Conference Pass:

Early Bird: £99

Standard: £120

Tickets are available online at: /


Retro Song Of  The Week

“Crash” by The Primitives

The Primitives were a British alternative pop band from Coventry formed in 1985 by Keiron McDermott (vocals), PJ Court (born Paul Jonathan Court) (vocals, guitar), Steve Dullaghan (bass) and Pete Tweedie (drums). Keiron was soon replaced by Tracy Tracy (born Tracy Cattell in Australia).

After a successful first album, which presented them with their UK Top 5 hit single “Crash” in late-1987 (and made the Top 3 in the U.S. Modern Rock Charts), their career began to fade in the early-1990s. They split in 1992 following the commercial failure of their final album, 1991’s Galore. Their major rivals within the ‘blonde pop’ scene were Transvision Vamp and The Darling Buds, both of whom bore a similar look and sound.

The Primitives emerged from the independent scene of the mid-Eighties that begat, amongst others, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, the Soup Dragons and the Wedding Present. They shared a love of melody, the Sixties, fast Ramones-influenced guitars and the pop sensibility of the Buzzcocks and Orange Juice.

Dullaghan died in Coventry on 4 February 2009

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Howling Bells Live Liverpool 16.03.2009

“Cities Burning Down” ( Disco Bloodbath Effect Remix) By Howling Bells

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There are some bands I seemed almost preordained never to see, on two previous occasions I have held in my grubby little hands, tickets to see Howling Bells, and on both instances I have been cruelly thwarted by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, oh and the missus.  Finally a gig at Liverpool’s 02 Academy would, I hoped, prove to be third time lucky in my quest to finally catch this fabulous band live.

My sense of anticipation began to reach feverish new heights when I received a text from a friend who was in the throes of a condition known as ” post Howling Bells gig euphoria” following their performance in Sheffield .  “Nights like this make me think I could probably survive if the only band in the world was Howling Bells …Mind you The Joy Formidable was pretty …well…formidable…Monday should rock your world” it read.  And do you know what? He was right, it did!

The Joy Formidable

Unbelievably  I had finally made it to a Howling Bells gig and it kicked off in fine style with an awesome display of sonic beauty from The Joy Formidable who produced an incredible live set, full of passion, power and raw energy, that may have had some wondering how it could be possibly topped.  The response was universally positive amongst the audience, which included an eclectic mix of students, Goths, and stately gentleman like my good self,  as many beat a hasty path to the merchandise stall to snap up copies of The Joy Formidable’s marvelous mini album, “A Balloon Called Moaning” .  The fact that I had already downloaded the album as a freebie, didn’t really come into play, as when something sounds this good you just have to own it!

After four years waiting and spending the preceding days avoiding walking under ladders, ensuring I didn’t tread on the  cracks in between paving stones  and surviving Friday the 13th  unscathed, the moment was nigh and Howling Bells took to the stage. Simply put, they gave a quite magnificent, spellbinding, performance which exceeded my already high expectations and will live long in the memory.  Juanita was the perfect front person, prowling the stage, exuding a cool charisma whilst prompting and cajoling  the typically reticent Liverpool audience to participate; at one point she climbed over the barrier to join the crowd herself.  She proved that she truly is one of the great female performers amongst her peers , and should anybody tell you differently they are obviously an oaf, a buffoon or possibly descended from this fine fellow here… The band effortlessly switched between the synth driven, futuristic soundscapes of their recent epic album “Radio Wars” to the windswept goth-country of their much loved debut with consummate ease and provided a solid  innovative and exciting backdrop for Juanita’s voice to weave its subtle magic. And what a voice! At times recalling the bruised vulnerability of Harriet Wheeler from The Sundays, or the languid nonchalance of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, whilst at other points fueled by PJ Harvey-esque bursts of passion, it never fails to be anything other than mesmerising. It really is like swimming in a lake of black honey. The evenings highlights included “Treasure Hunt“, “Broken Bones”, “Digital Hearts”, a spanking version of “Low Happening” plus an impromptu guitar solo in the middle of “Into the Chaos”.

Alas all good things come to an end and all too quickly the evening was drawn to a close with a suitably breathtaking version of  “Cities Burning Down”.  It’s nights like these that just reinforce how great live music can be and I have now discovered that post Howling Bells gig euphoria is a feeling that is rarely bettered! I hope I don’t have to wait another four years to see them again!  They are one band I’d certainly  now travel any distance to catch live!

Verdict: A Triumph!!!

“Golden Web” And “Cities Burning Down” By Howling Bells-Live Liverpool 16/03/2009

“Low Happening” And “Digital Hearts “ By Howling Bells-Live Liverpool16/03/2009

Thanks to hotdogboy23

“The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade” By The Joy Formidable- Live Liverpool 16-03-09

Vp and The Joy Formidable's Ritzy Bryan


Howling Bells Buy “Radio Warshere or download here
The Joy Formidable Buy “A Balloon Called Moaning” her

Interview with Juanita here

Album review here


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