The Mummers And The Poppers-The Mummers Interview

“Lorca & The Orange Tree” By The Mummers

Free Legal Download of “Wonderland” here

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Just think, if Bjork hadn’t suffered that nasty trauma to her elfin like noggin when plummeting towards Wonderland via the rabbit hole, her recent output may well have been somewhat less self indulgent and a little more palatable.  Maybe she too would have been able to produce something as magical and majestic as The Mummers “Tale To Tell”. Unlike Bjork the Mummers do not indulge in ludicrous “avant garde” squawking, shrieking or gurning,  nor do they feel the need to resort to incoherent babbling  relating their somewhat misguided belief  that they have the ability to commune with  imps, pixies  and other magical woodland creatures, and to be honest their music sounds all the better for it . The Mummers have also remembered that it’s often beneficial when writing a song to include oft overlooked necessities, for example … a tune.  There will always be artists who, when given the freedom to experiment, can produce something profoundly beautiful and by the same token there are others who, rather like Al Pachino without a firm directorial hand, will sadly lapse into laughable over the top self parody. The Mummers quite firmly fall into the former category whereas The Icelandic Princess of La-la Land has drifted dangerously close to the latter.

“Tale To Tell” is an incredibly liberating album; it conjures up memories of those seemingly endless sun filled summer holidays of yore, when life was full of magic and infinite possibilities. Yup, it really does transport you back to the days when the world seemed a place of discovery and wonder,  before you donned the blinkers of adulthood, conformed, and somehow became all that you once despised.  The album could also serve as a useful point of reference for Mark Ronson, namely with regard to “the correct use of horns”. It’s an album that combines a myriad of influences and the result is a gorgeous euphony of sound and styles that skillfully combines pop music with classical,  film scores with cabaret  and includes swathes of  swooning orchestral flourishes all underpinned by Rassia’s amazing voice . It’s the sound of a West End musical written by David Lynch and could also quite easily fit rather snuggly into the soundtrack of Tim Burton’s forthcoming much anticipated adaptation of Alice In Wonderland”

The Mummers universe is essentially centered around London-born singer/songwriter Raissa Khan-Panni, a musician who previous musical incarnation “Rassia”, discovered that critical acclaim doesn’t always result in commercial success. When her solo work started to stutter she returned to long joyless hours of waitressing, but continued to write  and make “fairytale versions of the mundane”, for what would come to form the basis of her latest musical project. We spoke to Rassia  to find out more about The Mummers and the art of Mumming…

VP: Tell us the story of The Mummers, how the project came about and who is involved?

Raissa: ….Naturally ….
It was during a time when I went back to waitressing in a slightly bleak period of having nothing again. I was writing lyrics and thinking about creating a project that was the farthest removed from my life at the at the time, when by chance Mark Horwood sent  me an orchestrated version of a ‘Riverman’ cover I’d done. It was so perfect and I hunted him down for a year (he’d disappeared off to LA) eventually finding him in the countryside outside Brighton living in a Treehouse studio he’d built and it was full of the most wonderful instruments and it inspired a lot of the imagery in the album. So we started The Mummers straight away with a former collaborator of mine Paul Sandrone gradually expanding it to include about 20 musicians from Brighton and around.

VP:  So you recorded the album “Tale to Tell” in a tree house! One assumes this was not your average tree house!!?

Raissa: It is a wooden extension of a house that Mark built high up in between two massive Pine Trees. You access it by a steep and slippery wooden staircase and it is filled with old keyboards, harmoniums, organs and percussion instruments.

VP: You’ve previously been involved in the music business, but despite the critical acclaim, as mentioned, you went back to waitressing. Did you always believe that you would return to music? Was it a case of just waiting
it out?

Raissa:  I always knew I would return to music – in fact I never stopped, after my solo project I started experimenting with underground garage, drum n bass and house whilst preparing for The Mummers.

VP:  How would you describe “Tale To Tell” to the uninitiated?

Raissa: An intimate and personal perspective of the world that creates fairytale versions of the mundane.

VP:  What sort of music/ musicians have been major influences on your work?

Raissa: Rickie Lee Jones, my all-time favourite singer-songwriter, Rufus Wainwight’s huge sound and worldly lyrics, John Barry’s film scores, Miles Davis ‘in a silent way’ era, keyboard textures,

VP: How did you enjoy the recent appearance on Jools Holland?

Raissa: It was amazing to be a part of a show that included The Specials and Carol King, we were in awe. Scary to be performing on live TV especially as I’d lost my voice the week before. It was a total buzz however and we were like over-excited school children.

VP:  What musicians past or present, dead or alive would you love/have loved, to work with?

Raissa: Leonard Bernstein, Carol King, Freddy Mercury

VP:  What are your plans for the remainder of 2009?

Raissa: Festivals all summer, and then a UK tour in autumn hopefully, finishing the next album.

VP: What’s been the highlight of The Mummers thus far?

Raissa: Jools Holland and seeing the album racked in HMV for the first time.

VP: What are the five most important words in the Mummers’ vocabulary?

Raissa:  Tea, Train, Treehouse, Twitter (as of last week), Tea.

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“Wonderland”-The Mummers Live On Jools Holland

The Birth Of The Mummers


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In Practice Not Theory –Theoretical Girl Interview

“The Biggest Mistake”-Live Maida Vale, by Theoretical Girl

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The following is substantially a work of non-fiction, the introduction in no way reflects the views of  Theoretical Girl and it is based entirely on the experiences and recollections of the author. In some limited cases names of people and bands have been withheld solely to protect the immense, yet strangely fragile egos involved. Now, let us begin…..

Like any relationship, my love affair with music isn’t always hearts and flowers. Music can, on occasion, depress me. For example it’s rather exasperating when you discover that an album touted as groundbreaking and pant-wettingly original is, quelle horreur, merely an artless cack-handed cut and paste exercise in ripping-off much admired bands from your youth.  Despite the adulation and the constant name dropping of a much feted producer you soon realise the hyperbole is as hollow as an Easter egg from Netto… as empty as Maggie Thatcher’s blackened heart.  You can drape a turd in diamonds, but beneath the glittering façade it still remains, essentially, a turd.

It’s equally galling when a “much loved band” reforms, gets a headline slot at Glastonbury and is then inexplicably feted as some sort of untouchable musical deity. All too soon you begin to experience the sense of bewilderment and anxiety that normally presages some truly awful event…and then it happens, unassailable proof that the world has gone stark raving bonkers as this band’s decidedly iffy albums are canonised as classics! How did that happen? ‘Cos my recollection of the very same band is somewhat different.  I remember them as little more than consummate perennial bandwagon jumpers, finally settling on a clumsy art school potpourri of Madness, the Kinks, Dick Van Dyke and Chas N Dave. But now this band is apparently regarded as the very essence of Brit-cool. The fact that the singer often ended live sets by dropping his pants and hopping about the stage like somebody with learning difficulties trying to locate a fresh roll of toilet paper is conveniently forgotten. The word is they are “The best British band since the Beatles” and “more erudite than The Kinks ”  …Even if you like the bands in question you must surely admit that their significance in enriching popular culture, is somewhat, over-egged. When faced with this seemingly never-ending tsunami of hype, tommyrot and piffle you feel the will to live draining from you .-“Ok guv, it’s a fair cop, I’ll come quietly, I’ll join up with your marching band of lemmings and make haste in scurrying  toward cultural Armageddon” …….But then you discover new music which  really deserves your attention and your love affair is reignited once more…

I discovered Theoretical Girl a while back via the good old interweb, because let’s face it, the chances of discovering anything new via daytime radio is as  slim as Anne Widdecombe’s list of potential suitors. Yes, Theoretical Girl made me realise that all is not lost, that music is still being made by good people who genuinely love what they are doing, and to give in to big label hyperbole or musical revisionists would be morally and spiritually wrong 😉

Theoretical Girl is Amy Eleanor Turnnidge, a one woman musical tour de force whose DIY roots means she’s pretty adept at multi tasking. Why, if she’s not song writing and gigging, she’s playing guitar or bass or programming keyboards and drum machines, or arranging strings and, well, just generally getting on with making the world a better place.  Whether she’s performing her songs alone or with her sometime band The Equations she’s always good value and I must confess I am swelling with more than a little anticipatory excitement at the idea of getting my hands on her debut album later in the year.   Her tunes seem to cover the whole pop spectrum, from the straight forward rollicking post punk directness of tracks like “Red Mist” to the tender almost Smiths-esque beauty  of “The Biggest Mistake” or “The Boy  I Left Behind”.  Throw in a bit of a 60’s girl group vibe , infuse it with a  spot of  reflective, acoustic loveliness, add maybe a dash of twee, serve with  a slice of spiky post punk attitude and you have a rather delightful cocktail that will certainly refresh your musical taste buds. Yup Theoretical Girl is pretty much a cure-all for all known ills ! So if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find her, maybe you can hire Theoretical Girl.

VP:  When did you start writing songs and how did the idea for Theoretical Girl come about?

TG: I’ve been writing on and off since I was a teenager and first heard Elastica! They were a revelation! I was in a few bands over the years, but never felt confident enough to be a front woman until I was sort of forced into it. I was in an all-girl band, complete with matching black bowl cuts and neon-colour co-ordinated outfits, when we fell out over who wrote the songs, I am control freak about writing you see, and we broke up. We had a gig that week and I didn’t want to let the guy who had booked us down, so I thought I’d throw together a couple of songs and do it myself. I couldn’t come up with a name so my friend suggested ‘Theoretical Girl’ for the time being and I never got round to changing it. So it’s all been a sheer fluke!

VP: There’s often a yearning loveliness to some of your material, regrets, mistakes, relationships gone wrong- Is there a therapeutic element to your song writing or is the subject matter based more on observation?

TG: All of my songs are based on my own experiences, but I like to disguise them a little otherwise it’d be a bit too exposing or should I say embarrassing! It is extremely therapeutic, especially as I write about things that I would struggle to say face to face.

VP: You’ve been busy recording your debut album this year, how’s it been going, when’s the release date and what’s the title?

TG: The album is called “Divided”, the title is meant to reflect the different types of music I make and the fact that most of my songs are about unrequited love or conflict of some kind. It will be out on 17th August. I absolutely loved recording the album. It was my idea of heaven, being shut away in a room, forgetting the outside world and just playing music all day and all night. It doesn’t get much better that that!

VP:  Who would you say are your major musical influences?

TG: I have so many! The main ones for this album were Fleetwood Mac, The Stranglers, Wings, Billy Joel, Purcell and Nick Drake!

VP: You’ve toured with a lot of great bands what have been your highlights thus far?

TG: My favourite on-stage moment has to be Portsmouth Guildhall supporting Maximo Park. My guitar broke and we didn’t have a roadie so I had to tell a very long joke, about penguins, to around 2000 people whilst my guitar was fixed by Maximo Park’s very kind sound engineer. I didn’t get round to telling the punch line and I still get e-mails from people, two years later, asking me to finish the joke!

VP:  You’re playing Glastonbury this year, have you been before?

TG: I’ve never been and I have absolutely no idea what to expect! It’s very exciting and very scary! It’s being run like a military operation. There are drop off and pick up points, collection areas, contact points. It’s all very bizarre but I can’t wait. We have a cellist and violinist joining us which will make the whole thing extra special!

VP:  What’s the Ipso Facto connection to Theoretical Girl?

TG: Sam (Valentine) was the first friend I made when I moved to London. She came to see me play in New Cross and we got chatting. She was in my backing band and then I asked Rosie (Cunningham) to join, which was how they met. They are extremely talented musicians and I expect them to go far!

VP:  What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you since you became involved in the world of music?

TG: Someone approached me in Waterstones and said ‘you’re a lot smaller in real life’. Then they walked away without saying another word.

VP: Time for the “Smash Hits” bit now. What are your favourite album, favourite film and favourite book?

TG: Easy! “Bryter Layter” by Nick Drake, the most beautiful and melancholy album ever made. “Historias Minimas”, an amazing road movie. “Les Miserables”, the greatest love story ever told shame about the war scenes though.

VP: If you had to choose a tagline or motto for Theoretical girl, what would it be?

TG: Half an inch taller than Kylie.

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“Red Mist” Live By Theoretical Girl

“The Boy I Left Behind” Live By Theoretical Girl

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3 Gigs 1 Night- Rose Elinor Dougall, Alabama 3, Run Toto Run

You wait ages for a gig and then three come along at once!  Three gigs in one night, that was the plan, as we dispatched a team of crack(ed) reporters to Liverpool. They said it couldn’t be done, they said it was neigh on an impossibility to cover all three gigs… and do you know what? … They were right! Rose Elinor Dougall, Alabama Three and Run Toto Run all had gigs in Liverpool on the same evening …something had to give…here’s what happened…

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Gig 1

ROSE ELINOR DOUGALL @ The Zanzibar Club Liverpool-12/06/2009

(By Von Pip)

It would be nice to be able to review a Rose Elinor Dougall gig without mentioning her previous musical adventures with uber pop, 60’s girl group, the Pipettes, alas, in the first sentence alone, I have failed that particular test. Suffice to say her solo material is light years away from anything written in her previous polka dotted musical incarnation, and her performance at Liverpool’s Zanzibar club confirmed she’s got exactly what it takes to make a huge impact as a solo artist.

Rose’s early bedroom demos which appeared on myspace just over a year ago revealed fragile, bittersweet numbers, laced with melancholy which centred on themes involving love, loss, and regret, and had that rare ability to appear extremely personal whilst managing to strike a universal chord within the listener. However this tone of melancholia was also tempered with a sense of rejuvenation. Like radiant sunlight finally filtering through grey nebulous clouds, the songs also contained a sense of hope and emotional renewal, of stepping into the light…or if you will, rather like sucking on a throat lozenge, the hard, seemingly impenetrable shell finally melts, and a centre of soothing honey is revealed…erm …or something!  It appears that Rose’s hard work over last 12 months, refining her sound, coming up with new arrangements for her unusually structured songs as well as working as the “grumpiest bar maid ever” have certainly paid dividends, and in conjunction with her band, The Distractions, (also featuring her brother Tom) they have polished these demos and transformed them into sparkling gems.

“I Know We’ll Never” Live

The only lo-fi element to the evening’s entertainment was a rather limp, wet lettuce of an audience (come on Liverpool wake up to new music) but it didn’t affect the bands performance one jot, they were quite superb.    “Another Version Of Pop Song” kicked off proceedings in fine style, with the band hitting top form straight away; current single “Start/Stop/Synchro” sounded wonderful live and new tune  the rousing “Carry On” should definitely be a future single.  Rose’s songs are not always the most straightforward, and one imagines they can be quite challenging to perform; therefore it was to the bands credit that the live versions actually seemed even bigger and bolder than the recorded versions, taking on a new dimension and filling every corner of the venue with sonic beauty.

“Carry On” Live

Roses influences were evident (Broadcast, The Cocteau Twins, The Sundays and My Bloody Valentine) but the band are already developing their own unique style in no small part due to Roses hauntingly beautiful voice, which was never really fully utilised in The Pipettes- It’s a voice full of  wistful  loveliness and on  tracks such as “I Know We’ll Never” one feels she could coax tears from a statue, whilst  when singing numbers  such as “Carry On” her tone shifts from contemplative introspection to exhilaratingly defiant, somewhere between Harriet Wheeler and a less belligerent Susan Ballion.  The final song “Fallen Over” really highlighted the bold direction I hope the band will continue to take, all searing guitars, mellifluous vocals, swirling keyboards and pounding rhythms. If the band continues to make such rapid progress one imagines Kevin Shields will be sobbing into his pillow, consumed envy…. Utterly, gobsmackingly, brilliant!  Roll on the album…. 9/10

“Fallen Over” Live

Set List

Another Version of Pop Song

I Know We’ll Never

Come Away With Me

Start/Stop/Synchro

Find Me Out

Carry On

To The Sea

May Holiday

Fallen Over

Myspace

Interview

Meanwhile at the same time, on the other side of town ………….

Gig 2

ALABAMA THREE – Liverpool Academy One-12/06/2009

(By JK)

I set out with great expectations of Alabama 3 having discovered them at Glasto 2005 when in my quest to get down the front for Roots Manuva I arrived half way through their set.  Now if someone had tried to explain Alabama 3 to me – “Country acid house gospel” they’d have probably lost me at “Country”.  Yet the weird combination of genres works, and works well.   But that’s the strength of a festival, you go and see someone you like and they have an off day, then you wander past someone you’ve never heard of who end up becoming a minor obsession.

“Woke Up This Morning” Live

I was dazzled by their stage show – seedy looking reverends, cowboys, cowgirls taking it in turns to take the mic, they even had can-can girls for one of the songs.  The stage was alive with energy, awash with colour, and when the opening beats of “Mao Tse Tung” began – so loud you could feel it in you bowels, I was hooked and it became my Glasto highlight of 2005.  Next time I saw them was Glasto 2008.  No elaborate stage show this time, but a lot of banter from the Reverend D Wayne Love kept it entertaining.  No “Mao Tse Tung” though.  If you go and see New Order you expect them to play “Blue Monday and “True Faith,” A3 played “Woke Up This morning” so why no “Mao Tse Tung”? Still, I met countess randoms over the course of the weekend who had come to the Jazz World stage for a cider, and left preaching the Alabama 3 gospel.  They are that good live when on form.

If they are that good at Glasto, mid afternoon when a lot of the audience haven’t a clue who they are and just happened to be at that stage, how electric would one of their own gigs be, with a room filled with the faithful?  Roots Manuva was chalk and cheese between Glasto 2005 and his Kentish Town Forum show soon after, both in terms of atmosphere and performance.  Was this going to be the gig of my life?

“Temptation” Live

Let’s cut to the chase.  The answer is sadly a resounding NO. Maybe  I’m being unduly harsh having such high expectations, but the band just looked jaded and bored, the atmosphere never really got going, and the sound was a bit iffy in places.  To be fair, most of their set was taken from the “Coldharbour Lane album – they must be sick to death of that album now, and it showed.  There was no elaborate stage show, the banter was minimal, and once again they didn’t play “Mao Tse Tung”. Yes the Reverend D Wayne Love had his trademarked stoned look, Zoe looked and sounded damned hot, and brownie points for the sentiment of the “F*ck the BNP” rant, if none for originality.  But that’s all the show had to recommend it, and I expected more for my £16 plus booking fee.   The audience seemed to be enjoying themselves, and there was a good turnout, which is by no means ever guaranteed in Liverpool.  But I was hoping for an atmosphere akin to when one of the local football clubs wins, sadly that didn’t happen.   Now I’m just hoping they do a blinding secret gig at Glasto that will restore my faith.

RUN TOTO RUN – Korova Liverpool -12/06/2009

JK: “That doesn’t look anything like Run Toto Run, even after this many pints” …..

VP: “Maybe the effects of touring have taken their toll? They don’t look themselves at all…they look a bit haggard, and erm well, a tad hirsute …

KOROVA STAFF:No mates, Run Toto Run have been on, they were really good, you’ve missed them…..

JK/VP: Oh sh*t!  ……..anybody fancy a pint?

Here they are anyway , seeing as we missed em 😉

Sleepy Head

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Generation Sex – Flamboyant Bella

“Abbi” By Flamboyant Bella

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Flamboyant Bella? What sort of a name is that? It sounds like the sort of appellation  Perez Hilton would bestow on  his pet Chihuahua, or  perhaps it  calls to mind that burlesque dancer from Madam Jo-Jo’s, you know, the one who made love to you, and only you,  with her eyes … erm not that I’d know anything about that sort of thing!!  In reality Flamboyant Bella are a four piece musical outfit from Hitchin who have racked up over 1.5m hits on their MySpace page and have also topped the site’s unsigned chart.  Inevitably there will be comparisons made to the Kate / Lilly school of pop, due in no small part to singer Flo’s vocal delivery,(altough vocals are shared with James ) and  this in turn may well provoke the sort of reaction oft displayed when folk are confronted with a jar of Marmite. But if you like the idea of Kate Nash fronting the Primitives on a sugar rush  and have a sense of fun then “Flambo” (as their fans call them) may be right up your musical street. It’s great summery pop music.  A word of warning though kids, Flamboyant Bella’s songs more often than not contain some reference to sex, booze, boozy sex and sexy booze.  We feel a moral duty as a blog with a social conscience, to point out that binge drinking is responsible for all of society’s ills, so forget global warming, terrorism, poverty and MP’s expenses, having a pint is the real enemy within.   We also feel duty bound to point out that unprotected sex can have terrifying consequences – children for example.

Rather fittingly  Flamboyant Bella do produce pop that’s as catchy as Chlamydia ( minus unpleasant side effects) and show me a teenager that isn’t preoccupied  with close encounters of the drunken kind and  I’ll show you a  young Conservative.  Such predilections are all part of the normal rights of passage and of course it’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters. So worry not about the dissolute state of this young bands collective soul, they’ll be fine and in time, excess and giddiness will be replaced by temperance and responsibility. In fact society has the perfect antidote to curb such rampant unfettered fun, it’s an institution that has been around for many years, it’s called “marriage”. 😉

We had a chat to Flamboyant Bella’s  Flo, which was a erm,  gas!

VP: How did the band get together?

Flo: Well, the bassist, Mitch, and drummer, Elliot, met in their parent’s cells, as they’re brothers. And Elliot’s been good friends with James for years. They found me, in a hairdressers and it clicked from then on.

VP:  Was it always an ambition to be involved in music?

Flo: I think it’s everyone’s dream to get to be in a band. But personally, yes. We’ve all done music for years now, so we’re very lucky!

VP: “Flamboyant Bella”?? Where did the name come from is it a person? A burlesque artist? A state of mind?

Flo: We nicked it out of a newspaper headline chronicle thing. It’s some bird from New York or somewhere.

VP:  What have you released thus far?

Flo: We first released ‘Touch’ as a single. It was attached to a Frisbee which we still sell today as it works so well. We then released our song ‘Absolutely Wankered’ but just for free for everyone, and now we’ve just released ‘Abbi’ which has done us proud, especially radio-wise.

VP: Would you care to share the strangest thing you’ve done when “Absolutely Wankered”

Flo: Ooft! Umm.. Err.. We have spitting fights in Travelodge’s when on the road?

VP:  What have you found to be the most surprising/weirdest aspect of being in a band?

Flo: Some great kids in Newcastle and a lovely lady from Brazil have got tattoos of either our artwork or lyrics. MADNESS!!!!

VP: Who are your musical heroes?

Flo: Mine is a singer by the name of Inara George. She sings in a group called The Bird and the Bee. She’s very pretty and has a lovely voice so I love her. I know James adores Blondie. She’s such an icon for sure!!

VP:  If Simon Cowell mysteriously disappeared, would anybody really care ?

Flo: I would. I think he’s genius. Some kid cut out a picture of his smiling face from a newspaper, at a gig in Southampton and gave it to me. I kept it for weeks… Then he disappeared… and I DID care!

VP:  What would you say are your worst habits?

Flo: The boys suffer from terrible flatulence. To be honest, we all fart on each other.

VP:  Five words to best encapsulate the Flamboyant Bella vibe?

Flo: Poppy, Genuine, Buff, Rude, Eggs.

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“Touch” By Flamboyant Bella

“Absoulty Wankered” By Flamboyant Bella

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Little Boots- “Hands” Review

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“The future’s female, the future’s electro. Pop is the new indie”

Albert Einstein

“Earthquake” By Little Boots

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave or possibly Northampton you will surely be familiar with the name Little Boots. Apparently the whole future of pop music rests on her slender shoulders.  I was first alerted to the existence of this musical entity by Victoria “Little Boots” Hesketh herself!  Having completed an interview with a band with whom Ms H was lead vocalist, the excellent Dead Disco (interview here), I received a message from her saying that she was sorry if she’d messed up my interview  “I have actually left the band now I hope they do well as it’s a great band and Lucy and Marie are very talented musicians. I have a new project, it’s called Little Boots but it’s still in the very early stages, it’s more pop/ electronic.” I wished her good luck and heard nothing more on the Little Boots front until… she re-emerged surfing a monumental tidal wave of hype which threatened to completely engulf her.  She was hailed somewhat absurdly, as the “saviour of pop” before she’d released a solitary tune,  sniffy critics were unimpressed and many were quick to distance themselves from the delirium that surrounded Miss Boots.  Sensibly Victoria and her team didn’t rush to release the debut album “Hands” but quietly got on with the business of producing the album they wanted to make. Now some six months after the initial bout of Boots induced  mass hysteria, the waters of pop are somewhat calmer and the album has finally arrived, the question is, does it live up to the hyperbole?  Is she the “future of pop?” Or is she a  Cbeebies version of Goldfrapp.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding and upon listening to the album it appears the hype is somewhat justified as Little Boots comes very close to producing the prefect pop album. “Hands” is a pop behemoth, its big, its brash and it’s full of energy and enthusiasm. The choice of “New in Town”, as lead single was difficult to fathom  and although it’s a grower I still can’t shake the impression that Victoria was watching TV the day she wrote this one and the annoying  “Here Comes The Girls” ad for Boots The Chemist ( no relation) somehow burrowed its way into her consciousness. Things really kick off in earnest with the euphoric tranced out rush of “Earthquake”, indeed experts may one day declare this tune the ultimate example of how to write and produce the perfect commercial pop song.  It’s a song that grabs you by your skinny tie and hurls you around the dance floor with carefree abandon; it also boasts a chorus bigger than Blackpool tower.

Other highlights include “Mathematics” a killer pop tune, Victoria may well not know her “Fibonacci or Pythagoras” but she certainly knows the formulae for making glittering, danceable pop. “Click” is the sort of song much beloved by 80’s teen flick maestro John Hughes; one can almost imagine it playing in the background whilst Hughes zooms in on Molly Ringwald’s strangely appealing face. Molly looks reflective, as she stoically tries to recover from yet another broken heart, a single tear slowly slides down her alabaster skin…. “Tune Into My Heart” keeps things firmly in the 80’s pop arena and conjures up memories of “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” from “Footloose” unfortunately this also invokes the unwelcome spectre of absurdly mulleted Kevin Bacon, replete in tie dyed jeans enthusing “Hey, hey! What’s this I see? I thought this was a party. LET’S DANCE!” Like Thatcherism and “The Hit Man And Her” some things from the 80’s should never be revisited!

“Symmetry” features a duet with Christian Bale in Batman mode sound alike, Phil Oakey. It compares favourably with anything on the Human League’s breakthrough pop classic “Dare” and works fantastically well. Doubtless it will inspire the young ‘uns to investigate The Human Leagues back catalogue and one wonders what they will make of tracks such as “A Crow And A Baby” and “Empire State Human

Not everything comes off; there are a couple of tracks that would surely be welcomed by Bernard Matthews with open arms. “Ghosts” for example is a real clunker; the idea may well have been to produce a slightly off kilter, kooky 80’s style Kate Bush inspired number. Unfortunately the song lumbers about with all the grace of Hagrid’s clumsy brother Grawp (from Harry Potter) before tripping over its ambition and landing on its bottom in an undignified heap.  “Remedy” is pure Euro kitsch, camper than God’s own panto dame Christopher Biggins performing “Go West” and will probably be everybody’s holiday song this year. Imagine a Lithuanian Laura Branigan performing at the Eurovision and you’re in the right ball park….But these are but minor gripes, on the whole if it’s a pure pop album you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong getting your hands on erm..  “Hands”! Unlike the personality vacuum that is the empty pop machine known as Girls Aloud, “Hands” has Hesketh’s pop vision running throughout,   like embossed letters through Blackpool rock. It won’t change your life, indeed one suspects that if you’re looking to Pop music to help initiate that sort of change, you’re looking in completely the wrong area (join a gym, read Dostoyevsky, change your job). That’s not to say “Hands” is artless or disposable, far from it, at its best it delivers highly sophisticated pop that pretty much makes Kylies back catalogue seem redundant.   It’s joyous crowd pleasing music of the highest order and doubtless will fill various dance floors up and down the country and provide the soundtrack to a cracking good night out, and do you know what?  Sometimes that’s all you need from pop music, innit?

8/10

Myspace

Official Site

“New In Town” By Little Boots

Wallpaper

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Music News /Downloads/Videos w/e 05/06/2009

Paloma Faith, Metric , Isa & The Filthy Tongues,  Free Downloads, Rose Elinor Dougall, The Rokettes, Run Toto Run

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PALOMA FAITH


Some 18 months or so ago we interviewed Paloma Faith, we recognised a singer of immense talent and breathtaking imagination (interview here) and were wowed by her early demos.   Paloma has  interesting career arch,  an ex magician’s assistant, trained contemporary dancer, St Martin’s college alumni with an MA in theatre direction, performer in burlesque shows and actress, but music has always been her primary love. She is finally due to release her debut single “Stone Cold Sober” on 15/06/2009 which  can be ordered here . Her album “Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful? Is released on 26.09.2009. The wait is almost over….

Official Website

Myspace

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METRIC – SICK MUSE

Metric release their second single from the brilliant “Fantasies” album . “Sick Muse” is melodically sweet yet thematically bitter, one which seethes with vitriol and sarcasm while at the same time brimming over with pop hooks and instantly memorable tunes aplenty. With Haines’ pithily observing in the chorus that “Everybody just  wanna fall in love”, “Sick Muse” comes on like a cool breeze on a hot summer night with razor blades in it.

Official Website

On Myspace

Interview With Emily Haines

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ISA & THE FILTHY TONGUES

“Big Star”

The bands last single New Town killer featured in NME magazine ’10 Tracks You Must Hear’ and the single signals an epic return to the UK music scene in what is proving to be a hugely successful year. If you enjoyed the last one then the bands latest offering “Big Star” may cause you to soil yourself with excitement as its fantastic. At times sounding like  Siouxsie at her most imperious fused with Debbie Harry this emerges from the darkness to dazzle.

Myspace

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THE LEGAL FREE STUFF

The Mummers vs Passion Pit | ‘Sleepyhead’  Now this is well worth a listen www.soundcloud.com/stayloose/sleepyhead_the-mummers-vs-passion-pit

Royksopp | ‘The Girl & The Robot’ (Chateau Marmont remix) http://soundcloud.com/stayloose/the-girl-and-the-robot-chateau-marmont-remix

Alessi’s Ark | ‘Simple Man’ (Lynrd Skynrd cover) http://soundcloud.com/stayloose/alessis-ark_simple-man-cover

Ain | ‘Sunday’ http://soundcloud.com/stayloose/ain_sunday

Moby | ‘Shot In The Back of the Head’ http://www.moby.com/

Hockey | ‘Learn To Lose’ (Labyrinth remix) http://soundcloud.com/stayloose/learn-to-lose-labyrinth-remix

Kleerup | ‘On My Own Again’ http://kleerup.net/free-download-on-my-on-again

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THE ROKETTES

BURN BABY BURN



Debut Single released June 29th on Delicious Records (Available via itunes and all major download sites)

The Rokettes are an indie band from East London. ‘Burn Baby Burn’ is their debut single, and is to be followed by the release of their first album in September this year. El, The Rokettes front woman, has gained national fame performing under the name of Elena.

El is accompanied by Ben Walker on guitar/bass and Merjin Royaards on drums.

Think “Plastic Letters” era Blondie after gargling razor blades- which is no bad thing!

www.therokettes.com

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ROSE ELINOR DOUGALL

R.E.D. is throwing a launch party this Monday 8th June at London’s Luminaire in celebration of new limited edition single ‘Stop/Start/Synchro’ which arrives next week through Elefant Records Singles Club and has been  lavished with well deserved  praise. Forget handclaps and dotty pop, she’s long left that behind. Live, she plays with her band The Distractions that build a fuzz filled, hard rocking psychedelic wall of sound alongside Rose’s soaring vocals. Great time to catch her before the release of upcoming debut album ‘Without Why’.

http://www.myspace.com/roseelinordougallmusic

Interview

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RUN TOTO RUN

Well we’ve had the Mummers Vs Passion Pit,  now check this cover, lovely eh?

They are currently on tour check their myspace for dates

Official Site

Myspace

Interview

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