What’s On Your I-Pod ? Festive Edition- 2009

VPME Whats on Your Ipod !

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We asked our musical chums to share either their favourite tunes of 2009, or if 2009 failed to produce anything that significantly moved them, anything else that had been on their I-pod/portable music device/stereo/ Wax cylinder phonograph etc …(delete where applicable) during the year…

Now many of you will be aware that The Jesus & Mary Chain are my absolute favourite band of all time, so when Jim Reid, yes, JIM REID! agreed to join in, well, I almost fell over!  Definitely my blog highlight of the year…so without further ado….

Jim Reid ( The Jesus & Mary Chain, Freeheat)

Jim Reid-The Jesus & Mary Chain

Universal Plan – Earl Brutus

Nick (Sanderson) told me he had formed a band, they were called Earl Brutus, they all wore pale blue safari suits, and that I should come along and see them play live. I did. From his brief description I had expected some kind of novelty band, along the lines of Mike Flowers Pops, but Christ was I wrong. What I got was a visually spectacular sonic assault.  Like The Stooges, Sex Pistols and Kraftwerk put through a mincer, and how could I have guessed that Nick for so long a drummer would be the best front man I have ever seen.

Earl Brutus were simply one of the best bands that I’ve ever heard. The fact that they never made it will always be a mystery to me.  I lost faith in the music business after the demise of Earl Brutus.  Nick was my mate, but that has nothing to do with anything. They were quite simply brilliant, and in a fair world they would have been to the 90s what the Sex Pistols were to the 70s, but the world is far from fair. I believe that great bands will form in the future as a result of hearing Earl Brutus records.

Cocaine – Dick Justice

Came across this by chance looking for free music on the internet. Got it from a site called PublicDomain4U. It was recorded in 1929 and the original was from a couple of years earlier and was by Luke Jordan, but it think I prefer this version. Great lyrics

Guitar On My Mind – Duane and Miriam Eddy

This is a Lee Hazelwood song from the album Strung Out On Something new.  Sounds like sort of a blueprint for Some Velvet Morning, but  I’m not really sure which one came first.

Two Ways Out – Darker My Love

We played some shows on the West Coast of the USA in 2007 and Darker My Love opened up and I was pretty impressed really. They gave us a copy of their album but most of the songs they were playing hadn’t been recorded yet. This song bears more than a passing resemblance to Alright by Supergrass, but don’t let that put you off.

They’re Talking About Us – The Tronics

Another one of those bands that should have happened.  I have always been a sucker for ultra lo-fi music. The drums on this sound like rolled up newspapers being hit against an old suitcase, and just when you are thinking these guys can’t play a note a lead guitar comes in , which I probably couldn’t play after 10 years of guitar lessons. The lyrics are brilliant.

Early Riser – Plus-Tech Squeeze Box

I saw this years ago on the Adam and Joe Show from the series in Tokyo and I thought it was great. Pop music the way only the Japs know how.

Final Solution – Pere Ubu

An anthem for weird loners everywhere. I’ll bet every serial killer in the last 20 years owns a copy.

Godstar – Psychic TV

1985’s indie scene  tended to be like a celebration of drabdom, spotty and jerky, sounding more like masturbation than music. so to hear a song called Godstar about Brian Jones with a tune written by Alex Ferguson had to be a winner really. I had been listening to Ferguson’s stuff for a while. I liked The Cash Pussies and the stuff he did with Alternative TV.

Hiroshima Mon Amour – Ultravox

There’s 2 versions of this and I love them both, but I think I prefer the upbeat guitar version that was on the b-side of Rockwrok.

All Your Favourite Records – Tompaulin

I co-produced a single for Tom Paulin  a few years ago but I was going through my alcoholic period at the time and although I think it turned out pretty good I think they recorded better records on their own, and I’m really fond of this understated little gem.

Bring Me The Head Of Yukio Mishima – Snivelling Shits

I didn’t hear this until about 5 years ago. I’d remembered The Snivelling Shits from punk days and I remember reading the review of Terminal Stupid but I thought it was more or less just a bit of a gag really since it was all to do with music journalists and stuff but then I heard the cd that came out a few years back called I Can’t Come, and it was just amazing, it was as good as anything that came out of the punk movement.

No One Is Innocent – Sex Pistols

The Swindle album never really got the recognition it deserves. I’ve always loved it. I mean maybe it wasn’t the Sex Pistols proper but it was pretty surreal , and there were some really great Cook and Jones songs on there. This song always makes me smile, and I still love it after all these years.

M.E.X.I.C.O.C.U. – The Kills

The Kills , I suppose to put it simply, make my kind of rock ‘n’ roll – no fucking about just straight down to it. Great songs and a great guitar sound, and just about the right amount of technology.

Passing Through – Leonard Cohen

I played this song a lot around about the time when my mother died a couple of years ago and it really takes me back to that time. I can’t really listen to it now without getting a little teary.

Carmelita – Warren Zevon

I wasn’t terribly familiar with Warren Zevon until someone gave me the Genius: Best Of album a few years ago and Carmelita just sounded amazing. Musically it is so accomplished and melodically sweet, but lyrically it deals with no hoper junkies in LA in the mid 70s. I guess it’s kind of psycho and Candy.

Beasley Street – John Cooper Clarke

JCC is often overlooked but at his best there wasn’t anybody better. I mean Christ this is as good as Dylan. Every single line in this song is like a fucking punch, absolute genius.

Jack On Fire – Gun Club

I used to run into Jeffrey on the odd occasion in the 1980s and I think he must have been a bit schizophrenic he could go from extreme friendliness to aggression bordering on psychotic in the blink of an eye, and from many mutual friends we had I heard many crazed stories, but didn’t the boy make great music? This was the first Gun Club song I ever heard, I still love it after all these years.

Two Sunsets – Pastels/Tenniscoats

I pretty much like anything that involves the Pastels & I usually say so any chance I get! This is no different -fragile music that I am really glad exists.

Electric Rock & Roll – Go-Kart Mozart

Starting to realise that there seems to be a theme running through my selections: bands that never made it, that should have. I always liked Felt, and Denim, likewise Go-Kart Mozart. Cheap synths, biscuit tin drum machines and like the songs says electric rock & roll.

Fat Man In The Bathtub – Little Feat

This song was actually chosen by my wife, Julie. Who would have thought that fat guys in white dungarees could have made such good music?”


John Moore (Black Box Recorder, The Jesus & Mary Chain, The John Moore Rock n’ Roll Trio  )

The only end of year poll worth having is a large erection on New Years Eve…However, I have been most impressed this year by a new up and coming band of chancers going by the ridiculous name of The John Moore Rock And Roll Trio featuring The Loose Moorelles. I’ve seen them a couple of times, and I have to admit that they’re not too bad – the singer’s a bit of a slob, but the women are hot and the band makes a hell of a racket.

John Moore

John Moore

Black Box Recorder dipped their gangrenous old toes back into the water, but then lay frozen in the bath tub for four days until the meals on wheels lady knocked the door down…needless to say, the scene was a depressing one and the stench was overpowering. No deaths were shittier than that of Lux Interior, whose lux interior seriously let him down in the end. I am not a fan of Michael Jackson, although I feel saddened that he never got the chance to go out on a high…he deserved to..That is not a drug joke, it is sincere.

Nothing much springs to mind when I think about vibrant new culture, but then again, I’m getting on a bit. I had hoped for the complete collapse of society a return to bartering, and the show trial and execution of bankers and most government parasites…it’ll have to wait until 2010, but it IS coming.

I have been quite pleased that the male menopause seems to have passed my door without knocking once again and that I have – if anything, slightly more hair than last year – albeit some growing from my ears…still, at my age, hair is hair, wherever it sprouts from.
If anything, I am more divorced from society than I was at this time last year, so hopefully 2010 will see me asbo’d and given an exclusion order not to come within a thousand feet of polite society. A merry Christmas to all and a happy new year. How hollow those words sound. XX


Laura Barton ( The Guardian, The Loose Moorelles)

Laura Barton

This is so very very tricky, more songs I’ve loved this year keep falling into my head… But anyway, here goes…

Bon Iver – Beach Baby
I’m contractually bound to mention Bon Iver as many times as possible in any paragraph, but that aside, this dong has been my constant companion since January. It’s a brief, odd little ditty that kind of breaks my heart and mends it at the same time. If that doesn’t sound too contradictory and/or wanky. It’s also really beautiful. Bonus fact: I’ve spent a lot of 2009 writing a book, and this song has been my favourite music to write to.

Noah & the Whale – My Door is Always Open
I love a good break-up album, and the Noah album was my favourite example this year. This is its closing track, and it moves from despondency to a kind of defiant, open-hearted joy in just a few minutes. The closing refrain “I love with my heart/ And I hold with my hands/ But you know/ My heart’s not yours” just buckles me every single time.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Skeletons (acoustic)
I rate Karen O as one of the best songwriters in the world today – a fact illustrated by her ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ soundtrack and by the YYYs record ‘It’s Blitz.’ It was the acoustic versions that accompanied the latter that really brought this home to me. For all the terrific boom and bombast of the original It’s Blitz, the acoustic versions, stripped back, skeletal, really showcased her songwriting prowess. Karen O hadn’t sounded this vulnerable or this mesmerising since Maps.

Jamie T – Emily’s Heart
This year’s Jamie T album was one of my favourite records of the year, and this was my favourite track  – a dark tale of a shotgun and a woman wronged. He’s one of the most talented artists in Britain today and by rights deserves to be huge.

The Maccabees -Seventeen Hands
I liked the first Maccabees album, but never thought they would graduate beyond cutesy indie. This year proved me wrong – Wall of Arms was a brilliant, complex, powerful record. This track, about Orlando Weeks’ grandparents, a proposal and a horse seventeen hands high, is such an extraordinary, romantic tale that I was truly smitten.
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

George Pringle – Carte Postale

and Emmy the Great -MIA (I’ve not included them as really I fell in love with them last year)

Beth Jeans Houghton – Golden

Marina & the Diamonds – Obsessions

Edward Sharpe – Home

Girls – Lust for Life

Califone – All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

Chapel Club – All the Eastern Girls

The Xx – Stars

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks ( an oldie, but seeing it live blew my tiny mind)


Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff)

Miles Hunt

Miles Hunt

“I’ve really enjoyed Frank Turner’s ‘Love & Ire’ album this year, my Brother turned me onto it after seeing him at Beautiful Days. Devin Townsend’s ‘Ocean Machine’ album got a lot of plays at our house this year too, I believe that was released in 2003, either way, it’s a beautiful piece of work.

Erica & I played with a band called Ten Minute Turns in NYC in August & their album, ‘Return To Robot City’, has been with us ever since. I rediscovered Luke Haines project from the mid ’90’s , Baader Meinhoff, after reading his biography “Britpop; My Part in it’s Downfall“. That’s a f*ckin’ great album.

But I suppose most listened to in 2009 for me has been Dirty Ray. He used to be Kevin Weatherall of Immaculate Fools but these days he’s Dirty Ray. I recorded/produced three of his songs for the ‘Shared’ album & will be recording an album with him in January & February 2010. The demos he has given me of new songs are wonderful, really looking forward to working with him.”

“Meet Me At The Airport”Baader Mienhof


Paloma Faith

Florence and the Machine- Cosmic Love
Kings of Leon-
Sex on Fire
Empire of the Sun –
Standing on The Shore –
MGMT -Electric Feel
Anthony Heggarty – (Beyonce’s )Crazy in Love ___________________________________________________________________________

The Indelicates

Simon Indelicate

“The Noodle Song – by a random busking skiffle band in Mauerpark, Berlin
Like A Rolling Stone – by the mad homeless on the Cliffe Bridge
Young and Sexy – by Lily Rae and the Saturday Girls
Dear Lily – by Dan Bull

Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire – by The Ink Spots (which actually came out in 1941 but which was on the Fallout 3 soundtrack, thus making it part of better art than any of these dreadful bands that the young people like)”

Julia Indelicate

“The Recession Song by The Indelicates
Bob Dylan Christmas Album
Everybody was in the French Resistance… Now
Keep That Control by Scream Club
Anything by Lily Rae and by Keith Totp, both with stuff I’ve heard that’s out next year :)”


Kate Mullins

Kate Mullins

Kate Mullins ( the Puppini Sisters)

“Regina Spektor: Genuis Next Door.

Mumford and Sons: Little Lion Man.

Bat For Lashes: Glass.

Biffy Clyro: That Golden Rule.

Mumford and Sons: “I Gave You All.”


Charlie & Paisley (Detox Cute And The Beauty Junkies)

The Trashcan Sinatras: ‘People’
Moving from the west coast of Scotland to the west coast of America has obviously done Irving’s darling buds of pop a favour. Gone are the austere and desolate love songs from the ‘Weightlifting’ era – replaced by buoyant, confident musings, of which ‘People’ is a fine illustration of the band’s newfound optimism. Crikey, after years of the dreadful Travis et al we may even see a delightful return of the phrase ‘jingly-jangly’.

‘My Life Would Suck Without You’ – Kelly Clarkson

“A controversial choice perhaps. Mostly because of this girls connection with ‘that’ Simon Cowell. Everyone knows what Detox Cute thinks of Si-Co (to recap, not much). Perhaps if he did what he meant to do – find ‘THE ULTIMATE POP STAR’, that would be that. But no, he wants to find one every year! Twice, if you take into account the show he does over Easter – then the one for Christmas. Hmmm. Anyway, Kelly won the very first series of ‘American Idol’. Like our own home grown Will Young, she has now managed to distance herself from the show, and create her very own place on our pop palette. We like singing along to pop, and this song has sing-along-ability in spades. Big sassy vocals and a driving pop beat that makes me wiggle my hips. Thank you Kelly – oh, and we love the lollipop!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h09_1qdkFIA (in case you don’t thinks we should do it!)

Morrissey: ‘I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris’
I don’t know about ‘Last of the Famous International Playboys’ but Moz is surely one of the last of the intelligent pop stars this country has. Where else would you find wit, wisdom and humour in lyrics as well as swooning arrangements and crooning vocals? George Michael’s lost it, Damon’s last project was, quite frankly, dull and even Noel Gallagher’s little comedy songs aren’t funny anymore. So it’s left up to S.P. Morrissey to carry the flag first unfurled by Lennon, McCartney, Ray Davies, Marc Bolan and Adam Ant. What’s that you say? Razorlight? Hmm, don’t think so! “

“’I Haven’t Met You Yet’ – Michael Buble
Our band doesn’t have mega bucks, and now the car CD player is bust we so we have to rely on the radio for entertainment on our journeys to gigs. Usually we listen to local radio, much of which is actually Heart FM or something. Anyway, they are in cahoots to make sure that they play Michael Buble AT LEAST 17 times during each journey we go on. We know all the words to this song. Whether we want to or not. I’m sure you are lovely Michael, but blimey, enough now lovey.”

(you know this one!)

“Husky Rescue: ‘We Shall Burn Bright’
Maybe it’s the long dark winters that the Fins are less inclined to chase various sized and shaped pig’s bladders around in the mud and more likely to spend their time figuring out chord sequences to beautiful, ambient pop songs. Quite simply, this is the best song I’ve heard all year – it’s as if Kraftwerk held a party and invited The Human League, Frazier Chorus, Camera Obscura, Dressy Bessy and Can to come and watch the first snows of winter fall on the ground while sipping funny-coloured cocktails with sparklers in the glass. Dazzling.”


Rachael Kitchenside -Run Toto Run

“Michachu: Golden Phone All of Run Toto Run have been obsessed with her for the last year or so, we’ve seen her about 5 times this year.

Ellie Goulding: Starry Eyed, even though I don’t think it’s had a proper release yet, it’s such a perfect beautiful little song

The XX: Crystallised : What a wonderful and unexpected breakthrough band for 2009, this has been a fave in RTR’s touring coupe.

Bombay Bicycle Club:Always Like This.  Definitely another RTR fave, as our cover proves. Matt has a short attention span and car DJs whenever we’re on a trip and there’s usually no space for repeat tracks, but every time this is on, it gets to the end and I say “can we have that one again” and he always gladly obliges.

The Passion Pit Remix of Dan Black’s Symphonies has been a feature of many of this year’s car journeys.”


Dyan Valdés ( The Blood Arm, Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now )

Everybody Was In The French Resistance Now!

Here are my 5 favorites, in no particular order:

1. Ezra Furman – Take Off Your Sunglasses
The very first time I heard this song, I absolutely loved it. Eddie and I were driving around LA when it came on the radio, and at exactly the same time both of us stopped talking right as we heard his voice so we could listen. It’s so rare that a song is so immediate and reels you in so completely – we went home and bought the album right away.

2. Sweaters – every song they have
Sweaters is my favorite band in LA at the moment. They are also very close friends with my band The Blood Arm, so I have had the great privilege of seeing nearly all of their live shows and listening to the demos their singer Jordan sends out on an almost weekly basis. They play fantastically catchy piano-based rock that has an almost ’70s vibe to it. I love everything they have written, so I couldn’t choose a single song. Go listen to them right now: www.myspace.com/sweatersdontjudge. You’re welcome!

3. The Fiery Furnaces – Keep Me in the Dark
I’m a huge Fiery Furnaces fan (I even regularly listen to the grandmother album). “I’m Going Away” is their best album in years – the songs are more structured and poppier, and the lyrics and music completely pull you into Fiery Furnaces world, which is a fantastic place to be! I think my favorite track is Keep Me in the Dark. Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now! are supporting them in Paris in February, and I can’t wait!

4. Art Brut – Alcoholics Unanimous

I know it’s a bit cheeky to name one of my boyfriend’s songs on this list, but it genuinely is one of my favorite songs of the year. And after seeing it live probably hundreds of times, I still get excited when they play it. Great music, great lyrics, and I can’t get enough of the call-and-response backing vocals. I got to be in the video for this song which was great fun – we had a “brawl” sequence in which I got to “elbow-drop” Ian, the guitarist. It went fine in rehearsal but when we actually shot it, I messed up and actually elbow-dropped him with full force. I felt terrible but I think Ian kind of likes being beat up, so it was OK in the end.

5. Beyonce – Single Ladies
Obvious choice, but anyone who doesn’t put this song on their end-of-the-year favorites list is lying.


Video Villain

“Bat For Lashes – Daniel -Saw her live earlier in the year and she was awesome

Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana -You can’t talk about 2009 without a nod to the king of pop.

The Prodigy – Omen -One of the best live bands around, a force to be reckoned with.

Linkin Park – New Divide -Shit film but we’re suckers for an epic tune.

Lady Ga-Ga-Paparazzi -You’ve got to take your hat off to her, she dominated the charts in  2009 plus her songs are serious earworms.”


Nicole Atkins

Nicole Atkins

“Flaming Lips– Silver Trembling Stars

St Vincent – Help Me

Anything by Dungen

The entire new Echo and the Bunnymen record

The Avett Brothers– And It Spread

Also Neko Case’s “Vengeance” oh and the Alberta Cross record.”

Donna Grimaldi – Katsen

“Some were released late 2008  I think…

School of Seven Bells -Iamundernodisguise (Alpinisms)

Passion Pit- I’ve Got Your Number (Chunk of Change EP)

Telepathe -Devil’s Trident

Metric -Help I’m Alive (Fantasies)  

Chairlift -Bruises (Does You Inspire You)”


Phil King ( Lush, Felt, The Jesus And Mary Chain, The John Moore Rock n’ Roll Trio)

Don´t really listen to much new stuff. Actually that´s not true as I hear new releases all day in the ‘Uncut’ office.  I liked The XX album.”


Eliza Doolittle

“Empire of the Sun -We Are The People

Eliza Doolittle

Golden Silvers – Arrows of Eros

The XX – Crystallised

Nneka – Heartbeat (chase and status remix)

Kings of Leon – Revelry”


Polly Mackey

1. The Kills– Last Day of Magic

2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs -Heads Will Roll

3. Wild Beasts All The Kings Men

4. PJ Harvey- Black Hearted Love

5. The Dead Weather -Treat Me Like Your Mother


Oliver Gordon Dogwood (Cheambeat Radio and TV presenter, VPME Record Review panel member and occasional contributor)


Thanks to everyone  and special thanks to Julie.

VP x

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The Trouble With…2009…. A Review Of The Year


“Pop Star” By Kids On Bridges

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2009 saw the rise of 80’s influenced electronic pop as the ladies dominated the charts whilst simultaneously plunging their shiny stilettoThe Devil Wears....George heels through the raddled heart of landfill indie. It appeared that even Joe Public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for shite had reached a tipping point. I guess when confronted with the prospect of another year of musical manure from the likes of The Pigeon Detectives or The Fratellis, it was hardly a surprise that people beat a hasty retreat and fell for the charms of Florence, Little Boots and La Roux. This was the year in which laddish guitar based music became about as popular as Jan Moir at a Boyzone gig.  Yeah Yeah Yeahs ditched their guitars completely and managed to produce one of their best ever albums, as did Editors who erm. . . didn’t.  White Lies employed synth and guitar in equal measure to devastatingly shite effect and managed to conjure up an aural hell that sounded like Scouting For Girls at an Editors karaoke.

Elsewhere the elder statesmen and women of pop proved to be as popular as ever but sadly it wasn’t always plain sailing, the spirit may be willing but in some cases the flesh was decidedly weak. Spare a thought for poor old Morrissey. 2009 saw the great man ‘celebrate’ his 50th tortured year on this orb we call earth but a number of health scares blighted an otherwise successful year.  Something Is Squeezing My SkullHis aptly named ‘Tour of Refusal’ became something of a guessing game. Will he cancel? Will he collapse? Or will he simply flounce off in a huff? Such were the concerns over Mozza’s health that it became customary for loyal fans to throw items such as bottled water on stage thus providing refreshment and thereby ensuring  Morrissey’s maxim ‘The show must go on’ was strictly adhered to.  However in Liverpool the great man was seriously injured as a stray object hurled from the crowd made contact with his regal noggin and he refused to carry on.  Some accused him of behaving like a spoilt prima donna but previously unseen exclusive footage proves our bequiffed hero had  little option but to call a  halt to  proceedings.


Pop became de rigueur once more in 2009 and at the forefront  was Lady Ga-Ga who proved herself to be a bona-fide pop star and not, as some suspected, one of  Sasha Baron Cohen’s satirical creations and she  showed  us  exactly what she’s made of, quite literally.  She treated fans at Glastonbury to the sort of views that possibly only her gynaecologist had previously been privy to, defiantly a case of “access all areas”. Meanwhile the lure of a headline slot at Michael Eavis’ funny farmstead and a number of lucrative reunion gigs saw Blur, fronted by the rubicund Demon Allbran, reunite to reproduce their unique brand of Chas N’ Dave inspired art school mockney toss,  fused with the sort of  lyrical dexterity that makes The  Tweenies  opus “Have Fun Go Mad” seem positively Cohen-esque in comparison.  In a media driven world desperate for heroes, Blur’s workman like but spectacularly average performance was afforded the same cultural significance as say, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and prompted  Jo Wiley to simper “in years to come at least we can say -we were there.” At the very same festival,  god’s own trucker Bruce Springsteen demonstrated he really was ‘Born to OverRun’ as his headline slot went on and on and on and then on a bit more..It was truly ‘the day the earth stood still’.

Lily Allen engaged mouth but not brain in a rant about the mortal damage currently being inflicted on the music industry but rather surprisingly neglected to mention Mr Cowell and his musical burger flippers. Lily’s ire was directed at ‘Big Music’s’ arch enemy that loathsome toad, “the illegal downloader”. She had a point; I mean you wouldn’t expect to download a car for free would you? Erm, no.  Whilst the rant that inspired “Lily-gate” wasn’t exactly the Gettysburg address, her tirade may have contained some salient points with regard to the theft of intellectual property. Alas her statements were essentially stripped of any credibility when it was discovered that Lily had lifted her argument wholesale from another website and passed it off as her own. See you in court or fair usage ?

Still you can’t accuse Lily of hypocrisy; at least she decided to do her bit to halt any further damage to music by announcing she has no plans to release another album. The reason? Well with Lily it’s all about artistic integrity and following her muse isn’t it?  Well, actually, no- it isn’t, she claimed she can no longer make enough money as a musician and therefore decided to take her paper thin talent and inflict it upon another artistic medium. The theatrical world can barely contain its excitement at the prospect of Lily treading the boards and it appears that music’s gain is set to become acting’s loss! Mind you Joss Stone saw things in a slightly different light suggesting musicians who’s sole motivation is money and celebrity do little to help “real musicians””-“Who said that musicians have to be millionaires? Who made this a rule? We don’t need that much money. We only need enough to make music, eat and go on tour”. She also went on record as saying that filesharing “might change music for the better. It might sort the weeds from the flowers.”

The Mouth That Roared

A Talking Bollock

British Music Rights CEO, “Frugal” Sharkey, who’s ghastly visage conjures up an image of what one of Mark E. Smiths testicles would look like if it could talk, joined the debate, “our members cannot continue to innovate and invest in the shadow of an illegal peer-to-peer ecosystem”. To tackle this issue Frugal has called for the whole of internet to be shut down, like, forever. Sharkey also proposed that a national ear tax should be levied to ensure that the public did not inadvertently hear music which they had not purchased. Furthermore he  suggested that a return to the dark ages would be no bad thing for musicians and petitioned  for a total ban on electricity whilst proposing that each village, town or city  should have an official designated minstrel licensed to sing cheery ballads about ‘Perfect Cousins’ and other such piffle.

Then there was Cowell, he continued to extend his poisonous tentacles into all spheres of popular culture and his relentless drive towards world domination seemed unstoppable. Indeed Marina Hyde suggested that such is Cowell’s cankerous influence that we may need to reclassify the seasons of the year. For example autumn will be rechristened “the final 12″, in the forthcoming replacement for the Gregorian calendar, where the year is merely divided according to which Simon Cowell reality format is dominating the schedules.” I’m afraid this fellow has inflicted more damage on music than any number of downloaders could ever do, yet his role as musical Dementor goes relatively unchallenged.  He seems to have left no frontier unconquered and it’s surely only a matter of time before he taps into the lucrative Goth/Emo market with yet another format to add to his axis of evil. “The Goth Factor” or possibly “Emo Idol” could be yet another cynical, soulless ratings winner but surely even he couldn’t have produced a band as contrived and as woeful as the Horrors!  I mean surely people weren’t about to take these jokers seriously. . . . . were they??

The Goth Factor-shite Is the new cool

Sting managed to tear himself away from tantric sex long enough to  make a statement that was actually relevant as he  joined in the X-Factor debate.  Incensed at how performers are routinely humiliated in the name of “entertainment” he said “How appalling for a young person to feel that rejection. It is a soap opera which has nothing to do with music. In fact, it has put music back decades. Television is very cynical.” He also added that X-Factor reinforces dreary “safe” stereotypes “They are either Mariah Carey,  Whitney Houston or Boyzone and are not encouraged to or even allowed to create any real unique signature or fingerprint. The X Factor is a preposterous show and you have judges who have no recognisable talent apart from self-promotion, advising them what to wear and how to look. It is appalling.” Let’s hope the backlash is finally starting to gain momentum!

“When Simon Met Cheryl “

2009 contained its far share of tragedy too, possibly none greater than harrowing sight of bug eyed UFO enthusiast and Red-coat in X-ENTERTAINERwaiting, Robbie Williams, attempting to revive a career that had almost exclusively catered for people who don’t actually like music, a void that of course, has been more than amply filled in the Robster’s absence by the X Factor. ( No Rob, that’s X-Factor, not Files!)

This year we also said goodbye to a number of musical legends.  Those no longer with us included Seeds front man, the great Sky Saxon and pushy parents of stage school kids around the globe found the business opportunities in the  ‘extortion of  money from lunatic pop stars’ market place had all but collapsed following the loss of Michael Jackson. Sadly in 2009 the ‘King of Pop’ popped his moon walking clogs, took the second star to the right and flew straight on till morning.

Opinion is divided on Wacko’s legacy. Ardent fans believe he was a misunderstood, childlike genius and are keen to move any discussion away from his strange appetites and focus solely on his music. Being good at dancing and singing is possibly not the best legal defence in the world but unlike Gary Glitter, Jacko did posses the sort of talent that seemed to blind many to his disturbing predilections and uncanny resemblance to a fruitcake. However if we stay rooted in reality we can acknowledge Jackson was indeed a great songwriter whilst at the same time accept that he was also a dysfunctional freak whose behaviour towards children was questionable to say the least. It was also a time to say goodbye to Cramps legend Lux Interior, who died suddenly in February. I suppose he was at least spared the indignity of being described as an influence on the mumbled, half-arsed, po-faced ‘Gothy Horror Show’ that was “Primary Colours”. Other music related deaths saw the unedifying spectacle of The Daily Mail gleefully dancing on Stephen Gately’s still warm grave, whilst Les Paul and Willy De Ville also exited stage left.

Glasvegas in "The Broons"

In September Glasvegas front man James Allan, AKA “Bono’s Apprentice”, went missing for five days prior to the Mercury Music Prize in what many saw as a desperately sad  publicity stunt. Thankfully Mr Allan was found safe and well, it transpired he had merely disappeared up his own arse.  Earlier in  January , Green Day bid a tearful goodbye to the inspiration behind one of their biggest selling albums as President Pumpkin-head vacated the White House and Barack Obama’s inauguration saw him take on the mantle of “Most Powerful Man in the World Besides Simon Cowell”. Within seconds of taking up office the new Prez was awarded the  “Nobel Peace Prize” by the simple virtue of not being George W Bush.

Can We Fix It ?

Barack’s Victory Song

We also lost one of our favourite upcoming bands as Ipso Facto became Splitso Facto and decided to call it a day. Meanwhile the Samaritans experienced one of their quietest days on record as universal indifference greeted the news that Oasis had finally split. Defiantly ? Maybe? Who cares !  But perhaps the most upsetting news received this  year was the announcement that Brighton Institute of Modern Music darlings, The Kooks, are planning to start recording a third album ( yes THIRD!) very soon.  However 2010 will see albums released by The Indelicates, Thomas Tantrum, The Thermals,  LCD Soundsystem, Midlake,  The Strokes and  Cat Power.  Marina and the Diamonds also  releases her much anticipated début “The Family Jewels” while Eddie Argos and Dyan Valdés will be ‘Fixing The Charts’ with their new project ‘Everybody Was In the French Resistance Now!’  Which all goes to prove that  there is still hope and “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies.”

Ipso Splitso

Last word goes to Kids on Bridges with their song ‘Popstar’,  a great  song with the sort of sentiments The VPME wholly approves of …We asked the duo what “inspired” (if that’s the right word!) them to write it

Christian ( Kids On Bridges): “Where do I begin with the X Factor..or more so Simon Cowell…The song was written with the sentiment that  shows like the X Factor have made a mockery out of this generations music which is fast becoming the karaoke age. People  just want to be famous for famous sake there’s  no substance to what they do. It’s just one big marketing racket from start to finish.  The X Factor is a show that has nothing to do with music. It  leaves us celebrating mediocrity and provides short-cut to fame.  Its ridiculous  when you think about it , even a month ago people were  already talking about buying a song that they haven’t even heard,  knowing  it will go to number one, recorded  by a faceless , ready made Pop star….”

The Carnival Of Fools - Simon Cowell

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So This Is Christmas 2009

Don't Let X Factor F**k Up Your Christmas !
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Christmas songs love ’em or loathe ’em they have become a staple of the festive period . Here are some new songs, old songs and videos which kind of sum up Christmas at VP Towers . We love Christmas and are positively gushing with  festive joy, so let us be the cream on your Christmas pudding,  the mince in your pie as we  fill your stocking,  empty our  festive sack, roast our chestnuts on your open fire and  vigorously polish our enormous baubles. Oh and f**k the X-Factor , remember 20 million watched that steaming pile of shite but 40 million didn’t .  Let’s not let it ruin Christmas. 😉

If you’re taken with an overwhelming urge to purchase a couple of  Christmas albums  this year then make sure “The Indiecater Christmas Album 2009” and Bob Dylan’s festive offering ( scroll down) are on your list.. As it’s the season of goodwill you could also download F*cked Up’s version of “Do They Know Its Christmas” ( featuring Bob Mould, Tegan And Sarah, Andrew WK, Yo La Tengo). All proceeds will go to benefit three organizations in Canada working to bring to end to the epidemic of missing and murdered native women.  As it’s for charity Fucked Up’s Damian”Pink Eyes” Abraham admitted he would have even allowed Bongo to join them on this version -“As terrible as I find [Bono’s] music and as reprehensible as I find him as a person,” he said, “I would definitely have had him on.” But thankfully he didn’t so go and download it !  HERE

The Indiecater Christmas Album 2009 (a great Xmas album)

(Click pic for details!)

An Indiecator Christmas

Boca Cica“Snow Angels” ( from the Indiecater Christmas Album)

Meanwhile JC  celebrates Christmas , no not that JC , this JC !

"I Wish It Was Christmas Today" By Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas- “I Wish It Was Christmas Today”

A Christmas Duel

The Hives vs Cyndi Lauper –A Christmas Duel

Alexi Sayle Christmas Special

Emmy The Great- "Christmas In Prison"

Emmy The Great Christmas In Prison”

Fleet Foxes-“White Winter Hymnal”

The Joy Formidable‘My Beerdrunk Soul Is Sadder Than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees’

The Long Blondes-“Christmas Is Cancelled”

Those nice folk at Ruff Lane Records have a whole FREE festive EP for you to download , as well as featuring Lucky Soul’s fab cover of Mud’s “Lonely This Christmas” there are 3 other tracks for you to grab. Simply click the arrow pointing down on each track on the player below to download

And here’s Lucky Soul’s new single “White Russian Doll” taken from their forthcoming album set for release in 2010

Kate Bush“December Will Be Magic Again”

The Lancashire Hot Pots– “Happy Non Denomination Winter Festival Celebration”

Toir Amos-"Star Of Wonder"- Midwinter Graces

Tori Amos-“Star Of Wonder”

Obviously Xmas wouldn’t be the same with out

The Pogues-Fairytale of the New York (Top Of the Pops)

This year sees the release of Bob Dylan’s first ever festive album, proceeds from the sale will be devoted to feeding homeless people in every territory in which it is released ( click pic)

Bob Dylan "Christmas In The Heart"

Bob Dylan –“The First Noel”

The Dr Who Xmas Special is now part and parcel of Xmas Day and this year David Tennant departs to make way for the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith …

It’s A Wonderful Life

Frisky and Mannish“Baby It’s Cold Outside”

Detox Cute And The Beauty Junkies“Cliff-mas Song”

And one for me dear ole Mum 😉

Nat King Cole“The Christmas Song”

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The VPME Awards 2009


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2009 ? How was it for you ?  In part 1 of our review of 2009 we reflect on the music that moved and inspired us and pay tribute to the musicians involved.

Album Of  The year 2009

Album Of 2009-Emmy The Great-"First Love"

1. Emmy The Great-“First Love”

Quite simply an amazing album of brutal honesty, wit and intelligence which cuts  through the big label endorsed shite like a laser. Anybody who dismisses  Emmy The Great as quirky or twee hasn’t been listening. This is an album that will still move me and make me cry  when I’m old and infirm as much as it did when I first heard it.  It’s timeless.  (Review here)

“M.I.A.” By Emmy The Great

Emmy couldn’t be with us to collect her beautiful award, hand crafted from the finest pixels, she’s gone all Mariah Carey 😉   but via her I-phone she was able to send us this rather moving victory speech…..

EMMY: “I’d like to start my acceptance speech for this prestigious and important jpeg by saying thank you. However, I literally cannot remember who any of you people are. Ever since the album came out there has been considerable Von Pip buzz and I’m afraid the attention has gone right to my head. I’m currently to be found sitting at home waiting for confirmation of my MBE and overseeing plans for a giant gold bust of my head to replace the statue of Nelson Mandela or whatever in Trafalgar Square. It’s not yet been commissioned which is weird but I guess it’s just the hectic Christmas season. On the music front, I’ve been busy firing almost everybody I know and growing my hair to the point where I can plait it like a raver.  My new album, ‘Half-Chinese Democracy’ will be out in about ten to fifteen years. Please leave me alone now. Bye.

Ps I’ve just had word from my manager, who I’ve fired, that this needs to be more grateful. Fine. Thanks. It’s a lovely trophy. I’ll put it on the mantelpiece next to all my other trophies*

*porcelain cats from Argos”

And EUEN from the band had this to say: “You know those moments when somebody says “I loved it when you.…”   Or “remember that awesome moment when you …..” or “the way you dealt with that situation was so good …..” and you have no recollection of having involvment in said praises? Well that’s how I feel with this  album “First Love” by “Emmy the Great”. I really enjoyed my supposed involvement, according to everyone who saw me there. And thanks to the Von Pip blog. If there are any other smash hit albums I’ve worked on, please, let me know.

2.Patrick Wolf -The Bachelor

Wolfs 4th album famously partly funded by donations from fans via the internet is a triumph on every level and it’s the album his obvious talent had always threatened to produce.  Like a distant male relative of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’ , Wolf has produced something of a Baroque masterpiece.

“Hard Times”-By  Patrick Wolf

3. Metric- Fantasies

“Fantasies” is Metric’s fourth studio album and possibly their best work to date, the sleek production has given rise to a slightly more radio friendly feel but it’s done in such a way that is unobtrusive and merely serves to help the band achieve a sound that is bold and dramatic whilst still retaining their intrinsic “Metric-ness”. (interview with Emily Haines here)

4. A Place To Bury Strangers -Exploding Head

An amazing album that combines sonic fury with an urgent adrenaline fuelled pop sensibility. They clearly don’t list bands who have influenced their sound merely to  appear ‘hip’, nope these lads have a genuine understanding of and appreciation for, bands such as  The Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. And it shows.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

5 .Howling Bells- Radio Wars

Listening to a Howling Bells album often feels like you’re being bewitched and slowly, subtly seduced, as they draw you into a world where beauty and nightmares are never far from the surface. Their songs are invariably haunting, menacing and unique, unique in the sense that you really couldn’t imagine anybody other than Juanita Stein singing them. She breaths life into each song, giving them depth, meaning and beauty, whilst the band provide the perfect stage upon which Juanita’s vocals can weave their subtle magic. (review here, interview with Juanita here

“Into The Chaos”-Howling Bells

6. The Xx- The Xx

The XX prove that less is more as their skeletal arrangements showcase songs of pristine pop beauty that need neither gimmick or the honking horns of Mark Ronson. It’s a subtle, shimmering album and may well be regarded in time as one of the great debuts.

“VCR” The XX

7.Raveonettes-In And Out Of Control

(Heart Of  Stone-The Raveonettes-below)

8. The Yeah Yeah Yeah- Its Blitz

9. Charlotte Hatherley -New Worlds

10.The Joy Formidable – A Balloon Called Moaning

(The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade-The Joy Formidable-below)

11.Florence & The Machine -Lungs

12.Fight Like Apes- And The Secret Of The Golden Medallion

13.Echo & The Bunnymen-The Fountain

14. The Boxer Rebellion-Union

15. Fanfarlo- Reservior

16.MorrisseyYears Of Refusal

17.Mumford And Sons-Sigh No More

18.Silver Sun Pickups-Swoon

19. Lisa Hannigan See-Sew

20.Bat For Lashes-Two Suns

21.Camera Obscura -My Maudlin Career

22.Biffy Cylro-Only Revolutions

23.Katsen-It Hertz

24.The Pains of Being Pure at Heart-TPOBPH

25.Animal Kingdom-Signs & Wonders

26.Theoretical Girl-Divided

27.Hockey-Mind Chaos

28. The Dead Weather-Horehound

29.Regina Spektor-Far

30.Kill It Kid -Kill It Kid

31. Paloma Faith- Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful?

32. Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications

33. Fever Ray- Fever Ray

34. The Thermals-Now We Can See

35. Spinnerette – Spinnerette

36. La Roux-La Roux

37. Sky Larkin-The Golden Spike

38.Bombay Bicycle Club-I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose

39. Richard Hawley-Truelove’s Gutter

40.Asobi Seksu – Hush

Single /Ep Track Of The Year 2009

Single Of The Year -Marina And The Diamonds

1.Marina And The Diamonds-I am Not A Robot

Probably listened to this song more than any other this year, personal reasons make it very special but its also a f**king great pop song from a singer who doesn’t follow the conventional rules.

2. A Place To Bury -Strangers -Keep Slipping Away

3.Metric-Gimme Sympathy

4.Julian Casablancas-11th Dimension

5.The Raveonettes-The Last Dance

6.Marina And The Diamonds-Obsessions

7.Patrick Wolf-Vulture

8.Emmy The Great-Edward Is Dedward

(re-recording below)

9.The Joy Formidable-Whirring

10.Bat For Lashes-Daniel

11.Exlovers-You Forget So Easily

12.Echo & The Bunnymen-I Think I Need It Too

13.The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart-Young Adult Friction (below)

14.Yeah, Yeah Yeahs-Zero

15.Emmy The Great-First Love

16.Patrick Wolf – Damaris

17.Metric -Help I’m Alive

18.The xx-Crystallised

19.Isa & The Filthy Tongues-Big Star (below)

20.Marina And The Diamonds-Mowgli’s Road

21.Biffy Clyro-The Captain

22.Mumford & Sons-Little Lion Man (below)

23.Hockey-Song Away

24.The Raveonettes-Bang!

25.Animal kingdom – Tin Man

Best Reissue/Compilation 2009

The Jesus & Mary Chain-The Power Of Negative Thinking

Compliation Of The Year 2009 -The Jesus And Mary Chain

“The Hardest Walk “ By The Jesus & Mary Chain

One of the biggest misconceptions about the Jesus & Mary Chain has always been that they were nothing more than dour nihilistic ‘noise terrorists’. What the “Power  of Negative Thinking” clearly demonstrates is that simply wasn’t the case.  It’s true The JAMC were often architects of their own downfall in a “business” sense but this retrospective offers proof positive that musically they have few equals. “The Power of Negative Thinking” provides 81 non Album “A side’s, plus the bands entire history of  B-sides, demos, and covers.  It showcases that the Reid Brothers were not only writers of melodious,  pristine pop songs and true iconoclasts but also reveals their rich love and understanding of rock’n’roll history and its mythology.  ‘Psychocandy’ regarded by many as their opus , may have taken Phil Spector’s musical template and beat the living shit out of it,  fusing it with guitar distortion and effects but that was only part of the JAMC’s musical legacy. Forget the riots, forget the feedback and Jim and William’s punch ups,   because these distractions should not be allowed to overshadow the Mary Chain’s  music which has stood the test of time and furnished us with songs that can rightly be regarded as  bona fide classics.   They paved the way for bands like My Bloody Valentine , Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr et all  to become media darlings and their influence is still apparent today in bands such as The Raveonettes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Gliss and a Place To Bury Strangers. The fact that they remain one of the most under-appreciated bands in music is still baffling  but for me their songs were genuinely life changing. ‘The Power of Negative Thinking’ reveals what true fans of the band have always known and is something that is rather surprisingly so often overlooked- this band has soul.  The Reid Brothers may never make it into the rock n roll hall of fame, they may have burnt too many bridges and that fact probably isn’t something they’d lose any sleep over but surely it’s about time their legend was afforded the respect it deserves. This is truly what Rock n’ Roll is all about.

Videos Of The Year

Videos Of The Year 2009

1.“I Say Fever” By Ramona Falls

Not just a great video, this is one of THE GREAT videos,we are talking of all time. Genius

2.” Mowgli’s Road” By Marina And The Diamonds

This is fantastic for many reasons but a big factor being that it was simply so unexpected. Just when you think Marina will do a straight pop video she comes up with something that is as bonkers as it is brilliant

3. “Do You Karate” By Fight like Apes

Maykay wrestling? has someone peeked inside my mind? A great video which encapsulates all the demented energy of their live performances. Great vid, great band.

Gig Of The Year

Gig Of The Year - Howling Bells

1. Howling Bells/ The Joy Formidable

review here

2. Emmy The Great/Exlovers

review here

3. Fight Like Apes

review here

4. Marina And The Diamonds

review here

Best Unsigned Band in The Universe

Run Toto Run

Run Toto Run- Best unsigned band in the UniverseA clearly overwhelmed and emotional Michael from Run Toto Run accepts his magnificent trophy on the bands behalf.

(Pop culture) Quotes Of the Year

Kevin CecilA campaign for Rage Against The Machine will not produce a non Cowell Xmas No1. Killing Paul McCartney, now that might work”

Marina Hyde (On how celebrities have infiltrated every sphere of life over the last ten years) “

This is your world,Try not to choke on it. The saddest part is that you weren’t even in a coma for that period, so future generations are going to regard you as complicit.”

And “I find it hilarious when Paris Hilton takes a ferret on the red carpet.That’s what celebrity is about. But when she wanted to go to Rwanda, I had a bit of a problem with it. In the end she didn’t get around to going because she was too, like, busy with other stuff. And look, I yield to no one in my admiration for Sharon Stone’s body of work but I just wonder if she is the right person to sort out the Middle East.”

and on Simon Cowell

“Simon Cowell has created a system in which all possible outcomes benefit him. It is a sort of anti-chaos theory: a system wherein even vast differences in initial conditions have no real effect on the outcome. The system allows for them. You could run a million different variations of the show through a Los Alamos computer the size of a barn, and the end result would always be the same: Cowell wins. In the anti-chaos of The X Factor, a tsunami of votes for a rogue act would lead to the most butterfly-like of variations in his final scenario – the difference of about 37 pence in earnings of tens of millions. The house always wins. In fact, as a business model, it makes Las Vegas look bleeding-hearted.”

JK (Read The Fanzine) If I hear La Roux’s “Bulletproof” one more time I might just be tempted to test out her claim”

Ellie GouldingCan I just say. I don’t take in the hype. EVER. I just like making music and running”

Tony Zanzibar ” Who The F**k Is Andy Von Pip”

Who The F**k- T-shirt Style Icon of the  Year : Paloma Faith

Remixes Of The Year

1.Howling Bells-Cities Burning Down ( Disco Bloodbath Effect)

2.Marina And The Diamonds-Mowgli’s Road Black Teeth Remix

3. Charlotte Hatherley-Alexander( Black n Red remix)

Hype Of the year

The Horrors (review here )

Fashion Faux pas

James Allen’s tw*tty little cloak

A Cloak ??? WHY?

Chuckle Of  The Year

Oops Upside Your Head... I Said Oops Upside Your Head

Book Of The Year (Music/Entertainment)

Marina Hyde -"Celebrity"

1.”Celebrity: How Entertainers Took Over the World and Why We Need an Exit Strategy” By Marina Hyde

2.”Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part in Its Downfall” By Luke Haines

3. ” Goodnight Jim Bob: On the Road with “Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine” By Jim Bob

Who We’d Like To See Do Well In 2010

Not necessarily  a list of who I think will be big, I mean let’s face it some of those lists do have a tendency to be a little “hipsterish”. “Look at me I predicted a band I’ve never actually heard will be HUGE in 2010! ” Of course  I could study form and forecast who would do well in 2010  but  it’s not rocket science. It roughly  follows this formula “Do they have a big f**k off PR budget? Do they have media backing and essentially  are they willing to sell their soul to Satan ?…Check ?  Well logic dictates they could do very well in 2010. Easy-peasey, I’m a regular f**king pop Nostradamus.   No, this  list  may contain some artists which do appear in the “ones to watch lists” but I have tried to actually pick bands I like, regardless whether they are tipped by the great and good. Cos I’ve got integrity, like.  “Oh hello, Sony BMG ? Ah you want a flattering  article on Mr Cowell, well I’m not sure if….HOW MUCH!…. Is that in pounds ?? ? Of course, of course , I’ll have it done by 10.30 am …No, not a problem and no don’t thank me , thank YOU!

Anyway -to the list ….(Not all are bands are brand spanking new but there are some whom  I feel  may not yet have got the recognition they deserve)

The Beatles

Lissy Trullie


A Place To Bury Strangers

The Joy Formidable

Suzuki Method

The Boxer Rebellion

Marina And The Diamonds

Hook And The Twin

Run Toto Run

Rose Elinor Dougall



Sound Of Guns

Catherine AD

The Bookhouse Boys

The Indelicates

Everybody Was In The French Resistance Now

Eliza Doolittle

Polly Mackey And The Pleasure Principle

Sweet Jane

Tigers That Talked

Sarah Blasko

Thomas Tantrum

Nicole Atkins and The Black Sea

Soft Toy Emergency

The Xx

and new kids on the block The John Moore Rock N’ Roll Trio 😉

Villains Of  The Year

Every corrupt MP who fiddled their expenses.

Greedy Bankers

and obviously…..The X Factor


The VPME Awards- Samantha

Thanks Samantha!

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BBC Sound Of 2010


As somebody who really does believe that the cultural landscape would be a lesser place in this country without the BBC , I was delighted to be asked to join the panel of “taste-makers”  to help predict “The BBC  Sound Of 2010”.

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The BBC Sound of 2010 list aims to highlight the best new music.

The acts on the list were chosen by 165 UK-based taste-makers, who each named their favourite three new artists, and the 15 acts with the most votes are on the long-list.

The top five will be ranked and revealed in reverse order in the week commencing 4 January 2010, with one act named each day until the winner is unveiled on 8 January.

Each act from the top five will be featured on the BBC News website entertainment section. BBC 6 Music will also feature the top five artists with live sessions and interviews on Lauren Laverne’s show.

The BBC’s Sound of… list is now in its eighth year. The previous winners are: Little Boots (Sound of 2009), Adele (Sound of 2008), Mika (Sound of 2007), Corinne Bailey Rae (Sound of 2006), The Bravery (Sound of 2005), Keane (Sound of 2004) and 50 Cent (Sound of 2003).

Other artists in the top five in previous years include Florence and the Machine and La Roux (Sound of 2009), Duffy and the Ting Tings (Sound of 2008), Klaxons (Sound of 2007).

Nice to see that one of our very favourite new artsits , Marina And The Diamonds in the long list !

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“My Fair Bladey”-Eliza Doolittle Interview

Eliza Doolittle

“Rollerblades” (Plastic Little Remix) –Eliza Doolittle

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“Pop” has certainly been big business in 2009, generic indie bands (who generally weren’t actually indie) found that the public had turned a deaf ear to  their increasingly unconvincing, manufactured mewling as the “pop singer” became fashionable once more.  Maybe the recession caused people to seek out a slightly more escapist, upbeat, optimistic vibe? Or perhaps it’s just the cyclical nature of music?  For my part after a hard day at the coal face the last thing I wanted to hear was Bloc Party in sackcloth and ashes, whining on about Mercury being in retrograde or some other such po-faced piffle.  Wallowing in romanticised misery is of course a perversely pleasurable indulgence but there should always be some room in your heart for a bit of fun, for pop that is bright and breezy and isn’t burdened by the weight of the world. Sometimes we can take things far too seriously and get so wrapped up in things we consider “worthy” that we forget what fun actually is! “People have forgotten what life is all about. They’ve forgotten what it is to be alive. They need to be reminded.” Music is an often essential ingredient in that process.

All the reasons mentioned above may go some way to explain why  I found listening to pop newcomer  Eliza Doolittle’s début EP  a thoroughly enjoyable affair. Listening to songs such as“Rollerblades” and “Money Box” certainly had an effect on me, both mentally and physically!  Within minutes of listening to her début my hunched and hideously twisted frame had visibly straightened and my usual sour faced grimace had miraculously been transformed into something that resembled a smile. Why even the ubiquitous rain-cloud above my head had all but evaporated and I actually started to whistle..in public!! Doubtless had London been the place of my birth I would have hooked my thumbs through my jacket lapels and affected a jaunty walk to denote my cheery disposition. Eliza’s EP contains songs that are perfect examples of how to write endearingly bright and breezy folksy tinged pop songs. Initially the songs may appear to be somewhat simple in terms of structure and production but the reality is they actually display a far greater degree of sophistication, wit and style then the normal overproduced chart bound fodder and this is what will surely propel Eliza into the “Pop Premier League!” in 2010.   After a year in which we have been bombarded by a profusion of shrill voiced synth driven pop it’s nice to be able to listen to a female singer whose voice is given room to breathe without being buried under layered synth effects or  suffering the indignity of “death  by vocoder.” Of course the danger of producing bright upbeat pop in  today’s cynical consumerist  ‘too cool for school’ society is that you may be perceived as irritatingly chirpy, mentally ill or worse, be viewed as suffering from the maniacal preternatural state of euphoria that seems to afflict  the majority of children’s TV presenters who appear to have mainlined “Haribo” prior to leaping on screen and gurning like a simpleton.  People basically mistrust happiness!   Eliza avoids these pitfalls due in no small part to the quality and depth of her song writing and her natural way of singing.  There’s also a reflective soulful element to Eliza’s free spirited vocals, which in a sense, acts as a counterbalance to the bright, sunny vibe the songs give off.

After speaking with Eliza it’s apparent that the songs really do reflect her personality, happy-go-lucky yes, but with an intelligent thoughtful side.  A genuinely  nice girl who believes in herself, who refuses to compromise in terms of record company makeovers and a young lady who wants to be totally involved in all stages of the creative process “I would never have been able to be Britney or anything like that – someone who just sings. I love being involved with every bit of the music, making it from scratch.  It’s really fulfilling.”

Now the question is could I make it through the interview without making naff jokes about “My Fair Lady?” Maybe, “With a little bit…with a little bit… With a little bit of bloomin’ luck!”

VP: Your name? Obviously it’s taken from the character in “Pygmalion/My Fair Lady” what made you pick it ?

ELIZA: Well, Eliza’s my real name and the rest, well, it’s a nickname I’ve had for so long I can’t even remember how it came about to be honest. Everyone calls me it !

VP: Is singing something you’ve always done? Did you start at an early age?

ELIZA: Yeah I was quite young, I started singing when I was about eight. Then when I was around about 12 I really wanted to go for it. I started writing my own songs and then a year or so later I recorded some demos. It all started from there really and I continued and just tried to get as good as I possibly could.

VP: So how did getting a record deal come about?

ELIZA: It was after I wrote “Rollerblades” that I got a lot of interest, a label really liked it and were keen to see if I had other songs that had a similar vibe. So I signed a deal about a year ago and spent about eight months writing the album.

VP: Yeah, the EP’s got a different vibe to one of your earlier tunes “Piano Song”

ELIZA: Yeah, before this album I was really trying to work out what I wanted to create, what musical path I wanted to take. I’m really happy with the album as I feel it really does represent me. All my old songs were quite separate; they didn’t really come together as a whole. As soon as I wrote ‘Rollerblades’ I thought ‘Yeah this is it this is the sort of music I want to make.’

VP: Sorry to bring this up, but it seems to be the curse of English female singers, certainly those who come from down South, that almost inevitably you get described as “the new Lily Allen” or “the next Kate Nash” . Do you find this a bit annoying?

ELIZA: You mean because we sing in an English accent? I’ve always sang in my own accent and hundreds of singers before Lily have done so too. Maybe it’s because Lily is the most recent and most successful? I suppose it always happens with girls, we are always compared to what’s gone before.  I can kind of understand it, it gives people a point of reference but I always say it’s a gender not a genre but.. whatever! I’m already over that comparison now; I think real listeners will be able to tell it’s different!

VP:  Your music is often described as breezy folk-pop, but on myspace you list your likes as everything form Destiny’s Child to Radiohead. Is your taste really that eclectic?

ELIZA: Oh yeah, I try to listen to everything, I’m pretty open. When I was really young I was into UK garage and slightly cheesy R’nB, I guess when you’re young you can get into a clique, want to fit in, so your taste can be a bit narrow. But when I was 14/15 I really started to open up to all sorts of genres from rock to Indie to old soul music. If it’s good music that’s all that matters. Although I must admit I do find it difficult to get down to metal!

VP: What have you been listening to in 2009 ?

ELIZA: The Xx, I love The Golden Silvers album, I liked Miike Snow and the Empire Of the Sun too.

VP: The Sound Of 2010 list from the BBC will be out  at the end of the year. Anybody you’d like to see on the list? Any tips?

ELIZA:  OOOh , well there’s The Cocknbull Kid, Kid Harpoon, Alviin. Also  Sam McCarthy and MPHO are both amaaazing!

VP: The “taster” video for your EP features somebody Rollerblading is that you ?

ELIZA: Ha, ha yes that’s me on the Rollerblades, I got pretty good by the end of the day. It’s not like, an official video though; it’s like a viral video for the internet.

VP: So it’s your legs on the EP sleeve?

ELIZA: Yes, my legs, both of them !

VP: I’m always interested to find out how much input an artist has with regard to their promo videos…..

ELIZA: Well, I’ve already filmed the video for my first single for next year. In the case of that song I really wanted to see what the directors came up with. I worked with an amazingly talented guy called Daniel Eskhill. Because it was like, my first single, I wanted it to be quite simple and show me in my best light really, so it’s got me bouncing about but with some amazing effects. I do have a lot of creative control; I’m creating the art work for the next single for example. I guess I’m kind of a control freak but at the same time it’s always good to listen to advice of people like directors who have that expertise. They might have ideas or take your ideas and lead you to a place you wouldn’t have thought of! And the next videos amazing, honestly!

VP: So what have you got lined up for 2010? Is that when we can expect the album?

ELIZA: Basically gigs, gigs, gigs hopefully. Something like a UK tour would be great. In February we are due to go to L.A. and hopefully that may lead to a few more American dates while we are out there. The first single proper is due out in February and then another in May followed by the album. So these are huge things for me and I’m very excited!

VP: Are you planning any festival dates?

ELIZA: I’m looking to do like a hundred festivals in 2010, to make up for not getting to any in 2009! I was just so busy, so to do some in 2010 would be a real highlight !

VP: The internet and music? Has it changed things for the better or is it, as some in the industry feel, strangling the life out of music?

ELIZA: How is it strangling the life out of music? No I think it’s changed things for the better, it’s so easy to find music now. I suppose there’s the argument that there is so much out there that finding something good is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It’s certainly put power in the hands of the people and music now isn’t purely label led.  It’s so easy to promote yourself on the net and it doesn’t really cost that much!  Hopefully if your music is good people will want to hear it. Mind you I say all this but I’m not that brilliant with the net, but I’m getting more into it with facebook and twitter etc. The more you do it the more you get used to it and enjoy it.

VP: Finally, five words to describe your music?

ELIZA: I -find-this-really-difficult!!  (is that ok? )

Eliza’s Ep is avialable here via I-Tunes


Official Site (Free Download available)

My Space




“Rollerblades” -Eliza Doolittle

Ep Taster

“Creep” Acoustic Cover

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Ps. Apologies for the world’s worst pun in the interview headline 😉 – a career in the tabloids awaits me I’m sure !

Stop Making Sense-Cosmo Jarvis Interview

“She’s Got You” By Cosmo Jarvis

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A recent Q&A with the man the N.M.E. have bestowed the title “the coolest man in rock” revealed that Strokes front man Julian Casblancas may indeed be incredibly cool but he also gives interminably dull interviews. He offered precious little insight into his ‘creative process’ and the information he did proffer was the square root of f**k all. He came across as somebody who was either guarded to the point of paranoia or somebody who is about as interesting as Formica. The same cannot be said for our latest interviewee, Cosmo Jarvis. Cosmo, like the aforementioned Strokes front man was born in the USA ( New Jersey) before making the move to Devon, England as a child. However unlike Casablancas Cosmo is a young man who is rarely lost for words. Indeed some may say he has too many, that he’s a little too open and honest about life.  Such candour may not exactly shroud Jarvis in a veil of mystery meaning he may never be considered the “coolest man in rock”, he may divide fans and critics alike but he could never, ever be described as “dull”.  You feel Jarvis would heartily agree with Wilde when he stated  “I am but too conscious of the fact that we are born in an age when only the dull are treated seriously and I live in terror of not being misunderstood.”

A film-maker, songwriter, musician, storyteller, poet,  visionary or is he just simply  f**king with your head ? Will the real Cosmo Jarvis please stand up ? Cosmo first began making films at home on VHS when he was barely twelve.  Even at that age it was apparent he had a unique talent in terms of storytelling and pretty soon he was channelling his creative energies into music. “There’s more to be done with film,” he muses. “Music’s  just something that I do and making records sort of happens. Where some people write a diary, I just write songs.”

His songs may not be to everybody’s taste as he tackles subjects such as masturbation, Jessica Alba,  family breakdown, paedophilia, alcoholism, and domestic violence with a brutal honesty that is unprecedented in the age of the sanitised squeaky clean vacuum packed pop star. His frankness however is not sensationalist and is not  in the same vein as the  bombastic, spiteful Jeremy Clarkeson “I speak as I find” school of  boorishness.  No,  Cosmo’s prodigious output  appears to be a genuine attempt to find truth, to work things out in his own mind and as a result can at times make for uneasy listening. His mission is not to obliterate knowledge by writing songs that reflect a distorted photoshopped ‘Hello’ magazine style reality but appears to be a genuine quest for answers to the questions people rarely ask. If that means holding a mirror up to himself and indeed society to reveal all the random ugliness and sordid reality that goes with the human condition, then so be it. We spoke to Cosmo about his music, his school days his film making and of course gay pirates…..

VP:  Do you consider yourself to be a musician first and foremost or would you say you’re  more of a social commentator, expressing yourself via whatever medium best suits the message?

COSMO:  Maybe a commentator on whatever seems worth spending time making into something else. Something sticky and/or pleasant that will entertain, educate or alter someone, or just waste their time.

VP: Your eponymous début album contains 18 songs split over two discs with nine tracks on each . What was the thinking behind this? Are they two distinctly different groups of songs?

COSMO:  Yes, one group ‘Humasyouhitch’ is mostly what I would call the ‘Chicken Korma’ of my music. It is easy. I think so anyway. It is not belligerent, ‘Easy Shaved Pop’, catchy I’m told…

‘Sonofabitch’ is more all the other Indian food you would like to order but cant because you are in the Spar and tonight they are only selling the korma, because it is a low risk curry. ‘Sonofabitchis less where I’m from and more where I’m headed I guess. No that’s bullshit but I’m not deleting it. If someone was to f*ck their girl friend to ‘Humasyouhitch’ I wouldn’t be all that offended. However, if the same was attempted whilst listening to ‘Sonofabitch’, I would feel as if I had failed slightly, especially if that persons first impression of my record was made during a ceremony that demands (in most cases) quite some attention.

VP:   You’ve said in the past (with regard to the education system) “They make it sound like if you fail your exams, your existence is not worth living”.. Did you enjoy or endure your school days?

COSMO:  Both at different times. I hated that to feel comfortable and increase your worth to other students, it was essential that you admit and stick to, your social class. I suppose at school I was weird, I used to sit in the library and draw naked women all lunch time. I enjoyed work and valued some of my student/teacher relationships. I saw the whole debacle as an opportunity to infiltrate and understand as many groups of different people as I could. After a while in year 8 I started to learn what made my class mates tick. I already knew the scum. They made it obvious to me that I was not welcome. Then there were many like me who I tried very hard to make my friends. Even today, some of those still remain. Teachers and authority were my biggest problem. The teachers who knew their jobs well, and wanted nothing more than to educate in a professional manner, were the ones I respected. There was also a new wave of younger teachers at my school, many of whom were very thick and loved their power a little too much. Those were the ones to fuck with. I hate that my school seemed to favour the stupid but local types, much like the police force. In fact it was being at school that got me ready for the police, the fickle way they operate, the unjustified favouritism, the loud voices asserting things they don’t even understand.

I was in trouble a lot but I loved it. As a scholar, I knew what subjects stimulated me and everything outside of these would soon act as battlefields for me to ruin lessons by pointing out important errors in the way that things were taught and, at the same time, make myself into something less of a joke to the other students. It was funny though that to achieve this I had to adopt and utilise, permanently, those exact natural, laughable, embarrassing and hopeless traits that had rendered me unfit for honest, social, human interaction. This coupled with my total disgust and lack of acceptance for the ‘syllabus’ made me fight harder for what I saw as being a very sick and at the very least, inconsiderate way of making young people’s minds thrive, thus increasing their tolerance (and in some hopeful cases interest) for the exploration of all knowledge. I could never see an adult as a superior purely because of their age, but this was never my argument. This was the argument of many other students whose interests reached no further than ‘tonight’ and their ‘girlfriend’s bust size’. I didn’t want to come across as an argumentative timber-head who was only that way because he was young and had a problem with the old. I did have a problem with the old. But one thing I had learned was to always give people the opportunity to offer you their respect. If they do then it is in your hands and you can prioritise and estimate it as you see fit. The same goes both ways of course. There were too many questions the teachers didn’t want to answer because 1. They didn’t think it was relevant information for someone studying at my level to seek. 2. They didn’t know the answers 3. The system that I was being taught in did not include debate, challenge or argument as a part of its operation. It was the same as everything in this unfortunate existence, if you don’t play the game (even if you know it’s bull) you don’t win. Now, every write up/essay (especially in sciences, art and music) was not to be considered as an exercise of one students mind and was certainly not to be marked in such a way either but was a test of how well that student retained information given to it with only this very essay in mind and nothing further. This method of teaching to me rendered any knowledge gained in lessons, pointless, because I knew I was only learning it for the purposes of measuring and recording how well I had learned it. It sounds obvious but unless a person can argue ‘what is there already’ or at least choose which part of ‘what is there already’, they can examine and develop, they will never create their own passion for ‘what is there already’.

Religious education was good though, Ms. Screech allowed written challenges, as long as they were justified and presented a clear argument/point.

So when I wasn’t being a c*nt to my teachers, I was drawing hundred foot penises in the astro-turf and getting suspended proudly.

VP:  Your song “Gay Pirates” has attracted a fair bit of attention, what inspired you to write it ?

COSMO:  Just thinking about gay pirates. And the difficulties they must have faced.

VP: Is it true that you have pretty much written your next two albums?

COSMO:  Next 8 at least. And some instrumental albums. Not all of its gonna blow everybody away, but I always hope that an audience neglected by one record is an audience gained by another…maybe…. but yeah, I’m recoding new songs all the time. And have to brush up a few demos for album two but yeah should be cool. With the touring and pr shit I cant record as much as I used to but I still make a comfortable quota and have finish-able doodles filling up note books everywhere in my room. Yeah writing all the time.

VP:    Another project you are working on is a video about a man who takes himself hostage in erm… a urinal. One imagines you’d have a hard job pitching that to Hollywood, but if you did… how would you explain the essence of the story? 😉

COSMO:  Well that’s true, but it’s not gonna happen for a while, that’s gonna be a bigger film than any stuff I’ve made before. Bigger crew etc. It’s pretty distant, at the moment though, before that one, I’m writing a script based on a short I made but then scraped because it wasn’t good enough. It’s called ‘the naughty room’. It’s about a 20 year man who lives in a bath room, since the age of 4 he hasn’t been outside or exposed to anyone other than his mother (who keeps him there) he has a mind like a child and knows nothing of the severity of his circumstances. I am playing him: Todd. His mother blamed him since he was a child for the car accident that killed his father, because he was whining like a child and distracting his parents. Next door there lives a total kaner pot head. Unaware that more than just a grumpy woman lives next door. Eventually the two meet, through a wall, and some serious shit goes down. It’s kind of dark but also funny and weird. In the story you see the 20 year old boy discover masturbation over Jessica Rabbit. The story meanders between the two very different homes of these two boys. One who wants nothing more than to go outside and doesn’t understand why he is kept inside and another who f*cks his life away.

VP:    Apart from the obvious charms of Jessica Alba what things really motivate you to write songs and poetry?

COSMO:  Everything.

VP:   What   sort of music did you listen to as kid? And what new music have you discovered this year

COSMO:  The Beatles, Tom Waits, Crash Test Dummies, Gerry Rafferty, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Frank Zappa, John Mayall, John Lee Hooker, Grateful Dead, Bowie, US3, Eminem, Beach Boys, the Stones, Canned Heat… everything.

VP: Will you be touring as a result of the album release?

COSMO:  Yes England and Holland I’m told.

VP: Has the internet democratised music or made it more difficult for new bands to get record deals. Do you think labels play it even safer now than in the past and are unwilling to take risks?

COSMO: Yes, nobody takes risks now, The sad truth is the shit. The real shit, is the safest music for labels, the remixed crap put to beats and then some brain dead moron rapping about how he cheated on his baby. Because most people like shit and most people means the most money. So its a commendable business decision. Everyone likes shit. Radio one loves it. NME loves it. What I find astounding is that it is so easy for the shit to make it and hard for the slightly better shit to. There is no logic, only gimmicks. Magazines talk about what’s relevant and hip at one time as if it is stone cold fact. Even the crap thinks that it is better than the crap and so forth. I think of it like: I am someone else’s crap. It is a mindless cess-pit of fashion monkeys talking about music. The ones who should be on the radio, never are. Only fat mouthed shit wipers can be found there. So I guess it is down to a lucky break of some kind. There is no honour or content consistency among media companies. That’s fair enough though I guess. There is no reason why it can’t be just as powerful, which is why it’s great that there are so many online radio stations growing all the time. I can’t wait to start a real radio station with broadcasting capabilities greater than Radio One. That is one of many things, worth going to jail for. Real music. I know my faith in new music is fading, but I hear great things sometimes. Experimental things and even though they may not be to my taste, I value the intention behind them. but seriously, I was watching TV this morning and saw that one of those fools gold, click track only, rapping, singer, dicks had sampled ‘Hide and Seek’ by Imogen Heap. Not only sampled but written an entire excuse for a song around its original beauty. The result was a soulless, meaningless, waiting-to-be-set-as-your-ringtone insult. Yet, this dude was on daytime T.V. hell, everyone know that’s shit……………………………. Right?

VP: What five things would make the world a better place?

COSMO:  A diabetes cure

A huge increase in the standard of basic education

For people to be brought into the world without being made to accept its rules as anything other than man-made systems of living and to be allowed to recognise and explore the primeval within everything they think and do under the notion that they can improve themselves by understanding it.

For religious indoctrination to miss at least two generations (to start with) as a test to see if people could just be people.

Someone to invent a more efficient way of wiping ones ass in a hurry (other than a bidet), and I mean spotless.


Official Site

My Space




“Problems” by Cosmo Jarvis

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