Something For The Weekend w/e 26/02/2010

This week downloads , videos and streaming music from  The Kiara Elles, The Joy Formidable, The Candle Thieves, Sound Of Guns, Lucky Soul, Japayork, Marina And The Diamonds, Cosmo Jarvis,  Communion -the album, Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou and CURVE

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The Kiara EllesNew single

The Kiara Elles

“Laser Shot” -The Kiara Elles

After hearing tracks from the Kiara Elles debut album ‘Slide Over’ , we at  the VPME are in love with ’em, and we think you should be too Being the nice folk they are they have agreed to let us have a sneak listen to their single “Laser Shot’ (Out 19th April, itunes only download.) Expect to hear more form this lot very soon and catch them on tour if you can .

MAR 13th – The Elbow Rooms (LEEDS)
APR 2nd –  The Mad Ferret (PRESTON)

APR 3rd   – The Georgian Theatre (STOCKTON ON TEES)April 7th The Railway – (WINCHESTER)

APRIL 10th – 93 Feet East (LONDON)

APR 24th – The Love Apple (BRADFORD)
MAY 7th  – The Firebug (LEICESTER)

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The Joy Formidable -New Single !

The Joy Formidable announce new single Popinjay

The first single from their  forthcoming album, ‘Popinjay’ is available on iTunes now and will be available on very limited 7″ vinyl from April 5th.

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Sound Of GunsAlcatrazre-recorded and released on March 8th through Distiller Records. The single will be available on 7′ and digital download and is the first track to be released from their forthcoming debut album, which will be out later this year.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oCZk45diDs]

Lucky Soul release the title track of their forthcoming album “A Coming of Age”as a free download below*

Lucky Soul

*Supplied by Ruffa Lane Records- to download click arrow on player

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The Candle Thieves –‘We’re All Going To Die ( Have Fun’) New single which is released March 29th 2010

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Japayork ‘Our Now’

*Supplied by Brilliantly Different Pr

And here’s a video
Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Marina And The Diamonds-The Family JewelsMarina And The Diamonds celebrates the release of her debut album by offering a  free download here. In addition  you can also get “Rootless” from the album as a free  I-Tunes single of the wee

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Cosmo Jarvis‘Crazy Mixed Up Lady’

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‘Communion- The Compilation’

Some great stuff on this compilation including this track by Jesse Quin & the Mets “Sculptor And The Stone”

Featuring exclusive tracks from the likes of Mumford & Sons, Johnny Flynn, Marcus Foster, Elena Tonra, Broadcast 2000, Peggy Sue and many more ‘Communion: The Compilation’ see it’s long-anticipated release next Monday, 1st March. and you can download two FREE Mp3s from the album – in the form of Alessi’s Ark’s ‘Hands In The Sink’ and Matthew & The Atlas’ ‘Deadwood’ – today and across the weekend. These exclusive and fully legal free Mp3s are only available for a short time so get your skates on!

Matthew & The Atlas‘Deadwood’

Alessi’s Ark- ‘Hands In The Sink’

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Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou‘Allotment Song’

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Retro Track Of The Week

Curve‘Ten Little Girls’

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Apologies for a rather early ‘Something For The Weekend’ this time around but we’re preparing for our own night in conjunction with Read the Fanzine.. with the wonderful  Indelicates,  the lovely Ragz, and the fabulous  Bony Ghosts..if you’re in the locality on 26th February come along 😉 details HERE

The Indelicates“America” (most haunted version)

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Emceeing Is Believing-Scroobius Pip Interview

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip Interview 2010

“Get Better” By Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip.

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Emceeing Is Believing-Scroobius Pip Interview

I’ve never been what you’d call a huge fan of rap or hip hop, what seemed to have started out as raw, angry urban street poetry slowly  morphed into all things puerile and unappealing.  Maybe I was a little harsh and, in retrospect , I probably had been exposed to the ‘wrong’ sort of rap but alas the damage had been done. It seemed to me that a large volume of  mainstream rap was little more than a shallow hymn in praise of capitalism in which the ‘get rich quick or die’ generation glorified violence as a legitimate tool in a ruthless, soulless pursuit of wealth. This was a  world in which respect was measured by having something bigger than your rival, be it your gun, your bling, your stash, your car, or your good ladies gravity defying ‘bootilicious’ backside. There were of course the lone voices of reason that fought against this mass produced slew of infantile, misogynist nursery rhyming but it wasn’t until I discovered Scroobius Pip that I embraced the idea, that in the right hands, the power of words set to beats can be reclaimed as a force for good. If the message and messenger have intelligence and compassion then the ability to produce something that can be moving and at times quite profound is always possible. Pip’s rhymes come from a place that is aspirational but not materialistic, where respect and self improvement is not gained through guns, bling or the acquisition of wealth but through education and knowledge.  I first became aware of Scroobius Pip’s ability to communicate messages with meaning via his collaborations with Dan Le Sac in the form of their classic single ‘Thou Shall Always Kill.’ It was this collaboration that effectively put the duo on the musical map and ever since they have worked almost exclusively together. Their début album “Angles” was lauded by critics and fans alike and they have played sell out gigs around the world including all the major festivals such as Glastonbury, Coachella, Bestival and Reading.

After spending much of 2009 writing and recording their second album ‘The Logic Of Chance’ (yes that’s “second” album, the day I use the word “sophomore” is the day I’ll hack my own tongue off with a spoon) the duo are preparing to release their new single, the excellent ‘Get Better’ ahead of the full  album release.  We spoke to Pip about the new single and album, life, the universe and the mathematical chances of two people called Pip having this conversation 😉

VP:  ‘Get Better’ your new single has some wonderful lyrics and a video that looks like you’re some kind of motivational lifestyle guru. Want inspired the lyrics and what was the idea behind the video?

Scroobius Pip: The lyrics were inspired by living in a small town in Essex. Going away and touring all over the world really made certain things stand out when I returned. Hopefully it is a positive song about the negative side of Britain’s youth. I think the papers and press give “broken Britain” a bit of a hard run really. At the end of the day most of these kids are just bored. The video was directed and planned by Richard Heslop who has done some amazing videos in the past for the Smiths, New Order, The Happy Mondays and many others (so we knew we were in safe hands!). He currently lives in Hastings which has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the UK so it really struck a chord with him and he liked the idea of in some way spoofing a motivational seminar but not just making light of it all (if that makes sense). Doing one that is more honest and realistic and using real local teens.

VP: “The Logic Of Chance” is scheduled for release in March, would you say there’s a major theme running throughout the album?

Scroobius Pip: I think there are a lot of themes weaving in and out of all the different tracks. Some are very direct and some are woven into stories and examples so hopefully there’s plenty to get your teeth in to. A lot of it is very rooted in everyday life though. Issues that many people will have either experienced or been close to in their lives.

VP: Writing songs with a social conscience can sometimes be a tricky path to negotiate? Do you ever worry that you might one day be perceived as overtly “preachy”?

Scroobius Pip: I’m ALWAYS perceived as preachy! haha!! And that can be quite annoying to be honest. But I just have to take a back seat in that respect. I think a lot of the subjects discussed are really important and the point of putting them in my lyrics is to get people talking about them. So, if that means me taking the occasional beating in blogs or comment sections then I guess I will just have to live with that! I present my opinions on a subject and hope that people will pick them apart and make their own choices.

VP: What’s on the horizon in 2010? Album? Tour? Festivals??


Scroobius Pip: 2010 is looking hectic already! We have the single out on March 1st and the album on March 14th so from March 14th onwards we have tours going all over the UK and Europe for a couple of months. Then it will be a case of hitting the festival circuit heavily right up until the end of the season with Bestival to top it all off! There will be one or two other surprises along that way but you will just have to wait till later in the year for that!

VP: What would you say is most likely to inspire you to write a poem, love, anger, joy or sorrow?

Scroobius Pip: All of the above! I think the key is finding beauty or poetry in all different emotions. People tend to think poetry is all about love but some of the best poetry (and art in general) will come from hardship. The tough times in life are what can be a catalyst for amazing works. I think, musically, it tends to be hip-hop that is documenting hardship in this way. When there is a tragedy the pop world will often release a single or something that will raise millions. Which is great. But the song itself will have very little worth. But if you look back to 9/11 for example, Sage Francis came out with “Makeshift Patriot” and it captured a piece of raw history. The same goes for Hurricane Katrina so much hip-hop has been made documenting that event (“Georgia Bush” by Lil’ Wayne being one of my favourite examples).

VP: As a duo how does the writing process work, does you come up with the words and Dan fit the beats around them or do you get together and work out the tune and tempo etc together?

Scroobius Pip: It really goes back and forth. We generally write over email. Dan will come up with a load of beats and I will come up with a load of lyrics then we see what fits, what doesn’t, and what inspires new beats or lyrics. Having that space to work really allows our individual styles and strengths to come through (hopefully!). And it stops us killing each other like most bands that spend months in a studio together!

VP: What’s been your favourite moment you’ve experienced as a musical unit?

Scroobius Pip: There have been too many to list really. Working with Pos from De La Soul was amazing. Signing with Sage Francis in America was great to. In fact, signing a record deal in general (particularly to a label like Sunday Best in the UK) felt like a great achievement. Then you have getting to play halfway up a mountain in Japan, tour America, play Coachella, headline a stage at Reading/Leeds festival….the list just goes on. We have been really lucky from day one to get to experience all this so I guess the “favourite” moment would be each moment we get to continue doing what we love for a living.

VP:  Have you experienced any ‘Spinal Tap’ moments yet?

Scroobius Pip: Yeah there have been one or two very confusing venues. We played in Switzerland the other week actually and the venue was this amazing warehouse/factory type building that had been turned into a bar/coffee shop/art school/music school/venue! So to get from the dressing room to the stage wasn’t easy! Particularly with all the signs in different language…

VP:  “Thou shalt not put musicians and recording artists on ridiculous pedestals no matter how great they are or were.” Have you experienced this kind of adulation and how do you deal with it –“Scroobius Pip, just a poet ? 😉

Scroobius Pip: We do kind of get that kind of thing and we tend to just take the compliment gracefully. The reaction from fans at the gigs and online is always overwhelming! That said we do try to make sure we respond and interact as much as we can via the myspace, facebook and twitter pages. I think it’s really important to have that interaction with your fanbase. If there’s something they do or don’t like it’s good to be able to hear their views and express our own in a very direct way.

VP: Who are your own heroes or inspirations?


Scroobius Pip: I have people all the time that inspire me. People like Sage Francis and Krs One are the kinds of acts that made me start doing this but acts like Kate Tempest, Polarbear and P.O.S are the kind of acts that inspire me to keep trying to improve! There’s so many new acts coming through all the time and that really helps push you to keep on top of your game.

VP:   Do you think the internet has democratised the arts, giving people who wouldn’t normally have a platform a chance to be creative?

Scroobius Pip: To an extent yeah. But that fact alone also means the internet is awash with such acts so it isn’t always easy to stand out. There are still advantages that can be had by acts that are backed by major labels as they will have the teams that have expertise in these areas. I think a combination of the internet and the live circuit is key these days. If you work hard at both then it really strengthens your chances of getting noticed.


VP:   What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Scroobius Pip: When I was 18 I went to try and travel around America on my own (it didn’t go well!) and before I left my brother gave me one piece of advice (that he stole from “Best In Show”): “If you get hungry; eat something. If you get tired; sleep.”

Links

Myspace

Official Site

Facebook

Wallpaper

Video

“Thou Shall Always Kill” By Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip

“Get Better” By Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip

“Look For The Woman” By Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip

Dan & Pip audition for X-Factor. SPOOF!

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Something For The Weekend w/e 19th February 2010

This week free and of course 100%legal downloads featuring Japanese Android , Tracy Thorn, Official Secrets Act plus new remixes of Gorrilaz’ ‘Stylo’, plus news and videos from  Boca Chica , Paloma Faith, Operator Please,The Church and Peter Kay vs Liam Gallagher.

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Japandroids

Japandroids- Art Czars*

*Free Download provided by Anorak PR- Click arrow on player to download

Tracey Thorn’s ( Everything But The Girl) ‘Love And Its Opposite’ Album is released 17th May 2010 on Strange Feeling Records
Free download of opening track ‘Oh, The Divorces!’ available now HERE

And for another free and guilt free legal download click HERE to get “Believe Me” By Official Secrets Act

Paloma Faith returns with a new single and video- ‘Upside Down’

]

And here’s the artwork

Paloma Faith Upside Down Art Work

Free Gorrilaz Remixes*

Gorillaz  are back

*

*Provided with permission by Parlaphone/EMI records.

Bocha Chica-Valentine EP

Boca Chica Valentine EP

Boca  Chica first  grabbed our attention on 2009’s excellent Indiecator Records Christmas compilation. The hauntingly beautiful ‘Snow Angels’ was one of  albums highlights and filled us with the sort of festive glee that only a fine Malt Whiskey can normally induce. Naturally we we were delighted to discover that Boca Chica’s ‘Valentine’ EP maintains that high standard. Valentines Day may be over but don’t let that stop you falling in love with this band.  You can hear the whole EP HERE and if you like it , you could do something novel, like,  y’know,  buy it 😉 !!

Last week there was the free download now here’s the video

Operator Please-Logic

Operator Please – LogicVodpod videos no longer available.

Thao With The Get Down Stay Down have an mp3 for you to download called “When We Swam”* which is rather good!

Thao

*Free Download provided by Anorak PR-click arrow on player to download

Retro Track Of  The Week  (which We ADORE!)

The Church-Under The Milky Way’

Finally This week was the Brit Awards,  yet another horrible soulless pantomime and in general a celebration of the  triumph of the talentless,  enlivened just once by host Peter Kaye calling Liam Gallagher a ‘nobhead’ – Chortle! (right at the end of the clip)

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Tracks Of My Tears- I Like Trains Interview

I Like Trains 2010 Interview

“Sea Of Regrets” By I Like Trains.

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Forget about the contrived, comic book- faux-gothic demeanour and sub-standard Bauhaus karaoke caterwauling  of bands like The Horrors, if you’d prefer a  truly grown-up journey into the heart of darkness then you need look no further than Leeds band I Like Trains.  They are a band whose music evokes a sense of doomed grandeur which is full of lush, sweeping orchestration, epic swirling guitars, and the sort of brooding vocals that makes Nick Cave sound like Miley Cyrus on a sugar rush. It’s wonderfully dark, literate music which has led to them being described as library rock” due in no small part to their obsession with historical characters. For example an early release ‘A Rook House for Bobby Fischer’ dealt with the controversial life of chess grandmaster and one time Hitler-aficionado Bobby Fischer, whilst ‘Terra Nova’ detailed Captain Scott’s famous doomed Antarctic expedition of the same name. Slightly more interesting and cerebral than the boy- meets-girl-boy-gets-girl school of song writing I’m sure you’d agree!

Their debut album, 2007’s majestic ‘Elegies To Lessons Learnt’ saw the band continue their love affair with the all things historical with an ambitious ‘Noir-de-force’ that attempted to highlight how we as a race often neglect to learn lessons bequeathed to us by history.  The album dealt with subject matter as diverse as the Great Fire of London, the Salem Witch Trials and the tale of the  only British prime minister ever to be successfully assassinated (sadly not Thatcher),‘Spencer Perceval’.

It’s been over 2 years, since ‘Elegies To Lessons Learnt’. A period which the band describes as akin to “riding a roller-coaster in slow motion, with the highs and lows stretching out over the last couple of years.” But the band have been recording their 2nd album and have also hinted that it will be a departure from all that has gone before. “We wanted it to be different. We started out by deliberately not writing in swing time, not using so much reverb and delay on our guitars, and not having such rigid historical themes connected to the songs.” If 2009’s single “Sea of Regrets” is anything to go by it should be something very special.  We spoke to singer and guitarist Dave to find out more about album deux.

VP:  How did  I Like Trains meet up and what was initial vision ?

DAVE: Our story is pretty unremarkable. Guy and I have known each other since high school.  We played in a band together and grew up discovering a lot of bands that have come to influence us.  We have been making music together for over 10 years, which is a scary thought.  When we arrived in Leeds to study we immediately started looking to put a new band together.  We met Simon on our course and Alistair through friends and the rest is history.  Our initial vision was quite different to where we are now.  We were thinking acoustic guitars and folk songs.  Perhaps that is where the story telling element to our songs came from.  Anyway our sound changed over time and we became what we became.


VP: You’ve been described as a band ‘obsessed with history’, how do you choose the subject matter for your songs ?

DAVE : The ideas come from various sources.  Books and newspapers for example.  As we became known for writing these historical songs the themes began to find us.  People would ask us if we had heard of this person or that event, and we would go away and do some research.

VP:   What other music/musicians do you consider to have influenced your sound and indeed your approach to music?

DAVE: All sorts really.  We’re at a point where I think our sound continues to develop, and artists continue to influence us.  I think that important influences in the past,  ones that drastically changed the way we sound have been Sigur Ros and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.  Nick Cave and Morrissey gave me a great appreciation for lyrics.  In making our new album we have been referencing Low, Mew, The National, Radiohead and Wild Beasts.


VP: You have almost completed your second album, the follow up to ‘Elegies To Lessons Learnt’’. Can we expect historical events to loom large once more?

DAVE: Not really.  One of the big changes for this record is in the lyrical theme.  I am trying to be a little more cryptic with my words.  I’d like people to make their own interpretations before I start talking too much about the meanings.  I will let on that this record concerns itself with where we are heading to as opposed to where we have been.


VP:  I imagine the bulk 2009 has been spent recording the album but you’ve also played a number of big shows, what have been your highlights?

DAVE: We started 2009 supporting the Sisters of Mercy in Europe.  It was our first experience on a tour of that size.  It was fantastic to play in these big venues to people that had no preconceptions of us as a band.  I think we won over some new support.  We also played at Latitude Festival which was a massive pleasure.


VP: What can the uninitiated expect from an I Like Trains live show?

DAVE: 4 or 5 handsome/hairy men playing the rock music.  We’re probably not as miserable in person as people would expect!


VP: It was recently reported that live recordings entitled ‘Hope is Not Enough’ had been leaked claiming to be the new album, it wasn’t of course, but what are your opinions on file sharing and album leaks?

DAVE: Hmmmm.  This is a tough one to answer.  To pass off live recordings as our new album was slightly ridiculous.  Whilst most people could see through it straight away it seems to have fooled some people.  We saw a message on last FM reporting that the new album was badly recorded.  One of the songs included on that compilation is a very old unrecorded song that predates our first releases!  We even saw someone selling copies of it on eBay which I think is really low.  On a positive note, it is good to know that people are hungry for new material.  We haven’t been precious about fans sharing live recordings.  We’re happy for that to happen, but to pass it off as something it isn’t was a little frustrating.  I would rather our album didn’t leak.  I would rather it wasn’t downloaded illegally once it has been released.  People will argue that it might encourage them to go to a live show that they wouldn’t otherwise, but most bands these days provide enough free material and tasters for those interested to make a decision on whether or not it would be something they’d enjoy.  It takes time and money to make records.  Less time and money makes for a reduction in fidelity and arguably creativity.  Whilst that might not worry the majority of people listening to music on mobile phones and laptops it doesn’t bode well for the future of good sounding records.


VP:
What’s the plan for 2010?

DAVE: Too get our album released as soon as possible and then to hit the road.  Other than that I would love for us to get into sound tracking films.


VP: Tell us about your fans known as ‘Railcard Holders’

DAVE: The Railcard Holders are no more.  It was an imaginative title for a fan club essentially.


VP:   As you’ve become know as a band that takes a more literate approach to songwriting than some , what are your five favourite books?

DAVE: Ah ha.  This is where I come unstuck.  I have never had an appetite for the ‘classics’ and I rarely read a book more than once.  Alistair would be able to answer this question in such a way as to make us look really well read and worldly.  Over the bands lifetime I have mostly been reading biographies and books about history.  For anyone with a passing interest in the art of recording music, I would recommend ‘Perfecting Sound Forever’ by Greg Milner.  It might give people an interesting insight into how the art of recording records has changed over the years, and not necessarily for the better!  The other book that really sticks in my mind is ‘And the Ass Saw the Angel’ by Nick Cave.  He paints a vivid picture of desperation and injustice in almost everything he does.  I have recently enjoyed ‘Men Who Stare at Goats.’  I have yet to see the film.  That’s only 3 books.  Sorry.

Links

Website/Blog

Myspace

Wallpaper


Video

“Deception” By I Like Trains

“Terra Nova” By I Like Trains

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“We Go Hunting” By I Like Trains

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Marina And The Diamonds-The Family Jewels Review

Marina And The Diamonds-The Family Jewels Review

Picture  taken by Kasia Bobula on the set of the ‘Hollywood’ video shoot

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Marina And The Diamonds-The Family Jewels Review

Runner up in The BBC’s Sound of 2010 poll, Marina and the Diamonds puts her money where the hype is and releases her much anticipated debut album ‘The Family Jewels’. The question is, does it cut the mustard, does it measure up, is it all that???The short answer is an unequivocal “YES!” But here’s the long version….

Marina And The Diamonds-The Family Jewels Review‘The Family Jewels’ really does exceed all expectations and heralds the arrival of an outstanding new talent, it’s an album that can be enjoyed on many different levels and should appeal right across the board from fashion conscious teens right through to middle-aged Kate Bush fans . Comparisons are of course lazy, but on this occasion seem quite justified because at times you may feel like you’re listening to Tori Amos’ street wise, sassy little sister. There are other musical reference points throughout the album, for example a discerning ear may well detect more than a hint of the vocal aerobics favoured by Regina Spector, or the theatrical, dramatic delivery of Amanda Palmer or even a pop-centric version of Siouxsie Sioux.  Despite such comparisons Marina has unleashed an album that is very different from what’s currently being produced by other artists in the sphere of ‘pop’. You have to say ‘hats off’ to Neon Gold and Marina And The Diamonds -tracklist679 Recordings Ltd for taking a chance on a singer many may have regarded as a little too ‘wacky’ and left field at a time when record labels rarely invest in anything that deviates from the traditional ‘safe pop’ template. ‘Family Jewels’ is a vibrant, angry, wry, joyous and at times scathingly sarcastic affair. But it also reveals a more reflective vulnerable side, as  weaved throughout the fabric of  what is, essentially a pop album , are songs imbued with an aching melancholy which display a raw honesty that is genuinely touching, no more so than on the magnificent ‘Numb’or the spine tingling ‘Rootless’. Whilst Marina may not quite be Simone De Beauvoir just yet, this is an intelligent album that tries to make sense of being a young female in 2010.  A world in which there has been a definite backslide into an ideology that seeks to enforce certain female stereotypes and sadly, a world where  raunch culture, idealised beauty and ‘hotness’ are seemingly regarded as the ultimate tools of female empowerment ( perversely often by females!). The purposefully heavily photoshopped album art work also provides an ironic nod to many of the ideas and themes that run throughout the course of the album.

The album kicks off in fine style with a new song ‘Are You Satisfied? and straight away any fears that a big label deal would somehow extinguish Marina’s fire are quickly laid to rest.  ‘Shampain’ gets a thorough reworking, replacing the slightly cheesy keyboard present on the early demos with a throbbing synth beat that snakes around Marinas vocals and turns an already good song into a pop beast. Lead single ‘Hollywood’ is probably the albums most mainstream offering and whilst it’s chart success has gleaned Marina a whole new army of fans, it’s also given credence to the theory that Marina may well be one of those artists who you either  “get” or are left wondering just what exactly all the fuss is about. Whilst ‘Hollywood’ is not Marina’s best track, it still boasts a killer chorus and is certainly more intelligent than your average chart single.  Love or hate it there’s no denying that in many ways ‘Hollywood’ is a brave pop song in terms of the subject matter. Bizarrely, it seems that a small minority of over sensitive miscreants have churlishly  misinterpreted ‘Hollywood’ as somehow being an attack on American values, however anybody with a modicum of intelligence will surely dismiss that accusation with the contempt it deserves. In reality ‘Hollywood’ addresses issues that Marina often touches on, both in her music and her blogging, such as our obsession with the emptiness of celebrity culture. Like many of us she is seduced and yet repelled by Hollywood’s plastic alternative reality, and deftly sums up her feelings as “Living in a movie scene/ Puking American dreams”

The boisterous, bouncing  ‘Girls’ w.a.g.s an accusatory musical finger at vapid female airheads who blindly follow fashions without engaging their brain and conform to a media (male) driven stereotype. However I’d question if ‘I think like a guy’ is necessarily the bench-mark of cerebral excellence? Elsewhere ‘Mowgli’s Road’ sounds as gleefully insane as ever (die-hard Diamonds will be pleased to hear that the slightly spooky clockwork intro is back) and ‘I am Not A Robot’ remains a sublime example of how intelligent, heartfelt pop should sound.

‘The Outsider’, another old favourite from Marinas early demos, could be  Kate Bush fronting the Pet Shop Boys in an alternative reality, although  you wonder if even they could come up with something this good!  One of Marinas oldest songs ‘Hermit the Frog’ which appeared on 2007’s homemade CD  ‘Mermaid versus Sailor ‘also makes the album cut, whilst another brand new tune ‘Oh No’ sees Marina warning ‘If you are not very careful/Your possessions will possess you’ and highlights her idiosyncratic, off the wall take on modern life.

It’s a great  album which has greater depth than some may associate with a genre as seemingly disposable as ‘pop’.  Strip away the pop gloss and production sparkle and there is sadness, anger, insecurity and contradiction. And maybe it’s the combination of  all these elements that make Marina stand out as a much more real, colourful and ultimately engaging  character than much of  the bland, unchallenging musical effluence that all too often clogs up the musical toilet known as ‘the charts’. ‘The Family Jewels’ proves she’s so much more than simply Kate Bush on acid.  One gripe though, no ‘This is L.A.’?   If this is the future of pop, then I’m already in my DeLorean with Marty and Doc as the futures bright, the futures Marina.- Hype? Not a chance.

9.5/10

Marina Interview here

Buy it

this review has also been shared for publication on Altsounds.com

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Something For The Weekend w/e 12/02/2009

This week free (legal) Mp3 from Operator Please, plus videos from Yeasayer, The Maccabees ft Roots Manuva, Teenagers In Tokyo,Enter Shikari, Stornaway, Ash, Kate Nash news an Cop On Edge.

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This is the new single ’Logic’* from young Australian band Operator Please…. who are back to announce their forthcoming album ‘Gloves’.

Operator Please

*The Mp3 is provided by Anorak PR- London, on behalf of the band with the message“Feel free to host, post and share this item across the web”

Yeasayer– ‘Ambling Alp’

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4msowO5-h8]

The Maccabees feat. Roots Manuva – ‘Empty Vessels’

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIFHPcHn0fg]

Teenagers In Tokyo-‘Peter Pan’

Enter Shikari -‘Thumper’

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAVne8dOzEA]

Stornoway-‘Zorbing’

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Entente Cordiale-Mono Taxi Interview

Mono Taxi

“How You Gonna Feel About This” By Mono Taxi

There have been a number of bands who, over the years have experienced the giddy pleasure that can only be induced from having the word “Mono”in their collective moniker. This elite bunch include  Mono Stereo, The Mono Lps,  Mono, The Monochrome Set , Mono In VCF and Liam Gallagher’s new band, which if you follow the smart money, will be almost certainly be named,  “Mono-brow.” You can now add Anglo- French duo Mono Taxi to that ever growing list of “mono-philes”.

The nucleus of Mono Taxi comprises Yorkshire-born chanteuse Ellice Williams, and French-born Antoine Collin who have a real D.I.Y. ethic, they make their own artwork, cut each other’s hair, get friends to take photos and create their own lo fi videos.  On their latest single “How You Gonna Feel About This” they take the best of 90’s guitar music (Belly, The Breeders, Throwing Muses, Sonic Youth) give it a light coat of  pop varnish and produce a sound  that is powerful ,melodic, full of energy, and  infused with  joie de vivre. It certainly makes a welcome change from the 80’s keyboard revivalists whose quirky charms are starting to wear as thin as Cheryl Cole’s legs. It’s also rather nice to hear a song that hasn’t been subjected to  ‘death by overproduction’, one that gets back to basics and captures the spirit of spontaneity, which is of course, so often at the heart of all good rock n’ roll.   Mono Taxi is due to release their debut album in April of this year (that’s 2010 for those of you arriving at this page from the future-how’s it looking? ) and it promises to be an intriguing affair.  We had a word with the band, tried to deduce what a Mono Taxi actually is and were delighted to find that not only did we share a love of the same music, but we also shared a mutual mistrust of a certain Eton toff 😉

VP: When did you meet and what inspired you to form Mono Taxi ?

Antoine: We met in Paris in 2003. We were waiting for a cab at Gare du Nord and met in the queue. It just happened we were both going to Bastille and so we decided to share a taxi. We exchanged numbers once arrived in Bastille and started the band the following week.

VP: Where did the name come from?

Antoine: Two reasons why we chose Mono Taxi :  the first one is because we met in a shared taxi in Paris, the second is that it means “Beautiful Taxi” in Spanish.

VP: Your new single “”How You Gonna Feel About This “is about to be released and I believe your debut album is out in the near future, did you enjoy recording it?

Antoine: We record everything in our basement flat in Shepherd’s Bush so it’s always lots of fun. We transformed the corridor cupboard into a vocal booth, which sounds great but lacks a bit of oxygen after a few takes and can make you feel very dizzy if you don’t open the door every now and then. You can also just about fit in with a guitar but you have to keep the neck slightly angled up which can give you cramps at times. The living room has dozens of instruments that we have accumulated over the years including our latest find, an electric blue 1930’s piano which says “As used by Princess Elisabeth” with the English crown symbol next to it (but it looks way too sexy to have ever been used by the queen). Our debut album is out in May and we’re just finishing it up as we speak. It’s been a long time in the making, we’ve had some real joyful and awful moments making it and overall it sounds a lot better than we ever expected it to.

VP: You’ve been compared to 90’s bands like The Breeders and The Pixies with a popper edge, which bands would you say have influenced you.

Antoine: We love The Breeders and The Pixies ! American alternative music of the early 90’s definitely has a big influence on our sound although not everyone necessarily hears it as we do have a popper tone. One day we will make a proper dirty album though, promise.

VP: Many musicians tell stories of musical epiphanies, whether it was fist hearing Hendrix or The Pistols etc ,  defining moments when the suddenly realised “yes ! I want to be a musician” . Did you have such a musical epiphany?

Antoine: I remember seeing Dinosaur Jr in ’93 (shit, was it really 17 years ago ?), for the ‘Where You Been’ tour. It was my first gig and it left me both filled with wonder as well as deaf for a few days. The next day I went to Camden Market to buy my first guitar. £20.

Ellice: The day I got a keyboard for Christmas when I was 7.

VP: What’s been the strangest gig you’ve played so far as a band?

Antoine: Not really played strange gigs. Should we have? we played memorable gigs and miserable gigs but they were never strange as such. Maybe this year?

VP: What’s on the agenda for 2010 ?

Antoine: Our next single is out soon. We’ll be touring France, Spain, Portugal and the UK in May and June. Our album is out in May. Then the summer festivals and then we’ll start working on our next album in October (with that Princess Elizabeth piano, of course).

VP: What were your favourite albums of 2009?

Antoine: The re-release of Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, Yeah Yeah Yeahs It’s A Blitz.. Really liked the new Raveonettes too, with its euro-pop angle.

VP: I have a musician friend who once got so angry at the manufactured dross that is constantly playlisted on the big radio station’s that he threw his radio out of the window, is there are particular style of music that would induce you to do the same?

Antoine: We’re quite open to every style of music really. It’s more the people who make it that can be really irritating. We have to agree with your friend though, 95% (if not more) of what’s playlisted on major radios is stupid music played by stupid people but hey, are they not all signed to stupid majors in the first place ?

VP: Five things that would make 2010 a year to remember would be ……

Antoine: Cameron does NOT win the general elections, American troops leave Afghanistan and Iraq, Mono Taxi’s debut album is play-listed for an unlimited time on BBC radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19… And The Von Pip Musical Express gets a printed version distributed in every corner shop in the UK and which outsells the NME. Et voila !

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“Here Right Now”-Mono Taxi (Live in Main D’oeuvre, Paris

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