A Coming Of Age-Lucky Soul Interview/Review

Lucky Soul "A Coming Of Age" Interview

“A Coming Of Age” By Lucky Soul.

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Lucky Soul produced a fantastic début album in the shape of 2007’s “The Great Unwanted”, a gorgeous, shimmering pop extravaganza that took its musical terms of reference from the girl group sound of the 1960’s.  If Lucky Soul’s songwriter and guitarist Andrew Laidlaw drew some of his inspiration from Motown and Phil Spector for their début then the bands follow up “A Coming of Age” sees them veering between Studio 54 boogie to 50’s prom night heartbreak whilst still retaining that classic pop vibe that made “The Great Unwanted” such a well received album.  Lucky Soul wear their influences on their sleeve but to dismiss them as proselytizers for nostalgia, or simply retro revivalists, would do the quality of both their song writing and delivery a grave disservice. Underneath the sheen, the strings, the sparkle and the glossy production lies an innate ability to produce killer pop tunes, which may look wistfully back into the past, but also clearly demonstrates they are in a different league to the ubiquitous pastiche- by- numbers brigade.

A Coming Of Age” is infused with more than a hint of the sort of  glitterball shimmer and disco fizz that could certainly tempt even the most rhythmically challenged to venture onto the dance floor and throw a few  tentative shapes but like its predecessor it also  provides the perfect  soundtrack for the lost and the lovelorn. Laidlaw proves himself once again to be the master of the mature power pop song, a bedsit Burt Bacharach who combines tragic lyrics with timeless, cinematic pop.  Add to the mix Ali Howard’s sonorous Dusty Springfield meets Sarah Cracknell vocals and you have a sure fire recipe for success. The album kicks off in fine style with the stomping “Woah Billy” a full on glam disco monster, whilst the impossible to resist groove of “White Russian Doll” sounds like Saint Etienne doing battle with the Smiths on the dance-floor of an all-nighter at Wigan Casino. Every track on the album is a lovingly crafted slice of polished pop and the only filler you’ll find on the album would be preceded by the word “floor”. The title track “A Coming Of Age” puts recent Bond themes in the shade, whilst “Upon Hilly Fields” may have the sort of  title you’d expect to find on a Half Man Half Biscuit album, but is in fact a gorgeous, swoonsome country tinged ballad that sees Laidlaw on familiar song-writing terrain exploring his favourite themes, namely love, heartbreak and regret -“but my heart was crushed beneath your heel, and scattered like ash upon Hilly Fields”.

A Coming Of Age” is another flawless gem of an album from a band who really should be huge, but rather bafflingly haven’t quite broken through into the wider public consciousness yet.  Let’s hope this release will rectify that particular musical conundrum and go some way towards Lucky Soul gaining the public recognition their talent surely deserves.  To celebrate the imminent release of the album we spoke to Andrew Laidlaw  about all things Lucky Soul

VP: Your second album “A Coming Of Age “is set for release on 15th April . Has writing and recording it and getting it “out there” been a very different experience from recording “The Great Unwanted”?  For example did you feel any pressure after the critical acclaim your début received?

ANDREW : Second Album Syndrome? It’s a little more difficult in some ways and requires a more steely resolve as you haven’t got that first rush of giddy excitement where everything’s new, but you counter that with experience. This album definitely felt more of a long term relationship than a first crush. We put more pressure on ourselves internally to really hammer out the arrangements and make sure that only the cream went on the record.

Writing in two years as opposed to four is harder but to be honest I haven’t really got much control over when the songs come out of me. They either come along or they don’t. We produced this one ourselves so there was a lot more work to do and budgets these days are tighter so we had to try and make a superior album for half the price that means logistically you have to think things through a lot more.

I haven’t seen many bands get the kind of press that we got on our first record, so I’ve resigned myself to it not being as good this time, even though I think we’ve made a better record. Though we’re not strictly ‘new’ anymore, it’s not like we’ve ever been a buzz band, so there’s no danger of scenes passing us by, because we’ve always been outsiders anyway.

VP: Lead single “White Russian Doll” would indicate that the new album will be a natural progression from your debut. Does the album title reflect how you feel as a band?

ANDREW: Well ‘A Coming Of Age’, the song, refers to feelings of innocence lost and moments of realization; feelings which permeate the album but obviously it can be read many different ways.

We’re definitely more confident and assured as a band now and that reflects on the album, it’s not a radical departure but absolutely a step forward, a warmer, darker, more direct and longer lasting record I think. Everyone is more accomplished musically. Ivor’s guitar work comes through more and Ali’s singing has really improved and Art’s pianos make things a little jazzier.

Our new rhythm section (well, since the last album), Paul and Rusty suggested it as the album title. We like to make a grand statement.

VP:  Behind the shimmering pop there’s always more than a hint of melancholy, heartache and despair, would you it be fair to say you’re more of a “troubled soul” than a “lucky Soul”


ANDREW:  I don’t know many happy, rounded songwriters.

VP:  How difficult is it for a band to self release an album given the current economic climate plus the culture of file sharing? I read an excellent blog by Ali about  the “music for free” generation  and how it can effect musicians, which did give me pause for thought.

ANDREW It’s getting harder all the time. With file sharing it’s not very nice for me as a musician to know that I worked really hard for 3 years, spent a lot of time and money getting it right and then someone can take my baby for nothing. If I was a shop keeper and people took my produce for free, it would be considered stealing but a whole generation has grown up thinking it’s their right to get music for free so I think it’s not going to change. Some people get very self righteous about it.  The fact is there are people making good money out of file sharing, but it’s not the bands or even the labels, it’s the service providers and the file sharing sites.

I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with people sharing music, that’s how word gets around and everybody does it, but a little education and perspective would be good. I mean an album now is about the same price as two pints of beer in London and for that you can have something to listen to and enjoy for the rest of your life… I don’t think it’s too much to expect someone to pay for it.

There’s an argument to say just put concert prices up and keep recorded music free, but personally I would rather it was the other way around, because I can control the music you get to hear from us but I can’t promise you you’ll have a great night out because someone might spill a beer over you or the PA might be crap or something.

I categorically never got into a band to make money, but you do need some income to be able to make decent records.

VP: I believe you recently fell in love,……with Berlin ? What is it about that city and musicians?

ANDREW : Something about the amount of space there is maybe? Gives you a lot of time to think. Plus it’s beautifully lit, has a cosy bar on every corner and has this real sense of history, a weight, without being ruled by it, which it could easily be. I think also because of past oppression, there’s a sense of enjoying its freedom which is creatively stimulating. I could live there easily.

VP:  You’ve supported the Wedding Present a fair bit over the last few years. To some The Weddos buzz saw guitars and your glittering pop may seem a strange union. What sort of a reception did you get from Mr Gedge’s  fans?

ANDREW : Surprisingly good actually. It was weird because the Weddos were the proper first band I saw live, so it was one of those milestones for me. David Gedge has written some great pop tunes in his time and is very melodic, despite the clatter, which is where we fit in. Plus,  live, we’re much louder and more raucous than on our recordings so there’s not too far to travel. For the record I would like to say that Mr.Gedge is not a grump and was most welcoming to us, as were the Weddos fans.

VP:  When writing a new album do you listen to a lot of new music and find yourself being influenced by it? Or do you hermetically seal your ears to outside influences as you already have an idea of the direction you wish the album to take?

ANDREW : This year I have listened to more new stuff than at any point over the last five years but when I’m writing I get a bit scared of ripping someone modern off by accident and coming up with the same record. I think if you gonna steal anyone’s ideas, you should take time to make sure they’re good first!  I try and learn from the old stuff where there’s much less baggage and opinion so you can make your own mind up.

VP: 2009? A good year for music? What were your highlights?

ANDREW : Well I spent pretty much December 2008 to October 2009 listening to Lucky Soul everyday so the only things that come to mind are the Fleet Foxes (I know that was the year before but I’m always behind) and the XX who I chanced across during soundcheck when my friend was doing the sound for them and they were stunning and felt totally unique.

VP: What are your plans for 2010?

ANDREW : Get this record out on tour, both in the UK and round the world again. Ideally I’d like to be back in the studio by the autumn so we don’t have such a long gap between albums this time. 3 years is too long for anyone.

VP: Five words to encapsulate the essence of “A Coming Of Age ?”

ANDREW : I’ll take the first line of the title track:

“Innocence fell at the first”

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Original photos by Glen Wilkins

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“White Russian Doll” By Lucky Soul

“Add Your Light To Mine” By Lucky Soul

“Lips Are Unhappy” By Lucky Soul



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Something For The Weekend w/e 25/03/2010

This Week ….The Kiara Elles, Charlotte Gainsborough, New Young Pony Club, Peggy Sue, Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences, Sensorites, Petter & The Pix, Laura Marling , Naama Hillman, Sugar

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The Kiara Elles

This week TWO  videos from  The Kiara Elles to promote their marvellous double A single “Laser Shot”/”The Bet”, released May 3rd 2010 on I-Tunes.

“Laser Shot”

“The Bet”

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Charlotte Gainsborough


Charlotte Gainsbourg will release her new single ‘Time of the Assassins‘ through Because Music on 10th May.

Taken from her critically acclaimed new album ‘IRM’, the single will be available on 12″ and as a download. Charlotte, who embarks on a world tour next month, will perform her first ever UK show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 22nd June. She will also appear at this year’s Lattitude Festival on 18th July.

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New Young Pony Club –New Album “The Optimist” out now

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5-tzh7k0BY]
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Peggy Sue

Peggy Sue have made a collection of songs from all their singles and EP releases to date available as a FREE DOWNLOAD  for fans. Originally conceived as a number of very limited edition hand-made cassettes, the 10 songs span their career from their first single, New Song to a live version of their next single Watchman and are available right now in advance of their debut album – released April 5th on Wichita Recordings

And here’s the ‘Watchman’ video

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Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences

On April 12th Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences will be releasing the single ‘Every Word I Say To You Will Be A Lie’ on Itunes and strictly limited to 50 numbered copies CD version… You can watch the video now…

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Sensorites – Début Single

Sensorites

Liverpool based brothers Natham & Gareth Kirkham , Senorites to you and I, release their debut , “Spaceman” on 21st April 2010

1 – Spacemen 2 – Spacemen (Two Ragged Soldiers Remix) 3 – Spacemen (Instrumental) 4 – Spacemen (A Cappella) …

“Spacemen “(Two Ragged Soldiers Remix)

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Petter And The Pix-New Album

Petter And The Pix

Here’s a track from “Good As Gold’ the kaleidoscopic second album from six-piece Swedish shape-shifters Petter & The Pix. Released  in the UK on 3 May, via Gung-Ho! Recordings

“In The End Of The Day” By Petter And The Pix

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Laura Marling “Rambling Man”  – New video

‘Rambling Man’ Taken from the  new album, ‘I Speak Because I Can’

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Naama Hillman

Laura Marling fans will surely appreciate the honeyed tones of Naama Hillman who has 3 free songs on offer from her album “Mid Air” if you go here .

Naama Hillman -Mid Air Album Cover

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Retro track of the week

Sugar-“If I Can’t Change Your Mind”

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Two’s Company-Victoria And Jacob

Victoria & Jacob -"With No Certainty"

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“With No Certainty” By Victoria & Jacob

If you have a penchant for pretentious, mystical sounding band names then it’s entirely possible that ‘Victoria and Jacob’ may not be the sort of collective appellation that would immediately grab your attention or appeal to your “inner snob”. However your initial opinion would surely change once you’re ears had been introduced to this wonderful duo’s beautiful, evocative, heartfelt music. The message they appear to be giving  in choosing to use their own names is that of an approachable down to earth couple who aren’t too concerned with pretension or cultivating a faux-cool  image- it’s the music that matters and thankfully it’s the sort of music that will melt your heart. Victoria’s poetic musings and languid vocals,( which at times bring to mind a rather less phlegmatic version of  Dubstar’s Sarah Blackwood) float around a dreamy, ethereal, multi-layered electronic soundscape that radiates beauty and warmth and taps another nail into the coffin of the school of thought that subscribes to the belief that  electronic music by definition, is cold and impersonal.  Maybe in this case the warmth and emotion stems from the fact that many of the synthetic sounds on their début are actually Victoria’s voice, looped, stretched and distorted out of recognition, then again, maybe it’s simply due to the fact that the  duo write songs of  rare,  fragile beauty.

Their songs may be suffused with a sense of melancholy  but they don’t come across as angsty, self obsessed little twerps who subscribe to the “woe is me, whinge-a-long” school of song writing,  for what is on offer on this début EP  is much more subtle, nuanced, reflective and mature and as such is actually strangely consoling.  V&J’s first EP, ‘Super Computer’, was self-released in August 2008 and soon gained praise and support from Tom Robinson ( note to the Independent- that’s TOM Robinson not Baldrick) via his BBC 6Music show.  This was followed up  by the ‘In The Rough’ EP  which was again, self released in October 2009, and now their début single/EP ‘With No Certainty’ is set for release on 5th April 2010 on Voga Parochia Records. We were more than impressed and demanded (in the nicest possible way)  to know more …. we  discussed their influences, their name and their decision to ditch acoustic instruments and embrace the electronic vibe on for enchanting debut single.

VP:  As a collective name you must admit Victoria and Jacob  isn’t terribly rock n roll is it? Did you consider any other names, I dunno,  like The Electric Adverbs, or  Soundgasam 911  or some other such nonsense. Any really bad discarded names you’d like to share?

VICTORIA & JACOB: We didn’t consider any names before because we didn’t really care at the time and now we just like the way the initials spell VAJ. It means people know our names at gigs and it feels more personal. Although if someone had suggest Soundgasam 911 we would have probably gone with it.

VP: You’re new EP ‘With No Certainty” sees a slight departure from your earlier work, more electronic than acoustic. Any particular reason for this or was it just the way your music was going?

VAJ: Whilst we were studying electronic music at University making compositions based on stockhausen scores and creating multimedia installations, we were writing folk music, which was probably a response to the experimental music we were making. The folk sound then evolved into folktronica, which is when we released our first two EP’s. But we then realised that we wanted to define our sound and make it more comprehendible, which is why we ditched the acoustic instruments. We felt the computer allowed for a much wider scope of textual possibilities.

VP:The songs on the EP are all beautiful, but do seem to be drenched in a sense of melancholy and infused with regret …would you agree?  And what sort of themes inspire your music ?

VICTORIA: I wouldn’t say regret, but melancholy certainly. I find a beauty and kind of sympathy in that sort of music. Like a lullaby to small child, it’s very comforting.

VP:Who’ve you been listening to in the past twelve months?

VICTORIA: My favourite artist of last year was Burial, I can’t get enough of his music.  I would love him to do a remix for us.  It’s the vocal samples he uses that make it so unique, quite obvious lyrics but really repetitive and hypnotic. The beats have an urban feel, and all the crackly sounds have an almost otherworldly quality to them.

JACOB: I been getting into the work of Takagi Masakatsu, he’s a multimedia audio/visual artist from Japan who writes electronic music built from acoustic instruments and environmental sounds. It’s not dissimilar to early Four Tet. I’ve also been listening to a lot of The Magnetic Fields, I regrettably only discovered their 3 disc album 69 Love Songs last year, but its quickly becoming one of my favourite albums ever.

VP: What does 2010 hold for you? Anything exciting lined up?

VAJ: Our debut single is released on the 5th of April on Voga Parochia, that’s exciting and what may come as a result of it, it’s our first release on a label and we are looking forward to playing gigs where people know our music. Right now we’re currently working on our debut album in between playing gigs and promoting the single.

VP: Which side of music do you enjoy best, the writing, the recording or playing live …?

VICTORIA: All of it, but I do really enjoy playing live as it allows us to test out new ideas, and it’s always a challenge because it makes us think about different ways of performing the music live.

JACOB: Definitely the writing, gigs can be too much hassle, and recording can be monotonous and time consuming! I write at home, so I just make a pot of coffee and sit at my laptop, occasionally looking outside to check on the weather. I love the spontaneity and chance involved with writing, especially when the ideas start flowing out uncontrollably. When recording and playing live doubts start to creep in, and it’s then that I think an idea is shit, probably because it’s so final and there’s no going back.

VP: If we came back and interviewed you in say, 3 years time, what would you like to have achieved?

VAJ: We would have loved to do some shows around Europe, and toured a bit more, and just still be doing what we are doing now.

VP: There are so many ways to access music these days, streaming music with services such as  Last FM, Spotify, etc,  downloading such as I-Tunes and of course good old fashioned record shops. What’s your own preference in terms of how you consume music?

JACOB: I prefer to listen on iTunes and go to record stores in London and buy some vinyl on a whim, it encourages me to take a risk with something. I’m really trying to get out of the habit of downloading ten albums in a day and never listening to them, although downloading can be positive because it allows our music to be heard all around the world, and means one day we could go and do a show in Japan and people could know our music.

VP: Some kindly soul reading this interview falls in love with your sound and decides to give you a few  grand, on condition it’s spent on enhancing your ability to make music. How would you spend it?

VAJ: On equipment we can’t possibly afford, although two grand wouldn’t go particularly far.

VP: Everybody has a record or two in their collection that makes them say “What was I thinking”…now is your chance to confess to a past musical faux pas! You’ll feel better for sharing 😉

VICTORIA: I was listening to Heads High by Mr.Vegas on Spotify, and of course I wouldn’t buy it, and a friend told me to give 1995 back their tune.

JACOB: I still haven’t got over my teenage obsession with Pearl Jam, me and our producer spent a whole session once comparing the original of Ten to the remastered version.

VP: Five adjectives to sum up your sound would be…..

VAJ:

Ethereal

Playful

Textured

Endearing

Woven

“Clash” By Victoria And Jacob -Free Download*

*courtesy of Bloody Awful Poetry PR

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“There’s A War” -Live – Victoria & Jacob

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Something For The Weekend W/e12/03/2010

This week, The Suzuki’s, Violet Violet, MGMT, Lissie, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, The Owls Are Not What They Seem And Echo And The Bunnymen

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The Suzuki’s -FREE DOWNLOAD

The Suzukis Free Download

Recent Guardian New Band Of The Day, The Suzukis are set to play their first London show this month. To coincide with the gig, they’ve made a track ‘ Built In’ available as a free download.

Built In By” The Suzukis”

*Provided by Anorak PR

From Jerry Lee Lewis to At The Drive-In, via The Stooges and The Sex Pistols, there is a lineage of rock and roll bands united by the same primeval energy and visceral power.

Hailing from Wigan, a quartet called The Suzukis, are creating a mighty storm that taps into this same raw, primal aggression and marks them out as one of the most exciting new bands to reignite people’s faith in rock and roll. It’s been a long time coming, but The Suzukis may just be the first new British group for a long while for the disaffected youth to embrace. A band that matches the sullen boredom and nihilistic pent-up anger of battered, small-town Britain with a fistful of big anthems.

Their debut single is a scathing demolition of celebrity culture to boot. Cutting lyrics over wall of sound guitars and over driven bass make for an exhilarating listen elevates  the band way above the current crop of limp indie bands and the faux-emo punk from the US.

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Violet Violet New Single

Here’s the brand new video for Violet Violet’s new single  ‘For the Young and Fresh Boned’ – (sadly I am neither)  out on Digital download 29th March (including 2 exclusive brand spanking new  b-sides)

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MGMT -FREE DOWNLOAD

MGMT have announced they will be releasing their new album ‘Congratulations,’ on Monday 12th April in the UK.  As the first teaser from the new album the band are giving away a free Mp3 of new track ‘Flash Delirium’ from www.whoismgmt.com.

MGMT -Free Download

One of 2010’s most eagerly anticipated new releases, Congratulations is the successor to MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular, Congratulations is a collection of nine new sonsg  “It’s Working,” “Song for Dan Treacy,” “Someone’s Missing,” “Flash Delirium,” “I Found a Whistle,” “Siberian Breaks,” “Brian Eno,” “Lady Dada’s Nightmare,” and “Congratulations.”

Produced by MGMT and Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, E.A.R., Spectrum), ‘Congratulations’ was recorded throughout 2009 in upstate New York, Malibu, and Brooklyn and features Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, MGMT’s core duo, performing with Matt Asti (bass, backing vocals), Will Berman (drums, backing vocals), and James Richardson (guitar, backing vocals

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LissieIn Sleep” live

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Ou Est Le Swimming Pool

FREE DOWNLOAD

These New Knights – Released 29TH March (7 / 12 and download)

These New Knights is the brand new single from Ou Est Le Swimming Pool who’s musical career had taken a huge leap in 2009. After the incredible success of debut single ‘Dance the Way I Feel’ the band are set to return with another floor shaking slice of Electro- Indie and here’s an exclusive remix to download

*Provided By Brilliantly Different PR

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The Owls Are Not What They Seem

FREE DOWNLOAD

Sounding like a ramshackle gang of  world weary gin-soaked dandies The Owls Are Not What the Seem, show us what brit-pop SHOULD of  have sounded like . They play their first gig on 18/03/2010 -333 Mother Bar, 333 Old Hoxton Street London. Below is one song to download, and one, erm not too…!

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RETRO SONG OF THE WEEK

Echo And The Bunnymen –‘The Killing Moon’ –Live On The Tube 1985

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The Indelicates Live @ Sick, Liverpool 26/02/2010

The Indelicates live @ Sick Liverpool
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(Intro:) The following is not really a gig review as such, I mean you can’t really review nights you’ve been involved in putting on with any degree of objectivity, can you ?  However I certainly wouldn’t want this to be simply an advert for the fantastic nights we do put on at Liverpool’s Zanzibar Club in Seel Street which incidentally has a well stocked bar, friendly well turned out staff, boasts ample adjacent parking space, has the best sound system in the city and entry is only an amazing, recession busting £ 4-00 a ticket, yes that’s right- FOUR pound! You’d be MAD to miss out!!  …So rest assured there’s no chance of me pimping our night here dear readers ;)..But I digress,  I suppose music blogging is essentially  all about sharing the music you love  and hoping that maybe the casual reader, the passing surfer may, on ocassion,  also feel the same way. With that in mind  maybe this  entry should simply  be re-entitled ‘Why the Indelicates are fucking fantastic” .

(Background /obligatory, indignant preamble 🙂 ) When you look at the current so called indie-scene you do wonder where the rebellion is going to come from. ‘Scenes’ these days seem so contrived and are surely nothing more than an industry tool created to shift units to the target demographic.  So called “edgy artists/bands” appear to be  predominately made up of the detritus of failed  drama school students, who think having a hairstyle like The Horrors somehow makes them an anarchist and will  act as a counter balance to the John Barrowman “Gotta Dance” style sensibility that has been burned  deep into their psyche.  Invariably these bands consisting of people called Rupert and Fliss have been so deeply damaged by these “Glee/High School Musical” style academies, that the urge to break out into a ‘jazz hands a go-go’ frenzy at the drop of a hat is a daily battle.  Of course if music/fame/acting doesn’t work out for some of these kids there’s always the banking job in the city that Pater has lined up. And so the Rupert’s and the  Fliss’s, the Lukes and the Katies  of this world , graduate from such places armed with an inflated sense of self belief and proceed to  write coma-inducing, unchallenging, uncontroversial ditties, which, with good PR, can be dressed up as somehow ‘alternative’, although what they are actually the  alternative to is a moot point (good music perhaps?) Their tunes are just bland enough to be popular, they offer no insight or opinion and the very same effect from a listening perspective at least; can be reproduced by simply clamping a vacuum cleaner to your ear and sucking your brain out.

Yeah, yeah I know, I could grumble on about where are the garage bands? And that it’s like punk never happened, (yawn) but at times it really does seem like ‘the kids’ are far less radicalised than their parents these days, they have seen how the system works and rather than kick against it they want in on it . It’s almost as if Michael Gove has fathered a nation of  children (*shudder*) all sharing his values,  who have grown up and decided to address those difficult teen years by  ‘going a bit Indie’ not as an act of rebellion you understand, but as a calculated career move. Why subvert the mainstream when the status quo is just so darn appealing?   And this is all well and good, I don’t mind a bit of safe generic pop on occasion and fame academies can produce good musicians too, but the musical palette should surely have more colours than justsafe commercial music’?  Then again maybe we really don’t have anything to rebel against anymore? Maybe we really have ‘ never had it so good’ and as a consequence we may read about global injustice, the evils of capitalism etc, but as long as it doesn’t directly seem to  effect  us why should we care ? Maybe many of us are just  so well insulated from such things that we have developed a  total lack of empathy and conscience.  Nowadays  “Generation Text’s” chosen form of protest is to join a facebook group, this has a dual purpose, it  allows us to hide behind a virtual  façade, it tells the world that actually we care passionately about important issues, but crucially it doesn’t require us to actually DO anything–the rebellion is just a mouse click away 😉 . Being seen to support something is so much more fashionable than doing something constructive that might actually effect real change  …. In a world where Gary Barlow,(could he be more beige?)  is regarded as one of the great songwriters of his generation and David Cameron really is viewed by many as a statesman and future Prime Minister, isn’t it time we got ourselves some new heroes, pronto !??

Simon Indelicate - Sick Liverpool

So thank fuck for The Indelicates , because ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, if you’re bored with the same old same old,  you really do  need this band in your lives.  They kick against the pricks, they have something to say, they challenge your perceptions of what “pop” is whilst revealing all that it  could be if ‘Big Music’ fucked off  and bands weren’t required to sign away their life in the form of the music industries great lie, the  mythical holy grail that is,  ‘the record deal’ (360° anyone?)  The Indelicates write intelligent, passionate, angry, witty poetic music that  your  Rupert’s and  Lukes  of this world wouldn’t have the wit, wisdom or indeed the bollocks  to ever attempt. In any right thinking society they would be regarded as national treasures, although I admit  part of me likes the idea of them remaining a glorious cult.   I fell in love with them a number of years ago for all the reasons previously mentioned and it wouldn’t be overstating the case to say they are possibly the last significant true indie band we have left.  And so when they headlined a recent   VPME/Read The Fanzine gig (aka Sick!) it was a very proud moment indeed…and they were of course, fucking fantastic.

The Indelicates

(The Gig itself : ) The night didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts as unfortunately our opening act on the bill had to pull out, so faced with me playing the spoons or fellow promoter John doing an impromptu puppet show, we did what all good promoters would do, faced with a similar situation, we panicked, purchased  alcohol and bravely hid behind a big curtain!  However on this occasion the musical gods were smiling on us, for as chance would have it, the sound tech upstairs in the venue was Marc Sunderland who also happens to be a key member of the excellent Peter And The Wolf. He manfully stepped up to the plate and played a great little set,  which was all the more impressive due to the fact that he had to borrow a guitar, had no idea what songs he was going to perform and then had to dash off  to sort the sound out for the bands playing upstairs.

Marc Sunderland-“Tommy”

The second band on the bill where Bony Ghosts from Warrington , a band  who have a sound that could easily translate to much bigger venues, but isn’t  awash with those studied , contrived, almost desperate, stadia pleasing hooks. Their songs are imbued with a swaggering, swirling,  melodic sense of euphoria and  numbers such as  “The Curse” ( called “t’Curse” in Warrington I believe ) ,“Mona Lisa”  and “August”  are  genuinely  anthemic,…. in a good way . Whilst Bony Ghosts  undoubtedly have  a cross genre appeal and the sort of  tunes that would certainly go down well with the likes of Lammo and Tom Robinson,  they don’t  adhere to the tired and dreary landfill indie template, and their set was full of passion and power.

Bony Ghost- “August”

The headline act was the aforementioned Indelicates, and after much fiddling with cables they kicked off their set with epic “The Last significant Statement To Be Made In Rock n Roll” from their début album “American Demo” (a former VPME Album of the year, no less. )  Their set contained a number of tunes from their much anticipated forthcoming album “Songs For Swinging Lovers” , which on this evidence promises to be  every bit  as  head-wreckingly brilliant as their first album.

“The Last Significant Statement to Made In Rock N Roll”– The Indelicates

New songs included “Europe”, the excellent “We Love You Tania” a song about Patty Hearst , and let’s face it who else is gonna write a song about a kidnapped heiress come left-wing urban guerrilla, JLS? I think not ! Another fantastic new  song “Jerusalem” provided a heckle of sorts and  resulted in Simon Indelicate explaining the nature of irony to one member of the audience, who appeared to be unable  to distinguish between sarcasm and a statement of fact.  Simon, to the amusement of the crowd, re-assured Mr. Shouty   that he too actually hated the Tories, and was (obviously) being ironic when he stated how he couldn’t wait for Conservatives to build Jerusalem and thus save us all from Armageddon after the next election.  Irony eh ? It somehow loses its impact when you have to S-P-E-L-L it out. The band finished a fantastic set with “America” and “Our Daughters Will Never Be Free” . As the gig ended a number of people thanked us for bringing The Indelicates  to Liverpool,  which was really appreciated and made all the hard work worthwhile.  After the gig,  Julia Indleciate also showed us some of the ‘top secret’ art work and promo shots for “Songs For Swinging Lovers” which were amazing and one  induced an audible gasp from my good self,  it was basically a picture of…Ah but I am sworn to secrecy, so you’ll just have to wait and see; ) Having spoken to Simon and Julia over the years it was great to finally meet them in person, and it’s always a delight  to find out  that folk  you admire are also very nice people indeed . If the  Indelicates play a venue in your vicinity,  you really should get to see them, they are indeed a band to  love and cherish.

“We Love You Tania” By The Indelicates

“America/Our Daughters Will Never Be Free” By The Indelicates

(Epilogue – So Much for The Afterglow) : And so with the bands finishing it was time to round off the night with Sick’s very own Panic!: Smiths and Morrissey Disco” , which went down a storm and the love emanating  around the venue for the bequiffed genius seemed to be  almost tangible as people danced and sang into the wee small hours. Morrissey’s last visit to Liverpool  may have been cut short prematurely and left a slightly sour taste  but had he of walked into the Zanzibar club on this particular night  and observed  “the love in our eyes” he’d of known, Liverpool holds him in the highest of esteem.

It was a night in which we met some great people and shared a great time, which really, is what it’s all about isn’t it ? …Roll on the next night….

Smiths Disco  Clip

Sadly I missed most of the acoustic bands we had on upstairs, under our  The Folk Upstairs” banner but  Rachel Dunn was launching her   début album  so  here’s the title track

“Alpha Ghost” By Rachel Dunn

http://www.sicklivemusicliverpool.co.uk/

http://www.panicliverpool.co.uk/

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Something For The Weekend w/e 4/03/2010

This week –  Polly Mackey And The Pleasure Principle, The Jessie Rose Trip , Performance, Standard Fare, Club Smith, Peggy Sue, Paramore, The ABC Club, Gorillaz, Shane MacGowan And Friends and The Au-Pairs

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Polly MacKey And The Pleasure Principle –Début EP

Polly Mackey And The Pleasure Principle-Debut EP

Polly McKey & The Pleasure Principle-‘The Wall’

To coincide with the band appearing at SXSW in Texas again this year Polly and the boys have recently released their eagerly anticipated début E.P. Produced by Danny Woodward at Liverpool’s Whitewood recording studios, the E.P. contains the tracks ‘The Wall’, (streamed above) ‘I Don’t Mind‘, ‘Silent Film’ and the anthemic ‘Leave Me Out‘.  The Ep can be purchased here

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The Jessie Rose Trip

Releases a new single  “You Won’t Forget Me Boy” on 22nd March 2010, you can pre-order it here. So go on then…

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Performance The Living’

Possibly the only Mancunian pop trio to be fronted by an internationally published novelist, Performance end a three year hiatus with their storming new single ‘The Living,’ released 26th April.‘ Singer Joe Stretch has written two acclaimed novels, ‘Friction’ (2007) and ‘Wildlife’ (2008), published by Vintage/Random House. Joe Cross (Synth, Bass, and Programming) and Laura Marsden (guitar) formed the electro-pop duo Kiss in Cities, and Cross has also been working as a producer/songwriter, helping to develop, among others, hotly-tipped new bands Hurts and The Sound Of Arrows.

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Standard Fare “Fifteen”

DEBUT ALBUM – “The Noyelle Beat” OUT 29th MARCH
PRE ORDER
(Also released in the USA on 16th March
See here for US release.

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Club Smith release , The Loss EP on March 8th

Club Smith-‘Courtyard’ (*free download  provided by I Like Press PR)

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Club Smith -New EP, "The Loss"

Photo: Craig Good

And here’s the video to ‘Lament’

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRa6DBE25Hc]

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Peggy Sue‘February Snow’ ( From the ‘Communion’ compilation album)

Communion, the London-based musician/fan collective responsible for some of the most talked about club nights in London, Leeds and Brighton, are to spread their wings in early 2010 with the release of a unique compilation featuring a host of previously unrecorded songs and exclusive one-off collaborations.

‘Communion: The Compilation’ was released this week, on the 1st March 2010 and features unheard tracks from the likes of Johnny Flynn, Mumford & Sons, Peggy Sue, Alessi’s Ark, Jeremy Warmsley, Alan Pownall, Matthew & The Atlas and many more.

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Paramore– release a new single -‘Only Exception’ on April 5th

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The ABC ClubThieving Magpie’

The ABC Club release double A-side, Theiving Magpie/Friend Of Mine

Leeds-based 5-piece The ABC Club exist in the space between The Smiths and The Strokes, the understated vocal of Zandra Klievens offset by the taught energy of circling guitars and snapping rhythms. Their double A-side, ‘Theiving Magpie’/’Friend Of Mine’, on  a limited 500 vinyl run has just been released’ ______________________________________________________________________________________________

Gorillaz Stylo” Video

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Shane MacGowan and Friends ‘I Put A Spell On You’ (in aid of Concern Worldwide’s work in Haiti)

So moved by the plight of the people of Haiti, Shane and his long term girlfriend, writer Victoria Clarke made calls to friends and associates from which began the process of recording a track from which ALL proceeds go to Concern, a charity who have provided assistance to some of the poorest countries in the world including Haiti, even before the earthquake struck. Some of the stars on the record include – Nick Cave / Bobby Gillespie / Glen Matlock / Johnny Depp / Chrissie Hynde / Paloma Faith / Eliza Doolittle. Released on March 8th 2010.

Please pre-order the single by clicking HERE (UK residents) or here – http://bit.ly/ahKs8l (Eire residents). Or text SPELL – all in capitals – to 78789 (UK only). The text costs £1.50. Please join the  Facebook Group to ‘Make Shane MacGowan and Friends number 1’ here – http://bit.ly/9ZMxWA

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Retro Track Of The Week

The Au Pairs“It’s Obvious”

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Light And Shade-Sarah Blasko Interview

Sarah Blasko Interview on the VPME

All I Want” By Sarah Blasko

How times change …  a number of years ago an announcement such as “Australian songbird set to release new album” would engender the same  sort of enthusiasm  normally reserved for a  ‘policy’ speech by David Cameron on a wet Sunday afternoon.   Back in the dim and distant past such a statement was  inevitably the presage to an aural assault on the nation’s ears by the latest  Antipodean soap opera starlet,  who would inform us with that rare form of deluded self-belief  that  is normally the preserve of ‘Big Brother’ contestants and beauty queens, that actually folks, it was singing that had always been her real passion.  She would then prattle on about how her musical career had evolved ‘organically’ and after running out of clichés would give thanks to the middle aged ‘pop impresario’  for recognising her God given talent and affording her the opportunity to  ‘follow the dream’. But that was then and this, as they say, is now, indeed things seem to have gone full circle and it is us Brits who owe the world an apology for inflicting such musical abominations as Robbie Williams, Pixie Lott , JLS and a whole host of  ‘cabaret cruise ship ‘ warblers and entertainers on our poor unsuspecting ‘neighbours’.   And so when an Australian artist who has won numerous awards in her native land and whose latest album is as genuinely fabulous as Sarah Blasko’s “As Day Follows Night” undoubtedly is, I somehow feel unworthy….

Whilst still relatively unknown in the  UK,  2010 should see Sarah Blasko firmly embedded in the national consciousness.  She is set to release her début single “I Won’t Run’ on March 22nd,  followed by the aforementioned award winning album ‘As Day Follows Night’ on April 5th.  Add a nationwide tour as special guest of The Temper Trap and it seems that it will be hard to resist Ms. Blasko’s redoubtable charms during the course of the year.

As Night Follows Day” is an intentionally stripped back album, there are no gimmicks, production effects or electronic wizardry, as Sarah explains “I wanted pure, elemental songs played on acoustic instruments. I didn’t want to hide the lyrics behind electronics or effects pedals.”  The risk in releasing an album with production, that those,  used to flashy over produced music, may regard as skeletal  is that you may fail to engage the listener.  Perversely the complete opposite is true of  ‘As Night Follows Day’ and the more you listen to it the more it reveals itself to you.  Bjorn Yttling’s (of Peter, Bjorn and John fame) beautiful production is never invasive, and in sense is comparable to that  old sporting maxim a good referee is one you don’t notice”. The subtle instrumentation allows the vocals to breathe and gives both the lyrics and vocals an openness and emotional depth that makes listening to the album a deeply intimate experience, one in which the listener almost feels they are sharing the same space as the performer.  Long-time fan and Go-Between Robert Forster described the album as “a triumph ! Blasko has written a wonderfully diverse and melodic collection….a remarkable set of songs…a wonderful record. A classic, in fact.” And he’s not wrong,  it is a sublime album and one  which should see her gain as many fans in Europe as she has back home in Oz. As Sarah prepared for her European launch we had a chat with her.

VP: Despite your mantle piece at home positively  groaning with awards and being a multi-platinum selling artist in your native Australia, “As Day Follows Night’ is your first official release in Europe and the UK ? Why do you think it’s taken so long  for your music to reach these shores ?

SARAH: I’m not sure, perhaps I wasn’t really ready to leave Australian shores and perhaps they weren’t the right records. I think this album is a good introduction to my music and I feel that new listeners will be catching me at the right time.

VP: The album’s produced by Bjorn Yttling. What were the circumstances that produced this musical union?

SARAH: I sent him a letter and some demos, he liked them, I visited him in Stockholm, we hit it off and then around 7 weeks later I found myself back in Stockholm making a record.

VP: Was it a strange experience taking your songs to Sweden and in a sense handing them over to somebody you’d never met before?

SARAH: A totally strange experience and it often feels like an incredible brave/crazy idea. It all worked out for the best though. I love the record and I learnt so much from working with Bjorn. The songs were in safe hands with Bjorn and Lasse (the mix engineer), had I fully trusted this at the beginning I might’ve had a more relaxing experience!

VP: You’ve spoken of this album as being a truthful album, indeed the album title echoes that idea whilst referencing Hamlet “And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man”.  How would you define being ’truthful’ in a musical sense, do you mean lyrically or in terms of the production?

SARAH: I think both must have a truth, honesty. It’s as much in the delivery as the intent.  I wanted to lay myself bare, open the windows, and unlock the doors. I think I can be a rather reserved person and a private person and I felt that the extremes of what I was experiencing in my life were worth expressing.

VP: Is this an album that’s radically different from your previous two albums?

SARAH: I think it is quite different, but I think I was getting closer to this point with the last record with the emphasis on piano and strings, but I decided to throw away the electric guitar and keyboard elements that were prominent on my first two records.

VP: You are due to tour the UK with The Temper Trap as their special guest; will this be your first big tour around our humble isle?

SARAH: I did a few shows with Tom McRae a few years back, but yes this is my first extensive tour. I’m really looking forward to it.

VP: Which artists have had the biggest influences on you?
SARAH: David Byrne, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

VP:  What was the first album you remember buying?
SARAH: The BROS album when I was 11.

VP: On you’re a previous album sleeve notes you left this cryptic message ‘Just because you’re in a band, it doesn’t mean we have to be friends’  could you elaborate ?


SARAH: It was meant to be a light-hearted joke about people thanking every band they’ve ever know on their album sleeves.  But, I think that unfortunately it comes across as a bit rude! I didn’t mean it to. I put this in the sleeve of my first album, so I wrote this a while ago. Forgive me!


VP: What five things put you in the perfect frame of mind to write songs ?

SARAH: An inspiring gig, an empty house, a beautiful piano, deadlines, melancholy.

Links

Myspace

Official site

Wallpaper

Video

“We Won’t Run ” by Sarah Blasko

“No Turning Back” By Sarah Blasko

“All I Want” By Sarah Blasko

“Bird On A Wire” By Sarah Blasko

“Hold On My Heart” Live By Sarah Blasko

Tour dates

27 April – O2 Academy Bournemouth

28 April – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London- SOLD OUT

29 April – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London – SOLD OUT

30 April – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London – SOLD OUT

1 May – University, Cardiff

3 May – Rock City, Nottingham

4 May – Birmingham O2 Academy

5 May – UEA, Norwich

9 May – The Academy, Manchester – SOLD OUT

10 May – Newcastle O2 Academy

11 May – Leeds O2 Academy

13 May – Glasgow O2 Academy

14 May – The HMV Picture House, Edinburgh

16 May – Liverpool O2 Academy – SOLD OUT

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