“Tree’s A Crowd” – Savoir Adore Interview

Savoir Adore Interview 2010 -The Von Pip Musical Express

“Early Bird” and “Honestly” (Free Downloads) By Savoir Adore.

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Rarely does a band arrive on the scene as fully formed as genre bending Brooklyn based duo Savoir Adore.  However the band apparently formed completely by accident when multi instrumental friends Paul Hammer and Deidre Muro challenged each other to write music purely for their own enjoyment. With their début album “In the Wooded Forest” they have perfectly captured that free spirited sense of adventure, spontaneity and fun combining a vibrant and eclectic mix of songs and styles that aren’t confined by genre or constrained by pretension. “In the Wooded Forest” is a veritable smorgasbord of musical goodness, a pulsating joyous celebration of sound that is  experimental and embraces many different musical styles but still works supremely well as a cohesive whole. To call it something of a triumph is in no way overstating  just how good this magical album is.

Savoir Adore have offered up a richly diverse and hugely enjoyable debut that takes the listener on a magical ride and sparkles like a musical gem amongst the current crop of contrived and overproduced detritus that is currently poisoning the airwaves.  Released on the same label which helped launch the likes of MGMT, Violins and Bear Hands it looks like Cantora Records have unearthed yet another indie jewel.  This is certainly an album that will feature on the high end of the scale in the VPME’s end of year favourites

We had an enlightening chat with the duo to discover how exactly one goes about accidently forming a band!

VP: You’ve stated in the past that Savoir Adore is an accident, that you had never really intended to start a band …so what happened?

PAUL:  Savoir Adore started as a challenge between Deidre and I to write and record an EP in one weekend, we had no idea what would come of it! We had played a lot of shows together but we thought it would be fun to break out of our respective shells and write something different together – we ended up recording “The Adventures of Mr. Pumpernickel and the Girl with Animals in Her Throat”. The EP got passed around and eventually we got encouraged to perform live and then we ended up signing with Cantora Records. The fact that we became a “band” in a traditional sense – playing live shows, touring, etc. was a total accident and a wonderful surprise!

VP: Yeah that  first EP the curiously titled The Adventures of Mr. Pumpernickel and the Girl with Animals in her Throat’ , was apparently recorded over one weekend as a “concept” EP- what was the idea behind it?

PAUL: It’s an interesting story; there are a lot of layers to it. “Mr. Pumpernickel” and the “Girl with Animals in her Throat” were actually nicknames that we had given to each other. I had a tweed coat that I wore my junior year of college – hence the Mr. Pumpernickel and Deidre used to have “Animals” in her throat in the morning. I also used to send Deidre ridiculous email messages with crazy names that she used to save. Things like “Your Tuna Ain’t No Substitute for Love”, basically just wild, fun stuff. We sort of approached the recording process with a similar openness. We really wanted to explore our imaginations, thematic material that wasn’t explicitly personal. So on our train ride up to the studio we came up with titles for all the songs we would work on. It was obvious that there was a fantastical, fairy-tale like quality to the ideas… but the story wasn’t written yet. As we experimented with different sounds and musical themes in the studio, the narrative naturally developed.

VP: And now you have a full length album “In The Wooded Forest”  how did you set about recording this? Did you take your time or do you tend to record songs quite quickly?

PAUL: It really varied from song to song. ‘Early Bird’, ‘MERP’, ‘Scientific Findings’, and ‘Farewell My Love’ were all written in a day. ‘We Talk Like Machines’ was written over several weeks of layering ideas and passing them back and forth. For the most part, the recording process itself was quick though, we tend not to labour over ideas, there’s something very special about that first time you perform something. I think that vulnerability and excitement comes through in the final product.

VP: How do the two of you go about song writing do you write separately? Together? What’s the process?

PAUL: The process has varied over time. However, most of the songs on the record began as a result of the two of us getting into the room, picking instruments, and trading off ideas until we came up with something that felt right. From there, we’d develop the song together, often using the recordings we captured from the very first moment of inception. It’s really exciting to capture an idea immediately as it’s being written. A lot of our songs, like ‘MERP’ and ‘Scientific Findings’ for example, were based off long loops that we recorded in the moment. Later in the process, there were also some songs that we passed back and forth, writing parts separately. But all-in-all the record was very much an even collaboration.

VP: Your music seems to very eclectic and genuinely different from many contemporary bands. Is it representative of your own musical tastes? Who would you say are your influences?

PAUL: I do think, to some extent, it’s a result of our musical tastes – especially the fact that Deidre and I have very different musical inspirations. Our influences really run the gamut – we both grew up on a lot of classic rock and pop as well as jazz and classical. I listen to a lot of alt country like Ryan Adams and Red House Painters while Deidre listens to a lot of 60s pop like the Zombies and France Gall.

I think over the years we’ve also taken inspiration from many different elements of the music we listen to – the counterpoint and part-writing of Bach, Bill Evans… the dynamics of bands like Sigur Ros and Arcade Fire, the emotion and power of Robert Johnson or Jack White… It’s really like a mad chemistry experiment of inspirations when we get into the studio together, we’re often not sure what’s going to happen… but we like it that way.

VP: What parts of music making do you enjoy the most, writing, recording touring ?

PAUL:  We definitely enjoy them all equally for different reasons. It’s the ability to balance all 3 that makes us happiest.

VP: What are you plans for the rest of the year ?

PAUL: We’re going to be recording new songs for the next couple of months, and hopefully another trip to the UK and Europe in the fall (and a tour in the United States). Also, we’re very excited that the album will finally be available worldwide August 16.

VP:  You’re both described as ‘mutli instrumentalists’, what instrument did you learn first and what’s your favourite instrument?

PAUL :  I learned piano and drums basically at the same time when I was 5 or 6. My favourite instrument is probably the bass though.

DEIDRE:  I was singing all the time, ever since I physically learned how to.  The voice is probably my favourite instrument as well.

VP: The internet, is it a friend of music or it’s enemy?

PAUL: Oooo, the internet can be friend and an enemy of music. However, it’s more of an enemy to the traditional model of record labels than music itself. The music industry just needs to continue to adapt to best integrate and utilize the internet. And for bands at our level, it’s entirely a friend.

VP: Five words to sum up your musical ethos ….

PAUL: Sparkly, Pop, Imagination, Beautiful, Wumpy

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“Bodies” By Savoir Adore

“MERP” Live Bellwoods

BT Digital Music Awards 2010

Hello there !

We have just arrived  back from our holiday in Italy,  seemingly ten stone heavier than when we left dear old England.

Having no internet access for a week has clearly contributed to this unprecedented weight gain  and so we  have entered the  BT Digital Music awards, as the excitement alone will speed up our metabolism and help us shed the lard in record time ..and you can help.    If you feel inclined you can vote for us by clicking the pic below, this will also give you the chance to win tickets to the awards ceremony at the Roundhouse in London.   So do the right thing,  😉

Thanks a lot

VPx

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Something for the Weekend w/e 13/08/2010

Fight Like Apes, Hermes, Sleigh Bells, The King Blues,  Dawn Kinnard, The Like, Teeth, The Concretes, Florrie and Pop Will Eat Itself

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FIGHT LIKE APES -New Album

Fight Like Apes The Body Of Christ & The Legs Of Tina Turner

May Kay and the boys are back  and ‘Hoo Ha Henry,’  is the new single from Fight Like Apes’ forthcomimg album , the wonderfully named ‘The Body Of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner’ (pre-order HERE). Cue mayhem…..!!

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HERMES -Free Mp3

Heremes Free Download

“Jack”  (below) is one of the tracks on their début double A single. Free download below

And here’s a stream of t’other track from the double A-Side called “No Age For Saints”

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SLEIGH BELLS have just played London this week as well as releasing their début album “Treats”.

It’s bloody great and here are just two of eleven reasons why…

“Rin-Rin” by Sleigh Bells

Free download ” Crown On The Ground”

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THE KING BLUES- Holiday

Out on August 29th on Digital Download
and August 30th on Limited Edition CD Single

Interview here

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DAWN KINNARD

DAWN KINNARD

‘Favorite Ghost’ is the first single to be taken from the enigmatic singer songwriter Dawn Kinnard’s forthcoming album, ‘Wrong Side Of The Dream’.

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THE LIKE return and  continue with the retro 60’s girl group  makeover.

“Wishing He Was Dead” By The Like

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TEETH

“See Spaces” by Teeth  is out on August 16th on Moshi Moshi Singles Club. What’s the video all about ? Answers on a postcard please.

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THE CONCRETES

The Concretes return with a new album  called WYWH which is due  out on November 4th meanwhile listen to  – “Good Evening” (above) which is also available as a free download HERE

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FLORRIE“Give Me Love” Free Download

Florrie-Free Mp3-Download

Florrie, who recently released her début single on Kitsune returns with one track of original material today, with another track arriving very shortly indeed via florrie.com

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Retro Track Of The Week

As we are off to Italy next week for our hols ….

Pop Will Eat Itself – Touched By The Hand Of Cicciolina

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“Hearts And Minds”- Performance Interview

Performance-Red Brick Heart -interview

“The Living” by Performance

Free Download-“Let’s Start” By Peformance

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When you ask a band or artist to describe their music, many fix you with an imperious stare and trot out something along the lines of “I don’t like to describe my music, I leave that to less talented mortals, you, for example!” Which, let’s be honest can make them come across as a bit of an ostentatious arse!  So when Performance’s singer and lyricist Joe Stretch describes their music as ‘a subtle cross between Mickey Mouse and Jean-Paul Sartre’ it’s as refreshing as it’s unexpected.

But then again I suppose we should expect the unexpected from this Mancunian  trio, who have gained something of a cult following due to their mix of euphoric pop juxtaposed with dark, twisted lyrics.  Performance first emerged on the synth pop scene back in 2003 when ‘pop’ was frowned upon by scenesters, hipsters and all those who were generally at  the vanguard of pretentious wankery.   “We’ve always divided Mancunian audiences,’ says Joe Stretch. ‘For some, we’re superficial tossers. For others, we’re sonic sages.’ The band certainly have a chequered past , surviving chemicals, a big label deal and an inter-band romance that contributed  to the sort of  meltdown that left current members, Stretch, Joe Cross and Laura Marsden barely on speaking terms.

Being dropped by Polydor may have been the catalyst for Performance to take a collective deep breath . . . and focus.   By 2007, and back on course, they released their limited edition début album ‘We Are Performance”. Their love of making great pop music once more, had strengthened their bond and their resolve as they vowed to continue working together. However their career was put on hold when Stretch signed a publishing deal with Vintage/Random House and during an amicable three year band hiatus he published two novels, ‘Friction’ and ‘Wildlife’ whilst  Cross and Marsden formed an electro-pop duo, Kiss In Cities, with Cross also working as a producer and songwriter.

Now Performance is back with all guns blazing, and they follow up April’s darkly euphoric synth pop blast ‘The Living’ with the equally impressive ‘Unconsoled’. A new album ‘Red Brick Heart’ is pencilled in for release later in the year, although Stretch admits ‘I suppose there’s always a chance that love will tear us apart again. But we’re a brilliant band,’ -that’s why we’re coming back. Some people in the music business told us it would be better if we changed our name, so we could seem new. But I’m not going to change my name for a man who looks like polished fruit. Anyway, aren’t most new bands crap?   We’re a fuck sight better than half the rubbish that gets on television.’

We spoke to Stretch about their explosive past, the sodomy of popular culture and the addictive nature of pop music!

VP: Performance certainly appears to be a band with a chequered past, teetering on the precipice of oblivion, yet somehow drawn together by a mutual desire to create…Would that be a fair assessment?

JS: Yeh, I think that’s fair. We keep accidentally not stopping playing. People underestimate how addictive pop music is.

VP: Cliff Jones, (producer) said of you “‘I’ve honestly never met a more sombre bunch of people in my life. It’s unclear to me why they make pop music.’ What would be your answer?

JS: People underestimate how fun being sombre is. It’s surprisingly refreshing and slows the days down.

VP: You’ve just released a new  single “Unrconsoled” , ahead of a new album “Red Brick Heart”,  for newcomers to your work what can people expect from a Performance album?

JS: People underestimate Performance. Our album is eclectic, serious, rock, electro, poetic, northern nonsense.

VP: In 2005 you had a major label deal, many bands complain that the perceived holy grail of signing to a major is not always all it’s made out to be. How did you find that experience?

JS: Well, I must say I enjoyed the food. It was cooked for us by a pretty dashing Frenchman called Jerome. The beds I enjoyed less so, I’m afraid. I once slept in room full of dead wasps for a very long time while trying to make an album. How did I find it? Pretty much as expected. I signed the deal with a betting pen and was young and carefree, yet to commit my portion to the landfill of innocence. It was quite good really. I’d made room in my bottom for the cocks.

VP: There have been huge changes in the music industry since Performance formed in  2003.  What would you say have been the positives and negatives of the digital age?

JS: Oh, I don’t know much about that. If you’re a fan of good music, then it’s easier to find. If you’re a fan of bad music, then that’s easier to track down, too. I’m not sure it’s changed all that much. Bands, for example, are still simply trying to get out of the shit and stand out and be heard. You’re just more aware of the shit than you were in the past. Text messaging’s useful.

VP: What sort of artists and musicians has had major influences on Performance’s outlook and the sort of music you produce?

JS:  I think we’re influence by people like Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Kraftwerk. A lot of my lyrics come after I’ve read a book. Books create moods and attitudes and I think those things lie at the heart of songwriting. I like that link. Read a book – get in a mood – write a song. Other times it’s, Kiss a girl – stop kissing her – write a song.

VP: You’re a novelist whilst Laura and Joe are in electro duo Kiss In Cities. With so much going on how do you find the time to get together and how does the creative process work within Performance?

JS: All we do is we occasionally get together and it’s awkward and there’s nothing to talk about so we write songs. The band is a womb and we constantly try to climb back inside it. We enjoy the process. Joe Cross is always busy producing other people (Hurts, Sound Of Arrows, Heartbreaks, Hero) Laura is the pied piper of Manchester. But people underestimate how much time there is in the world.

VP: Joe, you’re next novel is ‘One Hit Wonder’ can you give us a rough idea what it will be about?

JS: It’s about a family called the Albrights. It follows them from 1989 to 2010 and documents every single member of the family and their efforts, during that period, to become famous.

VP: X Factor, Pop Idol and Cowell ….. Harmless fun or the sodomy of popular culture?

JS: Sodomy of pop culture, probably. Ironic appreciation is sad, I think. Irony, really, is just another way of giving in. People should stay in their bedrooms until they come up with an idea, not stand on a cross and sing Snow Patrol. X-Factor is, when you stop and think about it, a religion of shit.

VP: If you had a band motto what would it be ?

JS: “Another one bites the dust.”

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“Unconsoled” by Performance

“The Living” By Performance

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Field Day Festival-31.07.10 Victoria Park, London

So when is a festival really a festival and when is it  just a bunch of bands in a field?  Harriet Pittard investigates for the VPME.

FIELD DAY – REVIEW – 2010


“Be like the Ant in the Days of Summer”
read the cryptic message emblazoned on the banner that stretched across the Eat Your Own Ears stage…"Be like the Ant in the Days of Summer”

Why would anyone want to be an ant in summer? Perhaps the organisers (Eat Your Own Ears) thought that if they brainwashed lots of drunk people into believing they were ants then they wouldn’t mind the fact that there were far too many of them on one patch of park?
Here is a picture of some “ants” queuing…

Fight Like Apes? Nah, Queue Like Ants!
There was lots of queuing to be done, particularly at the entrance.

Another criticism, before any live music can even be mentioned, is that it was nearly impossible for anyone to find out what the heck was going on. Not even the artists on the bill had a clue…

Hudson Mohawke's tweet

…kindly highlighted above by Hudson Mohawke’s tweet…(above)

According to the rumours, the stage and set time information was withheld in an attempt to lure you into buying the over-priced programme on site. Fortunately some people had made their own programmes…

DIY Programmes, Field Day 2010

After lots of queuing and confused attempts to find out what was happening and who was playing where, muddled minds were temporarily distracted by The Fall plodding on to the Eat Your Own Ears stage.  Mark E Smith may as well have had “I am only doing this for the money” tattooed on his forehead, which in turn left him having to deal with a disillusioned, arms-folded kind of crowd .

A little later into the afternoon, the wispy Bradford Cox (Atlas Sound) cast a spell on his adoring fans in the Adventures in the Beetroot Field tent. With his one-man dream machine of pedals he took us on an intricate and intimate journey through his most recent album Logos. He looked a little uncomfortable and even shaky when it came to the harmonica blowing, but his fragility only made the fans even more attentive.
A particular highlight was his song ‘Walkabout’ which was originally written and recorded as a duet with Noah Lennox AKA Panda Bear. Bradford’s voice aches with nostalgic pining for the past and it was hard not to be moved when he sang out to the crowd “what did you want to be, what did you want to see, when you grew up?”

Bradford Cox (Atlas Sound)

As the hoards kept heading to the park the tiny Blogger’s Delight tent became a Blogger’s Nightmare. Being in there for Hudson Mohawke meant getting way too close and personal with drunken boys getting their grind on. However, the cramped conditions and sleazy vibes became worth the while (perhaps even complimentary) once his epic track ‘Fuse’ soared through the sweaty dozens.

Having blagged some VIP passes it was a bit of a relief to escape to the hospitality area with its sugary cocktail bar and paddling pools filled with fake ducks…

Fake Ducks
After splashing about and watching people watch people (which is all that seems to go on in VIP areas) it was time to catch Caribou.

As they hit the stage people began to ease up. Phones were dead, ciders had settled in stomachs and strangers were swapping sun-glasses. The hazy sunset and Caribou’s disco dance delights including ‘Odessa’ and ‘Sun’ from their latest album ‘Swim’ almost made it feel like a real festival – not an over-crowded one-dayer in an urban, dusty, grassless park.

Caribou-Field Day 2010

Words  by Harriet Pittard, pictures by Hal Branson.

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Dance Yourself Dizzy-Allo Darlin’ Interview

Allo Darlin' Interview 2010

“Kiss Your Lips” By Allo Darlin’

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The ukulele, it must be said, has never been my favourite musical instrument.  This probably stems from a deep rooted childhood aversion to uke playing toothsome Lancastrian comics, a fact which possibly clouded my view of Australian expatriate Elizabeth Morris’s musical venture Allo Darlin’ before I’d even heard a note. Apparently Morris started song writing on a uke after moving to London in 2005 but happily my foolish and narrow minded assumption that the resulting songs would be some sort of updated tweecore version of Tessie O’Shea was severely wide of the mark. As soon as I’d heard their debut single “Henry Rollins Don’t  Dance” I quickly realised the error of my ways.

Allo Darlin’s debut album builds on this early promise and positively chimes with an infectious youthful exuberance. At times you feel a little voyeuristic, like you’re peeking at somebody’s diary, such is the candour of Morris’s song writing. But such frankness is also her strength and she manages to counterbalance any accusations of being too saccharine with a wry sense of humour and an adroit lyrical style that manages to be utterly engaging and charming without ever being overtly cutesy.

The widescreen pop of opening track ‘Dreaming’ sets the tone for the album and also features a duet with our old friend Monster Bobby, who seems to have acquired a baritone of such subterranean depth that it makes Paul Robeson sound not dissimilar to a pre-pubescent Aled Jones. “Silver Dollars” is full of jaunty beauty whilst “Kiss Your Lips” is such a joyous serotonin inducing slice of pop that it almost makes you giddy with delight. Of course it’s not all unrelenting sweetness and light and beneath the often bright and breezy vibe there is a reflective and thoughtful mind at play. This is demonstrated in songs such as the gorgeous Hope Sandoval-esque “Let’s Go Swimming” or the fantastic “Woody Allen”in which Morris wonders if her relationship could ever be scripted by Woody Allen and contains the immortal line   -“sometimes it gets bad, but it never gets Bergman bad”.

Current single ‘If Loneliness Was Art” is a typical slice of Allo Darlin’ and really captures what they are all about, scratch beneath the seemingly carefree demeanour of the song and you can sense the angst and the yearning. As Elizabeth herself says, “It’s about wanting somebody. Really really badly.” Allo Darlin’ have produced a debut album that is enormously enjoyable and affecting, full of warmth, charm and beauty which will resonate with anybody who has loved and lost and loved again.

We spoke to Elizabeth to discuss what makes “Allo Darlin’ tick.

VP: Would it be true to say  ‘Allo Darlin’ came about  more by happy accident, born out of the pleasure of playing music, more so than a Machiavellian scheme to become famous?

Elizabeth: We’re definitely not driven by any desire to be famous. Probably more driven by the idea of not being famous. I think fame is horrible. I’m not very good with cameras or fashion or smiling when you’re meant to or any of those things that famous people are meant to be good at.

Obviously we want our band to do well, and we’d love to make a living from playing music, but we started out wanting to make people feel good when they heard something we wrote. Something that they might hear at a particular time and say “yes that’s how I feel, too”. We want to make people dance and cry, but not at the same time, obviously!

VP: Do you think a band name should be indicative of how the band sounds, for example ‘Allo Darlin’ sounds bright, breezy, and carefree. Did you spend a lot of time pondering on a suitable name?

Elizabeth: I think band names are pretty stupid. People spend ages thinking about them, but in the end they don’t mean anything. It’s just a name for people who play certain songs. Allo Darlin’ was sort of a joke name, after the demise of my old band The Darlings. I didn’t take it seriously but started playing under that name, and then by the time the boys joined and we were a band it was what people knew these collections of songs as, so we had to keep it. The Beatles is probably the most stupid band name of all. If you say any famous band name to yourself out of context from their music it sounds stupid.

VP: Your album’s certainly a joy to behold , are you happy with results , did it turn out as expected,  did it exceed your own expectations, or is there anything you’d change about it ?

Elizabeth: In retrospect there’s lots of things I’d change. My voice is a lot stronger now, and it sounds pretty weak to me in places on the album, but that’s just part of getting better I guess. As a band we certainly play these songs so much better now, after a year of gigging them almost every week. A lot of the songs were written the night before we recorded them, so it was all sort of done on the fly. But I love it for what it is and we had an amazing time making it.

VP: What would Henry Rollins make of his alleged reluctance to dance?  What gave you the idea for that song ?

 

Elizabeth: I’m not sure what he’d make of it – I never intended him to hear it! Let’s just say it has something to do with a certain boy who prefers hardcore to tweecore, haha.

VP: Amd how do you feel when you hear some people describe your music as ‘twee’?

Elizabeth: I don’t really care. It used to bug me but now I know it doesn’t really mean anything – it’s just a word people use. What I think might be twee and what I think our music is doesn’t really matter. People can call it whatever they want – it’s just pop music to us. When people come to see us play they don’t call us a twee band. This seems to be more of an issue for people in England than in the US.

VP: What are your plans for the remainder of 2010 ?

Elizabeth : Well we’re about to head off on a two week European tour, then our album comes out in the States in October and we’re touring there again, and then it comes out in Japan in November. I’ve started writing new songs for the second album and we’ll start rehearsing them and getting ready to record that next year.

 

VP: …..And what have been your highlights thus far ?

 

Elizabeth: Our East Coast American tour in May was amazing. We ended up on the front page of the NY Times after our New York show and that pretty much blew us all away. Touring America had been a dream of all of ours forever, so it was pretty exciting to see even a little bit of that realized. Our album launch party with Standard Fare and the Middle Ones was probably my favourite show we’ve ever played, however.

 

VP: What was the first record you remember buying?

Elizabeth: Michael Jackson – Dangerous

VP: …And what’s the one song you’d wish you’d written, and why?

Elizabeth: Ooh that’s a really tough question. Couldn’t say. Maybe ‘Louis Louis!’ Haha. There’s about a million songs I wish I’d written, they just make you want to write better ones though.

VP: Finally what five words are the most overused during an Allo Darlin’ band rehearsal session?

Elizabeth: “No more funk” and “sorry I fucked it up!”

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“The Polaroid Song” By Allo Darlin’

“Dreaming” By Allo Darlin’

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