Songs To Learn And Sing – The Better You Look The More You See – Pris / VP At The BBC

"It's hotter than Debbie Harry in camiknickers feeding a beef vindaloo to Pan's People in a sauna in Bangkok." It's twice as hot as that.

Pris - " hotter than Debbie Harry in camiknickers feeding a beef vindaloo to Pan's People in a sauna in Bangkok."

‘The Better You Look The More You See” By Pris.

Here’s the forthcoming debut single from Pris  who we have featured a fair few times on The VPME this year (interview here)  Not only do they play power packed, post punk,  snot pop with a vengeance, they also spend their spare time pissing off fans of ‘serious’ bands on twitter.  It’s hilarious to see them winding up the purists in 140 charters or less.

And as my mates  Half Man Half Biscuit once sang “ Irk The Purists it’s a right good laugh “


Von Pip And Sarabeth Tucek.

Von Pip And Sarabeth Tucek.

Pris were one of our selections when the Beeb invited us along to Tom Robinson’s interactive show  “Now Playing  on 6 music” playing the song for the first time, like, anywhere.  We also wrote a blog in which we picked our favourite four albums of the year so far (HERE).

You can listen to our appearance on BBC6Music music at around 1(hr) 25 (mins) HERE on the BBC I-player where we feature the incredible Sarabeth Tucek  and Islington Boys Club alongside   Pris.  The Quietus also pop in & select an array of ear candy for your delectation and edification.


In other news we are  working on our latest podcast for the merry month of May,  which even if we say it our selves is f*cking amazing !!!!  April’s edition can be listened to HERE



The VPME And The BBC.

THE Von Pip Musical Express On BBC 6 Music.


Just a quick post to let you know I’ll be on the  “Now Playing @6Music”  show between 7-9pm this Friday night with Tom Robinson on  BBC 6Music, picking a trio of my favourite recent new tunes.   No Digital Radio ?  No problem you can  can listen online here.  So please tune in and be bowled over by my laconic John Peel-esque tones 🙂

To tie in with the show I was also invited to write a guest blog on the BBC website which you can read HERE.



Sarabeth Tucek – Live @ Band On The Wall, Manchester 09/05/2011.

Sarabeth Tucek Live Review -Band On the Wall, Manchester 2011

If you’ve visited this blog before you’ll  no doubt be aware of our  love for  Sarabeth Tucek and we have certainly not hid our  admiration for her stunning sophomore album ‘Get Well Soon.’  She certainly didn’t disappoint in the live setting playing a short but achingly beautiful set in Manchester as part of her UK tour (on this occasion supporting energetic folk pop collective The Leisure Society.) This was the first time I’d visited Manchester’s  ‘Band On The Wall’ venue run by the not for profit charity Inner City Music and it provided the perfect setting for an intimate and profoundly affecting performance from Ms Tucek.   A word of warning though, should you wish to partake in a pre-gig pint , a couple of pubs in the vicinity seemed to be populated by local ‘characters’ who where unquestionably a few French fries short of a happy meal. On the plus side they would certainly provide ample source material for the writers of ‘A League Of Gentlemen’  should they ever wish to revive the series.

Sarabeth Tucek Live Review Manchester 2011

With her partner in crime Luther Russell,  Sarabeth performed a stripped down set consisting  primarily of songs  from her ‘Get Well Soon ’ album.   It must be a slightly strange experience singing such personal songs to a crowd of strangers but Sarabeth delivered them with elegance, eloquence and her hauntingly beautiful voice had the audience mesmerised from the first note.   ‘Get Well Soon’ is an album inspired by the loss of her father and  she communicates her confusion, pain and vulnerability in the face of bereavement with such dignity that you can only listen in hushed silence and feel nothing but respect for her honesty and integrity. Like all genuinely great artists Sarabeth can take an intensely personal experience and articulate it in such a way that makes it universal. This is not contrived, self indulgent navel gazing; this is raw emotion of genuine sincerity and beauty and as such is intensely moving. To take a traumatic life changing event and transform it into something so positive, inspiring and timeless  is a testament not only to her undoubted talent as a songwriter and musician but also her strength as a person.   Seriously, why she isn’t absolutely huge both here and back home in the States is beyond me.   If her songs and voice don’t stir some emotions within you I can only assume you have ice in your veins, have a seriously defective empathy gene or are George Osborne .

 It was a pleasure to meet Sarabeth and Luther after the gig and find them to be warm and witty with a wonderfully dry and dare I say, very English sense of humour.   I really could not think of a better way to spend a Monday evening. Catch her while you can, she really is such a talent,  you will not be disappointed.

Sarabeth Tucek And Luther Russell backstage

Sarabeth Tucek/  Von Pip

Sarabeth In Von Pip Mode !!

Her Uk tour continues ….
May 13 . ULU . London (with Engineers).

May 14 . Truck Store . Oxford.
May 15 . Buffalo Bar . Cardiff.
May 16 . Café Oto . London (with This Is The Kit).
May 17 . The Puzzle Hall Inn . West Yorkshire.
May 18 . Prince Albert . Brighton (with David Thomas Broughton).

May 19 . The Slaughtered Lamb . London.
May 21 . Wood Festival . Oxfordshire.

Original Pirate Material – Pete And The Pirates – ‘One Thousand Pictures’ Album Review and Interview

Pete And The Pirates - One Thousand Pictures Review And Interview.

‘Come To The Bar’ By Pete And The Pirates.

‘Winter’ By Pete And The Pirates.

We first featured Pete and The Pirates in 2008 after being charmed by their marvellous debut album ‘Little Death,’ but then things went ominously quiet. A couple of years between albums is quite normal, indeed they are but the blinking of an eye in Kate Bush’s world. But this perceived lack of Pirate activity did cause concern after all, a sad fact of life is that great bands do call it a day whilst bafflingly shit bands like Scouting For Girls still prevail.  However in February 2010 Pete and The Pirates remerged with a one off single “Jennifer / Blood Gets Thin” which found them in rude health and allayed some of our fears.  Now their second album ‘One Thousand Pictures’ is set for release on the  23rd of  May 2011 and we are happy to report it’s been well worth the wait.

The album is still chock full of the bands trademark pop hooks and proves they have lost none of their ability to write a killer tune but it also showcases a bigger bolder sound than on their debut.  The hope and romantic idealism that permeated ‘Little Death’ is replaced by the sort of cynicism that comes from experience and the jangle pop is replaced by a much more rounded rockier sound. Ok so they haven’t done the whole Arctic ‘This is what Led Zeppelin would sound like fronted by George Formby Monkeys rock thing but there are some fantastically meaty guitar riffs in evidence. However Pete And The Pirates are an eclectic bunch and don’t really conform to one particular template instead they take us on an intriguing musical journey through indie, rock and even shades of Donna Summer (on ‘Winter.’)  As ever it’s the quality of the songs that ultimately ensure that the band build on the success of their debut and ‘One Thousand Pictures’ is definite progression forward.  Underneath the jaunty veneer of many of the songs you may find something rather darker lurking and it’s this juxtaposition along with fabulous melodies that once again makes Pete And The Pirates stand out from their peers. We caught up with Peter Hefferan (vocals and guitar) to find out what’s been going on..

Album rating: 9/10


VP: It’s been three years since your début ‘Little Death,’ aside from a single what have you been up to in the interim?

PETE: Well we’ve travelled pretty much the whole of Western Europe a few times sampling the local cuisine and playing the occasional show. Spent some time in the U.S. too. The writing and rehearsal process for the album was one that we didn’t want to hurry, either. So we spent some time letting the new songs mature before we took them into the studio. This plus the odd British tour and festival season pretty much had us flat out working for the whole time.

VP: Your upcoming follow up ‘One Thousand Pictures’ arguably has a more rounded, fuller sound. It’s eclectic yet possibly more cohesive than your debut, did you have a definite idea of how you wanted the album to sound from the outset or did it kind of evolve?

PETE: Similarly to the last album, I think it’s sound is very much defined by the personality of the songs that we chose to put on it, rather than the other way round. I think due to the fact that we recorded ‘As Live’ there is cohesiveness similar to what you might experience at a gig. I’m glad you said it’s eclectic because each of the songs has it’s own stand out feel for me. I think Brendan Lynch also had a very clear vision of how he wanted the songs to sound and his personality has really come though in the whole album, which ties it together nicely.

VP:     The album is apparently all about motorcycles, blood, sex, guns and insanity, are these things that plague your dreams at night? Where do you take inspiration from?

PETE: That’s a hard question to answer, purely because when you are walking along and a lyric pops into your head, who knows where it came from! But now you mention it, Motorcycles blood guns sex and insanity; they seem like pretty normal things for a guy to concern himself with!

VP:    Let’s take one song and analyse it under our pop microscope… ‘Cold Black Kitty’ what’s the story behind that particular song ?

PETE: What’s is interesting for us as a band is what meanings people take from our songs rather than trying to force meaning at them. The lyrics should act as a gateway into your own imaginings rather than a window into ours. Does that sound really pretentious? You could argue that that song is about a cat that just wants to come inside….

VP:   What plans for the album launch and indeed the rest of the year ?

PETE: Think the album launch is gonna be a killer show. Heaven is a great music venue. The rest of the year for us brings touring the UK all through May. Then some festivals in the Summer. Plus we’re currently bouncing songs back and forth to start working on for Album three. Pretty exciting times to be honest.

VP:  You’re releasing the album on CD and vinyl and download, I speak to some artists and fans who don’t bother with the physical format these days, personally I like something tangible, but what’s your preferred format and why?

PETE: It’s great to be able to have quick easy access to new music from your bedroom. But I don’t think it compares with the joy of going to a record shop, buying a record and opening it on the bus ‘cos you can’t wait to get home. Record and CDs look and feel great. Also they sound hugely better than MP3s. It’s a no brainer for me.  

VP:   Over the time you’ve been together what have been the band highlights and lowlights?

PETE: Highlight’s are playing at a festival in Nyon, Switzerland, at night. Also Reading Festival, cos we’re from there. Lowlights could be sleeping in our van in wintery Berlin ‘cos we mis-booked the hotel. Oh and breaking down on the way to Leeds festival ‘cos we tried to fit our backline and the band in a (dearly departed) Nissan Micra.

VP:    What have been your favourite albums so far this year?

PETE: Gruff Rhys ‘Hotel Shampoo’Bill Callahan ‘Apocalypse.’

VP:   What advice would you give to your 14 year old self?

PETE:  Probably wouldn’t listen to myself anyway.

VP: Five words to sum up ‘ One Thousand Pictures’ ……

PETE: Why not see for yourself!


Official Site



Get The Album HERE.



Songs To Learn And Sing – Birdland, Mechanical Bride, The Rialto Burns.

The Return of Birdland

Birdland  Return!!


“Everybody’s Dreaming” – Birdland.

It seems Birdland are back!!  In the late eighties Birdland  burst on to the scene looking somewhat  like a ‘Midwitch Cuckoo’  version of the Ramones or The Stooges replete with a frenzied, amphetamine  fuelled sound. They were quickly called the next big thing by the music press,  alas timing is everything and the decision to delay their debut album meant that  they failed to take advantage of their escalating  fan base. Sadly by the time the debut album finally emerged, the press had found new media darlings and Birdland were lost amongst Britpoppers and grunge . However if you listen to songs like ‘Hollow Heart’, ‘Sugar Blood’ and ‘Sleep With Me’, you’ll find they have aged remarkably well.  If the  demo above is anything to go by it looks like this reunion could be a lot of fun….Now can I squeeze into my skinny jeans for one last hurrah???


Mechanical Bride.

Mechanical Bride - VPME

“Colour Of Fire” By Mechanical Bride.

‘Colour Of Fire’ is available to download for free from the Mechanical Bride official site now – ‘Colour Of Fire’ is taken from Mechanical Bride’s debut album ‘Living With Ants’, released 6th June via Transgressive.

Mechanical Bride, AKA 25 year old songwriter and self-taught musician Lauren Doss, her work has been compared to PJ Harvey, Laura Marling and Bat For Lashes.


The Rialto Burns.

The Rialto Burns

‘Learning To Fight’ By The Rialto Burns.

Liverpool’s The Rialto Burns release the ‘For The Asking’ EP on 13 June 2011 – an energetic 10 tracker full of cavernous, dark moments, electrical soaring highs.