Totally Wired – The Whip Interview/Album Review

The Whip - Wired Together - Interview VPME - 2011

‘Riot’ By The Whip.

Manchester has long been a fertile breeding ground for electronic music, be it the nihilistic, heart wrenching poetry of Joy Division, set against the backdrop of a bleak, grey  post-industrial Manchester through to the pill popping hedonistic indie dance crossover championed by the likes of New Order and ACR .

Such a legacy could prove to be something of a burden to lesser bands than The Whip, who also hail from greater Manchester, a fact some critics have used in an attempt to pigeon hole and define them. However The Whip could care less about narrow-minded assumptions and ill fitting labels and instead approach their music with the kind of infectious alacrity that is difficult to resist. In truth they produce a fusion of intoxicating indie, dance and electronica that owes as much to Daft Punk and Cabaret Voltaire as it does to New Order or the Hacienda sound.

Their debut album, 2008’s ‘X Marks Destination,’ received high praise from many quarters and the band hit the festival circuit gathering rave reviews from punters and critics alike. Three years on and the Whip return with a new album entitled ‘Wired Together’ which picks up where their debut album left off.  They continue to mix pounding rhythms, surging dance floor beats and sleazy electro keyboards but on this occasion their music has noticeably less of the driving indie guitar riffs as the band and producer Jagz Kooner (Primal Scream, Massive Attack, Ladytron, Kasabian)  pursue an electronic centric agenda. This time around The Whip’s songs embrace a more celebratory tone whilst still remaining true to their original ethos.  And of course there is still a sinister underbelly prevalent in many of their tunes, the dystopian floor filler and strangely prescient ‘Riot’ is a full of edgy futuristic paranoia and pent up energy, ‘Keep Or Delete’ resolutely stomps about the dance floor like an army of marauding and ever so slightly horny Cyberman. ‘Metal Law’ captures the essence of Cabaret Voltaire circa their ‘Groovy Laid Back And Nasty’ phase to a tee, whilst blissed out album closer ‘Slow Down’ encapsulates the post rave euphoria come down perfectly. ‘Wired Together’ is indeed a bold step forward, both lyrically and sonically producing a more polished expansive sound but one  that still retains the spirit of the band’s debut. Danceable, credible and hugely enjoyable they once again manage to whip up a storm.

8/10

And we sat down for tea and biscuits with The Whip’s front man Bruce Carter to talk about the album and ascertain exactly what the band had been up to these past three years 😉

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VP: Hello, it’s been a few years since your much praised debut,  and you’re about to release the follow up, ‘Wired Together’ . You’ve obviously been busy gigging and going down a storm on the festival circuit and travelling the world but did you plan to have such a gap between releases.

BRUCE: It used to be a pet hate of mine to see bands take ages between albums. I could just picture them sat about watching Jeremy Kyle and DVD’s all day when they could be releasing new music but now I can sympathize! We’ve been non stop since the first album came out at different times over the world which we toured relentlessly. We would get back from 5 weeks in America and then go around Europe for month before a Japanese trip. It’s all amazing fun and we recorded most of the demo’s for the new album on the road. On the bus, in dressing rooms or hotel rooms on days off. We had to draw the line and stop touring to get on with the new record, we tried out lots of different producers which took time and we worked on the demo’s back in Manchester in between.


We met Jagz Kooner who went on to produce the album at the start of last year and after working with him for a couple of days we knew he was the right guy for the job. He came up to manchester for a couple of months with us in a rehearsal room working on the demo’s, once we had the live bass, drums and guitar stuff worked out we moved down to London for most of last year. We recorded the live instruments with Mark Ralph at Club Ralph and then went to Jagz’s show box sizd studio and worked on synths and vocal for ages!!!  It’s taken a while as we wanted to see what would happen if we really pushed ourselves to make it as good as possible.


I guess that’s the shortest way of summing up what we’ve been up to!  I’m just so happy to have it finished and can’t wait to get it out and get on with the next one. We’ve got so many songs sat about that are ready to go.

VP: What would you say is the biggest difference between ‘X Marks Destination’  and ‘Wired Together’? Did you feel more pressure writing and recording this album?

BRUCE:  I think because we took out time ironing out everything we didn’t feel the pressure while making the record. I was pushed to get the vocals as good as possible on this record, I remember to get the right vibe on a song called ‘Riot’ I was literally beaten up while I was singing the vocal takes. You can hear me taking a few blows for the team if you listen carefully. The main difference between the albums was that the 1st album changed very little from the demo’s as we were in the studio with Jim Abyss for about a month as opposed to a year with this one.

VP: You’ve put half the album on line giving people the chance to listen before it arrives in September, was part of the thinking behind this giving people the chance to hear them before you tour?

BRUCE: We’re just so eager to let people hear the new music that this seemed like the best way of doing it. It’s been nice to see a people singing along to the new bits at shows we’ve played recently.  We’ve played quite a few of the songs live for a while and the response has been wicked with people jumping around and going crazy at the right bits.

VP: You’ve also been involved in remixing other people’s songs, which have been the ones you’ve enjoyed?  And how does it work, do they approach you or vice versa ?

BRUCE: We love remixing peoples songs, mostly you get approached or sometimes you do a mutual remix swap with someone. I like the Black Ghosts remix that we did and we played it live for a couple of years, the crowd reaction was always wicked.

VP: I’ve also been checking out some of your mix tapes available on your site some tunes on there that might surprise people The Pointer Sisters to Earth Wind and Fire to Fleetwood Mac.  Do you think music fans generally these days are less genre-centric?  That there’s less indie (or indeed pop) snobbery prevalent?

BRUCE: That’s totally the case, it’s so much healthier to listen to a variety of music rather than just one strict genre and there is so much good music out there. We listen to lots of different stuff, it’s good to be open minded about everything in life. I love indie as much as the next person but there is so many different tasty nibbles at the musical buffet.

VP: What was the idea behind the art work for ‘Wired Together’  and who’s responsible for it?

BRUCE: I’d had a picture from the 70’s Italian horror film ‘Suspiria’ on my phone for ages. It’s a beautiful still of the ornamental peacock from near the end of the film, I guess the image spoke to me while we we’re working on the album demo’s. We put the image in the hands of a Manchester based artist, Enge and after some serious talking he developed it in to the beast we have on the sleeve. It’s amazing to look at really close up on the poster, the detail is bonkers, it goes on and on.

VP: As previously mentioned you’ve played around the world, what have been your most bizarre tour experiences?

BRUCE: It’s amazing to be able to visit some of the places we get to. Our first trip to Japan was pretty amazing as it was the first time that we had travelled so far to play music. At the time we didn’t have an album out and everyone knew who we we’re which is a bonkers feeling.
We do get up to some crazy partying stuff on tour and you meet people that you share really amazing nights with only to know that you’ll probably never get to see them again. We had an amazing night camping in Joshua Tree park on our last USA tour, I’ve never seen so many stars.

VP: If you had an unlimited budget what would you add to your live shows?

BRUCE: That is my favourite question in the world, we’d love to add visuals and all sorts of lasers at some stage. I love the feeling of playing music engulfed in smoke with strobes around my feet; it’s a wild feeling to see how far you can take yourself before you have an epileptic fit. In all seriousness if the lighting guy asks us what vibe to go for the one word we give is “epileptic”.

VP: Desert Island disc time,  if  you could take only one piece of music to your desert island, what would that be ?

BRUCE: I guess something with melody and vocals but nice electronic vibes too, KRAFTWERK MAN MACHINE covers a lot of bases for me!

VP:  Five words to sum up ‘Wired Together’

BRUCE : Heavy, Hypnotic, floaty magic disco.

Links

Official Site

Facebook

Twitter

Large Image

Video.

Songs To Learn And Sing – Ladytron, Prince Edward Island, Howling Bells, No Ceremony,The Icarus Line.

Today we feature Ladytron, Prince Edward Island, Howling Bells, No Ceremony and The Icarus Line.

Ladytron.

Ladytron - Gravity The Seducer,’  Album art

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Let us be clear so there is no misunderstanding, I love Ladytron, their icy, hauntingly sinister goth electronica continues to fill my heart with unbridled joy. Their latest offering “Mirage” which appears on their forthcoming album,’ Gravity The Seducer,’ has reaffirmed and indeed justified my infatuation… It’s  in stores September 12 (UK) / September 13 (US).

‘Mirage’ By Ladytron.

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Prince Edward Island.

Prince Edward Island

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND release their long awaited debut album ‘This Day Is A good Enough Daythrough Crocfingers Record on Monday the 29th August.  Brutal, dark scottish wit, melancholy and regret, all viewed through a fug of ciggies and beer ( or so it seems) make this an album that never fails to engage the listener. If  Belle and Sebastian had met The Band Of Holy Joy at Rehab and  decided to make an album it may sound something like this.

‘Sex in the Morning (I’m Coughing, You’re Moaning)’ By Prince Edward Island.

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Howling Bells.

Howling Bells

Having more than made up for Jason Donavan and Stefan Denis, Sydney’s finest, Howling Bells release a new video, the title track from their upcoming new album The Loudest Engine, which is released September 12th 2011 and you can pre-order your copy now from www.howlingbellsmusic.com

 

HOWLING BELLS LIVE in 2011

Weds  14th SEPTEMBER PORTSMOUTH, WEDGEWOOD ROOMS

Thurs 15th LONDON, ELECTRIC BALLROOM

Fri 16th  SHEFFIELD, PLUG

Sun 18th LEEDS, COCKPIT

Mon 19th GLASGOW, ORAN MOR

Tues 20th  MANCHESTER, ACADEMY 3

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No Ceremony – Hurt Love.

It’s becoming quite the thing to release a piece of music without letting on who you are. So maybe No Ceremony should change their name to No Info because  all we know about ‘the band’ is that they come from Manchester and on the evidence of ‘Hurt Love’ they do a rather fetching line in ambient haunting choral electronica. I’d provide a link to their website, but there’s not much point as there’s probably more info here than there.

” Hurt Love” By No Ceremony

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The Icarus Line.

The Icarus Line

The Icarus Line return with a new album entitled ‘Wildlife’  which is apparently inspired by fleeing “Desperation, Drugs and Record Industry scum”

King Baby – Icarus Line

Now I’ve never been much of a one for copying and pasting press releases, but Joe Cardamone’s statement with regard to  The Icarus Line’s album pretty much demands your attention!

“Wildlife presents the newest chapter in a bizarre saga of sonic ambition and utterly stubborn will. A rock n’ roll nuke followed by a couple months of radiated fallout. This record did not just make itself and get into your hands by accident today, it was written, produced and recorded under the constant threat of extinction. As we all know the bills keep coming long after the money is gone. It is another document from a distant corner of Los Angeles that believes in Rock N’ Roll music as art and religion. This collection of songs is finer than the last and those before that. We, The Icarus Line may never get to make a record again and so every record has been made as if it’s the very last one. That’s how this music is supposed to feel though isn’t it? Like a fight to survive in a musical landscape dominated by frat boys in ships clothing. If you love Iggy, If you miss Roxy Music, if you feel Funkadelic, if you need a flash of danger in your life, if you want a little lust around, if you love Rock N’ Roll music that is actually made by motivated f**k ups who had no other choice, then this is for you.

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Riots and Indie Music.

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The recent looting and destruction in London and beyond saw 165 independent record labels lose a huge amount of stock on Monday night as a  Sony distribution  warehouse in  Enfield  was burnt to the ground in a pointless and wanton act of pointless wantoness, which let’s face it was far more stupid and senseless  than any Will Ferrell movie.

So  PLEASE, support them by purchasing downloads, these labels aren’t ‘THE MAN’  and many might not survive such a body blow. Labels such as Sonic Cathedral, who introduced me to artists like  Sarabeth Tucek are in it for the love of great music and not to get rich quick on the back of   X factor style shite.

“Get Well Soon” – Sarbeth Tucek.

Sarabeth Tucek -Smile For No One

here’s a bonus track from the new Sarabeth Tucek single ‘Smile For No One’, released on Sonic Cathedral Recordings on September 12, 2011.

‘Something/Anything’ By Sarabeth Tucek.

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Below is a statement from PIAS  and there’s a spreadsheet HERE of all those labels affected

[PIAS] have been overwhelmed by the response and incredible support offered to both ourselves and the labels that we represent here in the UK.

Labels and artists affected by the destruction of the Sony DADC warehouse are faced with incredible pressures on their businesses in respect to the re-manufacture, re-supply and marketing required as a result of the fire. Whilst it is expected that insurance will cover the lost stock, the reality for many labels is that they will not be compensated or insured for an interruption of trade or the additional capital to reproduce the stock that they have lost and the promotion in which they have invested.

[PIAS] have been working around the clock to ensure that the wheels of supply continue to turn as soon as possible. [PIAS] and AIM (Association of Independent Music) have been in dialogue with MCPS, PPL and other companies and organisations to discuss ways in which these additional and un-insured costs can be mitigated.

Additional efforts from [PIAS] range from securing preferential rates with suppliers for affected labels; encouraging digital retail initiatives to drive and promote digital sales whilst physical stocks replenish; conducting negotiations to reduce fees that might be charged to labels in the normal course of business.

The last 48 hours has seen a genuine outpouring of support for the principle of independent labels, artists and repertoire. [PIAS] and our labels have received offers of support from both some of the largest names in the business to individuals, all of which simply want to do all they can to support the continued vibrancy and creativity associated with independent music.

In addition to the efforts to reduce actual costs through negotiation, and in response to the numerous offers of support, benefits, fundraising initiatives etc, [PIAS] have worked in conjunction with AIM to create a fund that companies and organisers of initiatives can contribute to. In this way, we have created a vehicle for enabling those involved to do so safe in the knowledge that such monies will be distributed fairly amongst the most needy labels with the sanction of both [PIAS] and AIM.

Kenny Gates, Co-Founder and CEO, [PIAS] “The fund that is being put together in a matter of hours by [PIAS] and AIM demonstrates once again the strength and solidarity in the independent music community. [PIAS] will carry on engaging, helping and supporting its labels and artists in every way possible. I am very confident that our combined efforts will result in the smallest interruption to our collective business. Again the compassion of our recording artists, our labels and the industry wide support is amazing.”

Whilst the specific details of distribution are yet to be determined and our current priority is to support the immediate needs of the labels and artists that we work with, we are also keen to establish a vehicle for the incredible generosity that has been shown towards our labels and associated artists.

Details regarding how to contribute and who to contact:

AIM/PIAS EMERGENCY FUND BANK DETAILS:Account Number: 07699611

Sort Code – 18 00 02 – Add any special references

Swift code – coutgb22
Iban – GB91COUT 18000207699611

Alison Wenham from AIM commented:

“The independents will survive this disaster, as they have survived other business challenges. We represent a community which has a mutual respect for the work of all indie labels, be they large or small, and the industry needs to nurture and protect these small companies in times like this. We wish to thank everyone in the community for their generous and unfettered support”.

Martin Mills, Chairman of the Beggars Group (XL, 4AD, Matador, etc), said:

“Larger labels are much better resourced to weather this storm – but small and new labels are the future and need support from their peers to see them through this crisis.”

Daniel Miller, Founder, Mute said:

“Following the sad events surrounding the fire at the Sony DADC warehouse which houses [PIAS]’s physical distribution, it is crucial that the independent community stands together to ensure the ongoing business of the labels so badly affected. Mute supports any initiatives that will enable this to happen.”

Anyone wishing to contact [PIAS] and AIM in respect to this fund should email: labelsupportfund@musicindie.com


Riding Through The Storm – Rebekah Delgado Interview

Rebekah Delgado Interview

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‘Sing You Through The  Storm’ By Rebekah Delgado.

‘Lamentine’ By Rebekah Delgado.

 

If hard work, talent and passion for your craft were the sort of attributes big record labels valued  when signing artists, then Rebekah Delgado would surely be doing that whole Jools Holland thing whilst being regularly play listed by radio stations the length and breadth of this sceptic isle.  But the truth is even in the internet age, it can still be difficult to break through to the next level without a reasonable budget or the backing of  the corporate big boys. Which is a bit shit really innit?  But on the bright side, there have been many examples of hugely talented artists, who having been signed to a major label, have been re-packaged and shrink-wrapped into something that’s just bland and unchallenging enough to be successful. We’re sure should Ms Delgado achieve the degree of success her talent merits she wouldn’t allow her music to become a pale imitation of it’s former self .. of course it is possible to make a few bob and retain your artistic vision… but more often than not you have to fight for it and Rebekah is certainly a fighter.

After being the front woman in two much loved London bands  Ciccone and The Last Army , Rebekah has decided to go solo, after all if a jobs worth doing …..

She’s currently working on her album ‘Don’t Sleep’  and judging by the tracks she’s made available such as ‘Sing You Through A Storm’ ‘ Lamentine’ and ‘Sunshine’ it’s safe to say her debut promises to be something very special indeed.  Vocally at times Rebekah  conjures up the spectre of a less imperious Nico , a more tuneful Marianne Faithful  and delivers songs which whilst introspective are full of darkly joyous melodies. Combine that with a teasing wit and genuine passion it makes you once again believe that music isn’t a career choice, it’s a calling.

As we often do , we had a chat with Rebekah about going solo….

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VP:  Hi Rebekah, after your previous band The Last Army appeared to slowly disintegrate you took yourself off to Cadiz. Was this the classic case of getting away to find yourself? To discover exactly what direction you wanted to take?

REBEKAH :  Haha! Very insightful! Yes – I went away to come back, if that makes sense. I’d been working so hard for so long and had taken kick after kick after kick so I had to disappear. I ran away and stayed with family I’d never met before and not only did I find sleep there (which disappeared as soon as I got back to London), but I discovered the place I’m really from and got strong again. I walked by the sea for miles almost every night, staring at the big old moon until it told me it was time to go back across the Atlantic again.

VP :  At that time did you ever consider quitting music?

REBEKAH :  Before Spain, yes, briefly – but only very briefly, and only because I was completely broken. It’s a masochist’s life unless you have money, the right connections, LUCK (if such a thing exists), but it’s what I have to do because it’s who I am. There’s no choice there really and I’m a tenacious mo-fo.

I didn’t make a back-up plan as many people do (most of those seem to quit around the age of 26) – I didn’t give myself the option to fail. If I do, then at least my stupidity was wholehearted.

VP:  After being in bands was going solo quite an intimidating affair? Do you feel more vulnerable without having that ‘gang’ mentality that can exist within close knit bands?

REBEKAH :  I was terrified the first time I played alone. And the second time. And the third. I’m only just getting used to it now and yes, you do feel totally exposed. Quite a few of the songs I’m doing now are much more raw and I’ve no band to hide behind – so I’m opening myself up to being criticised on a personal level. Also, if you make a mistake you can’t look at one of your bandmates and tut, which used to be one of my favourite things to do.

The biggest pain with this solo thing is that YOU CAN HEAR PEOPLE TALKING (this didn’t happen when blasting my punk-pop of yesteryear). I’ve been doing this a year now and I still find it totally off-putting. To me, it’s akin to them to them shouting “YOU’RE RUBBISH!!!” at me (even when there are lots of people gathered around and listening avidly), which is totally ridiculous because music taste is subjective, and anyway people like to catch up and natter. I’m training myself to not take it personally by imagining a naked man dancing in front of me at groin height pointing at me and taunting me with the wrongest insults to try get over distractions like that.

VP :  Talking of going solo, one of the new songs – Ménage à Moi – may raise an eyebrow or two! Do you feel as a solo artist you can take more risks and put more of your personality, humour etc into each song, do you feel that you can write more freely without having to consider ‘the band’ as such?

REBEKAH :  Not having to consider the rest of the band in terms of songwriting is brilliant, as long as you can stick to the same level of quality control and not go on an over-indulgent bender like so many female singer-songwriters do. And yes, my personality is totally coming out more now. Still not sure if that’s a good thing!

And with Ménage à Moi – I want some eyebrows raised! Also, some people have heard it and not understood what it’s about so it’s not totally in-your-face. It’s rude but it’s not rank. Turning Japanese and Orgasm Addict etc, all great tunes – and why should ladies not have a song celebrating their, ahem, ‘me-time’ too…

VP :  So…. is the album recorded and ready for release? Would you describe your solo work as radically different from your previous work or more a natural progression? What can we expect?

REBEKAH :  It’s difficult when you’re in the middle of it to see the differences but I guess my solo songs are more private and guttural. Also sweet sometimes and animalistic and honest I guess. I’ve also put a bit of the Arabic/Spanish influence in there too, which I’ve never done before. The instruments are pretty different too – saw, violin, cello and E-bow feature a lot but the swirling feedback-y guitar of some of TLA’s songs make appearances on the album aswell. And I’ll always have some pop in there of course.

We’re still finishing off the album – co-producing it in a bedroom. So it’s been a case of snatching hours here and there to get it done. We’ve actually got a whole week booked off soon to finish it off but that coincides with a gig so practices etc will eat into that time a bit. But soon it will be done and then we have to narrow it down from 16 songs to around 12, and find a way to master and find money for physical copies etc. But – one step at a time.

VP :  What plans have you got for the rest of 2011? And more generally how’s the year been for you?

REBEKAH :  The rest of 2011, I’m just going to carry on doing everything I can possibly do to get my music out there.

 If you want the truth, so far 2011 has taken me to the edge a good many times. Some of it’s been happy but I’ve so much constant work to do that it’s just been draining and exasperating. Trying to do anything ambitious with no or little budget is killer. So that’s the answer to that question.  There’s been fun in there too of course; I have the best friends. I’ve also now found the promo partner-in-crime I’ve been wishing for, who’s the best back-up ever. And, I say this tentatively – more of the right opportunities seem to be coming my way. So hopefully, looking back, I’ll just remember that progression-wise it’s been a great year and forget the dark bits.

VP:  The other day, I was visiting my dear old mother, I flicked her TV on (she has ALL the cable channels) and there was an MTV style station which played auto tuned song after auto tuned song… It was like being in R’n’B chart hell…. This is a rather long winded way of asking you … what do you make of the current music scene?

REBEKAH : I don’t really listen to the current music scene because I don’t want it to affect me – I want to make music that’s a bit timeless somehow – though of course that’s impossible to do in its entirety. I do keep an eye on the mainstream a bit. I like Lady Gaga, I think she’s the best pop star since Madonna in the way she’s subverted the dead-eyed stripper roles of Britney Aguilera who preceded her and taken the power back in a weird kind of way. I like *some* dub-step but that’s been around in London for like 6 years or something now.

 I’ll probably look back in the future and discover loads of music around now that I like. Pretty likely, that.

VP :  Have you noticed the economic down turn/ swinging government cuts affecting turn outs at live music events down in London? What’s the live scene like down there at the moment?

REBEKAH :  I haven’t noticed a difference but then I’ve never had the pennies to go to bigger gigs anyway. I’ve always been the guest-list-and-sneaking-your-own-booze-in lady. If you go back through history – times of recession tend to have a really positive effect on the art and music scenes of the time. From the 20s jazz era to the late 70s US/UK punk scenes – explosions and cross-fertilisations of different disciplines when generations are politicised (or the inevitable drip-feeding from that) have created great movements. But then playstations etc might have changed that. I guess time will tell.

VP:  What have been the best albums you’ve heard this year?

REBEKAH :  For the reasons above I don’t listen to that much current music. New acts I really like at the moment are O Children and Pris. I’ve also had ‘At Last’ by Micah P Hinson going round my head for ages now.

VP:  Finally, five words to describe your music…

REBEKAH :  Dark, uplifting, introspective, word-centric, pop.  

Links

Official Site.

Facebook.

Twitter.

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‘Sunshine’

‘Je t´aime’ ( with Eddie Argos)


The VPME Podcast – August 2011 – This IS Music


VPME Podcast JAMC

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Hurrah and Huzzah ! It’s the  latest VPME podcast!!!  Featuring the best new music from the past, present and future and a Dj as intresting as socks .

Listen out for special guest appearances from the godlike  Jim Reid  of  80’s/90’s legends The Jesus & Mary Chain, Emma Andreson from Lush, plus songs by the likes of The Cramps, Suede,The  Psychedelic Furs nestling snugly alonside  new music from The Whip, Strangers, Seize The Chair, Pris, Freezepop  and Deep Cut. Click on the player below or if you prefer go to http://www.mixcloud.com/TheVonPipMusicalExpress/the-von-pip-musical-express-podcast-episode-4-august-2011/

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