The VPME Review………. November 2007

We are grumpy for no good reason!!!!! Yes it’s the VPME’s “Time of the month” …. …when we look back over the last four week period and cast a critical eye over the new musical releases.

This months guest panel comprises

Marit Bergman : One Of Sweden’s biggest stars, award winning Marit has now moved to New York ,(yes just like that Wombats song) but is she pop or is she the Swedish Indie queen ? I don’t know but she’s blooming good…Why not have a listen here and decide for yourselves

Dogwood : After last months reviews the public have decreed that this old chaps no nonsense approach and common sense is just what the doctor ordered . Despite problems with the Council and trouble at the local allotment Dogwood has found time to tell it like it is ! His world view on more general matters can be found here

Mr Raisin Cakes : Former member of never popular 80’s nut jobs “White Rabbit” their songs included “Do the Robot” with the legendary line “won’t you automate with me?”. Don’t let that put you off, they were rather good! Mr Cakes now provides spiritual guidance to the young chaps who play for little known London football team Crystal Palace, they certainly need a miracle. Oddly Mr Cakes is also known as Chris Roe (absurd Internet name I’m sure you`ll agree)

Mr Von Pip : Founding father of the VPME “is that a tache or is your eye brow thirsty ?” He pretends his tache is “ironic” but secretly thinks he looks rather rakish.

David Heulun ( pronounced David Heulun) .. Illustrator, painter, and all-round arty bohemian, Dave list his hobbies as , illustrating , painting and being arty in a truly authentic bohemian sense. When he’s not supping real ales or knocking back cocktails, he can be found perusing the book shops and ukulele emporiums of Shoreditch and Spitalfields. Dave’s love of music is second only to his splendid and discerning taste, making him an ideal source of expertise on what’s hot and, indeed, what’s not.

Beth Gibson ; Beth is one Hot Puppy ! No I’m not being sexist or coming over all unreconstructed man like Rodney Marsh, she really is a Hot Puppy being a member of the truly wonderful ” Hot Puppies”. If you haven’t heard their fantabulous music remedy the situation right now by going here . They have a new album out soon called “Blue Hands” -Hurrah! Beth is also the nicest, kindest reviewer in the world, possibly ever.

Bateman: Member of the power pop punks The Young Playthings. A little known fact : The nickname ” Bateman” derives from the character in American Psycho and reflects the fact that he’s quite, quite mad. Disagree with him at your peril, unless you fancy having your brain removed with an egg spoon, while he smiles…oh yes he loves it !

This Months Songs

Paramore Crush Crush Crush

Dogwood : Oh cripes Americans! Either that or it’s the bunch down at the local church hall singing in their septic (septic tank = yank) accents again. It sounds like them. Bloody cats chorus. Is this what they call emo? I don’t do emo, I find that dark thoughts and self-mutilation are not conducive to commanding respect at the local civic offices when I need to battle those faceless bureaucrats about a new padlock for the allotment front gate. I gave this a chance, I really did, but halfway through I picked up my Su Pollard biography (chapter: “Stringfellow’s And Champagne”) and it was a full 28 minutes before I realised it had finished playing. I find this sort of coco is like butternut squash – all talked up by ‘knowing’ experts but when experienced in the flesh as it were, is actually a profound disappointment. Verdict = Miss with knobs on.

Beth: I said I wouldn’t make comparisons when I did this but to me this sounds quite like Avril Lavigne. I think the kids with the pent-up anger could like this. er…moving on…

Mr Cakes : A fine ditty by these youngsters. Like the members of Garbage all had kids who grew up and formed a band. Fulsome, melodious, and satisfying, like a pork sausage deliciously cooked in onions and gravy, topped off with eggs benedict’s. Yes, it’s quite good.

VP ; More like “hush. Hush! HUSH !!” Never seen the appeal of this lot, her voice is alright, but I’ve never liked their songs, they don’t really seem to go anywhere at all, they remind me of the English football team, talented, good looking, well paid, yet they never deliver. Bland Americana I’m afraid , Avril for Emos. I get a bit miffed when the NME compare her voice to Debbie Harry , more like Pat Benatar listening to Evanescence’s Greatest Hits (short album that.) There’s only one voice out there that reminds me of Debbie. But I digress… Anyway not my bag. Thumbs down

Marit : I’m not sure I care much for the song, but I like the sound, it’s very teenagy, and I like voices like hers, it seems very effortless. I bet the next single is gonna be great and I’m looking forward to going to a stadium show and singing along to it together with 10,000 depressed young souls.

Dave: For some reason I thought this lot might be Australian, they’re not, but this is still pretty ‘spunky’. Her voice really reminds me of Veruca Salt which is a good thing, but the music is a bit cold and polished to really rock. I can imagine them making a great cameo appearance in a teen horror film or funky hair dye advert singing this tune.

Bateman :RAWK! I’m a huge fan of American music – American music made me fall in love with the US and provided the soundtrack to some of favourite memories, from being 9 years old and coveting a Public Enemy tape I got at the American PX near where I lived in Germany to being in a skate punk band when I was a teenager to listening to country rock driving around So Cal with Kimberly Renee. “Fuelled By Ramen” recently signed one of my favourite ever hardcore bands, Lifetime, who reformed last year after splitting up in 1997, the same year I got a Lifetime tattoo. But this just sucks. It’s that kind of RAWK that gets quite popular in the US; heavy enough not to be ‘college rock’ but bland enough to be, like, on the soundtrack to some primetime American college emo TV show and thus win the band a few corporate RAWK sponsorships from brands like Zildjian and Vans. This kind of thing makes me think of ‘My Life Is Good’ by Randy Newman. Listen to the bit where the narrator simpers about meeting Bruce Springsteen and being offered the chance to be ‘the Boss for awhile’ before yelling ‘blow me, man!’ to the sound of an obnoxious saxophone blast – that summarises this cock-sucking poser shit.

On My Own – Vincent Vincent and The Villains

Dave : Is this skiffle music? Whatever it is I like it. This song has a real ragged charm delivered by what sounds like a bunch of highly accomplished buskers. Love the lyric about not cutting oneself on other peoples broken dreams. I’ve noticed these fellows are a hard-working bunch too, seemingly playing some London dive every day of the week. The video for this track is brilliant too featuring some of the finest hula-hooping action I ever did see.

VP : So good they named him twice, this is jolly good toe tapping little tune, yes I can sense the brylcreem, the sweaty dancehalls. and the bobby sox. Almost makes me want to strap on a pair of beetle crushers and cruise down the strip- but that sounds a bit Rock Hudson, so I’ll give it a miss. Mind you, to hear doo-wop or 50’s crooning updated and made a new look no further than the genius of “Winter Garden” By Special Needs or of course the excellent Richard Hawley …..Still, a Thumbs up for Mr Vincent and His chums!

Beth: I made a mistake here and listened to Love and Pain instead, which I really like. It’s quite 50s sounding and the bare guitar and backing vocals are great, very Ink Spots. A good soundtrack to some self-indulgent melancholia.

Bateman : This is okay. It’s one of those songs where you’re not sure if they’re being serious in a jokey way or ironic in a serious way; like, are they affirming libertarian beliefs in the importance of the individual over the lumpen masses or are they mocking the self-importance of avowed individuals? If it’s the former then great, fine, but it’s not very convincing; if it’s the latter, well, as the aforementioned Lifetime once sang, irony is for suckers. But maybe, just maybe, they’re ‘avin’ a bit of a larf, and just wanted an excuse to go ‘oh-wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh-own – rock and raowll!’ and do a kind of hur-hur-aww-shucks slapstick rockabilly thing. And that’s cool – we live in a democracy and so long as I don’t have to have this imported into my dreams courtesy of the soundtrack to some vapid new advert then, be my guest, carry on jokers.

Dogwood : Now Vincent, that’s a solid rock’n’roll name and this sounds not unlike Gene Vincent pepped up with Viagra and given a contemporary spray job. With a name like that I would expect more petty villainy, e.g. smashing up the odd bus stop, but I’m not getting that impression. I think they could scowl quite nicely, as well as wearing that grease monkey gloop that spells ‘attitude’ but why do I think that all this retro malarkey has a bit of a stage school feel about it. It could be that they are waiting to audition the remake of ‘That’ll Be The Day’ but does the world need another David Essex? Of course it bloody does, it’s got to be better than the mental enema that is Paramore. Dogwood likes = Hit.

Marit: Afropop and rockabilly? Hmm. Kind of works. Liking the backing vocals in the choruses.

Mr Cakes : This rather tame and uninspiring ditty by hormonal ragamuffins VV & The Vs reminds me of 70s rock n roll throwback “groups” like Darts and Showaddywaddy. Although I’m sure they are nice lads loved by their mothers, this track is sadly unsatisfying – not unlike wondering how Daleks differentiate between genders.

Small Town Girl – Good Shoes

Marit : I’m pretty sure that if I lived in Morden and was 15 years younger I would be soooooo in love with every single member of this band. You understand just from listening to the music that they’re gonna be really cute. (And according to the pictures they are). I like the way they play together, a bit scattered but meticulous at the same time.

Dave: Finding a good pair of shoes, or indeed slippers or moccasins can be bloody hard work. Finding a young British four-piece playing stripped down DIY rocky pop is by comparison, a piece of piss. These whipper-snappers are doing it better than most of the current crop it has to be said, and this little tune gets better with repeated listens. I’m sure I’d dance to it after a couple of Malibu and cokes in a some exclusive swanky nightspot like Popstarz. It’s a perky little number with one of those weedy but pretty guitar solos that those Libertines boys made so popular. Seven Odour-Eater inner soles out of ten.

Mr Cakes : Quite literally, quite reasonable and pleasant, a fairly enjoyable little ditty that ain’t gonna change or shake the world, unlike my anti-gravitational mouthwash system that is currently awaiting patent pending

Dogwood :
This is the equivalent of trying to do a weeks washing up with a thimble-full of Lidl’s economy washing up cordial that’s been diluted on a 1:10 ratio. It sounds washed out, uninspired, like my old pillow case that I’ve had since I was at Poly. If you held this up to the light you’d see right through it viewing the local council estate hoodlums gathering, it’s that thin. Said hoodlums would be smashing up the local bus stop with a professional vigour that VV and the V’s could mimic stylistically but without the same destructive efficiency. Sorry I’m drifting off the point but that’s what this song does to you. You put it on and immediately you’re thinking that the windows need doing. Verdict = An instantly forgettable miss.

VP:
This isn’t bad really, he’s trying to come across a bit Pete Doherty but without the love of needles and I think he’s been listening to Bryan Ferry’s vocal delivery on Virginia Plain whilst somebody was whistling New Orders “Love Vigilantes” …They are pretending to be a bit shambolic , but they play rather tightly in reality. Thumbs up as its is indeed growing on me with every play

Bateman : Yep, yep, this is good. In fact, it’s more than good, it’s pretty fucking great. A bit Clash, a bit Libertines, a bit Rancid, a bit happy/sad/bittersweet/nostalgic/teenage etc. Nifty fretwork too (watch the video fellow guitar geeks). I’d buy this except, oh, wait, I just downloaded it from Limewire. Free music is wicked.

Beth : This is quite good, happy and live sounding. I like the handclaps. They sound a bit like the Jam but not as heavy (sorry, another comparison – it’s hard not to!)

Remi Nicole -Rock N Roll

Bateman : Holy shit! I heard this song on the radio the other day, when we were on tour, and thought it was great – finally I know who it’s by! This is my pick of the bunch – just slightly von pipping Good Shoes’ Small Town Girl. Okay, fair enough, she sounds like the black Kate Nash (is that un-PC? Whatever, Kate Nash can be the white Remi Nicole if it bothers you that much), but it’s such a great tune. Her backing band in the video look like posh white boys modelling a Marks & Sparks rockabilly line (yes, unfathomable and lame) but Vinnie Vinnie could well do to take some pop notes from Remi because it’s winningly happy-go-lucky yet completely sincere and, as a result, totally loveable.

Beth: This is unfamiliar territory for me, I think its urban (?) First off I love the myspace picture – definite points for cute little girls looking hard! The beat’s cool too and the message is spot on – rock n roll IS good, bravo! It’s not my thing really but I’m sure others would be into it. I wish her good luck.

Mr Cakes :
I saw this young lady at the Boogaloo pub a while back, where Joe Lean & the Jing Jang Jong were supporting. Clearly in the same mould as Lily Allen and Kate Nash, Remi Nicole is more folk chav, and this is a good tune that gets catchier with each listening. A thumbs up with a healthy 7 out of 10.

Dogwood : When I was a lad rock’n’roll was all Edwardian drape coats, crepe soled shoes and Tommy Steele rocking with the cavemen. Unless you were really hard, in which case you were into Marty Wilde. The thing is, rock’n’roll is no longer rock’n’roll it’s become all Bruce Springsteen and credit card sponsorship. What I want from my rock’n’roll is the urge to have a ‘rumble’ or wield a flick comb in a threatening fashion. I think this lass has to be admired for her back to basics policy on music. She keeps it simple and quite tuneful, without getting all John Major about it which would be highly inappropriate as a marketing ploy. The world would be a better place if beat combos concentrated on playing 2 minute 58 seconds of twelve bar blues and limited their imaginations to getting girls, arguing with the boss and driving fast in cars. Going beyond those parameters beggars the question: is that just plain self indulgence? Getting back to Ms Nicole = Hit.

Marit: Have you ever heard a Swedish singer called Asha Ali? She is of African heritage and plays some kind of folky Indie. A lot of reviews of her album still said it was R n B though. (people…sigh). So I’m guessing Asha would love this song for the subject it brings up. And I kind of love it to, I’m looking forward to seeing a show with Remi. Remi is absolutely my favourite amongst all these bands and artist. Thank you for introducing me to her.

VP: This is very nice, a lot of fun, and fun’s not to be sniffed at, mind you I don’t think her management have decided if they want her to be Lilly, Kate or Avril yet though, come on chaps let her be Remi … I thought I’d have a listen to her album about her friendship with Jiminy Cricket after enjoying this and again it’s all very pleasant and bright and breezy, but after a few plays it seems a little contrived and empty . The lyrical content certainly won’t be worrying any budding Ani DiFranco’s out there- I don’t suppose I’m really the target audience, I mean an album that includes misty eyed reminiscences about Sean Maguire , Grottbags, Top Shop , Grange Hill and Byker Grove will probably mean more to young ladies under 20, then me though it might provide Peter Kaye with fresh “do you remember ?” type stand up material he seems to rely on these days ,( I can’t actually remember the last time he changed his material myself…1989? ) But back to this track, it’s a very good pop song, it wont change the world but you`ll love it for a week or so. On the down side looks like she’s an Arsenal supporter, oh well …..Thumbs up!

Dave: Rock n’ roll tends be my musical preference too, but sadly instead of delivering a big slice of dizzying, high octane, swaggering anthemic rock n’ roll action Ms Nicole gives us modern, lively, polished Kinksy girlie pop. Oh well, it’s got a certain charm to it and it’s better than Britney Spears’ cod reggae version of ‘I Love Rock n’ Roll’. She gets extra points for doing a cover of the Only Fools and Horses theme on her myspace page and citing ‘Pugwall’s Summer’ as one her main influences!

Sister Rose – Ian Brown

Mr Cakes : The legend that swaggers like an orang utang at a Happy Mondays reunion gig whilst singing flat has the joyous disposition of coming up with jolly fine tunes. Though not in the same league as “F.E.A.R”, this is nonetheless a reasonably satisfying melody, rather like discovering new trousers in “Top Man” that fit very nicely, thus showing off the perfect roundness of your torso.

Beth : I could only hear a 20-second bit of this – in Japanese! so it was slightly surreal. I don’t think the English version will be as interesting though, the music didn’t really sound like anything – a bit like an advert. Sorry!

Bateman : I used to understand the cult around Ian Brown; back when he was in The Stone Roses he was the coolest – and yes, I mean the coolest, cooler than Ozzy, Morrissey, Liam, Damon, Freddie Mercury, Debbie Harry, Chuck D, Ian MacKaye, Bruce Springsteen, Axl Rose, Gwen Stefani – front(wo)man EVER. To some extent, I understand the cult around him now; his insane ideas for a utopian world are hilarious – cars fuelled by chicken-shit and restraining orders for Bono and Bob Geldof – brilliant! But this just sucks. I wish Ian Brown was frozen in Elephant Stone and just kept releasing poor imitations of the Stone Roses’ best songs instead of, ya know, trying to grow as an ‘experimental’ artist.

Marit : No

VP: I’ve not slept too well since Mr Brown sang about “Dolphins being Monkeys”( more believable than John Squire being a painter I must say) but nice to see the simian king and trolley dolly’s fave comes up with another reasonable tune. His shell suit wearing ways don’t really appeal to my aesthetics but he’s still doing it after all these years. His last album may well have been his strongest solo album yet , but his work will always be compared to the Stone Roses , and that standard will not be attained again I wager , I just hope they don’t reform. Incidentally this track features Paul Cook and Steve Jones from the Pistols , they reformed, and quite frankly smashed my dreams , Finding out Johnny Rotten votes Tory is tantamount to discovering Billy Bragg is a huge Jim Davidson fan…But Back to Mr Brown Good song I just wish he’d acquaint his hair with a great new invention. it’s called shampoo. Thumbs up !

Dogwood : Is this the monkey feller? You know what this made me do when I heard it? By god, you won’t believe this. I got dead excited and I dug out my old lilac shell suit that an old lady friend bought me in 1991, plus my pair of deck shoes and I went strutting – yes, strutting – down to the Megadrome Wine Bar in Esher. I didn’t go the full David ‘Diddy’ Hamilton and wear a baseball cap but by Charlie George it was close. These reactions come every ten years and when they do the Dogwood Paradigm changes somewhat. I was that inspired that I recorded a rap tune (you can hear it on my myspace page). I don’t do rap as a rule, I find it a monotonous jibber-jabber that should know better but sometimes you have to eat the curry that you’d swore you never would. Mr Brown, Dogwood salutes = Hit.

Love’s Not A Competition (But I’m Winning) – Kaiser Chiefs

Beth: I liked the feel of the song, some of the sounds (ethereal sort of plinky glockenspiel) and the melodies are nice. But I thought it went on a bit (I didn’t make it to the end, oops!). And you can’t win if its not a competition (‘Love’s not a competition, but I’m winning.’) I know its pedantic but it annoyed me!

Bateman : This is the English equivalent of Paramore. I love English/British Indie music – all the same bands as you lot probably, except Bloc Party, who I just can’t really get into. But this can fuck off.

Mr Cakes : Quite literally the Chiefs best single to date. A beautiful, subtle melody that tips the hat to early Blur and looks back in wistful nostalgia at the Moody Blues in their heyday. An understated arrangement that builds up to a soothing climax, this is a maturity far beyond “I Predict A Riot” that leaves one nicely satisfied, quite literally like a full English breakfast on a cold winter’s day

Dogwood : My sentiments exactly. I was expecting a right clattering of saucepans and bing bang bosh – isn’t that what this lot usually do? However, this one caught me offside with the ball at my feet at least ten yards ahead of the nearest defender. The one troubling thought is that this lot are from across the Pennines and I don’t do ‘across the Pennines’ as a rule. Still, let it be known that Prestonians are generous in spirit if not pocket and I cannot find anything sarcastic to say about this. Begrudgingly I nod my head in approval. Let it not be said that Dogwood can’t be a man when he has to be = Hit.

Dave : ‘Everything is Average Nowadays’ sang the Kaisers not so long ago. And they cleverly manage to continue the average theme with this single. It’s more carefully studied indie pop for students from Sheffield’s own ‘The Kaisers’ (not to be confused with the proper really good Scottish rock n roll band The Kaisers) This one’s unlikely to set the student union bar alight though as it’s a mid-paced attempt a sinister love song. I’d give it four student loan repayments out of ten.

VP: Not the worst on their latest atrocious “Indie sing-a-longs for two year olds” album, but it’s still Indie by numbers crud. I find that fat, terminally ill looking, moon faced chap incredibly annoying and his lyrics trite and clumsy, with his daft terrace sing-a-longs, but here he attempts to go all intellectual and deep, unsurprisingly he sounds about as deep as Peter Andre and he should be taken as seriously as this statement “Christopher Biggins is a national treasure. “ In a nutshell caring about the Kaiser Chiefs is like being passionate about cling film. Nope , thumbs down

Marit: The verse is absolutely brilliant, but it kind of promises more than what you eventually get, see what I mean? I also don’t think that the line “love is not a competition but I’m winning” holds enough levels or smartness or beauty to be repeated as many times as it is. Like, two or three would be enough.

Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)- The Spice Girls -Video and “song”

Dave : Jesus H Macy! Could they cram in any more shots of Geri Halliwell’s super- toned abdominal muscles? Is this to distract us from the fact that everyone’s favourite two original members of the Spice Girls are sadly absent from this desperate cash-in reunion- ie. Geri’s knockers. The video basically looks like an M&S advert with the old Spices done up like their sisters in faux feminism the ‘Sex and the City’ girls. The song is pure syrup and drenched in auto-tune. Yuk- what did we ever like about them in the first place? Oh yeah- the knockers.

VP :”HILARIOUS !” I loathed this bunch of loud vapid Fuckwits in their “heyday”… Their cynical use of spurious feminist sound bites to mask basic greed, their obvious lack of musical talent, guile or indeed charm, and the fact that their empty headed brashness and inane shouty ramblings were held up as some sort of post feminist template for young ladies to aspire to, quite frankly appalled me. They can’t even be bothered trying anymore can they? The video almost says “Look we can’t be arsed, we are indeed shite, that’s an unassailable fact, we don’t want praise or credibility, but we do want to be even richer) “Bonkers” Spice looks the most natural in the video, but then her mental capacity has ensured she has absolutely no sense of self awareness or shame, “Surgical” Spice looks about as sexy as Joan Rivers undergoing colonic irrigation. Meanwhile “Paternity” Spice attempts to contrive to appear “bothered” but I’m afraid I can only think of her as the prosthetic “Bo Selecta” caricature every time I see her nowadays( “crab paste” anyone?), Ahhhh poor daft little “Chubby “Spice -she looks about as comfortable as Dawn French at a local diet groups weigh in, whilst “Butch” Spice may well be credited with having the best voice out of this sorry bunch, but by heck, she still does a fabulous impression of a strangled parrot, she can no more hold a note than Tony Blair can tell the truth and why pray, is she wearing a “Billy the Cat” outfit? … What? that’s not a helmet? that’s her actual hair?? blimey! and what the Rose Dougall is this video all about? are they having the world’s most boring Ann Summers party? Do friends often strip off and roll around on tables during a girl’s night in..all very odd. As we know they were never ever about “girl power,” marketing men where behind the whole concept, as “cod feminism” became a saleable commodity. I do wonder if any of this sorry lot have ever had a single, original thought in their entire lives? Mind you when they are left to their own devices without the scripted empty sound bites they say things like ….(Gerri) “women should be softer these days so as not to intimidate men” (D’OH! ) Just donate to charity, because buying this would make as much sense as appointing mathematical genius Janice Dickinson head of The International Monetary Fund…Spice Girls get a resounding Thumbs down, down ,down !

Marit : There’s nothing wrong with a song being calculated, but if it shows, and it’s the first thing you think of when you hear it, then you have failed as a songwriter. I also want to say that if the Spice Girls phenomenon says anything about being a woman today, 2007, it makes me sad, cause it means the only place your allowed to have fun these days is in the gym. Which sucks. As much as this song does.

Bateman : My friend’s dad calls his mum’s fake tits ‘top bollocks’. Why any man would want to associate some of his wife’s most feminine assets with male genitalia is utterly beyond me, but ‘top bollocks’ does, actually, summarise Posh Spice’s chest in this video quite accurately. I mean, they may as well be nuts they look so unnatural. And look, I’m not against fake tits; some girls are bigger than others and I like all sizes – real and, like, totally unREAL dude! But when you also realise that Geri Halliwell looks and moves like Weiland from Velvet Revolver (if he had longer hair), and when you compare this with the thrilling innocence of ‘Wannabe’ (back before ASBOs and chavvy female thugs became a fixture of Middle England the multi-cultural (black ‘n’ loud, ginga twat, baby-fat, prissy gold-digger, pikey muff-diver girls-just-wanna-have-fun fake girl-gang thing was truly refreshing), it really highlights what a grotesque charade this is. None of them share the same scene. They clearly all don’t even recognise each other anymore. Girls Aloud are fitter and, apparently, are all really close mates. Sugababes are genuinely more multi-cultural and have better songs. Pop Idol and X Factor are at least horribly entertaining. This is bland and boring and unconvincing and, yeh, I like money too, but if you’re gonna blatantly cash-in you should at least do it well.

Dogwood : I didn’t do these five talent-less harridans first time round so I am hardly going to smile benignly this time, even if they are in their dotage and so in desperate need of cash that they have to emulate those other camp icons Take Gary Barlow. So let’s talk about the video. It’s conceited, flesh revealing, lying in provocative poses empty titillation that might do for Gordon and Ahmed down at the local Kebab shop but just gets right up my crack. With Halliwell it’s a case of ‘Ooh ooh let me get the angle right so that my six pack stands out’ and Beckham just looks faintly ludicrous pouting in some sub Blackadder torture contraption. As for the song – one word: rhubarb. It’s yet another shameless lucre gathering exercise by those who collectively already have more wealth than a fair proportion of Manchester. I don’t usually condone revolution but this lot are good candidates for first against the wall. Verdict = Miss (but will probably be a hit thanks to the duped masses).

Beth: I tried to watch this to the end. Honest I did but I just had to walk away – for many reasons. First of all they’re so obviously not all there in the same room, which is ok as far as a music video goes but it’s not very ‘Girl Power’ is it? Secondly it looks like a nightmarish version of the Weakest Link where they have to out-sexy one another to win at the end. And I think there’s a song playing but couldn’t tell you anything about it – I don’t think it really matters. Hm, sorry again, I can’t think if anything redeeming to say!

Mr Cakes : The Spice Girls re-form, charge ludicrous and exorbitant prices for a worldwide tour during which they lip-synch instead of singing live, and we all fall for it like the suckers we are. They then record a single for charity (reasonable tune) and pose and pout throughout the video in ballroom dresses or bras. Take That have pulled getting back together off – the Spice Girls are quite amusing in the Tesco ad, but the song and video are safe, boring, predictable and irrelevant. Rather like going out to a Moroccan restaurant and settling for a full English breakfast instead.

Well, looks like Remi Nicole (von)pips it ! Well done young lady . If anyone thinks my vote counting somewhat amiss, worry not, for we have , all they way from the U.S.A. an extra special guest , he has scrupulously studied the verdict and double checked the stats. A big thank you to Jeb Bush for validating the result !

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The VPME Review………. October 2007

“Let’s review some new singles ” the voices said
“Nor Arf ” I replied in my best Fluff Freeman voice . “But we need the finest minds in pop to get on board and give their wise and sagacious views on some hot new grooves pop pickers!” Sadly they where all booked up, but we did get together a panel of experts who know a thing or two about pop, some can even carry a tune !

The Panel

Laura Trouble – Captivating and lovely lead singer with one of The VPME’s favourite bands Screaming Ballerinas and co founder of the Dolly Rockers Club. Laura’s marvellous band can be found here

Mister Lion
– Officially the tallest illustrator and graphic designer living today in Britain, imagine if you will, Noel Coward crossed with Mark Kermode by way of a lamp post, that’s Mister Lion for ya! ” Marvel ” at the tall mans comic and sometimes disturbing creations here

Mikey Guitar
– Lead guitarist with hotly tipped Manchester based band Bauer. Rumour has it Johnny Marr has tried to master Mikey’s guitar riffs, but to no avail. Mikey loves giving things marks out of 10. Meet Bauer here

Fran – Hailing from Italy, Dame Frannington likes her music and regularly decrees what is good music and what is bad by use of her thumbs. Like a Roman Emperor really. Or The Fonz.

Elz – Has a liking for Scottish bands, she writes reviews and can often be found scouring the Internet for new and exciting music. Shes no fan of broad beans though. Or fruitcake.

Dogwood
– Oliver Gordon Dogwood, if you want to be familiar ,currently employed by Cheambeat Communications Radio to facilitate the late night show on Music Hall Memoires (formerly hosted by Fido Lomax until he went a little ga-ga and thought he was Sitting Bull). Give a firm virtual handshake to Dogwood here. (Settle Down)

Von Pip: Looks like a hard knock , but there’s a poet trapped in there somewhere

Spencer McGarry (Prononced McGuigan) – Spencer is singer and guitarist with Spencer McGarry Season, hes from Cardiff , which is why McGarry is pronounced McGuigan- I call that phonetic rebelliousness, still he’s a nice bloke and hes got some cracking songs here. He was late for the review, no harm done we all get hangovers. . Spencer is gigging with Pony Up soon, but I’m not jealous , no not one bit, not at all….

This Months Singles

Song 1 SUPER FURRY ANIMALS – Runaway

FRAN : “I’ve got nothing bad to say about them. Each track of their latest record could be a single. Also, it’s very catchy. Therefore should be massive. But it’s not.”

LAURA :
“I’ve always thought that these furry fellows were as dull as shit, but this song surprised me, its like some sort of comedic Ramones-y Phil Spector 60s girl group cocktail and Gruff Rhys’ voice actually suits this romantic kind of thing. I love the massiveness of the drums and stuff. But I think they should have maybe chilled out on the chorus at the end of the song, its probably the weakest part and by the 1,000 000th time you hear it, you forget what you’ve been listening to. I had a screwdriver – to – temple moment by the 1000th time I had heard ‘Ru u u u u u un away……….’ thats what i did today…’, …….. aaaargh! “

DOGWOOD:
“Now I don’t want to get all Hugh Scully about this but it sounds like a Shangri La’s 45 played at 16. It starts out promising but then goes all maudlin on you, like one of those bi-polar types, and like them it could do with pulling itself together. I understand that these chaps are at the ‘vanguard of the alternative Welsh rock scene’. The words ‘vanguard’ and ‘alternative’ conjure up bearded men in cords munching a nut roast citing poetry and I for one don’t want to visit that particular space thank you very much…………”

SPENCER : Mid paced fuzzy sound showcasing the thick effortless tones of Gruff’s s impeccable voice- he should get more credit as a singer. Personally I still hark for the experimentalism and excitement of Gorilla although I only say that because I know how astounding they can be- otherwise this song is fine.

MR LION : “Not only does this track have an enveloping, Phil Spectoresque aural texture that you can get lost in, it actually sounds every inch like an old girl-group record, with its spoken word introduction and longing vocals. It’s really a very different sound for the band, which I’m glad they’ve tried out on this track. But then I may be a bit biased; I can’t say anything bad about a laid-back Welshman who wears a Power Rangers helmet onstage. I like it.”

ELZ: “I thought I was going to really like this song when it started, but then it just… stayed the same. All the way through. What’s the point of that, really? Oh, hang on, it’s just got a bit different – nope, back again. I already feel like I’ve heard it five hundred times after three minutes. It’s got a nice tune, but I don’t want to give it a second listen. That said, I’ll probably love it tomorrow. I can already feel it working its way into my brain.”

MIKEY : “Be My Baby” sung by fuzzy welsh potheads. 8/10″

VON PIP:
” Yeah its Ok, the Furries confuse me though, they can be great or just grate , there’s no in between. Apart from now. I reckon I`ll love it by tomorrow morning, but will I still respect it ?”

Song 2 FIGHT LIKE APES – Jake Summers

MR LION: “The vocalist puts me in mind of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, only a bit rougher around the edges. The keyboard and guitar sounds are interesting, although I have to admit I’m not sure if the static is intentional or a symptom of the myspace player. Gosh, she is angry, isn’t she? I’m not sure I approve of all the gratuitous cursing, but I suppose the young people express themselves that way these days. It’s not really my cup of tea, but they seem to have a lot of energy.”

SPENCER : Starts off reminding me of the vulnerability of Kimya Dawson when she sang with/as the MoldyPeaches, before introducing a more raucous, sonorous (sic) edge. The song itself goes off in unexpected directions (good drums) and makes me want to see them live. Aggressive without being boring. ( a bit Like Roy Keane ?-Ed . Always wanted to do that Ed thing )

VON PIP: “Yes indeedy I love this song, granted not what I’d listen to before bed whilst sipping my milky Horlicks, but for a Friday night rev up -perfect! It’s cheeky,brash and loud, yet with a soft tender underbelly, a bit like Tony Wilson, but obvioulsy with much more get up and go . Makes me want to leap around like a mad clown and throw buckets of glitter over policemen.”

MIKEY: Schuzzzy this time, not fuzzy. Overdrive that desk, baby. 6/10

FRAN: Not too bad, but not too great either, A bit too shouty for my liking.

ELZ: This isn’t my thing at all. I thought it might be, once I got past the beginning, but it turns out to not be at all. I enjoy melodies. The melody in this song is being hidden very well by their singer. Thumbs down.

DOGWOOD :
Now settle down. I don’t know who Jake Summers is and I don’t know what he’s done to deserve such a relentless barrage of the senses and frankly life’s too short. All I can say is you must have done something bad my lad. It starts quite innocuously, a lass starts singing and then it gave me a headache. This may sound more acceptable in the hands (or mouth) of someone like Boney M, who could always do justice to quite bizarre concepts.

LAURA
: I’m good friends with these gorgeous Irish monkeys, they are the funnest kids on the block and this song is actually a stroke of pure simple genius, it has everything, absolutley everything I could want in a song. The lyrics are witty, completely addictive and brilliant, from ‘hey you , get some grace, you’re like kentucky fried chicken but without the taste!’ to ‘hey baby I’m the bedroom king..I’m so sorry for breaking your ding-a-ling-a-ling!’ It gets me in some kind of orgasmic fit. The melodies glide around, there’s huge hurricanes of keyboards (there are NO guitars in this band! ) and goes from being totally crazy and rock n’ roll to bed wettingly heartfelt in a snap second . May Kay is a complete superstar, she performs this song with so much passion and should be an inspiration to all us frontmen/women out there, an amazing song. WOOHOOOO!

Song 3
TAKE THAT Rule The World

VON PIP:
“The only band that can make Westlife sound like “System Of A Down.” But this music is vital, vital in the sense that we can educate our kids “Son, this what we call in the trade “a great big bag o’shite.” I could go on about how this corporate cobblers is a metaphor for all that is wrong with the capitalist system, but I won’t. What I will say is:- what’s all this nonsense about reinventing Take That as a force for good ? People waffle on citing “Shine” as if they’ve had some “Road to Damascus ” conversion and have realised that Take That are alight really. Well you’re not getting away with it, do you hear! “Shine” still sounded to me like Fatty Barlow trying to take a dump in a bus shelter in Congleton, “Shine” ? “Shite” more like. But it’s only a harmless pop song, albeit a big fat steaming pile of poo of a song and one that will sell shed loads. Yes it’s harmless.. nothing to GET WORKED UP ABOUT !”

LAURA : “Gary Barlow wants to ‘Ride On A Star’ with us if we ’stay by his side’, apparently. I might follow him around and see if he’s lying… I love the way they only give you 1minute of the song(on Myspace) to keep you on your toes, as if the second half isnt going to be exactly the same as the first half. I know this is a predictable thing to say but I cant believe that hundreds of thousands of people ACTUALLY buy this stuff…like actually hear this on the radio and say ‘that was so beautiful…they’re lovely fellas them…aren’t they…’ and then go out to Woolworths and buy it. Actually I can…. I guess they are people who only own 5 cds…(two of which are “Now.. 22″ and “Now… 24″). I saw a program about female Take That fans who convinced their fatherless children that their real fathers were members of Take That….. by pointing at Gary or Howard or whatever and saying ‘look! its daddy!’ I mean that is probably the most disturbing thing ever…..fuck a doodle doo. Anyway….survey says…..’shit sandwich.’

SPENCER: I saw old GB in Dublin Castle last month he looked match fit- The That are back! Alas the song fades out after the first chorus on their myspace (failure to understand modern marketing techniques by the majors- they’re loosing again) so I can’t hold a proper opinion- unless it is actually about 30 seconds long in which case I like it- epic production in a tiny space”

DOGWOOD: “Rule the world? The cry of every megalomaniac since the dawn of time and I suppose Take That are no different, although this sounds like something you’d hear at a Labour Party Conference as a soundtrack to Gordon Brown’s global ambitions. Like Brown, it’s tepid, insipid, bland and has as much chance of ruling the world as him calling an election today. Rhubarb.”

ELZ: “Mums across the planet must adore this song.”

MIKEY:
“Bland bland sexy Marks and Spencers music for 37 year old ladies. with a bit of A-ha thrown in. 1/10″

FRAN: ” I never liked them, and this song isn’t going to change my mind. ‘Shine’ was better, anyway.” 😛

MR LION:
“Take That… well, they’re better than the Arctic Monkeys.If I can blot out the scars of my adolescence caused by these greasy catalogue models and look at this track objectively, I guess it’s a nice little ballad, when all’s said and done. The context may not be necessary, but it is quite telling that this is a movie theme, and although I shudder at the thought of Gary Barlow getting an Oscar, it’s probably worth noting that among all the worthless awards that are out there today, the Oscar for best music hasn’t been worth a dime since they gave one to Phil Collins. I digress. Since Shine came out, I’ve had to accept the truth that this group of blokes, who are still badly in need of haircuts, can actually turn out a nice little pop tune. The production is certainly not as hollow and heartless as it used to be in their heyday, which can only be a good thing.Loses points though, because myspace only offers the first verse and chorus before fading out. Hmph.”

Song 4 KINGS OF LEON Charmer

DOGWOOD:
“This is about as charming as one of my Aunt Sandra’s love bites which she dishes out gratis to any poor sod who happens to be in the Arndale Centre. I must admit I was quite taken by the name – Kings of Leon, sounds quite regal but as soon as the caterwauling and screeching started it began to take me back to Jake Summers and I didn’t think I could face him twice in a day. Would appeal to a certain breed of psychotic teenager.”

ELZ: “Oh my god, STOP SCREAMING. Other than that… actually, I’m not sure there is an “other than that”. The screaming is just so distracting that I can’t concentrate on any good parts of the song. Okay, there was a nice intro. With no screaming. And this instrumental break with no screaming is also rather– oh, a scream.”

SPENCER: Now this is great- good melody,I like the barking. Also the drums don’t come in where you’d expect- sounds like the Pixies with some light Iron Maiden guitars- still can’t work out that bass- worth a few listens- also like the line about giving Karma to the farmer- they make it work- but it shouldn’t on paper.

MR LION
: “Well, they’re mightily ticked off about something, aren’t they? I have to be honest, if I were telling the tale of a young lady who was something of a charmer, I may be able to inject a little joy into the crooning. But then, I am no minstrel, and these fellows are not serenading a fair damsel. This kind of attitude should be expected from a band whose top eight My Space friends appears to consist mainly of groupies, I suppose. Not for me, I have to say.”

VON PIP:
“Isn’t their Myspace page “friends” supposed to be representative of the song “Fans” *consults solicitors over Mr Lions Kings Of Leon’s Fan Slur*. Anyway I truly loved Kings Of Leon’s “Youth And Young Manhood” a classic, but I don’t think anything they’ve done since has lived up to that. Somebody told me this was actually called “Chalmers” I was hoping for a tale about how Judith Chalmers was managing without her license fee funded holidays, but I fear I have been misled. I like the lazy drawling vocal,(Horlicks ? Pfft Toilet Duck please with a splash of Domestos , just to take the edge off it) and the scratchy guitars … but the scream keeps making me jump. Arrgh I’ve just split my hot Bovril all over my slacks!!! “

MIKEY:
“My brother dates my sister and my uncle dates my sister and my cousin dates my sister and my sister dates me…good tune…but they’re a bit inbred yah…- 2 heads. 7.5/10″

FRAN: “Is it the samey “indie” that’s so in fashion nowadays? Yes it is. Do we need yet another Strokes soundalike?”

LAURA:” I love their new album, it’s so fucking cool. This song actually could be the Pixies, love the way its so stripped down and raw. It sounds like he’s singing through a blender after swigging paint stripper which is definitely a good thing. I really admire them for not over doing this song, its sexy and simple and great to jump around to when your over the limit. They have completely ripped off The Pixies on this though. Nevermind. It’s REALLY GOOD. “

Song 5 THOSE DANCING DAYS – Hitten

LAURA :“I cant decide whether I love these little pixies or hate them. I really wanted to like them for some reason, maybe because they look so cute or something . After listening to this song about 13 times I realised these things:-….they remind me of the Sugababes …. if they were Swedish and could play guitars…. and they are probably going to be massive. The lyrics are a bit suspect at times in a kind of ‘we just made everything rhyme…’ kind of way, but it adds to the sweet charm of the song and although the vocal line is a bit unimaginative at times, the keyboards save the day with a tune that really infects. I can imagine 13 year old girls loving it, and I’m happier that they listen to this than the Sugababes. “

FRAN: “Great stuff, cannot wait to hear a full album. I heard someone saying ‘the new Pipettes’ : not quite, but great nonetheless.”

MIKEY: “The pippiest poppiest pop soppyness this side of the pip,pop Pipettes. 7/10″

SPENCER: “Some interesting out of synch keyboard sounds, don’t like the vocal a bit amercan teen series, like someone has kidnapped Brooke Hogan and tied her to Belle and Sebastian with the flu.”

VON PIP :
“Along with Nick and Jason from Tack!Tack!Tack! I helped discover these young scamps under a cabbage leaf in The Anders Panders Garden of Pop . Yes, and we helped create a buzz using t’internet. So I am biased and therefore can only say, great wonky pop. Even better when you learn that the bands collective age is just 2 years old. Interesting fact ,”Hitten” means “The Hit”

ELZ: “Now, this is proper pop. I like the synthy-keyboardy bits in this, though I’m afraid the vocals are a little bit too similar to something I can’t put my finger on but apparently dislike, to really grab me. I can’t deny the danceability, though! And the chorus is just fab.”

MR LION:
” Now, there’s that joy I was after! The drums at the beginning almost made me believe I was about to get Pull Shapes by the Pipettes, which is never a bad thing. The upbeat tempo and happy key are quite deceptive, since the words are clearly quite melancholy and the message of the song seems to be one of longing for things to be different. I have less to say about this because I like it so much, but short of enthusing maniacally, I’ll just give it a simple thumbs-up.”

DOGWOOD: “Sounds like Dusty Springfield. So far so good. Goes a bit wonky but then recovers. That’s OK, we all have our wonky moments. They’re Swedish. Oh well. The lass singer is very pleasant on the ear and this is by far the best of the bunch. Yes, very pleasant I could imagine Daniel O’Donnell doing this although with a bit more of an Irish lilt like. A top of the pops for sure. I’d buy this and play it on my show I would. Settle down.”

And Finally A Video and Song – KYLIE ” TWO HEARTS”



MIKEY
-“Sassy Aussie Goldfrapp copysville. 4/10″

SPENCER: “What can I say? Kylie’s art belongs in the visual medium. This is a bit flat though with obvious falsetto added to give it a missing ‘something’. Kylie is in one of her perodically forgettable dips but don’t worry folks- she’ll get better ”

ELZ : “Reviewing a video, this takes me back… So, well…-this is a bit rubbish, isn’t it? It’s also very much a Madonna rip-off, the video at least. The song is intensely catchy, but the video looks like someone’s chucked Kylie in a blender with Blond Ambition Madonna, Marilyn Monroe and a little bit of Alison Goldfrapp to round things out. The song is already stuck in my head after a listen-and-a-half, so I imagine she’s got another hit on her hands, but I don’t think it’s her best.”

DOGWOOD:
Oh dear, oh dear oh dear oh dear. Now I know this lass, not personally like but I am aware of celebrity status and I have to say that watching this video the words ‘trying too hard’ sprung to mind. Let’s be honest, she’s a nice lass who wants to be a bad girl, can’t quite pull it off and ends up looking like a stunt double for that loud mouthed American harridan Madonna. Don’t do it lass, go back to singing about lollipops and locomotions, or whatever it is that you do. The video is an unconvincing cacophony of lads in quifs, slightly odd looking boy/girls in make up. I’m no Noel Edmonds but even I know that this looks and sounds like a cheap Christmas bauble.

MR LION : My love of Kylie goes back a long way. While I admit there’s a bandwagon that got moving when Spinning Around was released, and also a sympathy embargo on anybody who has a harsh word to say about a woman who survived breast cancer, it’s worth noting that her career has been a rocky one and it’s something of an achievement to still warrant such positive attention after so long in the cold light of the music industry. I think this is a brilliant track and yet another welcome change in direction for both her sound and her image. I’m not naive enough to think that this is in anyway Ms Minogue’s own doing; I’m quite aware that there’s a multinational marketing machine behind her and a manufactured corporate image. With that in mind, the video really is an exercise in style, which isn’t always a bad thing in pop promos. The lady herself looks fantastic, as always, and I personally like the hair and makeup and costumes. It’s fairly unmemorable though, and I’m sure the song will live with me much longer than the video does. Thumbs up again then, and thank heavens this didn’t turn out to be a cover of that old Phil Collins song of the same name. Good grief, have I really mentioned him twice today?

FRAN: I like it when she tries something different from what she did in the past. (Then again, I’m one of the very few people who liked her ‘indie’ record from 1997. ‘Some Kind Of Bliss’ and ‘Did It Again’ were fabulous. So underrated.) This one is a grower. A bit Goldfrapp-ish, both track and video.

LAURA:
Kyleeeee does rock! Err no…yet again Kylie does a Madonna…by reinventing herself and getting some more botox. Great outfits and stuff and it is a beautifully presented pop package but there always seems to be something desperate and contrived about Kylie, like there’s a bunch of other people telling her how and what to sing and what to wear (shock shock horror!) where as Madge is quite obviously the mastermind behind herself and is completely in control of EVERYTHING she does and will always do this kind of thing better. But who cares? its pop and the song is flawless in terms of production and is a safe bet for a number one. Maybe I’m just jealous of her black and silver catsuit……drool…………..

VON PIP:
Crivins whoose just drooled on my head? ! I wonder if this is a very smart piece of marketing, Kylie to appear in Doc Who at Xmas “2 Hearts” ? clever! I often wonder what Ramsey Streets Harold Bishop would have made of young Charlene Mitchell’s sex kitten shenanigans. This is as smooth as a freshly buttered banister..with less emotional depth. Our Kylie’s never been a great singer, and her voice is as thin as newly strained cabbage water here, her actings passable but she’s no Meryl Streep either. Our Kylie remains ever popular though, I suppose because she seems like a nice person, I have more time for her than I do for the likes of that dreadful gurning cretin Robbie Williams, or other “musical products.” Sadly if I were to analyse the reason why I don’t mind Our Kylie too much it would probably reveal me to be as shallow a puddle in the Strzelecki Desert. Yes two words- “hot pants”, I can’t deny they can get most chaps hot and bothered. I really rather like the song but then again I was a fan of the original which I much prefer. Sadly Our Kylie doesn’t add much to it vocally, she has a tendency when doing covers to give the song a “Dementor’s Kiss” whereby she has an uncanny ability to extract all the joy, verve and life from the original … still thats never hindered “Pert cheeks” Minogue in the past- …will be huge..Have a listen to the original…2 Hearts by Kish Mauve

Much better I think

Well thanks to all the reviewers, Laura, Mr Lion, Fran, Elz, Mikey,Spencer and of course Dogwood it looks like Those Dancing Days is the winner this time round, I wonder what the readers opinions are …..until next time …keep your feet on the ground and reach for the stars ….I’m off for a nice cup of a certain milky malted bedtime drink……..

( The VPME Review is sponsored by Horlicks and Bovril)