Rae Of Light-Lily Rae Interview

“Diane” By Lily Rae

If you were to cock a furtive ear to the horrible turgid soulless cacophony that commonly clutters up the pop charts you’d be forgiven for thinking that music was about as meaningful as Davina McCall’s contribution to high quality TV. But if you where to go online and visit many of the musical platforms available you’d be heartened to see (and hear) all manner of talented whipper snappers making the sort of music that makes the world a happier place. On my cyber travels one name kept popping up, “Lily Rae.” I then happened to hear of her mentioned in conjunction with Sad Gnome records. This should have pleased me, as I’m keen on Sad Gnome Records, with their excellent taste and stylish demeanor. But subconsciously I may have made another mental connection. You see I used to work with a chap whom I better not name, called Dave Rae, he was a horrid little shite, vertically challenged, with a nose so big it would arrive in Liverpool City Centre half an hour before he did. A real evil little gnome of a man. A bad sort, maybe unbeknownst to me, I had foolishly associated Lily’s surname and Sad Gnome with this chap (whom I best not name) Dave Rae, and I failed to investigate this young ladies talent. Or more logically (always my strong point,) I just didn’t have the time, I’d been distracted or I’d simply forgotten, like the lumpen headed oaf Iam (so much music, so little time.) Some weeks later I’d heard Julia and Simon of The Indelicates mentioning Lily in revered tones, and then not long afterwards Sad Gnome Records gave away a free Xmas download. I enjoyed Lily’s contribution immensely and scuttled off to her myspace page, sideways like a man crab, giving no more thought to evil gnomish ex work colleagues. Why had I not done so earlier? I discovered she had sang previously in a band called Bottle Rocket for about three years, until, as she describes it “after that particular musical expedition went tits up, so to speak, I decided it would be far easier (and more diplomatic) to just do it on my own.” Her songs are a joy, superbly structured, beautifully sung, with lyrics as clever as they were witty. Some of the best I’d heard in quite some time. Her debut single “Bad Film ” backed by the equally excellent “Scallywag” is to be released in January 2008- it’s rather marvellous. An impressed Mr VP had a natter with Lily and found out more about her musical world.

VP: . Ordinarily I normally ask “how did you meet?” As my opener ,but that wont work here. So instead maybe you could tell us how you came to be involved in the world of “music” 😉

Lily : Well, my Dad – who’s one of my Saturday Girls – was in a fairly dodgy rock band about twenty years ago called King Swamp, which was all ripped-jeans-and-feedback – so from a really early age I was being carted around gigs and festivals. There was always music playing in our house, as well; my Dad would be listening to Tom Waits in one room and my Mum would be listening to the B52s in another, so you literally couldn’t move for hearing something weird. It just became part of life in the end. Silence was horrible and dirty. And then I got a bit older and was very heavily into Morrissey and Kirsty MacColl, and that was the end of me.

VP: Your single Bad Film has just been released (28th January) on Sad Gnome records , what are your musical plans for 2008?

Lily : First and foremost, we need to get out and about with some more gigs. I’ve also got songs coming out of my ears at the moment, so I’ll be recording like a bitch from hell for quite a bit… I’d like to think we’ll have something resembling an album ready by December. That’d be nice.

VP : How would you describe your music?

Lily: I’ve dreaded this question for a while… I’m often compared to Kirsty MacColl, which is probably the best compliment I’ve ever received, but I think she was a lot less bitter and cross than I seem to be. My songs are all a bit on the “I’m Very Angry And Nursing A Lot Of Grudges” side. Oh sod it, we’re trying to be Sleeper for the 21st century. There, I said it.

VP: Who would you say are your musical inspirations?

Lily: I’m of the opinion that Jonathan Richman is the most perfect songwriter alive. Kirsty MacColl has always been a huge influence of course… early Morrissey goes without saying… Elvis Costello too, and I’ll finish up with Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap). If I’d written so much as one song off Philophobia I’d just lie in bed all day, chatting myself up.

VP: Have you played many gigs at this point? What have been the best experiences so far?

Lily: In Bottle Rocket we had gigs on almost every week – the best one I think we ever did was at Storm in Leicester Square, a couple of months before we split. That was amazing. In the crowd we could just make out two guys in Hawaiian shirts who were going absolutely mental over What’s She Got? which is good for the esteem whichever way you look at it. Admittedly gigs have been a bit low on the ground of late, for no other reason than we all seem to be terrible busytits at the moment, and we’re also lazy bastards who book gigs maybe once every couple of months. But we’ll be around more this year, you’ll be sick of us by the end of it. Maybe you already are, which means our careers are speeding up at least.

VP: Are there any bands/artists or musical styles that induce such intense feelings of dislike upon hearing them that you feel compelled to throw the radio out of the window. Or at least turn it off in a hurry?

Lily: Oh Christ, here we go. The Twang, the Enemy, the Pigeon Detectives, the Fratellis and The View made me actually vomit up my own kidneys once, and that’s not an exaggeration. I guess they’re easy targets but I’m ashamed to be British if all we’re about is ripping off the Libertines. I’m not a huge fan of Kate Nash either – she’s probably very sweet and lovely and all that, but her voice just makes me want to burn hair. U2 should’ve packed it in years ago. Don’t even get me started on Hard-Fi. The only band I feel any remorse for disliking are Belle and Sebastian – I can tell they’re an excellent band, but that doesn’t stop me wishing they’d just shut up and stop being so clever.

VP: New technology, i-pods , mobile phones that clean teeth, DAB toasters that are entertainment centres, do they enslave or liberate?

Lily : It depends how quickly you want your shiny new iPhone to get nicked I suppose. I’ve got a lovely little mp3 player that no-one would ever knife me for because it’s too ugly – I suppose if you’re from Hampstead it’s a lot easier to have hundreds of little life-enhancing gadgets on you than it is in Streatham, where I live. I think that, if it does its job, there’s no need to get a slightly shinier one with more buttons. If I had a James Bond mobile the size of a baked bean with bluetooth and 600 gigabytes for mp3s and an eight billion pixel camera and a nutter bastard little device that made everyone want to sleep with you, I’d probably be a bit embarrassed. Probably.

VP: Any new bands you think will make the grade this year and have a major breakthrough?

Lily : Well he’s been around a little while now, but I’m really hoping that this year Malcolm Middleton will get the attention he deserves. A close friend of mine would argue that if he had masses of success the depressive jilted bedsit miserablists that make up his fanbase (me included) would feel like they’d been dumped for sunnier mainstream audiences. I don’t think that would be the case though – there’s too much empathy involved for him to do that. I would’ve liked I Am The Arm, a bloody excellent band, to have really made it this year, but they’re splitting up after one more batch of gigs. It’s about time Of Montreal got a bit of recognition as well. And the Veils really should be household names in the UK by now.

VP: What are the first singles /albums you remember buying ?

Lily: I was a huge Proclaimers fan when I was younger so I bought everything they’d done when I was about ten. When I met them they signed my copy of This Is The Story and I was so excited I didn’t particularly mind that they’d spelt my name wrong. Free All Angels by Ash had a HUGE impact on me when it came out and I spent the next few years trying to be Charlotte Hatherley. I can remember buying Homogenic by Bjork really clearly as well – I only bought it because I liked the cover (it was quite squishy) and then I actually listened to it. It blew my mind completely. When you’re nine you shouldn’t really try and sing Joga unless your parents are already deaf.

VP: Excluding oxyegn and food and erm.. life what five things could you not live without?

Lily: My cat, Finn (geekishly named after Finn Andrews); teabags; my records; Simon Armitage; bitterness posing as sarcasm.

Links

On Myspace

Sad Gnome Records

Bad Film

Wallpaper

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
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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 !

“Deep Blue Something” The Charlotte Hatherley Interview

“Again” By Chalotte Hatherley

It’s a obviously a big decision for anybody to leave a successful group at the height of their fame, but it is said that music is the purest form of self expression and many artists feel the need to branch out away from their band mates and tread a different path. In the case of Charlotte Hatherley its certainly a decision that’s paid off. With two critically acclaimed albums behind her, an army of loyal fans, and her own record label she doesn’t appear to have broken stride since quitting as Ash’s guitarist in January 2006. She oozes pure rock n roll coolness, think Chrisse Hynde with supermodel looks, and your in the right ballpark, but with Charlotte it’s all about the music and the performance and she’s down to earth enough to write in her own myspace tour blogs about the dangers of eating curries before performing on stage ! Whilst Songs like “Kim Wilde” and “Bastardo” have earned her a cult following her latest album “The Deep Blue” will only enhance her reputation and new single “Again”, could well be her finest song to date, a tale of love regret and maybe the heart ruling the head? It’s a song which clearly demonstrates that Chazza has developed into a truly great songwriter, and “The Deep Blue” contains of collection of songs which any artist would be proud of.

We said “Guten Tag!” to Charlotte as her UK acoustic tour ended and her live dates in Germany where about to commence.

VP: Since leaving Ash you’ ve released two solo albums, received critical acclaim, gigged tirelessly and gathered a loyal army of fans. You must be delighted, how different does life as a solo artist differ from that of being a member of a band?

CH:I suppose it’s the difference between being a front-person and being a guitarist….i see myself mainly as a guitarist and playing in a band is just great fun, I never really have to worry about image or being sober. With Ash I would wear whatever felt comfortable and merrily get drunk on stage. Being a solo artist is a bit more serious and more thought goes into it. You have to present yourself in a much more assertive and convincing way, and I feel I have to always be on form. But I try to make the band I have with me as a solo artist feel like a band of friends, rather than just hired hands, so it’s still a lot of fun on the road.

VP ….And you’ve recently done an acoustic tour , what was the thinking behind this ? I’ve noticed quite a few bands recently whom seem keen to play more intimate gigs …

CH:Anyone can be a musician with a laptop and garage band, so the actual theatricality of a intimate stage show is becoming quite rare and I’ve been amazed by how much people prefer to see the acoustic shows, and really love to see up close the three of us playing quite intricate and delicate songs. Initially I was quite reluctant because I didn’t want it to be a boring ‘girls with acoustic guitars’ show, if I saw that advertised I would certainly be put off. I’ve made sure that it still remains interesting and exciting, despite being very stripped down.

VP: Songwriting ? would you consider your style observational, personal, poetically abstract ?? what’s the process , is it spontaneous or do you sit down and think “Ok I’m going to write two great songs today”

CH:I don’t think about my songwriting in any way, it happens and I record at home. Mostly it starts with a guitar riff, and usually the lyrics are the last thing that I write. Anything in between is a guess, it changes often. Some days there is a very definite drought, other days I can be very prolific. I am a dreadful procrastinater, I wish I could be more disciplined.

VP: Since of birth of what is referred to as ” rock n roll” what do you personally consider to be the most inspirational period/decade?

CH: I think music now is incredibly exciting and inspirational. Of course I am a huge fan of Bowie, Roxy Music, Kate Bush and Eno…so I guess the 70s really do it for me, but to experience this dramatic change in the music industry first hand, right now is very inspiring. So much is happening it’s hard to keep up. As everyone around loses their heads certain bands are seizing the moment and adapting to the climate and some seriously exciting times and music are ahead of us. It’s hard for me remain a completely independent artist as it’s virtually impossible to make any money from record sales, but I’m finding ways of surviving, and all these great and innovative new bands will too, so I am sure this era will be looked upon as very important in the future.

VP: What music are you listening to at the moment , and who are your all time musical heroes?

CH:I love the Battles album ‘Atlas’, it is incredible. I also love The Klaxons, and have been listening to a lot of classical music, Bernstein, Koechlin, Debussy and Morton Feldman. All time heroes would have to be Bowie and Kate Bush.

VP: Do you think there is a dearth of decent music shows on TV nowadays .In the past there were old established shows such as Ready Steady Go, Top Of The Pops., then more innovative shows such as The Old Grey Whistle Test , Revolver, The Tube and of course Cheggars Plays Pop ? Do you feel there’s still a niche in the market for a really great music show ( we Still have Jools Of Course)

CH: Jools Holland is hideous , although you occasionally get the odd interesting band and they really stand out as different and exciting. I guess YouTube has become a breeding ground for music videos and live performances. Touring is becoming so important for bands as people aren’t buying records anymore, so perhaps TV live performances are more important than ever as bands need people to go and see them…and lord knows there are so many fucking bands touring that you never know who to see. I bought the Battles album after seeing them on Jools Holland, and that stuff will never be played on the radio, so a whole programme full of bands like that would be really ace.

VP: When you look back at 2007 what do you think your highlights will be ?

CH: Releasing ‘The Deep Blue’ on my own label and getting through the year

VP: There seems to be quite a number of bands reforming recently. influential legends like The JAMC but also a clutch of what I can only term as “the less than leading lights of Brit pop brigade” . Even the Pistols are playing 50 quid a ticket shows. Are there any bands that you wish would reform and any you really wish hadn’t bothered?

CH: No, I don’t like any of the Britpop bands, except for The Bluetones. I don’t quite see the point in Britpop reformations, it wasn’t even that bloody long ago.

VP: There’s no denying you give off an aura of proper rock n roll cool, often people who are cool deny it, what do you think ? are you cool? .

CH:I’m from Chiswick, and that ain’t ever gonna be cool. (Denial = she’s cool! )

VP: That Bono fellows a funny wee man , clearly desperate for a Nobel peace prize or canonisation. But who do you consider to be real heroes of this confusing modern age in which we live …

CH: Alan McGee and all who follow his example in this VERY confusing modern age of the music business. He has a total belief in bands and music and is ready to change and adapt and dares to try new ways to make music available, whilst still protecting the bands that make it.

VP: Five words to describe your last five days

CH: Germanic bitterly cold electro salami

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

Again

 

OUT NOW

‘Siberia’

 

 

‘I Want You To Know’ (Single – Album Version)

 

 

‘I Want You To Know’ (Single – Acoustic Version)

 

 

‘The Deep Blue’ (Album)

 

This month’s Uncut magazine has reviewed ’The Deep Blue’….4 out of 5 stars y’all. Check it: Hatherley always looked like having more about her than being someone else’s rhythm guitarist. She fullfills that promise on her second solo set, flowering into a serious talent. Having just taken off the stabilisers by leaving Ash, it’s even braver, largely abandoning the bubblegum punk of her debut in favour of a magic-realist fantasy forest reminiscent of classic 4AD indie girls. The elegant “Roll Over” and the spectral “Dawn Treader” prove Hatherley is a far deeper beast than her rock chick stylings have so far suggested.

 

 

Video

“Bastardo” By Chalotte Hatherley

“Siberia” By Charlotte Hatherley

Wallpaper

 

Tales From The Dark Side – Santa Dog Interview

“Chemical” By Santa Dog

Bristol’s Santa Dog produce an accomplished, glistening sound with razor sharp guitar riffs and have in front person and lyricist, Rowena Dugdale a vocalist who conjures up the ghosts of Harriet Wheeler and Sonya Aurora Madan. It’s been said that Santa Dog sound a little like Britpop bands such as Echobelly and Sleeper crossed with the polished guitar jangle of the Smiths, whilst adding into the mix a liberal dash of the lyrical darkness of Throwing Muses tempered with the sweetness of The Sundays. I can concur with some of these comparisons to a degree, although Rowena certainly has a stronger and more tuneful voice than Kristen Hersh’s menacing growls and primal yelps, but I really can’t see the Sleeper connection(cue Elastica joke) After a good few listens of Santa Dog’s debut album “Kittyhawk” you`ll start to notice a darker side lurking just beneath the shimmering pop tunes . Dugdale’s lyrics are very much of the here and now, there are deft references to the paranoia of the modern world and how technology can enslave as much as it can liberate “computers die/and data lies /your iris pattern doesn’t match your eyes “- “Big Bang. ” Certainly some songs appear to contain oblique yet poetic Orwellian references that conjure up images of a society manipulated by the media and watched over by the state “I tune into the TV station /and get brainwashed with the rest of the nation/I’m so caught up with what I’m thinking/My minds full but my body’s aching” –“Belle De Jour.”

It’s an album that reveals more and more of its inner layers after repeated playing and Dugdale’s edgy lyrics and thematics make for an intense but hugely enjoyable experience. Tracks such as “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah ” “Big Bang” “Chemical” and “Belle De Jour” really should be on national radio on a regular basis instead of the usual misogynistic, booty obsessed self parodying cobblers that Hippty Hop has become. It defies logic that our national radio stations play this sort of guff, when we have intelligent, vibrant homegrown bands like Santa Dog just waiting to be discovered ….but I digress.

Rowena dropped by VP Towers to have a chat about weighty matters such as music/ technology/global warming and of course, has light entertainment in the UK ever recovered from the horrifying revelation that “Wee Jimmy Krankie” was actually not a cheeky Glaswegian school boy, but was in reality a grown woman of 60 !!! Forget the recent “Blue Peter Cat” scandals, this was the deception of a nation…….. It’s a twisted world…..

VP: How did the band get together?

Rowena (RD) : It’s been a jigsaw that has fitted together over time….me and Rob met over 10 years ago in Edinburgh, we met Martin in the pub a couple of years ago and bonded over discussing the finer merits of Prefab Sprout, and Steve (bass) is the newest addition, he joined this summer (luckily he likes the Sprout too).

VP: What have you released thus far Ms Rowena ?

RD : We self-released 3 EPs in 2005 and 2006, Delicate, Chemical, and Belle de Jour. Our first single – Big Bang (7″) was released July 2007 by SoundsXPerience and KittyHawk, the debut album was released June 2007 by Quince Records, in Japan.

VP : Any up coming live performances?

RD : We’re looking forward to supporting former VPME interviewees Canadian popsters Pony Up at Bristol’s Louisiana on 5th Nov. On 1st Dec we’re playing an afternoon event curated bySoundsXPerience @ ROTA – Notting Hill Arts club in London. New Years Eve we’re playing Bristol again – Klub Kute at The Cooler. We also have some Italian shows next year:
14 Feb at Lego, Cesena, Italy
15 Feb at Vibra, Modena, Italy
17 Feb at Mattatoio, Carpi, Italy

VP : How did you go about getting your excellent album “Kittyhawk” released ?

RD: Fortuitously, Japanese label Quince emailed us just as we were scratching our heads about what to release next, whether to do a single or another EP. Their backing gave us the confidence to launch into recording our debut album. They gave it full release in Japan, which was exciting for us, it’s available over here as import.

VP: What’s the Bristol music scene like at present ? Any bands you’d recommend?

RD: I’m a big fan of the Bristol scene, there’s a lot going on, but in true Bristol style a lot of it is under the radar. Countryside are one of our favourites, along with Safetyword, Babel, You and the Atom Bomb, Seagull Strange and the Wraiths.

VP: And the music scene in general at the moment? A clean bill of health or in need of major surgery?

RD : My eyes have been well and truly opened in the last couple of years to the way the industry works in terms of plugging/PR/hype. My previously innocent and naive belief that bands rose to the top purely through talent/deservedness has been well and and truly kicked into touch. It’s a grubby business and I can’t see that ever changing but there are some truly wonderful bands around at the moment and thanks to sites like myspace more people have access to them without needing to read about them in the press first.

VP : Pop Idol, X factor, American Idol , Singing Taxi Drivers On Ice etc . It has been said that shows such as this have turned the country into a huge medieval village that enable us to stand around in the village square and laugh at the fools? What do you think of shows such as this?

RD : Putting aside the analysis – watching the auditions makes for great telly. It’s all about entertainment rather than music…. a ridiculous ego-driven pile of pomp. It spawned Girls Aloud though and they do great pop!

VP: Global warming , should we be worried , or should we just leave it in Bono’s god like hands ?

RD : Ha ha, don’t leave it to that gurning monkey, he’ll accidently drop it whilst adjusting his thinning locks in the mirror. Interesting that Al Gore’s video has been causing a stir amongst educationalists in schools over here. They may call it alarmist but sometimes you need to exaggerate the facts and go over the top to make a point. We should all be worried.

VP: Technology – has it made music more accesible or more disposable . whats your view on how the internet has influenced the whole muisc scene over the last 7-8 years

RD : More accessible I think. From a personal point of view, networking sites like Myspace have been amazing – we have been able to organise gigs so much more easily than before and thanks to worldwide blogs we sold more EPs abroad than over here. Transpose that to the whole scene in general and that’s a whole lot of bands grabbing the DIY ethic by the horns rather than waiting from a phonecall from The Man.(Who ? me ? ) As for disposability – blame the majors for their spit-em-out mentality. Why has longevity become a dirty word?

VP: Five words to desribe how you feel today

RD: Happy, craving, cold, autumnal, musical

VP : Twas a pleasure

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

Kittyhawk -The album

 

UK stockists
direct from their website
Rough Trade
Norman Records
Amazon

 

USA stockists
Darla Records
Tonevendor
Amazon

 

Japanese stockists
Quince Records
Tower Records
Amazon
HMV

 

Big Bang – 7″ single

 

 

UK stockists
Sounds eXPerience
Cargo
digital download

Video

“Big Bang” By Santa Dog

 

Wallpapers

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