Life’s A Riot-Electric Blue Interview

“Teenagers In Love” By Electric blue

“Somebody’s Help” By Electric Blue

Where do you go when the music stops? If you take away the “snap” and the “crackle” what on earth do you do with the “pop?” I suppose one might suggest this was the dilemma facing Brighton pop group The Pipettes when the artist formerly known as “Riot Becki”- Rebecca Stephens, left the band, hot on the heels of Rose “Rosay” Dougall’s departure with not an original member in sight to shake a polka-dotted skirt at…but that was then and this is now … Thankfully both ex-Pipettes are still intent on staying within the sphere of music and Becki has recently unveiled a new musical project, a transatlantic collaboration with Randy Michael from Atlanta’s sharp suited beat boys The Booze . Their musical partnership, “Electric Blue” is named, either after a line in Bowie’s classic “Sound And Vision” or series of soft porn video “magazines” from the 80’s in which large haired pneumatic ladies indulged in erm.. “fun” with unfeasibly blessed, lantern jawed, orange hued chaps who all seemed to work in the ..service industry -chauffeurs, aerobics instructors, tennis coaches et al. You would not be wrong if you suggested that this video series wasn’t exactly “plot driven” …but thankfully the songs Becki and Randy have produced  certainly appear to be been “tune driven.”

So what do they sound like? Well if The Undertones had spent more time watching “Happy Days” instead of pretending to be punks, decided on becoming a female fronted band and replaced  their lead singer, who let’s face it was a dead ringer for Mr Punch, they may have produced a sound rather like Electric Blue-  “Beauty School Drop-Out” meets “Teenage Kicks.” (In retrospect, it’s hard to square the fact that a movement such as Punk could actually spawn Easter Island statue look-alike and CEO of British Music Rights, Fergal Sharkey, who appears intent on banning everyone who has ever downloaded a music file illegally, like, ever, from having internet access-But that’s a whole other story !)

Electric Blue has a retro punky power-pop edge, which ably straddles and takes reference from various genres, and which should have your feet tapping within seconds (or foot if you’re a certain former Beatles ex) –”Hooks,” big choruses and great melodies were always a large part of Becki and RM’s musical remit in the past and they once again employ these tools to great effect, yes there maybe a nod to the bands from which they have come from but let’s face it, could you really see them reinventing themselves as Slipknot? They certainly are not just replicating what they have done in the past, there’s freshness and a sense of fun here, a new lease of life if you will. Technically it sounds superb, I don’t normally do technical as I find reducing music, which I tend to react to on an emotional level to a series of chords or quavers or techno speak tends to detract from my joy, and this collaboration is definitely infused with an exuberant sense of fun. I therefore cranked up the Von Pip fun mobile and drove off to speak to Randy Michael and Becki to find out what they’d been up to…

VP: When you left the Pips, was it your intention to get straight back into music and was solo and collaborative work something you’d often thought about getting involved in, also after 2007 when you seemed to be on tour constantly was it difficult initially to adjust to some sort of normality ?

Becki: I hadn’t really been heavily involved in music prior to The Pipettes, so I wasn’t sure what would happen, I certainly didn’t have anything planned for after I left. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I started writing, the ideas seemed to flow pretty easily and I couldn’t stop. Returning to a Monday to Friday job has been hugely influential and forced me to re-evaluate many things. Whether or not to be solo or in another band didn’t cross my mind, yet after writing for a few months I realised that I needed to bounce ideas off of somebody else. I’m my own worse enemy, I’m never happy, and I could easily disregard most of what I’ve written. I also didn’t want to fall into the trap of over self-indulgence especially as I mostly listen to upbeat, heavily melodic music and that was what I was interested in making! So it was important to find a person I clicked with; someone who understood where I was, who recognised the good from the bad – the ideas should flow organically – and that’s what I found in Randy.

VP: Randy, how did you and Becki, first meet up? Did you hit it off straight away?

RM: I met Becki under a tent at The Vfest in August of ’06 along with some of the other members of the pips. I wouldn’t say we hit it off right away; I was more interested in their drummer Joe. It was more like “hello, nice to meet you.”

VP: ……..and how did the idea to work together come about?

RM: I wanted to help out on her solo project, which led to me saying, why we don’t just start a power pop band.

Becki: Yeah, we had been chatting over the internet pretty much since we met a couple of years ago, but our conversations became more and more frequent and we joked about writing together. After I told Randy I was no longer in The Pipettes those jokes became less and less ridiculous until we were both questioning the possibility and saying to each other ‘Yeah, but why not?’, and then it just happened!

VP: Did you have an idea of the sound you wanted to produce at the outset or did it just kind of happen naturally?

RM: We wanted to do something pop, and around where I live, we all dig power pop like The Beat, The Nerves and The Boys. So musically, I wanted to take a shot at it. It’s just something I think that suits us both. Because we’d look silly singing death metal and we didn’t want to sound like the bands that we come from. It just seemed like a natural thing to do.

Becki: It wasn’t too hard. We sent so much music back and forth in order to describe what we liked, what we didn’t; which songs had awesome guitar licks, which drum sounds we liked etc etc. I think it was The Nerves ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ that cemented we were going to go down a power pop route, but it’s also a natural musical progression from both of our other bands.

VP: What about the logistics, given that one of you is based in Brighton whilst the others in Atlanta how did the writing, production and recording of the tracks work in practice?

Becki: Writing began with us swapping demos and lyrics. Randy would send some music; I’d sing over it and send it back. Or I’d send Randy a song I’d written and explain which bits needed changing, and then he’d return it fully formed. Everything happened so quickly that it was only a matter of time before reality hit and a ticket was booked for Atlanta. Having written so much over the internet is was great to finally get writing together whilst being in the same room. Two of our demos were actually written in one day, which is why we have so many more to record!

RM: Yeah, Becki and myself, we’d send these demos back and forth, she’s sing about 45 seconds of something and say “Finish that.” and then I’d do the same. Once we had something completed, I’d call Darren Dodd and Wesley Flowers, two of the Best musicians in the city of Atlanta and had them record drums and keys. Then I’d send the finished product back to Becki, and she’d do vocals for it. That way, we were already familiar with the tune, before she flew across the pond.

VP: So the name is from a series of soft porn video collections (so I’m told) who came up with that name? Any others on your short list of potential band names you’d care to share

RM: I think we were so tired of just calling names out to one another that , as soon as we thought of Electric Blue, I said “That sounds tough as f*ck, and it sounds like a power pop band from ’77, let’s use it.” I can’t remember anything else that we considered.

Becki: The name actually comes from Bowie. We knew we had to think of a name ASAP and started talking about what names we liked, what we wanted over breakfast one day. We got talking about colours, realised both of our favourite colour was blue, and just started singing ‘blue, blue electric blue . . . ‘ and there it was. The porn film reference is a happy coincidence.

VP: It was mentioned on MySpace that you have tons more songs written, any idea when these may see the light of day and any plans for any sort of official release in the future?

Becki: Hopefully there will be some 7 inches realised both sides of the pond, which will be fun, and another trip to Atlanta is planned. We’re both still writing, but I have a feeling there will be a few songs that will be recorded with us both in our respective countries. That’ll be jolly interesting!

VP: What sort of music are you both listening to at the moment?

Becki: Loads of stuff as usual. I’ve been on real eighties pop kick at the moment and can’t stop listening to Hall and Oates! Otherwise Born Ruffians, White Denim, Grizzly Bear, Life Without Buildings, The Records, Bob Dylan, The Chi-Lites, Derek Meins and the new Keane record for starters. As I’ve also started a monthly night down in Brighton, I’ve been pulling out the classics such as Charles and Eddie, Apache Indian, Human League, Candi Staton, Grandmaster Flash etc etc. I can’t stop!

RM: I’m listening to loads of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, Robert Johnson, The Boys, Thin Lizzy and Elvis Costello.

VP: You’ve also mentioned you’re working on a solo project, can you reveal any more details a
t this point?

Becki:
Yep. It’s called Into Cinders. There’s a MySpace page with a couple of demos on that I recorded before Randy and I started writing together, I’m hopefully recording a couple more in November, which I’ll add when I do. I think it will probably be a project that keeps expanding when I have time. I’m constantly writing and some stuff fits with Electric Blue and some doesn’t. I enjoy the freedom of having full musical control over my own songs, but I’m not sure it’s an alley I’d like to walk down permanently.

VP: What plans do The Booze have for the remainder of the year?

RM: We may release one more EP and close the curtain

VP: Five words each to sum up Electric Blue?

Becki: Blue, blue, electric blue. Hah!

RM: The Colour of My Room

Links

Electric Blue Myspace

The Booze Myspace

Into Cinders Myspace

Wallpaper

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“A Bit Complicated!”…The Eddie Argos Interview

“Direct Hit” By Art Brut

“G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N (You Know I’ve Got A”) By Everybody Was In The French Resistance..Now

If we discount the unlikely scenario that Scouting for Girls might consider changing their name to something rather more suitable like “Upbeat Inane Radio Friendly Sh*te” then surely it is Art Brut who have one of the most appropriate names in pop. The translation from French means “raw art” and the term was first used by French artist Jean Dubuffet. This was art created by people with no formal artistic training, and includes graffiti, children’s drawings and the work of the insane. Dubuffet saw that this material contained a raw unfettered expression of feelings and visions that had not been constrained by rules and convention; it was in essence, art in its purest form. This description, it could be said, aptly sums up Art Brut and their front man Eddie Argos, Art Brut (the band) are not your average pop group and their songs don’t really conform to the “norm” (whatever that is.)

Their first single “Formed A Band” is about, um..well…, forming a band, its genius lies in its simplicity and surely only the stoniest of hearts could not find such enthusiasm endearing “formed a band! We formed a band! Look at us, we formed a band!” as Eddie goes on to tell us he’s going to “write a song as universal as Happy Birthday” and furthermore he wants to be “the boy, the man who writes the song /that makes Israel and Palestine get along.” Eddie’s songs are full of observational wit, and subjects covered include everyday tales from the urban prairie, to the slightly more surreal, and it’s the honesty within these narratives that makes the humour so engaging. The situations detailed within an Art Brut song never feels contrived, there is no sense that they are being written for a cheap laugh, and Eddie, like Nigel Blackwell, of Half man Half biscuit (one of Ed’s fave bands) can take the obscure and the absurd from modern day life and somehow make the subjects universal. Come on, we’ve all heard a great song on the radio, mid –snog and thought, “This is a jolly good tune, I wonder who performs it, and, would it be appropriate to break from this passionate clinch in order for me to turn the radio up, just a jot, thus enabling me to catch the name of the song/band/listen to the lyrics? “ … “I know I shouldn’t/ Is it so wrong/To break from your kiss/To turn up a pop song “(Pump Up the Volume.)

Not only have they released two critically acclaimed albums (Bang, Bang Rock n’Roll” and “It’s A Bit Complicated”) but recently to Eddie’s surprise, he became the darling of the New York Bo-ho art scene. Of course with great power comes great responsibility and you’d never find Eddie posing naked on the cover of a magazine, or fighting in public with other bands like that rather narky chap ( Kele Okereke ) from Bloc Party. Eddie has long since put the (rather entertaining) feud with Kele behind him; he’s been far too busy to be bothered with such nonsense. Alas Kele’s “alleged” anger management/ADD issues have recently come to the fore yet again, and, amusingly have seen the hapless chap recently used as a punch bag by John Lyndon’s entourage. Strange behaviour for a fellow who was once quoted as saying “Public feuding between bands is completely pointless.” Eddie meanwhile has been spending his time in a much more productive fashion, working on his innumerable side projects, which must indeed get “a bit complicated.” In fact he’s just returned from LA after working on his latest venture. We spoke to the great man to find out more

VP: Your first band was The Art Goblins, and legend has it your live shows used to involve you escaping from a sack. What was all that about?

EDDIE: “I maintain the Art Goblins were a Dadaist Art band playing with peoples perceptions of what a band should be, drawing inspiration from the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band and David Deviant and his Spirit Wife. Jasper says we were just showing off, thinking about it now, Jasper is probably right! I escaped from a sack and also played the vacuum cleaner to distract from my terrible singing voice.”

VP: Tell us about how Art Brut came about, how you all met?

EDDIE: “I was at a party looking for people to form a band with and Chris was there and thought this sounded like a plan –he thought it was a good way to impress the ladies. Chris talked his flatmate Frederica into playing bass, and we got a bass guitar for her off eBay. I had a friend Ian from Bournemouth who’d also just moved to London he used to be in a heavy rock band called Orco and he agreed to join the new band. Then a friend overheard a German man on a bus telling someone how he played drums and worked in “Merc,” on Carnaby Street . So we tracked him (Mike) down and asked him to join the band. He did, fate played the straight man and we never looked back. Chris left a couple of years ago and was replaced by my friend Jasper from the Art Goblins.”

VP: You’ve recently been working on a new project “Everybody Was in the French Resistance ..Now” How’s that been going and what’s it all about?

EDDIE: “Everybody Was In The French Resistance Now” is a side project of mine with Dylan Valdes from Blood Red Arm. We’re recording a pop album in which we reply to and defend characters from other peoples songs (for example we’ve just written a song in which the son of Billie Jean has tracked down his estranged father, referencing and a continuation of , the Michael Jackson song . The album is called “Fixing The Chart Part I” and will be out by the end of the year I hope. Most of it was recorded in Joshua Tree, California, all of it’s being produced by Dave Newton from the Mighty Lemondrops, I think he’s a genius pop producer, I’m very proud of it.”

VP: You’ve gone down very well in America did this surprise you as some consider you a quintessentially English band,

EDDIE: “A little yes.”

VP: I’ve always found your lyrics very honest, which is where the best humour often comes from, but there are some that think your being deliberately funny. How would you describe your lyrics and what you try and convey?

EDDIE : “ I’m just telling true stories about my life(or occasionally things I’m interested in , for example the Gatti Gang , who are rather inept Italian Terrorists that robbed a bank , I’ve never robbed a bank.”

VP: Who are your favourite bands at the moment and do you have any album/albums of the year thus far?

EDDIE: “My favourite band at the moment is The Mountain Goats; I’m playing their new album “Heretic Pride” a lot. I think a lot of British Indie (if that term still exists ) has dropped to an all new unimaginative low but there are still some very good British bands, Future Of The Left and the 1990’s I think are fantastic, I’m looking forward to both of their albums. Of course I’m still a massive fan of the Indelicates; I’m still playing their album “American Demo” at least three times a week.”

VP: I’m very fond of my pencil thin tache, but why did yours go?

EDDIE: “People kept thinking I was in my 40’s!! “

VP: The now legendary “Beth Ditto” style NME cover made quite a splash, how did that come about?

EDDIE: “It was originally and Art Rockers idea put to me to do a cover in the same pose as Beth Ditto. In true Artrocker style they didn’t get around to it and the NME pinched their idea, although I did get ArtRockers blessing first.”

VP: Have you attended or played at any big festivals this year, or have spats with certain bands put you off?

EDDIE: “I don’t “spat”anymore, well not in public. We played a few festivals which were loads of fun and we got to try out our new songs, and we’ve a lot! So it made it even more fun for us!”

VP: What five things are essential when you go on tour?

EDDIE: “Lots of underwear, Comic Books Mobile Phone, I pod.”

VP: What’s the last thing that made you laugh?

EDDIE: “The glam revival band I’m in “Glam Chops” played in Weymouth a couple of weekends ago and Paul the bass player was telling someone about it , when they asked “ Weymouth in Dorset ?” And he replied “Yeah I would definitely, it was really good!!!”

Links

Everybody Was In The French Resistance Now

Art Brut Myspace

Art Brut Official Site

The Black Arts Myspace

Glam Chops Myspace

The Eddie Argos Resource

Wallpapers (Click Thumbnail For Large Version)

Videos

“Pump Up The Volume ” By Art Brut

“Emily Kane” By Art Brut

“Direct Hit” By Art Brut

“Christmas Number One” By The Black Arts

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Double Trouble.. Hella Cholla Interview

“You’re the Kind Of Guy” By Hella Cholla

The male and the female? A harmonious blend of the ying and the yang, or polar opposites, from different planets, diametrically opposed in every way? Or is it all a myth in order to sell books about woman being from Venus and men being obsessed with Uranus? Are we really that dissimilar? Where do we differ? Or is the real truth that men are just annoying t*ts? Let’s look at the evidence. When I first co-habited I was shocked to find that upon putting my shirts into the laundry basket they had not magically transported themselves into my wardrobe, washed and freshly pressed a day or two later. This confused me, I panicked, “Arrrgh! What do I wear for work? I’ll have to take the day off and buy new ones!”… When I broached the subject…I was told in no uncertain terms, “I’m not your bloody slave, do your own washing and ironing!!” Was she serious?? How could I possibly do that? I had the next level of “Tomb Raider” to complete, and a rather pressing appointment with the couch from which I’d been looking forward to watching “The Great Escape “on TV again, I had memorised over 80% of the dialogue and intended to spend the afternoon committing the remaining 20% to memory. Alas I was unceremoniously frogmarched by my ear into the kitchen and after being formally introduced to something called “the washing machine” was given a reality check with regard to laundry and household tasks in general.

As I listened, sometimes in stunned silence I slowly began to understand. (“Alas how sad is wisdom when it brings no profit to the man that is wise”)…. The experience was almost as harrowing as finding Santa didn’t exist, and I was saddened that there appeared to be no magical laundry elves. Still reeling with shock I was then schooled in the mystical art of “Doing the Washing.” Despite having some teething problems such as my initial objections to separating the whites from the darks (“Isn’t this some sort of Wash Day Apartheid?”) or pondering weighty questions such as, “is pastel blue a light or a dark in washing terminology? What does one do with beige? And what the Rose Dougall is a “delicate cycle” I managed my first wash! – Ironing proved to be more fun then expected and allowed me to visually enhance my favourite joke “: Q- What goes ring ring – ARRRRRRRGH!!?...A: – David Blunkett, answering his iron.” Regardless of such side splitting japery my heroic wrestling with a shirt and attempts at ironing the unruly item were dismissed as “painful to watch” We also drew the line at me carrying out complex cooking duties (eg/ Boiling an egg) as my partner said she would like to “have something edible for dinner and live to see Christmas.” In spite of my best efforts she still harbours deep, ill-judged suspicions that men intentionally carry out certain household tasks somewhat kak-handidly to avoid being asked to contribute again. I maintain that I do my best and that she’s just a bit of a fuss-pot, I mean, so what if I don’t vacuum under the couch, who’s to know.? She did say “I’ll know” – my response? “Well I won’t tell if you won’t.” I could also never understand the anguished shriek of “Whose left butter on the butter knife!!” I mean if she’d have discovered engine oil on it, or a small talking tree frog called Horstz I could see the problem. Then she explained the source of irritation (me), which was, maybe I could think about washing it after I’d used it …Ohhhhhh! (*Light bulb appears above head*) I now of course often think about it. But notwithstanding these differences, there have always been men and woman, boys and girls, lads and lasses who want to spend time together, go for a walk, possibly do a spot of courting or maybe have a bite to eat. Often those who have food allergies do not seek pleasure in the gastronomic experience, instead they simply “sing” Many great musical duos careers have been forged on the anvil of the food intolerance. There’s been Peters And Lee, (allergic to carrots) The Carpenters, (allergic to eating) Peaches And Herb, (amusingly named after their allergies) Renée And Renato( Roll mop herrings) The Eurhythmics, (Haggis, smoked meats and Spit Roasted Midge Ure) More recently we have had The White Stripes,( Paul Newman’s Cajun Marinade Sauce) and The Ting-Tings (Scouse/Hotpot). It appears to work rather well though, yes there maybe rows on the tour bus about tidiness and towels but it is a price worth paying surely. One such duo that had been brought to our attention is “Hella Cholla”, a talented musical duo consisting of Hannah (21) who is a singer/songwriter with a love of storytelling and anecdotal lyrics, and Will (22) an intelligent songwriter and guitarist with big hair who has apparently, an “aversion to simple rhymes”. Their brand of fast paced pop was right up our street and made us dance about with glee whilst doing the dishes badly, dropping wet towels on the floor and singularly failing to vacuum behind the couch.

VP: Where did you meet and what’s the name all about?

HC: We met at 6th form college in Cambridge. Hannah sang on a cover of ‘Destiny’ by Zero 7 for Will. The musical relationship that bloomed was something quite beautiful.Will met Jon, the percussionist, at music college in Leeds and various other people have been drafted in from various other places but they are too many to list. ‘Hella Cholla’ means ‘hell of a small-time gangster’. It can also be used as an adjective – ‘That mexican hotdog stand is Hella Cholla’.

VP: How would you describe your music ?

HC: Flamenco Indie pop with soulful vocals and percussion.

VP: What have you released so far and what are your plans in the coming months ?

HC: Our debut, ‘You’re The Kind of Guy’ was released on Jan 28th on download (iTunes etc) on Killer Disc Records. We will have another one out in the summer!

VP: Whats been the most exciting thing you’ve done since being in a band (apart form this interview)?

HC: Annie Mac chose us to feature on an online advent calendar at Christmas. Playing at the Cockpit in Leeds and the Water Rats in Kings cross with some wicked bands. And we got played on BBC radio just the other day!

VP: Who do you both admire musically ?

Will: Rodrigo y Gabriela, Slow Club, Timbaland, Bowie loads but my mind has gone blank

Hannah: Nina Simone, Edith Piaf, Bjork, Imogen Heap, Daft Punk, Justice.

VP: Is there such a thing these days as “good TV?”

HC: If we’re talking in terms of health, then no. Watching TV is much like eating a filthy donner kebab, but for your brain and eyes. Every so often there will be a good program – like a well-cooked premium kebab with fresh salad – but this is rare. Nostalgia also tells us that TV used to be good. It’s not really true. It’s always been bad for you. Will really loves Chuck and Doctor Who though, the massive geek. Hannah likes a healthy balance of Blackadder, Have I Got NewsFor You, Sex and the City and Top Gear. We don’t practice what we preach.

VP: Do you Myspace or facebook and why ?

HC: We’re slags for both. Especially with that new Facebook instant messaging thing? Its like MSN rolled in as well. An amazing way to waste a day of work.

VP: What’was your last musical purchase ?

HC: Will bought Timbaland – Shock Value and Hannah bought the new Hot Chip album.

VP: Facial hair , should it be legalised ?

HC: We would say it should be legalised. However, only on men and only above the point where the face meets the neck. Not below. I won’t get drawn into any debate about any other kind of beard. A beard without a moustache is wrong. A moustache on its own is acceptable in some circles. Mostly cowboys. Sucking a moustache is morally reprehensible. If seen, this activity can be scarring for women and children.

VP: What are the five most pointless things in the world ?

Will: 1) QVC, 2) Most of the products on QVC, 3) Toenail growth 4) Whingeing 5) Earwigs, bloody earwigs. Smelly little buggers and they can give you a right nasty nip.

Hannah’s Online Poker Fake plants and flowers Ugly architecture Awkward small talk Tattoos, such as chinese symbols, that the owner doesn’t understand

Links On Myspace

BUY THE SINGLE OUT NOW ON Hella Cholla - You're the Kind of Guy - Single

Videos

“Apostrophe ” By Hella Cholla

Wallpaper

THE VPME REVIEW MARCH/APRIL 08

Righty Oh, its review time, and again, we have tempted some fine musicians into the murky world of The VPME. The glitterati of popular music agreed to take time out from partying hard with celeb types like Jane McDonald and Colleen Nolan and meet up at Von Pip Towers. Sadly we were out at Tescos at the time… so you`ll have to make do with this lot.

The Panel

ANASTACIA– Keyboard player with VPME chums, Screaming Ballerinas . She is officially our favourite keyboard player called Anastacia, and living proof that not all musicians who play a keyboard have to look as unattractive as that bewigged gnome man, Elton John.

ALASTAIR DOUGALL– A fine musician from the Brighton acoustic/singer songwriter scene. A man with impeccable taste (aside from supporting Spurs.) He knows a thing or two about music, in fact his two young ‘uns have been heavily involved in the music scene . Daughter Rose was a Pipette and is now embarking on a solo career, which is very exciting and son Tom is a guitarist with Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong. (Their new single Where Do You Go ” is brilliant, now we get them!!! ) The Dougall musical dynasty is one to watch out for, imagine the Partridge family if you will, devoid of flares, feather cuts and annoying smart alec American back chat but with a great passion for Sandy Denny– That’s Clan Dougall for you.

DOGWOODCantankerous presenter of Cheambeat Communications Radio’s late night show on Music Hall Memoires. When he’s not reprimanding young “hoodies” as they pelt him with raw vegetables and empty cans of Red Bull, he can be found studying the fine arts. He has developed a penchant for producing nude pictures of American ladies named after shoe polish. (All photos welcome)

MATT GEARY – Yet another Brighton musician, his band The Lieutenants Mistress play tuneful guitar driven indie, with a nod to Brit Pop, when it was good. Such is Matt’s wisdom that what he doesn’t know about life, can be disregarded as unimportant and possibly frivolous.

BLUE PETER- No,not Olympic torch brawler Konnie Huq’s former show, but Blue Peter ,from the excellent And What Will Be Left Of Them. He also runs The Little Hell Fire Club record label. He can often be found hanging out in China White or Spearmint Rhino, throwing peanuts at Joe Public, with his new best mates Richard Madley and Jeremy Paxman, an unlikely trio I’ll grant you.

RICH AND NICOLA -2/3rds of Sheffield’s finest band Slow Down Tallahasse. Nicola didn’t manage to review all the songs as she says she had some housework to finish (*Von Pip ducks for cover*). Their debut album “The Beautiful Light” is out on the 26th May 2008, and you can download their next single also called “The Beautiful Light” for FREE from Thee SPC on on 12th May. And it’s not often you get ‘owt free from Yorkshire folk 😉

VON PIPSoft strong and very long, a bit like Andrex, but less useful.

On with the tunes

The Long Blondes “Century”

NICOLA: “I LOVE the Long Blondes. I love their myth making and their sense of musical heritage. It’s very zeitgeisty is “Century”. If I died in a nuclear explosion I’d almost definitely like this to be the soundtrack.

ANASTACIA : Never fail to write really sexy, edgy music. ‘Century’s’ no exception.

ALASTAIR: Begins with an ethereal folksy feel that develops into a Human Leaguey synthipop sound. At times the song has the quirky charm of an early 80s Rough Trade track, at other times the band seem to want to go for something more serious and doomy. This is an ambitious effort with a number of different sections, which keeps up interest without quite delivering at any point. If it was a football match it would be an intriguing 0-0, with a few chances missed and a decent penalty claim for the home side turned down in the last minute…. Lyrically, it’s a bit hard to figure out what’s it’s all about — presumably something vaguely serious and zeitgeisty! Sounds like a decent album track rather than a single.

MATT: I really like the Long Blondes; they’ve got some great tunes and make punky art-rock sound as sexy and dangerous as it should be. I’ve heard a couple of the other tracks on “Couples” and they’re really good. I think that’s why I was so disappointed to hear that “Century was the first single. Its got a decent enough electro riff but it all gets a bit repetitive before going to a section that sounds like Pacman taking a power pill to a backing track of stabbing guitars and vocals that don’t really go anywhere. The production is good though – and it may just be me – but I must confess that this time I’m just not sold. On the plus side, it is free to download if you sign up to their mailing list.

VP: Phew! Right then, maybe I have a mental block with anything in the world of entertainment that have the initials LB. Little Britain, Lionel Blair, Lucille Ball ,Lloyd Bridges, Lorraine Bracco, Long Blondes, (well ok, not Lorraine Bracco, I like her 😉 ) I ‘ve never quite understood the reverence in which the Long Blondes music is held. ( Uncle VP’s Pop Fact No 89: Michael Stipe wrote “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” after dreaming he was at a party populated by people whose initials were L.B.-True!) People react with slack jawed incredulity, “WHAT! You don’t find Little Britain funny” (Nope, I find it juvenile and unfunny) You don’t adore The Long Blondes? Are you insane! (possibly) I don’t hate them, I’ve just never been 100% convinced that they were all that or they were the band for me. I really liked “Giddy Stratospheres” but after that I’m struggling to find another song that twists my melon. I found their debut album a huge let down really. To many, the Long Blondes music is sacrosanct and to criticise it verges on heresy. Problem I’ve had with The Long Blondes is I’ve always found a coldness within their sound, a hip haughtiness that’s just never really engaged me. Couple that with rather arsey lyrics, and it’s not a match made in heaven. I mean I always thought they were alright, but that was about it, I have them filed away in my head just next to the Foo Fighters, solid, and professional, a bit like Ronseal, does exactly what it says on the tin, but they didn’t make my heart skip a beat. They have everything I should love about a band yet haven’t quite clicked, maybe I just don’t “get” them yet?

Saying all that I almost started to like this, well, up to a point and then I listened to the lyrics, and it seemed to me that whilst Edward Lear or Doctor Seuss might understand the lyrics I was fighting a losing battle to make sense out of them -“Nothing is scared…from the can-can dance to the golden age” (eh?) “Everything I touch, lightning trails of human lust” What!!! Like, if she touched a teapot? Or a lamppost? Russell T Davies and his celebrity chums would have a high old time down at the BBC Special Effects Workshop with story lines like that. After Kylie’s inert performance in the Doctor Who Xmas show he could always bring her back to play the lustful lamppost. I don’t understand what Kate’s prattling on about, other than she appears to be trying to conjure up some sort of futuristic bleakness, possibly some sort of post Armageddon scenario? Quite how the can-can dance fits into the scheme of things is beyond me. That wouldn’t really be on my list of priorities if the bomb had just dropped, clean Y-fronts yes, but not French ladies erotic bloomers.

It sounds like a slight departure from their normal sound, like somebody’s bought them a couple of Human League/ Cabaret Voltaire albums . Oh and Hooky’s been hanging around the studio, pestering people for session work with somebody, anybody, such is the fear that his musical legacy will be whispered in the same breath as Rick and Bruces. So when people insisted that “Century” is nowhere near the best track on the album I approached “Couples” with much hope and enthusiasm, really wanting and expecting to like it . .But it came across   about as subversive as Phil Collins polishing his innumerable Brit Awards, eating a malted milk biscuit whilst gently chuckling along to an episode of “My Family.“…on a Sunday….after choir practice…with his dressing gown on… It’s about as sexy as Dawn French lolling about gorging on pastries in a crumb covered velour tracksuit watching “Loose Women” with subtitles, which is a shame as the band are sexy in an aloof kinda way…at times it sounds like Joan Jett attempting to impersonate Siouxsie Sioux, whilst a  Fall tribute band clatter about in the background. Maybe I should catch them live as that’s where people say they really prove the doubters wrong.  The singles Ok, the albums disappointing, I still really want to like The Long Blondes, but  I prefer The Millipedes and The Bon-Bon Club . 6/10

PETER: – On paper I should love this new single but in reality it just leaves me feel a bit cold. Maybe that’s the point… It certainly is ice-cool. I feel bad to say it but it doesn’t really draw me in… I really love this band too. Perhaps a few more listens…

DOGWOOD: I bunged this on and thought that the damn link was flaky as I was positive that I had been sent to an unknown Lush track from c.1991. Now I am great admirer of Ms Berenyi and co but when I discovered that this was not them and actually WAS the Long Blondes I felt slightly cheated. This sort of thing passes for advent-garde in Burnley and somewhere there, there is a 44-year-old new romantic doing a Midge Ure dance to all this, dressed in bacofoil and a tricorne hat. Once you get over the initial shock that it isn’t Lush, the track meanders off in no particular direction unless you consider ‘constant drone’ an acceptable destination. I suspect the Long Blondes are not actually blonde at all but are actually brunette art students having a good laugh at life. Nowt wrong with that, just don’t confuse us with the Lush soundalikes please. Some of us have treasured memories thank you very much. Dogwood misled and slightly affronted at being so.

RICH: I really like this band. This song is really cool. It kind of reminds me of Gary Numan for some reason. Her voice is one of the best in pop at the moment. 10/10.

Caesers- Boo Hoo Goo Goo

PETER :– I reckon our bass player Joe would love this. He’s a sucker for bubble-gum pop. And so am I actually. All in all a big thumbs up for the Caesars then. Even if it does make me feel a bit dirty to say it.

NICOLA: Hmm. Powerpop indeed. People who like the soundtrack to ‘Friends’ would really like this, I think.

DOGWOOD: If there’s one thing that’s likely to get my goat it’s a bunch of Scandinavians calling themselves something neo-classical. Caesar was a mighty historical figure but I doubt whether he would have played this on the equivalent of an i-walkpod back in Ancient Rome. In fact, it would have probably enraged him to the point of wanting to extend the empires borders to those lands in the north where irritating trite like this descends from and crush all life-forms. This doesn’t want to make me crush all life-forms but it leaves me nonplussed and longing to turn over to the Jordan and Peter half hour. That’s the trouble with gadabout pop stars; they think they can get away with anything in the holy trinity of ‘art’, ‘creativity’ and ‘drug fuelled mayhem’. Well let me tell you lads, there’s another holy trinity – Dogwood’s holy trinity – ‘tutting disapprovingly is good’, ‘common sense’ and ‘never trust anyone who doesn’t boil their greens for less than the regulation 27 minutes’ will get you far further in life. Oh, and if there’s another thing that’s going to get my goat even further it’s adults using baby words like ‘Boo’ and ‘Goo’ in the same sentence and this lot manage it twice. Dogwood annoyed and now starting to contemplate crushing all life-forms.

VP: Well When you lumber a song with a title that you’d half expect to be in somebody like Christopher Lillicrap’s repertoire'(best name ever for a kids TV presenter) you better make sure it’s a bloody good song. Thankfully what Caesars lack in the sane song title department they more than make up for in the song itself, which is GREAT! It’s got a driving beat, fuzzy guitar work and some undulating jabby/stabby keyboard action going on which combine to produce a rather pleasing pop song. The Album “Strawberry Weed” is pretty darn good too, it won’t change the world but it’s a double CD full of pop hooks, surprises, and quirky psychedelic fun, a bunch of songs which are so eclectic that if you find it boring and don’t tap your toes your either have no pulse or are Sir Douglas Bader or Fred Titmus (who both are lacking in pulse and indeed toes,hmmm I didnt think that one through!)(8.5/10)

ALASTAIR: ‘Hi everybody, we’re the Caesars, and this is our new single it’s called, um, Boo Boo Goo Goo!’ Well, let’s just hope the crowd’s in a friendly mood! Babytalk title aside, this is a fun if totally unmemorable slice of 60s garagey pop, with a hook [‘There you go again….’] that owes a pint to ‘What Goes On’ by the Velvet Underground. Nice bit of fuzzy guitar at the end.

ANASTACIA: Middle of the road feel good music that didn’t leave me feeling that great

RICH: It sounds like one of those upbeat Indie rock songs that accompany montages on “Even Stevens” or “Sabrina The Teenage Witch.” Which probably describes some of our songs as well, so this is not a criticism. Honest.

MATT: Any band that start a song with a sample of a Texas “Speak and Spell” have already won me over! I’d completely forgotten that Caesars were synth bashers who wrote “Jerk It Out” but only until the vocal started! Decent tune, that isn’t a million miles away from that track but more vitriolic. I’m not quite sure who they’re angry at but I’m guessing its negative reviews. Fortunately, I’m not going to join that club – it’s a fun track with a retro sound and a stupid title, and I like it!

The Feeling “Without You”

ALASTAIR: I was determined to like this, and after a minute or so, I was doing well, but then the vocal line started to go somewhere unwelcome and I felt obliged to slap it’s hand away sharpish.

VP: “Big massive fat sweaty horses bollocks” I‘m afraid, more often than not that’s what I involuntarily shout whence The Feeling are played via the medium of radio. This of course can be a little embarrassing if I’m at the deli counter in Tescos “Would sir like some olives with those?” “The Feeling?” Is their name somehow ironic? Their songs seem devoid of any feeling at all. Sometimes when you only get a snippet on myspace of a song I think “tight b*astards”, in this case it’s a blessing, almost an act of mercy “la la blah blah la la blah lal alala, (ad lib to infinity) “What’s The Time In London?” I don’t know lads and frankly I don’t care , what I do know is I’d rather listen to the Speaking Clock than you lot. In fact Stephen Hawking reading Kerry Katona’s latest can of tripe is a more emotionally charged journey than listening to this chaps weedy, puling little voice. Zzzzz. This is the sound of a 10cc tribute band that got lucky; it can’t last forever, can it? I mean come on, who buys their records? Physics students? Social Workers? The deaf? But despite what I said at the beginning, the truth is they don’t really induce feelings of anger or dislike within me, just apathy and indifference which is somehow worse…2/10

ANASTACIA: ‘I Thought It Was Over’ was a secret guilty pleasure of mine- harmless, fun pop song. The Feeling really shouldn’t try and write ballad like songs, ‘Without You’ demonstrates why. Useless lyrics as well.

DOGWOOD: The Feeling? Sadly listening to this I am devoid of any unless it’s that feeling of nausea and rage that being exposed to this trite self-satisfied tripe provokes in me. Where do these pop stars get their ideas these days? Christmas Crackers? The competition rules off a box of cornflakes? Actually I’d go for the instructions from an Airfix Kit – gluing bits of plastic together and then painting them makes infinitely more sense than this. I cannot express the utter fury that I am feeling right now – it’s as if Crowded House, Trevor Horn, The Hoosiers and Adele have walked in the room and asked me where the nearest wine bar was because they want to par-tay and look ‘zany’ in their Buggles specs and leather ties. Dogwood does not do guilty pleasure pop, pompadours nor wine bars and definitely not The Feeling. The Feeling just make me want to berate someone – anyone – at loud volume.

MATT: A lot of people these days are very critical of bands like The Feeling. They seem to resent the fact that a group of chaps who play chirpy pop music can find a home betwixt Cliff Richard and Leona Lewis on the Radio 2 play lists and also be mentioned in the same breath as what some people would call “serious” bands…. and so they bloody well should!!! The Feeling are exactly what I imagine an ‘Indie’ band fronted by John Barrowman would be like. Everything looks right, there is obviously a degree of capability but the camembert-laden output undoes every first impression and inspires loathing in those who placed blind faith in a promising proposition. I half expect Mr Gillespie-Sells to pop up as a guest judge on the next presently endless stream of fame auction programmes! However, I’m not here to speak ill of the band- they do what they do and I’m sure that they are probably really lovely people. Instead I’m here to comment on the track. This is fortunate, as it allows me the opportunity to excrete further fervent bile in their direction, safe in the knowledge that any borderline-harsh comments will be met with agreement at the first listen! The Feeling released their “difficult” second album earlier this year and it appears that, to celebrate the success of the first, their record label bought them a rhyming dictionary. The track hinges around a question of ‘What the time is in London?’ before cleverly turning it into a question about ‘what the time is in London – without you’. Who’d have thought it? A song that begins on a theme of missing someWHERE can be changed into a song about missing someONE just by adding two words!!! They obviously find this incredibly clever too as the theme is repeated in every verse before changing to comment on how bad the weather is in North Virginia – just like London!!! Pap from start to finish and I can only take solace from the fact that it has yet to hit the radio and is thus, at present, avoidable.

PETER: No thank you.

RICH: There is so much Feeling in this track! It is a gift of love to mankind. Thank you The Feeling. I am crying as I write these words.

The Last Shadow Puppets- The Age Of The Understatement

ANASTACIA: Great track. Brilliant production, which sounds almost Muse like. It’s a massive sound, can’t wait to hear what else they’ve written.

DOGWOOD: This took me back to an age of monochrome TV sets when I were a lad. Ours had a cabinet that took up a third of the room with a 6″ screen. Sitting there in my grey shorts, grey shirt and sleeveless jumper eating crumpets anticipating the opening credits to ‘Champion The Wonder Horse’, this is where this tune takes me. I actually love this enough to make it my tune of the day and I am fairly galloping in my seat as I listen to it. There hasn’t been a decent take on a wild west theme since Kirk Brandon sang ‘Do You Believe In The Westworld?’ and do you know what? I did. I’d like to put this into the inbox of Caesars with a post-it that reads: “Do yourself a favour, do a cover of ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’ instead of that gaga-googoo nonsense, it’s all the rage in the more enlightened Cowboy tribute clubs in the Greater Manchester area”. We’ll all be cowboys this time next month and thank Christ for that – I’m fed up with this current trend of trying to save the rain forest and all that. Let’s have more songs like this and less by the likes of Sting, Arnie Lennox and Bonio thank you very much -self-righteous cretins that they are. Dogwood on his high horse and enjoying the view.

PETER: I am pleased to report that this link didn’t work. Next?

VP: F**CKING BRILLIANT ! A Sheffield /Wirral collaboration and by the eck this is grand, like! Some sort of mad 1960s/ Walker Brothers do a spaghetti western fusion type scenario! I best not call Alex Turner a genius because he’s already stated “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” in no uncertain terms. He may look like the Artful Dodger but he’s certainly a talented young chap who loves his music, pudding bowl haircuts and the works of George Formby. With The Last Shadow Puppets he has forged an intriguing partnership with Miles Kane of  Wirral based wanna-bes The Rascals. The album is bloody fantastic  all James Bond meets Jason King, it really does make me want to wear a polar neck and lemon hued flares whilst playfully smacking bikini clad ladies bottoms as I order a Campari and soda at the pool side bar (is that wrong?) 9.5/10

NICOLA: Is he singing about ‘sweaty little tragedies’? This is ok… it’s just playlist fodder really, isn’t it?

MATT: If you’re going to have a side project then do it properly. Alex Turner has written a fantastic first album, a passable, progressive second and is going out with Alexa Chung. I really should hate him, I don’t really think that I can, and whist it would be easy hate this I’m not really sure that I can do that either. It’s collaboration but the headlines were never going to come from Miles Kane’s input – which is sad, as I think that he probably played a large part in it all. I like the vocals and, although the guitar work owes a debt to Bonanza, the grandness of the production puts the track into a slightly different place than either parent band. Any project Alex Turner was involved in was always going to draw comparisons but if this track boosts the profile of The Rascals and gives Mr. Turner another creative outpouring then that’s good enough for me. In my opinion it’s a track, which is just interesting and just different enough to stand on its own just. For that at least, they deserve to be applauded.

RICH: We live in Sheffield so it would be unwise to say anything negative about this track. If I said it was dull the BBC would come round to our house and tune us in. If I said it was pointless the OCS would poo through our letterbox. Prostitutes would stop giving me free ones. This is a wonderful, wonderful song.

ALASTAIR: Not a great title — I wouldn’t fancy asking for this in a record store — thank goodness for downloading, eh? This isn’t like the Arctic Monkeys at all, unfortunately, despite Alex Turner being involved in it. I think this is supposed to be a comment on the ‘Cold War’ between the sexes–the vid has the boys posing by some Russian tanks, and the backup vocals have a kind of Volga boatmen vibe. It’s all a bit pompous, and dreary, like ‘Ra Ra Rasputin‘ without the laughs.

Nick Cave – Dig Lazarus Dig

MATT: At first listen, I really didn’t get it. I didn’t really get “Grinderman” either but grew to love it. And now inevitably I’m really starting to like this. I think it’s fair to say that this is the most commercial Nick Cave track that I’ve heard and I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing either. He still has the inflections of a southern preacher, he still has the morbid themes but this time there are jovial backing vocals and it feels as though Mr Cave is actually having fun. Strangely I kept thinking that the whole thing reminded me of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

DOGWOOD: One of the least favoured chores of life is to go down the local scrap metal dealers to try and barter for a replacement rear passenger side fin for my Ford Anglia. As I enter the arena of stacked metal, vicious chained dogs and vest wearing real life Ross Kemp types, I feel a distinct unease. When I heard this song it was as if said be-vested Ross Kemp types had formed a band and were taunting me even further as they battered and clashed their way around the scrap yard hitting random bits of wrecked car and hallooring like mad South London savages. This Cave fellow looks as if he’s just stepped out of Tombstone and wants to set about my kneecaps with a medieval mace and then blow dry my hair with an oxy-acetylene blowtorch. I didn’t stick around to find out whether that would be the case or not. Dogwood distinctly ruffled and uneasy.

VP: I don’t approve of big thick ‘taches, a pencil thin one is fine and gives you a caddish rakish quality; apparently it tickles in a pleasing manner too. A big thick one however, can attract the wrong sort of admiration and lead to associations with San Francisco and Freddie Mercury, as well as making it impossible for you to wear a white vest or a leather jacket. Live and let live I just don’t like breaking hearts, having to tell traffic cops, red Injun’s and construction workers that I don’t butter my crumpets that way, it makes me feel like a rotter! I would also submit that another draw back of the “huge ‘tache conundrum” is the social embarrassment derived from suddenly finding a king prawn the size of a young dolphin hidden in your mammoth walrus whiskers from the previous nights curry. Now a pencil thin ‘tache will of course, attract tremulous excitement ,coquettish, admiring glances and “come hither” eyes from lasses young and old, that’s a given, but sadly having a jungle on your top lip will only ensure that females will always harbour an uneasy suspicion that if you didn’t play for Liverpool FC in the 1980’s then you must, at the very least have appeared in pornography,(possibly both) but I suppose there’s room in the world for all manner of facial hair, unless of course you happen to be opinionated Scottish windbag Muriel Gray that is. Dour, putty faced Gray is a true disciple of “tache fascism ” she thinks men with facial hair and ‘taches should just write “dickhead” on their forehead, but the day I take fashion tips off somebody who looks like the mutant banjo player in “Deliverance” is the day I give up on life.

Mr.Caves ‘tache is so thick it’s probably home to all manner of interesting wildlife and possibly has it’s own Eco system, there were reports that at a recent gig,mid song ,a nesting heron suddenly flew from the realms of Caves substantial “lip shrubbery” giving him quite a start! But we’ll forgive him, if he keeps delivering such grandiosely entertaining theatrics as this. It reminded me of a grumpy Talking Heads on first play. I saw Mr Cave years ago when I was a just an egg, a couple of years after “Tender Pray” and “The Mercy Seat” (I’d actually been conned as I thought I was going to see Ultra Vivid Scene who did a fantastic track also called “The Mercy Seat” It wasn’t a good experience, this was more than likely due to my fellow gig goer, an unprincipled young strumpet, who, not satisfied with fibbing to get me to attend the gig ,then proceeded to get steadily drunker, which rapidly progressed to becoming scarily over amorous and then, for the finale managed to do a hot sicky cider infused burp into my mouth -Yuck! Marriage was never really on the cards after that episode. If this was her idea of impressing me on a first date I dreaded to think what she’d get up to by the third or forth. (sh*t in my shoes perhaps ? ) But I’ll not name her, she knows who she is, don’t you Emma 😉 It did, I admit put me off the Dark Lord for some time, bad associations you see, and every time I heard “Deanna” it was as if I could almost taste that hot, acidic, sickly regurgitation again. However time is a great healer and now I’ve moved back to dark side, the album is incredible, and this is nowhere near the best track. Anybody who can produce an album containing lyrics such as “Here comes Alina with two black eyes, she’s given herself a transfusion/ She’s filled herself with panda blood to avoid all the confusion” is a ruddy genius in my book 7.5/10

ALASTAIR: Sardonic tale of ‘Larry’ Lazarus brought back from the dead, becoming an unwilling star before sliding into drug hell and returning whence he came. No doubt with some relief! Actually this is a great hunky bit of driving blues-rock with Cave shouting and snarling out the words with gay abandon! The Bad Seeds chant ‘Dig Lazarus Dig’ like the Village People people a-workin’ on the chain gang! Mucho macho!
I wonder if that was the intention.

ANASTACIA: Pretty repetitive song, if you could call it a song- more like talking over a not very exciting synth part.

PETER: That. Was. F**king. BRILLIANT. I wish I’d written that. I suspect I will have to make do with my usual trick of ripping it off.

RICH: I love Nick Cave. Boatman’s Call is one of my favourite albums of all time. This is very wordy even by his standards. Long ago, when I was a homeless boy selling the Big Issue on the cruel streets of Brighton, Nick spotted me and pulled a (crisp, spunk-stained)£50 note from his jogging shorts (satin – pink)and told me to get a fucking job. Apparently, he does it all the time now; but I like to think I was the first.

We Are Scientists – After Hours

VP: A real grower, wasn’t sure at first, but, after repeated listens it burrows into your head and refuses to leave, even when asked politely by the mutton chopped ruddy faced landlord. I love the insistent guitar that illuminates the background, it puts me in mind of a velvety sky filled with amphetamine fueled fire flies spaz dancing on a balmy night in July,.. erm..or something. This sounds like a traditional W.A.S track , as do most tracks on the album, but there two real surprises. “Lethal Enforcer” could be Fiction Factory’s follow up to “Feels Like Heaven”. Whilst their touching tribute to the abacus “That’s What Counts” would not seem out of place on Prefabs Sprout’s classic “Steve McQueen” album. This tracks a 7/10

ANASTACIA: Always been a fan of them, but found this track a bit boring. The track felt like it wanted to go into a big chorus but never does.

RICH: They are very popular and get lots of radio play. So, apart from their songs, I wish we were them. Scientists, that is.

DOGWOOD: With a name like that I’d thought this lot would be a load of knob twiddling boffins getting all excited about Dr Who incidental music from the 1970’s. Instead, whilst they have glasses – the prerequisite of any scientist – they sound like they want to leave the lab behind and gatecrash the Sports Jock’s party and grab some of the cheerleader action. Unfortunately for them it’s a thin disguise and any self-respecting Jock would not let this bunch of geeks anywhere near the hooch or Bethany the Prom Queen with this weedy nonsense. It’s all a bit like wearing a corduroy suit this song, inoffensive until you actually leave the house and start mixing with other human beings. This song happens and that’s as descriptive or excited I can get on this one. Dogwood has forgotten the tune already.

PETER: – I always hate W.A.S stuff when I first hear it and then a couple of months later I know every word and proclaim them to be ace songs. So I’ll stick to my guns and say I hated it. But I suspect I’ll love it in the end.

ALASTAIR: You can dance to this, which is something. And it’s got a nice bit of tune. And it’s got ‘chiming’ guitars. It’s breezy, undeniably pleasant and well groomed. It curls up in you lap and wants to be stroked. Do you want to stroke it? That’s up to you!
Actually I’d really like to hear this sung ‘pub style’ by Vic Reeves!

MATT: We’ve all been there, kicking out time and desperate for a final pint. I for one was in the same situation after playing a gig in London and the only place that seemed able to serve our thirst was a bar in Soho called Trannyshack. Now, usually I have no problem flouting a dress code but this time our attire was SO far away from what was expected that we decided to press on. That may not be the underlying message of the song but that’s what it reminds me of and that’s what matters to me (at least). I don’t have any particular feelings about this song but I’ve jumped around enthusiastically in the dark at grotty clubs and woken up in a snakebite stained shirt to this track for a few months now and so, although I don’t think it’s dramatically different or creative, I guess it can’t be a too bad

The Video

Mystery Jets and Laura Marling – “Young Love”

DOGWOOD: Back in the 1980’s child psychologists surmised that combining bright colours, shapes and light, lilting reggae was the perfect way to stimulate the minds of pre-schoolers and thus ‘Playbus’ and ‘Pigeon Street’ were born. My first impression was this lot were working from the same theoretical text and the whole construct of this video was designed to stimulate the minds of simpletons. After all, who would want to watch a bunch of gadabout popstars being pushed around on a load of whitewashed car jacks to provide some illusion of standing up whilst being horizontal other than a bunch of remedial kidults? However, repeated viewing has softened my opinion and I have experienced the kind of Xanadu that five year olds discover when watching the antics of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La la and Po. There is a strange comfort to the gentle bobbing up and down and I find it mildly therapeutic. Of course, my interest did soar on the arrival of Laura Marling – like a blond Dirvla Kirwen but with the voice of a very pleasant young female. My initial disdain dispersed I give this a cautious nod of approval. Mysterious Jets you may be but you’d make a fortune on Ceebee Ceebees

ALASTAIR: ‘Getting its act on!’The real Tabasco!’ These and suchlike comments of approval rang out all around as this Beatley tune twinkled round the room. On a serious note [!] of all the songs above, this is the only one with an engaging lyric –‘You wrote my number on the back of your hand/And it came off in the rain’...Rather sweet. The Nick Cave track had great words, not lyrics]. Laura Marling turns up halfway in, which is no bad thing. This track is ‘getting it’s act on….it’s of the moment…in short, it’s a hit!

VP: Yes,Yes, Yes! I like this a lot , even if it does sound a bit like Gilbert O’Sullivan and Kiki Dee on “E”, (which to be honest I would have paid to see) Has a bit of 60’s vibe going, it’s a great pop song even if the story is a bit daft. All that fuss over a one night stand, Pfft. Get over it soft lad (and girl). Mind, I don’t believe him! He’s trying to assuage his guilt by pretending to be “sensitive” Here’s some advice me laddo, she’s far too good for you, if need be, clear the custard in private next time with Madame Palm and her five lovely sisters. Don’t involve a nice young lass in your beastly rutting; she’s obviously fallen for your caddish lies, shame on you! To the lass, look, you’re obviously far to good for him, find a nice chap, one whose a bit steady, with prospects in say, accounts or banking, not a fly by night musician who probably, to be blunt, has inflamed, grotesquely swollen testicles and a todger that’s more than likely acting as an impromptu venue for the latest Chlamydia Trachomatis gig. I digress, the videos really does work well, I assume they were going for a quirky fun promo, mission accomplished, as within seconds I was grinning like a man who’d clambered into bed with Thora Hird and woke up next to Natassija Kinski. They say simple ideas are definitely the best and I should know. Now this Laura Marling? She’s another one of these prodigies isn’t she? I decided to listen to her album “Alas I Cannot Swim” Good lord, she’s a true talent and no mistake, it’s a stunning album!
I’m also glad the video cleared up one of life’s great mysteries… “what Edward Scissorhands did next? “It transpires he procured some real hands, from a back street “hand maker”, learnt to play the guitar and joined The Mystery Jets. Bravo Edward. 9/10

PETER: – The video was so, so well done and amusing but I must say I was actually just distracted by the song. It was brilliant. Not what I expected from them at all. I’m still humming it now. It’s between Nick Cave and Mystery Jets now as to which is my favourite…

MATT: I must confess to being a bit of a soft touch for a decent music video. In the past, a certain band, have earned themselves more plays on the music box through their ability to do some clever things on treadmills than anything specific on the album. It’s the same for the Mystery Jets (who I’d previously ignored as a haircut too many) and Laura Marling both of whom I am looking forward to hearing more of! I wasn’t blown away by the tune but found myself bobbing along to it on Friday (which was also the first time that I had heard it separated from the video). The feet don’t lie so take it as two thumbs from me!

ANASTACIA: Brilliant pop song, how could you not like it? The video oozes charm. Love it.

RICH: Long ago when I was the bass player in The Feeling I wrote a song just like this. But they rejected it. Soon after, I became homeless. Reviewing these songs has been an emotional roller coaster.

VP; Blimey this is a close one , I reckon Mystery Jets and Laura Marling just Von Pip it ! Thanks to the panel of reviewers, and hey ! Let’s be careful out there !

“Riding High” The “Vote Show Pony” Interview

“Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down” By Vote Show Pony

“Dirty Words” By Vote Showpony

There are many strange and mythical stories with regard to how, talented artistic folk begin their arduous journey in search of rock n roll Nirvana, or Pop Utopia. Many regale us with tales of chance meetings, the guiding hand of fate, Boo Radley type moments of clarity, an inner calling, or making a Faustian pact with Simon Cowell ( which as you know is something that really gets my Goethe ) and so on and so forth. Vote Showpony’s manifestation is indeed a little odd, the story unfolds as follows; a nice, polite young lady called Sorcha and her chums decided to hire a tour bus in order to attend a music festival. Nothing odd about that, you can have a drink, not worry about driving and you don’t have to spend the night sleeping in a muddy farmer’s field surrounded by people, who for the festival duration at least, have abandoned personal hygiene and social etiquette and snore like warthogs. Nor will you suffer the foul hellishness that is the dreaded festival toilet experience. Where things get a little odd is when the chums in question ask “We have a tour bus, therefore should we not have our own band name?” “Yes indeedy” replies Sorcha “We shall be called Show Pony and we shall neigh like wild horses when we say it” and so it came to pass and during the festival Sorcha and her pals would tell anybody who would listen, and many who wouldn’t, using the medium of fake Dutch accents, that they were members of a band called “Showpony”. …Alas after the festival Sorcha deemed her friends unworthy (more on this later) to be blessed with such a wondrous name and decreed that she must take on the mantle and became “Vote Showpony”.

With Vogue cover star/Audrey Hepburn looks and Kate Bush meets The Scissor Sisters theatrics, Vote Showpony has all the right elements in place to be huge. Her brand of glitzy, sexy, electro pop glam is something that has had the inhabitants of VP Towers tapping their toes with glee and songs such as “Dirty Words” had many needing an ice cold shower. A visit to Youtube to view Vote Showpony performing had grown men openly weeping with joy, and the news desk at the VPME suddenly resembled Sodom and Gomorrah as people danced, pranced and frolicked with carefree abandon to the Pony‘s flirtatious brand of pop…..Be warned this is the effect VSP can have on you unless you keep a very tight “reign” on yourself, it can change the way you see the world …. For my part, now when I listen to Father Ted Crilley joyfully singing about his lovely horse, it takes on a new poignancy, and I find myself wistfully sharing his sentiments

My lovely horse running through the field,
Where are you going with your fetlocks blowing in the wind?
I want to shower you with sugar lumps….”
And I really do …..Ahem…

Vote Showpony has the style the talent and the looks to be quite rightly regarded as one of the hottest new acts in the country and it’s about time these daft A&R folk woke up to fresh exciting talent instead of playing it safe and signing dreary Indie by numbers bands or soulless, utilitarian, manufactured corporate pop. So with the bit between his teeth (un)stable boy Von Pip, fairly galloped off to meet up with Miss Vote Showpony to ask her about her peerless, perceptive, perky, pristine, perfect pony pop and “saddled” her with a “crop” of his usual brand of shrewd and insightful questions (delivered with the utmost modesty obviously)

VP: Who are Vote show Pony? Is it true you formed on a bus on the way to a festival?

VSP: I morphed into Vote Show Pony after a long weekend at a festival, but I also have an incredibly talented & very hot band made up of Blue May, Ray Djan , Jon Shone & Jodi Milliner. I co-write all my material with a couple of writers including my MD Blue but most of it has been co-written & produced by the very talented Death Metal Disco Scene. I love writing with him, as he is just as eccentric as I am. We met over a penchant for being called ridiculous names! Now back to the festival question. The first ever Bestival was where the first pony seed was planted. A bunch of my friends & I went to it & managed to score ourselves some cheap tickets so we had to pretend to be a band. I decided we should be a Dutch band called the “Show Ponies” & we would go around telling people that we were the “Show ponies & we like to rock”. We fell apart after various members of the band let our mascot St John (a helium balloon in the shape of a pony…. freaking genius!) fly off into the night. It was the last straw for me! They did not deserve the name Show Ponies after such sacrilege of our mascot. The ‘Vote” part of my name came about because I have a slight obsession with rosettes and the words “Vote Show Pony” look special when they are on a rosette. Rosettes are big in the equestrian world see!

VP: How would you describe your sound?

VSP: Ohhh gosh I always find this question tricky, only because I have so many influences I love. Maybe the result of a love triangle involving Blondie, LCD Soundsystem & Roxy Music. But above all else VSP sounds like fun!!

VP: What sort of music would you normally listen to when not being a Show Pony?

VSP: I’m an out of the closet pop fan, I love stuff that makes me smile, anything from LCD Soundsystem to Girls Aloud. Right now I can’t stop listening to the MGMT album, I almost cried the first time I heard “Electric feel” because I didn’t write it. I mean seriously, the lyrics “shock me like an electric eel”. AMAZINGGGGGG!!!

VP Dirty Words is a bit saucy, has this led to any odd myspace messages

VSP: It is a bit saucy isn’t it, hehe! Thankfully no I haven’t had any odd myspace messages. Maybe now that you have pointed it out I will. I shall keep you updated on that one!

VP: The Photos on myspace are very glam, and portray you in a few different guises, is your image something you’ve thought about a lot or do you just enjoy dressing up?

VSP: Well it’s a bit of both. I love dressing up because I think dressing up is an extension of someone’s personality & I use dressing up as a bit of a mask, I feel much more confidant when I’m dressed up all glam. Also if you name yourself “Vote Show Pony” you can’t really just turn up in jeans and a t-shirt can you? The Scissor Sisters & Gwen Stefani always look so striking & visually stimulating. I love a bit of visual stimulation!!

VP: What have you got planned for 2008?

VSP: I have a single coming out on an independent label in a couple of months. I am very excited about this as the song is one of my favourites, it’s called “Love Hearts” & it’s all about being so in love that you feel like your seeing love hearts! It’s a bit psychedelic really! I am also releasing a limited edition 7″ of my track called Strut. Apart from that I’m going to keep writing & performing & just being happy. I also may go blonde. Controversial I know.

VP: If Simon Cowell was sitting here, now, on that couch, just over there, by that huge “Peace Lily” ( which looks a little limp) “what would you say to him?

VSP: I would ask how his brother is. We went on a date many years ago.

VP: What makes you deliriously happy and what makes you sad?

VSP: Skipping very high & very fast holding someone’s hand I love makes me deliriously happy & seeing people be cruel to each other makes me sad

VP: Have you ever said “If there’s one thing I’d never do it’s….” and then ended up doing it

VSP: Oh dear, no not really. I think you should try everything at least once.

VP: Now we both like puns, so…. What’s the best Pony Pun you’ve ever heard?

VSP: That ones easy. It’s the one you said to me “To be or not to be, that is equestrian” It kills me, well done AVP!

VP: The Five best pieces of advice you’ve had in life are?

VSP: Whatever career you choose do it for the love of it, you can’t take money to your grave! Although saying that cash is a big help if you like Miu Miu shoes.
Water your plants regularly; they usually die if you don’t.
Look both ways when crossing the road; this will stop you from being run over
Be kind to people, karma is a word for a female dog.
Do not write a rap in middle 8 unless you are prepared to actually rap it live! This will stop public humiliation.

VSP ! She Get’s Our Vote Everytime!

Links

Myspace

Official Site

Click below and you really can Vote Showpony

Videos

“Dirty Words” By Vote Show Pony

“Circles” Live By Vote Show Pony

Wallpapers

(Click thumbnails for hi-res images)

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Going Places -Jose Vanders Interview

“Faces Going Places” By Jose Vanders

Londoners are famous for having a good old knees up around the “old Joanna” (piano) with their “china plates” (mates). In fact if you were to believe the portrayal of Londoners as painted by “comedic” screenwriter Richard Curtis you’d probably expect to walk into a London pub and be accosted by the local market traders dressed up as pearly kings and queens desperate to sing songs about “Mother Brown” or “Any Old Iron.” Meanwhile hoards of cheeky chimney sweeps would be tap dancing their way across the capitals roof tops waving happily to the local childminders in Regents park “ Gawd Bless ya Marror-ie Poirpains.” Lumme guv, look lively, it’s the local coppers, thumbs hooked jauntily behind their lapels as they give passers-by a sparkling rendition of “The Lambeth Walk”, whilst merrily cuffing mucky cheeked young mischief-makers about the head. Hark! Is that the refuse collectors noisily singing about one of their number getting married in the morning, as they go about their business with stoic good natured cheer whilst musically detailing the grooms worries about arriving at the church a little late ? Oh look there’s the Prime Minister Of Scotland, England, Hugh Grant and a nightingale appears to be singing in Berkley Square (as I live and breathe).

Luckily not many people actually believe the sort of ludicrous stereotyping that Richard Curtis oft employs in order to sell his dreadful “whimsical” fare to America and beyond (Love Actually, erm no mate, Shit Actually). Thankfully not everybody from London who spots a piano is immediately filled with an urge to start bashing out “Oh What A Lovely War” ala Mrs Mills. The reality is Londoners can produce some marvellous music if you allow them to tinkle the ivories, look at Kate Bush for example, and more recently Kate Nash. Another artist from London that’s been attracting a fair bit of attention and has access to a piano is 17-year-old Jose Vanders. ( not pronounced “Jose” as in Jose Mourinho , think more like short for Josephine) Compared by some to the Kate Nash/Lilly Allen school of music, (whatever that means) she’s been steadily gaining a reputation as a prodigious talent and a fine songwriter. Last year saw her self release a debut EP “Transitional Language” which sold out within days, camp as Christmas gossip monger extraordinaire Perez Hilton tipped her for the top and in between she’s even managed to get a job with BBC 3 whilst doing her schoolwork. Phew! Puts you to shame doesn’t it ! We had a chat with her and were somewhat relieved she didn’t confuse us simple northern types with talk of “apples and pies” “mince pears” and “plates of braising steak”

VP: WOTCHA ! Ahem I mean Hello …How did you get involved in the shadowy world of popular music ?

JOSE: I woke up one morning, washed my face, moisturised and decided to be a pop star. Although before that came endless hours of piano practise with my dad standing behind me singing West End hits and Billy Joel at the top of his lungs, and then a sudden realisation that I could write songs too and sing them myself. And then the salesman in Comet advised me on a good microphone for under twenty pounds and I went with it. The rest as they say…

VP: You’ve stated that you grew up in a house that had more pianos than TV’s. Didn’t this make watching Eastenders a tad tricky, and do you play any other instruments?

JOSE: Ah indeed it did. But don’t worry, the dramatic delights of Albert Square were never ever sacrificed. Sadly, the only vivid episode I still have lodged in my brain is the Truman family incident: ‘what about meeeee?!’ But yeh I play the violin, I got to Grade 7 but my family thought it sounded like a sick cat when i played. So I gave that up. I dabbled with the oboe but that too failed. I’m working on guitar. Well, I will when I finish school. Ha.

VP: You have released your first Mini Album/ Ep Transactional Language (August 2007?) which is outrageously brilliant. How did you go about self releasing it ? ? Was it a fairly straightforward process?

JOSE: Ahh god! I cringe when I listen to those songs. It was well over a year ago now. Mmm, well I just didn’t think about it and did it. I recorded the songs in my neighbour’s living room in one afternoon [it literally took four hours, I only recorded one take for the piano parts, and one or two takes for the vocals, and I had never even heard of a click track. That’s why I cringe now.] But yeh my friend Fetts drew some pictures and I went down to the local printers in Blackheath and bargained with the owner to print 500 sleeves for 80 quid, and then spent the next four weeks assembling cds, making badges, wrapping them all up in magazines and parcel tape, I tried to sign each one and then went to the post office pretty much every day. i absolutely loved it! it was very easy, and I got loads of my friends to help out [much to their displeasure]. In fact, I loved it so much that I’m planning on self- releasing another mini album just after the Summer. And I’m doing the whole recording in a studio thing which I’ve never done before, quite excited! But I’m determined to self-release the whole thing. I wanna make each one personalised. Admittedly it might take a while to package up thousands of cds by hand but i love it. [I secretly love the business and marketing side of it all more than i love the songs. I love making lists, and charts, and figuring out prices, and postage costs, and economical uses of paper. ahh. but don’t tell anyone that. it’s obviously all about the music. Y’know, it’s in my skin. or blood. or whatever they say.]

VP: You’ve previously said that you where brought up with the likes of James Taylor, Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell it must have been a big house, but seriously who would you say are major influences from the current musical scene?

JOSE: Yeh me and Joni go back a long way. We had the same childminder you see; used to play Batman and Robin and all that jazz. I was always Poison Ivy. As for today’s musical ‘scene’, I am addicted to Polly Paulusma and Fionn Regan, and constantly listen to The Books, Damien Rice, Death Cab for Cutie, Cocorosie, Sigur Ros, Gregory and the Hawk, Chris Garneau, Bloc Party, Modest Mouse, Minus the Bear, John Mayer, Rocket Summer, etc.. But I have made it a habit for the past eight months or so to buy physical cds instead of downloading. Recently I’ve bought and loved and played in my car to DEATH: Frou Frou, Laura Marling, The Bird and The Bee,Tom Williams and Yann Tiersen

VP: You’ve been studying as well as releasing records and performing . (Any chance of a song about Oliver Cromwell a “Liberty Of Conscience’ EP perhaps?) Has it been hard to juggle both?

JOSE: Yeh well coincidently my next album is called ‘A Day in the Life of Alexander II, the Tsar Liberator’. What a guy he was eh. But yeh, it’s been so ridiculously hard you wouldn’t believe. Any spare time I have I’m at the piano, or down in Brighton practising with Thom and writing songs, or I’m just thinking about how I’m gonna package up the next cd. It’s gradually consuming me. My brain is now divided into 83% music 15% work and 2% calculating the next available pg tips moment. But yeh, only a couple of months left. BRING ON THE SUMMER is what i say.

VP: Your celebrating your 18th Birthday with a gig at the Lincoln Drill Hall. Will there be cake ? Balloons? And are you excited at having Eddie Harrison on the bill

JOSE: Yesss I am indeed. I’ve just got back from band practise; we ran through the set and it sounds pretty decent. Like nothing I’ve done before. In fact I’m a little scared. I’ve got six songs which have drums, guitar and bass. It’s gonna be different. And as for balloons and cake I have no idea. Cake=a big fat yes. but balloons… Fetts is mightily scared of them. balloon phobia. You know how it is. So hopefully not too many… !! and i am so excited about seeing Eddie. He’s FABULOUS.

VP: What’s all this about BBC 3 ? How did that come about, what does it involve? Is it fun ?

JOSE: Ahh yes. Well I got an email from someone at bbc3 asking me to go in for a casting for some up and coming thing they were doing, and I thought it was a massive massive joke, and half-heartedly replied. And she asked me to go in for a casting. So I went up after school, stood in front of a camera, and then they said ok introduce the Mighty Boosh GO, and I had to improvise. Obviously I pulled my ‘make them laugh’ card, which basically involved me going on about Noel Fielding’s bottom [devilishly good-looking bottom in fact]. So a while passed, then I got a call in the new year telling me I had got the job. I was like uhhh what job. It took me mum about three weeks to finally believe me that I worked for bbc3. Ha. And it basically involves me writing poor jokes, going into the studio every monday and telling them to a camera. it’s pretty fun yeh!

VP: Where do you get your ideas for your songs ?

JOSE: I’m not really sure. from my subconscious I suppose. I went to see Sweeney Todd at the cinema and wrote two really spikey songs the following evening. I was reading Larkin poetry for my a2 english and wrote a song based on that. i write them about people, faces, feelings. being in love. getting dumped. the usual. y’know.

VP: Confession is good for the soul sooooo- You’ve said you had a file on your computer called “What On Earth Was I thinking?” which contains amongst others a song about Aladdin and his magical Lamp. Any other songs in that folder you’d like to admit to ?

JOSE: Oh GOD. That folder. I’m tempted to press the delete button in fact, just in case anyone finds it. I’d be RUINED I tell you. The highlights include a song about a girl who gets killed by her mother, a recipe for rhubarb crumble cake sung to a weird collection of notes, a song about not wearing make up on the bus and chatting up the man who works at blockbuster… I could go on. But I won’t.

VP: I know somebody who once called you “a Posh Kate Nash” Does that sort of thing annoy you ? Is it a bit of a lazy comparison?

JOSE: Ahh I haven’t heard that one. Well to be honest, I do sound a bit like Kate Nash, so why shouldn’t people be quick to make such a comparison?! I do it with bands myself. All I know is, that yeh fair enough I’m always gonna be a pianist and a lass from London, so the comparison is always gonna be made. But what I also know, is that the last song I wrote is so completely different to the first song I ever wrote, and that must mean something. I’m progressing, and maturing. albeit painfully slowly. And I have confidence in time and time alone that my writing will improve, my musicality will improve, my self-confidence will improve, and my originality will improve. I can’t do anything about it. So I’m sitting tight, and waiting for it to happen naturally. And I have faith that it will. and then one day maybe – hopefully – I won’t be a ‘posh Kate Nash’ anymore. Who knows? Time knows.

VP: Five things you aim to do this month ?

JOSE: Write lyrics to the new EPIC pop song that Thom and I concocted. 2. Stop eating ice cream out the tub by myself late at night. 3. Learn about the Four Dumas that were set up in early 20th century Russia and what they achieved. 4. organise an outfit for my best friend’s 18th p party. I might go as Pandora. as in Pandora’s Box Pandora, which would basically just be a toga. I’m not too sure yet. 5. be nicer to my boyfriend. he’s a keeper.

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
transactional language ep [2007]
available worldwide

download here

1 new ride

2 faces going places

3 alberto morrocco

4 ode to gilbert

5 a little love song

6 holes

7 without your kisses

Videos

“Faces Going Places” By Jose Vanders

“Without Your Kisses” By Jose Vanders

Wallpaper

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“Hidden Depps” ..Pete And The Pirates Interview

“Mr Understanding” By Pete And The Pirates

Well, well, well, Radio 1’s head of music -George Ergatoudis has rather belatedly declared he wishes “to f***ng stop “pop” being a “dirty mutha f***ing word”. Hmmmm?.. not the most original statement is it? What’s that you hear? Ah yes it’s another bandwagon Radio 1 are belatedly attempting to board -finger firmly on the pulse as ever, plenty of bands have been banging that particular drum for quite some time now. Radio1 eh? They arrive at the party two years too late, wearing a pair of crushed lemon nylon flares, replete with matching cravat and “Watneys Party Four’s” tucked under each arm. As usual its a case of “too late mate, everyone’s copped off.” Worryingly Ergatoudis appears to believe Supertramp/10cc tribute band – The Feeling are “pop” and bizarrely are “influential”. Apparently this is the “New Pop” (Sorry Nu-Pop), Ergatoudis’ insists that this is a return to the days when bands wrote songs and played instruments-Although quite where that leaves “pop” darlings Girls Aloud, is as baffling as Ashley Cole’s infidelity (what a strange, strange man, when you can have pheasant I can’t quite see the appeal of a greasy tub of KFC ) but the Milli Vanilli reunion has definitely been put on hold.

There may however, be unforeseen side effects in such rebranding, and reappraisal of this “genre,” like the presage to a great storm there is a dark cloud on the horizon. Disturbingly I have noticed a number of TV shows are conspiring to rewrite the past. You know the sort of programmes, nostalgia based schedule fillers, involving “loving” or “putting on trial ” a particular decade. It usually involves ex-Yoof TV presenters possibly called Andi or June, a music hack (who last wrote anything insightful back in 1972) to add gravitas and the obligatory unfunny northern comedian “Remember rain, eh? Eh? It was wet in them days weren’t it; it came from t’sky …oh aye!! ” (cue knowing look to camera.) They then proceed to bequeath us with their wit and wisdom on what the said decade was really like, hence, the history of pop is rewritten to fit in with their vapid uninspired musings. I mean come on!! Is the 80’s really defined by Toby Anstis’ view of it?

But what of this dark cloud? What can it be? Let me explain; – horribly such shows are attempting to shamelessly rewrite the legacy of the lobotomised stylised “fun” that was……. Stock…… Aitkin and Waterman, a spirit crushing yet rather apt soundtrack to Thatcher’s Britain, a world which was devoid of heart or soul, but was infused with that much admired 80’s virtue- cupidity. Nowadays its bad enough that we have camp panto villain Lord Cowell Of Smugsville, or Sharon “Bleeding” Osborne portraying herself as some sort of mumsy Vera Lynn national treasure type, without encouraging these three horsemen of the pop Apocalypse again. Believe me, I was there, it wasn’t fun, it was the sound of the Devil trying to master Rolf Harris’ stylophone, whilst falling down the stairs and landing on a cat. Imagine drinking gallon upon gallon of fizzy pop, then being strapped into a rollercoaster whilst being force fed candy floss again and again and again. Eventually you vomit onto said candy floss, yet still the puke soaked; gooey, fetid, sugary mess is forced into your mouth. That ladies and gentlemen is a visual representation of the kind of nausea S.A.W’s music can induce.( It wasn’t “fun” it was utter sh*te, British Motown? Sinetta? Mandy Smith? Sonia ? Sabrina? Jason Donovan? Do me a favour! ) Lets hope Radio 1’s revamp will not give license for these soulless business men to return to the fore with their “Venture Capitalist Pop” But will Radio 1’s stance really change anything or is it just window dressing ? If you are a group of lads with guitars in 2008 will Radio now 1 decree you “Not pop enough?” – I certainly hope not, surely the idea of a revamping the play lists won’t stop the likes of bands like Pete and the Pirates catching the public’s ear this year. Pop or Indie? Who cares? They have great tunes that lift the spirit and make the world seem a happier place. Their excellent album “Little Death” has enough pop hooks, fun and loud guitars to satisfy all ears. Think Weezer with maybe a rather small nod to The Frank and Walters. They’re a band whose chances should not be blunted by a Radio station desperately trying to be seen as relevant and “down with the kids”. Let’s hope the good music will out. We had a word with these scurvy dogs (well Davy Pirate) to find out if they were about to give the music world a jolly good rodgering

VP: How did it all begin, what’s the story behind your formation?

Davy Pirate: “We lived very nearby to each other as we were growing up, and would hang out in the sun in the summer, and before we knew it we had formed a band.

VP: Your excellent new album “Little Death” just been released, did you enjoy recording it and are you pleased with the results.

DP: Yeah recording it was very memorable, quite an intense but happy experience, we co-produced with Gareth (Parton) and yep it just was a very creative and fun and hardworking time. I am very happy with the results I think it perfectly captures us as a band at that time and shows the songs how they are meant to be and sound.

VP: Will you be promoting the album with a large publicity campaign ? Shows in every corner of the UK ? Acrobats? Tim Curry dressed as a clown ? Ladies wearing suspenders, etc

DP: Yeah,we kinda have been since last year, constantly playing as many shows as possible, and we did an in-store show on the day it was released which was surreal but fun.

VP: Apart from chatting to me, what have been the highlights of your time together thus far?

DP: Recording the album was great fun, going to SXSW last year, playing the Reading festival, were all very much highlights

VP: How would you describe your sound?

DP: Melodic, honest, rockin’ good fun exciting rock n roll

VP: Bands often talk of finding other ways of making money around music, as the digital age has made music more accessible, cheaper and erm freer. What’s your take on the music bizz as a young band starting out?

DP: I think before we were in a band we were all fairly aware of the potential pitfalls of the music bizz, but it was never really an issue, the reason we formed a band was to write songs together and play shows together. So the music bizz doesn’t really change that, we still do it for the same reasons, its pretty much all we can do, so the money thing is kinda by-the-by, it would be nice to make a living from making music, but it certainly shouldn’t the driving force behind making music (there are many easier ways to make money-e.g. an office job)

VP: What do you make of the numerous band reunions that have come about in the last couple of years? Do you think Oh Bugger off you’ve had your time, let us have a go or are there bands your glad to see back?

DP: I guess I don’t mind if the bands reforming are bands I like, it’s probably not the best way to see an “old great” y’know, would be better to have seen them in there heyday. Sometimes it can seem a bit lame really, like why bother? Having said that I saw the Pixies a year or two ago (having never seen them live before) and it was fantastic, and if Pavement were to reform I’m sure I’d be snapping up a ticket.

VP: Are tribute bands inherently evil?

DP: I guess not, its not something I’d do- but each to thier own.

VP: Music on TV, why are the few music shows on TV terminally naff. Should “The Old Grey Whistle Test,” “The Tube” and “A Handful Of Songs” be revived? Surely there’s a gap in the market there?

DP: Music TV ? Hmmm, who knows? I guess the way from stopping it being shit, is to have better bands on. If the music’s good its hard to mess it up too much…

VP: Peggy Sue and The Pirates?? Who arrived on the scene first? Did they nick your name? are you the guilty party or is it all a cosmic coincidence ?

DP: They nicked our name, and a guitar and a drum kit from us…secretly though it was a coincidence and they seem very nice indeed, annoying huh? (Ed:-yes ! )

VP: Five things you hope to achieve this year?

DP: Record second album, play in America, move house, learn violin, record third album

Links

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Official Site

CDS AND VINYL AVAILABLE NOW
Click on images below.

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13 Track Debut Album
CD & 12″ limited Vinyl, release date: 18th Feb 2008

single
CD & 7″ Vinyl, release date: 11th Feb 2008

PREVIOUS RELEASES:

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VIDEOS

“Come On Feet” By Pete And The Pirates
“Knots” By Pete & The Pirates
“Mr Understanding” By Pete And The Pirates
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