“Good Vibrations” …..Alexis Blue Interview

“Your Easy Life” By Alexis Blue

“I’ve Already Won” By Alexis Blue


Local bands eh? Sometimes you can be badly scarred by the local music scene, especially on Merseyside where you’re often confronted with dire Beatles tribute bands, or horrible Merseybeat karaoke discos. This is where drunken old fools threaten to glass you for not wistfully  singing-a-long, with tear stained cheeks, to “Ferry Across the Mersey”, or amusingly tell you “You’ll Never Walk Again” unless you join in with the communal singing of that song. I can remember a particularly traumatic experience whereby the tribute band in question featured five burly, square faced German bricklayers called “Das Beetles.”. Fine strapping chaps indeed, the epitome of all things Teutonic, each to a man, sporting an absurd blonde Beatles mop top. I couldn’t quite decide if they reminded me of the creepy kids from The Village of the Damned, Birdland with an anabolic steroid addiction, or maybe a student jape that involved putting blonde wigs atop those lantern-jawed Easter Island statues. It didn’t get much better when the lead singers Hans Von McCartney and Albrecht Lennon bellowed out “Ze Long and Ze Vinding Road” and “I am not caring for ze money as ze money is not buying me ze love” When for a finale they pulled all the stops out for Komm gib mir deine Hand” I could stand it no more. I sought refuge in another pub, but alas this was no safe house, as to my horror the musical crimes continued apace, on this occasion in the shape of a corpulent Pete Wylie “tribute” singer, “The Mighty Lah” who proudly boasted he had appeared in “Stars In Their Eyes.” He finished his set with a lamentable version of “Heart as Big as Liverpool.” I always thought in Pete’s case “Head as Big as Birkenhead” would have been a much more appropriate song. (Sorry Pete! 😉 ) Unlike “Julian” I couldn’t “Cope” and I staggered from the pub ears bleeding, harrowed to the very core of my being…

As you can surely appreciate, this put me off seeking out local bands for quite some time. So dispirited was I with the local scene, that I didn’t even bother seeing my mate Nigel’s band in their infancy. I had feared his now much revered Halfman Half Biscuit may have been a surreptitious Beatles tribute group, and that he’d be blasting out the fab fours back catalogue, camouflaged behind a wacky name and a punk DIY sensibility. Thankfully I was wrong, as songs such as the provisionally titled “The Eternal Cremation of Hattie Jacques” proved. (Manager: We can’t record THAT!! What if Eric Sykes hears it, he’ll sue. Nigel: “Don’t worry it’s unlikely Eric will hear anything, he’s as deaf as a post”) Along with John Peel they have probably been the best thing to come out of the Wirral since…well me …..But this view could well be challenged in the near future as there are a clutch of great young bands from the area, getting attention and creating a bit of a stir. Leading the pack are Alexis Blue from the little known area of Wallasey, the posh cousin of Birkenhead, a magical land, where the streets are paved with mould, and people are so relaxed they still wear their PJ’s on their way to purchase breakfast from the local “Bargain Booze” or to score from their friendly neighbourhood dealer-allegedly! (Isn’t stereotyping fun!)

Now the name “Alexis Blue” may sound like somebody from an Aaron Spelling soap whose gone a bit p*rn, or a big flash American car, or even a hypothermic Joan Collins, but the truth is it’s much ruder (but like the big flash car is a substitute!) Musically these lads really do have some great tunes and they have been winning hearts, minds and indeed ears whilst supporting local bands like The Wombats and Rebecca, as well as Millburn and The Kooks. Appearances in some of Liverpool’s premier venues such as The Academy and the Korova, have added to the buzz surrounding them and surely it’ll only be a matter of time before the name Alexis Blue is known beyond the confines of Merseyside.

VP: How did you meet and where did the band name come from?

Andeh – Me and Mark met in sixth form, Paul is his brother, Chris is mine! The name is (rather geekily) from a forum template (don’t ask..) Although it’s also the name of a vibrator.

VP: Do you all share similar musical taste or do you have arguments that often involve fist fights, hospitalisation and even on the odd occasion murder?

Andeh – Pretty similar musical taste, but there are the odd bands that one of us likes and one of us hates etc… I’m a Bright Eyes fan but Paul and Mark hate them, haha.

Chris – We all have a few bands that others are not so keen on but we get along fine. We seem to combine the influences so we are playing what we want to play, both as a band and as individuals. There are slight mock fights but unfortunately nothing major has happened to mention.

VP: What have been your highlights, as a band so far?

Andeh – Mine was probably either being asked by The Wombats to support them on their album launch fancy dress boat party, or the mini tour we’ve just completed.

Chris – Headlining Club NME in Middlesbrough and having the music video to our debut single shown on MTV2 and Liverpool city centre big screen.

VP: What have you released and where can people buy your tunes?

Andeh – We’ve only released one ‘proper’ single, titled ‘You Won’t Get Much Sleep’ which you can buy from iTunes or find a copy of the vinyl on ebay or something.. Or you can just download all our demos for free on MySpace!

VP: Do The Beatles get on your T*ts ? I mean haven’t they influenced the Merseyside music scene for way too long now, when they’ve actually spent the bulk of their life away from the area, isn’t it time to move on, embrace some new music.

Andeh – In a way.. I do feel that loads of Scousers tend to cling onto them too much and don’t realise how much good new music is coming out of the area, but they definitely shouldn’t be forgotten – they’re easily one of the best bands ever (and I’m not even a massive fan).

VP: 2008? What are your plans? Gigs? Releases?

Andeh – Gigs gigs and more gigs. We want to get to as many cities as we can, maybe hit a foreign country or two. No releases planned but if anyone fancies funding a single and taking all the profits, they’re more than welcome to.

VP: Do people really find Ken Dodd amusing?

Chris – I personally don’t, sure he is a funny in a weird looking bloke with crazy hair way. But then again so is Andeh!

VP: A scenario, You are offered a high profile music slot live on prime time TV, alas it clashes with the match, which you’d rather attend so a compromise is reached the TV company offers to fly you back to the football match via helicopter. Would you accept the offer or like Halfman Halfbiscuit would you turn it down cos “you’d feel daft flying in and all your mates would take the Piss”

Andeh – Accept it, but not tell my mates haha. Nah it’d be a laugh, we’re used to rushing round like mentalists so it’d be a nice adventure

VP: This Internet, social networking is a laugh but there are some proper nutters out there too, ‘I’ve come across a couple , have you met any (in a virtual sense)

Chris – We have come across a few, mentioning no names one or two have become quite important and close to the band ha-ha

Andeh – ha-ha yeh we’ve met a few – they tend to be nice though 🙂

VP: Who are the five most useless people in Pop?

Chris – Lily Allen and Dan Gillespie Sells (The Feeling)

Andeh – WHAT! Lily Allen is ace; she’s more talented than you anyway. I’d have to say Kate Nash…

VP: What! Kate Nash is ace ! 😉 that’s three we need two more erm….Mika’s one no question.


On Myspace

Official site


* Your Easy Life
* Passive/Aggressive
* You Wont Get Much Sleep (Demo)
* Swings And Roundabouts
* Last Laugh
* Dyslexics Of The World… Untie!
* I Never Used To (Open My Mind)
* Close Windows, Open Doors
* Nobody’s Fool
* Yo Ho Ho (And A Bottle Of White Lightning)
* Altar Ego (Pro Recorded Live Audio)
* Alcoholocaust (Pro Recorded Live Audio)

Or download the single ‘You Wont Get Much Sleep’ from iTunes for 79p – CLICK HERE


“You Won’t Get Much Sleep” By Alexis Blue
“Your Easy Life” Live By Alexis Blue
Dyslexics Of The World – UNITE ! By Alexis Blue

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The VPME Review……January 2008

The January review – In Feburary? . Well we’ve been running a bit late at the VPME as unfortunately Mr VP went AWOL, causing complete mayhem at VP Towers. He was finally tracked down to a classic car show room in Bootle, where he appeared to be attempting the purchase of a De Lorean DMC-12 “Just like Marty McFly’s please.” When confronted by his loyal staff he had been trying to explain to a rather unnerved car salesman that he “had to get back to 1992” to a place called “Planet Miki”. (CUCKOO!) Finally after a fist fight and an extremely low speed car chase involving a milk float, a smart car and a renegade fairground dodgem car, he was sedated and taken for an assessment by the VPMEs crack medical team. After a thorough examination he was declared “as sane as he’ll ever be” and was allowed to return to work. He seemed much revived and despite his recently dyed flame red hair, is still the same odd little fellow with a propensity to talk utter bollocks. So, finally its time for the VPME review

This month we are joined by

Dogwood: A regular now on The VPME, Dogwood awaits with his ear cocked and his finger firmly set to “wag” mode

Monster Bobby : Pipette man and solo artist, described by The Morning Star as “A curious fellow” and by The Kooks as “A bit of a spazzer.” Bobby uses a unique reviewing technique as he explains ” for some reason none of the music players played music to me so I shall base my responses entirely on prejudices (which indeed are the basis of all good decisions)

Nick Levine from Tack! Tack! Tack! and owner of Index 7. Imagine Rupert Murdoch with a soul or Richard Branson with good looks, yes that’s Nick he doesn’t eat, he doesn’t sleep, he is relentless in his quest to rule the new media and he will never stop!! Described by the other half of Tack! Tack! Tack !, Jason Christie, as “Benny Hill for the new millennium.”

Gordo: Drummer from top Scottish popsters The Hussy’s: Gordo doesn’t waste his breath prattling on like some. He is a firm advocate of the ancient Scottish art of “Verbal Minimalism” -Aye!

Dave Cromwell: Dave’s from New York City but don’t worry he isn’t going to shoot you! but like most Americans he believes in the right to arm bears. He writes for Soma Soma Scene and is often pictured being stalked by pop types, recently he has had to shake off the attention of The Raveonettes, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Kate Nash and The Pipettes, it’s a hard life.

Christine Crowther: Christine, the strawberry girl, works in the Music Bizz and runs Plastic Factory. She likes her music and appears to have exemplary taste. But now comes the big test…..

VP: Quite simply, smaller than life. Is now helping out with “Keep Your Ears Peeled” in his quest for Peel like adulation

Ollie Pound: Guitarist with hotly tipped Screaming Ballerinas. Proud winner of VPMEs waistcoat of the year, beating Joe Lean into a cocked hat…Will this start a bitter pop war??? (hope so)

The Review

MORRISSEY –“That’s How People Grow Up”

DOGWOOD: I often considered Morrissey to be a bit of a kindred spirit, he is after all the elder statesman of common sense amongst the gadabouts that make up what is apparently known as the alternative scene and Dogwood is the kind of Englishman that Morrissey laments the passing of. So, with those conditions in place I am well disposed towards this tune. It reminds me of buses with conductors, powdered eggs, wearing a pair of shorts to my first day of work and having my legs chaffed to bits as I fed the seagulls off Wigan pier. It’s how people grow up, it really is and no amount of MTV pimp my missus blingery will ever change their fact. At the heart and soul of all things real lies Morrissey and I’ll stand him a Mackeson’s in salute in the great working mans club in the sky. Dogwood admires.

NICK: So this is taken from Morrissey’s Greatest Hits? I thought he issued one of those around five minutes ago? This is pleasant enough. Doesn’t really go anywhere you wouldn’t expect a Morrissey song to go. Again, MySpace only offers us a short snippet. Tight bastard.

MONSTER BOBBY : “Former genius reduced to tragic Californian”

CHRISTINE: Right it pains me to say this being a massive Smiths fan but is anyone else getting tired of Morrissey??? This song is just like all the others that he’s released of late and I find it so dull. Others out there may see this as classic Morrissey. “Irish Blood” was a great track but since then they have all become a bit formulaic and gives the impression he is just trying to keep his bank balance afloat. Sorry Morrissey.

VP: “You’re never too old to rock” roared Grandpa Von Pip as he was led away from an S Club Juniors gig by security. For those out there who think Mozza’s getting a bit too long in the tooth to be railing against the world look at it this way…There’s far more to moan about when you’re older, I will cherish the day Mozza starts to sing about his creaking knees, lumbago and incontinence strides. The song itself is fairly decent, not his finest by a long stretch but certainly better than a lot of dross about. Even Morrissey on auto pilot is a delight; we should regard him as a national treasure and revere the great man. In fact he should be given his own Saturday Night Show in the style of Bing Crosby or Val Doonighan wherein musical guests unexpectedly drop in to his (studio) “home”. Picture the scene, its 2017, Mozza is sitting by a roaring fire smiling contentedly as he flips through his K-Tel record selector which reveals various Smiths albums. Suddenly “DING-DONG” – “The Front door, on a night like this? Who could it be?” Says a clearly startled Mozza. He opens the door. “CRIVENS!!! It’s Only Bloody Johnny Marr.” Johnny appears to be frozen from the bitter coldness “outside” and brushes “snow” from his coat. Minutes later they are both sitting round the warming glow of the fireplace, chatting like old chums about former glories, when suddenly, and with a spontaneity that could never be scripted Mozza leaps up and bellows “Hey John!, Here we, a couple of old timers shooting the breeze How’s abouts we sing a song together” / Johnny who had very nearly chocked on his “Werthers Original” at Morrissey’s sudden outburst, concurs “Great idea Mozza, but I have no…erm……HEY! Is that my old Gibson Cherry SG over there?” The opening bars of “Cemetery Gates” are recognised immediately by a rapturous studio audience who oscillate wildly as Mozza puts his cocoa down and warbles contentedly –Amen!….. A HIT!

OLLIE: I can only assume that this recording is a platform for Morrissey’s voice -the Brit pop throw back guitars chug meanderingly into an MOR black hole that’s only impressive in how closely it resembles a karaoke backing track… which doesn’t bode at all well… his lyrics dont even annoy me (which is normally a given with Morrissey) and the tune is basically non existent.

DAVE: I’ve never been a fan of Morrissey or the Smiths. I was indoctrinated early by the opposition – that other “Smith” – Robert and his band the Cure. Since “Smiffy” hated Moz – I had to as well. So I always had this predisposed “prejudice” against the Mozzer. That said, I can’t deny that this is a pretty good, rock tune. A crunchy guitar progression that took me by surprise. The operatic, high-pitched theremin-like sound that initially accompanies it can be off-putting, but still once the guitars and drums kick in, it’s undeniably a rock song. I will give it thumbs up.

GORDO- I think this will be a success. It’s a definite stomped and fairly catchy.I think will be sure to fill many a dance floor. 8/10

RINGO STARR- “Liverpool 8”

NICK: Well at first I’m gonna have to take issue with Ringo putting his country of residence as the USA on his MySpace page. This song is meant to promote Liverpool so that’s a bit shoddy. This is just a rather shabby Beatles pastiche. He was only the drummer for chrissake. He learnt to play chess when the rest of the band recorded Sgt Pepper. Talk about right place at the right time!

VP: Liverpool eh? City Of Culture 2008 -In order to showcase your musical heritage you could book a musician renowned for their virtuoso skills, their mastery of their instrument of choice, a respected and much loved individual still relevant today, and revered around the globe as a true musical genius. Failing that I suppose there’s always Ringo Starr, loved by millions for narrating “The Adventures of Thomas the Tank Engine”-some people really do find their level eventually. Sadly this ill-advised foray into music again proves that the profound majesty and existential brilliance of “Octopuses Garden” was merely a one off. But lets be fair “Liverpool 8” does show a complex level of lyrical dexterity and provides moments of pure clarity which would surely move Jean Paul Satre to horrible tears whilst turning him green with envy–“I was a sailor first/ I sailed the sea/Then I got a job, in a factory/ Played Butlins Camp with my friend Rory/It was good for him it was great for me” I think Ringo’s musical abilities are encapsulated best by John Lennon-when asked if he thought Ringo was a great drummer Lennon stated , “He’s not even the best drummer in The Beatles”. This offering is quite quite dreadful and highlights the very real dangers of allowing drummers out from behind their drum kits (Sorry Gordo ! i.e. Phil Collins, Dave Grohl, Joe Lean, Bob Holeness) the song appears linked to this capital of culture malarkey, a title which, to be honest, is merely the world’s most expensive letterhead. As a native of the city I am constantly irked by the continued reliance on “Beatles Tourism” it’s overshadowed things in the city for far too long. 2008 could have been the opportunity to get rid of that particular albatross once and for all… I did suggest to the local Council that the staging of a public flogging of the remaining Beatles, Ken Dodd, Cilla Black, Stan Boardman, Joey Barton, Derek Hatton, and both Petes, Wylie and Burns would draw huge crowds. Rather rudely I have yet to receive a response.. Ah well ….in summation listening to this was deeply unpleasant, and I’d rather take a cheese grater to my unmentionables than listen to this pap again. This will do nothing to change people’s perception of Liverpool- time to get out of the past. A MISS

MONSTER BOBBY: “Despite being both the only Beatle to have any working class roots whatsoever and the only Beatle not regularly touted as some sort of working class hero, it is clearly long past the time for Ringo to be put down like the sick dog he so clearly is.

GORDO: Is someone pulling my leg here? It sounds like guy that narrates in Thomas The Tank Engine has joined forces with the penny whistler guy from Jethro Tull. No joking aside, I don’t understand what he’s trying to achieve here? But being a Beatle, I suspect it will sell really well…in em…Liverpool.

DOGWOOD: ‘Liverpool, I left you but I never let you down’ until he started singing this can of tripe that is. What is this? Some huge prank? It sounds like Pete Wylie doing an impersonation of Ringo Starr doing an impersonation of Wah Heat trying to write a tribute to the ‘Pool in the style of Ringo Starr reading Thomas the Tank Engine. He may have rode the dodgems as a skirt chasing Ted on ‘That’ll Be The Day’ but that’s as close to being relevant that he’s got since leaving the so-called fab four and ‘Liverpool 8’ is not going to further his cause. I was always a Gerry and the Pacemakers man me, less flighty. I don’t do talentless beaky drummers who write insightful airs into the workings of an Octopus Gardens whatever that may mean. I suppose the bit that really gets my goat is the terrace chanting at the end. It’s as if he’s pulled in the PR team that consulted the Cockney Rejects and Sham 69, had too much chardonnay and porcini mushroom risotto and devised a whole hotbed of an utter shambles. Retire gracefully you old fool.

CHRISTINE: Cheesy is all I can say. Ok we know Liverpool is now the city of culture and all. Was that title given to them merely because they had The Beatles? Do they really need this drivel to represent them ?

DAVE: Having just read a full review with Ringo in a recent issue of Rolling Stone, I had a bit of warning as to what this song was all about. The problem with it is the same with every song Mr. Starr(key) has ever sung – and that is he was never meant to be a front man. His true role was to be the beat keeper of the most influential band in the history of rock/pop music. And that he did very well. Now I don’t know how this autobiographical ditty will play to the local denizens of Pubs in Liverpool and across the rest of England – but it made me wince with embarrassment when I heard it. First off, he never had any kind of real singing voice – could just barely carry a tune (yes, the same could be said for Bob Dylan, but right there the comparisons begin and end). – So the studio production has to enhance everything around it. To focus on the positive – there’s a somewhat appealing guitar hook in there – but I can’t see this song getting played anywhere, other than a local Liverpool pub. The track ends with handclaps and jolly chorus of the words “Liverpool” – which might possibly make it somewhat popular with the supporters of that particular Premier League team. Otherwise, it’s just another novelty song, though one that will probably get a big hand when he tours it with one of his “All Starr Bands”. It also has to be noted that he recently did a whirlwind television tour of this song, appearing on many of the late night and daytime variety shows. Of note was Ringo’s very public “snit” – as he walked off one of the top daytime TV shows – because he refused to cut the length of this song down. I find that a hilarious show of pomposity on both sides (the arrogant, unyielding TV producers, and by the 4th Beatle as well). As much as I respect Ringo for his body of work, I’m going to have to give this a thumbs down.

OLLIE: Poor old Ringo – a quarter of one of the most important bands of the last century, yet still musically a bit of joke… he can’t have just been a barely passable drummer, surely? Still, I can’t quite bring myself to be horrible to this song, that’d be like taunting a child with learning disabilities. Sure it’s nice enough, and who knows – I could be wrong – maybe Liverpudlians as a rallying call, might adopt this…? Can’t see it replacing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” mind.


NICK: Ahhh… The Jong. I actually dragged fellow guest reviewer Christine down to see what must have been the band’s third or fourth ever gig at around this time last year. This is a good song. Sounds quite beefy in comparison to the demo version. I imagine this will be the band’s first “hit.” It’s just a shame that we’re only offered a snippet on MySpace. Seems major labels are getting wise to us more tech savvy types illegally downloading from MySpace.

OLLIE: In a fit of poor spelling not seen since Avril Lavigne first hit the scene – I will be paying tribute to this in the rest of this peace-see, I’ve started all ready. Joe Lean are to the The Vue, what The Vue are to The Libertines. Somehow in the photocopying, some important details got lost, like tunes for example.

MONSTER BOBBY: Is my mate therefore I like it.

CHRISTINE : This band have been much hyped by the N.M.E. (boo!-VP) et al which often puts me off of bands but having been introduced to JL&JJJ by Nick (hello), I do have the time of day for them. With this track you can understand why they have been tipped for the top. “Lonely Bouy” is a great pop song which is catchy and just creditable enough to make all the Indie kids love it just as much as the £50 men out there.

VP: What was it I was saying about drummers? 😉 Joe Lean and His Jong?? I don’t quite know what to make of em. If you found “Lucio Starts A Fire” underwhelming then you’re unlikely to throw this one in bed and shag it, it appears to have no hooks, no tune and no excitement. In essence it’s as dull as John Major… on a grey wet Tuesday…..in February….. discussing his pea collection…with a hat stand…. and it’s about as challenging as a GMTV quiz “Ok here’s your question, name one thing that has existed in the universe, either now or in the past, ever?”………..Yet on paper you’ve got all the right elements- Sexy lead singer with cheek bones so sharp they could open tins, a dandy ragamuffin look, great guitarists, a drummer called Bummer and oddly they also include posh comedian Jimmy Carr on bass. Apparently if you look in the Oxford Dictionary the entry for the word “Contrived” says simply “Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong” and therein lies the problem. Some have cruelly compared them to Razorlight which is far too harsh. Joe and the boys certainly don’t quite induce the sort of torpidity of spirit that Borrell’s flaccid prog rock can generate. However this particular track does also inspire the sort of mental lassitude that can only be truly represented graphically.

Examining Joe’s OTT interviews and barkingly mad statements I can’t help thinking, “is he doing A Chris Morris?” Is it a brilliantly executed example of how to manipulate the press? The Peaches Geldof/Joe Lean love-in is a joke, isn’t it??? Could the concept really be an elaborate scheme that would put anything the KLF ever did as a “statement” firmly in the shade……If he gets a number one, fakes his own death and then returns to reveal the true nature of his media experiment it would be THE greatest trick in the history of rock n roll. Musically the hype is totally and utterly unjustified, the problem with hype is that it takes expectations to a new level, and adds pressure to deliver. So far they haven’t, I really don’t like this. Style over substance. Sorry! Verdict –A MISS (but will be a hit)(I also think secretly some people say they like them cos they fancy The Pipettes)

GORDO: Indie by Numbers….Next…0/10

DOGWOOD: They may have a name that sounds like a cross between a big band leader and a Chinese takeaway but that’s about as interesting as this gets. I had to play this bugger several times before I could draw any sort of conclusion other than it sounds as if someone’s let a load of chimps loose in a studio. It’s a random and cheerless racket that had Dogwood reaching for the seed catalogue in refuge. To be fair there is a point at which melody seems about to triumph but someone then goes a bit garraty on the guitar and I start to flinch. When you get to my age life needs to be a bit straightforward and less involved and I’m sorry but Joe loss and his Chinese circus are just throwing too much at me to catch. Dogwood bruised and cowering.

DAVE: I have to say I am definitely *on* the JL & TJJJ bandwagon. I find every song of theirs I hear to be catchy, hooky, fast paced and exciting. This one is no different. I enjoy the tone of his voice, the swagger in his persona. Plus, any band that lists their influences as Dion and the Belmonts , Dick Dale, Link Wray, The Cocteau Twins, and the works of Ronnie James Dio will always get a second listen in my book. The feedback intro to Lonely Buoy has all the anticipatory elements I crave. Cool guitar intro build-up. Right into Joe’s vocals, sung at an already energetic level (about having a “lump in my throat”) I love the particularly “live” sounding (almost trashy) drums. “Sweat, sweat on lip on lips” he sings. To the chorus “and the sweat, surrounds us all” – so hooky. Its hearkens to the good time music of the original British Invasion of The Beatles, Dave Clark 5 and that early 60’s era. I love it. I see that the JL&JJJ juggernaut is coming to New York City on the 11th of March at one of my all time fave venues – The Mercury Lounge at 9:30 pm – opening for The Pigeon Detectives. They will then be doing a headline show the following night at another local establishment – Union Hall in Brooklyn. I will definitely be in attendance for these. Thumbs up!


MONSTER BOBBY: Deserves to be made Queen of the world… and what a curious world that would be.

GORDO: Sounds like she’s having a stab at the press in this one. It’s got an Rn’B flavour to it and I actually think it will be a club hit. It’s got smoothness to it. It also seems like Dane Bowers and Posh Spice gate crashed her vocal session. 🙂

DOGWOOD : I got a bit distracted on this one whilst perusing Ms Spears myspace page I found the video where she’s dressed like a schoolgirl and somehow it started playing and then….Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I am aware that this young woman is the sort of cannon fodder that the likes of the National Enquirer lap up on a day to day basis selling their tat to the American equivalents of Catherine Tates (now don’t get me started on Catherine Tate). I don’t do American celebrities as a rule; I have enough trouble with H from Steps so I am unlikely to waste my brain cells on concerning myself with their travails. However, Ms Spears is the subject of this review and so therefore I shall give my attention. In this song she appears to want to give me, the listener, a piece of her. What this piece constitutes I have no idea but given that cutting off body parts is probably out of the question I can only deduce that it has to be something less savoury like a bogey, ear wax or toe jam. I was going to say hair but I thought she’d gone all Yul Brynner. Of the three I’d probably take the ear wax as I could fashion a candle out of it when I’ve harvested sufficient. Useful things candles, never know when you might need them. Oh, the song? It’s crap.

CHRISTINE: Poor old Britney…she’s been having a rough time. So much so I never knew she actually had a single out and I must say it isn’t bad considering most people think she’s a loon.

DAVE: There is nothing about this tabloid train-wreck that I can take seriously. Besides being an over processed studio concoction that makes Kraftwerk sound like acoustic folk music, the lyrics turn my stomach with this phoney “reply to the media”. A media, by the way, that she craves attention from. Oh, so now it’s a put down of them? I’d rather listen to that guy who was famous for 15 seconds blubber “leave Britney alone!” than listen to this dreck. How many times can she imply how “bootylicious” she is in this vapid, turgid club-crap of a concoction? Yeah – there’s nothing hotter than overdosing on pills, cough syrup and booze. I think it must be the vomit and drool smell in her hair that turns me on the most. An unequivocal thumbs down!

VP: I feel sorry for the Britster; she really has gone completely ga-ga. This track? Not bad if you like this sort of slickly produced fluff, however you can’t help but wonder to what degree Britters was actually involved in this project and if she was even aware of what she was doing. It all leaves a bad taste in the mouth; the music industry seems intent on squeezing every last cent out of the poor girl. It’s not funny anymore, there’s a certain sort of vicious glee that surrounds her antics which I’m not too comfortable with. The snide remarks such as “You can take the girl out of the trailer but you can’t etc…etc” only serve to reveal a nasty form of elitism that appears to delight in her suffering. As for the song, well, if she’d have written it herself you’d come over all Jeremy Kyle and shout “Go Girl!” Alas it appears to be yet another cheap and nasty ploy, from the industry that cynically marketed her virginity and have now decided it’s time to shamelessly exploit her slow spiral into despair. Let’s make her “feisty” they say, – “Emo Britney fights back”. In Britney’s world the word “choice” does not seem to have any meaning – if she refused they’d probably sue her. So when Britney sings with distaste about being “ Miss American Dream since I was 17” and “pictures of my derrière in the magazine,” it seems very hollow as the whole concept has probably been dreamt up and commissioned by the very people that originally directed the cameras to her bottom in the first place! The media of course click their tongues and cluck and tut like some sort of hypocritical puritanical maiden aunt. Hard to believe that the very same media that criticised her dressing as a school girl, now feel it’s in the public interest to stick cameras up the skirt of a young lady who is obviously mentally ill. It makes me sad – it’s a twisted world! Will be a HIT

NICK: Is this one of the songs that Robyn helps out on? Is that right? Mmm…. this is ok. Nowhere near as good as anything like “Toxic” but a passable stuttery R&B type pop thing. Doesn’t grab my attention. Next!

OLLIE: Poor Britney yadda yadda yadda zzzzzz …Huh? ….Oh yes – Britney… now, some of us out there thought it was an odd choice when she recorded Bobby Brown’s ‘My Prerogative’. Not so much for the actual song, but because the song was in some ways a statement of intent – after which he spiralled into a heavy crack addiction. Musically, Britney’s recent output has gone on along similar lines – and although we can see all the pop rules being adhered to, somehow it just doesn’t have any heart. It’s as if the song is the embodiment of Britney, a hollow tabloid grabbing shell – and sure it’s interesting to watch, but you wouldn’t want to take it home.


OLLIE : I went to see S&D’s a long time ago, and they were boring. I’d totally written them off – on the strength of this though I was totally wrong.I’d be more than happy to bounce off the walls of my local discotheque to this.The bouncing guitars batter against vocals that sound like Karen-O singing The Cardigans in the shower!
more please!

CHRISTINE: This song is amazing!!! I absolutely love this track. The last single, gilt complex was brilliant too. I am very much looking forward to the release of their second album so this review is probably slightly biased but if you are familiar with S and D’s trade mark, gravelly vocals and garage sounds you’ll be please with this up beat and modernised sound.

VP: I like this lot , not to be confused of course with that naff Aussie soap opera with the theme naffer than the Neighbours tune. This lot are really excellent, edgy but poppy, spiky but sweet. Lovely vocals and a production that doesn’t over do it. Perfect. There’s nowt for me to moan about here- pick of the bunch, deserves to be a massive – HIT


GORDO: This is fairly instant and has a feel good factor about it. Sweet melodies and one you could dance to I guess.

DOGWOOD: Hey Joe Loss and your Chinese acrobats! Have a listen to this lot and make some notes. Hear that? That’s a tune that is, with a bit of swing thrown in. I don’t normally do cheek but I think I could swallow my pride with this lot of scallywags, they could cheek me over the allotment fence and I may scowl a bit but I would end up chortling to myself as I munched my bread pudding during my break from tending the spuds. It’s the lasses see. I’m a sucker for a pretty face and the two in this lot, presumably the ‘daughters’ would both qualify for my ‘pretty girl chart’. No, I like this – it’s got energy, a bit of drive, knows where it wants to go and is in a hurry to get somewhere rather than get confused at a roundabout like the old Ying Yang Yongs or whatever they’re called. Dogwood smiles at this.

DAVE: Now this I immediately like. Dig that whole tambourine on the snare drum beat. I’ve always loved the song “Lust For Life” by Iggy Pop, so why wouldn’t I like this one? Nice raunchy guitar too. I also like the female singer’s voice. It resonates with me in a positive way. Male vocals doing the background adds fullness and pleasant vibes. Same for the barely audible keyboard pad on the secondary verses. “Twist it in and twist it out”. Cool. Oooh – synth twiddles on the bridge. This is a hand clappin’ good time.
From Scotland, eh? Well you know how much I love bands from there. (Gratuitous Jesus & Mary Chain reference here). Give this one wholehearted thumbs up!

NICK: Not bad. A bit jauntier than their earlier stuff. It’s got a bit of a Motown beat behind it. Makes me think of “A Town Called Malice” by The Jam bizarrely enough. I quite like the boy, girl vocal thing going on.

HEILIGE LANCE– “Anti- Unity” Video

NICK: What is this? I’ve never heard of it. Heard of everything else for review except for this. Seems to be some king of spoken word mashup spliced with jazzy music, before getting going with some Cure/Bunnymen esque guitars and then some weird ranting. Not my cuppa. The visuals remind me a bit of Soviet classic “The Man With A Camera.” I like that. Is this meant to be some kind of political statement then?

CHRISTINE: What can you say about this video??…Well it opens with what can only be described as political rhetoric, which is heightened in meaning with the ‘historical’ images that are played simultaneously. The track then kicks in, which sounds like some high pitched version of Bauhaus.

VP: Enjoyed the Orwellian / Big Brother imagery and the way its cut suggesting the subliminal nature of propaganda. I’m very interested in the whole issue of manipulation of the masses by the media/politicians/celebrity style mags/ it works though, some people actually believe that Chris Moyles is ironic!!! Yes you can get away with anything if you say it’s ironic, even murder… “Did you kill your girlfriend ?/ Well, yes but purely in an ironic sense/Ah well, that’s ok then….move along now” The songs very hypnotic, I’m recalling the anarcho-agitpunk of Crass, hints of Bauhaus/the industrialised bleakness of Joy Division and the anger of early Killing Joke. I also can’t get “I’m Anti-Unity Pro-Isolation” out of my head, and maybe cleverly that’s their intent, a practical demonstration of the power and arrangement of words /phrases. I wonder if subliminal “VP is Sexy” messaging actually works? Yeah I don’t just do happy clappy pop or spunky indie, I do a bit of nihilistic bleakness too. These lads may have a long way to go, but I’ll investigate some more I reckon. HIT

GORDO: Lots of soldiers, tin hats, more soldiers and some guns and a wee speech on communism always do the trick. Not my cuppa tea though.

OLLIE : Now, anyone using footage of Berlin’s dark era must have something very serious to say. A visit to some of the city’s stark monuments to its turbulent past invoke a pretty strong reaction in almost anyone – their resonance is almost impossible to ignore. The use of repetition here adds to the effect totally, giving an unsettling feeling that adds to the stark nature of the images used. The song seemed to also invoke all the ugliness that you’d expect, which is all well and good if thats your cup of tea – but in my case I hit the mute button after nearly a minute on my second listen

DAVE: Don’t know what I dislike here more. The vague “political” video or the awful “song” that accompanies it. I remember being in amateur bands playing songs that sounded like this. Off key – drums out of sync with the guitars – crappy warbling that attempts to pass for singing. I’m sure they think there is some horse-arse “message” here. On Youtube the clip is described as “new punk expressionist sounds from an amazing band that shook with their dark wall of noise”. I call it crap

MONSTER BOBBY: (he didnt actually review this so I`ll help him)  Love it, I like parades and uniforms. Reminds me of  German pop sensations “Boney M” when they decided they wanted to be taken seriously. 10/10

DOGWOOD: Well you’re not going to stick this on to entertain the family let’s put it that way. Not quite sure what the feller’s driving at going on about being anti-unity and pro isolation and then showing loads of footage of the Berlin wall, border guards and aggravated crowd scenes. Perhaps he wants to get the bricklayers back in. I don’t know I’m confused. Musically it’s a dirge that dresses itself up as something deep and meaningful but it’s not going on my walk-pod. Visually it’s like watching an episode of ‘All our yesterdays’ or being force fed Soviet agit-prop and whilst historically interesting would probably bring any dance floor to a dead stop. I’d rather watch an episode of ‘Sorry’.

SALLY SHAPIRO– He Keeps Me Alive

DAVE: Ah, – Swedish “Electro pop”. OK – will give it a chance. Distorted “robot voices” open it up. Then onto a nice electric piano sound. In comes the voices. Kinda reminds me a bit of “West End Girls” (the band, not the song). When I was going through my midi-electronic-synth-playing-and-recording-on-my-tascan-4track days, I would have totally loved this. I still like it, though. I like that sampled snare drum sound. Had that one in my Alesis D4 drum sample device. OK, here’s that processed voice back again – the same one the band “The Knife” sings all their songs through. The string synth pads are good here. This is very well done. It’s got a bit of an “Enya” feel to it too. Ethereal. Angelic. I’ll bet Gwenno Saunders of the Pipettes loves this. I like it too. Thumbs up. I also see a listing that on Mar 7 2008 at 11:45P she is coming to fave local venue I previously mentioned – The Mercury Lounge in New York doing a DJ set with Johan. Maybe I’ll check it out.

DOGWOOD: I was getting all excited by this, I saw Helen Shapiro when she was the Michelle McManus of her day and I was thinking that this might be her daughter come to rekindle Dogwood’s flame of adoration with some be-bop jazz. But no, this one’s from Sweden by all accounts and whilst sometimes the Swedes can occasionally rouse themselves to get excited about something, this isn’t one of those occasions. “He,” whoever “he” may be, may keep you alive love, but unless you show him a bit more enthusiasm I can see him pulling the plug pretty damn quick. This is like listening to Bronski Beat through your next door neighbour’s wall. Tinny, listless and irritating. I shall not be partaking thank you very much. Dogwood disaffected.

NICK: OK.. Now I may be wrong but I have a feeling I may have turned The VPME onto Sally Shapiro? Anyway, this is an absolute monster. It’s a bit reminiscent of Cher’s “Believe” at the beginning and that fact alone should put you off but actually this song has massive potential. A sort of retro Italian Disco Euro pop thing. If this ever gets a proper release in the UK it should go top five. Well, if there is any justice in the world, that is.

OLLIE: Well come one and all, its 5am – we really should go home.. but let’s not! The club’s shut, the cafe isn’t open yet and there’s sod all chance of getting into a bar now -so lets go to your house! but what to listen to? well how about this – it manages to strike the sort of pretty-to-dancey balance that talk talk or st etienne did so well. All I’m thinking though is, what if Tiga got hold of this? maybe then I’d remember it tomorrow.

CHRISTINE: I’d never heard of Sally before being asked to do these reviews and to be honest if I didn’t hear her again I wouldn’t be feeling any great sense of loss. Sally’s sound is a distinct euro pop style where electronic beats are over laid with voxcoder and high pitched vocals. This track lost my interest in the middle whereby I then switched off the myspace player

MONSTER BOBBY: “I don’t actually know who this is so whatever the majority of respondents think, I’ll go for the reverse.”

GORDO: This one takes its time to hit you, in fact, I’m sure I managed to watch a re-run of Ricky Lake before I heard any vocal action. Nah seriously, it didn’t grab me but when she eventually started to sing, she did actually sound pretty awesome. Nice track from the Swede.

VP: Yeah long intro- I decorated the hall, had a cuppa and a cooked breakfast, grew a full beard, petted a Shetland pony …then at last the vocals started and I thought, aye this is very nice indeed. I don’t really like this House malarkey, which is making a comeback as the antidote to stale Indie. It’s not the answer kids, as anybody who still bears the mental scars of Rozalla, The Hitman and Her and that buffoon Mr C from the Shamen.will testify. Still, everything gets credibility one day if you wait long enough; one generation’s cringe is another generation’s cult classic kitsch. I remember it first time round all this Italian house nonsense, horrid over produced flatulence of the highest order, and then to make matters worse there then followed sub genres, Euro House, Scouse House, Crack House, Aspirational House, Hickory House, Acid House-House and horribly, Dr Gregory House. Clearly letting business men loose with “Cue base” and “Fruit loops” does not create good art. However if she stays away from that sort of malodorous guff and takes the electro-pop route, gets someone like Ian Catt to produce then she really could be something quite jolly- HIT

A Clear Winner ” Sons & Daughters – Darling”

“Remember Kids, Razorlight Are Sh*te”

The Wedding Present – Liverpool Academy 27/10/07

“I’m Not Always So Stupid” (from the “George Best- Plus” Re-release) By The Wedding Present

The Wedding Present- George Best Anniversary Tour -Liverpool Academy 27/10/2007

It’s hard to believe its twenty years since the release of The Wedding Present’s seminal “George Best” album, listening to it nowadays you realise what a classic collection of songs it is. If anything, it sounds even better in the present than it did all those years ago,the buzzing hornets nest guitars, the lyrics, which are as sharp as they are witty, all played at a break neck pace…..…….Now I might not believe its 20 years ago, but tonight at a packed Academy the evidence is all around me, hardcore “Prezzie fans” wait in anticipation for their hero, they may be a little paunchier, have a little less hair, but they are as enthusiastic as ever. As I edge my way to the front, negotiating several “well fed” gentlemen, I look back at the packed crowd behind me- I cant help feeling I’ve just wandered through a spec savers promotional photoshoot-(god knows what crowds at Who concerts look like!) and I wonder if the years have been slightly kinder to David Gedge.

When he arrives on stage I’m pleasantly suprised to see he hasn’t changed at all and looks as fit as a fiddle ! “You’re a genius,” somebody shouts, at which he feigns false modesty, “Fat Bastard” laughs another . “Fat ? That’s a bit unfair” retorts Gedge grinning sardonically, “A few pounds over maybe, but surely not…. fat?? – Anyway It’s great to be back in Manchester “ he continues, which always goes down well in Liverpool, as the band launch into a brace of Cinerama (Gedges other band)songs. Then a chap dressed up as a white rabbit holding countdown cards,wanders on stage, eventually stopping the cards to huge cheers with one printed bearing the album sleeve image of the legendary Manchester United booze hound (the only time a Man U shirt appearing in Liverpool will ever get a cheer, I wager ! ), and its heads down as “George Best” is played in its entirety as part of the set . Every song is greeted like an old friend,“Everybody Thinks He looks Daft,” “What Did Your Last Servant Die Of”,“My Favourite Dress” and “Shatner” have the crowd moshing with delight. “Don’t play “Nowhere Fast “ one of the stouter more mature fans breathlessly shouts…. ” I need a rest!!” Gedge and his band are on fire and the songs that where the soundtracks to many of the audience’s youth sound as fresh and as vital as ever.

It really is a case of an old master showing the Indie kids how it should be done,“Let me know when Razorlight sound this good ” deadpans Gedge after playing a newer song “ Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Very Drunk “ Of course,he’s right, the Wedding Presents buzz-saw guitars, and wry, intelligent lyrics make Mr Borrels insipid, inane warblings seem even more insignificant. Although Gedge has never been blessed with the sweetest of voices he is undoubtedly one of the countries best, yet most underrated lyricists. His beautifully observed bitter sweet songs explore love, loss and the complexities and misunderstandings within relationships that deftly manage to combine both the poetic and the down to earth. They are of course great to sing a long to after a few beers, which tonight’s audience do so with great gusto.

The biggest cheer of the night comes as the set ends ” See you again “ says Gedge “Maybe next year?” He doesn’t bother with ego massaging fripperies such as encores and the crowd go home happy, knowing that even if the lumbago plays up in he morning it was worth it. Gedge’s songs may often lament the fact that all too often he doesn’t “get the girl” but on this evidence he’s still got the charisma, the style and the talent that have made the Wedding Present such an influential act……and long may he continue…


“Everybody Thinks He Looks Daft” The Wedding Present -Liverpool 27/10/2007