The VPME Review………. November 2007

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

This months guest panel comprises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Months Songs

Paramore Crush Crush Crush

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On My Own – Vincent Vincent and The Villains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small Town Girl – Good Shoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remi Nicole -Rock N Roll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sister Rose – Ian Brown

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

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

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

Marit : No

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Swedish Invasion – Tack!Tack!Tack!

Back to the Swedish invasion ! Today we turn our attention to the promoters of Swedish music in the UK . Tack!Tack!Tack! is a club – the filter for Swedish music and bands in London. Run By Nick and Jason they have put on (aside from their own Cardigans) some notable Swedish names such as first appearances in the UK for The Tough Alliance,Marit Bergman, The Honeydrips, and Maia Hirosawa. They also virtually discoverd Those Dancing Days, and with the help of a rather handsome yet modest fellow with a rakish moustache, they helped create a huge buzz for the young ankle biters (TDD’s) who have recently signed to V2 (Sweden).

Nick Levine stopped watching “The Seventh Seal”, eating meatballs with ligenberry sauce and shopping at Ikea to speak to us and tell us what Tack!Tack Tack! is all about ….

VP : T! T! T! – How and why did it start, come along now don’t be shy ?

NL: Two years ago at the John Snow pub in Soho. Me and Jason had met two years previous to that at a David & The Citizens concert which he was putting on.
The aim of T!T!T! has always been to put on export-ready Swedish artists irrespective of genre.

VP: Which bands have you had playing or discovered ?

NL: I think we must have put on around 25 different bands on by now. T!T!T! isn’t really about “discovering” bands as the artists we put on are already very well-known in Sweden. It’s more about cherry picking artists we feel are ready to play in the UK.
Probably the most revered performer we have had down is Marit Bergman. Another favourite has been The Tough Alliance, more for the sure cheek of their live performance. And we love the Cat5 girls. One of them lives in Mile End now. Sounds like she could be the inspiration for a Pulp song circa 94.

VP: What do you think it is about the Swedes that make them so adept at writing pop music , and providing high quality flat pack furniture at a reasonable price?

NL :I think that Swedes are very good at copying other genres, in a way sometimes more superior to the original influences. Also, the Swedish government has all kinds of grants to enable people to learn musical instruments. To boot Swedish music is frequently used to promote their culture overseas.

VP: What have been your musical highlights of the year ?

NL: It was amazing putting on a sold out Shout Out Louds gig at The ICA. We got Andres Lokko to DJ, the best-known music journalist in Sweden. And we had print ads in The Guardian, NME, Time Out and even made the front page of Popjustice. We felt famous for oooh…. 5 minutes ? And of course Kleerup/Robyn’s With Every Heartbeat smashing the UK top 5. We predicted that it be this summer’s big hit in Ibiza before Christmas.

VP: What do you think of the current UK music scene?

NL: As we both live in London I guess our view is London-centric in terms of going out to gigs and stuff. I think the current scene in the UK is alright but it’s a bit rubbish how so much of it is based on hype. But I think we’re going through a pop revival, which is great. Pop is the new indie. All genuine musicians now want to make pop music.

VP: What are your musical tips for what remains of 2007/ the start of 2008?

Ida Maria, Boat Club, Air France, Those Dancing Days, You/Me.

VP: Sven Goran Erikson – Discuss. (ha ha )

NL:The first thought which comes into my head is that back in 2002, whilst residing in Brighton, I was dating a Swedish girl who had to lodge in a family home.. It was during the time of the World Cup, and the father of the house had a tiny Corinthian figure of Sven on top of the TV which he thought would make her feel more at home. It didn’t. She just ridiculed it.

VP: Sum up T!T!Ts ethos in five words

NL: Bit hard that isn’t it ?

Links

Tack !Tack !Tack !

The future of T!T!T! is uncertain , I say NO! It must prevail , message them at myspace . (Purely from a selfish point of view, it must go on, as despite invites I haven’t been able to make it down there as yet )

VIDEO

“Hitten” By Those Dancing Days

Rainbow Warrior – Marit Bergman Interview

“Alone Together” By Marit Bergman

 

To kick off The VPME’s look at the Swedish music scene what better place to start than with one of Sweden’s most talented and engaging singer / songwriters, Marit Bergman.

Liv-Marit Bergman was born 21st May , 1975. She grew up in Rättvik, moved to Stockholm and now lives in New York. She was also a member of 1990s Swedish punk band Candysuck as well as being involved in many other side projects and musical collaborations. However, it is for her solo work that she is best known for in Sweden, receiving critical acclaim and picking up a large and loyal fan base . Her first solo release was in 2002 with the album “3.00 A.M. Serenades” on her own record company Sugartoy Recordings. The record received huge success and was re-released by RCA/BMG in 2003.

Her second album,” Baby Dry Your Eyes”, was released in March 2004 to further critical acclaim, which earned Bergman five Swedish Grammis nominations and two awards – Composer of the Year and Female Artist of the Year. In 2005, a live-DVD, “Live at Rival” was released.

In 2006, Bergman released her third solo album, “I Think It’s A Rainbow” which was again a huge success . Marit’s music is now starting to get the attention it deserves from all over Europe and in the U.S.A. -and not before time !

The VPME had a lively chat with Marit and asked her “What’s it all about?”

VP: You’ve been described as Sweden’s Indie Queen and even the Swedish Alanis Morrissette , but how would you describe your own sound?

Marit ; Interesting! I’ve never heard that Alanis-thing before. I am not naked with a blurred crotch in my videos! I’ve never been to India! I fully understand the actual meaning of the word “ironic”! I’ve never even done a cameo on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”! As you can see, old Al and me don’t have that much in common.
I would describe my music as pop. Emotional pop. But not emo (neither in the 90´s nor 00´s sense.) A lot of feelings. Lyrics are mostly very upfront but as I get older I get more poetic. A lot of songs on my albums have horns and strings.

VP: In the last couple of years you’ve moved to New York, was this purely a music decision, and what do you miss about Sweden ?

Marit : Believe it or not it has absolutely nothing to do with music, really. It’s just that I’ve realised that I don’t have to live in Stockholm. I love NY and I also would like to live in other places. Maybe Spain. We’ll see. I’ve been in Sweden all summer playing the festivals and I guess what I will miss about it is my family and my best friends.

VP: Your third solo album -the excellent “ I Think It’s A Rainbow” was released in 2006, is there any news of any new material on the horizon?

Marit : Thank you dear! I’m writing all the time. You will get to hear these songs very soon, somehow. Can’t tell you much more right now.

VP: What have been you highlights of 2007 thus far?

Marit : As always, pop camp for girls ( that I work with every summer in Sweden) is always ridiculously fun and inspiring. Other than that, I think probably the tour that we did with the Pipettes in Europe in the spring must have been among the best things I’ve done in my life. I felt very popular. What more. Singing with Frida Hyvönen in New York and in an old limestone quarry in Sweden. Playing the Peace and love festival in Sweden. And the Pride fest. Ah. It’s a lot!

VP: What do you think of the current music scene?

Marit : It’s shite! It was better in the old days! No but really, I don’t know, lately I’ve been out of the loop completely. I only listen to Vera Lynn, Alice Coltrane… old stuff. And Amy Winehouse but that’s so retro it doesn’t really count as current does it. I like the Field. ( Swedish techno). And Frida Hyvönen is an absolute genius and I’m really looking forward to the new Jens Lekman album.

VP: What do you think it is in the Swedish psyche that inspires people there to write such great pop songs?

Marit : Our urge to be loved. I don’t know. We grew up with Abba, there’s no escaping it.

VP : And which Swedish bands would you recommend ?
Marit : Jens and Frida And The Field.

VP: You’ve performed in Europe an US this year with the Pipettes And Smoosh do you have any plans to perform in the UK in the near future ?

Marit: “Maybe. Maybe in November. I’m working on it. “
VP: Describe your self in five words?

Marit : I like music a lot, yes.

VP : Tack så mycket, Marit

 

Links
Marit on Myspace

Official site

 

VIDEO

“No Party-(Live, NYC)” By Marit Bergman

 

 

 

The Swedish Invasion !


Seb And Jon From The Cassettes ” We Love Swedish Music This Much!”

 

Sweden, home of Abba, flat pack furniture, Ingmar Bergman, Sven Goran Erickson and rude films. But did you know that behind the USA and the UK, Sweden is the worlds 3rd biggest exporter of pop music? Bands such as The Hives, The Sounds, Caesars, The Wannadies, Those Dancing Days, I’m From Barcelona, Peter Bjorn And John, The Honeydrips, The Knife, Marit Bergman, Hello Saferide, Bille The Vision And The Dancers to name but a few have helped to elevate the profile of Swedish music considerably in recent years. Yes, it certainly does seem that Swedish bands are invading the UK en masse , armed with great pop tunes , talent and plenty of style. Surely this can only be a good thing and help save us from drowning in the morass of manufactured “X Factor” cabaret shite and radio friendly corporate rock (such as the spectacularly average Razorlight).

The “VPME” will be running occasional features on the Swedish music scene over the coming months highlighting the bands, the movers and shakers, the promoters. Furthermore we will seek to utilise our sword of truth to scythe through the gnarly branches of.. erm…… misconception and discover why Swedish music is just so darn good. So for all of you who believed in the stereotype described in the opening sentence of this article, it’s time to be re-educated, open your ears and “stop being so English! ”

Watch this space

 

Links

Tack! Tack! Tack!

Music From Sweden

The Swedish Institute

VIDEO

“Painted By Numbers” By The Sounds