Songs Of The Year : (released and unreleased)
1. Blitzed- The Raveonettes
2. Lasso- The Duke Spirit
3. Crucify – Screaming Ballerinas
4. So Much For Love – Slow Down Tallahassee
5. Weight Of The World-Editors
6. Goodbye- Asobi Seksu
7. Apartment Store -The National
8. Somewhere -The Hot Puppies
9 The Last Significant Statement- The Indelicates
10.That’s Not My Name- Ting-Tings
12 Jessica -Screaming Ballerinas
13.Adrennaline- Emma Pollock
14.The Towering Inferno- Lucky Soul
15. Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Very Drunk-The Wedding Present
“Goodbye” By Asobi Seksu
Albums Of The Year:
1. Lust, Lust, Lust -The Raveonettes
2. An End Has A Start-Editors
3. Make Love To The Judges With Your Eyes- Pony Up
4. The Great Unwanted -Lucky Soul
5 In Our Bedroom After The War-Stars
6 Citrus-Asobi Seksu
7 Sound Of Silver- LCD Soundsystem
8 Favourite Worst Nightmare – Arctic Monkeys
9 We Live And Die In These Towns – The Enemy
10 Lady’s Bridge- Richard Hawley
11 Made Of Bricks -Kate Nash
12. Gaps -Monster Bobby
13. 23- Blonde Redhead
14. Into The Blue – Charlotte Hatherley
15. Overpowered – Roisin Murphy
“The Night Starts Here” By Stars
Gigs Of The Year:
1. Editors ( Liverpool )
2, The Pipettes (Manchester)
3. The Wedding Present (Liverpool)
Remix Of The Year :
Let’s Dance To Joy Division – The Wombats -KGB Remix
Heroes Of The Year:
Villains Of The Year :
Connor Mc Nicholas
TV Of The Year :
Extras (Xmas special)
Discoveries Of The Year:
Fight Like Apes
Slow Down Tallahassee
The Pan I Am (well sort of new!)
Comeback Of The Year:
The Jesus & Mary Chain
The Wedding Present
Films Of The Year :
The Future Is Unwritten
The Last King Of Scotland
The Departed (ok so it’s basically a remake-but in a terrible year for movies all the above stood head and shoulders above the dirge)
Disappointments Of The Year ;
“Lucio Starts A Fire” – Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong (oh dear, I think there must be much better in their arsenal)
Avril, regressing musically to the level of a 6 year old and sharing the world view of a 12 year old-hardly a progression, artistically eh! Next year will see Avril riding a trike, and making romper suits the must have leisure wear item.
The finale of Dr Who (If that made sense to ya then lay off the LSD )
“Panic Prevention“-Jamie T ( After the majesty of “Sheila” I was expecting so much more)
Monkey Swallows The Universe- Split (?)
Regina Spektor Live (Liverpool) (Flat, and slightly dull -the “kooky” behaviour between songs just grated after a while)
“Neon Bible” – Arcade Fire
“The Good, the Bad & the Queen” – The Good, the Bad & the Queen
The Hot Puppies gigs cancellation (sniffle)
Quotes Of The Year ;
“Kaiser Chiefs just scare me. Every single one of them looks like a weird scary ventriloquist dummy. Specially the little man with the hat.”- Linda Hollywood (Havana Guns)
“Settle Down” Dogwood
“What gets me is that we really don’t have stars anymore. Bowie looked like he was from another planet, and behaved like a star – you’ve got to be a bit arrogant and tread that fine line, but few people really do anymore. The Internet has made bands / people too accessible – and that weird desire that everyone has to be ‘really normal, actually’ is bollocks. What’s interesting about being normal?” Ollie Pound (Screaming Ballerinas)
“We’ve never seen anybody who looks like Andy, dance the way Andy does” – Monster Bobby
“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” –Marit Bergman
“I have never seen anything referring to me as the male Yoko Ono before” –Simon Indelicate (the Indelicates)-Interview coming soon!
“After reading Cheryl Coles’s comments branding me a “chick with a dick” I was feeling pretty low. I know I’ve said bad things about people in the past but this is mean… I may not be as pretty as you but at least I write and SING my own songs without the aid of autotune. I must say taking your clothes off, doing sexy dancing and marrying a rich footballer must be very gratifying, your mother must be so proud, stupid bitch.” –Lilly Allen on the ever intelligent Girls Aloud WAG, Cheryl Cole
“F**k Girls Aloud. I’d rather be a fat chick with a dick, than an F**king asshole. It’s hard to feel good when magazines say you’re ugly, so I know how Lily feels.”-Beth Ditto
“One minute I’m waiting for Kate to arrive to join me in the Jacuzzi for a romantic evening. The next thing I can remember is doing cold turkey in a vomit-filled cell.” Pete Doherty
“It’s like people going up to Paul McCartney and saying: ‘So, Paul, who’s this fool, and where’s this hill? This is what we’re up against. This is what Kurt Cobain had to put up with. And what did he do? He blew his head off.” – Kaiser Chiefs Nick Hodgson on people asking who Ruby is –(Comparing themselves to the Beatles and Nirvana? -hahahaha ! So please people keep asking who Ruby is , there’s still hope!)
“Johnny Borrell is an idiot, he just makes trouble for himself. Having his own tour bus or chauffeured car that drives behind? And at Reading apparently he had his own dressing room, his own tent that was his. I mean what’s that about?” –Tom Clarke -The Enemy
“Conor doesn’t understand how the relentless stream of “cheers mate, got pissed last night, ha ha” interviews that clutter every single issue of the ‘new’ NME are simply not interesting to those of us who have no trouble standing upright.” Morrissey on NME’s Connor McNicholas
Those Dancing Days
Big or Bigger Next Year ?
The Hot Puppies
Fight Like Apes
The Ting Tings
The Duke Spirit
Cut Off Your Hands
Lucy And The Caterpiller
The Hot Melts
“Crucify” By Screaming Ballerinas
1. Ollie Pound (Screaming Ballerinas)
2. Joe Lean – (Joe Lean And The JJJ)
1 French Dog Blues -Babyshambles
“I model lack lustre panicky in vain search for the remedy
No words only melody come so I take the day off
My love, my love, she sits with me, I love, I love her company”
2. Tranquilize– The Killers
“Always here, always on time
Close call, was it love or was it just easy
Money talks when people need shoes and socks,
Steady boys, I’m thinking she needs me” and of course “Acid rain, when Abel looked up at Cain
We began the weeping and wailing
A hurried high from pestilence pills and pride,
It’s a shame, we could have gone sailing “
3. Ruby-Kaiser Chiefs
“Due to lack of interest tomorrow is cancelled
Let the clocks be reset and the pendulums held
‘Cos there’s nothing at all ‘cept the space in between
Finding out what you’re called and repeating your name”
(so who is Ruby? ;))
4. Good Life – Kanye West
“Have you ever popped champagne on a plane
While gettin some brain
Whipped it out, she said “I never seen snakes on a plane”
Genius or a slightly childish. Misogynistic or new man?
“Y’all pop the trunk, I pop the hood, Ferrari
And she got the goods
And she got that ass, I got to look, sorry
Yo it’s got to be cause I’m seasoned
Haters give me them salty looks, ….”
Oh dear !
Videos Of The Year
The Truth About Cats And Dogs ( Is That They Die ) By Pony Up
Without further ado lets kick off with one of the best Xmas songs to be released, it’s by an old friend of mine……yes all the way from the Wirral, it’s Halfman Half Biscuit
“It’s Clichéd To Be Cynical At Christmas” By Halfman Half Biscuit
Well, the baubles have been vigorously polished, the tree has been erected, the turkeys been roundly stuffed, and we await Santa’s heaving, bulging sack with bated breath. But meanwhile, away from the buxom snowcapped, twin peaked mountains of the magical “Land Of Double Entendre” and back in the real world, parents are preparing for their annual blitzkrieg in “Toys-R-Us” over this seasons “must have toy/gadget.” This is of course due to the fact that if little Johnny doesn’t get exactly what little Johnny has demanded, then the child who has yet to be acquainted with the word “no” or even the concept of compromise may well grow up to be psychologically damaged. (or worse, a solicitor ) It is against such a background that the corporate giants expertly manufacture this kind of hysteria. Huge advertising campaigns, involving the sort hyperbole Alistair Campbell could only dream of, are launched, which cleverly exploit parental guilt, the basic message being, if little Johnny doesn’t get this product you are a CRAP parent, a loathsome individual and you deserve to live a life of friendless, unremitting misery, forever haunted by your shameful neglect. With this in place they then deliberately undersource retail outlets of said product in the run up to Xmas, thus creating the kind of Seasonal pandemonium, that sees quite reasonable, educated people fighting over Nintendo WII’s in order to assuage their guilt. Meanwhile others are cramming their shopping trolleys to bursting point with ludicrous amounts of food that they quite frankly, could never eat, even if the entire population of Birmingham had been invited for Christmas dinner! But hey-ho, if nuclear war ever breaks out, let’s pray it’s over the Christmas period , as we, as a nation, will be well stocked ! It most certainly is “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” the season of goodwill and indeed the season to be jolly! So bollocks to all that negative humbug ! We love Christmas, and as the song says “It’s Clichéd To Be Cynical At Christmas” so let’s be thankful for all the positives, as we reflect on the year, and what Christmas means to us. It is also a chance to thank all the readers, musicians and contributors who have joined in and to wish everybody a very Happy Christmas.
As a seasonal treat we thought it would be fun to quiz some of our favourite artists and special friends, enabling them to share their thoughts on the festive season, how do they spend Christmas?… what do they love about it (or not) ?? and/or , what are their most cherished Christmas songs that warm the cockles of their hearts and induce a fierce and compelling desire to roast their chestnuts on an open fire.
Well, Christmas certainly has arrived early for Mr VP as one of his all time heroes ex- Lush legendMiki Berenyiagreed to share her favourite Christmas songs with us:-
MIKI : “Frosty the Snowman” featuring Angela McCluskey
from “The Rumor Mill’s Christmas On Clinton St.” charity album. Heard this very recently and knew nothing whatsoever about Angela McCluskey (that’s how out of touch I am). What a lovely voice! Also an excellent cause (http://www.savefrosty.org) and a lovely video on YouTube (below)
“Sleigh Ride” by The Ronettes
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by The Crystals
“Both from the Phil Spector Christmas album – I’d pick every track but these 2 are my favourites. Genuinely the most HAPPY renditions of any Christmas songs EVER, this is a staple of our family Christmas and will induce dancing, singing and genreral whoops of delight from me, Moose and the kids.”
The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl “Fairytale of New York”
“You’re a bum,You’re a punk, You’re an old slut on junk, lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed You scumbag, you maggot, You cheap lousy faggot, Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God its our last ! “Lyrics that just beg to be yelled out as you stagger home from the Christmas booze-up”
“Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses
“Reminds me of being a teenager – I think I was about 15 when it was out! I remember seeing the Waitresses on some music programme miming or whatever. I thought Patty Donahue looked so amazing – this giant leggy geeky thing in a mini skirt. Brilliant! Love the sweet love-story soap-opera story line, too.”
“Frosty The Snowman” Angela McClusky
“Fairytale Of New York” The Pogues And Kirtsy McColl
1/ Come on Let’s Boogie to the Elf Dance- Sufjan Stevens
2/ Snow plus Xmas- Pearlfishers
3/Santa Claus is Coming to Town- The Crystals
4/ I Was Born on Xmas Day- St Etienne
5/ The Wizzard One
“Come on Let’s Boogie To The Elf Dance”- Sufjan Stevens
For Yuki from Asobi Seksu it sounds like Christmas is a chance to rest
“I’m looking forward to wearing sweat pants and eating lots of food that is “bad” for you. Mostly this holiday, I’m looking forward to being in one place for an extended period of time. And in 2008- can’t wait to make a new album!”
Asobi Seksu have just released a fabulous reverb soaked festive cover of The Ramones “Merry Christmas ( I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight )”backed by the fantastic “New Year” get it here from One Little Indian Records
Rowena from Santa Dog describes her perfect Xmas thus ;
“It’s all about the food! Full on turkey, all the trimmings, flaming pudding, too much booze and sharing with those you love (aaahhh). Every other year we’re in Aberdeen and then it often snows – perfect. 2008 plans? To keep having fun and to get to Japan!”
And if you’ve ever wondered what Charlotte Hatherley gets up to at Christmas….apart from causing a near nationwide stampede at job centres in the rush to fill out those Santa Claus job application forms…..
Charlotte :” Every year I try to go to Sydney for Xmas where most of my family live (lucky bastards). I have Xmas on the beach drinking beer in the sweltering heat thinking how great it is to get out of London.”
Toby from The Duke Spirit will be full of Xmas Spirit and indeed possibly spirits !
“My parents live on the Isle Of Wight, so I like going to visit them for Xmas day. It feels like a cool adventure getting the train and boat down there. I’m a big Xmas fan. I love the excuse to cook huge meals, more food than you can eat, and drink for 3 days without feeling like an alcoholic. I like the suppressed childish excitement you can see in peoples eyes too. It’s a good time of year. 2008 The Duke Spirit start spreading their wings once again.–My hope for 2008 ?- to reap the rewards of 2007. It’s been a hard year but things can only get better.”
“Just Like Christmas” By Low
For Screaming Ballerina’s vocalist Laura Trouble its all about animal welfare, champagne and big eared farm boys !
“What I like about Xmas is lots of presents please. Christmas is good because i get to go home and see my beloved dogs (April and Ulie) (RIP Rosie and Scampy and Sooty) and cats (George and Oscar )and its the only time of year where my lunatic family get to be all together in a big ball off tinsel and fuzz and love. Watching Dad’s Army (“WHAT IS YOUR NAME , BOY? ….’Dont tell him Pike! ‘”….) and Black Adder “YOU SHOT MY SPECKLED JIM! “) is good . Throwing wrapping paper at the TV while my gran sleeps through the queens speech is bad. Going to the farm near my dads house to drink with all the inbred big eared locals and having to leave when some member of my family insults someone unintentionally- is bad but hilarious so its good. Getting over excited at 9 am and drinking so much champagne that i peak to soon and need a cat nap at 1pm – is bad. Eating a bloody nice xmas dinner – is good. Eating too much bloody nice xmas dinner – is bad and extremely uncomfortable. Listening to lots of music and wearing your slippers all day – is very good indeed. Fairy lights are the best invention in the world, so thats good, because they are EVERYWHERE . The apocaliptic blood bath that is 10 million turkeys getting slaughtered in the most in-humane way possible in an extremely short space of time – is very very bad.And makes me sad inside. But over all I do love Christmas, its a time for loving and giving and skipping and swaying and glowing and eating and shitting and singing and that my friends is a good thing.”
My fave xmas songs are
1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Sinatra
2. Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade
3 . “I Hope You All Die You Blood Hungry Carnivorous Christian Bastards”
– Laura Trouble (that’s a joke)
“What do I like best about Christmas?. Going home to my Mum and Dad’s and spending time with family and friends mainly. That’s the big bit! Then, singing Christmas carols, Christmas stockings full of bits you’ll find throughout the year that take you right back to Christmas, Christmas morning with “The Philadelphia Story” and Christmas evening eating too much chocolate! and the songs;
“Fairy Tale Of New York” The Pogues
“Oh Holy Night ”
And anything christmassy by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin!”
“What Christmas means to me….
-24 hour marathons of “A Christmas Story”
-Avoiding the malls at all cost (shopping online)
-Spending time with loved ones
-Mastering the art of regifting”
Favorite Christmas tunes….
Skating (A Charlie Brown Christmas)
Let It Snow
Nutcracker- Op. 71: No. 2 March
“The Christmas Song” By The Raveonettes
Mr Von Pip, who having a birthday on Xmas Eve is rather fond of the festive season…” There are toooooo many great Xmas songs to mention , but here’s my top 10
1. Fairytale Of New York- the Pogues and Kirsty McColl
2. Merry Xmas From The Family – Jill Souble
3. It’s Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas – Halfman Half Biscuit
4. Just Like Xmas – Low
5. Christmas Lullaby -Shane Mac Gowan
6. The Christmas Song – The Raveonettes
7. Donner And Blitzen – Badly Drawn Boy
8. Frosty The Snowman -The Cocteau Twins
9. All Alone On Christmas-Darlene Love
10. Same Old Christmas-Hilary Duff (!!)
And then theres the carols “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” “Silent Night” “O Little Town Of Bethlehem.”
And to this years festive releases:- as well as The Rumour Mills Christmas Charity Album mentioned by Miki which you can get HERE on I-tunes and Asobi Seksu’s single, there’s also Lucky Souls “Lips Are Unhappy” backed by an exclusive festive cover of “Lonely This Christmas” (all profits go to the War Child charity). Buy it here its only £0.40p !”
For films,well Christmas Eve wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without “It’s A Wonderful Life” it is possibly my favourite film ever. Not only is it thoughtful, emotive, magical and Christmassy…it’s possibly the most subversive film ever made. George Bailey is on the brink of suicide on Christmas Eve, and gets a chance to see what the world would be like if he’d never been born.”Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” – “You’ve been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you.” It appeals to me on every level, its humanity , its politics, it’s message, it really is so uplifting, people can make a difference, the little guy does matter! The good will out! The performance of Jimmy Stewart is incredible and it makes me cry-everytime! A perfect film! (sniffle)
“All Alone On Christmas” By Darlene Love
“Merry Christmas From The Family” By Jill Souble
Dogwood , who surely will one day be delivering the Christmas message to the nation, has this to say about the festive season :
“Hello Dogwood here, Settle down….
I don’t think Christmas has been Christmas since Andy Williams was forcibly removed from the schedules by the likes of Grade the Younger. Thank you Michael Grade, for reducing Christmas Day to an unceasing conveyor belt of Eastender ‘your gonna get yours’ storylines featuring nervous breakdowns, petty revenge, petty larceny, grand larceny, gay vengeance, straight vengeance, children coming out of the woodwork to unwitting parents, parents coming out of the closet to unwitting children – processed misery for the masses. Orwell would be proud. I’d like to sit down with my snowball and unshelled nuts and watch the afore-mentioned Williams or Como gad about in a sleigh against a filmed background of Aspen or some such place with a load of dolly birds in scanty Santa suits and white teeth. I can’t do that now because some idiot down at health and safety has decided that unshelled Brazil nuts represent too much of a litigation risk with the flying shell shrapnel that occurs when one applies their nutcracker.Back in Preston when I was a lad, Christmas would begin when Ma Dogwood would skin the tripe and allow us to mix the rendering pot whilst singing Industrial Revolution carols. My Dad, fresh from his Chartist meeting, would mix up a gin punch and serve them in a custard jug as we didn’t have any glassware. I would swig mine from a jam jar. Santa Claus would bring a variety of treats including a Satsuma, a root vegetable, a tin of pilchards, half a pound of cough candies, a box of matches and some woodbines. One year I got a scale size Anthony Eden whittled from driftwood. I still have him and he sits on top of my 4’ tinsel tree that I’ve had since 1968. Ipodman? I wouldn’t have known where to start lad.
As for my favourite Christmas songs, well: Perry Como and Angie Dickinson – The twelve foods of Christmas. It starts off with ‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a de-licious chocolate éclair and climaxes with ’12 Artic rolls, 11 Jaffa Cakes, 10 Swiss Rolls, 9 Wagon Wheels, 8 Mince Pies, 7 Iceland Bannofee Kebabs, 6 Lidl Lincoln biccies, 5 Crepe Suzettes, 4 Crunchie Bars,3 Selection Boxes, 2 Tins of Roses and a de-licious chocolate eclair’
The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forget – Vera Lynn. This always reduces me to tears as I WAS that boy in 1952.
Perry Como – ‘A Christmas Dream’ from The Odessa File. I admire Jon Voight immensely.
1 “Poetry For The Winter” By Komon (free download here)
2 As Above
3 As Above
4. Little Saint Nick By The Beach Boys ( or is it Hanson?)
5 Mary’s Boy Child (?) Boney M
BOBBY: ” I think my two favourite artists at the moment are Boney M and Komon (god knows what that says about the direction for the next Pips album..!) ” (Pipettes in Boney M- direction shocker!!? 3 female singers and a dude called Bobby ???!!!;)-VP)
“Mary’s Boy Child” By Boney M
For Marcella Puppini its “all-a about-a da family, capiche?”
For me, Christmas is all about going back to Italy and spending time with my extended family. We are really lucky as we all get on really well, and even my parents, who’ve been divorced for 20 years, get together during the holidays for family dinners. Our Christmas lunch is an absurdly lavish affair: the silver cutlery and embroidered table cloth come out, and we have about 6 or 7 courses, of which the main one is a whole rosted leg of pork. Every year we hope for snow, but these days it doesn’t snow until the new year. When I was a kid we sometimes would get snowed in for a couple of days and read by the fireplace. I loved that. The Christmas song that we listen to every year is an italian one called “Un Natale da buttare via” – a Christmas to forget. It’s a really tragic song about being dumped on Christmas day and it has always appealed to my melodramatic side. And there’s another song that my father requests every year, which me and my sister have been singing since we were about 7. It’s another Italian one, and my dad makes us sing it from the garden as it’s about the baby Jesus being cold on Christmas day. Us Italians do love a bit of drama!!! That one always makes us giggle.It’s a wonderful life is also a staple, which we usually watch on Boxing day.
“This Christmas I’ll be listening to the soundtrack of The Ghosts Of Oxford Street. I’ve had a cassette copy for years and finally managed to track down a CD of it earlier in the year. The Ghosts Of Oxford Street was a made for TV film/musical presented and written by Malcolm Mclaren about the history of Oxford Street. It features music by a whole array of peeps like Tom Jones, Kirsty MacColl, and true to form a pretty bad stab at a Stock, Aitken and Waterman techno style track by McLaren himself. To my knowledge it only aired once, in 1991. And its a great shame that it isn’t shown each and every Xmas as it would make a pleasant change from The Snowman.
The Ghosts Of Oxford Street (Sinead O Connor-Silent Night)
The final word however, with regard to the meaning of Christmas, I`ll leave to Eric Matthews who has been producing astonishing and innovative music for many years on the Sub Pop label and has worked with Tahiti 80, The Dandy Warhols, Ivy, Man of the Year, Elliott Smith, Paula Kelley, Pugwash, Volovan, and Bug 2000. 2007 has seen Eric as industrious as ever, which included working with Miki Berenyi and Christopher Sienk on the Seinking Ships album, due for relase next year .
“To me Christmas is a two fold thing. It is both a bizarre time where we I get all jazzed about spending stupid money on those closest to me and getting cool presents. But it is also an intensification of the general message of my religion. I think of Christ 300 days a year anyway but in this time it becomes more intense somehow. I surround myself in His glory and it really helps get me through.
3 songs: Christmastime Is Here, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and (from the hymnal) It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.
Movies: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Ben Hur, Groundhog’s Day, and Jesus Of Nazareth.”
Quote Of The Year
Monster Bobby after a recent Pipettes gig in NYC discussing Mr Von Pips dancing!
(Courtesy Of Dave Cromwell)
“Christmas Lullabye” By Shane MacGowan
Happy Xmas , we’ll leave you with a special Christmas verse, from Neal Zetter
“When The Music Ran Out”
I had a horrid nightmare about
On Christmas eve the music ran out
The radio had no sound
There was silence all around
The magic that made the melody
Was just a distant memory
A buried treasure underground
Lost and never to be found
When the music ran out
iPods were idle
CDs ceased – all blank
The notes were all stolen
From the musical bank
Concert halls stood empty
Discos deserted and dead
No more songs left to write
Or to stick in people’s heads
So they read
When the music ran out
A, B, C, D, E, F, G
Were consigned to history
F-sharp, A-minor, B-flat too
All unemployed with nothing to do
Standing in a long dole queue
On that day
When there were no tunes left to play
They packed the instruments away
Coloured rainbows turned to grey
Rappers were wrecked
DJs in disarray
Buskers broken in dismay
Andy Von Pip said “I’m anything but ok”
When the music ran out
Whistlers couldn’t whistle
Dancers couldn’t dance
Hummingbirds that tried to hum
Didn’t have a chance…
But on Christmas morning I woke up from my dream
I could feel my heart beat
I began to tap my feet
I switched on my MP3
The best possible presents were waiting there for me
My ears enthralled in ecstasy
Screaming Ballerinas, Wedding Present, Clash and the Pipettes
Hot Puppies, Operator Please, Pulp, the Raveonettes
Long Blondes, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Charlotte Hatherley
Ladytron, Duke Spirit, Smiths and Morrissey,
Left me without a doubt
That there will NEVER be a day
(I’m sooooooo relieved to say)
When the music runs out
HAPPY CHRISTMAS-“It’s A Wonderful Life”
Festive Greetings !
“Everthing’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas” By Eels
Because It’s Not Love (But It’s Still A Feeling ) By The Pipettes
As mainstream “Indie” continues to drown in the self made quagmire that reflects the music industries apparent “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” mindset, (whereby they seek to tirelessly reproduce band after band that conforms to the skinny lads with guitars genre) people like Pipette Puppetmaster Monster Bobby would say the more discerning music fan is finally beginning to wake up the fact that pop is actually the new Indie. Mind ,some may say thats bollocks however The Pipettes appear to be band not afraid to reach back and reclaim all that was great about pop music, but also a band who claim they put their own unique stamp on that sound, they suggest that they write classic Motown Record-era Girl Group songs with a modern twist and suggest that people are missing that sense of fun that seems to be amiss in today’s monochrome world of pop. A world that is currently in the stranglehold of nihilistic young men whining about the futility of “being” and the eternal agony of having greasy hair and “combination skin”. Or not???
The Pipettes wish to put the fun firmly back into pop and provide a well-needed slice of escapism. Oscar Wilde once said “Suffering is one very long moment”, if we were to update that maxim and apply it to the modern world we could say “Suffering is listening to Razorlight” so, is this the new pop or just a rehash of well worn soundbites and clever PR ??… We dispatched Mr. VP to have a little chat with Rosay Pipette prior to the release of their album in America to find out how things are in Team Pip…and seek answers to questions that other publications wouldn’t have the audacity to ask…
VP: This year has seen you concentrate on The U.S. ahead of the release of “WATP’s” (2/10/2007) You’re due to go back out there I believe (once the visa delays are sorted). What was the overall response from the U.S. crowds and indeed the media over there?
Rosay: We’ve been to the states twice now, and both times we have been really very pleased with the reactions we have had. I don’t think any of us really expected to get as much attention as we did, and I think having support from sites like pitchfork from early on really helped. I think that because we had already been going for a couple of years before our first trip to the states meant that the band was a much more fully formed concept through experience etc which hopefully came across in our performances. I think we are a better band for the last tour we did out there as I suppose we felt we had so much to prove. It will be interesting to see how it goes this time around! We certainly witnessed some very good dancing!!
VP: I did hear a rumour that the whole album was to be re-recorded for the American release? True or False?
Rosay: False. We did remix it though.
VP: What’s been the best thing and the worst thing about long haul touring?
Rosay: The best thing is getting to travel to all of these amazing places and have people listen to your music and (hopefully) get a positive response. Its quite incredible when you get the feeling that you’ve communicated in some way despite cultural and often language barriers and differences and to see people dancing to songs we wrote in a little studio in Brighton… The worst thing is missing family and friends and some of the smells that develop on the bus…
VP: What are the plans for the rest of the year, will fans in the U.K. be able to get their grubby mitts on any new material before the year is over? Any more live shows in Blighty planned this year?
Rosay: Well there isn’t really any resting going on for the remainder of the year, we’re in the states for five weeks, then promoting the record in Japan and Australia, so it is unlikely we’ll get to do any shows in the UK before new year unfortunately, same goes for new material I’m afraid. Hopefully we’ll get the chance for some more writing; there are just not enough hours in the day!!! Next year we’ll be cracking down on that side of things so a little patience is required unfortunately!!
VP: Joe’s left to concentrate on his own band, and has been replaced by Jason. Although I’m sure you’re all very supportive of Joe Lean &TJJJ aren’t five skinny Indie lads much loved by theNME the sort of band you’ve spoken out against in the past? (Ooooooh controversy! I’ve gone all Paxman! )
Rosay: It is true that we have always felt fed up with the NME culture, and a lot of that had to do with the fact that none of these bands that they champion, really seem to care about song craft in any way… Joe is a very talented songwriter and I think that really comes through in Joe Lean and the Jing Jangs…. I think they feel just as bemused about the attention they have received from the NME, but It would be great if they could use that forum in a creative way, which is they’re intention. It goes without saying that they all need a good feed up though…
VP: You’ve complained in the past of sexism in the music industry. Does it annoy you that in some quarters you’re dismissed as a retro novelty band? Conversely a group of blokes who wear retro clothes, have a sense of fun, have their own dance moves and call themselves “Madness” are treated with respect?
Rosay: It is annoying but it is something that we try not to concentrate on too much. We just want to be the best band we can be, and in fact I find the novelty thing rather funny. We’ve always said we would love to have a one hit wonder, but I think people chose to take us on face value a lot of the time, and we couldn’t care less. We’ve been doing this for four years now, so we certainly don’t see ourselves as a novelty, and it does get boring to be constantly reminded of gender, and the fact that people forget there are four boys in the band….
VP: What have been your own individual highlights this year (apart from this interview obviously)
Going to Japan for the first time was incredible, driving through the Arizona desert, playing the main stage at Glasto, going to Austria and being serenaded by a chef and the promoter who sang us all these amazing Corinthian folk songs with lots of Corinthian brandy, meeting Bryan ferry was funny…
Being able to travel to so many different places. Serbia especially, meeting Beastie Boys and CSS was incredible. Going to Japan and America were also highlights.
Getting to tour a bit more, playing all the major festivals and getting to record those new songs, it was a very interesting experience and I’m very proud of the outcome.
VP: Your website http://thepipettes.co.uk/ has some interesting “characters” within its forum, they draw pictures of you, they Photoshop you, they write poems, musicals and stories about you. What the devil do you all make of it? Is it the sort of thing you excepted when you joined a band?
Rosay: Its certainly not the sort of thing I expected, I think we do have a pretty creative bunch of fans!!! I do find it all a little strange, and it’s quite hard to relate to, but its great that people care enough to do things like that… I do like the caption competition ….
VP: Do you all still reside in Brighton, or have you had to flee, pursued by lovestruck males who regularly serenade your balconies until late in the evening and whom constantly festoon your porches with red roses, fine wines, Belgium chocolates and love poems ……….Or Not ?
Rosay: Well we are split half and half between London and Brighton. I have just moved back to London but it was certainly not in response to any of the above!!!!
VP: Glastonbury? A lot of people have been whingeing about it being too corporate, middle class and Middle aged. Should we adopt a “Logan’s Run” type policy and ban anybody over from 30 from gigs, record stores etc. Should they simply be given a packet of mint imperials an ill-fitting cardigan and be left in the corner to mumble about the “good old days”. What did you think of Glasto this year?
Rosay: I think its great that there is such a broad mixture of people at Glastonbury and it would be terrible to make festivals exclusively for young people (reading is a case in point!!) perhaps the headliners recently have been pretty uninspiring on the whole… I enjoyed Glastonbury much more than last time (!!!!). The fact we got to play on a real stage was good enough for starters! It isn’t really a music festival; it’s more of a cultural event, which I think people forget. I think it’s a bit too big for me personally though….
VP: How far along are the new album/new songs? Will it be a completely different sound to what we’re used to, will we lose the do-wops, if so can you give anything away yet or will we have to learn the virtue of patience?
Rosay: As I said its not really been the priority this year. We have started writing again, whether those songs make it to the second record is yet to be seen, we really don’t know how its going to turn out yet, it will definitely not be another version if WATP, but we can’t really give anything away. We know that it will involve a broadening of the concept….
VP: How do you (Rosay) manage to ladder your tights all the time?
Rosay: I don’t know tights just don’t seem to like me very much, although I have to say that I have been preserving them much better of late, and have endeavoured to wear tights in one piece. I’m just a bit scruffy I’m afraid…
VP: You all seem to like a wide range of different musical styles, do you ever argue about music. Who would each of you recommend to look out for in the coming months?
We do argue about music all of the time, which I think is really healthy. I would hate it if we all had exactly the same taste and agreed about everything. One of the best things about being in this band is learning from each other. I’m really excited about the new PJ Harvey record…
We do but my music taste has broadened so much since being in the band that it’s definitely a good thing. I’d recommend the new M.I.A. album.
We argue about music all the time! That’s only healthy in a band like ours though I think. I’d recommend The Gentle Good and The Real Heat.
VP: What’s the weirdest request/Myspace message /piece of fan mail you’ve received since being Pipettes?
Rosay: Someone once asked where we got out tights from on our gmail. I naively replied only to discover the impetus for the question was because the bloke had a tights fetish, which made me feel quite sick….
VP:Finally sum up your year in five words beginning with the letter ” P “
Rosay: Playing Parties Proves Pleasingly Popular…HUZZAH!!! (I’m quite Proud of that, it’s a sentence!!)
You/Me are a downbeat two piece girl boy electronic from Eskilstuna, Sweden. They first came to the attention of the VPME in spring via the influential Swedish music blog Swedes Please. The combination of Anna Berglund’s seductive vocals and Ander Nyberg’s synth wizardry creates a sombre and epic soundscape resulting in an incredibly intimate experience for the listener.
Influential Scandinavian music website It’s A Trap described them as being the surprise hit of the Emmaboda festival and for “record labels to start queuing” in order to sign them. To date the band have put out one self-released EP entitled Flow My Tears.
VP: How did you meet ?
You/Me :We met at school in 2003, we both attended the music program, and played together in another band at first, but then decided to form a band that suited our wishes in music better.
VP : What is the population of Eskilstuna and how has it influenced your music and the people you are today ?
You/Me : Recently we have both moved to Stockholm but Anna grew up in Eskilstuna (90.000 inhabitants) and Anders grew up not very far away in a smaller town. Anna: Eskilstuna is a pretty shitty town, and as a normal reaction to that, you feel like you want to escape, (like most youths who lives in a shitty town) music became my way out. Anders: in Eskilstuna, 90% of the local bands played Hardcore and I wanted to make music that is as far away from HC as possible.
VP: The lyrics in your songs are incredibly intimate, which is unusual for synth based music as the genre normally features throwaway or meaningless words. Are the lyrics all influenced by your own personal experience?
Anna: YES. I don’t sit down, thinking about what lyrics to write, the words often comes to me at different places, like the supermarket or when I’m walking to buy cigarettes, so I guess they are taken from my own perspective on life, my experiences and my subconscious. and of course I get inspired bye all kinds of stuff, like samurai-movies or old relationships.
VP: Since playing the Emmaboda festival a number of UK tastemakers have been quick to sing the praises of You/Me. Notably Monster Bobby (of The Pipettes), Ricky Haley (of Liars Club fame and whose Alt Delete label put out the first New Young Pony Club single) and former VPME interviewees Tack!Tack!Tack! (who were instrumental in bringing Those Dancing Days to the wider attention of the Swedish music industry.)
With this in mind can we expect to see you in the UK anytime soon?
Anders: yeah, we have been thinking about it, and recently we have been in contact with Nick Levine (T!T!T!) but we have no Idea what the future holds, so maybe yes maybe no, we’ll see. but hopefully.
VP: I see you are playing Italy later in the month. How did that come about?
Anna: It’s a contact that we made at the Emmaboda Festival this year and we are really exited about it.
VP : “Through Four Kinds” is by far the most upbeat track on the Flow My Tears EP. Its tone is totally different to the rest of the material. Does this hint at a possible future direction for the band?
Anna: “Through Four Kinds” is one of the first songs we made, but I don’t really agree with that its so different from the other ones, when we write our music we don’t plan to make a “uptempo song” or a slow one, it just happens by itself, as the song gets made. but sure there will be songs you can dance to or listen to when you drive around in your car.
VP : Do you have any other releases planned in the near future?
Anders: Yeah! We are working on some new material, but we are still looking for a label. soon we will have material for an album, and as soon as we find someone who wants to release it, we will.
VP : Sum up yourselves only using five words?
You/me : minimal, frank ,moving, new, forgiving
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.
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 )
Mention “Monster Bobby” and invariably the response will be something like “Aha! Brighton’s answer to Phil Spector !” or “Oh yes, he’s that Pipettes chap”. But as well as playing guitar and co-writing songs as a member of The Pipettes backing band The Cassettes, Monster Bobby has been one busy geezer. He’s organised club nights, concerts, and produced fanzines (notably “Totally Bored” ) as well as performing as a solo artist releasing mainly limited edition singles such as the excellent “Heaven Hides Nothing”.
On 13th August, 2007 MB’s long awaited debut album“Gaps” is released in The UKvia Hypnote Recording Concern (July 17 in the U.S.). The album features “the almost complete absence of any gaps between tracks, each one segued into the next with the aid of field recordings and other assorted noises and soundscapes,” In addition to those noises and sound scapes, “Gaps” features bassoon, glockenspiel, tuba, and cornet. Interestingly the album title is actually not a play on the way the songs fit together,but was titled in advance and somehow just serendipitously came together with no actual “gaps”
In between being mysterious and profound, the Monster that is Bobby took time out to speak to the “VPME” and answer the age old question “ So what’s it all about?”
VP: Where does the name “Monster Bobby” come from?
MB: My flat mate, Lydia, who I lived with in halls at the time I started playing (and the Add N to (X) song that came out around then.)
VP: What are the overall plans for ‘Gaps’? Are you going to tour it? Release any singles off it?
MB:I don’t know. I’m going to the Edinburgh festival for a week to play at a night called folka dots. I think really the overall plans for “ Gaps,” from my perspective, was to record an album of my songs with little bits of field recordings, a real brass and woodwind section that we’ve basically done our best to make sound like a load of synths and samples from old records from the forties, and an awful lot of noise. After that, well…who can say…
VP: Some of the song titles on the album may well be contenders for “best song titles in pop” where do you get your inspiration for such songs?
MB:Walking… and hypnagogic hallucinations.
VP :It’s been reported you’re launching your own record label, any news?
MB: It will be called Little Other Records. It’s musical output will resemble, to a fair extent, the kind of music I used to put on “Totally Bored” compilations, especially Mrs Reed, Bens Pens, Hot Roddy, Les Domestico…maybe a few others…we’ll see…., and it will be run on Lacanian principles (hehe)..
VP: What are your thoughts on the current Music scene?
MB: I don’t really listen to much current music, except by accident. I like Bonde DoRole, yeh, Brazil seems to have a good music scene right now. I don’t really like any of the London bands, lots of good stuff coming out of Sweden last few years mind you…
VP: This year has seen you play Mexico, the US, Glasto, etc what have been your personal highlights?
MB: Missing my alarm clock, running through the streets of Lund, somehow bunking the train from Lund to Emmaboda, jumping straight into a taxi that my friend Nick had booked for me ten minutes before from Emmaboda station to the festival, setting up and sound checking in about three minutes then just about being able to squeeze in a 25minute set before the main stage started going and I got a drowned out (I was, even after all that, an hour and a half late)…seeing Bjork at Glastonbury, the animal collective at Benicassim, and the Wu Tang Clan at “T In The Park…Money Mark wanting to take photos of Seb’s casiotone at the exit festival in Serbia….finding a BBC radiophonic workshop record that I didn’t have on Haight Street, San Francisco….watching sheet lightning illuminate the mountains from a balcony in the Swiss alps.. hearing three chefs sing Corinthian folk songs at the lakes festival in Austria.. Karaoke in New York, Hamburg and Helsinki…. train journeys in Austria and Sweden and Switzerland… the sound of being caught between three competing mariachi bands at a bar in Guadalajara…finn air breakfasts…going home every now and then and watching lots of Hitchcock films…
VP:Who’d win a dance off between The Cassettes and The Pipettes?
VP: Sum yourself up in Five Words
MB: I would prefer not to.
NB/ The VPME can confirm that Monster Bobby is not Phil Spector, and that no aspiring Hollywood starlets were injured during this interview. (Additional thanks to Bright Eyes, Fran The Fan And Mr Cakes