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 !

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Tales From The Dark Side – Santa Dog Interview

“Chemical” By Santa Dog

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

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

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

VP: How did the band get together?

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

VP: What have you released thus far Ms Rowena ?

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

VP : Any up coming live performances?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VP: Five words to desribe how you feel today

RD: Happy, craving, cold, autumnal, musical

VP : Twas a pleasure

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

Kittyhawk -The album

 

UK stockists
direct from their website
Rough Trade
Norman Records
Amazon

 

USA stockists
Darla Records
Tonevendor
Amazon

 

Japanese stockists
Quince Records
Tower Records
Amazon
HMV

 

Big Bang – 7″ single

 

 

UK stockists
Sounds eXPerience
Cargo
digital download

Video

“Big Bang” By Santa Dog

 

Wallpapers

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Album Review “The Rise And Fall Of Ruby Woo” -The Puppini Sisters

 

“Old Cape Cod ” By The Puppini Sisters

To start an irregular series of occasional album reviews we kick off with the Puppini Sisters second album “The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo”. We decided to rope in a guest reviewer, on this occasion we were lucky enough to get forces sweetheart 1992-1995, Ms Anna Peska to do the honours …..

The Puppini Sisters – The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo
UK Release Date: 01.10.2007
Universal Jazz

Following on from their ultra successful debut album ‘Betcha Bottom Dollar’, like all charming musical surprises, Marcella, Kate and Stephanie otherwise known as the fabulous The Puppini Sisters deliver a stunning second album amusingly entitled ‘The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo’ (Ruby Woo being a vivid shade of red lipstick which the lovely ladies have a penchant for: – come on MAC cosmetics, sponsor them immediately!).

The Tracks‘Spooky’ a Dusty Springfield/Andy Williams cover opens the album at a full on up-tempo jazzy pace quickly followed the virally infectious Bangles, ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’, like you’ve never heard it before. Some beautiful whistling going on there too!

Everyone admittedly (or perhaps not) owns a ‘chill out’ compilation which is guaranteed to have Groove Armada’s ‘At The River’ cunningly disguised as ‘Old Cape Cod’ contained within. The Sisters, with their trademark harmonies manage to relax and lull you into a state of tranquility only to swiftly and painlessly bring you back to life with the wonderfully buoyant ‘Soho Nights’ an original penned by the girls. It tells the tale of many a night spent in London’s more nocturnal and seedy but ‘fun’ districts and features the apt lyric “drinks were dirty like the streets”. Westminster council should take note of this well made observation if I may say so myself!

‘I Can’t Believe (I’m Not a Millionaire’) another original, is a bluesy number with a fantastic guitar solo courtesy of Martin Kolarides. ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing’) is a happy, clappy, foot stomping piece of music (with a few Puppini-esque surprises cleverly segwayed into it) which will lighten the dankest autumnal day. Take That asked us, “Could It Be Magic”, my answer to their question is yes, yes it is magic, The Puppini Sisters conjure up (do you see what I did there)……a brilliant cover, sounding sultry, seductive and sexy(I seem to like using words that start with the letter “s”)yes they achieve all the things that “chubby” Barlow and the boys singularly failed to do!

‘Jilted’ another original, is a song which spookily sounds like the soundtrack to my life. The opening lyric being “I bought another dinner for one” says it all; but that’s enough about me,a song initially about self pity which then turns into a ‘Sisters’ anthem. Next up is ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)’ a bitter-sweet song (depending on the variety of the said apple tree ) originally recorded by the great Glenn Miller and The Andrews Sisters. This, in my opinion is a 1940’s song about the art of stalking.

Personally ‘Crazy In Love’ is one of the stand out tracks on the album. A huge hit for Beyonce (and her gravity defying posterior,) the Puppini’s give this song a truly amazing makeover featuring a fantastic violin solo by the lovely Stephanie, transforming this R&B classic into a foot stomping one might say almost Romany influenced melodic work of art, which you can shake your ‘booty’ to in the privacy of your own home, if you so wish.

‘It’s Not Over (Death of The Toy Piano) tells us the tragic tale of the ‘suicide’ of Kate’s beloved baby piano. I sadly witnessed it stage dive during a gig in London only to shatter into tiny,little, deceased piano pieces. I strongly believe that writing the lyrics to this song acted as ‘therapy’ for its loving owner. The penultimate track on the album; ‘And She Sang’ demonstrates how effortlessly the Puppini’s voices blend to produce quite a haunting number.

‘We Have All The Time In The World’ originally sung by gravel voiced Louis Armstrong (who it appears was sadly misled with regards to how time and mortality work, god rest his soul-VP) ends the album in a creamy smooth sultry, loved up fashion with Marcella ‘doing her thang’ on the accordion.

To cut a very long story short, this second album is beautifully produced and sung with choruses that stay long in the memory. A great mixture of cover versions and original tracks demonstrates the versatility and creativity of The Puppini Sisters They do jazz, they do swing (???… oh…. yes sorry – I understand now.VP) they do pop, they do blues; a truly amazing and varied repertoire from three astoundingly talented ladies!

Expect this album to be filling many a Christmas stocking this year instead of the usual nuts and tangerines!

Anna Peska

Click on the image to buy

Wallpaper

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They Were The Pipettes – The Pipettes Interview


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)

Rosay:
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…

Becki:
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.

Gwenno :
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?

Rosay:
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…

Becki:
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.

Gwenno:
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!!)

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

We Are The Pipettes Fan Site

“We Are The Pipettes” U.S. Version 2/10/2007

“Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me” U.S. EP

The Pipettes North American EP – ‘Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me’ is available in stores or alternatively you can download the EP from iTunes.

“We Are The Pipettes” U.K./Europe

iTunes UK
The album is also available in the rest of Europe. Click below for order from the following territory.
Germany

Norway
Sweden

VIDEOS

“Because It’s Not Love (But It’s Still A Feeling)” By The Pipettes

“Judy” By The Pipettes

“Dirty Mind” By The Pipettes

Wallpapers

“Hardcore Uproar” The You/Me Interview

“To Live” By You/Me

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

Links

On Myspace

You/Me Wallpaper

“Sheffield’s Loveliest Band?” Monkey Swallows The Universe Interview

“Little Polvier” By Monkey Swallows the Universe

Not all bands from Sheffield have a Simeon derived moniker, those that do however, are not all noisy little urchins , take Monkey Swallows the Universe for example with their acoustic indie pop. It’s intelligent, its well crafted and its all very lovely and rather moving with songs that cover the whole emotional gamut, love, jealousy, pirates,apathy, imaginary friends, and death ! Their bittersweet tunes have drawn comparisons with the likes of Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura and Mazzy Star. The more you listen to them the more you release what wonderful songs they write ,that this is music from the heart by real people and this is music that matters.

They have been described as as “something special” (Stylus Magazine), “big big news” (Rough Trade), “boss” (Richard Hawley)”Capable of haunting, tear-prickling acoustic beauty…more than worthy of any – and everyone’s respect and attention.” (Drowned In Sound)

Originally a two piece with founding members Nat Johnson and Kev Gori the band expanded in 2005 to feature Catherine Tully on violin, Andy George on cello & Rob Dean on drums.

In 2006 the band released their debut album ‘The Bright Carvings’, with “Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation” , their latest critically acclaimed album “The Casket Letters ” released on Loose records, is out now and to quote the guardian “If they don’t get some sort of mass media coverage and fellatio for this album it could be a good reason to set fire to your passport and move to Sweden.” I would have to concur in the strongest possible terms , its a wonderful album and really should be in any self respecting music fans collection . We had a little natter with this exceptional young band……

VP: How did the current line up come together ?

Nat: “We met Cate, Rob and Andy through the same bunch of friends that had forced me and Kev to play gigs in the first place!”

VP: MSTU ? Isn’t that the name of an episode from the old and reassuringly bonkers Japanese show “Monkey”? Are you fans ? Have you seen Albarn’s Operas based on the legend/TV Show ?

Nat:” Kev and I are fans – we were watching it when forming the band. We think Albarn owes us free tickets to his show”

VP: Your latest album “The Casket Letters” has just been released did you find recording it easier than the first album “The Bright Carvings”

Rob: “It was very similar actually, both were recorded in a bit of a hurry although the actual recording time was spread out a bit more this time. There’s a lot more instrumentation going on on this album, the first one was basically Nat & Kev’s guitars then little bits the rest of us have added (Cate, Andy and I had not been in the band for very long at that point), while the new record has a much more ‘full band’ sound. The recording was all quite straightforward though, no major disagreements!”

Andy: “It was recorded piece by piece a few songs at a time and then fitted painstakingly together at the end. The instrumentation was more comprehensive this time and therefore it was often more complex to record although we had more experience after the first album and Alan Smyth at 2fly had worked with us before and so knew what to expect. It’s always enjoyable playing around in the studio!”

VP: You have been called “”Sheffield’s loveliest band” and your sound has been called “ravishing” , how would you describe it ?

Andy: “Folky indie-pop.”
Cate: “Melodic and pretty but usually contemplative about dark things like death.”

VP: What or whom take your fancy from the current music scene?

Andy: “The Howling Bells and Au Revoir Simone.”
Rob: “David Thomas Broughton, Fanfarlo, Richard Hawley, The Arcade Fire, Muse, Joanna Newsome, The Decemberists, The Shins, Bright Eyes
Sheffield bands: Smokers Die Younger, Fury of the Headteachers, Champion Kickboxer.”

VP: If music is the food of love who would you say are the indigestion ?

Andy: “The Horrors. Little Man Tate.”
Cate: “James Blunt”

VP: Aren’t two of you qualified primary school teachers ? What do you teach , any plans for Jack Black “School of Rock ” type lessons?

Cate: “Yes, I’m a primary school teacher and although it’d be fun to do a Jack Black type lesson, there isn’t much chance during the school day as there is so much to cover already. Maybe one day though…”
Andy: “Yes – Primary so a bit of everything. I use our music in lessons sometimes but it’s pretty hard to teach the cello to 30 kids at the same time!”

VP: Reality TV ? a great way to spend a night in or the televisual equivalent of removing your brains via your ears with a knitting needle ?

Andy: “The latter”

VP: Txt spk ? RU4 or against ?

Cate: “Against, what’s the point of writing ‘woz’? It has the same number of letters as the proper spelling. Get it right. ”
Rob: “Absolutely against. You don’t even need it in texts anymore cos of predictive text.”
Andy: “4 but not in the classroom!”

VP: Highlights of your time together thus far ?

Andy: “Festivals”
Nat: “Yeah, definitely the festivals, though we’re sick of camping now!!”

VP: What have been your favourite films of the year ?

Cate: “Blades of Glory”
Andy: “Hot Fuzz”

VP: Pick five of the most ridiculous words in the English language (eg. Johnny Borrell is a genius)

Andy: “Iraq is better off now”

 

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

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VIDEO

“Science” By Monkey Swallows The Universe

Monkey Swallows The Universe Wallpaper

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“Apostrophe NOW !” – The Hussy’s Interview

“We Expected” – The Hussy’s

The Hussy’s are a 6-piece band from Glasgow.

Their songs recall the quirkiness and the pop hooks of amongst others, the vastly underrated Supernaturals. It will therefore come as no surprise to learn that head Hussy James McColl indeed used to be The Supers singer and songwriter. The Hussy’s however are not a rehash of McColl’s former band with a female singer, they have a sound, which is all their own, but one that is not afraid to draw on many influences. You could hear a dash of Madness in one track, a touch of Kirsty MaColl, or even a nod to Polly Styrene in others! Trying to pin down a style is difficult as the Hussy’s’ don’t seem to sit still for too long, compare “Tiger” to “We Expected” or listen to the quirky “Rock Concert”, and in terms of style, they could be by different bands, were it not for Filli’s distinctive vocals giving it that “Hussy” factor.

The Hussy’s released their debut EP ‘Tiger’, in September 2005, and their second EP in March 2006; both on their own label Fat Cheerleader records. These EPs picked up airplay on various radio stations, including Janice Long at Radio 2, Steve Lamacq at Radio 6 Music and Jim Gellatly & Dominik Diamond at XFM. Long commented “Any A & R man worth his salt should sign this band now”

In May 2007 the band released the fabulous “We Expected” as a single in the UK. It reached number 22 in the Radio 1 Indie chart.The band have also released an album in Japan and have had their song “Rock Concert” used on a nationwide advert for very comfortable, stylish yet affordable, shoes in the USA. They will release their excellent new EP “Sunday Morning” later this year.

If you’re looking for dark brooding angst ridden music, then you’ll be disappointed, however, if summery, sing-a-long Indie pop, guaranteed to put a smile on your face, is your thing, then you may want to check out The Hussy’s. We decided to find out what the scamps had been up to and for the sake of all the grammar Nazi’s out there (Mark!) we dared to broach the subject of … that troublesome apostrophe!

VP: James is well known from his work in The Supernaturals and the Hussy’s are oft referred to as “James’ project”…How did it all come about?

The Hussy’s: Steph and James started the band. James had written some songs like “We Expected” and wanted to do a female fronted band like the Cardigans/Eurhythmics. Had auditioned loads of singers but none were any good? Caught Fili playing her acoustic guitar in a folk club and that was that really.

VP: What’s with the apostrophe in The Hussy’s? Or is this a deliberate attempt to piss off the grammar police for whom “Eats Shoots and Leaves” is their Bible

The Hussy’s: No, it is to distinguish ourselves from the clothing label. It was intentional. Every two weeks we get e-mail from someone saying “Do you realise this means belonging to and why have you done this and so on”. We send back e-mails with terrible spelling and punctuation to annoy them.

VP: Is Pop the new Indie?

The Hussy’s: The whole Indie music thing in the UK with 4 little guys with mod haircuts who like Oasis, The Jam, Libertines, Arctics and the Beatles is extremely tired but record companies/NME just keep it going on and on and on and on. We don’t like being called Indie because we do try and make our records as pop as possible.

VP: Where do the ideas for the songs come from?

The Hussy’s: Television, books, people we know, Myspace. Life in all its shades and colours.

VP: Female fronted bands often get the Blondie comparisons but whom would you say are and were your musical influences

The Hussy’s: Each band member has their own thing and you can hear that in the way they take the songs and change them to get their little thing in. Gordy the drummer is a Rush fanatic and likes the Police and you can hear that in the drums. Steph likes punk and the Beatles, Greg- Ben Folds, Ronnie- Phil Collins, James -The Move and Fili likes Avril Lavigne and Distillers and so on. When each member plays their part in the rehearsal room or studio it just sounds like the Hussy’s but you can hear everybody’s influences. Of course we like Blondie- who doesn’t?

VP: What’s the best gig and the worst gig you’ve played and why?

The Hussy’s: Best gig – probably to a half empty Fopp records (at closing time) in May. We were amazing and played out our skins for some weird reason.Worst gig- a gig in Baby Blue in Glasgow where the police stopped the gig just as we were about to go onstage. We sold 10 CDs though so it wasn’t that bad.

VP: What do you make of the current music scene? We seem to have genres every week, nu-rave, nu-gaze. Is it complete bollocks or will the influence of the Internet herald a new musical age and wrest the power away from the big labels, whom, it would appear haven’t really anticipated the change in the musical landscape?

The Hussy’s: For example it costs us £450 to do a gig in London (diesel/van/hire/hotels). We have to fund that from CD sales or our jobs. A signed band would get that paid for by a record company. It will cost us £7000 to make our next album- we have to get that together ourselves somehow. A record company would laugh at such a cheap record. They have e -teamers whose day job it is to go on forums and hype up say “Air Traffic”. You can’t compete with that and that’s why everyone wants to be signed to a big label- life is so much easier and you can quit your job and tell all your friends how cool you are. People don’t realise that bands like Camera Obscura and Pipettes, on very small labels, have achieved huge amounts.

VP: What’s going on in Scotland musically right now? Are you drowning in A& R men trying to discover the new “View”?

The Hussy’s: We have no contact with A & R men so wouldn’t know. Glasvegas, Johnny and the Debutantes are some of the good bands kicking around.

VP: Ever felt the urge to maybe cover “The Day Before Yesterday’s Man” or “Smile”

The Hussy’s: We did “Smile” once when Fili was being sick backstage and James had to sing all the songs. No one in the audience realised he used to be a singer and so well the crowd congratulated him afterwards for doing. Apart from that one time- no.

VP: You’ve released what I would say is your strongest single yet ” We Expected “ in May 2007 what’s next on the agenda?

The Hussy’s: We release our next EP through Weekender on September 24th called “Sunday Morning”. It has three other tracks “Jesus”, “Rock Steady” and “Sister Mary Jo”. It is classic Hussy’s and well worth buying.

Links

Myspace

Official Site

Click below to buy!

Japanese mini-album
Japanese mini-album
Release 01/08/07

Tiger Napoleon Necklace Ep
Tiger Ep Napoleon Ep *NEW* Necklace Ep
Sept ’05 April ’06 Sept ’07
Click here! SOLD OUT! Click here!

 

VIDEO

“Sunday Morning -Live On Channel M” By The Hussy’s

Hussy’s Wallpaper

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