THE VPME REVIEW MARCH/APRIL 08

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

The Panel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On with the tunes

The Long Blondes “Century”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caesers- Boo Hoo Goo Goo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Feeling “Without You”

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

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

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

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

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

PETER: No thank you.

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

The Last Shadow Puppets- The Age Of The Understatement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Cave – Dig Lazarus Dig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Are Scientists – After Hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Video

Mystery Jets and Laura Marling – “Young Love”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2007 And All That..The Heroes, The Villains

“Blitzed” By the Raveonettes

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
11.Silently-Blonde Redhead
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:
Eric Matthews
Miki Berenyi
Laura Trouble
Nick Levine
Bec Newman
Rose Dougall
Dogwood
Juila Indelicate
David Gedge
Jason Christie
Tony Wilson
Mikey Guitar

Villains Of The Year :
Tony Blair
David Cameron
Gordon Brown
Connor Mc Nicholas
Johnny Borrell
John Sim
Spice Girls
Simon Cowell
Chris Moyles

TV Of The Year :
Heroes
Extras (Xmas special)
Dr Who

Discoveries Of The Year:
Screaming Ballerinas
Fight Like Apes
Slow Down Tallahassee
Paloma Faith
Lilly Rae
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
Control
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

Breakthrough Acts;
Those Dancing Days
Operator Please
Kate Nash
The Enemy

Big or Bigger Next Year ?
Strange Idols
Screaming Ballerinas
The Hot Puppies
Fight Like Apes
Howling Bells
The School
Kat Flint
The Ting Tings
Paloma Faith
The Indelicates
The Hussy’s
Havana Guns
Bauer
Soko
Black Kids
Asobi Seksu
The Duke Spirit
Glasvegas
Cut Off Your Hands
Let’s Wrestle
Lucy And The Caterpiller
The Hot Melts

“Crucify” By Screaming Ballerinas

Nicest Waistcoat
1. Ollie Pound (Screaming Ballerinas)
2. Joe Lean – (Joe Lean And The JJJ)

Worst Lyrics

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

“Serious” – By Richard Hawley

So This Is Christmas…..

VPME CHRISTMAS EDITION 2007

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 legend Miki Berenyi agreed 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

James from The Hussy’s Top Xmas themed Songs are

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)

Merry Christmas Everybody -By Slade

And Beth Gibson from The Hot Puppies tells us about her stockings!

“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!”

Christopher Seink Of Seinking Ships

“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
Feliz Navidad
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.

Have a seasonal fest.”

“A Christmas Dream” By Perry Como

Monster Bobby’s Xmas Faves

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.

Nick Levine From Tack! Tack!Tack! tells us what he’ll be up to:-

“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
Books instead
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

 

Whats’s On Your I Pod

Yes sometimes nice people send us music, sometimes we “randomly” discover it ..

So whats on the VPME I-pod this month ? (in no particular order)

Operator Please “Get What You Want”
Pure incendiary, deep down and dirty rock n roll – This is where its at ! A classic. This is a band who really should be as enormous as John Prescott’s waistline. Ripper, as they say in Oz.

The Pipettes“Your Love For Me” (a new song from the Japanese Import Of “We Are The Pipettes”) sounds a little bit like what The Sundays may have produced if they’d have adopted a 60’s girl group vibe, and stopped moping around (and had three Harriets)-which is a good thing! Hurrah!

Millburn Wolves At the Door”
Somewhere between Arctic Monkeys, Sean Bean and Reverend And The Makers, there is Millburn, I can’t pretend I don’t like it, so i wont, I like it!

Róisín Murphy“Dear Miami “
Ah Ms Murphy is back with a lovely slice of Electro/Disco/Funk, cooler than a chriogenically preserved James Dean, in an ice cream parlour, with the door left open, in Alaska, in January….

The Phantom Lovers- “Heroes And Idols”
This is their first single apparently, due out at the end of the November. A dark menacing gothicy vibe, with a layered sound that swirls around like the presage to some great foreboding revelation …she’s got a great voice and repeated plays really make this track grow on you. But is it bland enough to get radio play ? No, it’s far more interesting and therefore will probably get no airplay…

The Blue Smarties “I Feel Like Ian Beale”
Anyone remember these little pop pixies ? The Pipettes should cover this lost classic about the unluckiest man in Albert Square. Mind you he was and continues to be, a Tw*t !

The Hot Puppies “Clarinet Town”
This band just get better and better , from the forthcoming “Blue Hands” album- which I’m very much looking forward to. I just wish their gigs where easier to attend 😉

Siouxsie“Here Come That Day”
Blimey ! No it’s not about Darren Days ex’s waiting to beat up the philandering little shit, it’s a storming return to form from the High Priestess of Punk, the best shes done for many moons, this time she remembers that sometimes songs can sound better with a tune-Great Stuff !

Screaming Ballerinas “Jessica” (demo)
They can argue all they like, but this is a song Blondie would have been proud of, more hooks than Peter Pans nemesis and a fantastic vocal, hard to believe the tracks on here are essentially demos -Amazing!

The Bordellos“Blank Letter”(bass version)
What would have happened if The Jesus & Mary Chain’s Reid brothers had let Bobby Gillespie sing and not bullied him into playing the drums ?-Possibly this, its raw, and conjures up the bedroom sleaze of early JAMC demos. From The Album “Meet the Bordellos” which contains the frankly disturbing ” These Boots Are Made for Stalking” ….

Babyshambles “French Dog Blues” – Oh dear, I almost thought this was going to be good, the melody strains to escape, almost succeeds and then Pete says “Chien bleu” and thus ruins the whole song, as he sounds a complete cock, he’s no Serge Gainsbourg that’s for sure… And what the F*ck does ” I model lacklustre panicky in vain search for the remedy, No words only melody come, so I take the day off “????- What a load of pretentious half baked w*nk in a Tupperware box ! If that’s what’s considered by many to be modern day poetry then my name’s TS Elliot. Rhyming panicky with remedy is almost in the same class as when the world of pop bowed down to the genius of Billy Ray Cyrus when he rhymed “achy” with breaky ” -time itself was almost torn asunder and Stephen Hawking’s head exploded, due the complexity of such a rhyme ….I was indeed humbled…….Anyway the guitars aren’t bad, problem is, just as it promises to deliver it becomes all limp, flaccid and ultimately deeply unsatisfying, rather like bad sex….

The Real Tuesday Weld“Last Words“- Now this is good, imagine if Paddy McAloon and the ghost of Billy McKenzie sang lyrics penned by Jarvis Cocker –  in Tin Pan Alley……It’s up on myspace for a free download too. I see there’s a penchant for pencil thin taches too 😉

The Duke Spirit -“Lassoo” (from the Ex Voto EP) . Magnificent, rollicking, epic sounding slice of blood and guts rock n roll . Its sheer quality transcends genre and in time it should rightly be regarded as a classic. Everybody should buy it !

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

“The Cassettes Are Wimps” – The Young Playthings Interview

“So Good So Bad” By The Young Playthings

The Young Playthings are what one would term “proper Indie”, and have certainly embraced the DIY ethic with a gusto and a work rate that would shame many a band . They have been Gigging tirelessly up and down the country – yet always have the energy to hurl themselves around stage with reckless abandon and give their all… You can’t really see TYPTs ever becoming a shoe-gaze band thats for sure, their enthusiasm and obvious love for what they do is as infectious as avian flu , but obviously with much more pleasant side effects. Their debut album ” Who Invented Love ? ” released on indie label “Smalltown America” has plenty for fans of jangly guitar pop/punk and has a definate Lemonheads meets Weezer and Green Day in “Arnolds Diner” type vibe. (Which can’t be bad ). Their lyrics manage to be poignant in places whilst conversely chuckle-inducingly smutty in others, yet the manage to “pull it off” (ooo-er) without ever being offensive. The VPME sent roving reporter Elz Bellz along to chat to Bateman about his musical mission and life as a Young Plaything

Elz: Where did the name “The Young Playthings” come from?

Bateman : I used to be really into Italian horror films. In the 70s there was this trend amongst Italian directors – hacks and auteurs alike – of making versions of popular genre movies from Hollywood and being a bit avant garde or schlocky with the style, with the hope/aim of creating something new and exciting. So all the horror films became even more gory or weird, to the point where you have these films like Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox, where they killed real animals and filmed it, or zombies fighting Great White sharks in one of the endless twists on the zombie theme. Anyway, when we formed the band that eventually became The Young Playthings I made a list of all these films with weird titles that I liked and asked everyone else in the band to pick the one they liked the most, and The Young Playthings was the unanimous winner. The Young Playthings was an avant garde soft-porn film, financed by the Italian film industry but made by a Swedish director. The twist is that as the film progresses it becomes unintelligible; so the characters start out speaking English (I think) and end up speaking gibberish. I’ve never seen it – it sounds crap.

E: To you, what is the most important part of being in a band?

Bateman : I don’t know about important, but I most enjoy writing songs and then arranging them as a band. Writing a song in your bedroom then seeing it brought to life as Jors Truely and Tibor add their parts and it becomes a cohesive, finished article is endlessly exciting and I never tire of it.

E: How do you think your sound has developed since you formed? Would you say you put on a better live show now than you did a year ago?

Bateman: This is a hard question to answer! The way we sound has definitely developed since we formed and much of that evolution has come from finishing recording our first album and a sense of ‘okay, we’ve recorded all these songs that were written years ago, now how do we want to move forward?’ One of my favourite records ever is I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One by Yo La Tengo, because it’s like an old friend of mine said, it’s the perfect mix-tape. Every song sounds different and I want to make records like that. I’m really proud of Who Invented Love? and I think it sounds great in terms of performance and production, and I don’t think that every song can be accused of sounding the same, but it isn’t as eclectic as I would like. So we’ve got drum samples on some of the new songs, slowed things down in others, turned down the distortion elsewhere etc. They’re still pop songs but they’re a bit more danceable, a bit sassier. As for playing live, as a three-piece it’s tough because you’re constantly pushed to the limits of your physical capabilities because there are only three of you. In bands with more people individuals can rely on others to support them if they stop, or fuck up, or, conversely, so they can ‘perform’ more because they’ve got the back up. So yeah, I think we are a better live band than we were a year ago because we’ve got better songs now, but I still think there’s more we can do; I’d like to put a bit more ‘performance’ in our live show rather than it just being full-speed ahead through a load of guitar pop songs.

E:You’re releasing ‘Hot Sex With A Girl I Love’ as a digital download only single. What’s your favourite format to buy singles on (and why)?

Bateman :When I was a kid I used to occasionally buy 7 inch singles – I think I must be of the last generation where, as a kid, buying vinyl was still normal, like you went to Woolworths and bought the new KLF or Glenn Madeiros single or whatever (they are two I can remember buying from Woolies as a kid, in the summer in the town where my aunt lived) and not because it was vintage, like ‘oooh, vinyl sounds so much better than digital’, but because they didn’t make cd singles yet. But after that I stopped buying singles because I thought it was a waste of money – why not just buy an album, or tape the song off the radio if you only liked the one song? As a teenager I lived in Hong Kong and, unlike the UK, we didn’t have pop charts; my friends and I had to buy American fanzines to find new music and trade new discoveries with each other. Now, with iTunes and whatnot I’ve started buying singles again. It’s so easy. I’ve always been a bit of a philistine when it comes to technology but I love my iPod. God, I sound like some middle-aged twat writing in the Guardian about how ‘with’ it I am! But seriously, it has honestly revolutionised the way I listen to music so I would have to say that downloads are my favourite format for singles. Haven’t bought an album that way yet though.

E: You’ve supported the Pipettes several times; in fact, you could say they introduced you to a whole new audience. Are there any upcoming bands you’d like to give the same opportunity to?

Bateman : I don’t think we’re at a level yet where we can invite upcoming bands to support us; it’s more about finding like-minded bands who are at a similar level to us so we can put on good shows, not these horrible bills where some faceless promoter puts on three or four bands who can each bring a few friends but who sound totally different to one another and/or have a totally different approach to music. We’re in the far north of Scotland as I write this, heading to Forres and Aberdeen to play a couple of shows with Dan Against The World, who we played with in Aberdeen last year with the Pipettes. They have the same kinds of melodies as a lot of the pop punk bands I love from the mid 90s, with the same innocent-love sentiments, but they do it in a very British way, with clean guitars and keyboard melodies etc. In London a couple of weeks ago we put on a show with Winners and Murdoch who we all really like too.

E: Speaking of the Pipettes, who would win in a fight between you and them? Their new drummer looks pretty hard.

Bateman: If we were fighting the Pipettes we would lose, because we’re gentlemen and we don’t fight girls. Plus, they’ve got high heels and tough attitudes and we don’t wanna fuck with that. If, however, we were fighting the Cassettes we would win, hands down. In fact, I reckon I could beat the Cassettes in a fight by myself they’re such wimps.

E: Since we should try to make this seem like a serious interview, what’s your opinion on the current state of the “indie” music scene as pushed on today’s fourteen-year-olds by the NME?

Bateman: The NME occupies its own special place in the music industry and that’s fine by me. I have no interest in it and it’s never shown any interest in us (though I’m not saying I would say no to their publicity should it ever be offered to us!). Again, this is me showing my age, but when I was a kid I used to buy Smash Hits and, to me, the NME is now to ‘indie’ music what Smash Hits was to straight-up, Stock, Aitken and Waterman 80s chart pop music. In that way, I can understand its appeal to kids, but I guess to some people the co-opting of ‘indie’ by corporate music biznis is anathema and I can also understand that. For me though it goes back to how I grew up listening to music; I was never spoon-fed new music because the infrastructure for it didn’t exist where I lived so I had to go out and find my own. All my attitudes about how to approach playing music stem from there. The one thing I do truly hate about the NME though is its interpretation of what’s sexy; stick-thin, sexless little skeletons, who declare how sexually open-minded they are and yet can’t bear to bare their bodies to people of the same sex. It’s like, when did prudishness become sexy?

E: MySpace: does it live up to the hype?

Bateman: Yes, I actually think it does. It has its imperfections but it’s great way for new bands to broadcast their music for free to, potentially, millions, even billions of people.

E: What’s on the cards for the Young Playthings in the future? Any long-term plans?

Bateman :I’d like to record a second album with all the new stuff we’re writing. Step by step, take each day as it comes. Obviously, we want our renown to spread to each and every land across the globe and be celebrated as mini deities. But I’m not holding my breath…

E: You have five words to end this interview in any way you wish (please don’t disgrace the VPME or yourselves unless you really can’t resist).

Bateman: I only need five letters thanks – PEACE.

(thanks to Elz Russell)

Links

Myspace

Small Town America

The Young Playthings – Yr So Fit (For Me)

The Young Playthings – She’s A Rebel

 

Video

“Love Me Like That” By The Young Playthings

The Young Playthings Wallpapers

Original Album Art By Mark Standbrook

The Swedish Invasion – Tack!Tack!Tack!

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

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

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

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

VP: Which bands have you had playing or discovered ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NL: Bit hard that isn’t it ?

Links

Tack !Tack !Tack !

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

VIDEO

“Hitten” By Those Dancing Days