Ones To Listen Out For In 2012

15 to Listen Out For  in 2012 ?

The VPME Tips For 2012

We’ve mentioned in the past that this tipping malarkey can often arrive deep fried and positively dripping in narcissism, garnished with a large sprinkling of ego- “hey look at me I’m a pop precognitive, I can predict the muthafucking future. And it would be easy to look at The BBC’s “Sound Of” list and slavishly copy much of that, throw in a few left field buzz bands, sit back and watch your big massive fucking fat head expand because acts with big label backing are invariably and often tragically the ones that tend to do well. Big labels know that best way to predict the future is to invent it and spend a lot of time, energy and cashola in doing just that this time of year.  Doubtless there are a number of artists on the Beebs list already being lined up by their labels for appearances on Jools Holland and there’s nowt wrong with that, not all record labels are intrinsically evil 😉 , still, I think there’s room for some unsigned bands on JH.

That being said  let’s try not to get involved in the “tipping politics” instead let’s just look at it from the view that here are a group of artists we’d love it do well in 2012, quite simply because we feel they have much to offer and will hopefully make some interesting music in the coming 12 months.  They may not be brand spanking new or wilfully obscure, but we love em !   You can also check out the BBC’s own Sound of 2012  and The Bloggers Alternative here which we helped organise.

Last year we tipped The Good Natured and Islington Boys Club as ones to watch, and we’ll continue to do so this year because we think they both have a huge amount to offer.  We also hope Let’s Buy Happiness get more attention this year as they are also another band who deserve greater recognition in 2012.  Anyway without further waffle as I’m sure all your brains are addled by festive spirit coupled with that gnawing anxiety and uneasy sense of guilt induced by flashbacks from your shameful antics at the office Xmas party,  here are our musical hopes for 2012.


1.Two Wounded Birds

Two Wounded Birds Pic By Andy Von Pip

Margate based four piece have been criminally overlooked by the printed music press in the past possibly due to the fact that they aren’t  A/ London hipsters and B/ have more song writing talent in their little fingers than your average NME hyped band will ever possess . Their debut album is set to arrive in the New Year and looks set to build on the huge promise of recent singles and 2010’s “Keep Dreaming Baby” EP. If you ever loved The Beach Boys, The Ramones, David Lynch, if you know your pop history than as sure as night follows day, you will love Two Wounded Birds.  Interview Here


2.Tashaki Miyaki

We first heard this lot on  6 musics “NowPlaying” show of which we have been proud to have been a part of in 2011 and immediately fell in love with them. They have never appeared in the Karate Kid and  are in fact a Californian collective who specialise in impeccable reverb soaked dream pop of the highest order. They’ve already been described as sounding like a female Jesus And Mary Chain (hang on wasn’t that Sister Vanilla ?) and that’s certainly a description that should pique anybody’s interest. We are very, very excited to hear what they come up with next!


3. Rae Morris.


Our Mancunian gig going chums first altered us to Ms Morris, insisting we really should catch her live, to be truthful we haven’t quite managed that yet but as soon as we heard her songs and her voice it was like fireworks going off in our head. A brilliant prodigious talent, ignore the blithe comparisons with other female songwriters (they are generally wider of the mark than a Chris Waddle penalty) and just sit back and allow yourselves to be swept away by the beauty of her voice and the poetry of her lyrics.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


4. exlovers

There’s a kind of bruised poetic nobility about exlovers music, bittersweet, heartfelt, honest and eloquent. They produce songs which give hope and inspiration to the lovelorn and the lost, and although their world view may suggest they have experienced their fair share of heartbreak and emotional turmoil, exlovers are not devoid of optimism, for within their shimmering melodies there is the hope of brighter days ahead. A debut album is set for release in the New Year, which we are sure will reward the band with more exposure and a bigger fanbase.


5. Trailer Trash Tracys

Another band who seem to have been around longer than they have* (*comment sponsored by Edward Lear)  who are set to release their debut album “Ester” on 9th January 2012, which will hopefully make a sizable, ethereal dent on the musical landscape. Everything we have heard so far by this band has been excellent, if melancholic, gauzy dream pop is your bag then the TTT’s may well set your loins aflame.


6.The Jezabels.

Huge lunged soaring melodies and intense live performances are what The Jezabels are all about.  Their emo-centric tendencies may be a tad theatrical for some, but there’s no denying the power of singer Hayley Marys vocals and what a great band they are live. Their debut album has already taken their native Oz by storm and is set to have the same effect over here in the New Year. Very surprised not to see them included in the BBC’s “Sound Of List”


7.Zulu Winter

If you have recently discovered Zulu Winter than ya- boo to you as we liked them before you did, in fact we liked them before they were even called Zulu Winter. We first featured them a few years back when they were called The Molotovs.   

At that time  it seemed they were on the cusp of making a breakthrough, yet somewhat bafflingly it never quite happened. However a name change has given the band fresh impetuous and 2012 could well be the year they make their mark.



Bird , from Liverpool

One of the most interesting bands to come out of my home town in recent years, and not a single twangy Merseybeat guitar in earshot. Bird is the brainchild Adele Emmas a young singer songwriter inspired by Kate Bush, the Cocteau Twins, and has a predilection for producing mesmerising mysterious ethereal soundscapes. Be prepared for Adele’s voice to cast a spell on you and draw you in to a world of seductive, dark magic, where nothing is quite what it seems.


9.Lana Del Ray

There was been much written about Lana Del Ray , some complimentary and some suffused with more than a hint of  rather disturbing misogynist frat boy spite. We really don’t give a flying fuck with regard to this ‘too cool for school’ hipster backlash because the question is this  -does Ms Del Rey produce bad art, or good art ? Does it stand on its own two feet; indeed does it add value to your existence?  From what we’ve heard so far the latter defiantly applies and Ms Del Rey has it all to play for in 2012. Really we should celebrate an artist who has a unique voice and style rather than castigate her for having the audacity to sign to a record label. Save your bile for the parade of the inane overseen by Cowell the musical ringmaster for the terminally bland. Which is pretty much what we wrote for GIITV zine about the “Double-Eged Sword of being a blog sensation”




Euan Hinshelwood - Younghusband Live Manchester © Andy Von Pip

If you thought Euan Hinshelwood’s band would sound anything like his work with Emmy The Great your ears may have been in for a rude awakening. younghusband’s sound is influenced by lo fi indie and is infused with a gorgeous, gauzy fuzz pop shoegazy vibe which owes more to Pavement  Kraut rock and MBV than Diane Cluck. After  a couple of fine releases this year in the shape of their debut single “Carousal” and the “Crystal” Ep we look forward to hearing more from these chaps in 2012.


11.Lucy Rose

Lucy posses a fragile yet husky smoke cracked voice and writes songs with the sort of honest straight forward sincerity that can only come from the heart.  She became well known at various acoustic nights and a chance meeting with Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club led to her appearing on the title track of the bands acoustic album ‘Flaws’.  Lucy has since gained an enthusiastic, dedicated; some may say besotted fan base and now regularly sells out venues weeks in advance, which is quite a rare thing for an unsigned act. She also makes a nice cuppa.  Interview HERE.


12.Alt J

The artists formerly known as Films are now called ∆.   (∆ =Alt-j on your Mac  keyboard apparently) and  seem to have derived as much attention from their name change as they have for their music, which I suppose means job done in one sense. These guys are quite difficult to pigeon hole, at times it sounds like understated folky blues rock, on other occasions like  a kind of electronic  trip-hop with a bit of anti-folk thrown in. But then again at other times it sounds bugger all like that, or indeed anything else out there at the moment, so we’ll shut up now.



Rebecca Stephens - The Projectionists

Projectionists are based in Manchester and feature former Pipette Rebecca Stevens on vocals and song writing duty. There may be a nod to her former girl group past in terms of harmonies, but this is much more grown up pop with lyrics that are introspective and tinged with sadness set against upbeat melodies. It’s top quality stuff, which may surprise some people but not us, their debut EP is planned for January and we’ll have more on that in the new year.


14.Mode Moderne

Vancouver’s Mode Moderne seem to like the dark side of life and come across  rather like  The Arcade Fire meets Depeche Mode in a graveyard, which believe me is a good thing. The darkness, which makes Nick Cave seem positively sanguine is all enveloping, like black velvet, which disturbs and yet comforts. Let’s face it if upbeat pop is represented by the unholy union, nay the shrill pop abomination that is  Mike Posner and Cher Lloyd  I’ll direct my feet to the dark side of the street any day of the week!


15.Cold Spex

We caught Cold Spex supporting Howling Bells and from the off it was glaringly apparent that  singer Al Spx  posses the sort of voice others can only dream about. Whether they quite have the songs yet is another issue, but if they are given time to grow and not given a hideous record label make over they certainly have the potential to be something very special indeed, – doom gospel with soul.


Amoral Dilemma -Violens Interview


“Acid Rein” By Violens.

‘He Got the Girl (Marine Girls cover)‘By Violens -Free Download.


“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” sang Old Blue eyes in his famous homage to New York, and after visiting the place for the first time recently I can see exactly what he means!  NYC can be somewhat overwhelming and the inexperienced traveller may be forgiven for thinking they’ve inadvertently been diverted to  ‘Shutter Island’ upon first arriving in Manhattan.  Nothing is quite as it seems, your waitress for example, is really a Broadway star in waiting, your Taxi driver the new Steinbeck and your hotel receptionist America’s next top model, ( I alas, remained a twa*t! )   But the Big Apple has always been a magnet for creative types, attracting them like moths to a flame, however the problem  remains, how do you ‘make it there?’ How do you get heard above the noise?

Violins lynch pin Jorge Elbrect moved from Miami to New York to study art at Cooper Union and admits that the city sometimes makes him feel like “I should  be wearing earplugs all day.” But Violens (pronounced Vy-lenz)  are a band who have been steadily making themselves heard due to the quality of the music they produce. In October 2008 they released a self-titled EP and toured Europe and the US with the likes of MGMT, Grizzly Bear, White Lies and Handsome Furs. Good things come to those who wait and Violens’ self-released, self-recorded, self-produced, self mixed  debut album ‘Amoral’ has certainly been worth waiting for.

They have created a strange aural dreamscape, nostalgic, yet at the same time contemporary, it’s an album that throbs and undulates with an understated, meandering beauty and one which shifts direction more than once throwing the listener a number of curve balls.  At times you’re listening to a jaunty Teenage Fan Club daydream and suddenly, without warning, you find yourself pitched headlong into the eye of a sonic hurricane. The production is sharp, clean and polished but  never overbearing, submerging a number of songs in a hazy, shoegazy wash of sound, whilst others utilise 1980’s synth flourishes and 60’s psychedelia . Imagine XTC, the Psychedlic Furs , the Byrds and Sonic Youth with a touch of  David Lynch thrown in.  We had a quick word with Jorge asking the sort of derivative questions only we can ask. 🙂

VP:  First off the inevitable, how did the band come together question and what’s the reason for the collective name?

Jorge : Iddo and I have known each other for years and I asked him to help me harmonize vocals for some songs I had been working on. We met Myles a little more than a year ago and got along instantly. Now all three of us write music and sing/harmonize together. Phonetically, the name came from a memory of Alejandro Jodorowski’s pronunciation of the word “violence” in an interview I saw in college. He said: “I like violence, I LOVE violence. And I hate the idiot who says “Aahh, I am scared of that image.” That memory morphed into the idea of blending the words “violence” and “violins” as this fit the idea for the band well.

VP:  There’s also a dream like quality running through the album, with a sinister undertow. What sorts of themes interest you as a songwriter?

Jorge : There aren’t any particular themes that interest us. The lyrics come from a sort of a subconscious place, as a lot of the song melodies and production ideas do.

VP: Was it a difficult task to get your album finished, self produced and released?

Jorge : Yes, it was.  It certainly took a long time!

VP: You’ve toured with some pretty well known acts in the last couple of years , what would you say has been your favourite experience thus far ?

Jorge : Definitely this last tour with MGMT because it was really fun to watch them play their new songs every night and their crowds were amazingly supportive

VP: What are your plans for the remainder of the year?

Jorge : Touring and making a video, and of course working on music all the time as well.

VP: Imagine there’s a gun to your head and you HAVE to pick just two albums which you consider to be the most influential…what would you say they are?

Jorge : MBV -“Loveless”

Necrophagist- “Epitaph”

VP:   What are the best and worst aspects of touring?

Jorge : The best:  Definitely a fun show playing for an awesome group of people

The worst: is when equipment doesn’t work

VP:  Describe ‘Amoral’ in five words.

Jorge : Rose, rising, blister, drowning, sliced.





“Trance, Like Turn” By Violens.

“Are You Still In The Illusion? (Home Recording)” By Violens

Music News w/e 17/04/09

This week ….win Damien Hirst  Original Art Work, The Hours, The Von Bondies,Cutaways, Rose Elinor Dougall, Moby & David Lynch,  Howling Bells, The Lights, Catherine A.D. and A Fair Few FREE mp3’s.

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Damien Hirst, the most successful British artist of his generation, is working with his friends The Hours: designing their record sleeves, art directing their videos and releasing their new album, See The Light, on his own specially-created label.

Clicking the link below gives you the chance to win one of 20 signed litho prints of the his artwork created especially for The Hours new album sleeve. Then, on Sunday 19 April in Observer Music Monthly magazine you can enter the competition to win the original artwork – valued at £125,000 – created by Damien himself.  You can also exclusively download the track These Days from The Hours’ new album See The Light.



The Von Bondies release their third studio album ‘Love, Hate And Then There’s You‘ on Monday 4th May 2009.  It will be preceded by the single ‘Pale Bride’/ ‘Earthquake‘ on the 27th April.  The album will be available on CD & download. The single as a 7″ and download. Both will be released through Fierce Panda.

This deluxe Fierce Panda European release also comes with a bonus CD featuring five new tracks not available elsewhere.

The Album Tracklisting is as follows:
1 ‘This Is Our Perfect Crime’; 2 ‘Shut Your Mouth’; 3 ‘Pale Bride’; 4 ‘Only To Haunt You’; 5 ’21st Birthday’; 6 ‘She’s Dead To Me’; 7 ‘Chancer’; 8 ‘I Don’t Wanna’; 9 ‘Blame Game’; 10 ‘Accidents Will Happen’; 11 ‘Earthquake’; 12 ‘Modern Saints’

Shortly before the album’s release, The Von Bondies will return to the UK for a series of dates. They are as follows:

Thu 23rd – Kings College – London
Fri 24th – CAmden Crawl – London
Sat 25th – O2 Academy – Birmingham
Sun 26th – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – Glasgow
Mon 27th – The Ruby Lounge – Manchester



Cutaways release their new single Milo of Kroton on May 11th, which is taken from their debut album Earth and Earthly Things set for release on July 6th.

The single has been spot played on Rory McConnell’s Introducing show on BBC Radio 1 and Xposure on XFM.

The Belfast band play the following dates as part of their UK tour

Tue 21st April –  Artrocker presents Cutaways @ The Buffalo Bar, 259 Upper Street, London N1. Tel: 020 7359 6191. 10.30pm. £5

Wed 22nd April – Man On The Moon, 2 Norfolk Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LF. Tel 01223 565 396. 9pm. Free admission.

Thu 23rd April –  White Hart, High Street, Corby, Northamptonshire, NN17 1UX. 9pm. Free admission.

Fri 24th April – Creative Blocks @ Big Blue Coffee Company, 47 Sadler Gate, Derby, DE1 3NQ Tel. 01332 608619. 8pm – late.  £2 before 10pm, £3 thereafter

Sat 25th April – Dickens @ No. 10 Wellgate, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S60 2LR. Tel 01709 360006 Doors at 8pm, Cutaways live 9.10pm. £3.



New Single Start/Stop/Synchro

Start/Stop/Synchro will be released on limited, coloured vinyl through Elefant Records Singles Club on June 8th 2009. Again produced and fleshed out by Rose along with producer Lee Baker in his Brighton studio, Start/Stop/Synchro is taken from Rose’s almost completed, upcoming debut album, ‘Without Why’.

If Another Version Of Pop Song (her debut release, Guardian Guide Single of the Week) was a step away from the past. Start/Stop/Synchro sees Rose entering into a bright new beginning. Cinematic, minor key melodies, spiralling guitars, glacial keys, strings and a propulsive beat cast a brisk but not bristly sheen over a buoyant structure, transforming the original demo into a fully formed pop song. B-Side, Static Saturday unavailable elsewhere sees Rose blending her love of My Bloody Valentine, Broadcast and The Cocteau Twins into her own three minutes of bliss.

Since the last single, Rose and her band of Distractions have been busy playing gigs all around the UK supporting the likes of British Sea Power, Jesca Hoop and Chairlift, headlining shows of their own, whilst finding time to fit in sessions for Marc Riley, John Kennedy and Huw Stephens along the way. More dates to coincide with the release of Start/Stop/Synchro will be announced soon, but for now you can check her out in the capital here:

April 17th – CAMDEN The Enterprise
April 28th – CAMDEN Dingwalls

Listen to the new single here: http://www.myspace.comroseelinordougallmusic



Moby’s sublime animated video (courtesy of David Lynch) ‘Shot In The Back Of The Head’ is now available on You Tube and Vimeo and of course via Moby’s recently re-launched official site.  You can download ‘Shot In The Back Of The Head’ from free from Moby’s homepage now.

Moby’s brand new album ‘Wait for Me’ is released on the 29th June.


ON INDEPENDIENTE (7″ and download)

It’s been a great start to 2009 for the Howling Bells. First they released their 2nd album ‘Radio Wars‘ to widespread critical acclaim before heading out to complete a sellout UK tour.
New single ‘Digital Hearts’ is a brilliant, uncomplicated, up tempo song. It’s the sound of a band on top of their game and their ambitions to write widescreen pop songs of substance being audibly realised. However, like all the Bells output and all great pop songs before it, there’s a twist that cunningly belies its underling euphoria. Listen closely, ‘Digital Hearts’ might not be as sweet as you first thought.

But with pounding drums high in the mix and Juanita’s extraordinary voice curling around the chiming guitar lines, one thing is undeniable: Once you hear Digital Hearts over the airwaves you won’t be turning the radio dial to any other station.



The Lights release double A side single ‘Low Hundreds / Formerly Yours’ on May 11th through Crash Records. Described by The NME as  and here’s the video



“Know your Enemy” from the bands eighth studio album “21st  Century Breakdown” can be heard here


And Finally Some Free Mp3’s

Nine Black Alps | ‘Buy Nothing’ (first teaser track from new LP) | Download it here –

Catherine AD

Catherine AD also has a free download for y’all , she says: “I’ve been wrestling with technology and underwater pianos and resurfaced with a reinterpretation/remix/cover of one of my favourite songs from last year  – ‘Paris’ by Friendly Fires.”

Download here or here even!

Follow her online

Interview here

Mr Fogg,  a new electronic artist from London, has a free Mp3 available for your delectation.  He’s already seen comparisons to Postal Service and Mum (he recorded his soon-to-be-released debut album in Iceland with Valgeir Sigurdsson) and ‘Stung’ can be downloaded from here

Alessi’s Ark

(Virgin Records)

Host of new London solo and full band shows just announced! Check Myspace page for full details.

Single ‘Over The Hill’ out 27th April

Debut Album ‘Notes From The Treehouse’ out 4th May

Free Mp3 ‘Magic Weather’ available now –

Official site:


(Reveal Records)

Album ‘Art Project’ out 20th April 2009

Free Mp3 available now –

Official site:

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Shoot You Down-The Bookhouse Boys Interview

The Bookhouse Boys Interview By Andy Von Pip

“Dead” By The Bookhouse Boys

“Shoot You Down” By The Bookhouse Boys

Two’s company, threes a crowd, the devil is six and god is seven, and nine is number of members in The Bookhouse Boys, a band based in London whose catchphrase could well be, to paraphrase Police Chief Brody in Jaws, “We’re gonna need a bigger bus”. The band take their name from the secret society with vigilante tendencies, who appeared in David Lynch’s strange and surreal cult classic “Twin Peaks” they have often spoken of their love of movies and soundtracks and this influence is certainly manifest within their eponymous debut album with stunning results. It’s a sound that conjures up images of Tombstone, The Doolin Gang, Nick Cave fronting Dick Dale and The Deltones, and Johnny Cash discovering surf punk, in fact if Tarantino or Lynch ever took it upon themselves to direct a spaghetti western, The Bookhouse Boys should definitely be included on the soundtrack. Between them (deep breath) Paul Van Oestren (vocals/guitar), Catherine Turner (vocals), Chris Pollard (guitar), Pete Emms (drums), William Emms (bass), JP Fellows (keyboards), Heddy Korachi-Alaoui (drums), Natty Defriend (trumpet), and Charlie Beringer (trumpet) have produced an album of such style, depth and quality that it’s sometimes difficult to comprehend that this is the DEBUT album. It demonstrates the richness, style and confidence of seasoned campaigners, but retains the hungry freshness of a band on the threshold of a great musical journey, they are a group who appear to posses an intuitive ability to surprise, delight and intrigue the listener whilst enticing them into their absorbing, richly drawn world of light and shade and all that falls in between!

The album has something to suit every mood, there’s the rollicking Gothic surf-rock of “Dead” the dark celebratory vindication of “Tonight” whilst “Shoot you Down” crackles with sexual tension as Paul Van Oestren growls “I give up the world for you/Now I open my doors to you/I’ll take off your skirt for you/And bury my dirt in you.” To which (and lets be honest, the extremly beautiful) Catherine Turner responds “You’re quite the boy for me/ every good girls fantasy/This is my excuse to Shoot You Down”.  In fact if this band aren’t massive next year then I’ll eat my hat, I’ll eat  Jack “The Hat” McVitie’s hat, indeed I’ll eat anybody who “leaves their hat and calls it their home’s hat!”  (“Excuse me sir, is this your hat?” -“That? No mate, don’t be daft,  that’s my home …” Cuckoo!!) Yup, I’ll  bet my life savings that the Bookhouse Boys are going to be MASSIVE ! I simply must see them live soon ! Living in the North is such a burden! Maybe Tim Leunig’s Policy Exchange report was right! We should all move down south ! At least we’d get to see more of the  bands for whom we profess deep adoration   😉

I spoke to Will and Catherine about the debut album, their influences, this and that and yes, even the other.

VP:  How did the idea for the band come about, were you all friends before hand?

Catherine: Everyone was friends with somebody else but the band was never really intended to be a band, it kind of happened by itself. Paul had written a handful of songs and played them to a couple of us and we loved them. I think it was James who told Paul he should definitely play the songs live and the rest of us signed up or were drafted in for this impromptu gig. We just didn’t stop.

Will – Indeed. Friends and friends of friends and family were recruited until the Bookhouse Boys took shape.

VP: You’ve been described variously as Nick Cave fronting the B-52s, Tarantino meets Twin Peaks, Johnny Cash goes surf-punk and there’s certainly a cinematic quality to your debut album, was this intentional or did your influences just naturally manifest themselves when recording the album.?

Catherine: I think Paul did have this overriding idea of a cinematic sound which got naturally bigger with the band. I wouldn’t say there were any conscious or deliberate influences beyond that, although inevitably there are artists and sounds that are the common ground between us.

VP: There are nine band members, do you all share a love of similar music or would you say you all have widely varying tastes?

Catherine: Both. There are staples of albums that go on in the tour van that we’re unlikely to disagree on but then there is everything else!! I think individually everybody has a broad music taste and so together it’s pretty wide, yeah.

Will – Yeah with as many of us as there are, inevitably our collective tastes are going to be pretty broad. We’ve got most bases covered.

VP: You’re named after the secret society on Twin Peaks , so it’s safe to say you’re big fan of David Lynch? What is it that seems to appeal to musicians about Lynch’s work and what would you say is his finest moment?

Catherine: I think maybe I’m a bit of a fraudulent Lynch fan because there are still some of his classics I haven’t seen. I’m sure people are drawn to him for different reasons. Musically his long-term collaboration with Angelo Badalamenti is part of the character of his films, it isn’t a case of a soundtrack being rush laid over at the end. Singers and musicians appear in the films and the characters interact with the soundtrack. Maybe that’s appealing to musicians, I don’t know… As far as his finest hour, it really is  Twin Peaks for me.

Will: Paul is a pretty huge Twin Peaks fan but I think we decided that the other day that Catherine came up with name. Ah, who cares. I agree with Catherine. The music is always pretty integral to the storylines in David Lynch movies, whether that be just some really atmospheric drones, someone miming to a 50s classic or a full on sax blowout. I’m working my way through his films but Blue Velvet is pretty good and the first half of Lost Highway too.

VP: Apparently you do a dark cover of Kylies “Confide in Me” live, how did that come about, are you fans?

Catherine: We were asked to play an acoustic set last year and some of our songs wouldn’t translate properly. We wrote a couple of new songs for it including The Valley, which made the album, and had an idea of adding a cover as well. I suggested “Confide In Me” because I love it – I think it’s my favourite ever pop song. Playing it on the mandolin made it sound sinister but actually, Kylie’s version is pretty dark!

VP: What’s been the highlight of 2008 for the band?

Catherine: It’s got to be playing the Uncut tent at Latitude. We’ve never seen so many people or heard ourselves so loud. Every second was brilliant.

Will: Yeah. That was pretty amazing. Our album launch back in August was pretty fantastic too. Great to play some of the numbers on the album that don’t normally get an airing. And what a crowd!

VP: What are your views on Digital music, file sharing and the use of the internet as a means of promoting your music, without needing a huge budget to get your songs heard?

It’s not something I’ve ever really thought that much about. I don’t buy music digitally myself, partly because I’m a technophobe, and because I like having something tactile in my hands to take apart and paw over. Saying that though, I think the use of the internet for new artists is invaluable. I definitely go hunting on myspace for new finds. As a friend said the other day it’s great ’cause you start on the page of a band you know and love and then follow the white rabbit down the hole, you can be in there for hours! And everyone can use the internet now right?

Will: We have tried to make our releases so far as beautiful as possible and things to treasure. Cover art and inner sleeves etc are what makes a record more than just a collection of songs. It’s been a while, but I have bought records in the past just on the strengths of the sleeve and made some great discoveries. Someone will inevitably upload a record onto a file sharing site but I suppose the rationale is that if you make something beautiful people will want to have it.

Also if you take making money from music out of the equation any way that a band’s music reaches people should be encouraged and then with a bit of luck they might come to a show to see you which is where the enjoyment is to be had as a band.

VP:  What’s in the pipeline for the remainder of 2008 and 2009?

Will: The next single “I Can’t Help Myself” is out in a couple of weeks. We’ve got a big show at the ICA on the 11th of November that we are all really looking forward to and then who knows. There is talk of getting out of the country and possibly even the hemisphere to play some shows in the New Year but everything is pretty embryonic at the moment.

VP: Any upcoming bands you reckon may make it big in 09?

Catherine: Us hopefully! No, erm… I’d like good things to happen to Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit because that album is remarkable.

Will: Yep. The more people that hear Johnny’s record the better. He’s got something pretty special.

VP: I normally finish with the question “Sum up the band in five words”; however you may need nine perhaps?

Catherine: Paul, Chris, Pete, James, Catherine, Heddy, Natty, Charlie, Will!
(VP: Hahaha! nice one!)

Will: Nine people trying to make a beautiful noise together


On Myspace

Click on album to buy

Wallpapers (click thumb for large versions)


“I Can’t Help Myself” By The Bookhouse Boys

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The Way It Is -Nicole Atkins Interview

“Love Surreal” By Nicole Atkins And The Sea

“Together We’re Both Alone” By Nicole Atkins And The Sea

New York based chanteuse, Nicole Atkins’ full length debut“Neptune City” is a luscious, brooding album that challenges your expectations, and takes the listener on a breathtaking musical journey, stopping at some unexpected places en route. Literally, in my case! Whilst enjoying the myriad of delights on offer within “Neptune City ” via my trusty I-pod, I inadvertently missed my bus stop, the result being, I found myself on “the wrong side of the tracks.” I surveyed this bleak, desolate landscape with much trepidation, the risk of attack by the local banjo-playing savages seemed imminent as I discerned within their hostile eyes, an empty, dead malice of a kind that I’d only previously experienced within the realms of a George A. Romero movie. I beat a hasty retreat as demented shrieks of “I bet you can squeal like a pig, boyyyyy” rang in my ears….. But I digress.

” Neptune City ” is a wondrous album, full of lush strings, swoonsome vocals, and heralds the arrival of a major new musical talent; Atkins has been likened to a female Roy Orbison, and has also been compared to the likes of Amy Winehouse, Jenny Lewis, Chrissie Hynde, Janis Joplin and Regina Spektor. Yet while there are elements of truth in such comparisons, she remains very much her own person with her own distinct style. Unlike Winehouse, Nicole’s music isn’t suffocated by her influences, nor does she indulge in the bonkers “other worldly kookiness” of Spektor, what she does do, is to take her influences and use them to construct something incredibly innovative and fresh sounding. The debut album is described by Atkins as “the history of my town; it’s the history of my family and friends in this town.” It’s certainly not what you’d call a “genre specific” work as it encompasses many elements and styles, which in a sense, perhaps truly mirror the eclectic nature of her home town. “Spectorian Goth” is one phrase that popped into my head whilst playing the album, which is a hugely atmospheric affair. Yes it doffs its cap with the right amount of deference to its many influences, but it does not define itself by these influences alone, and is imbued with a truly timeless quality. Whilst you may on occasion detect the spectre,(Phil) and whilst it may occasionally invoke the spirit of girl-groups past, it also manages to sound unlike anything else you’re likely to hear this year.

As youngster music was always a factor and Nicole’s musical diet (the Atkins Diet?) consisted of a healthy mix of The Ronettes, Johnny Cash, and the Big O, whilst she states her first musical purchase was “John Barleymow Must Die” By Traffic. Sundays’ songstress Harriet Wheeler’s vocal style was an early influence on developing her own singing style and Nicole claims her love of all things musical led her to build a huge shrine to Robert Plant out of hair, biscuits and an old mop-head. She has cited David Lynch as major influence which is no surprise; one could imagine a number of songs on “ Neptune City ” appearing on a Lynchian soundtrack, as Atkins sound definitely contains a sweeping, cinematic quality. “The Way It Is” is almost Bond-esque and is a far superior number than the not so golden, misfiring gun, that is the Jack White/Alicia Keys “howl-athon/warble-fest,” whilst title track “Neptune City” has a distinct “Twin Peaks” vibe. It’s also a track that could well be a gothic noir, 21st century flipside to “Old Cape Cod.” Where as Patti Page asked “If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air.” Nicole tries to make sense of her hometown with “I’m sitting over Neptune City / I used to love it / It used to be pretty“ and laments “Our hearts are singing out just for you/ a cemetery song for summer.”

Nicole has played alongside the likes of The Raveonettes, The Pipettes, The Long Blondes, Clap Your Hand Say Yeah and Chris Isaack and her music has been steadily gaining an enthusiastic army of fans, which include in its number, David Letterman. After performing “The Way It Is” on his show, the toothsome host asked Atkins, “Wanna get some steak?” to which she could well have responded “Maybe?…. Tonight?” However the offer bore neither fruit, nor seared bovine flesh and Nicole later joked that she wondered if “getting a steak” meant something entirely different from what she’d envisaged!! As well as Letterman she’s appeared on the Conan O’Brien show, The Late, Late Show and recently gave a fabulous live performance in the UK on “Later with Jools Holland” alongside The Kings Of Leon, Metallica, and Carla Bruni. (One hopes there were no more misinterpreted remarks and Jools didn’t invite any guests for a spot of after show goose!) While she was in the UK we had a chat with Nicole about New Jersey mobsters, turning into Jack Torrance and hanging with “The Boss.”

VP: When did you first start writing music?

NICOLE: I’ve been in bands since I was twelve singing and playing guitar but I started writing my own songs after I graduated from university. I moved home to New Jersey and there was nobody left around so I started writing songs to have something to do.

VP: You’ve been described as anything from Janis Joplin to Tony Soprano but who would you say where your major musical influences?

NICOLE: Tony Soprano? Hahahaha! That’s a new one! My biggest influences if I had to cut them down to seven would be Arthur Lee from Love, Traffic, the Mamas and the Pappas, Angelo Badalamente, Roy Orbison, 1960’s musicals from Jones and Shmidt, and Wilco.

VP: You’ve said your sound is “pop noir.” Can you expand on that definition?

NICOLE: I thought my songs sounded pretty poppy or catchy but they were all about really dark things. So it just means, dark pop. Songs about dying that you can dance to!

VP: How did you find working with Tore Johansson on your album ” Neptune City “?

NICOLE: He was great to work with. He is a very abstract type that speaks in dreams rather than logic. He pushed me to take my arrangements even further than I thought I could. The only thing I didn’t like about working with him was being out in the Swedish winter, alone. I felt like Jack in “The Shining”. Just the isolation, not the murderous impulses, ya know?

VP: You recently appeared on “Later with Jools Holland” along side the likes of The Kings Of Leon and Metallica. What was that experience like?

NICOLE: That was the best night ever!!! I’m a huge Metallica fan. I met them that night and they were seriously the nicest rock stars I ever met. So down to earth and humble and encouraging. Carla Bruni was mad sweet too! We played with a string section that night, ughhh, I wish we could do that every night.

VP: You went to college to study illustration, is it something you still do, or don’t you have time these days?

NICOLE: I still do it, but mostly comics on the road. Any bigger illustrations and paintings are strewn around my apartment, unfinished.

VP: Has the internet had a big effect on your career so far?

NICOLE: Of course. The internet is a great way people can discover any music.

VP: What have been the highlights of 2008?

NICOLE: Hmmm, there seems to be a lot for me. I went on my first headlining tour, played the Conan and Ferguson shows in the states, Jools in the UK, recorded a song with David Byrne!, played all the major festivals in the U.S. like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo and the like, did my first European tour and played Wireless O2 in the UK.. Did some TV in the Netherlands (3am! ew) I met and had a good couple hangs with Bruce Springsteen in my hometown (we live in the same hood), and meeting Metallica and Dennis Hopper was a highlight for sure! I also sang backup vocals on AC Newman (the New Pornographers) new solo record. It’s awesome!

VP. ……and what are your plans for 2009?

NICOLE: I’m making a new record!!!

VP: Five words to sum up your week?

NICOLE: English, metal, procrastination, hospitals, Asbury.


On Myspace

Official Site


-Neptune City In Stores Now!

Nicole Atkins Digs Other People’s Songs Online Now!



“Neptune City” By Nicole Atkins & the Sea

“Maybe Tonight” Live on Later With Jools-Nicole Atkins & The Sea

“The Way It Is” Live on Letterman-Nicole Atkins & The Sea

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