Songs To Learn And Sing – Exlovers, Emmy The Great And Tim Wheeler. Plus Scouse Gits and Action Aid.

“Starlight, Starlight” By Exlovers.

Almost time for us bloggers to start tipping who we hope will do well in 2012,  well here’s a spoiler, exlovers are definitely on our  list. They may not be new kids on the block but their debut album  ‘Moth’ is due in Spring next year and promises to be one of our (and hopefully your) major musical highlights in 2012. “Starlight, Starlight” is available as a free download (above) and hints at, rather like an elegantly flaunted stocking top,  the promise yet to come. We are excited !   With another single due early next year Exlovers will be rounding off 2011 with  a headline show at London’s XOYO on 16th December.

Here’s an interview we did earlier in the year

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Emmy The Great And Tim Wheeler Xmas Album.

Lets face it after pasty faced, unctuous, slug-man George Osborne’s latest gloomy economic  announcements we could do with something to cheer us up. So we have two suggestions, close your eyes and  picture George being dragged, cold, naked and sobbing along the south bank to be unceremoniously deposited in the Thames by an angry public, who have said “no more. ” Chortle as his shrill falsetto screams for clemency provoke nothing more than bitter but totally justified laughter and scorn from the angry mob. Ahem… or alternatively check out Emmy The Great  and Ash’s Tim Wheeler’s Christmas album ( more on this later in the week). They were apparently going to be called Sleigher at one stage , which of course would have left my love of woeful puns fully sated, anyway here’s a freebie to get you feeling a little bit festive.

Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing)By Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler.

Ohhh and a video packed with festive cheesiness  in which, somewhat disturbingly, Tim manages to look 12 years old. I do hope the landlord of the hostelry in the video insisted on some form of appropriate ID, or it’s fizzy pop all the way for you young man.

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In Other news , watch out, it’s the Scouse GITS

Locally  we hear news of The GIT Awards, created by Liverpool music blog getintothis.co.uk,  aimed at celebrating and promoting Merseyside’s upcoming new musical talent. From the thriving hip hop scene to its electronica artists, from its long-established country and roots community to punk, folk and metal, the GIT Award is open to all. Peter Guy, Liverpool ECHO journalist and editor of Getintothis, says, ‘Think of it as the Scouse Mercury Prize – but, the only criteria being that it has a clear connection with Liverpool; ie: the record was made, produced or recorded by Liverpudlians. Prizes include   a day’s free recording time with a top producer, while the winners will play next year’s Liverpool Sound City and Liverpool Music Week. Vice Magazine, meanwhile, has asked Getintothis to promote an exclusive gig at their London-based bar, The Old Blue Last, featuring the winners.

On top of this, Skelmersdale film-maker Ian Gamester, who has been shortlisted for the prestigious Virgin Media Shorts film, will make the band’s video promo which will be screened at FACT’s boutique Box cinema

Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool Music Week, Cream, Creamfields, Vice Magazine, The Quietus, Liverpool Vision, ACME, It’s Liverpool, Liverpool City Council, Culture Liverpool, FACT Cinema and Art Gallery, Liverpool Museum, Probe Records, The Music Consortium, Bido Lito! Magazine, WAXXX Magazine, Sandhills Recording Studios, Elevator Studios, The Motor Museum Recording Studios, Dawsons, Resurrection, Lost Art, LIPA, Weavers Door, Bold Street Coffee, The Green Cauldron, Cains Brewery, The Bluecoat, Static Gallery, The Masque, Leaf, Sentric, CMU Daily, EVOL, Mellotone, Harvest Sun, Samizdat, Another Media, Obscenic, Mercy, Hive Collective, Jon Hillcock’s New Noise, UR BEATZ, Seven Streets and Liverpool Live. To apply send your four tracks to getintothis@gmail.com Or alternatively post to Peter Guy, The GIT Award, Liverpool Daily Post & ECHO, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L693EB. Closing date: Spring 2012. Exact date TBC

We applaud anything that promotes new music as undoubtedly times have never been tougher for musicians , hindered by an assemblage of philistine  fuckwits (ie the government) that places zero value on the arts. This, despite the fast that the arts  is a huge export earner for the UK economy,  worth around £16 billion.

Add in the fact that Liverpool 08 was the most successful European Capital of Culture ever, with 15 million cultural tourists and £800 million worth of local economic benefit and you can see why the Tories policies are loathed and despised here in scouseland ( and beyond.)

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Action Aid

We are not ones to generally cut and paste PR’s but this is a worthwhile cause. In fact to set the ball rolling I’ll donate to keep Everything Everything away from a recording studio for the next five years. But jesting aside….

The charity ActionAid today launches the world’s first ever emergency music network, backed by music stars including The Wombats, Everything Everything, Chapel Club, Cancer Bats and Radio 1’s Huw Stephens. ActionAid Live is a nationwide network of bands, musicians, promoters and venues primed to spring into action and raise funds the next time a humanitarian emergency strikes in one of the world’s most vulnerable areas.

Radio 1 DJ and ActionAid ambassador Huw Stephens said: “When an emergency strikes – whether it’s an earthquake, flood or tsunami – we all want to do what we can to help. ActionAid Live brings together music fans, bands and promoters in a united effort to save lives both in those vital first few days following a disaster and in the long term.

“I’ve seen for myself the amazing work ActionAid does, and they’re one of the most inspiring charities out there – by raising money for them in an emergency, the money you raise will make the biggest difference possible.”

Bands, musicians and promoters can now sign up to ActionAid Live at www.actionaid.org.uk/live to support the humanitarian response during the next big emergency by putting on a fundraising gig – or donating money from an existing show they’re already involved with – creating a UK-wide network of events united to raise money and save lives.

ActionAid Live launches on 22 November as part of the charity’s wider emergency fundraising network, called the Global Emergencies Team. This is a way for every individual – whether they’re in a band or not – to get involved in an emergency response: hundreds of people around the country all set to fundraise, whether in their workplace or local community. To find out more about the wider emergency network, visit www.actionaid.org.uk/team.

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‘The Ex-Ex’ – ExLovers Interview.

ExLovers interview on The Von Pip Musical Express 2011

Free download – ‘Moth-Eaten Memories’ By Exlovers.

Blowing Kisses’ By Exlovers.

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As a conscientious blogger every feature obviously requires a degree of research, a re-checking of a few basic facts, possibly re- listening to a bands back catalogue, hacking their phones, rummaging through their wheelie-bins, and in this case quite literally interviewing ex-lovers. Standard News International procedure really (allegedly!) When preparing for this particular feature I was somewhat perturbed by one nugget of information I’d unearthed, it stated that north London quintet Exlovers had formed in late 2009. This struck me as odd because I first came across the band in early 2009, supporting Emmy The Great in Liverpool. Just shows you, you can’t trust the net and great band they may be, but I’m not entirely convinced they have quite mastered the art of bending time and space just yet. On that cold night in February 2009 they produced a hugely enjoyable set, put up with my ramblings and as a result I’ve followed their releases with an interest that has generally been equaled only by my enjoyment ever since. A truly f*cking great band who share this blog’s ethos  – ‘Don’t ever make music if the main aim is to make money from it. Do it because you love it and that will be the reward.’

Some things in life seem inevitable; a Tory government will always put Rupert Murdoch’s wishes ahead of the public interest, every time Liam Gallagher opens his gargantuan mouth his Lilliputian brain disengages and a stream of verbal diarrhoea issues forth, and  bloggers and journalists will always strive to describe music via ‘the comparison.’ Thus musicians will always be compared to artists from times gone by and Exlovers have certainly been compared to many. Elliot Smith, Teenage Fan Club, The Cure, Belle and Sebastian are just a few of the names that have been bandied about when trying to describe the band’s sound. And so in the spirit of this great tradition, let me add to this ever growing list and humbly suggest that their latest single ‘Blowing Kisses’ sounds a little 4AD vs Blast First, or if you prefer, Pale Saints jamming with Dinosaur Jr. This, I’m sure you will agree, is a whole world of good.  They’ve also been described as breezy, whimsical and dreamy, again this is true to a degree but there’s much more substance to them than to be simply constrained by these somewhat tired clichés. 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.

The band grew round the initial nucleus of singer and songwriter Peter and guitarist Chris, both from the Cornish fishing town of St Ives and both relocated to London. Pete already had written a clutch of songs inspired by everything from the Beatles to punk and after being introduced to co-singer Laurel the three of them began recording demos. The songs started to take shape, juxtaposing the fragile vocals of Laurel and Peter with the sometimes frenetic guitar work of Chris and soon the trio became a quintet with the addition of Brooke on drums and Danny on bass. Exlovers were ready to step out into the world.

After a string of well received singles the bands fourth release ‘Blowing Kisses’ is about to drop and they have also been putting the finishing touches to their debut album at Rockfield Studios in Wales with Demian Castellanos and Jimmy Robertson (Florence and the Machine, Big Pink) which is set for release later this year.

We had a chat to the ‘reclusive’ Peter about the bands progress to date.

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VP:   You have a new single out  ‘Blowing Kisses’ what’s the song about? Heartbreak, betrayal, lust, yearning? Would you say your lyrics are mainly auto biographical?

PETER: It’s about the failure to commit to someone and the unconscious will to destroy your relationships. Yes, to different degrees they are all auto biographical.

VP: And you’re currently recording your debut album? How are you enjoying the process and what can we expect from it? Will it include older tracks such as ‘Photobooth’ and ‘Just A Silhouette’

PETER: We’re most of the way through recording the album now. It has been really enjoyable but also quite draining for me personally. It’s mostly new material though it will include some older songs like the ones you mentioned and they have all been revised and re-recorded for the album.

VP: Peter, performing in front of 100’s, pouring out intimate emotions and thoughts may seem an odd choice for somebody who is often described to as a loner and  ‘a bit of a recluse.’ Do you get fazed by performing live or do you kind of lose yourself in the music?

PETER: Sometimes it can be a daunting prospect especially if I’m not feeling particularly stable-minded but I’m capable of enjoying myself too and when there’s an audience of people who are receptive and encouraging it can be a beautiful experience.

VP: It’s said that during your earlier gigs you had to use public transport carrying your equipment, have you reached the point whereby you can now use a tour bus?

PETER : Thankfully yes, things are a little easier for us now.

VP: Your singles always seem to have quite striking art work, they kind of remind me of The Smiths cover art.  Who produces or selects the images and what do you look for in an image? Is it something that may resonate within the context of the song or do you just go for images that appeal aesthetically?

PETER:  It’s something I do with my friend Danny. Not really sure what it is we look for a lot of the time but if we find an image that seems in keeping with the tone and mood of the music then we go with it. Quite a lot of the images that we’ve used are people that I know and people who have made some kind of imprint on the music.

VP: What are your plans for 2011?

PETER: For me the main priority is the album, we’re all really looking forward to releasing it. I imagine we will be doing a fair amount of touring etc too.

VP: What have been your highlights as a band so far?

PETER:  Making the album I think. It would be difficult to single out any particular shows that we’ve especially enjoyed as there have been quite a number of them now.

VP: What’s been your weirdest experience as a band?

PETER: Making the last video [Blowing Kisses] was quite a strange experience. We had people standing in front of us the whole time holding leaf blowers and blasting petals, dust and anything else that happened to be floating around directly into our faces whist we performed a song.

VP: Name one  artist [and/or album] that each of you has been massively influenced by – and why?

PETE:  Sparklehorse.

I always find it very difficult to explain why I feel the way I do about certain music. I wouldn’t know where to begin with Sparklehorse, there’s too much to talk about.

DANNY: Pixies.

Explaining why someone likes the Pixies is like trying to explain what the colour Blue looks like.

BROOKE:  Belle and Sebastian.

Their albums have been a constant soundtrack to my life for the last decade.

CHRIS: Blink 182, Dude Ranch.

I loved that album when I was young and it was pretty much the sole reason I started playing guitar.

LAUREL:  PJ Harvey.

I love her. She’s opened doors for female musicians simply by getting on with it and doing it bloody well. She is ace.

Links

Facebook
www.youngandlostclub.com
http://exlovers.co.uk

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Video

‘Blowing Kisses’ – Exlovers

‘You Forget So Easily’-Exlovers.


So Much Music, So Little Time….

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Phew, it’s been a busy old time at VP Towers, what with promoting a new music night (as above) band management, photo shoots, interviews, secret deals, and clandestine assignations, highs lows and everything in between.  All in all it’s been a giddy whirl !!

Normal service will be resumed shortly but as ever it’s music that fuels our imagination, adds the grist to our musical mill and provides the lead for our pencil!! So here’s what we’ve been getting our groove on to lately.

“Elemantary Of Youth” Sound Of Guns

“You Forget So Easily” Exlovers

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Exlovers You Forget So Easily“, posted with vodpod

“Papillon” Editors

“Alexander” Charlotte Hatherley

“The Hangmen”-Dirtblonde

“Baptized by Fire” Spinnerette

“Edward Is Deadward” Emmy The Great

“I Think I Need It Too” Echo And The Bunnymen

“Mowglis Road” Marina And The Diamonds

“I Cut Like A Buffalo” The Dead Weather

And a blast from the past, possibly even more relavant today in the sense that we have more musical “puppets” than ever before. Maybe Milo could update it ?

“Astley In The Noose” The Wonderstuff

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