The VPME Podcast Episode 3 June 2011

The VPME Podcast Episode 3- June 2011

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Yes, it’s back !  June’s VPME  podcast features classic tracks nestling coquettishly next to new and upcoming artists. Hosted by Ringo Von Pip there’s surely something here for everyone, oh and keep an ear out for some special guests too. Listen below

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The Von Pip Musical Express Podcast Episode 1- April 2011.

The VPME Podcast

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Ever dreamt about  listening to music presented by somebody who looks like Bill Oddie‘s  tiny wizened scrotum with a sad little face drawn on it, yet who sounds like an intoxicating mix of  Ian McCulloch fused with Ringo Starr inside a beehive situated  in Brookside Close ? You have? Well listen to The Von Pip Musical Express Podcast Episode 1- April 2011 Cloudcast on Mixcloud or below for musical and spiritual fulfillment.

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[Ps you can scroll through the podcast by clicking on the bar right at the bottom of the ‘cast’  if you so wish]

Thanks to Cat fom Pris, Drew From Islington Boys Club, Julia from the Indelicates, Laura from Dimbleby and Capper, Sarah from Let’s Buy Happiness and Dave Cromwell from NYC.


Lush-Mad Love-Twenty Years On !

Lush -Mad Love 20 years On “Deluxe” by Lush

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Ever felt unappreciated, resigned to the fact that no matter what you do certain people will always be waiting to pour scorn upon your head?   This was certainly how lead singer Miki Berenyi  appeared to feel with regard to how the music press treated Lush.  Despite her often feisty displays during interviews you sensed that, as the bands days were heading towards a  tragic conclusion, this attitude was replaced  by a miasma of beleaguered acceptance.  Yet twenty years on since the bands seminal ‘Mad Love’ EP , Miki, whilst obviously not losing any sleep over it,  still finds the bands treatment somewhat  baffling.  Their many fans will tell you they are one of the greatest bands ever, as  fantastic live as they were on record,  yet they were without doubt, after an initial flirtation with the music press, never really given their due by many critics.   Maybe the  problem was the fact that they were actually too nice to be in such a shark infested business, too open and honest and not as intensely po-faced as some bands who emerged from Britain’s burgeoning  ‘Shoegaze’ scene .  Maybe they committed the cardinal sin of initially appearing to actually enjoy what they did? Often seen at other bands gigs,  members of Lush were deemed to be  major players in part of  a rather daft Melody Maker invention  known somewhat sniffily as ‘the scene that celebrates its self’. Lush’s bassist Phil King (who replaced Steve Rippon after ‘Mad Love’ was recorded)  put the media treatment  Lush received into perspective when he told us I think that maybe because we lived in London and would be seen at a lot of shows, the press kind of took us for granted. There was no mystery because we were so ubiquitous. Also because we were seen out I think they felt we never worked. I always found it funny in the US as the press there seemed fascinated by the English music press and would always quiz us on it.”

In our 2008 interview Miki also spoke about the capricious nature of the press thus “I remember the Melody Maker reviewing ‘Split’ and slagging us off because (apparently) all our songs were light, jangly things about fluffy clouds and fairies. Meanwhile, reviewing the same album, the NME complained that our lyrics were too depressing (covering child abuse and parental death) and didn’t fit the sparkly, light melodies. I guess what I’m saying is that we couldn’t do right for doing wrong.” Personally I’d always put this sort of fickle wankery down to the arsey hipster fellating  London based music press, who combined old school misogyny and indie elitism with  a good old fashioned  “build ‘em up then  knock em down” sensibility much loved by our  more unsavoury  tabloid newspapers.

I suppose the problem with journalists perpetuating unwarranted myths is that people start to believe in them, indeed myths that are believed tend to become accepted as truths. And whilst I don’t subscribe to Alan McGee’s view  that My Bloody Valentine were a joke band, or that he used them as a piece of  McLaren style situationalism to see just how far he could push hype, the fact remains that MBV’s legacy has been hugely overblown in much the same way that Lush’s musical contribution has been seriously underplayed. And that I’m afraid is down to the press.

It’s been 20 years since Lush released their Robin Guthrie produced  ‘Mad Love’ EP and so  maybe it’s time to re-evaluate Lush’s musical legacy. Let’s just hope any such re-appraisal  won’t be peppered with tiresome elitist blather about Brit-pop or accusations of ‘selling out’ , a charge often levelled at the bands final album,  ‘Lovelife’.  As Miki said when discussing the album  – “Is ‘Ladykillers’ more commercial than ‘Hypocrite?’ Is ‘Desire Lines’ more shadowy than ‘Last Night?’ Is ‘I’ve Been Here Before’ a throwaway exercise in jazz lite whereas ‘Lit Up’ is a trawl through the underbelly of discordance rivalling the darkest periods of Miles Davis?

The Quietus website  has recently  put forward a convincing case for Lush’s legacy to be given the credit it deserves and hopefully this  may signal that people are finally coming around to the view, that actually Lush were rather f**king  brilliant.  And so with 2010, being ‘Mad Love’s’ anniversary we spoke to Emma, Miki and Steve about their memories surrounding the recording of the EP and asked the question many Lush fans have been desperate to put to them. . . what about a reunion?

VP: What do you recall about the period of time when you recorded ‘Mad Love’, was it an exciting time, full of wide-eyed optimism ?

EMMA: It was really enjoyable and a very easy session. We recorded it in The Church which was Dave Stewart’s studio and it was mixed at September Sound which was The Cocteau Twins’ one. Unlike when we did ‘Spooky’ with Robin, we completed it all quite quickly and without too much tinkering and, yes, things did seem to be going very well at that time.

STEVE: It was fun being a proper musician, but I think I’d read enough about the music biz not to be starry-eyed about it. Recording sessions were fun to begin with, learning how a real studio worked etc. Doing our first European tour in Jan-Feb 1990 was great, travelling around Holland, France & Germany and meeting all these foreigners who’d actually heard of us was a hoot. It was the closest I’ve come to being on holiday for a living.

VP: Did you enjoy working with Robin ? … How did he come to be involved?

EMMA: I had actually met Robin prior to our involvement with 4AD. I had worked for Jeff Barrett (who now runs Heavenly) and he knew Robin and told me to send a demo to him, which I did. We met up (with a pregnant Liz) in a pub on the Kilburn High Road and he said he loved the songs. So we asked him to produce ‘Mad Love’. You might think it was obvious as he was on 4AD too then but at the time but the relationship was quite strained between The Cocteau Twins and the label so actually Ivo trod carefully! Working with him on ‘Mad Love’ was pretty straightforward and Robin is a lovely guy with a very dry sense of humour. Unfortunately working on ‘Spooky’ wasn’t so easy but that’s another story!

VP: How did you decide which songs would be on the EP ?

EMMA: I think they were just the newest ones we had plus we thought ‘Thoughtforms’ should get the Robin Guthrie treatment. We weren’t that prolific  but  we were very economic with our songs so whenever we had songs to record, we did.

VP: Miki, Mad Love contains your song “Leaves Me Cold”, what’s the song about, I’ve had my own interpretation for years which is probably all wrong 😉

MIKI: I think it’s a bit of a shame telling people exactly what a song is about because, if it’s a song they like, they’ve invariably come up with a much better interpretation that is probably relevant to their own lives and therefore makes the song much more meaningful and personal to them.

However, I will satisfy your curiosity. BASICALLY I had a really filthy dream about someone who I never ever thought of ‘in that way’ and it freaked me out a bit because I just couldn’t get the dream out of my head and so every time I saw them it would make me shudder at the very thought but it had also made me fall a bit in love (lust) with them because I just couldn’t shake how passionate the dream had been.

VP:  Do you feel “Mad Love” was the first time we heard what we might call the “Lush sound”

EMMA: No, I think ‘’Scar’ pretty much displayed that too but in a rawer state.

VP: Emma, you filmed two videos for “De-luxe” ….do bands find filming promo  videos a rather dreary affair, or was it fun being one of your first ?

EMMA: Those 2 were OK – yes the first one in the tree was the first video we had ever done so it was quite exciting. It’s a very indie video but OK all the same. The second one was done for the USA and we really liked making it and the finished result was pretty good. It all depends on the director really and their ideas. The worst video we ever did was the US version of ‘500’ – bad day and BAD video.

VP:  Steve, Miki told  me that during the video shoot for Deluxe you’d had enough of precariously dangling on tree branches and disappeared ….! What are your recollections?

STEVE: I don’t remember that at all but it sounds like something I’d do, I was always prone to wandering off by myself and coming back to find people fretting about where I’d been. Usually looking for second-hand record shops, actually, and if I found one I’d be even later getting back. I do remember it was freezing cold doing that video out in the middle of nowhere in Kent in January, but I also remember someone told us it was where the Beatles did their Strawberry Fields Forever promo, so that was exciting for a lifelong Beatle fan like me.

VP: Steve, What are your abiding memories of being in Lush, any regrets about leaving when you did ?

STEVE: It was great fun, I loved it all really, and I only left because I’d have preferred to be doing my own songs, only nobody was interested in them, and I could see all the things we’d done that were exciting the first time round (making records, videos, radio sessions, touring Europe, Japan & the States etc) were going to get progressively less fun the more often we did them. Especially the amount of times they ended up touring America. So no, I think I left at the right time, although I do think I was probably a bit jealous of them still being in the band around 1995 when I’d started working in a computer firm in Dublin and they seemed to be living it up at the dawn of Britpop. But even if they’d asked me to re-join then I don’t think I would have, as it would’ve involved moving back to London, which I never wanted to do. But I have loads of great memories from that time, and I still think of Miki & Emma as my alternative sisters, even though I haven’t seen them for years (although I’m hoping to next month).

VP: You must get tired of answering this but Emma & Miki, you’ve  mentioned previously that a Lush reunion was mooted but due to the “c**ntish flakiness” of some parties things didn’t really take off . Although you all have jobs and Emma’s a new mum now, do you think you’d ever consider it again if somebody genuinely made an offer.

EMMA: Erm – that was Miki’s quote and not the whole reason we didn’t reform (she was referring to one promoter). The money and offers just weren’t there that year and we couldn’t take the risk of the outlay without making that back and then some.  At the time we were thinking about it I had a very stressful full-time job and would have had to do all the rehearsing and playing in my 4-week holiday allowance which I think would have left me as a nervous wreck! If the money was right then, yes, we would do it but I think promoters would have to come to us so we would be in the driving seat. Who knows what may happen in the future but, yes, for the time being a reformation looks unlikely.

MIKI: Yes,  I’m afraid that the honest answer is not unless we were offered an awful lot of money. I have enough trouble finding the time to answer these questions let alone relearn the entire Lush back catalogue, rehearse with a new drummer and actually schedule time to play the gigs. So if we did it, I would have to stop work, and if I stop work, then how do I pay the bills?

To be fair to the c*nty flake, he wasn’t the only one who pissed us about (although he was the only one who deserves to have a resilient object booted up his backside). One agent after another (well, three) promised the world and then had to admit rather shamefacedly that it wasn’t really happening. They scratched their heads, they didn’t understand, but the promoters just weren’t that keen.

In the words of Les McQueen, “It’s a sh*t business”.

Links

Light From A Dead Star Site

Miki Berenyi Fan Site

Lush Live Site

Myspace

Miki Interview 2008

Emma Anderson Interview 2008

Phil King interview 2009

Wallpaper

Video

“De-luxe” (original) By Lush

“De-luxe” (version 2) By Lush

“Leaves Me Cold” By Lush (Live France 1990)

“Thoughtforms” By Lush (live at Roskilde Festival 1991)

Mad Love by Lush- Signed

Signed EP

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Something For The (Easter) Weekend 2/04/2010

This week Dum Dum Girls, Gloria Cycles, The Lodger, Freebass ft Pete Wylie, The Candle Thieves Album Review, The Ruby Suns, Oclet, Jim Kerr Tokyo Police Club, The Digital Economy Bill and Lush

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Dum Dum Girls – Jail La La

We serioulsy ♥ Dum Dum Girls!

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Gloria Cycles –Debut Album

‘CAMPSITE DISCOTHEQUE’  Released 5th April 2010 on A&G Record

Gloria Cycles
A gloriously quirky collection of twelve songs oozing with wit and charm, meaningful lyrics and blissful melodies, which twist and turn throughout, accompanied by blustery guitars and upbeat basslines.

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The Lodger

The Lodger

The Lodger release new single, ‘Have A Little Faith In People’ on 5th April via This Is Fake DIY Records (6th April via Slumberland in the US).

It is the first single taken from the band’s forthcoming third album, ‘Flashbacks’, which follows on 26th April, itself the follow-up to 2008’s ‘Life Is Sweet’ and 2007 debut, ‘Grown Ups’.

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Freebass ft. Pete Wylie ‘The Milky Way Is Our Playground’

Freebase Featuring Pete Wylie

Debut Freebass EP “Two Worlds Collide” which brings together a selection of famous guest vocalists including Tim Burgess, Pete Wylie, Howard Marks and Peter Hook.

Online shop: http://www.fac51thehacienda.com

Originally born out of a conversation between Mani, Hooky and Rourkie some five years ago, Freebass has been through a long gestation process. Finding the right lead singer proved arduous leading Mani to suggest that the band approach their famous friends to contribute vocals. Howard, Tim and Pete all responding to the call.

“Two Worlds Collide” is the result of these early Freebass sessions and is released as a full four track EP including bonus tracks.

Opening up is Tim Burgess’ contribution, “You Don’t Know This About Me”, second track, “The Milky Way Is Our Playgroud” as Pete Wylie takes on vocal duties for a soaring, euphoric space rock track. http://www.myspace.com/petewylie

Howard Marks delivers a sterling vocal on “Dark Starr” as its driving bassline spins off into a grungey piece of rock and roll mischief. A change of pace for final track “Live Tomorrow You Go Down” as Hooky growls his way through a dance track whose Blackburn raves bassline, crunching beats, and Giorgio Moroder style electro flourishes bring about a leftfield, punkish techno track .

So there you have it finally, the debut Freebass EP, you thought you’d never see.

The EP includes 6 tracks and is available as a one track continuous download.

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The Candle ThievesSunshine & Other Misfortunes”-mini review

The Candle Thieves?  Peterborough’s answer to Eels or a Cambridgeshire version of Ben Folds? Well based on their début album “Sunshine & Other Misfortunes” possibly a bit of both. It’s an album full of  jaunty Casio led pop, which has the duo pondering on the vagaries of life  but ultimately deciding that faced with our own mortality we might as well have a bit of fun.  The albums opener, not surprisingly titled “We’re All Gonna Die( Have Fun)” aptly sums up the Candle Thieves ethos whilst channeling the spirit of “Mr E’s Beautiful Blues” circa  Eels. Recent single “The Sunshine Song” follows in a similar vein, whilst “My Love Will Clap Its Hands” slows things down a jot with a chorus that recalls the Lightning Seeds at their most  more reflective and saccharine  free. “Dreaming Of Lucy” is pure “Songs for Silverman” era Ben Folds and there are many other sparkling pop nuggets on offer here.

Apparently some people have said that The Candle Thieves are “a little bit Owl City”…which is a  rather like suggesting  Ben Folds is “a little  bit Dean Friedman”. There may be some who feel that at (effectively)  fourteen songs long the introspective yet sprightly pop becomes a little wearisome and there may indeed be an argument that  shaving off a couple of tracks would make this album a slightly tighter offering.  However  there’s no doubting “Sunshine and Other Misfortunes” is a fine début and showcases the Candle Thieves wide eyed brand of  “guilty pleasure pop for deep thinkers” to great effect (VP)

7/10

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The Ruby Suns Free Download

The Ruby Suns Free Download

Subpop, who release The Ruby Suns over the seas and far away, have offered up the sublimely delicious ‘Closet Astrologer’ as a free download. Right click here to download

A splendid ambassador it is too for the very wonderful new album Fight Softly, which you can purchase from the following shops:
Amazon
iTunes
Memphis Shop

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Ocelot

DEBUT SINGLE – BEATING HEARTS
RELEASED ON WALL OF SOUND ON 26th APRIL

For their first single on Wall Of Sound, trans-Atlantic-duo Ocelot are smashing their way to the dancefloor with a dark-disco anthem, Beating Hearts released 26th April.

Featuring future pop sensation Emil (B Unique) on vocals, the Quincy-Jones-on-pills of ‘Beating Hearts’ is a foretaste of the high-octane pop, sprayed liberally across their debut album. Crunching electro songs, culled from their collective hardcore background and a willingness to embrace some huge irony-free pop melodies, make Ocelot an addictive force on the dancefloor.

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LOSTBOY! AKA-Jim Kerr Releases Debut Solo Album

Lostboy AKA is the debut solo album from the legendary Simple Minds’ singer/ songwriter Jim Kerr. It is released in the UK & Ireland on 16th May 2010 on earMUSIC, the international pop rock label of Edel Group, distributed by Absolute via Universal. Produced by Jez Coad (Simple Minds last 2 albums) and featuring Charlie Jones on bass (Robert Plant, Page & Plant, Goldfrapp) alongside long-time Simple Minds drummer Mel Gaynor, Lostboy! AKA showcases a new musical alter ego for Jim, whilst retaining strong links with his 40-million selling, 33-year career with Simple Minds.

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Tokyo Police Club Return!

Tokyo Police Club has just put the finishing touches to their new album “Champ” due to drop this summer. According to lead singer Dave Monks the new album will feature “… eleven songs, a Disney character, fuzzy bits, Canadian spelling, ice hockey sound effects, me singing the lowest note in my range, one (1) saxophone note”. They’ve offered up a taster from the album in the form of new track “Breakneck Speed”, a languidly ambiguous ode to lost youth, with Dave delivering the pay off line “It’s good to be back”. Check out Breakneck Speed here: www.tokyopoliceclub.com

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The Anti-Digital Economy Bill campaign gains momentum

Civil rights campaigners 38 Degrees and Open Rights Group (ORG) have raised nearly £12,000 to fund an initiative aimed at persuading MPs to oppose the Digital Economy Bill’s controversial disconnection clauses becoming law without being debated.

A letter-writing campaign targeting MPs has already generated 18,000 letters and last week  people protested outside Parliament against the passage of the bill.

The Digital Economy Bill will receive a second reading on 6 April, the same day the General Election is expected to be called.

More info here

Dan Bull- Dear Lily

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Retro Track Of  The Week

Lush- “Desire Lines”

Miki was recently quoted about life after being in a band ‘My job now isn’t as fun or exciting as it was to be in a band, but on the other hand, I don’t have to worry about complete strangers approaching me and telling me I’m a c—.’ There are also quotes from Justine Frischmann and  Tanya Donelly on the same subject here

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Live A Little, Love A Lot -Moose Interview

Moose

“Jack” By Moose

Moose may have flown under many peoples radar in the early 1990’s despite being the band that inadvertently helped coin the term “shoegaze.” In spite of their music being an artistic and critical triumph they pretty much remained a glorious cult throughout their career. The public seemed to prefer the reverb soaked vibe of bands such as Ride, My Bloody Valentine and the post Cocteau dream pop of Lush and The Pale Saints to Moose’s more laid back country tinged output.  Moose were never a band bound by the fickle nature of fashion and at a time when the music press where collectively soiling their pants with excitement over My Bloody Valentines much vaunted “Loveless” album Moose where casting aside the white noise guitar wash of their early EP’s to embrace a laconic alt country guitar infused hybrid. This new sound first began to surface on their Mitch Easter produced debut “…XYZ”, the album still retained elements of distortion and effects pedals but didn’t solely rely on a layered wall of sound; it was a much more subtle, nuanced affair.

Despite a generally positive response from the music press the album seemed to baffle the record buying public who possibly expected more of the same shoegaze vibe of their early releases. Sales were a little disappointing  and before long Moose were dropped by their label-“Hut.” Undaunted by such a set back  Moose continued to produce music which often beguiled, confounded and confused, the reaction it often provoked was encapsulated perfectly in this “Melody Maker” review from 1994 -“Moose are a conundrum, don’t you find? Live, they hunch over big black guitars and tip out blank and unappealing white noise, but then they make the sweetest and darndest records. The lead track here, “I Wanted to See You to See if I Wanted You”, is a camp country-inclined thing which seems to be linked by umbilical c(h)ord to kitsch Seventies classic, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Dawn. And then they start singing in Spanish! A curious business all round, quite frankly.”

After signing to “Play It Again Sam Records”, the band released their second album, “Honey Bee”, in early 1994 which included the aforementioned “I Wanted to See You to See if I Wanted You,” a track which certainly stuck a personal chord with me and became my very first break-up song. It taught me a harsh lesson in life…I may have wanted to see her, to see if I wanted her but alas when she saw me she didn’t want to see me.  Once more the band received critical plaudits but yet again this didn’t translate into sales. A third album followed “Live a Little, Love a Lot” which also featured the Cocteau Twins’ Liz Frasier and it seemed Moose had reached a creative impasse.  It was another four years before Moose resurfaced,  releasing yet another fine album “High Ball Me”, which proved to be their final release, although the band have never officially split there seems little chance of a reunion.…..

In some ways Moose were either a band born into the wrong era, or a band who’s timing was slightly out of kilter with what was going on around them. After virtually inventing “shoegaze” and at the height of it’s popularity they chose to walk a different path. When Albarn became the Dick Van Dyke of pop and Noel Gallagher offered us his “Matalan” version of John Lennon, Moose continued to produce laid back, reflective thoughtful  music. Their albums contain songs of yearning, beauty and tenderness that were the polar opposite to the gaudy vacuous pantomime that was to became “Britpop”. And where as many of the bandwagon hopping “Britpoppers” now sound incredibly bland and dated (try listening to Sleeper’s lamentable po-faced nonsense without feeling an urge to snigger!) Moose’s own output  by virtue of not bending to the will of fashion, has a timeless quality and still possesses a calm majesty which makes revisiting their back catalogue a thoroughly rewarding affair  ….We spoke to KJ “Moose” McKillop to reflect on the bands career.

VP: The bands name “Moose” comes from your own nickname (“Moose”) but how did you come by that nickname in the first place? Does anybody call you Kevin?

MOOSE: The nickname comes from my student days at North London Poly.In the bar they always had this cheap,but not completely unpalatable, Canadian lager called Moosehead – you can guess the rest!

VP: Your début album …XYZ has recently been re-released on Cherry Red Roads, in many ways it seems to have stood up to the test of time much  better than some of your contemporaries from the same era  What do you think of it now, is it still something you’re proud of ?

MOOSE: I’m really proud of XYZ even though it’s not my favourite.We had the most amazing time doing it – Mitch Easter was a real gent.He pushed us to give our best without being a bully.I have very few regrets about my Moose days but to have worked with him on another album would have been a joy.

VP: Some people were a bit surprised at the kind of country infused vibe that was contained within XYZ, did that reaction surprise you, or did you set out to take a different approach after your early EPs?

MOOSE: I think Mitch really brought that country vibe out.When we met him for the first time we went out drinking and very quickly got round to the obvious – songs, bands, singers,LPs. There  was so much common ground – Love, the Byrds,Big Star, Lee Hazelwood. More recent things (or recent for ‘92  !) Cocteaus,Valentines,REM, AR Kane, XTC.But what struck Mitch was our penchant for some old school C&W. Willie Nelson,Merle Haggard,George Jones et al.You can certainly here touches of that on XYZ.

VP: There’s also probably my absolute favourite cover version of “Everybody Talking” on the album, what is it about that song that drew you towards it?

MOOSE: We’d started playing Everybody’s Talking live the year before.  Russell Fong, who’d recently joined,suggested it. We all loved the song so we thought…Why not?

VP: The story goes that Moose, a band that hated to be pigeonholed or categorised, were unwittingly responsible for creating a journalistic genre, “Shoegaze”. How did that happen?

MOOSE: What you’ve probably heard is true.Andy Ross came along to review a gig for the long-defunct and lamented Sounds.Russell was reading the lyrics from A4 sheets at the base of his mic stand. From a distance he must’ve looked painfully shy. The rest is……..

VP: Throughout your time together you seemed to have a fraught and frustrating relationship with the music industry .What was the worst aspect of it for you?

MOOSE: We didn’t have the best of times with record labels but,looking back,it wasn’t too awful.We were able,after all,to get our music out. We had such a lot of fun that those more troubled times have mostly been obliterated. Russell, Mig and I recently got together for ‘a couple of shandies‘ and once  nostalgia took over,we found ourselves laughing about so much of what had  happened in the band.  It really was a great time.

VP: Do you think the band would have had a better experience nowadays with the internet taking an element of power away from the labels and music press?

MOOSE: I have to agree with you. There is genuine autonomy if you want it. It’s quite comical watching the record labels scrabbling around trying to play catch up.

VP: What would you say were your own highlights of your time together?

MOOSE: Highlight no.1, for me anyway, was the tour we did in ’94 with the Cocteau Twins. They gave us the chance to do our first U.S. dates; being on tour with people whose music we absolutely adored AND our first American shows – I still get teary eyed thinking about it. They were incredibly generous and carried a lot of our gear around on their bus as they knew we had to do the tour without any substantial record company support. Wonderful people, a wonderful time. Highlight no.2 was playing a show in Paris supporting Arthur Lee (my highlights seem centred around being a fan!).Shack were his backing group that night and everyone had arrived the day before to soundcheck and, for Arthur and Shack, to rehearse. We sat there with a few friends,drinking and smoking, as they ran through his greatest hits,doing each song 2 or 3 times until they were happy to move on to the next. We were totally blown away by what was happening in front of our eyes. I’ll never forget it.

VP: Did you see the much feted Blur reunion at Glastonbury? What did you make of it? An artistic triumph or a few middle aged blokes putting their egos to one side for the sake of a few million quid under the pretence of “unfinished business”?

MOOSE: The whole Blur reunion thing passed me by. I wasn’t surprised they did it as I always thought their split, for whatever reason, was a bit premature. I really liked The Good,The Bad & The Queen – it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but Herculean and Kingdom of Doom were excellent.

VP: Do you listen to much music these days, any new bands about over the past few years that have taken your fancy?

MOOSE: I think there has so much great music in the last decade – we really have been blessed. Nick Cave’s Abattoir Blues was outstanding. Low – The Great Destroyer – still play it a lot. Both Burial albums but especially Untrue – genius! Phoenix have put out some great tunes. 5.55 by Charlotte Gainsbourg and, just last month, La Superbe by Benjamin Biolay – fabulous. Sufjan Stevens-Illinois -this had some great songs.Philip Glass-The Hours soundtrack – a joy. The Avalanches and Air France. The Justice album was fantastic. My personal faves have been Iron and Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog – it has such a warm, inviting sound; The Great Destroyer and Untrue.

VP: Fast forward ….. In a few years time your kids say” Dad, we want to form a band and conquer the world”, what advice would you give them?

MOOSE: They are very welcome to form a band and conquer the world but I’m selling the T-shirts.

VP: What do you consider to be the five finest albums ever released?

MOOSE: “Forever Changes” (Love)  is always there. “Heaven or Las Vegas”(Cocteau Twins) still sounds astonishing to my ears. “Dusty in Memphis” – what a voice. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman – Wow! The Kinks –“The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society” – their masterpiece and give me them over the Beatles/Stones anyday.

VP: Finally how do you rate Spurs’ chances this season! 😉

MOOSE: If we can stop gifting matches/points to teams (Stoke, Everton etc.) then the top 4 isn’t out of the question. We’ve got a great squad and when fully fit a potential starting eleven that could beat anyone.It has to include Modric – and he’s back soon. Hurrah!

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Fan Site

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Videos

“Little Bird (Are You Happy In Your Cage?)” By Moose

“I Wanted to See You to See if I Wanted YouBy Moose

“Suzanne” By Moose

“Kidney Bingo’s ” by Moose ( Peel Sessions)

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Seinking Ships Featuring Miki Berenyi

When the news surfaced that Lush’s Miki Berenyi was guesting on Eric Matthews and Christopher Seinks project, “Seinking Ships”, there was much rejoicing in the VPME office. Since Lush split Miki’s appearances have been few and far between, partly due to her disillusionment with the record industry ( Miki: “I’m like Les McQueen in The League of Gentlemen – always handing out my old records and warning my workmates about the pitfalls of the music industry – “It’s a shit business” – that’s my catchphrase”) and also due to the demands of work and family.

So what drew Miki to this project ?  “ Eric just asked me, I really liked his stuff in a funny way it reminded me of Emma’s songs. I know they’re completely different really, but there’s something in the weird harmonies and the slight jazziness—and they’re really bloody hard to sing!”

The album “Museum Quality Capture” has been  recorded and is “in the lab” and will hopefully be released in 2009, in the meantime Eric Matthews has  allowed us to post an exclusive  album track  featuring Miki and also shares his ideas behind the song.

“We Will Drink Wine” By Seinking Ships (Ft. Miki Berenyi)

ERIC MATTHEWS : This is a beautiful song that I wrote with Christopher for Miki to sing.   I wrote a little story about lovers who live in separate places and are making plans be together for the first time-  that thing about the anticipatory fantasy that can build up in a mind (or minds) of would-be lovers before touching for the first time.   For me it was a strangely creative romantic moment where I really tried to put myself in that situation. I thought it was something that Miki could connect with and I think she did.   And sure enough, we talked about it and she sang it like a beautiful broken bird, just what was needed!  When I was writing the vocal parts, and the lyrics, I realized that something was happening where it actually began to feel like I was writing a love letter from me to Miki.  Not because I have some deep romantic feelings for her, no.  She and I have never met.   Instead, it was this act of creating something so special, that I was going to hand to a wonderful girl like her, a song that I felt so very close to, and moved by.   That starts to sound creepy but really, those notes, and those words created a real mood where I would like to believe that the more sensitive listeners would hear this song and really begin to feel the yearning of the singer, if not also the writer.

and MIKI says :

“I remember the first time Moose and I were sat listening to Eric’s demo of the song with a lyric sheet and Moose raised an eyebrow at me and laughed, “ Does this bloke think he’s going to get his leg over?” And I plucked another grey hair from my fringe, grabbed two handfuls of belly gut and croaked through the fag hanging off my lip, “well, he’s in for a bloody shock if that’s what he’s after!”

Yeah, it is a nice song. High. I remember there were some very high bits.

Please note: I am totally rubbish at talking about music unless I put my English Lit BA head on and I’m currently in the middle of filling out my tax return so that’s not going to happen.”

Wallpaper

Links

Seinking Ships ( with more tracks featuring Miki)

Interview with Eric Miki and Chris

Eric Matthews

We Miss Miki

Lush

Light From A Dead Star

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Looney Tubes! Warner Brothers Vs YouTube


Corpy Pig By Mister Lion

Many Youtube users may have noticed that their uploaded videos featuring their favourite bands music have been mysteriously disappearing from the popular on-line video sharing site. It appears that this is due to negotiations between YouTube and Warner Brothers breaking down over the thorny issue of music licensing,copyright infringement and of course money.  In a nutshell it transpires that Warners are seeking increased  renumeration for having its music hosted on YouTube, who also have deals with Universal Music, Sony and EMI Music. Experts suggest that Warner’s action may prompt other music companies to demand more money, at present under the current YouTube terms they earn either a minimum fee of less than a penny every time a music video is viewed on the site or a split of advertising revenue, whichever revenue is bigger.

Such demands could leave YouTube in a difficult position as it tries to balance the need to pay a reasonable fee to content partners, including TV and movie companies, and also generate a decent return on the substantial investment needed to keep streaming millions of videos around the world.  At present thousands of videos from artists such as Madonna and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers  are now being taken down at Warner’s request (every cloud has a silver lining though  James Blunt and Kid Rocks’ videos are also being removed- Huzzah! )Warner complain that the monies they receive from youtube are ‘staggeringly’ low, and go  on to say “We simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide,”

So what do the very people Warners claim to represent, the musicians make of it all ? Dresden Dolls singer Amanda Palmer said recently “Roadrunner is a subsidiary of Warner and I’m stuck in hell with Madonna and the other poor bastards, because Warner wants more money. Even worse, Warner has almost no bargaining power… They’re not even in the top ten of labels who have huge artists with material streaming on YouTube. They’re just starving for cash right now and they’re doing anything they can think of to come up with cash. It’s ABSURD. They are looking for money in a totally backwards way. Money that, I should point out, I would NEVER see as an artist. If they got their way and YouTube decided to give them a larger revenue share of the videos, it’s very unlikely it would ever make it’s way into the artists’ bank accounts”

A number of Lush videos have also been removed from YouTube, although there is an issue centred around  if Warners still actually own any copyright. It would  appear that  Reprise Records (owned by WB) licence for Lush’s music  expired in 2004 !  But when an organisation as powerful as Warners shout, people don’t question them.  Lush singer Miki Berenyi has had enough of it “I’m somewhat amazed that Warners can simply SAY that they own the rights to a video and the entire world craps itself without even asking them for any kind of proof. What’s more, given that they have no plans whatsoever to release any Lush videos (they would have to at least tell us they were going to, even if they did own the rights!), it’s not even as if having the Lush content out there is sabotaging any future income for them. I am, as I write, still trying to get to the bottom of this but have so far only come up against a faceless and impenetrable wall of bureaucracy. I’ll keep you posted!”

Its not just Warner’s that adopt a rather draconian approach to user generated content on YouTube, other big labels are trying to find ways of eeking out a few extra pounds from having content they claim they own on the site.  On one hand the big labels  seem to  have free YouTube accounts, and happily upload their content, designed, one assumes to publicise their acts, with a view to  maximising their audience etc. At the same time they seem to want the guy who owns the bill board to pay up for advertising their “product”.  The whole debate has thrown up many contradictions, for example big labels will send out a press release on their latest “hot property” and within the spin you may well find statements such as “30,000 hits on you tube alone” and “ YouTubes most popular video” etc etc, yet they also disable the ability to embed these “official videos” elsewhere, shutting the door on more exposure for their artists. Fair enough you may think, they don’t want their artists videos appearing on every Tom, Dick and Harry’s site,  its all about the  artistic integrity of their product isn’t it ? Erm actually no !  It’s  simply due to the fact that YouTube will only pay a share of revenue for content played directly from their site, not for content embedded elsewhere.

Another  recent development,  is the recent  policy of “muting”  user generated videos, (example HERE).  YouTube users often create an original video using their favorite song’s as the audio, but it looks like this could be a thing of the past  as You Tube have started  muting videos that use unauthorized copyrighted music. The implications for Youtube as we know it are huge;  it could potentially  lead to  thousands and  thousands of fan made videos, spoofs, remixes and cover versions being removed from the site.

The  whole farrago opens up the digital debate once more and would indicate that maybe the big players in the music industry are still struggling to understand and deal with the “net effect”. To some it may appear that the corporate giants that once dominated the industry are  behaving like some kind of embarrassing  uncle crashing a teen disco and saying “Come on kids, this is how we did it back in our day” … What they don’t seem to grasp is the fact that they are alienating music fans. Most fans don’t want to rip off or hurt the bands they love, but have little time for corporate bully boys, as is testified by the many messages being left on YouTube by disgruntled fans.

Chuck D  summed up the situation quite succinctly  “ Technology giveth and it taketh away, and the industry knows this, The horseshoe makers probably got upset at the train manufacturers because (the new industry) took away their transport dominance, just as the train manufacturers probably got mad at the airline industry.” And when the Industry gets mad it would appear threats and bullying seem to be the natural way of responding as the corporate mantra “our legal team will be in touch” is invoked.  Yet punitive actions, such as threats, putting pressure on ISP’s to reveal files sharers names and suing individual fans doesn’t exactly endear the big labels to your average music fan, or indeed engender much sympathy.   As Billy Bragg said “You know who the pirates are? The pirates are our fans, when you sue our fans, you drive our fans away.” Bragg believes the entire music industry requires root and branch change, and that the first focus in this should be a fair income for artists, large and small.

So have Warners cut off their nose to spite their face? It remains to be seen if the demand for more cash  will benefit the musicians as it  means one less marketing medium for video content, it will of course add  additional costs for  Warner Music in terms of  “policing” the site for infringing material and  as mentioned such action will possibly alienate their target audience. So for Warner Brothers and their artists it would  appear that at present in terms of YouTube content it really is  a case of “That’s All Folks” .

UPDATE : As this post was being published I have received  notification that Warners have removed their copyright claim to Lush videos.  This is due to  in the main  to Miki and Emma’s admirable  sense of injustice, so a big thanks to them for challenging “the MAN”.  It  shows that it might be  worth looking into these alleged claims on copyright. As Emma Anderson said ” Legally they (Warners) didn’t own them (Lush videos) anyway so they didn’t have a leg to stand on! The thing is they only LICENSED the videos from 4AD anyway, but they  just went ahead and undertook  blanket action  contacting  anyone who’d ever had  videos  that once related  to Warners “.

Copyright Explained


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