Tuesday 20 April 2010

Girls With Guns – Tender Trap (Fortuna Pop!)

“Do you know what you will get if you do say that again? A bullet to your brain.” Guitars twang fiendishly behind Amelia’s swooping voice as she leads her groovy-frock-wearing gang in acts of pesky-boy pummelling, ‘We are watching out for all the girls around this town’. This is ramalama tough (indie)girl pop. Cool comic book girl punk that zooms along propelled by menacingly rumbledethump drums. It’s always satisfying to get a serving of feminism with one’s joyful pop noise, it makes me dance extra gleefully.

The track is available from 10th May as a download from Fortuna Pop! A very tempting taster for Tender Trap’s forthcoming album which we all know is gonna be a pop classic!

P.S. I drew this picture ages ago, but it kind of works here, no?

The Rats In The Cellar E.P - The Blanche Hudson Weekend (Oddbox Records)

Appearances can be deceptive. Some of The Blanche Hudson Weekend were once Manhattan Love Suicides, a band not known for their lullabys, and from the cover of this seven inch e.p. – lo-fi garage-esque, littered with pics of tough dames - you’d be forgiven for expecting a whole lotta racket. But no! Place the utterly lickable Blood! Red! Vinyl! on your turntable (you do have a turntable don’t you? if not, there’s a free download code available with the vinyl) and drift dreamily in a gentle haze where Blondie meet The Primitives in a dank basement. ‘Grip Of Fear’ and ‘Sharks’ are both downily strokeable and Darklands downbeat. Caroline’s voice is whisperingly sweet (though possibly hiding an axe behind its back), the guitars’ fuzz soothes rather than sandpapers. Unnervingly gorgeous.

Over on the flip, ‘Only Snow’ goes for Velvets heartbeats and creepy Cale sawing screechiness within the confines of an elegantly compact pop song. This is the sound of an unhinged personality hidden in the cellar. Compellingly sinister.

Monday 19 April 2010

The Loves / The Tamborines / The Vinyl Stitches - 10 April 2010, Notting Hill Arts Club

The sun is shining! The streets are full of alarmingly under-dressed people!! The pasty Winter-featured people of Britain are so desperate for it to be summer that they have decided en masse that it IS. Meanwhile, in a dark basement in West London, a crowd has gathered to pretend that it is actually 1966 and they are hanging in NYC. This is El Presidente’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable brought to you (us) by Fortuna Pop! The walls dance with projections of Warhol films as DJ Lemmy Caution plays a Velvets themed set (occasionally at the wrong speed). I am amused by the projection of the ‘Chelsea Girl’ record sleeve which happens to be shining onto a bit of wall that has a sticker in the shape of a speech bubble saying ‘Yo!’ It looks like Nico, being all smack-sultry, gaze cast moodily downwards, is greeting us in an incongruous manner. Ha ha!

The Vinyl Stitches are a Nuggets box set incarnate. They have the look; bowl-cut bass player with op-art tee-shirt, singer in pointy red Chelsea boots, v. cool drummer in beat girl black accessorised with rarver groovy pendant and belt, and they have the sound. Oh yes, they have the sound. Crunchy garage played hard and fast, swinging around nastily irresistible guitar riffs – just how I like it. Songs are short and sharp, studded with get primitive howls, kicking the corpses of The Seeds and The Shadows Of Knight, The Cramps and The Count Five.

Next on are The Tamborines who are on mighty fine form, their set a little less abrasive than the last couple of times I’ve seen them, less Stooges vicious, more sweetly Velvetsy. Not that they don’t make a lot of noise, mind.

Between bands Nat from Sonic Cathedral plays some splendid records. Later, he’ll do that thing where he keeps playing another good song whenever you go to leave, ‘Hang on, let’s just hear The Third Bardo. Ooh, now it’s The Byrds…’etc.

Simon Love announces that they were going to play a whole set of Velvet Underground songs, but they couldn’t be arsed, so we make do with opener ‘Guess I’m Falling In Love’ which blams out very pleasingly. The rest of the set is pop art with added tits, as behind the band naked bodies writhe on film. Some of The Loves are decked in ‘behold our Cale-style coolness!’ shades, whilst Alice sports an excellent dress and attacks her keyboard with gusto. Highlight of the set is ‘Bubblegum’ ‘accidentally’ segueing into ‘December Boy’. The latter is a pop epic with shades of: ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ (yikes!), ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ (cripes!), Big Star (yay!) and a John Hughes film soundtrack (blimey!). It incorporates a woo! anthem! key change and is unfeasibly catchy. It’s gonna be the next single – coming to your ears soon!