Friday, 30 April 2010

Read All About It | Trash Kit

by Little Miss B, 1 May 2010...

Trash Kit by Ochi Reyes

The brilliantly chaotic Trash Kit released their self-titled debut album this week. 17 tracks of dance party fun times. For more info and to get yourself a copy, click here.

For The Girls Are's recent Trash Kit review, click here.

Review | The Hysterical Injury

by Little Miss B, 30 April 2010. All photography by Layla Smethurst for The Girls Are.

The Hysterical Injury @ L*dyGarden, Lock Tavern
7 April 2010

A few months ago, The Girls Are began a new feature specifically for the purposes of gushing about this band. With a decent cooling-off period, and a worn out repeat button, we are still enamoured. Seeing The Hysterical Injury live for the first time since our discovery, anticipation and expectations were high, and would you know it: they were only bloody amazing after all.

Playing at the brilliant L*dyGarden, in the cramped upstairs of The Lock Tavern, this Bath based duo blew the room apart as soon as they launched into their frantic, manic noise-pop. Lee's unrelenting drums drove Annie's fuzzed out bass full throttle into the audience, as their hooky, infectious melodies started many feet-a-tapping. Short, dense and loud songs provided the framework upon which the brilliant Annie Gardiner worked her magic: her sweet vocals slip-streamed into impassioned yelps and screams, her hair swinging furiously round her animated face. At times it is difficult to believe that this epic noise is being produced by the two unassuming figures on-stage, so layered and frenetic is their sound.

Utterly beguiling and all-consuming, it was impossible to tear your eyes away from The Hysterical Injury, and we urge you to get to a show. Quick smart.

Read All About It | Girls Girls Girls

by Little Miss B, 30 April 2010...

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday 1st May
38 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch
8:00pm till 2:00am

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

♥Playing Live♥

Main songwriter/gutarist of The Slits, once in a band with Sid Vicious, Keith Levene (PiL), Palmolive (The Raincoats/The Slits), former girlfriend of Mick Jones, now with a budding solo career and signed to Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth's label, Ecstatic Peace - Viv Albertine is punk royalty.
Catch her with her band (Limerence) at DMD before she heads to Minehead to play for Matt Groening's ATP.
We're beside ourselves with excitement and so should you be!

Our favorite all girl post punk trio is back! Short, catchy angular punk outbursts with one of the best singles of last year "Lower Leg". They have two amazing albums under their belt and are signed to super cool labels Angular (UK) and Captured Tracks (US). They've enjoyed numerous tours with the likes of The Slits, The Vivian Girls and Blank Dog and just seem to get better and better every time we see them.

♥On The Decks♥

Sharing our love for all things Riot Grrrl

Boys Boys Boys

Review | Ghostcat

by Little Miss B, 26 April 2010. All photography by Rachel Ferriman for The Girls Are.

Ghostcat + Rotkappchen @ Catch 22, Kingsland Road. 

Catch 22 is a strange venue: long and thin, with a small well of space just outside the toilet door, it does not initially present the perfect arena in which to enjoy live music. The acoustics, however, are amazing. Where so many large venues fail, the tiny Catch 22 effortlessly showcases their acts' sonic prowess, leaving us oglers to get on with fighting for a front row vantage point.

Tonight's bill saw riff-heavy The Boicotts open proceedings. Unfortunately The Girls Are arrived a little late (blame the amazing noodles we were tussling with next door) and missed these guys. However, we were fortunate enough to witness the stomping, theatrical electro-madness that was Rotkappchen. We had been due to see this band a few months back at the brilliant L*dyGarden, but due to some air-traffic troubles, we were denied. The long wait proved worth it as this London-based duo floored the crowd with their relentless and spirited surrealist performance. Garbed in eerie Little Red Riding Hood-meets Jester Lycra, Rotkappchen pounded their way through a slick and enigmatic electro-clash set. Drummer Annie O is nothing short of outstanding, and synth-wizard Ian proved his nimble-fingered mettle track after track. As amazing as they were, however, it was slightly curious to see them play at a small venue on a Wednesday evening. Far more suited to a Friday night electro-night, Rotkappchen deserve your attention.

Next up to the plate was Ghostcat. You may have recently seen our 'Introducing' feature on this four-piece, and we are pleased to say they did not disappoint. One member down (bassist Ben had wounded his arm) this rock outfit produced an endless stream of perfectly pitched pop gems. Frontwoman Ali Cat leaped, purred and bounced her way through an up-tempo set, a shock of red lipstick cutting across her beautiful, elfin face. With strut and charisma, she climbed upon (and slipped off) various pieces of equipment, really coming into her own as she set free her inimitable voice. Between songs, her stilted banter hinted at nerves, which merely added to the geeky charm of this band. At moments reminiscent of an early 90's Madonna, at others a baby Karen O, Ali Cat seemed to need to riff off the audience, constantly inciting us to move forward, smile and make some noise. This is another band better suited to a weekend show. Catchy, infectious and very very talented, Ghostcat are ones to keep an eye on.

Read All About It | Nowt As Queer As Folk

by Little Miss B, 30 April 2010...
Nowt As Queer As Folk @ Cecil Sharp House 

The English Folk Dance & Song Society and magpies Nest present:

The closing chapter in a week of concerts held in support of ‘Folk Against Fascism’, the organisation uniting folk artists and audiences to promote the all-inclusive principles that the folk community stands for. 

This concert will not only be a musical rumpus of frivolity and festivities but a point of reflection and celebration of all the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender artists performing today who have found voice through British traditional song and songwriting and the road journeyed to reach this point.

Featuring Gina Le Faux, Jo Freya, Belinda O’Hooley & Heidi Tidow, Newcastle University Students and many more.

For ticket information, click here.

Meet My Boyfriend | Music.

by Steph Hamill, 30 April 2010....

For the longest time, I have been in a relationship. It's a relationship of ups and downs, highlights and lowlights, emotional journeys, experiences and down right nutty moments, coupled with a bit of disgust and cringe. It's the longest relationship I've had, other than with my parents and sibling, with often greater influence. It's my relationship with music.

From those first moments of consciously dancing to glorious plinky plonky piano sounds; dancing, meaning twirling round and round until I hit the classic psychedelic 70's print carpet, inadvertently sucking up leftover hoover dust as a secondary reaction to the need to dizzy-vomit. My formative days warbling in my highchair is a regularly discussed family topic, as it renders me completely sulky; apparently I used to hum to a magical tune only I could hear when nomming my mashed up baby portions. I dispute this as I have no recollection and utterly detest noisy eaters now. I adored my mother's lullabies at bedtime; at a particularly tumbulous point in my adult life they were the only thing that could make me sleep. Mums are the best.

So, growing up in a relatively musical household (my parents have varied taste and are music lovers, though not active musicians), they indulged me with a vast selection of vinyl during my early days. I of course, managed to destroy quite a few limited edition LPs on the way. From a young age we had a piano, guitar, numerous types of recorders (I preferred the treble), clarinet, saxophone and MTV on standby. Looking back, it was pretty awesome. Having said that, a sister ten years my senior was even more beneficial. She introduced me to The Cure. It's the main reason I love her.  Only kidding, but it's up there in the top five reasons. During those impressionable years, I was listening to such wonderous musical compositions I often had to run to the loo in excitement mid hip wiggle. I'd often be found leaping around in a Jane Fonda fashion to classical and metal tapes alike. Never bothered with a hairbrush mic though. That was for the posers.

Dad's Elvis and Johnny Cash tapes in the car were the highlight of going to ballet class.  As we both got older, he began his metamorphosis into Victor Meldrew.  He'd put the radio and tapes on less and less often. He was falling out of love with music. That, or he'd grown tired of me switching stations constantly in a quest for a song that didn't suck, or grown tired of me making him listen to my hardcore metal mixtapes concocted in bedroom music/den sessions with my best friends, mainly made up of overly rerecorded tapes of horrific quality. Ahh, those were the days. In hindsight, I don't blame him. I found one of those tapes the other day. Didn't find anything to play it on though. My next quest, find a working tape deck.

Upon discovering the joy of live music, we blossomed and bloomed during a period of mutual appreciation and respect. I respected the musicians, the vocalists, the melodies and lyrics as much as they appreciated me paying for a ticket and covering their gas bill. And that's where the relationship balanced. The rush, the tingles and the butterflies are still incredible high points, though less frequent and occasionally expected, but that's not to say they're any less appreciated. On the contrary, we've got the perfect relationship now. Always open to something new, but happy to return to our comforting cocoon. I am glad to say that over time our special relationship has mellowed and exploration continued, though never limiting in variation. It's been one hell of a journey, but I can honestly say, it's one for the long haul.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Conversational | Rosie Vanier

by Jane Bradley, 28 April 2010.

You might already have heard of Rosie Vanier. The angel-voiced saucepot’s previous band, Rosie & The Goldbug, had a stomping live reputation; they toured with Cyndi Lauper for almost all of 2008, and the Guardian called them “Kate Bush on crack with Goldfrapp on synths.”

Critics fawned over them, and their lyrics kept listeners intrigued with a lurid, syrupy mixture of whimsy, lust and bite. For a while it seemed as though Rosie & The Goldbug were well on their way to world domination. Then, without warning in August 2009, there was an announcement on their Myspace, saying that the band would be going their separate ways. At the time, all that was said was: “the three of us are very sad about this, but we can no longer continue with the band. We would love to explain and tell you all the details, but we can’t.”

Fast-forward two months to October 2009, when I managed to wangle some time to chat to Rosie, and she'd already bounced back with a new band, RubyVamp. Now, in April 2010, that also seems to have been disbanded, and according to Rosie's Myspace, she's been in Mexico and New York, working on material for her solo career.

When we chatted, my first question was inevitably about the reason behind the Goldbug split, and Rosie somehow managed to be a charming combination of outspoken and cryptic: “Rosie & the Goldbug was killed by a bad curse who’s name I cannot mention,” she said. “My creativity was crushed by this person. I was pushed into a corner; a black, damp and evil corner. I had to start again. But I still love Rosie &The Goldbug, I still have my goldbug tattooed over my feet and it will continue to be in my heart. Forever and ever, amen.”

We soon got to talking about all the media acclaim for Rosie & The Goldbug; an enviable accomplishment for an unsigned band. I speculated about what Rosie could achieve with the backing of a major label, and as with every other topic, she was passionate and opinionated in her reply: “I would sign to a major, but I don’t have to have one for people to hear what I do. The music industry is different now. I’m about the art, not the deal. Some A&R dudes don’t get that, so you do have to be careful. There are pros and cons to both. If you’re unsigned, you’re independent, so you can be much more creative. ”

Following the 2008 tour with Cyndi Lauper, Rosie’s been very much in demand. With a voice that can move between a bewitching hoarse whisper guaranteed to send shivers down your spine, to guttural growls and banshee howls, it’s no wonder she’s shared stages with such musical superstars as Glen Matlock, Wayne Carson and Brett Anderson.

So I was curious about about what other famous faces she’d encountered. Cyndi Lauper she described variously as “fucking incredible”, “my muse” and “an education.” Kirsten Dunst was “cute.” A famous Calvin Klein model made amorous advances towards her, but she politely declined: “He was wearing Calvin Klein pants and mine were from Primark!” Who else? “Tyson from the All American Rejects once wrote me a song. I played him ‘This Mess We’re In’ by PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke in a rental car I had in LA. I think he liked it. He’s a sweet, sweet person. I have a lot of love for my fellow musicians and comrades.”

Although I’m sure they wouldn’t admit it to such icons as Cyndi, Siouxsie or Debbie Harry, there are still some foolish folk who view women in rock as something of a novelty act, so I asked Rosie whether she’d faced any hostility on this front from other musicians. “The girls I’ve met and think are real are Cyndi, of course, as well as Marcella Detroit, Little Fish and Natasha Khan. I must admit there are a few out there who don’t match up to that calibre, but I won’t mention them. But I know the girls I do mention are not novelties. They are real musicians, and so am I. I’m a songwriter and a performer. Like any other guy, girl, hermaphrodite or fisherman who makes great music. We’re all the same, regardless of our genitals. To be honest I have never had a problem with anyone not taking me seriously because of my gender. I do have small tits, though, so maybe that’s why! I don’t know if I’d class myself as a feminist but I do know what’s right and what’s wrong and if I feel someone should step down and behave themselves I don’t hesitate to tell them.”

After this interview, I was even more besotted with Rosie than I had been beforehand, and although she's even more of enigma now than she was then (what happened with RubyVamp? What will her solo material sound like? When will she be touring again?), one thing's for certain: this isn't the last we've heard from Rosie Vanier. She'll apparently be releasing a solo album at some point this year, but in the the meantime, keep an eye on her Myspace for more:

The Week In View | 26 April - 2 May

by Little Miss B, 26 April 2010...

As usual, let us know if you are playing a show that you want to be included. 

Wet Dog @ Girls Girls Girls, Old Blue Last

Mon 26th:

Grace Jones @ Royal Albert Hall

Wed 28th:
Complete Short Stories @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen
Holly Miranda @ Westminster Reference Library
Sarah Blasko @ 02 Shepherds Bush Empire

Thurs 29th: 
Kyla Brox @ The Elgin, Ladbroke Grove
Holly Miranda @ The Borderline

Fri 30th: 
Chew Lips @ Cargo
Girls On Top + Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons @ Hope & Anchor, Upper Street
Polly Poison & Her Electric Antidote @ 12 Bar Club
Sarah Blasko @ 02 Shepherds Bush Empire

Sat 1st:
Viv Albertine's Limerence + Wet Dog @ Girls Girls Girls, Old Blue Last
Gwyneth Herbert + Sarah Gillespie @ Bloomsbury Street Hotel

Friday, 23 April 2010

Introducing | femmepop

by Little Miss B, 23 April 2010...

femmepop is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Margaret O' Sullivan. Garnering critical attention and national airplay, femmepop has been likened to the Pixies, The Breeders, and Tanya Donnelly. With such high praise, one could not be blamed for experiencing some anti-climatic feeling upon listening to femmepop's EP The Kick.

And yet.... Ooh. It is rather good actually. And, yes the allusion to Tanya Donnelly is quite apt. It's all rather moody and fierce, yet curiously sweet and catchy. Armed with infectious melodies and crystal clear vocals, femmepop nimbly trips from lighthearted to menlacholic in a heartbeat, leaving a real sense of familiarity in her wake. With only a couple of listens, I know the tracks by heart.

There is something so very satisfying about being introduced to a new artist whose sound transports you back to your teenage years. I'm off to eat ice lollies and listen to femmepop whilst sitting on my front step.

The Kick is femmepop's first commercial release, and has resulted in national airplay across stations such as 2FM and RTE radio 1, and she was recently featured on BBC Music 6. 2009 has seen femmepop play a string of London gigs to glowing reviews and she is about to record her 2nd EP.

femmepop | Good

Read All About It | Swallows & Amazons Ladyfest Fundraiser

by Little Miss B, 23 April 2010...

Ladyfest Ten presents...

Swallows and Amazons life drawing salons.

Tues 27 APRIL, 8pm-10pm

£8 to take part- spaces limited so get there on time to get a seat!
Bring your own materials (pens//paper//charcoal//ink etc)

Celebrating real women in all their naked and knickerbockered glory, Swallows and Amazons is a series of fun fundraising events featuring lively life models and drawing challenges to help unleash the creative beast within you...


This week featuring:
Miss Moon
Vigour Mortis (Amazonian rollergirl)

Artwork created during the salons can be submitted to be part of an exhibition later on in the year and all profits will go towards funding Ladyfest Ten, an arts festival taking place in London in November to celebrate ten years of Ladyfest.

For more info, or if you're interested in modelling for future salons, email Nikki at or post on the wall

Tues 4 May // feat zebra-girl-rollergirl-ref ANGRI-LA & tableau vivant
Tues 11 May // reeta & rita- mime corporeal
Tues 18 May // Dollface Dolores

For more info, please click here.  

Read All About It | Marcella Puppini

by Little Miss B, 23 April 2010...

On May the 7th, the day after the election, you might be searching for a reason to carry on. Marcella and the Forget-Me-Not Orchestra will be leather-bound and poised for attack. Led by Marcella's siren song - they will rouse even the saddest of slumbers and remind you that spring has sprung and that love and life are causes to be celebrated.

Marcella Puppini is founder of famous UK vocal trio the Puppini Sisters and acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and songwriter and this is her exciting debut at the Southbank Centre with her fabulously dark and raucous all-girl orchestra.

She will not be leading these celebrations alone, with her will come the mischievous nymph-like creatures the Beaux Belles who will be providing their unique blend of breathtaking dance numbers and surrealist interventions. If this is not enough there will also be an appearance from Epona the half lady half horse goddess as well as London's favourite good time DJ the one and only Hitman Hearn.

So, lets drink, be merry, dance and laugh a bit -  and why not dress up ? The suggested (but not obligatory) dress code is : animal costumes, Pre-Raphaelite or pagan chic.

Tickets are only £8.

For tickets and information, click here.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Work Place Radio Clash

by Steph Hamill, 19th April 2010...

Mazzy Star

Let's be honest now, we all think we've got great taste in music. Am I wrong? So, if Joe of uncultured Blogs at desk five doesn't appreciate the finer workings of Pat Benatar, then I (quite rightly) feel it my duty to school him in all classical musical matters, a la School of Rock. Jack Black, I salute you!

This afternoon I have had the misfortune of attempting to guide the musical tastes of Joe Blogs* (fake name, for his protection), a die hard and seasoned techno head (I kid you not). We began the 'lesson' through the sharing of a couple of Spotify playlists. Ease him in, or so I thought. Well, I was somewhat surprised to hear all manner of huffs, puffs and other unintelligible sounds I cared not decypher. Now, these songs weren't just any old bit of filler, but tried and tested classics ranging from Kate Bush, The Beatles (they got a gaffaw; seriously, I almost swung), Joni Mitchell was skipped and The Cure... (Well, I'd rather not discuss it. Let's just say it brought a tear to my Cure loving eyes).

Ignoring the purely shocking lack of regard for raw talent, I perservered and invited a mutual playoff session, ending in an equally shocking manner. Essentially, the guy doesn't get guitars. Or bass (guitar, he certainly gets the computer generated kind). Or piano. Or a voice without autotune. A voice at all for that matter. Unfortunately, I could go on. Bearing in mind, I pulled out some big guns;  Janis Joplin, The Pretenders, Heart, Patti Smith, Mamas and the Papas, Salt N Pepa, Aretha Franklin, PJ Harvey, Bjork, Tori Amos, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mazzy Star, Madonna, Blondie, Garbage, Fiona Apple, Kylie even. No joy, whatsoever.  He simply looked pissed off.

The best comment was, however, saved for last; "women are crap musicians." Let the musical work placed battles begin. I'm also going to lend him my copy of School of Rock.

The Week In View | 19 - 25 April

by Little Miss B, 18 April 2010...

As usual, let us know if you are playing a show that you want to be included. 

Soap & Skin @ Union Chapel

Tues 20th:
The Pipettes + Angry vs. The Bear @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen

Wed 21st:
Ghostcat + Rotkappchen @ Catch 22, Kingsland Road

Thurs 22nd: 

Telegraphs @ Barfly Camden

Fri 23rd: 
The Voyeurist @ The Albany, Great Portland Street
Gold Future Joy Machine @ Warehouse Party
Soap & Skin @ Union Chapel
Bo Ningen @ Barfly Camden
Mannequin @ Queen of Hoxton

Sat 24th:
Koochooloo @ Bardens Boudoir

Introducing | Ghostcat

by Little Miss B, 19th April 2010...

Photograph courtesy of Andy Willsher

Ghostcat are an exotic explosion of dancefloor electronica, pop love and sabre toothed guitars; good time music giving vent to bad, bad thoughts. 

Guitarist Dan Gamble spent his early life hop-scotching between Tokyo and London. Born in Toronto, singer Ali Cat was the guitarist in an all-girl teen punk band at sixteen. By 2006 she was living in in an ‘aspiring art collective’ in Kilburn, also home to Dan. They recruited French drummer Etienne Bellot and Aussie bassist Ben Larsen and began playing raucous live shows sounding half The Kills and half Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Gig by gig they got in touch with their inner dirty dancefloor selves so that by the time they were snapped up by France’s Kuskus label they were as into messing with formulas behind the synthetic filth of Crystal Castles as with The Ting Tings’ pop crunch. 

‘This Is A Bust’ – their first single – particularly encapsulates their oeuvre, a deviant disco skipping tune about boys. The sexy eclecticism of their first album was recorded in the underground studio owned by Prince’s ‘Under The Cherry Moon’ engineer Chuck Norman. They’re now out of the basement, blinking in the pop sunlight and ready to take their rocktronic decadence to all corners.

Ghostcat will be playing at Catch 22 on Kingsland Road on Wed 21st April, with support from Rotkappchen and The Boicotts.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Review | Sarah Blasko

by Ashlea Maher, 18th April 2010. Photography by Shannon Crane. 

Sarah Blasko @ Islington Academy
15 April

Oh, do I feel fulfilled. After a healthy dose of Sarah Blasko, I'm high.

I feel cleansed and warm, my heart's throbbing and I'm on top of the world. What legal drug can do that? My name is Ashlea, and I'm a Blaskoholic. One of the last things I did before coming to the UK was buy Blasko's latest album, Day Follows Night. After four months in Europe last summer I planned my arrival in the UK to compliment her last London performance, only to be rudely exposed to the fact that London gigs sell out well in advance.

Trying to keep my cravings at bay, I felt lucky just to be part of the packed Islington Academy crowd. And as the lady who kept me company on many a European train and plane journey began performing songs which were the soundtrack to many of my overseas memories, my head began to spin. Only the best was to do for Blasko.

Instilling the help of the Blasko Orchestra, she was accompanied by a pianist on a baby grand, a violin orchestra, double bassist, drummer and guitarist. As the lights dim, it was like being shouted a top shelf tipple by a French bachelor. After the first few hits: 'Down On Love', 'Bird On A Wire' and 'Hold On My Heart', I was relaxed and ready for a bit of a goofy sway and sing-along.

Losing inhibitions, I let out a loose "wahoo!" in the chorus of like-minded appreciations, which according to Blasko is a uniquely Aussie audience accolade. I didn't care, I was high. 'Sleeper Awake' was a sobering moment, as Blasko asked the crowd to hush and dedicated the song to anyone feeling sad. However, the mood raised again for 'I Never Knew', 'All I Want' and 'No Turning Back'. 

Now engrossed in passion, her progression into what she called the "uncool cabaret" set segment, featuring covers of Diana Keaton's 'Seems like old times' and ABBA's 'Xanadu' called for substance abuse confessions. "I love Olivia Newton-John. But not in Xanadu. She was great in Grease," Blasko offered. Keeping the crowd happy, she finished the set with her previous hits 'All Coming Back', 'Amazing Things' and '{Explain}' as a non-encore.

All class. Now the house lights break the Blasko binge session, but I'm still riding high. While Blasko may define her music as tragically uncool it is still a guilty pleasure for me. A wholesome treat for any addict!

Read All About It | Grace Jones vs. Lady Gaga

by Little Miss B, 18th April 2010...

The ever-controversial Grace Jones has spoken of her disdain for the pop-phenomenon that is Lady Gaga. Speaking to The Guardian's Simon Hattenstone, Jones revealed how Lady Gaga approached her in the hope of working together, only to be firmly rejected.

'I'd just prefer to work with someone who is more original and someone who is not copying me'.

Asked what she thought of Gaga's rising star, Jones dead-panned:

'I really don't think of her at all'.

In the midst of Gaga fever, Jones' comments will be seen as refreshing to some.

Personally I think the Gaga 'star' is bigger than her mediocre pop by numbers, insipid club tracks and vapid lyrics. I'll admit to liking Just Dance (when I'm drunk, or cleaning my house), but I'm afraid I just don't get the music. The woman, however, is endlessly fascinating (perhaps for all the wrong reasons), and she makes hot hot hot music videos. Taking my place firmly on the fence, I'll put it to you...

Grace or Gaga?

(Ed. Yes, I have written this article purely as an excuse to post this video. I prefer to watch it with the sound off).

To read Simon Hattnestone's full article, click here.

Song Of The Week | Those Dancing Days

by Little Miss B, 18 April 2010...

Those Dancing Days | Hitten

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day.
I've got a wonderful feeling, summer is coming our way.

We live in Britain. We know this glorious weather is going to last for about half an hour. We should make the most of it, get outside, unleash our pasty bodies on the poor unsuspecting public. Whilst you're wrestling your summer attire from the depths of your wardrobe, and rummaging through the sofa cushions to find your sun specs, why not put Those Dancing Days in your ears and get a headstart on the sunshine happy.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Girls Are Podcast No. 2

by Little Miss B, 17 April 2010... 

The brilliant Dee Sada returns with another treat for the ears: thegirlsarepodcast2.mp3
(Right click to download).

The Girls Are Podcast No. 2

Ultra Vivid Scene featuring Kim Deal - Special One

4AD late 80s band fronted by Kurt Ralske with lots of comparisons made between Velvet Underground and Jesus and Mary Chain. Kim Deal of The Pixies/The Breeders/The Amps is guest vocalist on this track.

Blue On Blue - Incarnation

Your dear podcast host's band. This can either be seen as shameless plugging or exclusive airing of a brand new track. Your pick. (ed. clearly the latter)

The Chills - Pink Frost

Ok so I snuck this on here but it is valid as the band had a female drummer. I'm completely obsessed with this track which was played to me last week by my friend Antti in Berlin. The Chills were a New Zealand band around in the late 80s.

The Amps - Tipp City

Kim Deal's side project whilst still in The Breeders. Her sister Kelley went off and did the highly underrated Kelley Deal 6000 project at the same time. I guess it must get too much being twins and in the same band. Thankfully they got great things out of their system and came back to The Breeders.

The History of Apple Pie - Out Of View

A brand new band by two friends of mine - Stephanie and Jerome. It's a perfect spring/summer track reminiscent of The Raveonettes and The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. I look forward to hearing a lot more from them!

The Sapphires - Who Do You Love?

One of my all-time favourite songs from this 60s group. And the story of my life....

Madder Rose - Panic On

I am desperately seeking a copy of Beautiful John which is nowhere to be found so settled for the very good, Panic On. Madder Rose were a definitive female-fronted 90s band who never really got that far. Great band though.

Look Blue Go Purple - Cactus Cat

Contemporaries of The Chills who I played earlier, amazing female indie pop band from New Zealand who were also signed to the legendary Antipodean indie label, Flying Nun Records.

Shocking Blue - Hello Darkness

A woman with balls. Yes. What a voice! Infamous for the female lady shave ad (Venus) and Nirvana covering Love Buzz but this Dutch band are absolutely phenomenal.

Belly - Silverfish

The first band I ever saw live who I fully credit with putting me firmly on the path of rock n' roll. I love Tanya Donnelly - her voice, her lyrics, her guitar playing...This one of the many beautiful tracks from their fabulous second album, King.

One Take Wonderful - Ignite

Solo musician Michelle Hughes from New Zealand (3rd NZ artist to be played in this podcast) who records all her beautiful, eclectic music in one take. Reminds me of Stina Nordenstam and Devics. Amazing tunes.

Beastellabeast - Velvet

Stella and Beatrice are the duo behind cult London act, Beastellabeast. Velvet is a beautifully wistful and dark soundscape showcasing the band's musicianship and Beatrice's sultry, astounding singing voice.

Bambi Stress - Sesamoid

Fever Ray dark style musings by London based artist Ida Adriana Popescu-Marnoch. Beautiful jagged punk jazz. I love it.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Review | Peggy Sue

by Little Miss B, 3rd April 2010. All photography by Rachel Ferriman for The Girls Are...

Peggy Sue @ Relentless Garage
Support by Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards & The Mariner's Children
29th March 2010

This was an important night for Peggy Sue. Not only were they headlining their biggest show yet, but this week also marked the release of new album Fossils and Other Phantoms. An excited and surprisingly robust crowd filled the Garage's cavernous space with anticipatory fervour, the ardour steadily mounting throughout support from The Mariner's Children and Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards. Now, I'm not going to lie. I was here to see Peggy Sue, thus the aforementioned antecedents were not much more than background noise to me (beautiful noise, but background noise nonetheless).

Following a spate of monthly outputs and EP releases, Peggy Sue have finally released a full-length album, and boy was it worth the wait. With all the humour and folksy charm that defined their earlier sound, this winsome three-piece have crafted a mature, country-blues tinged canon, full to bursting with new, impressive material. Deftly avoiding the mistake so many bands make when showcasing new albums, Peggy Sue played a balanced mix of old favourites, album tracks and brand spanking new fare, thus maximising and maintaining the crowd's enthusiasm.

Kicking off with Long Division Blues and new track Yo Mama, Rosa Rex and Katy Klaw's majestic vocals rampaged through a strong, confident set, punctuated by Olly's rousing drums. Hats off to the sound (wo)man at the Garage that night: the levels were pitch perfect, permitting the audience to be enveloped in a many-layered blanket of sound (for this reason, the Garage is fast becoming one of my favourite venues). Multi-instrumentation took a front seat, with Rosa and Katy incorporating guitar, uke, drums and an accordion into the mix, not once appearing gimmicky or cliched. However, it was the sheer vocal power issuing from the girls that really impressed: devoid of sonant gymnastics, each song was delivered directly, in rich tones that leave the listener utterly in awe. Their harmonies weave between each other with such precision that it can only be a result of natural, organic chemistry. Nothing engineered could be so simultaneously slick and raw.

New single Watchman proved to be as winning live as it plays out on the album, and old favourite Hatstand Blues sounded as fresh as ever. With effortless humour and self-deprecating charm, Peggy Sue seemed utterly thrilled just to be there: any ego was left firmly at the door. So good were they, I managed to forget that I was practically standing in the doorway of the men's crapper. An almighty achievement, I can tell you. The set ended with a zealous version of personal favourite The Sea The Sea, before the the band returned to the stage to perform an encore (Katy quipping that they'd planned one, so they were going to play one, quickly, before the crowd stopped clapping) featuring the beautiful Lover Gone, and a special all-hands on deck performance of Trouble.

It will be no surprise to fans of Peggy Sue to hear how enchanting they were on this miserable March evening. Not a fan? Head over to Myspace and get that remedied, quick-smart.

Fossils and Other Phantoms is out now, and can be purchased here.
To see full photo album from the night, click here.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Review | Laura Marling

by Little Miss B, 30th March 2010. All photography by Layla Smethurst for The Girls Are...

Laura Marling @ Barfly, Camden

23rd March 2010.

It is March. Perpetual precipitation has literally rained on our British parade for at least a month. Inclement conditions aside, it has just been plain freezing of late. Rugging up is a prerequisite for leaving the house, and summertime garb listlessly sits at the back of the wardrobe, impatient for the day when it can be freed from its wintry prison. You get my drift. The weather has been shit. We are all yearning for some heat yes?

Well, heat was exactly what met the keen beans who turned out in droves to see Laura Marling play last week. Horrifically packed, the Barfly's antiquated (and quite frankly, inadequate) air-conditioning system had experienced a timely meltdown, and as a result the venue resembled a nasty, scummy, sweaty oven. An oven in a household that considers microwave meals and frozen chips to be the height of sophistication. An untouched, grime-ridden monstrosity. A genuine health hazard. So devastating and unbearable was the atmosphere, this little wimp was forced into the downstairs bar to consume litres of gin (a cooling aid you know), only returning to the pit of hell when Miss Marling took to the stage. I know I can be one for hyperbole, but I kid you not, kiddies. People were fainting left, right and centre and at one point, sandwiched between a rotund gent and a tall man's armpit, I really thought I might die.

Fortuitous, then, that Laura Marling proved to be just as brilliant as expected. Strategically secreted at the very back of the venue (shortest escape route should the heat have caused an onlooker to spontaneously combust), I spent the majority of the gig on tip toes, leaning precariously to my right, vying for some eye space. At one stage, I had a drink accidentally tipped over me (it was being passed over my head, I am no aggressor). I have never been so hot in my life, yet all became forgotten and forgiven as soon as the diminutive headliner opened her mouth.

With her trademark awkward charm, she quipped her way through an intense and delicately melancholy set, her spell-binding voice managing to silence the restless crowd. Material from new album I Speak Because I Can presents an assured and commanding artist, enhanced tonight by Laura's precision and mastery of her material. Gone is the jangly, tinkering teen-folk that originally bewitched her legions of fans and in its stead we were treated to the ruminations of an elegant and intelligent songwriter, weaving classical imagery with frank and brutally honest observation. Despite abruptly ending 'Failure' when realising she was starting to make up the lyrics (cracking "well, you get the gist"), this was a flawless performance. Utterly unfazed by the heat, the proximity of the crowd and the sheer adoration leaking from every pore in that room, Laura Marling cemented her position as folk-darling once more.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Read All About It | Girl Germs

by Little Miss B, 5th April 2010...

Girl Germs

Saturday 10th April
Upstairs @ Camden Head
8.30 - late.
£4/3 with flyer

Girls Germs is a grrrl-tastic night of music, zines, cakes and dancing. There'll be free cakes, zines from the brilliant Vampire Sushi distro and this time, Girl Germs has gone back to everyone's favourite decade: the 90's! Dust off your babydoll dress and get ready to dance like it's 1994!

To get yourself in the mood, take a look at Little Miss B's guilty pleasures Top 5 90's classics here.

Song Of The Week | Tegan and Sara

by Little Miss B, 5th April 2010...

Walking With A Ghost

During my recent house move, I unearthed a veritable smorgasbord of neglected music, for shame for shame. Having now settled in nicely, I've been revisiting old favourites and was shocked to discover I have not listened to the Quin Twins back catalogue for a horrifyingly long time. So, from me to you on this miserable and grey Easter Bank Holiday, enjoy my pretties....

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Introducing | The Suicide Notes

by Steph Phillips, 3rd April 2010...

Portland, Oregon. This music Mecca attracts a few dozen, half talented indie wannabes from within a 70 mile radius on a daily basis. With one in five new bands seeming to come from this musically dense area, how can we tell a good'un from a bad'un? Well, with a Suicide Notes-O-Meter of course! Because it's hard to top The Suicide Notes' 60's inspired garage pop. Attacking your speakers like a hyped up Pipettes covering The Ramones, The Suicide Notes are 100%, brilliantly macabre fun.

The band formed when member Tim Svengali recruited three female vocalists to record a tribute album for fellow Portland band The Punk Group. Impressed with their choral prowess, Tim took the ladies under his wing and The Suicide Notes were born. Far from their rather morbid name, this band craft charging, boppy melodies about love, relationships and err, the beach. Inspired by yet never aping 60's bands, the girls harmonise with the best of them, effectively turning the tradition of boy-obsessed girl group associations on their head as they rock out hard, rather than sob quietly into their beehive about loves lost.

If you're ever feeling down, under the weather, or even just a bit icky, you need The Suicide Notes in your life. 

Head over to Facebook to check them out.