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Thursday, December 22, 2005

VP new reviews - 22dec05

The following have been added to www.vanityproject.co.uk today

*Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafitti 5 – House Arrest (Paw Tracks).
*Th’ Faith Healers – Peel Sessions (Ba Da Bing).
*Fariña – Allotments (Pickled Egg).
*Kepler – Attic Salt (Resonant).
*Merz – Loveheart (Grönland).
*Miller – Complete Buffoonery (Fred’s Crack).
*Spider – The Way To Bitter Lake.
*Undertheigloo – Circlesand (Freedom Road).
*Various – A Very Cherry Christmas (Cherryade).
*Various – Our Hearts Beat Out Of Tune (Yellowmica).

*The Bank Holiday – Day For Night (Lost & Lonesome).
*Boyracer – It’s Not True Grit, It’s Real Dirt (Yellowmica).
*clynder:sound – Houses For Kings.
*The Django Black Ensemble – Coastal Concert.
*Imperial Vipers – Promised Land (Eminence).
*Jaed – Catherine/Gutter Girl (Instant Karma).
*The Motorrettes - Super Heartbeats (Kitchenware).
*Sarandon – The Feminist Third (Wrath).
*Signal Generator – Output EP.
*Steve Treatment & The NoMen – 2005 ‘A’ Sided 45 (Topplers).
*The Young Untold – EP (Yellowmica).

*Funky As Fudge #1.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Whup whup whup

Jus brought to my attention, a highly amusing, and effusive, review of The Fall's latest LP 'Fall Heads Roll' in the Guardian (09/12/05).

The record really is a fine piece of work, with more staying power than the last 2 or 3 Fall LPs. Likely to appear near the top of my albums-of-2005 countdown.

The Vanity Project end of year Top tens will appear here soon with my stuff, and hopefully some lists from our man in the South, Grebo.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A personal history of Karaoke

My fellow librarians had the dubious pleasure of listening to me do a couple of numbers on the evenin' stage this past Friday. Our work Christmas do, took the form of a chinese meal followed by the usual bar action.

Of course, being tee-total these days renders me 'the boring one' (who would have thought you could have ever find that trait in a librarian), but I was necking bottles of Becks Alcohol-Free to keep up the blokey pretense (albeit in a female entourage), and it can have a small amount of placebo effect. Enough Dutch courage to return to the Karaoke floor after several years in exile.

Not 100% voluntary exile, I should add.

I can still recall the faces of horror of the 150 or so people on a Southampton Firkin pub as I attempted to impress a lady with my idiosychratic version of Shania Twain's 'Man, I Feel Like a Woman'. I would have loved to deliver it straight, but when you aren't overly familiar with the melody, you are left mumbling by way of catch up in a manner which Mark E. Smith has made a career out of. It was enough to tell me, that I should leave the mic behind.

The next person up was a lady doing 'That Don't Impress Me Much', and as I exited like a close-to-tears Weakest Link contestant, through a close-to-laughter audience, the spinmaster's words echoed in eternity, "now lets hear Shania done properly".

Needless to say, the lady remained mostly unimpressed, instead being somewhere between curled-up with mirth and a little frightened.

This was a bit of a come-down after reasonable reviews for previous performances. Always one of two songs, Roxy's 'Love Is The Drug', or Elvis' 'Burning Love'.

Once worked up enough to do it, my first effort on Friday was the Roxy one. I spent most of the night, being a walking conversational cul-de-sac, burrowed into the song-list, but thought to return to this, I'd best do something familiar. Take the old road, explore later.

The lack of a monitor was disconcerting, but thankfully mimicing Bryan Ferry's vibrato means dreadful singing can usually be disguised. I have no idea whether it was or not, but it felt good to be singing again.

Being a fanzine writer is essentially an admission that the music career is never going to happen, or more accurately in my case, that you ain't good enough in the first place. I'd be nothing without the words in front of me, and their presence is still no guarantee of quality from my harmful gob.

The occasional karaoke turn, after many nights, mostly good nights, of writing about the musical skills of others, is my chance to feel what it might be like if I'd have been given a creative gift rather than the cast-off of a reasonable ability to write about those who are creative. Gawd bless 'em.

A couple of hours later, having poured over the lists again, I plumped to finish my assault on the collective ears of the Atrium Bar, with a guerilla raid on 'This Charming Man', which only just (just, mind) edged out the Bob The Builder version of 'Mambo No. 5', as my sign-off option. Could hear myself better this time and quite pleased with my Joe-Longthorne-does-Moz effort.

I had been tempted with Lonnie Donegan's version of 'Rock Island Line' but the fast-paced nasal speak-singing up til the final frenzy would probably have been a bit of a stretch.

One thing that did startle me, aside from the presence of Megadeth in the lists, was that punters are given the chance to do Laurie Anderson's 'O Superman'. Does the DJ/host guy hand over a vocoder if you go down this road, I wonder? Certainly it would take a brave soul to electronically drawl over 8 minutes of "ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah....".

There's a crisp tenner in it though, if anyone's interested.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

VP fanzine new reviews - 11dec05

The following have been added to www.vanityproject.co.uk today.

Album Reviews:
*Cannonball Jane – Street Vernacular (Fortuna Pop!).
*Redworms’ Farm – Amazing (Fooltribe).
*Snap Ant – This Is Jut! (Invicta Hi-Fi).
*Steveless/Syd Howells – A Much Grimmer Place Than Oblivion (FuKu).
*Various – Ready, Steady, Purr! (Purr).

Single Reviews
*The Atoms – Don’t Wanna Disco (Stressed).
*The Chemistry Experiment – Interstellar Autumn EP (Fortuna Pop!).
*The Graham Parsnip Liquidiser Torture Think Tank (Project) – In Search Of The Ugandan Goat Of Death.
*Milk Kan – Bling Bling Baby (Play It Again 7).
*My Enemy – Khreis (Vapen & Godis).
*My Enemy – Roo EP (Yellowmica).
*Oversol – Speed.
*Pop Levi – Blue Honey (Invicta Hi-Fi).
*Revolution – For Lonely Hearts & Tender Souls EP.
*Steveless/Syd Howells – Yo Ho Ho…A Selection of Xmas Treats (FuKu).
*Tender Trap – Language Lessons EP (Matinée).

Live Reviews:
*The Young Gods. Liverpool Barfly Theatre. 01dec05.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hows thy father? ALRIGHT!

So British Sea Power are doing a split 7" with the Wurzels, each covering a song by the other. As collaborations go, this ranks as 'quite unexpected'. Good to see the link up though between those provincial, rural oddballs and, err, the Wurzels.

Many run away in horror just at the mention of the West Country grandads, but I've had the pleasure of watching them at around mid-day at a sunny festival whilst gulping down Scrumpy Jack and I say, without irony, there really aren't many finer live musical experiences in my memory bank.

It's disappointing to first find out that one of them is Scottish and gulps back Stella during the course of their set, but they counter it with their vibrant and cuddly Cornish-folk thing.