The VPME Words And Pictures – Dream Wife -Sløtface – Peaness – Liverpool Magnet 19.10.17

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After winning hearts minds and ears over the festival season Dream Wife returned to Liverpool and proved once again that the excitement and buzz they are generating is very much the real deal.

‘Thanks to the other bands for lending us their equipment ‘ say Peaness at the end of a hugely enjoyable set. ‘We got the train here and we’ll be getting it home .. and we have work tomorrow – boo! ‘ yes welcome to the life of the indie DIY musician, it’s certainly a vocation that requires sacrifice and a fair degree of logistical juggling be able to follow your passion. Peaness had opened proceedings in what was almost a home gig, given they are based in Chester and produced a set fretted with pristine jangle pop showcasing their ability to write top-notch-knowing indie suffused with melody heart and wit.

Norwegian band Sløtface (pronounced Slutface) who we’d caught previously in Liverpool supporting Los Campesinos followed and despite some initial sound issues they soon had the crowd fully engaged, encouraged them to dance and  orchestrated the formation of a mini mosh pit which induced enthusiastic, if not wholly rhythmic dancing to a solid set of grungy post-punk pop from the band’s impressive debut album ‘Try Not To Freak Out’.

Dream Wife followed and immediately set about proving once more, what an incredible live band they are, they truly are a veritable force of nature. We’ve seen them play on the larger stages in 2017 during the festival season and totally win over audiences who were previously unaware of the band’s oeuvre. This gig seemed to have drawn a mixture of curious old punks plus younger fangirls and boys who knew all the lyrics having embraced the empowering messages that reside at the heart of many of Dream Wife’s tunes. It was a set full of swaggering charm, it was visceral, melodic, uplifting and lest we forget, a hell of a lot of fun. Vocalist Rakel regaled us with tales of making the mistake, ‘especially as a female artist’ of reading youtube comments under the bands videos whilst songs like ‘Hey Heartbreaker, ‘ FUU,’ ‘Lolita,’ ‘Somebody’ and what must surely be the next single ‘Let’s Make Out’ are already a staple of a set list that played like a greatest hits selection. If Dream Wife’s hotly anticipated forthcoming debut album can capture the bands live energy then it’s going to be something very special indeed.

Dream Wife – Magnet Liverpool

Dream Wife – Magnet Liverpool

Dream Wife – Magnet Liverpool

Dream Wife – Magnet Liverpool

Dream Wife – Magnet Liverpool

Dream Wife

Dream Wife
Dream Wife

Dream Wife
Dream Wife

Sløtface

Sløtface

Sløtface

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Peaness
Peaness
Peaness

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The VPME Track Of The Day – Marmozets – Habits

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Bingley’s Marmozets are undoubtedly one of the most interesting and inventive artists amongst the current crop of bands whose music errs on the heavier side. It’s been quite a while since we’ve caught them live, in fact, the last time they almost gave the stage manager a nervous breakdown as they whirled about the stage, clambered up huge speaker stacks from which they subsequently hurled themselves back down to earth without missing a beat. That particular set ended with the band and the drum kit in the crowd!  And it’s this kind of controlled chaos and incendiary live performance which has seen them gather a hugely loyal fanbase.

They’ve always been able to astutely mix subtly and power, rage and tenderness and on their latest track ‘Habits’ singer Becca MacIntyre gives one of her most impressive vocal performances yet, as she scales back her powerful feral roar for ‘the soar.’ And it really is a soaring, heartfelt, powerful and dramatic performance. It’s one of the bands finest cuts to date mixing emotive vocals, melody, raucous guitars all underpinned by a relentless driving rhythm. It’s also a track that has the potential to open them up to a whole new audience. It’s from their forthcoming third album ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ out on Jan 26th, 2018 which will certainly help blast those post-Xmas blues away! It also arrives with one of our favourite videos of the year so far! (see below.)

“We created the album for ourselves,” says rhythm guitarist Sam MacIntyre. “It’s not that we don’t care about our fans – we absolutely love them – but the reason they like what we do is because of the way we are.” Vocalist Becca MacIntyre adds, “We don’t do things because they’re cool; we do them because they feel right”

 

‘KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW’ will be released on digitalCD and limited edition blue vinyl formats. Fans who pre-order the album fromwww.marmozets.co.uk will receive instant downloads of ‘Play’ and ‘Habits’.

Gigs

October

17th – Hull, The Welly Club

18th – Middlesbrough, The Empire

19th – Glasgow, Saint Luke’s

21st – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club (community room) (SOLD OUT)

22nd – Manchester, Academy 3

23rd – Birmingham, O2 Academy 2

25th – London, The Garage (SOLD OUT)

27th – Norwich, Arts Centre

28th – Bristol, The Fleece (SOLD OUT)

29th – Bournemouth, The Old Fire Station

30th – Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms

 

February

7th – London, ULU (ADDED DATE)

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Marmozets 2017

 

 

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The VPME NEW : Liverpool Music Week 2017 – Final Line Up

LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK 2017 Announce Huge List
of Additional Names For Final Line Up

Supports revealed for festival’s 15th anniversary year including:

STEALING SHEEP / GOD COLONY / SHE DREW THE GUN / HER’S / PINK KINK / PEANESS / QUEEN ZEE & THE SASSTONES / STRANGE COLLECTIVE / SUGARMEN / COLOUR / SENSE OF SOUND SINGERS under the musical direction of JENNIFER JOHN + more

Joining: CHIC feat NILE RODGERS, JUNGLE, EVERYTHING EVERYTHING, AJ TRACEY, PERFUME GENIUS & MOUNT KIMBIE and many more…

Thursday 26th October – Saturday 4th November 2017

LMW17 Wristband + Individual Show Tickets On Sale Now:

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The VPME Review : The Big Moon Live at The Magnet Liverpool

The Big Moon Live at The Magnet Liverpool

By Susie Bennett

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Juliette Jackson, the Amazonian frontwoman of The Big Moon has grown an inch.  The doctor told her.  She’s 6ft 1.  A whole inch taller than she thought she was.  I am standing directly underneath her at the basement stage at Magnet.  Behind me is a full to capacity and jumping crowd that has multiplied since they last played here to 20 people back in 2015.  The surface of The Big Moon is starting to become visible and these girls aren’t even in their full first phase yet.  Mercury and it’s prize list of nominees, however, is well aware of The Big Moon’s position as one of British music’s brightest propositions.  The show was opened by Liverpool’s The Mysterines.  Their song ‘bet your pretty face opens doors’ pretty much opened a sonic vortex of grunge with frontwoman Lia Metcalfe bellowing the refrain and George Favager narrating our nerve strings on guitar; they come highly recommended.

Earlier that day back on planet earth Juliette Jackson took the train into Liverpool.  She relayed to us the story in which she sat opposite a man who was consuming a ham sandwich, a bottle of wine and Mini Cheddars: ‘he was eating the Mini Cheddars and sucking them until they turned into mush.  Every now and then he would stick his tongue out and you would see bits of Mini Cheddars on his tongue… Basically, he was a disgusting man and I don’t know what made me think of him’.

What it makes me think of is Louise Wener’s lyrics to the Sleeper song Hunch and the kitchen sink poetics that defined a lot of Britpop.  This is only because it’s coming out of Juliette’s mouth – a mouth that intones with the same truncated Estuary English phonetics as Wener and some of the other kids from Cool Britannia.  The Big Moon possess similar sweet, swirling guitar riffs to Sleeper, but the narrative structures of The Big Moon’s lyrics are much lighter, less dense and more effervescent.  They are the girls next door to an early Blur that aren’t going to keep the noise down.  It is a good job they’ve been booked into the basement at Magnet as this year’s Freshers – along with the more seasoned Liverpool gig-goers-  are doing a good job of jump-smashing the floorboards in while Juliette swings herself off the Magnet stage rafters with a wicked grin.

Scouse fangirls on the front row can be heard saying ‘eeeeee’ with colloquial compassion to the Mini Cheddar tale.  This is a feel-good crowd and The Big Moon connect to them with ease, playing to cameras and high fiving the ‘Babes’ on the front row.  When you’re all collectively reaching ‘Ooo’ shaped falsetto notes that usually, soundtrack sugar rushes how could there not be a good atmosphere?  Juliette Jackson’s undeniable position as a powerhouse frontwoman cannot detract from the unity with which The Big Moon sync together. They often appear in a cartoon-like scrabble of 36 inch inside legs from within frayed denim shorts.  ‘Yas Queens’ can be heard coming from the crowd in between the setlist that opens with Silent Movie Susie.  The set list that followed gave us NWY, Happy New Year, The Road, The End, Pull the Other One, Love in the 4th Dimension, Zeds, Eureka Moment Hold This, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Something Beautiful, Cupid, Formidable, Bonfire and Sucker.

Total Eclipse of the Heart is a Bonnie Tyler cover ‘Turn around bright eyes’ was sung with gusto from the hundreds-strong grunge glamour loving crowd. The Big Moon were surprised with Liverpool’s full grasp of the lyrics: ‘you even know the weird bits about living in a powder keg and giving off sparks’.

‘Please play Cupid’ their most popular track is demanded from girls that smell like teen spirit.  The Big Moon deliver it three songs from the end and it is their most satisfying lyrical sing-a-long with a helter-skelter hook line.  Quiet-loud-quiet they get it perfectly right, isolated lyrics on a three-chord lull before the big bang. The thing about having a very popular single is the ability to continue to entertain beyond that and The Big Moon do it.  Juliette’s crowd invasion and her serenade of some unsuspecting man in the crowd to Bonfire was worth the ticket as was the girl’s triple threat axe-wielding performances to Sucker that ended the evening.  As the rhythm section bounced and head-banged back to back Fern smashed the drums in a Get Inuit t-shirt (one of their support bands) it read ‘I’m wasting my life’ the irony of the slogan is growing at the same rate as her crowd.  This is a band with legs.

Words: Susie Bennett

Archive pics : Andy Von Pip

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The VPME Track Of The Day – Miss World – Click And Yr Mine

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Miss World – Click And Yr Mine

Well, well, well, Miss World appears to have had more “tracks of the day” on this site in the last few weeks than any other artist. In fact, she may well have set some sort of VPME record!  But so what? When the music’s this bloody good normal rules do not apply and “Click And Yr Mine ” is yet another insanely catchy cut from her forthcoming debut EP ‘Waist Management’.

Melodically it’s got a classic retro pop feel, a kind of ‘ Stop Your Sobbing’ meets ‘Baby I Don’t Care’ for Generation Y as it details the addictive instant gratification (and subsequent emptiness) of one-click shopping.  Melody, attitude, a wry sense of humour and what’s fast becoming Miss World’s trademark sugar coated brattish punk-pop is driven by a classic scuffed up glam rock guitar stomp. Quite brilliant yet again!

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Spotify // Apple Music // Deezer // Tidal // YouTube
Pre-order the Waist Management EP via Bandcamp

Miss World - Natalie Chahal -Click And Yr Mine

 

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The VPME Track Of The Day – Kristin Kontrol – “Concrete Love”

Kristin Kontrol – “Concrete Love”

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Kirstin Kontrol is the synth-pop alter ego of Kristin Gundred,  also the artist formerly known as Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls.  Her new single ‘Concrete Love ‘ snuck out with very little fanfare (at least here in the UK) and whilst her Dum Dum Girls project made regular trips to this green and currently deeply unpleasant land, Kristin Kontrol seems a much more American focused affair at present.

Many will view the KK project as a million miles away from the scuzzy garage sound the DDGS initially produced, but for us the common denominator is always the quality of the music, not the specific genre, which can become very limiting for an artist with the desire to explore and push their songwriting into other areas. ‘Concrete Love’ is soaring sophisticated grown-up pop, as melodic as anything the Dum Dum Girls have done, just arriving in a different musical wrapper. Underneath the cool veneer is a song that shimmers with empathy and beauty and again shows what a fine songwriter she is. Indeed as Sune Rose Wagner ( The Raveonettes) once said in an interview with us a few years back – “she’s really an amazing songwriter she’s so good she could be the new Stevie Nicks” and Kristen has done nothing to disabuse us of that view since she emerged as Kristen Kontrol and she’s certainly expanding her musical repertoire. Andrew Miller, who mixed “Concrete Love,” and Gundred have recently finished work on the score of Tim Hunter’s new film, ‘Looking Glass,’ which stars Nicolas Cage.

Mind you we’d still love Dum Dum Girls to be revived at some point. And although that seems unlikely – never say never.

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The VPME SONGS OF DAMAGE & JOY 2017 – Stalking The Mary Chain.

Richard The Goth, having recovered from his Max Cady style stalking of the world’s greatest band, reveals, from the perspective of a true fan , just what it’s been like to follow the Mary Chain on their recent Damage & Joy tour. He also recounts just what it’s meant for Mary Chain die-hards to get the chance to see the band in such blistering form and why they are still as vital and relevant today as they’ve ever been,

SONGS OF DAMAGE & JOY 2017

The Jesus And Mary Chain Live - Andy Von Pip

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Just over a decade ago, introduced by Jarvis Cocker as part of his Meltdown 2007 Festival, a bunch of Mary Chain-shaped silhouettes stepped tentatively out onto the UK stage for the first time since its violent implosion almost another decade earlier. It was a gut-wrenching, emotional, shakily triumphant moment, but I doubt that any of those of us who were present that night could have imagined that it would come to this point in 2017 where we’d be watching a band once again at the peak of its powers, locked and loaded, peerless, essential.  The intervening years have seen a few line-up shifts, with Phil “the indie Zelig” and John Moore (once freed from the evil clutches of Edward and Mr Kingfisher) returning to do sterling work and play their part, taking tours of duty with the JAMC, but this current incarnation of Jim and William Reid, Mark Crozer now settled on bass, Brian Young keeping it all together in the rhythm section, and Scott Von Ryper of the Black Ryder torturing the hell out of the second guitar role, this seems to be the one that’s really nailing it. With some resurrected bands, you often find that you get one or two of the old original faces, and a couple of interchangeable session musicians to make up the numbers.  This is very much not the case with this band; they really seem to click onstage, they’re not there to do their job and then go on to the next paying gig, it’s not Jim and William plus A N Other x 3, these guys really are the Jesus And Mary Chain.

The Jesus And Mary Chain Live - Andy Von Pip

As soon as the band had made that return at the Festival Hall back in 2007, there was talk of a new LP, an “imminent” All Things Must Pass EP, and Jim stated in interviews that without that goal of a new record, the purpose of the reunion was only half finished. And of course, in true Mary Chain fashion, it then took them 10 years to get around to actually doing it! But we are Mary Chain fans, and we’re used to waiting. And we don’t mind waiting, because when they deliver, they deliver like nobody else can. And so, finally, in the early spring of this year, Damage And Joy, the first new JAMC album in almost 20 years, was unleashed. To die-hard lunatics who’d followed the various solo and group incarnations of both Jim and William since the band split, a large proportion of the songs that made up Damage And Joy were not particularly “new” per se. We’d heard them as Freeheat songs, Sister Vanilla songs, solo demos, uploads, whatever, but we’d never heard them quite like this. To hear works like Mood Rider, War On Peace, Dead End Kids, and Kennedy Song finally getting the proper Mary Chain studio treatment, re-titled in some cases, re-imagined, and re-invigorated, it was like hearing them as new songs anyway. When a band that’s been through so much, and has meant so much, gets back in the studio decades later, there’s always a tiny part of you that fears the outcome. Will they have lost it? Will they be trying so hard to recapture old glories that they fall from grace and destroy some of their legacy in the process? But with Jim and William, it’s different. Over the years, there have been a handful of bands and artists who, without actually seeming to try, just know how to tap into the darkest primal heart of rock ‘n’ roll. They mine a deep black bloody vein and make magic from the most traditional of formats:  Lux and Ivy of the Cramps knew how to do it, the Velvets knew how to do it, the early Ramones knew how to do it. And Jim and William Reid know how to do it better than any of their contemporaries. They are simultaneously old and new, you can see and hear every influence they’ve ever had, and yet they sound like nobody else before or since. The resulting LP is a thing of beauty, and it sits easily alongside their astonishing back catalogue as an essential addition to the JAMC’s body of work. It garnered good reviews, but still somehow managed to avoid the wider large-scale success and sales it truly deserved, but then again, that’s been another of the band’s traits for many a year now. If you don’t own Damage And Joy, you need to rectify that situation, and you need to rectify it now. It’s the sound of a band that still matters more than you can imagine.

The Jesus And Mary Chain Live - Andy Von Pip

The tour to accompany the new record is seemingly endless. It started in the early months of this year, and has been snaking its way around the world ever since, and fired by this rejuvenation, I decided to pack a bag and haul my weary old carcass along to as many of the UK gigs as possible. The old carefree youthful days of sitting in a cold train station for 10 hours after a gig, or waiting in a bus shelter ‘til the sun comes up may be long gone, thankfully,  but the itch to intake as much of this revitalised Mary Chain voodoo as possible was too much. So, having done all the initial 4 London gigs that took place in the year following the reunion, half a dozen of the amazing anniversary gigs for the deathless Psychocandy, and odds and sods of shows here and there where possible in between, I managed 10 or 11 of the Damage And Joy Tour, spread over the 7 months it’s been on and off in the UK. And what a hell of a ride it’s been. There hasn’t been a bad gig amongst them, each one has been memorable for entirely different reasons.

The highlights have been wild and varied, from standing in a near-empty Manchester Academy with the fiendish Von Pip, watching the band tear through a soundcheck version of The Living End that left us grinning at one another like goofy starstruck fanboys at the end of it, to watching Reverence turn over the months into a colossal evil boiling monster of a song, Jim yelling “I wanna die just like J A M C” at Leeds, over the final howling chaos of driving white noise; From seeing them deliver the simple chiming aching beauty of Cherry Came Too, to unleashing the filthy grinding scuzzy rock ‘n’ roll of Snakedriver and Sidewalking. Seeing them verging on being polished and slick and downright professional at the last London gig at the Forum, to being reassured that they were still the Mary Chain of old when, the following night in Liverpool, there were a couple of those cherished moments where Jim just shakes his head, raises a hand, shrugs, and says “STOP” because something’s fucked up.

I even had the pleasure of finally, finally, seeing the Mary Chain grace my hometown when they played a set in the hot cramped confines of the Welly Club in Hull. What this new LP and this tour have really hammered home, is that this band is just as relevant, just as necessary as they were in their 80s heyday, and I get the impression from watching them, that they genuinely feel that too. They’re not doing the nostalgia circuit just for old time’s sake, they’re showcasing their stunning history, and simultaneously proving that they still have something to say. The decision to end the sets with War On Peace is perfect; one of the real highlights of the new LP, it is a heart-achingly beautiful song with a sting in its tail, and it sits justifiably alongside almost anything from their past. And for all the fuck-ups, self-deprecating smiles and apologising for the fact that they’re going to play another new song, they are still the most effortlessly cool band on the planet. Jim is looking and sounding great; lean, clean, and a hint of mean, and his voice is in ridiculously good form whether he’s crooning his way through Nine Million Rainy Days, or crouched down, slamming the microphone stand into the stage, yelling above the mayhem of In A Hole. William has chosen not to step up to the microphone any more these days, but he can still wrench sounds from a guitar that nobody else can. He can make it ring out in Some Candy Talking, that perfect moment where Jim just says “talk” and William lets it fly, or he can stand on those pedals and paste sheets of the most searing screaming noise that the human mind can endure. Underpinned by Brian, Mark, and Scott, there is still nothing like them in this world (as the song says!).  And if that lot isn’t enough, they’re actually some of the nicest people you could meet. They, and those around them, are generous with their time and their patience, and on behalf of those of us who got chance to say hello to them on this tour, I would like to say thank you to the band, and to Rachel, Simon, Bernadette, everyone, for the warmth of the welcome, to say nothing of the Pringles, Coke, tea, and merlot!

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Once this current haul across the globe ends in November in the USA, I hope the band take a very long and deserved break to relax a bit and unwind, and then I hope they come back and do the whole damn thing again!

The damage has been primarily to the wallet and to my aching old bones, but the joy has been immeasurable. I’ve had an absolute blast.

 

Words : Richard The Goth
Photos : Andy Von Pip

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The VPME The VPME Meets – Juanita Stein

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Last week the incredibly talented Juanita Stein (Howling Bells) arrived in Liverpool as part of her first tour to promote her beautiful debut solo album ‘America,’ which incidentally is one of the finest releases of 2017 ( read our album review here. )  Live, the album has even more power than on record and was a perfect example of how live music, in the right hands, can be unerring in its ability to have a profound emotional effect on the listener, more so than via any other another medium. It was a beautiful and hugely uplifting set.   As a huge fan, proselytizer and supporter of Howling Bells over the years we were delighted to catch up with Juanita before (and actually during!) her gig, as we sat on a suitably dusty stairwell in Liverpool’s Buyers Club to talk about America, Nashville, going solo, the surreal world of Trump,  success and how the music business has changed over the last ten years.

Juanita Stein Portrait -Andy Von Pip

Congratulations on your debut solo album ‘America,’  you must be very pleased with the reception it’s received? 

JS: Ah, thank you! Yeah, it’s been decent for sure, mind you I’ve not won a Grammy yet but it’s been good! 

You said previously that Howling Bells last album ‘Heartstrings’ was written really quickly in a flurry of activity,  when did you first start writing  ‘America’, here all the songs originally written purely for a solo project?

JS:  Well, some songs were written about two years ago, but when the recording process got nearer then the songwriting took on more purpose, as I knew they were definitely going to be on a solo album. So yeah a mix, some were definitely written with the intention of being a part of a solo record and some were written earlier when I honestly had no idea what I was going to do with them!

You’ve said that  ‘America’  kind of set out as a voyage into the dark heart of America, but it’s not the dark heart of Trump’s crazy vision of America, it’s a record with very wistful evocative nostalgic kind of vibe.

JS: Wow I mean I couldn’t even begin to take on Trump’s vision of America, I mean it’s beyond anybody’s expectation or comprehension!  I wouldn’t even know where to start ! The America in my mind is the one I grew up with. As you say it’s kind of wistful and nostalgic. I often feel different countries and cities come to prominence and flourish at certain points in time, you know like Paris in France in the 20’s, and I feel that America really flourished pop culture wise in the 50’s. So in my head, I’m kind of stuck there! It all exploded back then and the likes of Roy Orbison and Patsy Cline were always a huge influence on me. So that’s the  America I’m talking about and dreaming of but there are modern references on the album too.

You’ve taken some of the tropes of Country  – bad men, broken hearts, whiskey, the symbolic blue dress,  but the women in it seem strong, not weak victims ultimately there’s a feeling of hopefulness and redemption.

JS: 100% yeah!  That wasn’t something I’d consciously intended but I guess it started to reflect where I’m at in my own life. Y’know, being the Mother of two small children and combined with some of the amazing experiences I’ve had, the ups and downs I feel like I’ve arrived at a point with enough wisdom, strength and experience to equip me for what comes next, and I guess you instill that into your songs and the characters within them.

“Florence”  is a song that befits the iconic image it was based on “The “Migrant Mother” photograph of Florence Owens Thompson by  Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression.  What was it personally that drew you to that particular image and inspired you to write about it?

JS: To be honest it was a documentary, I was sitting down watching TV one night and there was a documentary on about Dustbowl America. It went through all the key images and events, and it focused on the ‘Migrant Mother’. And although I’d seen it 100 times before for some reason at that particular moment in time it just struck a deeply profound note with me.  I’d been playing the guitar as I’d been watching it and the song literally came out straight away. I just vomited out how I felt looking at the image there and then. I was watching TV, the baby was sleeping upstairs and I was like ‘how the fuck did she summon the courage to survive.’ And of course, there are parallels with what’s going on today. I mean on the news you see a three-year-old washed up on a beach and it breaks you and you think how do Mothers survive that? 

Juanita Stein Live-Andy Von Pip

So what were the biggest influences on you when writing the album

JS: Emotionally I wanted it to sound nostalgic, sepia-toned. I often talk about my Dad in interviews but the fact of the matter is that’s what I grew up listening to, my Dad constructing songs, he’s a songwriter and that’s what he does. And ‘Florence’ is a very similar song to the kind my father writes, so in a way, I did find myself regurgitating what I heard as a kid. And I have to say when I was young Bob Dylan was on 23 hours of the day … and as a kid I hated it! I just couldn’t see the attraction. And now it’s like some sort of religion that’s seeped into my bones and it’s as close to the truth as we’ll get I think.       

Your Dad wrote  ‘I’m Not Afraid’ on Howling Bells classic debut as well as ‘Cold Comfort’ on  ‘America,’ which is really timeless.  How did that work? Did he write the song and say ‘ do you fancy doing this one? “

JS: He also wrote ‘Tornado’ on the Bells ‘Heartstrings’ album which is a dusty country-tinged tumbleweedy type of song, and therefore very Howling Bells! But yeah he’s always writing songs, he rings me every other week saying ‘What do you think of this song?’ but  ‘Cold Comfort’ really stood out because as you say it’s got a real timeless quality. And to be honest I’d rather cover his timeless songs than someone else’s. The only thing we changed in the studio was that we added a bridge which wasn’t there before.

And on this album, you worked with Gus Seyffert producing – how did he get involved and what was it like working with him?

JS: We connected through a mutual friend initially and then we met briefly when he came to London when he was playing bass with Beck. We got on well and then we recorded the album in two weeks in his studio in L.A. It was brilliant working with him and very, very different to anything I’ve ever done with Howling Bells. I did relinquish a lot of control to him, with the Bells I’d always had a lot of control. So it was a bit of a gamble. But he did a beautiful job.  

And gigs, what’s the biggest difference performing solo rather than with Howling Bells, aside from the obvious?

JS: Initially it was equally terrifying, equally liberating. Obviously, there’s a lot of emotion invested in the Bells and I think with anything you’ve been involved in for over ten years there are bound to be huge emotional ties and a lot of baggage. And so it was very freeing just standing there by myself. And I was kind of feeling like it was time to challenge myself. So I really acknowledged that, and still do. I’m doing a lot of things I haven’t done before and often don’t know what the fuck I’m doing [laughing]! But I have to do it! It just feels like a necessary thing to do right now

So is it a case of its the end of Howling Bells or just a hiatus?

JS:  Ooh I really don’t know! But I can’t ever say no to the band because I love the guys so much and I love the music we’ve made. And we’ve still got songs floating around that have never been recorded so who knows! For now, we’ll just see where this particular journey takes me!  

Did you ever feel after the hugely positive critical reaction to the Howling Bells eponymous debut that there was a feeling that critics simply wanted you to keep replicating that style on subsequent releases? For me every album was different, which as an artist must be much more satisfying, pushing your sound and songwriting into different sonic territories rather than retreading a familiar path?

JS:  It is yeah, in retrospect, we could have very easily made the same record two or three times. And to be fair we might have had a better chance of sustaining ourselves if we had, because for an artist to change course on every record? It’s kind of like a suicide mission [laughing]!  So in a way, we shot ourselves in the foot a number of times. But we were just four very different individuals with really strong desires and opinions.

And your tastes and perspectives change over the years …

JS: Exactly, I mean some of the songs on the first album I wrote when I was 19, and all of a sudden you’re 35 and you’re playing the same songs and you’re like ‘I just don’t fucking identify with that song anymore!’ So you have to change …

You moved from Australia to London and now you’re based Brighton, what were your memories of the move from Oz, was it a massive culture shock?

JS: It was a huge culture shock and quite scary, but when you’re young, you’re game for anything and we had so much desire and ambition.  It didn’t matter that we were all sharing a room, sleeping in terrible places or working really shitty jobs because we had the music and that sustained us. And that was all that mattered. It was a rite of passage I guess

In 2014 when ‘Heartstrings’ was released I read an interview (with the Arts Desk )where you were asked what you imagined yourself to be doing in the next 10 year and you said ” I hope to be making country records, I think. I don’t want to be slinging a black Gibson around my neck at 45 years old. I’d love to make a record with my dad,”  – So you’ve fulfilled part of that ambition already in like, just 3 years, so would you like to do more work with your dad?

Juanita Stein ( Of Howling Bells) performing her debut solo album 'America' In Liverpool at The Buyers Club 30.09.2017

JS: Wow did I say that! [Laughs] Well there you go! That’s pretty cool, maybe I was wrong about the Gibson but yeah I’d love to go to Nashville and make a classic country record with my Dad. He’s got song books just full of country songs. So yes that would be amazing!

For an artist to survive over 10 years in the industry it’s quite an achievement and you’ve witnessed huge changes in that time. From illegal downloads, falling sales to the current streaming model… what’s been the biggest change in your opinion?

JS: Oh there have been huge changes for sure,  I guess now it’s the lack of control the big labels have. They aren’t now the most powerful thing in the industry. Technology seems to be at the forefront and the big winner so far.  And everybody else is trying to work out what the ‘great thing ‘actually is?  It’s been like the music businesses’ industrial revolution and everybody is wondering what will happen next. As a musician kind of caught in the middle of this cycle, the only thing I can keep doing is write and play emotionally charged music which I hope people will respond to and connect with. I mean after the show I’m out there at the merch desk and people are buying CDs and vinyl which is great and all I could ask for at this point! For me, nothing can replace the physical tangible product.

You’ve done huge tours with Howling Bells opening for the likes Coldplay and The Killers in the past ( and you are supporting the Killers again soon.) What’s that whole experience like?

JS: It’s incredible really, it kind of like being given a bird’s eye view of the pinnacle. Like being taken from the middle of the mountain to the peak and being shown what it could be like. It’s quite amazing to see firsthand what bands like The Killers and Coldplay have achieved. I mean people take the piss but can you imagine what it takes not just to get to where they are but to actually sustain it. So we’ve looked at it close up in all its glory, this amazing machine and y’know, you can take from it what you will.  So let’s finish on this note, success is not just talent alone, it’s not. There’s a multitude of factors that contribute to great success. That’s the really interesting part for me when I meet these hugely successful artists,  I like trying to figure out and break it down from a psychological perspective, just what is it that’s got them to where they are, this seemingly intangible thing. They are obviously very talented, but there’s more to it – I mean I know plenty of really talented people and they are never going to get to that level, ever. 

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Juanita Stein Live - Andy Von Pip

Juanita Stein Live -Andy Von Pip

Tour Dates ( Including supporting The Killers)

Oct 04
Fred Zeppelin’s
Cork, Ireland

Oct 05
Roisin Dubh
Galway, Ireland

Oct 06
Grand Social
Dublin, Ireland

Oct 07
Kasbah Social Club
Limerick, Ireland

Oct 09
Crofters Rights
Bristol, United Kingdom

Oct 26
Lowcountry
San Antonio, TX

Oct 27
8th Wonder Brewery
Houston, TX

Oct 28
HOTEL VEGAS
Austin, TX

Nov 16
3Arena
Dublin, Ireland

Nov 17
SSE Arena
Belfast, United Kingdom

Nov 19
First Direct Arena
Leeds, United Kingdom

Nov 20
SSE Hydro
Glasgow, United Kingdom

Nov 21
GE Oil & Gas Arena
Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Nov 23
Motorpoint Arena
Nottingham, United Kingdom

Nov 25
Sheffield Arena
Sheffield, United Kingdom

Nov 27
O2 Arena
London, United Kingdom

Nov 28
O2 Arena
London, United Kingdom

Nov 29
The Shacklewell Arms
London, United Kingdom

Dec 02
The Mohawk
Austin, TX

Dec 05
Turf Club
Saint Paul, MN

Dec 06
City Winery Chicago
Chicago, IL

Dec 07
Wisconsin Union Theater
Madison, WI

Dec 08
Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill
Grand Rapids, MI

Dec 09
Dakota Tavern
Toronto, Canada

Dec 11
Skinny Dennis
Brooklyn, NY

Dec 12
PIANOS
New York, NY

Dec 13
World Cafe Live
Philadelphia, PA

Dec 15
Halfway House Concert
Chattanooga, TN

Dec 16
Blue Plate Special @ WDVX
Knoxville, TN

Dec 16
The East Room
Nashville, TN

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The VPME VPME Recommends – Spotify Playlist – September 2017

Another edition of our recommended Spotify playlist for September – music, we’ve featured, loved or seen live in the last month.

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The VPME Track Of The Day – Miss World – Lip Job

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Miss World – Lip Job.

We thought out previous feature ‘Bubblebutt’ by Pink Kink looked like winning our shortest “track of the day” post ever checking in at 1 minute and 49 seconds.

We were wrong as Miss World returns with her follow-up to ‘Put Me In A Movie’ in the form of ‘Lip Job’ which shaves an impressive 11 seconds off the record clocking in at just 1 minute and thirty-eight seconds. Miss World is the project of London/Toronto based artist Natalie Chahal (also half of fellow PNKSLM signees Shit Girlfriend alongside Laura-Mary Carter) and ‘Lip Job’ from her forthcoming Waist Management EP once again shows her ability to craft dark rumbling melodic lo-fi pop. Thematically she concentrates on our obsession with the cosmetic in terms of looks and fame.

It’s another fabulous track, albeit slower paced than her previous release and again shows not only an ear for melody but the ability to capture an atmosphere perfectly. Despite its length, ‘Lip Job’ conveys the melancholy of fading glamour, the emptiness of its pursuit and the shallowness of fame for its own sake, which is, of course, emptier than Norma Desmond’s decaying mansion on Sunset Boulevard! On this showing, Miss World is definitely “ready for her close-up”

Debut EP Waist Management out October 13 via PNKSLM Recordings
Limited edition cassette released as part of Cassette Store Day

Listen to “Lip Job” via Spotify // Apple Music // Deezer // Tidal // YouTube
Pre-order the Waist Management EP via Bandcamp

Miss World
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PNKSLM Recordings
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