Thursday, 13 December 2007


N7 6PN
Nearest tube: Holloway rd
Buses: 29, 253, 254, 91, 17, 43, 271, 153

8pm – till late
£3 with flyer/fanzine
£4 without





With DJ Sets from Julia Sieradzki (The Firm), Magenta Placenta (Tempting Lilu) & Rob Fenner (RMF Noir)
GUEST DJ Set: Juan Paul Cojones

This year has truly signalled the confirmation that downloading has become the primary way in which people consume music. The most recent models of Ipod have even gone so far as to include the function of storing and playing videos, meaning that, as such things are built to house almost anything you could possibly want, the actual physical format of music is becoming completely obsolete. A foregone conclusion, you might well argue. A modern necessity even. But this writer, although now considering getting an Ipod at some stage to save space, is rather set in his old-fashioned ways.

The other week, I went down to Holloway’s DOC Records to get hold of some vinyl. The actual aim of the trip was to pick up a copy of My Bloody Valentine’s apparently rare first album ‘This Is Your Bloody Valentine’, a classic record that owes much to Bauhaus, The Stooges and The Cramps and shows very little of the brilliance that was to come (although, in itself, it is still a fabulous record.) Anyway, this I did, but while I was down there, I decided to have a look for some rare vinyl by some of my other favourite artists. And, as I miraculously chanced upon one or two rarities, it gave me the impetus to search all of the vinyl in case something else of the unexpected variety jumped out at me.

As I was doing this, I was reminded of the thrill of being a music fan. Yeah, yeah, in the good old days, blah, blah, blah. But call me an old fart, call me a luddite, this thrill was all part and parcel of growing up and discovering music; and, really, truly and honestly, becoming the very person I am today (but enough about its shortcomings.)

That thrill, sense of wonderment and sense of discovery was all revisited in that one trip. Ultimately, it was the excitement of unearthing these gems that brought the very feeling of what it is to be a music fan flooding back to me. And, oh, pass me my pipe and slippers why don’t you, but it’s also the format of vinyl itself that never ceases to please. Before downloading, the gatefold sleeve made up a fair fraction of the record’s worth itself. The artwork, the lyric sheet – it all mattered. It was all part and parcel of the record’s identity, and it affected the way you listened to the record and certainly the way you heard and interpreted it. And if it conveyed some sort of message that either reinforced or complimented the music, then all the better. Not only this, but nothing sounds like vinyl. Go on about crystal-clear sound quality until the cow-droids come home, but I prefer warmth to soullessness.

I am reminded of visiting record fairs and perusing every single stall, trying to make sure that the few bob I had went towards the most valuable item or items there (well, valuable to me, anyway.) I am reminded of fishing through the old papers and magazines on sale, hoping to find some rare article or interview with a band from years back. I am reminded of glancing at the fruits of my labour while heading off home and feeling very pleased to have uncovered such a rare gem or purchased something I might not have purchased otherwise had I not been in that shop at that very time. Above all, I am reminded that I am a music fan.

This may well be about some silly sod’s fetish for second hand record shops but the music industry business model will change for good. As people stop buying CDs, they will eventually peter out. As more and more people download, you can expect the prices of everything else to go right up (gigs cost a bomb these days, ever wondered why?) But as the emphasis is taken off the consumerism and commercialism and ultimately the artifice of modern music, we will no doubt see the re-emergence of fanship. Everything is cyclical, after all.

But, for me, the one constant in all this will be vinyl. It will remain the one physical format and will hopefully enjoy a mainstream resurgence. Dance music made sure vinyl wasn’t forgotten and has been responsible for its gradual increase in sales since the compact disc threatened to banish it to the realms of history. Now, more and more bands seem to be releasing vinyl-only singles (save for downloads, obviously.)

It’s excellent to know that in an age of ever changing and improving technology, the record is still in with a fighting chance.

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

The fact that grown adults play make-believe (i.e. pretend they seriously believe in baby Jesus, etc..,). It makes for an interesting study in anthropology.That and the cut-price alcohol deals.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

The all pervasive, nefarious intrusions upon my earlobes of Noddy Holder and the like imploring me to part with my cash to the strains of cheesy crap.

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

Favourite: Leonard Cohen - The Future (Or, if you want something topical, 'Don't You Want Me', by The Human League).Worst: Cliff Richard - Mistletoe and [some cheap, undrinkable crap (] Wine [) grown on my Italian estate].

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

The words 'Gift-Horse' and 'Mouth' spring to mind here, especially when it's quite clear that the person in question has put some thought into the matter. Nevertheless, it is frustrating to receive something selected by the giver to reflect your interests when they have no knowledge of them, leaving you with something you can neither use, or admire.

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Supping a measure of VSOP Cognac topped up with 10-year-old Tawny Port whilst pondering the best Port / Cognac mix and the year to come.
1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

First of all, I’ll be off work & still get paid, that’s a pleasant thought. I approve of the food & drink, cos my mum’s a vegetarian and she buys nice wine. I also like to see people’s faces when they’re given a ridiculous present but they act really delighted just to be polite!

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

Thinking about how many turkeys die at Xmas, just to be eaten. Rather vulgar…Also the fact that Christmas is a money-making institution. Don’t you think it’s really cruel to make kids believe that Santa exists just so they can find out one day that their granddad looks rather camp in a red costume?

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

If we’re completely honest here and put the joke aside I find Christmas songs cringeworthy. Britney’s Xmas song’s alright though.

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

I can’t think of a dreadful present I’ve been given but an occasion springs to mind where I bought a present for someone but just before Xmas decided to keep it for myself. I never said I wasn’t selfish or anything, did I?

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Probably not a lot cos you celebrate Xmas on Xmas eve in Germany

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

Sean Connery’s hairy chest.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

Drinking my brother’s piss. It’s a family tradition but one I don’t like to dwell on.

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

My favourite would have to be ‘Mysterious Girl’ by Peter Andre, it’s a classic. The worst would have to be, well, who was that guy with the beard?

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?Once I was given a mirror by

Father Christmas in his grotto in Asda. What an insult.

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Sneaking out the back door for a fag praying for boxing day.

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

I used to like presents, but now I like Christmas Dinner, Boxing Day lunch and presents. And Santa Claus the Movie with Dudley Moore. Classic.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?I don't like the fact it's now just another money making exercise. However, if you look past that, you can still find good things like people getting together, appreciating each other.

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

This is a very hard question! But I'm gonna go with my first thoughts: Favourite - I wish it could be Christmas every day by Wizzard, it's impossible to resist singing along to that. And worst...anything by Cliff Richard. Maybe just Cliff himself.

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

About 4 years ago I think my Mum had some kind of crisis where she wished I'd been a girl, and got me all these lavender things, and a hot water bottle Teddy Bear, which I err, never, ever use, obviously...

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

I'll either be a) Jumping around like a nutter drinking beer (in my parents living room)b) Crying in a corner hugging a bottle of Port wearing a Santa Hat with flashing lightsc) Being sick from eating too many sprouts

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

I like the fact that I can be extremely drunk and no one will look down on me for it. I like the weather, there’s something about winter that I find very attractive.I like Mulled wine, (why can you only get this at Christmas?)Time off work is always nice.I’m kind of at a loss after that.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

I hate the fact that Christmas is an unholy marriage between two of the greatest evils in society: Capitalism and Christianity. I hate the fact that the one time of year that everything is closed is the one time of year where there’s fuck all on TV so you have no choice but to sit comatose being brainwashed by an inane talking reindeer.Fucking Christmas adverts.

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

My favourite is “Last Christmas” by George Michael, although I prefer James Dean Bradfield’s version.My worst would have to be all of the others, except maybe Fairytale of New York.

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?


5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Hopefully I’ll be in an alcohol induced coma that will last until Boxing Day when I can go back to my flat and resume normal life.

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

watching my family go bugfuck

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

watching my family go bugfuck

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

all holiday music is so dire. but when i was little my dad used to play 'tubular bells' every xmas morning. not really sure why. so let's just go with that for favorite. or "feeling hard" by B234EVA.

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

somebody's shitty demo cd. "merry christmas, listen to my band". fuck you.

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

ketamine, probably!

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

Amy: That I can always count on that satsuma in the heel/toe area of the stocking. Every year. There's something wholly stabilizing about it.
Jess: Fairy lights. The rest of winter is so dark and bleak, I like the sparkling things in the street at Christmastime. And Christmas movies, I’m a sucker for them. In fact, if I’m honest, I’m a sucker for all things Christmassy, except the day itself.
Astrud: When people completely cover their houses in big plastic decorations. I’m going to buy a gift for our house of a 5 foot santa that plays music and dances. I think everyone will appreciate it. You can get them from Argos- I’m going tomorrow.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

Amy: When it's raining!
Astrud: that sense of enforced domestic stagnation- coincides with having to watch programmes like strictly come dancing- harsh.

3. What are your favourite & worst Christmas songs?

Jess: Worst has got to be Slade. I like the David Bowie and Bing Crosby Little Drummer Boy because they look so uncomfortable in the video.
Astrud: Some carols are really good- the one’s with exultant three part harmonies and round are obviously amazing.
Amy: My favourite goes 'Little donkey, little donkey, carry Mary home..' But the reason I love it so much is 'cause I sing a choir-voice version to our cat with the words 'Little Roxy, little Roxy, carry Amy home..' I always get this rediculous image in my head when singing it, of this little black cat quite capably carrying me home on her back!..

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've ever been given?

Jess: My aunt has a knack for getting me really weird presents, but the worst must have been the year she got me a frog purse, made from a real frog. It was basically a dead, dried out frog whose bum and back legs had been cut off and a zip stitched in their place. She didn’t even buy it as a joke, and couldn’t understand why I found it so disturbing, or why she found it abandoned on her driveway on Boxing Day. Oh, I was a vegetarian at the time too.
Astrud: Sorry, I can’t beat that one. That is the worst present anyone I know has ever got.

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Jess: Simultaneously feeling sick and shovelling more food in my mouth.
Astrud: sitting in my room playing guitar/ listening to a cd I’ve just been given when I should be politely talking to relatives- juvenile but true. If I had got the frog purse I would just be feeling sick.

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

I like doing completely nothing for a a week or two just sleeping alot and basically making no effort at all ! i mean i do that alot anyway but at christmas i get force fed alcohol by my parents which is unsual but good as it means i can revert to unconsciousness much quicker!

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

The judgement of gifts and the fineline between pleasing someone else or annoying them a bit like sex without the guarentee of my own gratification! Oh and that it's a religious festival and religion is all bullshit!

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

my favourite christmas song is defo "i want an Alien for Christmas" by Fountains of WayneMisteltoe and ChildRape by Cliff"I had an enema and loved it!" Richards that smug self righteous cunt needs a serious beating outside and in!

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

i never actually recieved(!) it but a girlfriend who quickly became an ex girlfriend did inform over the phone she had bought a strap on for me!

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

skinning up a mega doobie and playing some form of computerised mayham either solo or with my brother (or even rob)

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

Wandering the streets whilst everyone else in the world is too busy gorging themselves or slumbering in front of one of those oft repeated Tim Allen wank piles.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

The fact that it appears to be starting in the middle of FUCKING NOVEMBER!

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

Oh...My Dad used to sing some shitty parody of mistletoe and wine which never fails to warm ones cockles. I'll sing it to you one day. As for the worst... Probably the original.

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

A mug. The cheapest, shittest eyeshadow ever, Chlamydia.

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Erm. My half sister if I get half the chance. It's unlikely though. She was born to a different mother, and lives in a different place. She has no idea who I am...


This month: Well, everything.

Yes, it’s that time of year again: Christmas is upon us and before you know it, you’ll be waking up in a pool of your own vomit and wondering what exactly you were doing when 2008 decided to rear its inevitably ugly head. But, before then, you’ll be enjoying the annual festivities, drinking great loads of goodness-knows-what and doing many vulgar things that you would never have done were it not for ghastly old tradition deeming it appropriate. Like eating Christmas pudding, for one thing. Let us now take a look at some of the staples of festive tradition and take a moment to wonder what, how, when, where and, most importantly, why the fuck….


As you may or may not know, I happen to be a vegetarian, so any meat-munching of any kind (hur hur hur) gets automatically frowned upon. But regardless of this, some people just refuse to be told. They can’t keep their gnashers out of that pork. So why is it then, that even though most of them profess a distaste for turkey, that they go ahead and ‘festively slice’ it anyway? Because it’s Christmas, that’s why. It’s about giving, receiving and killing animals nobody wants to eat anyway.


Of course, Christmas is a time where bulbous bastards in high-flying jobs get to stuff their pockets and go on expensive skiing holidays. Skiing holidays? Why can’t you just make do with a fucking dinner and a bottle of booze like the rest of us? Anyway, these people are able to stuff their pockets because the companies they run start advertising Crimbo’s loving commercial side from the moment the kids go back to school, thus preparing the ensuing rush to buy absolutely anything anywhere (and at any price.) And if rinsing people of their hard-earned ain’t enough, then the knockout punchline is saved until after Christmas; that’s right, the faithful January sales. Where people go and squander their meagre gift vouchers on shit they don’t want for an insignificantly sliced price.


Musically, Christmas should solely be a time for John Lennon’s earnest plea for war to be over, or for reminiscing about what a fabulous hairstyle George Michael had as he lamented the fact that someone nabbed his heart as he was putting up the tree the previous year. But, instead, every single year we are forced to endure hearing all of the old ‘classics.’ Who can forget Cliff thinking about children (singing Chris-ti-an rhyme) or Paul ‘n’ Linda simply having a wonderful Christmas time (certainly not Paul this year) or Noddy ‘Bonkers’ Holder loudly letting you know that ‘it’s Chriiiiistmas!’? No one can, that’s for sure. But who would like to? I certainly would, that’s for sure.


Who honestly gives a toss what the old bag’s got to say this year? Why is it alright for her to get her own TV show on the one day of the year when absolutely everybody will be indoors when no one else does? In fact, does any fucker even bother watching it???


I spend the other 364 days of the year being happily quite miserable, so why should the 25th of December be any different?

That one time in everybody’s lifetimes when it did actually fucking snow.
Den giving Angie the divorce papers.
Pet Shop Boys making Xmas Number One with a song that wasn’t actually some festive-orientated shit.
That moment when they realised that absolutely nobody in the history of the world has ever found a joke from a cracker remotely funny and therefore decided to make them more and more heroically unfunny with each passing year.
That moment when you wake up on Christmas morning and get all excited when you realise that it’s the one day of the year when you can get half-cut by 11 without anyone flashing you a single frown.


Old bastard.

Continuing the theme of last month's article, X-mess is now practically upon us, So I thought I'd take this final opportunity to impart some advice, and cast it from a circle a little more wide.

Yes, the headline is misleading (more of that later). Given the time of year I'm going to dedicate this article to reds:-
Ones to Hit:
Given the fact that most of us will be tucking into big, hearty fare (I'll be keeping mine veggie), especially on Ex-Mass day, why shouldn't we have a wine to match? Tannat is a grape that produces wines that are weighty, and, as its name suggests, tannic (tannin being a component from the skins and seeds of grapes that produces the astringent, drying effect in your mouth when you drink red wines). Its spiritual home is the Madiran AC in south-west France, and one of my favourite examples is Chateau Bouscasse 2003 Madiran (14% ABV), a blend of 65% Tannat, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. It sits inkily opague in the glass, emitting a seductive woodspice before unleashing pleasant, bitter / ripe waves of coffee, dark-chocolate and Black Forest Gateau. If bought as part of a case (12 bottles) of wines from, It's available for a very reasonable £9, However, as I know most of us aren't financially flush enough to be buying our wines by the case just yet, I'll also mention that you can pick it up in person from the Fortnum & Mason wine department for a still not unreasonable £11.50. Keeping it under a tenner, and co-incidentally southern French - My next choice would be Domaine Clavel's 2005 'Les Catalognes' (13.5% ABV), from the Coteaux du Languedoc AC. Ostensibly a red wine, it's a actually a blend of 6 varieties (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Muscat a Petit Grains and Pinot Gris), the two smallest in proportion being white grapes. These provide a freshness and light finish to what would otherwise be a fairly weighty wine. So, what do I mean by that? Well, the thick legs / tears clinging to the sides of the glass indicate that the liquid inside shall pack quite a punch, and the nose seems to support this - rich, potent, purple fleshed fruits in a perfume of damson, blackcurrant spice and freshly baked sweet-pastry crust. However, although this is borne out when you take a mouthful, there is also a balance between the alcohol, acidity and rounded tannins, topped off with a silkiness which is the mark of those fresh and light qualities I mentioned before. It's available for £6.79 In branches of Oddbins or at discounted 6 and 12 bottle rates on their website ( finally, for those of you outside of central London, with no Oddbins nearby, I'll complete my French southwestern 'troika' with a recommendation from Sainbury's - their own-label 2006 Organic Syrah (13% ABV). At £5.49 (sometimes cheaper, when part of cut-price or multi-buy promotions) you get a lot of wine for your money - mulberry, forest fruits and subdued spice on the nose, before a moreish, multi-layered palate of black-pepper and rich black fruits balancing alcohol and soft-textured tannins. I've drunk plenty of both this and the even better 2005 (grab it if you can still find it) over the past year, I can tell you. Shockingly, I couldn't find it on their website when researching this article. But then, fortunately, I couldn't find the next one on my list either... One to miss (at all costs):Gallo Family Vineyards Sycamore Canyon 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (13.5% ABV) - this is a classic example of supermarket wine 'discounting' bullshit, and shame on Sainsbury's for pushing it as a 'bargain'. So, in this issue I giveth with one hand and take with the other (just like God, really, but at least I exist. Can't turn water into wine just yet though folks, sorry!) Why do I hate this wine so much? Well, I hate being ripped off, you see. I'm no fool, I know that supermarket half-price wine deals are rarely, if ever, that. However, when I'm getting a wine that's supposed to be worth well over £8 (I paid £4.39 for it) at a discount I expect it to be worth at least a fiver. Not asking for much, eh? But no, it wasn't even up to that. The nose started to give the game away - slightly baked with aromas of parma-violets and boiled sweets - not what I want from a wine. The palate was no better either - heavy with prominent, volatile alcohol and slightly sweet, confected fruit leading to an aftertaste of syrupy dessert sauces and a bitter anti-climax of a finish. This wine was an insult, and if I'd paid the full price I'd have been extremely pissed-off. Believe me I tasted this wine so you don't have to. So, there you go. I hope I've steered you toward some affordable, quality drinking and away from a notable scam. Call it my present to you for the festive season. I hope it's a good one. You'll hear from me again in the New Year.
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Exclusive Guest DJ for the Christmas Vapour Trail


The Resistance were first brought to our attention via a show they played a few months ago at The Pleasure Unit. The juxtaposition of such a vibrant and dramatic outfit with the dismal and dreary surroundings of the Bethnal Green venue was truly something to behold, and we wrote about them accordingly in the first issue of this very fanzine. But now we are also very lucky to have them grace the Vapour Trail night itself. A truly modern band with a penchant for updating psychedelia and noise-pop (amongst many other things) with a modern electronic edge, the group are one of those who truly need to be seen in the flesh to be completely appreciated. The live shows, backed by projections of the trippy variety, often see vocalist Matt on the floor banging out a primitive rhythm at odds with the aforementioned electronics (bringing to mind the rudimentary-though-effective percussion of Mo Tucker & Bobby Gillespie) but somehow it works. And you will, of course, see so for yourself….

1. First of all, explain how the band came together -a potted history,if you will....

We got together in 2005, but we'd all been indifferent bands beforethen. We've spent the last few years as anexperimental instrumentalband, played lots of gigs and released two singles onour own label. Thesewere moderately successful and got on Radio 1 but wewanted to take it further. Our singer Matt was inanother band called the Khe Sanh Approach. He was along time fan and friend of the band, our bands playedtogether a lot and we arranged gigs together. When theKSA split up he was the ideal choice for our band andhe joined us full time in 2007. Nico is dead, Iggy Popis old and Julian Cope has gone mad. Matt is easilythe next choice and he's just as good as all theabove.

2. What were the initial aims in terms of style, soundand substance?

When we started we believed that the music around uswas boring and we wanted something more. There were nointeresting bands in Cambridge and the sheer lack ofambition in all of them was depressing us. We didn'twant to play boring indie rock in a pub back room toour friends. We wanted to make something no one hadheard before and do something that people willremember. We like noise and we like pop music. It wasgood to combine them, use them as a starting point andtake it from there.

3. Who would you name as your key inspirations andinfluences?

We like unusual sounds, interesting ideas anddifferent ways of doingthings. We're all into 60's psychedelia, Krautrock,pop music,electronic noise and rock and roll. We gerenerallyall admire people who have done something new from theVelvet Underground to My Bloody Valentine. We couldprobably answer "The Velvet Underground" to just aboutevery question here.

4. You put on a particularly exciting live show. Tellus about whatinspired the slides/backdrop you use & also what youhope to conveythrough live performance.

When we started out we didn't have a singer and thismeant that wedidn't have the same traditional focus that peopleare used to when theysee a band. Lots of people tend to get unsettled whenpresented withsomething they don't understand. We liked thepsychedelic lightshows theWest Coast bands had in the late '60s and it was away of making thingsmore interesting, and again, it was making more of aneffort than mostbands do. So many bands just shuffle onstage wearing jeans and at shirt and it's just lazy and indicative of howapathetic and unimaginative most bands are. We want tomake lots of noise, have a good time and have muchbetter shoes than anyone else.When we play live we want to get a reaction frompeople. Ideally we want to blow their minds but evenif they don't understand us and throw things thenthat's much better than if they talk amongstthemselves or go to the bar. Nothing is worse thanbeing competent and average.

5. Tell us how you arrived at the set-up ofinstrumentation you use.How do you see yourselves furthering your sound infuture?

Most of our live set up is due to necessity. We ownand use a huge variety of different instruments whenwe write songs, but these are sampled and put onto the laptop so we don't have to bring them to gigs andhave someone playing them. The guitars go right intothe PA and we don't use guitar amps. This means that we can go to gigs on public transport, and we only need 4 people in the band rather than 8 or 9. It's took 3years to find a singer who can actually sing, we likeand who actually understands what we do. If we had to find a drummer too we'd need several lifetimes.6. Finally, what is next for you?Through some very generous donations we've been ableto build a pretty good recording studio with lots ofvintage gear and a big old desk and we're currentlydemoing new tracks. After that we're going to play asmuch as we can and see what we can do with this. We'vedone a lot already but it's always interesting to tryto take things further..


We first featured Monday Club in Issue 1 of ‘The Vapour Trail.’ This month, we are lucky enough to have them play at the night itself. With a sound that brings to mind the likes of Patti Smith, Bauhaus, PJ Harvey and Joy Division (although still remaining very much their own creation), the group produce a highly atmospheric and often very ferocious sound. Based heavily in almost-tribal rhythms, the songs often have a dark and bluesy feel not heard since The White Stripes last meant anything. With choppy guitars and throbbing, melodic basslines, the fact that the three of them are able to create a sound so intense while remaining extremely melodic and often very poppy can only be a good thing. 2008 should see them make some serious waves but, for now, we let them answer the questions and therefore tell the story….

1. First of all, how long have you been together and how did you get together?

Jess: We’ve been together in various forms since the summer of 2003. I remember that because it was the longest, hottest summer I can remember, and I remember the three of us squeezing into amy’s bedroom in the sweltering heat bashing out a song called ‘the body song’ which started with the words ‘sit and listen to the melody, this is a song about my body’. We had to break every couple of minutes to hang out of the window and get some fresh air, I don’t really know how we’d got together. Astrud and I have been friends since we were 14 and wore glitter and sweets, and we met Amy at 6th form college. Astrud and I had been talking about forming a band for years and that summer Amy acquired a drum kit, I acquired a bass, and it just happened.
Astrud: I’d been playing keyboard in my room making atmospheric instrumentals and taping them onto a dictaphone for about a year and a half while I was at university. I started learning guitar and piecing chords together and I wrote a few songs. I played them to Jess and Amy and Selmin, (who originally playing guitar in the band) and we tried a few harmonies and they sounded cool so we thought we should start writing more stuff together. Jess and I wanted to have a band when we were 16 and the only song we ever learned was shakin’ all over. I knew amy would be good at drums because she used to mix drum and bass records. I thought a band would be more fun than solitary writing and playing which is cool but the social element changes the whole way you make music.

2. Your songs have a sense of bleakness running through them at times while being very immediate and catchy at others. What inspires your music, be it bands and/or other influences?

Amy: David Lynch, ATP!, things that appear simple but have a quality about them that's beguiling/infectious, Ad Reinhardt's Black paintings, minimal/..'big' drumming - Stereolab, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Deerhunter, Liars, Todd Trainer (Shellac)..Extra points for lush Rock Out sounds! - Nought, Deerhoof..a bit O' Iggy!
Astrud: It’s true that I have a penchant for liking dark kind of music- I always have done. But I love great pop songs. I think it’s an amazing skill to write very uplifting music- and probably even more difficult to write lyrics that sound sort of joyful but meaningful at the same time. It’s something I’d like to try. Rather than bleakness, it’s the pathos of situations that I find interesting- there’s light there, it’s like the excitement something glittering in dirt. As for the catchier ones, it’s a challenge I have with myself to write melodies that stick in your head.

3. What would you say your overall aim is in terms of style and direction?

Jess: I’m not sure that we have one. Or if we have one one day, it’ll be different the next.
Astrud: I think the thing is with our band is that everyone brought in their own styles to playing or writing that’s formulated the overall sound. We try and experiment with how we write and try different instruments to keep things forging ahead- it’s the accidentals in this process that can create new songs.

4. With your live performance, you appear to have a knack for conveying lots of energy and creating an atmosphere. How important is live performance to what you do?

Astrud: live performance is often the way I’ll come across new bands or acts I like as I go to a lot of gigs and it’s a very immediate way the band can grab you, but the performance shouldn’t necessarily be about grand movement- it depends on the act, sometimes the less someone says and does the more compelling they are. I think we’d like to experiment with light shows or visuals, which I think would work with our music.

5. A rather corny question, but what was it that made you all pick up your instruments in the first place?

Jess: I picked up the bass when we started the band! I was learning guitar when we formed, so it made sense for me to try out the bass rather than have three guitarists (we used to have a second guitarist).
Amy: Having a drum kit in front of me + beats in my head! Seeing/meeting other encouraging female drummers in my teens at Riot Grrl or Ladyfest events.
Astrud: I just really really wanted to play guitar- I had been learning a few chords here and there and just wanted to practice until I got good. At the time my boyfriend and one of my friends could play really well so the fact that they were really good probably encouraged me to learn as well. It was a personal thing for me to particularly want to play guitar over any other instrument- I was aware of the gender imbalance of female to male guitar players, which was something I wanted to help shift.

6. Finally, what is next for you?

All: Keep on making music that we really enjoy coming up with + playing! We hope to release a single soon too.


Interviews with Monday Club, The Resistance & The Firm, A User’s Guide To Christmas, Christmas Q & A with assorted Vapour Trail heroines and heroes, and more….

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Ex Mass Fizz


Dear reader, ‘twas suggested to me by the editor of this venerable publication that a waxing lyrical on something other than music may provide an interesting aside. Well, I was more than happy to oblige…

So, giving you plenty of time for forward planning, this month I thought I’d advise on Champagne and sparkling wine. Some of you may be wanting to drink more than mulled wine come Ex-Mass time – ‘tis, as they say, the season…

Now, you may have noticed, in retailers with a certain ‘bling’ to their swing, the arrival of bottles of Moët NV tarted up with Swarovski glass crystals, and in a box bearing the legend “Be Fabulous” – BE CREDULOUS more like, says this noble scribe. These monstrosities are retailing at around 40 quid a bottle when you can get EXACTLY THE SAME CHAMPERS for around 20 notes in many supermarkets and even the odd pub chain (i.e. Wetherspoon’s) – not that I’d drink the stuff myself of course! However, before you accuse me of snobbery, allow me to clarify. Over 40 million bottles of Moet (and, by the way, you pronounce it MOW-IT, like your lawn, NOT ‘Mo, eh?’ – like a pseud) Champagne are produced every year. Think you get quality at that volume? No, neither do I. It tastes thin and compliments that with a rapier-like acidity. Nice.

So, If you’re gonna shell out some hard earned cash on a nice bottle of pop, I’d like you to get your money’s worth. For around the same price you’d waste on a bottle of Moët you can pick up either Vilmart Grand Reserve (small, independent producer – available via independent wine merchants and also Fortnum & Mason’s wine department) or Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve (more widely available, for example on and in branches of Oddbins) – both of these are round, ‘classic’ styles of Champagne with acidity that’s ‘palate-cleansing’ rather than teeth stripping.

Hell, you don’t even have to stretch to the real thing if the budget won’t permit. Jansz, from Tasmania, do a cracking line in sparkling wines and you can pick up their ‘Premium Cuvee’ for just over a tenner all over this Fair Isle. Perfect for making Christmas Pud palatable.


Markus Keaney will be doing a Guest DJ slot at The Vapour Trail on December 12th. He is also a poet, vocalist and bassist as well as being a wine expert.

'Carcass In Pitta Bread, Please..'


Writing an article about vegetarianism….what is the first thing that comes to mind? (Apart from the fact that I could have simply copied and pasted the lyrics to the Mozfather’s ‘Meat Is Murder.’ Well you can still go and listen to it, I should hope that most of you own this record, not just because of the subject addresses, also for the obvious reasons.

If you are one of those people the support the ‘food chain’ attitude, you think humans are naturally meat-eaters , the thought crosses my mind how you think this is possible – if humans naturally were meat-eaters, why do they have to cook it first before they can actually stomach it? (Ever tried eating raw meat?) Do you think you are allowed to let animals die ‘cos you fancy a bit’a steak’ or was it that you ‘had a craving for a dodgy kebab,’ or simply the thought of chewing on a dead animal’s organ that once filtered their urine is utterly enticing?! I wonder, how come you hardly ever meet thick vegetarians….

I also find it quite interesting how people that eat meat suddenly don’t fancy eating it as much anymore after seeing what it was and how it became that lovely grill on their plate. A scene springs to mind of a lady ordering a squid dish in a restaurant but not wanting to touch it once the food arrives because of being able to make out the suckers on it. Anyone, tell her Santa doesn’t exist, err, I mean meat/fish isn’t made in a factory and neither does it grow on trees…

Also, seeing it from a general point of view nowadays with all the diseases about (mad cow being the obvious example), even if you were still very much a meat-eater surely you’d question the point of it because of the risk of catching god-knows-what. Those diseases haven’t been around long enough to even know what long-term effect they might have on people, even if they don’t make them ill for the first, say, twenty years.

For those who like the taste of meat, you get so many alternatives these days. Some of my non-veggie friends that tried them now even buy alternative products for various reasons such as they taste nicer, they’re low-fat, healthier, quicker to cook…with those products on the market and, more importantly, eating killed animals generally being morally wrong, I don’t see why there are still people out there who don’t get that you can’t just have an animal killed because you fancy eating it! Maybe they’re just too lazy because their uvva ‘alves cook their deathly dinners or simply because they haven’t given the subject any thought before….

So now off you go and listen to ‘Meat Is Murder.’ It was written for a reason.

Julia Sieradzki

Feature: The Drowners


THE DROWNERS hit the capital with a show at The Vapour Trail. A showstopping three piece very much in the classic mould, they are Robert Hardy (vocals, guitar), Simon Hidson (bass) and Tim Smerdon (drums.) Very much an anomaly in today’s largely vacuous and still rather corporate alternative music scene, not only do they look good and sound good but they also have something to say. And right here is where you can read what they wish to get off their chests…

Like the best rock bands, The Drowners have something of a penchant for drinking. Well, when we say ‘penchant’, what we really mean is ‘an abusive habit that could well result in cirrhosis of the liver by 35 at the very latest.’ The story of how they came to be illustrates exactly that. “We formed in January 2007 out of the ashes of our (Simon and Rob’s) old band, which fell apart following the departure of our guitarist who was becoming increasingly concerned about our spiralling drink problems. We’d usually be too drunk to play our instruments and often verge on falling off the stage. In the end, both our guitarist and drummer had enough and moved out of the house we shared and left the band. We were left with each other, a shared passion for the Manic Street Preachers and drinking. So we regrouped and found our drummer Tim in January and played our first gig in April.”

When the group got together, the initial aims in terms of style, sound and overall direction were simple. They wanted to mix a frenetic kind of fury with a poignant kind of gloominess. And they partly took their cue from the aforementioned Welsh rockers. “We wanted to marry the ferocity of Holy Bible-era Manics with the overt melancholy of The Cure and make a more aggressive sound than before. Becoming a three-piece actually helped in that regard as it enabled us to get rid of parts that weren’t necessary and encouraged us to play more violently to make up for that. We never wanted to be a ‘jeans and t-shirt’ indie band singing about nothing over whatever middle of the road sound was fashionable. We wanted to be something that people could fall in love with, a band that people would want to be in instead of just thinking ‘that’s a good song.’ We recognize that it’s not just about the music, it’s everything, the band sets the context for the music in the way that they look, the artwork, the things they say. We wanted to change people’s lives like bands changed ours ten years ago.”

Which conveniently brings us onto the discussion of those bands, exactly who they were and exactly why you never seem to get those bands anymore (until now, of course.) When prompted, the band list Nirvana, The Cure, Joy Division, Smashing Pumpkins, The Smiths and Placebo as being the main offenders in question. “There seems to be very few signature sounds these days and that was something we were keen to produce. All the bands we’ve mentioned are instantly recognisable. None of the bands around at the moment are going to make the impact on people’s lives that the bands we’ve mentioned have. The fucking Killers aren’t going to change the ideals of anyone. It comes back to the old Morrisseyism ‘it says nothing to me about my life.’ There doesn’t seem to be music for those who are different and relish the fact. There’s nothing for those who question God, their friends and their own actions. We want to be that band.”

Clearly The Drowners have what it takes to be a classic outsider’s band. Their refusal to settle for anything and will to question everything goes a long way to supporting that theory. “Most people float through their miserable existence with little regard for what is going on around them and inside them. We want to make people look at their own lives and be disgusted, with the things they do, the things they say. We want our songs to be a mirror for people to be able to see the worst qualities in themselves and those around them and to maybe do something about it. We write about the things we recognise in ourselves, the people we know and society, as repugnant. The only reason we can sing about these things is because we are these things, we’re the same selfish islands, but we’re desperately seeking some kind of thrill to numb this realisation simply because we realise it. We’re not so depressed about this that we’re going to write slow, pseudo-ballads or bland anthems like Snow Patrol. We’re fucking angry.”

And with all this in place, it only seems right that The Drowners will cultivate a huge hardcore following of like-minded people; the young, pissed-off and dispossessed. We wonder if this is an aim or just the likely and natural conclusion. “We think that is something that is more important to us than achieving a general malaise of benevolent indifference. We’d rather mean the world to a few people than very little to many. It would be difficult to even really think about being mainstream simply because we’re not prepared to sacrifice what we think and believe in for the sake of success. Success has to be on our own terms and we’d rather spectacularly fail but know we tried to do it our way than change what we are and do. I think that kind of single mindedness naturally attracts similar people so for that reason, it’s both an aim and a natural conclusion.”

With a band as exciting as this, and one who seemingly know exactly what they want and where they ought to be going, the final question has to be an inevitable one. What is next for you? ‘Who knows? Obviously, we’re going to carry on gigging as much as we can. We’re just so desperate to break out of Birmingham, there’s nothing there for us. We’ve seen so many bands from Birmingham supposedly ‘achieve’ things but what that inevitably means is that they’ve managed to get a gig in a slightly bigger venue and played to more of their friends and family at once than usual. We have no interest in playing to the same 50 people week after week, or being part of some pointless indie scene that isn’t going anywhere. We want people to actually hear us, it doesn’t matter if they hate us; an opinion is better than nothing.”

And to us, that certainly is the hallmark of a classic outsider’s band. One day, you’ll find yourself kissing in his room to a popular tune – and that tune will be by real Drowners.

Feature: Monocle Rose


Welcome to the world of Monocle Rose. Four immaculately dressed freaks who play the sort of manic shows the usual dullards might only turn in were they to be told they only had half an hour left to live. They speak of ‘Fast Day-Glo Defiance’, mix cherry coke with marmite and cheese into their music, and above else, they want Britain. And that means you….

Rosa and Richey are the toxic twosome that take care of the vocal and guitar duties. Richey takes up the story of how they met. “Rosa and I met last summer when our old bands played on the same bill at the Pleasure Unit. They both broke up by October so we thought it’d be a good idea to get together and write some songs. We found Matt (drums) through friends in February and Teo (bass) has just joined, this’ll be his first gig.”

And what a gig it should be. When the group tread the boards for twenty minutes of clipped, snarling mayhem, it must be said that performance is everything. On guitar, Richey is seemingly switched on at the same mains as his amp and finds it rather difficult to stay still at all, even for a split second. Visually, you are reminded of a young Pete Townsend all punked-up to the nines. Rosa, on the other hand, while being just as lively (if not more) has a tendency to end up rolling around on the floor at the climax of the set; you are then also reminded that bands just don’t put this much into their performances anymore. “Our shows are important because they give people a 20 minute break of dullness,” says Richey. “Playing live is the best bit about being in a band so when we’re up there we go for it.” Rosa also sees the importance of the band’s shows. “Live, we want to make maximum impact,” she says. “Every gig’s a chaotic show!”

The only bands they all truly have in common as influences are “probably just Blondie and The Ramones. We’re all into completely different music.” The carnal sound they make does recall the pop made by both those bands, but as things spiral further and further out of control, you are reminded of the likes of the Banshees, Patti Smith and X-Ray Spex, along with some of the classic sounds of the early 90s – most notably very early-period Manics and the riot-grrrl likes of L7. This, as you can imagine, is a very good thing. And it is something that nobody is doing.

“The aim is to create something a hundred times more original and exciting than all the rubbish that’s been in the charts and music press for the last ten years and to make British music great again” says Richey. You only need to take one look at them in their always-excellent get-up to see the potential. “We just wear what we want to wear but I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to look good, or different from other people,” he replies.

“Image is insanely important” states Rosa. “I was already working with a photographer from my previous band (Amanaboutadog) and one of the first things this band did was get a professional photoshoot with Pete. We wanted to get away from the clichéd photoshoots of sullen band-members outside feckless buildings.”

As you can well tell, we’re dealing here with a band that sees the value in the sonic and the visual; the combination of audio and aesthetics. Once again, this is an absolute rarity these days, with the hordes of careerist clones doing it purely for the corporate dollar and not actually seeing this thing they call music as what it is: a form of expression; an art, if you’ll let me have that one.

The next step for the band is to compliment their excellent visuals by “getting some decent recordings done.” The whole package should then be complete. In the meantime, be sure to catch them in the flesh; an impression will most certainly be left, and it won’t be an impression you’ll forget easily.

Style & Substance vs Oversubstantiality


In the 50s Elvis inspired dodgy fringes and greasy suits; in the 60s peas-loving, world-embracing tunes encouraged men not to shave and wear flared trousers and in the 70s iconic figures like Bowie and Bolan sparked off the glam era. Most of you are probably old enough to remember yourselves what happened in the 80s, and if not you’re probably lucky you didn’t get asked for identification when paying your admission fee at the door.

Well, all this is no news, is it? Why write a poxy article about all this? There is a point to be made – music inspires style, not the other way round. It has in the past anyway, but does it now? Should bloody hope so you think, or that’s the way it should be anyway, but I begin to wonder when I see eccentrically dressed people standing in corners, sipping their drinks in a rather suggestive pose in a not too dimly lit corner so you can (just about) make out their outfit. Now the suggestive pose turns into a rather uncomfortable one for a split second (…’I shouldn’t have gone to Camden Best Kebab with this corset on before going out…’)

There is nowt wrong with looking great and clearly it is to be encouraged. But there is a huge difference between the music fan and the poseur. Having caught fractions of bog chats while in the toilet queue, it is clear many people’s main purpose of going out is to simply show off their wardrobe, it’s not really about the music anymore.

So you guessed it, there’s even a purpose behind The Vapour Trail (apart from the obvious like playing you good music and putting great new bands on) - partly inspired by the C86 movement, where bands had their own clubnights, playing records that inspired them and they felt a kinship with, making fanzines and putting them about in the club, and the general message and purpose of it all was their ‘DIY’ scene that was built on creativity and belief in music.

So if your reason for being here tonight was spurned on by your latest addition to your wardrobe rather than an interest in music then you should probably ask yourself some serious questions.

Or you’re just in the wrong club.

Julia Sieradzki is the boss of The Vapour Trail, one of its DJs and plays low slung bass in The Firm.

A Rant Down The Rave: Nov 07


THIS MONTH: Well, everything.

It’s been nearly ten years since the so-called ‘phenomenon’ we know and loathe as Reality TV hit our screens. You’d think by now they’d have learned. But, alas, no. As per usual we are endlessly subjected to moronic and talentless dogturds infiltrating our screens and generally making a headache-inducing nuisance of themselves.

Popular culture no longer applies to me. In fact, it no longer applies to anyone with half a braincell but still, the likes of Big Brother, X-Factor and I’m A Z-List Loser Who Nobody Quite Remembers Because I Was Fairly Pointless (And Totally Vacuous) The First Time Round, Get Me Out Of Here are seemingly watched by millions. I do have a confession to make though – but I’m sure it’s one many can reluctantly make. I always tend to end up ‘catching’ the first ones, but am always left wondering why. Is it the fact that the advertisements have seeped into my being so much that I just can’t resist a sneaky peak? Or is it that same morbid curiosity you might get when someone goes ‘Yuck, you really don’t wish to see this’, although you always end up somehow seeing whatever it is anyway?

Anyway, surely it’s time for an end to this inexcusable arserot. Here are just a few reasons why:

Vulgar Shit-Eating Celebrities With Zero Talent And Less Personality

Why do these people get fawned over? They are plainly vile people. Hitler was a vile person. You wouldn’t give him his own TV show, would you?

Davina McCall


The X-Factor Panel Pantomime

You just know when the ratings have started to drop because Old Trout Osbourne will be required to pull one of her ‘controversial’ stunts – be it anarchically chucking a glass of water at Louis Walsh’s rubbery fizzog or sensationally storming off. And Cowell might well be a bit of a comedian but the joke is now very, very old.

Phone Voting

Come on, you didn’t seriously think it was kosher, did you?

Listings: November 07


The Old Kings Head
382 Holloway Road
N7 6PN



Thursday, 11 October 2007

Issue #1 - A Rant Down The Rave


THIS MONTH: Well, everything.

Are you tired of getting handed those deplorable free papers on your way home from the wankplace, only to peer down at their front pages and see Paris grinning back at you / Britney sneering back at you / Doherty glazing over and flicking that most rock’n’roll of gestures, the V, at you?

I certainly am, and I don’t even bother reading them anymore. I know celebrities and their ilk are something of an easy target, but they’re a target worthy of shooting time and time again when you realise a great many people in this day’n’age struggle to tell the difference between Tony and Lionel (well, up until Lionel’s ‘hilarious’ turn on that Catherine Tate comic relief thing, anyway) and are more likely to answer the question ‘who is Cameron?’ with ‘Justin’s ex.’

Not that I’m greatly concerned with politics myself, but in order to know the difference between shit and faeces, one first needs to know what shit and faeces are exactly. Or some such. But you get the general idea. Anyway, let’s take a look at some of our favourite ‘slebs’, assess their various crimes and work out what punishments they need dishin’ out to ‘em….

NAME: Paris Hilton
DESCRIPTION: Snotty-nosed sex-taping lollypop stick. Done some time in the slammer for something or other. Named after a chain of hotels that counts ‘Bognor Hilton’, ‘Hackney Hilton’, ‘Croxteth Hilton’ and ‘Poole Hilton’ amongst its number.
THE CRIMES: Appearing in newspapers more often than news does; releasing some record or other despite having zero talent and shit-for-brains; generally being a bint.
THE PUNISHMENT: Being forced to return to the slammer only to find herself locked in a box-cell with ten other inmates, five of whom are sex-starved mentalists, the other five being mentalist-starved sex offenders.
NAME: Peaches Geldof
DESCRIPTION: Daughter of some bloke who swore a lot if you didn’t give money to charity. Always ‘on the scene’, wherever that may be.
THE CRIMES: Letting Donald Tourette get his filthy end away with her (allegedly); being under 12, getting into clubs and even being photographed whilst doing it where so many of her contemporaries who no doubt gobble less snot get laughed at week-in, week-out, up and down the land trying to do the exact same thing; DJ’ing when she could be revising for her exams, the thoughtless wench.
THE PUNISHMENT: Instead of going to clubs, being forced to appear on national television sat next to her father when he is in the middle of a six-hour version of one of his ‘Live Aid’ rants (or, better still, a six-hour version of ‘I Don’t Like Mondays.’

NAME: Pete Doherty
DESCRIPTION: Hang around Camden Town tube station long enough during the early hours and you’ll get a better picture than any of these words could paint.
THE CRIMES: About 647, lass time we cared. That was quite a while ago though, so you may as well add another 249 to that. Oh, hang on, someone’s just texted me. Let me read it out. ‘Doherty’s been arrested for driving erratically while in possession of heroin & crack.’ Blimey, I get those more than I get those promotional update texts from sodding Vodafone. Twerp.
THE PUNISHMENT: S’cuse me, Officer McLeish? You see that key there? Yeah, sling it….

NAME: Jordan & Peter Andre
DESCRIPTION: It’s had to know where to begin….
THE CRIMES: Existing.

Issue #1 - Reviews Part Two

White Heat @ Madame Jojos

You may have heard things about These New Puritans, one such thing being that they are really rather good. So it is with some trepidation that we venture out to witness their show at Madame Jojos…I mean, The Next Big Thing being shown up to be a musically-challenged shambles of crap hair and daft clothing (the colour coordination of which, or lack of, being the most remarkable thing about them)? Never…..

Thankfully, this is not the case with TNP. Four youths from Southend, they bizarrely resemble some kind of humanoid race of martians, and make the sort of music you would hope such a race would make. Their one concession to garish gear is the singer’s gold lame shirt, which may well end up on the racks of Top Shop if TNP succeed in getting their music out to the masses. But this is neither here nor there.

Their music, based around pounding rhythms, certainly recalls the post-punk stylings of PiL, Gang of Four and Joy Division. At times, however, it descends into such danciness that recalls the big beat bands of the late 90s. On top of this, swirling synths and scratchy guitars (which bring to mind Sonic Youth & My Bloody Valentine as well as the aforementioned post-punk bands) lend the sound some melodic respite, but it is when TNP let the beats dictate proceedings that they really shine.

From Southend to where? The racks of Top Shop at very least, if tonight’s show is anything to go by.

Noggs Mannberger
The Pleasure Unit

These past few years have seen many a monkey try to combine laptops’n’guitars in a faux-fashionable attempt to make something ‘modern’, something ‘new’…in reality, people often just end up making something ‘shit’, and I should know, I used to do it meself.

The Resistance do not. One gets the distinct impression that their use of laptops’n’guitars is a necessity. And necessities aren’t all humdrum, you know. Certainly not in their case. Because there is nothing, repeat, nothing humdrum about The Resistance.

If you get the chance to hear their current promo, don’t bother. Witness their dribbling psychopath of a live show instead. Because what lies on CD does not do the outfit any justice of any kind. Where you might describe the more upbeat moments on the CD as ‘lively’, in the flesh they become ‘raucous.’ To say the least.

Four young men who look like various members of the Mary Chain, House of Love, MBV and other Creation geniuses, their setup is like so – two noisey guitars put through effects units, one laptop making a synthesised racket of samples, and one towering singer knocking out the beat (yes, the beat) on the floor with a tambourine. Well, if simple percussion worked for the Velvets & the Mary Chain…

And indeed the songs are sometimes reminiscent of the way the Mary Chain would combine white noise with those Beach Boys-esque melodies. However, this is, ahem, ‘modern.’ Behind the band a psychedelic projection displays an array of images that compliment the group’s riotous freak-out well, despite being soaked in rather more rock’n’roll cool than the rest of the live experience would suggest.

So, The Resistance…I might end up contradicting myself here but it must be said….something indeed ‘new’, certainly something ‘modern.’ But definitely nothing ‘shit.’

Horacio Mitchell


Issue #1 - Reviews

Playlouder Night @ The Old Blue Last

There are those who loathe The Old Blue Last and, with its reputation, it’s not difficult to understand why. Vice Magazine; Shoreditch trendies; er, well, that’s about it. Yes, the upstairs may well be small and really rather dingy but sometimes venues such as this lend a sense of atmosphere to music that thrives on it in order to create it.

Monday Club kick off the show in suitably atmospheric fashion. The introduction of the first song is delivered a capella by the singer/guitarist and bassist before the drums kick in and all hell, quite frankly, threatens to break loose.

Borrowing liberally from the back catalogues of bands such as Joy Division and Bauhaus (never a bad thing, even when pilfering the bossa nova beat from ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ wholesale for a few bars of one song) the group make a haunting racket, which acts as the perfect vehicle for the bluesy, smokey vocals. By the end of it, you realise that they have something of a knack for winning you over with their charm before bludgeoning your ears with their doom-laden tunes. A winner all round, then.

The Violets have been around for a fair few years now, but you wouldn’t know it from their fresh and vibrant live show. Immediately, and inevitably, images of S*ou*sie & the B*nsh**s spring straight to mind, but it’s the depth in their sound which grabs you, not to mention the arresting stage presence of singer Alexis. Melodic basslines and sharp, chiming guitar parts make up many of their songs and eventually live synths are used to give their sound that extra depth. The songs range from being soundtracks to the hidden corners of one’s imagination to dark and thundering electropop beasts.

With a repertoire and live show as good as is evidenced tonight, it should come as no shock that The Violets are one of the most exciting live propositions in London right now. Go and see them before they promptly leave the small environs (and atmospherics) of venues such as The Old Blue Last well and truly behind.

Issue #1 - Interview with RMF Noir


RMF Noir is the art-noise project of Rob Fenner. Sonically, it is extremely difficult to pigeonhole (partly the point) but it draws equally from cold wave, noise, electronica and punk. A limited edition EP, ‘Summer Love Songs’, is out at the moment. Previously, Rob has worked as No Kisses (an Adult-influenced electropop outfit) and as keyboardist for Sub-Culture and The Firm, who he has been known to moonlight for in recent times.

Clearly a very busy man (he has also done the odd soundtrack and score, more of which later), we wonder quite how the EP came about. ‘I’m surprised I managed to put anything out in the end, considering the amount of cancelled projects and unreleased material I’ve had under my belt since 2005’s A Girl Strife EP,’ he muses. ‘There was never an initial plan though – this was very spur of the moment. It’s all brand-new material that I’ve written over the Summer, with each song following the overlying theme of love’s more unpleasant aspects.’

When quizzed on who or what inspires him to make the punishing and hard-edged sounds he does, his response paints a pessimistic (but probably quite accurate) picture of the world today. ‘It’s a sliding scale, really. Things are getting more and more apocalyptic each year. The mavens said the world is going to end in 2012. Lately we’ve had bird flu, terror moral panic, and 2007’s revelation about bees losing their navigational abilities due to interference from cellular signals and dying out….they say that when the bees go, man has only five years left…which brings us back to 2012. Short answer? “The lighter side of hopelessness” is a big theme in my work. As for who inspires me? Just about every single person I meet. And my family.’

Listening to Summer Love Songs, you can certainly detect a cinematic quality within the music. So it should come as no surprise that Rob has more than dipped his toe in the waters of scores and soundtracks. ‘I wrote the score and created the sound effects for a deaf animation student’s cartoon this year, and I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a rescore of Jan Svankmajer’s Alice. On that horizon, I’ve been asked to write the music for a few amateur computer games, namely a fan-made remake of Falcon classic “Brandish.” Work on that is beginning in the next few weeks.’

RMF Noir is certainly a far cry from the lively beats and dark catchiness of No Kisses. Although not occupying Rob’s time at the moment, the latter is certainly far from dead. ‘No Kisses was/is basically my pop music, or ‘misanthropop’ as I prefer to call it,’ he says. ‘A single called “Swastika Sally/The Smoking Room” was briefly in distribution during Spring 2006, but I became preoccupied with other projects – as well as real life – and no other material was ever released. That doesn’t mean the project is dead though.’ When asked when we might expect to hear a follow-up to the aforementioned single, ‘early to mid 2008 at the latest’ is his response.

So what is next on the horizon? ‘Anarchy at your local Pret-a-Manger. Oh, and I’m also part of a two-piece dark ambient project called The Hostile Takeovers, alongside a key member of Patricide. Watch out for that.’

Like we said, a busy man….


‘Basically, as abstract as its contents is, the EP is an autobiographical account of recent events. It begins with “Done Me Wrong”, a bleak, to-the-point omen of things to come. “Things Stay the Same” is a howling descent into a tale of love gone stale and awry. A new, dreamlike romance is detailed in “Our Love”, but quickly takes a surreal, nightmarish turn. Things finish off with “Stray”, an angry cautionary tale, or warning. Bookending each of these songs are short, disorienting compositions which fit the theme and compliment each piece nicely. It’s all quite angsty, really…but it’s just as tongue-in-cheek as all of my releases.’

Issue #1 - Vapour Trail


The Vapour Trail is the new monthly clubnight taking place at The Old Kings Head on the Holloway Road. It takes place every second Wednesday of the month and if you appear brandishing a copy of this very chip paper, you even get a quid off. Then you can sling it.

The Vapour Trail
The Old Kings Head
382 Holloway Road
N7 6PN

8pm – till late
£3 with flyer/fanzine
£4 without

Nearest tube: Holloway Road
Buses: 29, 43, 253, 271, 91, 17, 153, 254

Including, over the coming months:

Monocle Rose
The Resistance
The Firm
Monday Club
The Drowners

Julia Sieradzki
DJ Magenta
Rob Fenner