Thursday, 10 April 2008

Next Month's VPT Listings


Nearest tube: Holloway rd / ARCHWAY
Buses: 29, 253, 254, 91, 17, 43, 271, 153 & BUSES TO ARCHWAY

8pm – till late
£4 with flyer/fanzine
£5 without

NEXT: MAY 21ST 2008


With DJ Sets from Julia Sieradzki (The Firm) & Magenta Placenta (Tempting Lilu)

GUEST DJ Set: Simon Hidson (The Drowners)

Bauhaus - The Essential Mixtape


Nine minute goth opera featuring bossa nova drums, an eerie take on an old Glitter Band riff, pointed bass and a vocal lamenting the passing of Bela Lugosi. Although it helped create the daftness of goth, subsequently doing the band few favours, it remains an unlikely and unthinkable classic.

Not strictly a Bauhaus song, this Bowie cover got the group mainstream success and an element of notoriety (it played into the hands of sniping critics who dismissed the band as glam copycats.) That said, it remains one of the very few covers that urinate upon the original from a great height – and I write that as a Bowie fan.

DANCING (1981)
Throbbing post-punk with one of the greatest basslines of the era, some suitably dancey drumming and classic Banshees-esque guitar from Daniel Ash.

Singled out in the VPT review of recent album “Go Away White”, this song is notable for essentially taking the template of genial early goth-pop numbers such as “Terror Couple Kill Colonel” and turning it into something far more sinister and sexual.

Apparently forgotten non-album single which saw the band’s second TOTP performance – although the song wasn’t a hit. A tragedy considering the new wave thunder of the rhythm section and some nice S & M-inspired lyrics.

Psychedlic stomper from fourth album, “Burning From The Inside”, an album which readily embraced the psychedelic tones that would colour much of the output from Love & Rockets. Here, the urgency and sense of desperation is provided by a brilliant vocal from Murphy.

One of the most remarkable songs in the group’s cannon is a sprawling punk rock masterpiece spread out into three schizophrenic sections. Guitars slash, drums cascade and Murphy delivers one of the most theatrical vocal parts of his career.

Bauhaus were known for issuing extremely experimental B-sides and unsurprisingly, considering how experimental their singles and albums often were, these were mainly unlistenable. Not “Departure”, however – a descending bassline and various atmospheric effects provide a background to a nightmarish and compelling spoken word vocal.

On the group’s last tour, this song was spliced together with a cover of Joy Division’s “Transmission” that pretty much mirrored the original. Had they simply played this quirky synth-laden cut from their debut, it would sincerely have been better.

Dance-inspired rhythms and a seriously melodic bassline lead this song in a Joy Division-gone-pop manner. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of Danny Ash’s legendary sax playing – an instrument they used more for atmosphere and feel than melody, as you can tell. Surely inspired by Bowie’s use of the sax on ‘Diamond Dogs’, surely the inspiration for Porl Thompson’s use of the sax in The Cure.

CROWDS (1980)
Simply Murphy and a piano, this bitter rant against unreceptive and unruly audiences sounds less like the end of a relationship but more like the end of life itself. A fitting end to this mixtape, then.

Ergonburger Smith

Bauhaus: Go Away White


A couple of years ago, the once-again reunited Bauhaus played a number of shows around Europe and the States which, by all accounts, showed a band replenished and reinvigorated. This decade has seen the post-punk era from which the band initially sprang get pillaged and re-evaluated and the timing for a reunion was impeccable. They even managed to get into the studio and in classic Bauhaus fashion, managed to lay down some improvised songs in a matter of days. Things have since gone to pot with the band bitterly going their separate ways for seemingly the final time, but this album is a collection of those very songs.

The potion of styles which made up the group’s music in the early days remains largely the same. We hear elements of glam, punk, psychedelia and dub along with some desolate and doom-laden mood pieces that hark back to the likes of “Hollow Hills”. This might normally indicate a band desperate to relive former glories and instead of failing tragically, sounding like pale imitations of their former selves (as is often the case) but here it not only sounds authentic but very, very natural. Indeed, there are elements of Love & Rockets and the solo careers of Pete Murphy and Daniel Ash, but ultimately what you have is very much the fifth Bauhaus album.

And although the fact that it appears slightly out of context and out of time in that way that every reunion album does, many of the songs on offer here walk the same line of brilliance as before. The embarrassingly titled “Endless Summer Of The Damned” is a true highlight, classic Bauhaus in its dubby bass and stuttering drums while “Too Much 21st Century” is a high-voltage glam stomp. The latter half of the album sees the group take a more introspective (and occasionally histrionic, in Murphy’s wailing vocals and Ash’s atmospheric guitar scratches and screeches) tone which sometimes sees the mood sag but still sees some interesting moments. The penultimate song, 1998’s “The Dog’s A Vapour”, is simply a dirge and one wonders what made them include it but thankfully it is not enough to sour the overall feeling that the band have left us with an admittedly flawed but certainly poignant and often exciting parting shot.

As David Jay said at the (first) final gig back in 1983: “Rest In Peace.”

Dick Berry

The Cure: Live Review

Wembley Arena – March 20th

It has been four long years since The Cure released their last album, an eponymously-titled effort produced by Ross Robinson that won over fans and critics alike, thus throwing the group back into the limelight and earning them a well-deserved critical appraisal. However, in true Cure fashion, the band decided to re-evaluate itself at such a career height. They did so and this culminated in keyboardist Roger O’Donnell (a member from 87-89 and then from 1995) and guitarist Perry Bamonte (1990 onwards) being unceremoniously (or so it seemed) ejected and the return of legendary Cure six-stringer Porl Thompson. 2008 will see the release of their new album, an album which, given the current lineup, could well be the archetypal Cure record.

Tonight sees the four piece air three new songs that could well find their way onto the record. And in time-honoured fashion, if these tunes are anything to go by, then the new album will be in an opposite vein to “The Cure.” Whereas that album was a dark, brooding and often vicious opus, the new songs point to a much poppier and upbeat direction. Indeed, we get a rare rendition of “The Lovecats” alongside the likes of “Friday I’m In Love”, “Let’s Go To Bed”, “The Walk”, “Close To Me” and “Never Enough”, the style of which being a clear influence on one of the new songs aired.

The band’s return to a much poppier sound is ironic given the choice of support. 65daysofstatic, here to promote their latest album, would have fitted in better touring with The Cure on “The Cure” or “Bloodflowers” tours, the latter album being hugely influenced by the post-rock stylings of Mogwai et al. Tonight, they play a blistering set which is only marred by the poor arena acoustics of Wembley which threatens to hamper the headline band’s set as well.

And during said set, we do get plenty of ‘the other side’ of The Cure. Epic noise rock beasts such as “One Hundred Years”, “Shake Dog Shake” and “The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea” (a real highlight) go down a storm but it is the encores that really provide the melancholic euphoria you might associate with The Cure. One encore sees songs from “Seventeen Seconds”, the band’s second album, get played in quick succession, ending of course with “A Forest”. And the final encore sees about nine songs (the best ones, basically) from the era of their first album. “Fire In Cairo”, “Grinding Halt” and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” get to make rare appearances before everything is rounded off beautifully with “10.15 Saturday Night” and “Killing An Arab”. The overall effect is one of the group’s entire career being rounded off and, together with the fact that the songs from the new album sounded absolutely textbook Cure (as well as featuring the definitive lineup), it makes you question how much longer the group may be around. On tonight’s evidence, it seems as if they’re setting themselves up to go out on a high, which in itself is a double-edged sword. This writer believes that the group is far from being a spent force and anybody in attendance tonight could vouch for that.

Mumtaz Mitchell

Seb 61's Animal Of The Year

Seb '61's animal of the year: The African Quince Owl

This rare breed of Owl is secreted by trees near junction 21a of the M25 (St Albans, M1).Nearly extinct, this beautiful creature has a wingspan of 2.3 Squirrels and can jump anywhere between 0 and 3 centimetres.Its long, downy feathers are completely mythical and have been used by doctors doing surgery on 48 year old men for 10,000 years (approximately).Be warned- do not approach this Fabergé Egg of a beast as it is prone to violent attacks on infants, children and pre-teens.
BONUS FACT: The African Quince Owl is also responsible for Adam Sandler, but has not yet been fully punished for it.

Good day

Cinema UK

Cinema UK

A coincidence indeed that just as punters are being enticed back to the cinema (with an incredible 50.8 million people going in the heavily-hyped "summer of cinema" - 27%% up from summer 2006), the quality goes down the pan. Last year was also known as the "summer of the 'threequel'" - generally, studios were short on ideas, and big on budgets. This ego-centric load of fluff resulted sent cinema in pointless circles, and it still hasn't stopped, with Rambo having slumped lazily onto half our screens and the unwanted spirit of Indiana Jones looming dangerously. I'm probably going a bit far. Perhaps the latter is a bit more promising than Stallone's nonsensical mumblings. Maybe the Bourne Identity's "threequel" last summer represented a relatively new idea blowing away the cobwebs, and above all, a good film. But even then I'm clutching at straws, grasping at straws, whichever cliche you choose to use - cinema right now is just mediocre. What about the cinemas, too? Although asking that they take risks is probably useless (disregarding the issue of cinema food prices), surely cinemas based in the UK scaling back their utterly implausible emphasis on Hollywood isn't too much to ask. Brit directors repeating their endless loop of "lovably British" crime films and rom-coms would no doubt help. A little more like Shane Meadows's brilliant This Is England from a couple of years ago, please. British without the rancid mediocrity. The responsibility, therefore, lies with British film students, British Filmmakers - even filmmakers as a whole. Because all cinema needs now is some new ideas, some genuine quality invention, to breathe some life into cinema over here, and maybe make those in Hollywood go back to the drawing board. But don't count on it. Film students have a hell of a lot of power in the matter. It's a well known fact - recently something was passed around (I study film and media myself, by the way) about a Tetley Tea competition. The premise: Make us an advert, film students! The prize, best I can gather, was the satisfaction of seeing said advert being milked for all it's worth on the telly and the net. The prize is meaningless, but then again, it says much for what film students should really be doing. Rather than raising awareness of Tetley Tea, put your imagination into your own projects. You'll be helping everyone.
Dom Liddle
What do you think? I am

These Walls, This Skull...

These Walls, This Skull…..
I’ve been sat on this chair now for an hour, just drinking vodka and staring out my window, I could stay here forever. It’s 4.24pm, my landlord is coming round in two hours to inspect my flat and then I shall be, for all intents and purposes, homeless. It’s a difficult thing to think that this is the end of a time, (I hesitate to say era) that has seen both incredible pain and incredible happiness. From the horror of police being called round (twice) by my vile neighbours because my ex-girlfriend was screaming and hitting me, to the general pleasurable malaise that my best friend and I managed to encapsulate since we’ve lived here, to disgraceful comedowns from too many drugs, to equally disgraceful highs. These five rooms have borne witness to self-harm, alcoholism, drug abuse, cheating and virtual eating disorders. Now I look back on it I can’t believe that so many things have been contained in this oddly shaped box. In the time I have lived here, I have drank more than most people do in their life times, slept with more people than I can remember, formed a band, got a job, left a job, broken up with a long term girlfriend, got together with someone who is desperately wonderful, cheated on the former with the latter whilst the former was in another room and now I’m going to London. Why am I doing this? Is it for the band? Is it because I want something new? Or is it because I felt I needed to escape what has happened here? Every corner of every room has a memory, being it clearing cat shit from the floor, having sex with people I could neither name nor recognise again, or having various discourses on why the Manics are better than any other band…….ever. I feel indescribably sad right now, I want to think of a better word but there are none that I can think of. It’s currently 4.46pm, and I’ve still not left my chair although I’m now obviously staring at the screen rather than out the window which is far less romantic. So what was the point in this naval gazing, well I don’t know, I just feel the sorrow of a departure, a goodbye to this flat and everything that has happened here, the pubs and clubs that I’ve sleazed around is in retrospect a time of deep sadness and I’m not sure why.By writing this I can perhaps make some kind of sense of it and put it in to perspective. In fact, maybe this is the crux of this slightly self absorbed biopic of my time here. Writing things helps, saying things probably helps but I can’t do that yet. But maybe one day I will.

Robert Hardy

Robert Hardy is the vocalist and guitarist in The Drowners (
He enjoys vodka, literature and his cat and currently lives in N7.

Giving In To Temptation


Welcome to the wonderful (and frequently bizarre, going by the stories told by guitarist and VPT DJ Magenta) world of Tempting Lilu. Led by vocalist Kristine, who happens to be blessed with a powerful pair of lungs, they also include bassist Kyle in their ranks, along with the aforementioned axe-slinger. Boasting a sound that this writer believes sits somewhere between the ethereal shoegaziness of Curve and the crunching dance-rock of Pop Will Eat Itself (although sounding like a much more modern and contemporary hybrid, partly due to the swirling and bubbling electronics that back the three piece), they have already released an EP and are evidently quite keen to produce another one.

But first, let Magenta take up the story on how this unruly crew came to be…‘Kyle and I were whaling in the Pacific. We had been pursuing a monstrous beast for over two years. Many of our crew had lost their lives in our previous encounter but we were determined not to let it get the better of us. One day we finally caught up with the giant beast just off the coast of Peru. A great battle ensued but our ship was torn asunder! Kyle and I were the sole survivors! We managed to create makeshift reins and saddles out of the remains of the ship and we rode the great mammal to safety. Inside it we found Kristine who had been swallowed by the whale while mountain climbing in Tibet. The people of Lima made a giant candle out of the great beast and we danced around it singing Christmas carols. Ok, so it didn’t happen quite like that. I met Kristine in the Electric ballroom in Camden. When she moved here from Detroit, at the time I was in a band called The Vincent Fiasco with David from Doe Face Lillian and my crazy junky ex-girlfriend, which was a horrifying experience! I told my friend Andy who was trying to pseudo-manage The Vincent Fiasco at the time (which mostly involved him drawing cartoons of himself smoking cigars in a suit whilst muttering “Shazam!” and Bad-ass!”) that I was looking for a singer for another project so I could escape the horrors of The Vincent Fiasco and he suggested Kristine. I later met Kyle while working in Cyberdog in Camden…The whale story was better.’
I mention the musical reference points that I tend to associate with them and Magenta, although in some agreement, paints a broader picture of the groups and sounds that inspire them….‘Yeah I think we have a lot of influences from the early 90’s stuff like Curve, PWEI, Carter USM, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Transvision Vamp, Jesus and Mary Chain, Lush and I just recently rediscovered The Darling Buds! I think people only seem to remember Technotronic and MC Hammer from that period of music (ok so I had their albums too.) There is a lot of eighties stuff too. All my happy childhood memories are of watching bands on TOTP like Duran Duran, Gary Numan, Soft Cell, Dead or Alive and The Cure. Outside of that, life seemed grey and miserable. I have photos of me from 1984 dressed up in full New Romantic gear. Nothing much has changed really.I guess more recent bands we all like would be Ladytron, Goldfrapp and IAmX. But influent wise, it could be anything from Serge Gainsbourg to Run DMC.’Bearing in mind that part of the group’s sound is shaped by the use of electronics, I enquire about whether or not their decision to use a drum machine was by design or not, and ultimately why they decided to go for electronic beats, however there is more to the truth than the addition of a ‘Doktor Avalanche’-type figure….‘Because we like the way it sounds, but we don’t actually use a drum machine - it’s all samples and loops mixed on the computer so we can use any sound we like, whether it’s a drum or banging household objects together. We are actually looking for a drummer right now, but we want to have both electronic drums and real drums, because we are greedy like that!’One thing that grabs you about Tempting Lilu when witnessing them in the flesh is the striking visual effect the three of them have. I ask about image, and whether or not they deem it important…
‘That is just how we look as people. We actually dress down for the band as apposed to how we would dress to go to a club. We spend a lot more time before gigs working on the music and we usually say just before the gig “what should we wear? Let’s just wear black again so it looks like we match.” But if you go to see a band and you have to look at them for 30 minutes or so, it’s nice if they’ve made a bit of an effort. The first gig we did was on Halloween and we were covered from head-to-toe in cobwebs. The second gig was at a military themed party. Kirstine and Kyle wore military stuff but I thought ‘fuck it’ and wore a corset and big boots, which I discovered is not good for stomping on guitar FX, or moving around the stage in general. Stefan, our keyboardist at the time, wore a head-dress that would put Carman Miranda to shame and painted his forehead blue. We looked like we belonged to two different bands! So now we just try to match a bit.’Clearly, with so many ideas crammed into their music, it begs the question of where they would like to take their sound next….‘Bigger! More epic! More dynamic! But more to the point.And maybe something a bit 60’s and French? We want to do another EP. We have lots of songs, about 20 or so, that we are finishing off that we can choose from for it. And then we can start moving on to writing new ones!’So, finally, where do we go from here?‘Some gigs outside London for a change! TJ’s in Newport, one in Amsterdam, and maybe Paris? And hopefully we can find a new drummer and keyboardist?’

Vapour Trail @ Nambucca


Welcome back to The Vapour Trail. Much has changed since our last event in January this year, although the weather has bizarrely worsened. The most noteworthy change is that of our venue. The Vapour Trail enjoyed four brilliant months at The Old Kings Head and remains eternally grateful to Kris, Joe, Gene and Gina for their efforts in making it all possible. Tragically, just as January saw the busiest and best Trail yet, the venue got taken over by new management who wasted no time in destroying the character and beauty of the place and turning it back into a snivelling old man’s pub for people who smell of tea-stained Y-fronts. Obviously, we couldn’t continue it in such rancid and putrid conditions so we ventured up the road to a place that means a great deal to us and plays a couple of huge parts in the Story of The Firm.

Back in March 2006, just as mine and Julia’s previous group Sub-Culture was dying on its arse very, very slowly, ourselves and Robert Fenner (now of RMF Noir) decided to create a new outfit. It was in Nambucca that myself and Joolz met her long-term friend Stefan Hauschildt and discussed getting him into said new outfit. All I remember at the time is discussing Bauhaus and Placebo and thinking that it might never work. Thankfully, I was wrong and as you know, I’m never wrong.

Stefan didn’t stay with us but did help to sow the seeds for what would truly become The Firm. In December 2006, it was back to Nambucca as we met our guitar god and creative force Alex Avery. Alex made his debut (and presence felt) by ordering two pints of beer at once and drinking them at the same time. I can pinpoint this very night as the beginning of the end for my liver. I can also pinpoint this very night as the true beginning of The Firm.

Anyway, the point is very simple. The Vapour Trail and Nambucca is a simple case of fate and we hope to make each event better than the last. And we hope you will continue to join us.

Be Lucky,

Ross LiddleX