Tuesday, 22 November 2011


This month's From The Archives features the legendary X-Ray Spex. Although the band had a limited back catalogue, the 1978 punk classic Germ Free Adolescents and the less accessible 1995 album Conscious Consumer, they did release a few bootlegs of their live recordings which have become increasingly hard to find over the years. But today, I give you Live at the Roxy a collection of songs from the band's residence at the infamous London club. 

The recordings are rough to say the least. Lead singer Poly Styrene's voice isn't always there and sometimes the sax slips up or someone misses a beat but that's beside the point. The recording, although not perfect, does capture the chaotic, feral nature of the band and the punk scene at the time. 

Live at the Roxy is a great way to remember X-Ray Spex and, especially,  Poly who passed away earlier this year. So just before I leave, and I have to leave you, I would ask to listen to this album by strapping on your fanciest leather shift dress and army helmet to rock out to one of the punk movements finest creations.

Monday, 21 November 2011


This feature has gone walkies for what I first thought was a few months and then when I checked was actually over a year. Now I'm not exactly sure what I was doing that made me put this feature on hold for so long but I assume it had something to do with Ben and Jerry's ice cream and episodes of The Only Way is Essex, the best way to spend an evening in.

I've been crap but hopefully this great post will make up for all the belated posts. So the act I'm going to educate myself about today are Icelandic cult heroes, The Sugarcubes.  Despite being a Bjork fan I have to admit I've never listened to The Sugarcubes, an embarrassing fact that I will correct today.

Now for a bit of background knowledge. Legend has it The Sugarcubes formed in 1986 on the day that Bjork gave birth to her first son which sounds pretty hardcore if you ask me. Focused around Bjork's girlish vocals, and occasionally second vocalist Einar Orn's spoken word raps, The Sugarcubes made quirky, sugar sweet indie-pop. They became popular in the UK after John Peel played their first single, the beautifully obscure, 'Birthday'.

The best example of The Sugarcubes genius, 'Birthday' is a delightfully sweet way of looking at a relationship by having Bjork whisper into a microphone that "he knows how many freckles she's got". The song was taken from the band's debut 1988 release Life's Too Good. The chorus is simply Bjork showing off her vocal warblings but it works so well that you often find yourself trying to replicate them while you're listening to it.

'Deus' was another single from their debut album. The song features the line "Deus does not exist but if he did..." which could either be interpreted as an atheist's view of the world or an attempt to decipher the complexity of the universe. It features the band's trademark jangly riffs and Bjork's feminine growl.

'Hit', taken from the band's third and final album Stick Around for Joy, was the band most popular song. "This wasn't supposed to happen" Bjork wonders whilst soaking up the joyous love she has stumbled across. It would be faultless if it wasn't for Einar Orn's seemingly random rap. During the band's lifespan critics were unsure of what to make of Einar's vocals. Some claimed it was what made The Sugarcubes the free-spirited, chaotic band they were, others claimed his vocal contributions were erratic, discordant and overshadowed Bjork's vocals.

The Sugarcubes disbanded in 1992 leaving Bjork to embark on, what would become, a hugely successful solo career shortly after. There are some real gems in their back catalogue and if you haven't listened to them before I implore you to check them out starting with the tracks I mentioned here. I know you'll be as entertained by the band's charming tunes as I was.

Monday, 14 November 2011

**MIXTAPE ALERT** Film Soundtracks

I'll admit it, I'm not a massive film buff.  I get bored, lose interest, fail to follow the plot and more or less glaze over as soon as the movie starts. I am crap when it comes to movies but I do love soundtracks.

Even in the most mainstream movies you can hear some amazing songs played at the party scene or the pivotal boy finally gets together with girl under the willow tree.

I thought Mean Girls was already a pretty cool movie when I was watching it until I heard the Peaches song 'Operate' playing in the background of the party scene and realised it was beyond cool. Kudos to one Ms Tina Fey so that move by the way.

Since I, and hopefully you as well, much more about the soundtracks than the actual movie I've collated a selection of what I believe to be the best songs from some great films.....and Jackass 2. Sorry but Karen O and Peaches were on there and i can't resist that cool a collaboration.

Tracklisting (and the films they feature in):
1. Operate- Peaches (Mean Girls)
2. Snakeface- Throwing Muses (Empire Records)
3. One Time Too Many- PJ Harvey (Batman Forever)
4. All Is Love- Karen O and the Kids (Where the Wild Things Are)
5. Loose Lips- Kimya Dawson (Juno)
6. The Fox- Sleater-Kinney (Hard Candy)
7. You're Standing on My Neck- Splendora (Daria Movie Theme Song)
8. Hide and Seek- Imogen Heap (The Last Kiss)
9. Backass- Karen O ft. Peaches (Jackass 2)
10. Angry Inch- Sleater-Kinney (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
11. And I'm Telling You...- Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

GIG REVIEW: Throwing Muses @ Shepherds Bush Empire 02/11/11

A drunk guy got hold of the set list. It's an odd thought to have when you're at a gig but I'm pretty sure that's what half of the audience were thinking at Throwing Muses London gig.

By using some sort of lager fueled seance the, now very drunk, audience member started repeatedly yelping the names of the Muses songs until they played them. "FISH. FISH. FISH. FISH", he screamed until it appeared. "MANIA. MANIA. MANIA." *random chat from Kristin about her day till drunk guy interrupts with* "IS THIS ABOUT MANIA" then the song kicked in.

It was really something to behold. Maybe the next Science Journal should consider covering the theory 'Does the amount of alcoholic substances in the blood stream increase the likelihood of a telepathic experience when attending a popular music concert.'

Not that this is a bad thing. I quite love the maniac for bringing me my favourite songs. I also love him because he was part of a three-person mosh pit. If this was an Iron Maiden gig then that would be perfectly normal but since Throwing Muses fans are generally in their mid 40s and probably spend most of their evenings reading The Guardian and picking out tile patterns for the new bathroom getting constantly smacked in the back by three lagered-up lads probably isn't how they imagined spending their evening.

But alas I have majorly digressed from the issue at hand so let's get back to it. Throwing Muses. Yep, they're back. Well back in a sporadic gigging band format. After the release of Anthology, the band take on a 'greatest hits' album, the band packed up and headed on the road to their fans who seem to be always ready for another slice of Throwing Muses no matter how far apart their work seems to be.

The band were on top form and played all the hits ('Bright Yellow Gun', 'Mania'), band favourites ('Finish', 'Pearl') and hardcore fan faves ('Garoux des Larmes', 'Soul Soldier'). I could barely keep the smile off my face and my legs still as the band playing a setlist that felt like it was created with me in mind.

During the encore Kristin came back first and played a mesmerising solo version of 'Fish', a song Kristin wrote when she was only 18. When I was 18 I wrote a story about a man who lived with his mother. It was no 'Fish', but then again I don't have the never-ending talent of Hersh, the pounding rhythms of Dave Narcizo or the jazzy bass that Bernard Georges brings to the band. I have nothing that could make me a member of Throwing  Muses. Only the Muses themselves can bring together their folk-punk-scatty-harsh-pop fusion to resemble something beautiful and moving.

The Muses are slowing down now and I'd love to think in the future that I could look forward to another band like them but it's unlikely. No one else could approach music from such a obscure angle and make it seem easy. No one else could write songs about mental illness and make you feel like you're going through too just by listening. No one else could make you reconsider what you think a 'normal' song structure sounds like.  Nope there's not gonna be another band like them but for now the Muses seem to be in a touring mood so see them while you can.

Friday, 4 November 2011

**CLUB NIGHT** Club for Losers

So here's the dealio, a phrase I should definitely use more often, I play in a band that occasionally plays gigs. As it happens we have one pretty soon. On Friday 11 November actually which is very soon.

It's our second gig and we're pretty excited about the prospect of getting paid for gig but here's the catch. We get more money depending on how many people come through the door.

We need as many human bodies in that club as possible and even though I'm pretty scared of the idea of people seeing me play I would still rather play to someone rather than no one at all.

If the prospect of spending an evening watching my band doesn't woo you then the brilliant Choo Choo Trains and Go-Go Cult are also playing.

Hope to see you there. Obviously I won't recognise you since you're all hidden and anonymous behind glaring computer screens but I'll know. Oh how I'll know.

Club For Losers
Friday 11 November 10pm-3am
St Moritz
159 Wardour Street
London, W1F 8WJ

**UNDER COVER** Hello Hello...

Thursday, 3 November 2011


I always need a bit more riot grrrl in my life but I prefer it when it fits in with my life. Sleater-Kinney is needed when I wanna have a cry, a bit of Bikini Kill is thrown on when I'm feeling a bit more anarchic and, as of now, Throwing Up pops on my iPod when I want to have a good old scream.

The band consist of vocalist / guitarist Camille, bassist Claire and long-haired drummer Ben. The London-based trio make an ungodly, screamy racket and I love them for it. Camille, dressed like a English Courtney Love, decorates their songs with her girly vocals and mammoth screams.  Claire and Ben follow Camille's noisy instructions and fill up the song space with clattering, ringing joyfulness.

On 'When I Touch You' Camille berates a nervous lover, or stranger she just met on the tube it's never really clarified, to stop flinching and enjoy the moment. It's a jolty, snarling, concise number and comes to a fiery end when Camille decides to use the song as cheap therapy and directs a deafening howl into our ear holes.

Actually that's how a lot of Throwing Up songs end and that's exactly why I love them. A band that I can enjoy many a head banging Thursday evening with is the band for me.

Another one I would recommend is 'Mother Knows Best', a grungy, 90s tinged affair that sounds like a jolly, modern version of the riot grrrl favourites Huggy Bear.  It's disgustingly lo-fi with dirty riffs that you can't help but love. Because I am so lovely I've helpfully put a link to the song below for your perusal.

If you're into female punk, grunge or riot grrrl, and going on who reads this blog you probably are, then Throwing Up are definitely the new band for you.

When I Touch You from throwingup on Vimeo.

Download: Throwing Up- Medicine
Download: Throwing Up- Mother Knows Best

For more information:

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Breeders, Breeders, Breeders. I always have time for Kim Deal and her motley crew The Breeders. I thought I had all of The Breeders material but randomly while I was on YouTube the other day I stumbled across this beauty.

'Head to Toe' is the title track of The Breeders limited edition 1994 EP Head to Toe. It was The Breeders second EP released after their successful, and most well known, album Last Splash.

The track is a stomping, punky number that has the instantly catchy refrain "Your face looks good to me". Deal screams it like her life depends on it. The listener can only assume that guy with the good face the song references wasn't stupid enough to turn down Kim Deal and she got what she wanted.

I'm going to spend the next month immersed in The Breeders. When I surface I'll only be able to make 90s references and shall be dressed entirely in plaid and denim. I suggest you do the same.

Download: Breeders- Head to Toe (mp3)