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Iona writes:

Art Trip and the Static Sound have an effortlessly cool, raw, garage punk sound. I first heard about the band from Tony Fisher, one of the band’s  guitarists, who I was chatting to at a friend’s party.  He told me the name and I  remember thinking it  sounded  interesting, conceptual  and probably  hard to remember. Now having seen the fantastic screen-printed graphic art which accompanies their musical output, I have no trouble remembering it.

Art Trip and the Static Sound’s front woman is Melodie Holliday – vocalist, guitarist and purveyor of nonchalant lyrics which seem to embody the spirit of New York punk.  Previously, Melodie played guitar with the fab pop-punk feminst band, Suburban Mousewife. In Art Trip and the Static Sound her punk-rock persona  has  emerged fully formed and ready to take on dirty old, East London.

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Paddy Pulzer is the drummer, and Simon Holliday is the bass player. The band have a special connection with the young riot grrrl punk band Skinny Girl Diet and they can often be found supporting each other on the same bill. Clearly punk rock cool runs in the family.

Their album Nothing is Static was released earlier this year on limited edition vinyl and as a digital download and it is available in Rough Trade. It has received some excellent air play and it has featured on the playlists of Gideon Coe, Steve Lamaq and Stuart Maconie on radio 6.

John Kennedy has also been a keen supporter of the band and in the summer they played a live session on XFM. I am looking forward to seeing the band live in the near future.

Ayesha writes:

THE GIRL WHO… A catchy bass line underpins this well formed post punk track. It drives along nicely showing off the fuzz from the guitars. Perfectly phrased vocals have just the right amount of hard-edged anger, laconically telling the story of female non-conformity. This is all about the girl who demands to ‘be comfortable in her skin’. She refuses to be trapped or held back. She says no to diets, mortgages and a cottage in the countryside. Instead, I imagine, she is charging around the New York underground having the best time of her life. Yes, it is correct that you dance wildly with your sisters to this Big Apple of a tune.

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Zoë writes:

SONGS ABOUT WOMEN IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD FOR FREE AT BANDCAMP:
https://gertrude.bandcamp.com/album/songs-about-women-in-the-21st-century

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ZOË:
They hail from West Wales, surf-rocking their way into our heads with memorable hooky hooks that won’t go away.  An all-female outfit “with nothing to lose but the housekeeping” TiTs Up have a sense of humour, jangly raw guitar sounds, quirky lyrics and danceable tunes.  Ali, Rita, Jo, Amy, Hannah & Sarah have been gigging together since 2012, including The Green Gathering, Donstock and the best alternative venues in Wales. We’re looking forward to getting them to London, and expect nothing but the most rocking frocks to be in evidence.

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TiTs Up have just released their first recording “Do One” on the Stop Nato Cymru CD compilation and will be featured on Gertrude’s Songs About Women (in the 21st century).

LIVE GIG WITH LOTS OF BANDS to celebrate the release of the compilation at the Rhythm Factory on 15th November. Facebook Event PLEASE JOIN US!

DAWNI:
IRON ME OUT… This beautiful piece of poptastic irreverence reminds me that important messages can be effectively put across with humour and simplicity. With brilliant lines like “I bought an ironing board. Are you f**cking happy now?” Tits Up provide a colourful voice of feminine musical wit whilst remaining disdainful at the inevitability of conformance compromise.
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ZOË
Influenced by Ivor Cutler, Pixies, Tom Waits, Daniel Johnston, Dolly Parton, The Pogues, Captain Beefheart, Spike Milligan, Bjork, Nick Cave and Georg Frederich Haas (especially his Concerto for Baritone Saxophone)…we’re grinning to be hosting the clashing kaleidoscopic colours of Gardyloo SPeW…SPeW, WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS SONG? “I met someone who was addicted to online pornography and I did a bit of research into it and then tried to imagine myself being addicted to porn.”…

IONA:
I first became aware of Gardyloo SPeW in 2011, as I saw her playing in Xanthous, a playful conceptual noise duo, who gave wild performances of impish and intense electronic sounds.
Spew is based in East London and is a regular participant in East London’s experimental music scene. She has often performed with the anarchic improvisational collective, The A band, which has an assorted cast of revolving members and has been described by The Wire as, “occupying a key position in the evolution of the UK underground.” In 2011 she facilitated an Australian based A band gig with Sydney musicians in which she played saxophone and theremin and sang.
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She is also a member of I am Meat, a four-piece whose characterful spoken word lyrics and awkward time signatures recall a less high-pitched version of The Tiger Lillies. Her assured saxophone playing is the key melodic feature, providing an improvisational and rhythmic element reminiscent of Beefheart.

DAWNI:
ON ‘TEENAGE SLUTS’: The spirit of experimental self expression rages like stormy sea throughout this intense track by Gardyloo SPeW. High pitched, high frequency, high impact vocals challenge the judgements inflicted upon young women whilst the discordant instrumentation tosses the listener around, throwing them into the depths of passion which grip and groan from beneath as a tormented undercurrent. Meanwhile, the drums hammer your head relentlessly counterbalancing the chaos. I can’t wait to experience this live!

LIVE EVENT: SONGS ABOUT WOMEN WILL PREVIEW AT THE RHYTHM FACTORY ON 15TH NOVEMBER 2014. ALL WELCOME – PLEASE JOIN US! Facebook Event

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ZOË:
I first came across Snork’s singer Elle Revel, via her any genre, any experience online radio show – Optical Zoo – which is broadcast from the Old Police Station in New Cross and has been going for 5 years (definitely worth checking out for intelligent discussion and varied radical music.)

In the way London does, it conjured together Simone on drums, Clem on guitar and Elle Revel on vocals to form Snork in 2012.
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Snork joined Gertrude and Rot Jaws in the line-up for a benefit gig for the Focus E15 Mothers in February at The Stag’s Head in Hoxton and more recently they played at Blyth Power Ashes festival.

They call their genre “no wave” and are influenced by bands as diverse as Hawkwind and L7, but this doesn’t mean the music is unfocussed – experienced live, it’s a clear-cut onslaught of sound. Elle Revel fires straight to the core with her high-energy performances and banter with the audience, backed by big guitar riffs from Clem and powerful beats from Simone.

Snork: the true embodiment of punk rock spirit at its genre-defying finest.

AYESHA:
Slaterwhat a motorbike crash of a song, full of ‘two fingers up’ attitude and pumped with overdriven guitars. Gender expectations are sweetly played around with by the female vocalist when she states: ‘I wanna be a man’. Play this track loud. There is plenty of burning rubber, oil and grease to smell.

LIVE EVENT: SONGS ABOUT WOMEN WILL PREVIEW AT THE RHYTHM FACTORY ON 15TH NOVEMBER 2014. ALL WELCOME – PLEASE JOIN US! Facebook Event
Elle Revel & The Snork gig at The Queens Head, Stockwell, London, UK. 30/05/3013photo: Roger T. Smith

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ZOË: Next up on the Songs About Women Gert-list we are honoured to present Feral Five

IONA: Feral Five are Kat (singer/guitarist) and beats creator/bassist Drew Five. They make arty post-punk electro, have a futuristic science obsession and are based in east London. I first became aware of Kat, AKA Terry, as the singer in all female garage-punk band, Suburban Mousewife (2010-2012) as they played a number of exciting live London gigs. I became a fan of their stylish, feminist pop-punk.

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Terry is also a film maker and creator of fab music gear website Kitmonsters. It certainly is refreshing to find a woman who can “out-nerd” the geeky guys with her knowledge and enthusiasm for kit. The website is a great resource which features lots of local acts and well-known artists as well as reviews and features about live gigs, how-to guides and excellent photos, and blogs from the musician community.

Feral Five had some great publicity for their debut EP, which was hailed as an “alternative classic” by Louder than War. Everett True, Nirvana Biographer, praised the EP and described it as “brooding and deviant”.

Feral Five sing about cutting-edge science, the dark side of technology, lust, love and madness. Not averse to their own experiments, they recently utilised their own 3D printer as a live instrument and performed with Lu Edmonds from PIL at the recent Music Tech Fest in London.

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DAWNI: Feral Five set up a knowingly buxom bass line with this fabulous feminist pop punk track. Strung Out mirthfully narrates the internal workings of a woman trying to do, be and subvert as much as possible whilst clinging onto sanity by plotting revenge. Dynamically mirroring the stages of escalating behaviours, the instrumentation is as well crafted as the lyrics. This perceptive identification leaves the listener with a real sense of warmth and camaraderie. It’s good to know we are not the only ones wearing crazy on the inside!

LIVE EVENT: SONGS ABOUT WOMEN WILL PREVIEW AT THE RHYTHM FACTORY ON 15TH NOVEMBER 2014. ALL WELCOME – PLEASE JOIN US! Facebook Event

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image: James English

ZOË: Gertrude are delighted that Roshi featuring Pars Radio will be included on our upcoming compilation, Songs About Women (in the 21st Century) which Ayesha’s been busy pulling together recently. Roshi will also be performing at our live gig at The Rhythm Factory on 15 November.

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image: Brian David Stevens

IONA: Roshi Nasehi is a Iranian-Welsh musician based in London who creates left-field songs with lush electronic keyboard sounds and crystal clear haunting vocals. Her collaborator, Pars Radio, (sound artist Graham Dowdall (aka Dids, Gagarin) provides sensitive, subtle, experimental beats and sounds as a rhythmic accompaniment.
Roshi has been a regular at Metcalfe’s infamous London improvisation club The Klinker and she has also played further afield, at high profile art events in NYC and Europe. She has also received several prestigious commissions, most recently from the British Council to present public Sound Art in Kuwait (May 2014).
Roshi’s compositions are often personal interpretations of Iranian folk songs and original songs and many of them detail ordinary life experiences, which appear as extraordinary events with her tender and thoughtful melodic retellings.

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Roshi has submitted a remixed version of a song from her first album, The Sky and The Caspian Sea, released in 2009. No Camels is based on a poem she wrote about a flight home from Iran as a teenager and it details the contradictory thoughts she had going through her mind on the journey.

DAWNI:
No Camels. The beautiful voice of Roshi Nasehi once again evokes a wistful landscape of childhood. Simultaneously dark and delicate, she weaves a haunting narrative of the innocent ability of childhood to exist in plural worlds. The artistry and musical manipulation of reverb and simple discordance stay with you long after the song has ceased, the sounds perturbing your insides as you join her on this emotional journey.

 MOB at house gig June 2014

Biography:

Musicians of Bremen are an acoustic folk duo from East London. Their name was inspired by a Brothers Grimm tale about a trio of redundant farm animals who embark on a journey to the German town of Bremen where they hope to live out their twilight years as musicians. The duo features Howard on ukulele and Horsemouth on acoustic and slide guitar, a harmonium-like 70s keyboard and percussion. Their eclectic influences include the American folk revival scene of the 1960s, the soundtrack of The Wickerman and leftfield electronica.

 Sorrows of Tomorrow is the opening song and it is a fantastic, well-crafted slice of folk-country melancholia which introduces us to the Musicians of Bremen’s bountiful existential anguish. Howard’s ennui-sodden lyrics lament the fact that we are unable to hold onto the moments that give us pleasure. This recognition sullies the enjoyment of moments in the present.

It is full of catchy slide guitar riffs, and the sentiment is delivered by Horsemouth and Howard’s wavering voices singing in imperfect harmony. It is redolent of the dirges of anti-folk which I particularly enjoy (Will Oldham in The Palace Brothers…) but it offers a more sophisticated arrangement of chords. As the song progresses the harmonies get higher and the emotional intensity increases.

The second song, The Golden One, is more upbeat and despite a jaunty, summery vibe, the themes of loss and being left behind predominate. The vocals here recall the Beach Boys and are satisfyingly harmonious even when describing the vengeful fantasies of a jilted lover. A vocal refrain of layered and deconstructed “wha, aargh” sounds works well and brings to mind a more restful version of T. Rex.

MOB review 
I am sad and lonely
is the third number. It is an American traditional folksong (1927) covered by many artists including Susan Reed, and has also been sampled by DJ Shadow. This version is beautifully arranged with lovely finger-picking and subtle, sweet backing harmonies. It could be seen as the partner in melancholy to the first track, Sorrows of Tomorrow.

This opening lyrics, “I am sad and lonely, my heart it will break” alert the listener to the pitiful state of the singer. The lyrics contain the traditional folk references of rosy cheeks and tragic white lilies – which remind the listener that the outcome of adultery or romantic disaster is never pleasant – and it hints at the possibility of death.

Track 5 is called Painted Toes and is another jaunty number with a skiffle vibe. In light of the previous sad songs, our expectations of continuing misery are not thwarted as references to being left alone ornament the jolly and gently humorous song of supplication. Howard’s light northern twang is permitted to decorate this song, and a suitably folk-punk “yeah“, renders the musicians of Bremen’s offering to do a number of useful household tasks and paint the imagined other’s toes and possibly their own toes too; rhetorical.

Musicians of Bremen reference the beat writers and counter-cultural movement of the 1950s with track 8, Father Death Blues, a cover of a song by Allen Ginsberg. This sounds like a found field recording from the deep South and it has crackly time-worn appeal. The aesthetic is of an older blues fellow singing along slightly out of time to the accompaniment. The harmonium sound wobbles away in the high octave in a slightly random but rather effective way.

The ninth song, All my Dreams, recalls the chord sequence of Sorrows of Tomorrow, with its dark mournful lyrics, perfectly pitched harmonies, and pretty finger picking. It is perhaps with the most simple arrangements that the duo demonstrate their confidence at writing strong new folk songs with a traditional feel.

Second Skin, the twelfth song, could be seen as the left-field heart of the album as it successfully reworks the folk-country aesthetic. The track has a dance vibe, harmonium-like drone and deconstructed versions of finger-picking patterns, which all help to create an atmospheric, pleasing effect. Although it does not have a beat, the harmonium keyboard sound and vocal multi-layering effects give it the feel of an electronic composition, perhaps obliquely referencing Beck. When the rhythmically picking guitar comes in, it is low in the mix and seems to function as a beat.

Track 16 is a cover of a traditional French folk song called A La Luna
yo me voy. Afro-Cubism also do a version of this song. Horsemouth’s gruff voice channels Tom Waits in a dark smoky tavern with a bunch of gnarly older folk chatting quietly, perhaps smoking and playing cards. The different vocal styles work well together here and the track has a vintage radio vibe.

Musicians of Bremen have produced an impressive first album which pleases the listener on many levels, There is some repetition of familiar chord sequences in a couple of the ballads, but on the whole the album is a great success. Perhaps it would have been prudent to reduce the number of cover songs on a first album as the album could be seen as overly long for some tastes.

Sorrows of Tomorrow is probably the most obvious folk-country hit on the album with its perfectly poised existential sentiment and lyrical delivery. The subsequent numbers do not disappoint, and if you are a fan of downbeat melancholia with vocal harmonies, both sweet and gruff and a carefully arranged lo-fi folk aesthetic you will certainly love this album.

Musicians of Bremen’s new album can be ordered from http://www.discogs.com. A digital version of the album in mp3 format can be purchased from: http://www.musiciansofbremen.bandcamp.com and it is also possible to download all their cover versions for free.

Iona Tanguay September, 2014