Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Voodoo Review: ...A Short Story Interval

Tawdry Audrey

Audrey Hepworth straightened her Little Black Dress and rang the doorbell. The excitement was mounting inside her, curling and coiling like a snake in a basket. All it needed was the right tune and it would emerge, taking all her inhibitions with it…

Her first real job. She patted her French-pleated hair and adjusted her pose, wondering if her sunglasses should sit on her head or remain in her hand, dwarfing her tiny clutch-purse. A sudden flutter of paranoia made her look down at her white heeled pumps, looking for imperfections, and as she did so, the studded oak door swung inwards.

Oh, God. There he was. Answering his own door. She had expected a maid, if not a butler. Failing either of the above, a PA.

"Audrey, my dear," the Bohemian movie director greeted her, as if an acquaintance, not a stranger. "Come in. Welcome to my humble palace. A little drink, to begin with? I hear this is your first?"

She nodded and her ‘thank you’ came out as a husky whisper, followed by a blush of humiliation at her lack of confident tone. She stepped into the atrium, noting twin marble staircases either side of the ostentatious entrance hall, and a huge dome of skylight overhead.

"I rarely have company," he confided. "I think I shall enjoy this afternoon."

She followed him to the first living room. Marble hallway floors leading onto deep shag pile carpet, as silent as a panther to walk on after the echoing solid tiles. Vast sofa beds in a Moroccan style, strewn with silk and tasseled cushions in jewel colours. She had heard he was decadent, and his early films hinted at a personality steeped in debauchery. She could almost see the aftershow parties, smell the hookah pipes and hear the hypnotic Eastern music. In the night-time, with those sconce lights down low and candelabras lit… she startled herself with a visible shiver at the thought of what must already have passed here, into the pages of Hollywood history.

"Watch him," Marguerite at the office had warned. "They’re all the same. Play the sweet little elderly man role until you go upstairs, and suddenly it’s closets full of black latex gimp-wear and shackles on the four-poster beds. Those supermodel wives never live there full time. They’ve always got a secret apartment in the City where they can be normal and not have to look at the trophy husband’s collection of pornographic Greek urns and dildo statues…"

"I have already agreed a fee with your employer," he began, interrupting her thoughts from where he stood at the groaning drinks cabinet, rendered immovable on the property by the weight of crystal glasses, decanters and bottles. "I was wondering if there was room to negotiate for one or two extras?"

"Hmmm?" Audrey croaked, accepting a large glass of what she was sure was neat gin, but was too embarrassed to point this out as his hand tinkled in what she was sure was genuine frailty as he replaced the bottle’s crystal stopper. "What did you, er, have in mind?"

"Rather than just exploit my surroundings," he smiled, rather conspiratorially. "I was hoping to have my love of art indulged also."

"I heard you frequently paint yourself," Audrey agreed, bravely taking a sip, feeling her throat constrict in protest at the undiluted spirit, and wondering if that phrase could have come out better.

"A hobby. I painted nudes. Many girls willingly posed for me. Not all of them as lovely as you," he said, indulging her with another smile. "I would like to show you my private gallery of collected works. Some of them deserve special interpretation."

He led the way to a door hidden behind a voile and velvet curtain, and unlocked it with a keypad.

"Not even my wife knows about this room," he said. "At least, I hope she doesn’t…"

Audrey followed him into the gallery. Marguerite did have a point.

"I often wonder how these were posed for," he mused. "And if they were intended as instruction manuals. How do you think these would be reproduced, in practise?"

Audrey took a gulp of her gin, and gestured broadly at the room. At nothing specific, she hoped.

"Well, I can tell you," she began. Pausing for effect, she could swear she heard a goat bleat in the background, and the cluck of a hen who knew that its future was uncertain. She tried to stop a completely inappropriate squeal of laughter emerging. "The animals were usually dead. That’s how they stayed still for sketching and painting. Very few artists of this era painted anything living from the animal kingdom."

"Is that true?" His disappointment was louder even than the very definite sound of goat in the background now.

Audrey swigged again to try and cork her laughter.

"And the models - it was sort of a game for them. Who could get the most bizarre job, or appear in the freakiest painting. Like Jackass and Youtube."

"A kind of artist’s life model X-Factor?" The Bohemian’s face sagged another three centimetres.

"My Masters was in Art History." At least this was true. Her stories of sordid life model tales were what had wowed the interview panel at the magazine, after all. What with all the applicants for the post wanting to stalk celebrities, case up their homes, or marry a footballer, Audrey’s application stood out, they told her afterwards, as Someone Who Could Tell A Great Story - not a nobody who was trying to become one.

Audrey stepped back into the living room, with the director following with a sigh. She decided to turn up the charm, raise his mood a little.

"I’ll mention you’re an avid collector." She opened her purse, taking out a personal recorder before commencing the interview. "The photographer would certainly find them interesting. What do you think of Vallejo and Giger? Now there are some stories of fantasy poses that would boggle your mind…"

L xxxxxxx

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Voodoo Review: Mark Watson (Live At The Apollo)

Friday 10th December, 2010 - I and my imaginary friend, a.k.a author Lisa Scullard, go to see Mark Watson perform stand-up comedy at the HMV Apollo, Hammersmith, London. I say imaginary friend, because we had two seats to ourself :) A small fleet of us, The Stood-Up Brigade, were comparing the seating positions of our spare tickets just prior to thinking collectively "Sod it" and running inside so as not to miss the start. Even so, once I got upstairs and found my seats, for a moment I was nearly bumped from them by a man who imagined temporarily that he had more than his quota of real life friends with him and was under the impression he had bought the whole row. Bless him. But the end two had Voodoo written all over them. If he'd known that, he probably wouldn't even have wanted to sit his own imaginary friends there either.

Comedian Mark, who describes himself as "a little bit Welsh, a little bit West country" has more chatter than a sackload of monkeys. And he's engaging as well as funny - if you've seen his appearances on Mock The Week, or his current TV show Mark Watson Kicks Off, you've seen a snippet of his humour - seeing him live really does him justice. He's a generous performer as well as intelligent, there's no sense of him holding anything back, and his enjoyment of performing infects the audience. A very, very likeable personality. A youngster's active mind meets philosopher of age in a grown-up world which at times seems to be like Babel to live in.

If you want to know what that means, go see him :)

Right at the end Mark mentioned his novel "Eleven" (published by Simon&Schuster) was for sale downstairs and he'd be signing copies in the lobby for anyone who wanted to come and say hello. So I went down to grab a copy and started reading it in the queue for autographs. It's great to see more fiction by comedians - a Voodoo Review will follow later at some point...

Not only did Mark sign my copy of "Eleven", he also signed my travel-sized copy of Glamour, right across the lovely Kylie Minogue, with great pleasure. Now that's a magazine that's staying on my coffee table...

Mark's a fast mover as well as talker... :)

...I feel sorry for my real life friend who didn't make it to the show - you missed a good one, dude!

(Mark Watson is on tour now - click here for dates)

L xxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Voodoo Review: Tieken

Halloween calls for metal music and teen scream movies, and if anyone’s writing the theme tune for this year on MySpace, it’s twin brothers Trevin and Trent10 fronting their own self-named band Tieken.

Site members since 2006, they’ve got a great image and exactly the sound you need to rock that Halloween party or prom, metal-style.

There’s a generous dose of tracks on MySpace, and you can find them also on Facebook as TIEKENBAND.

So this year, dress to thrill, load them up in your iTunes or MP3 and crank it loud…

TIEKEN, Ursa, U.S.A.
Metal/Nu Metal/Hard Rock
Recording and live shows - look for on iTunes and Amazon


Munster Movie (Hallowed Be Thy Re-Mash) Remix
A real retro funk metal hit - think Halloween prom night with a serial killer on the loose and some proper satire to liven things up! Love the samples - reminds me of the good old days of Gothic sit-coms like The Addams Family and The Munsters.

More please…

Hate And Blame
More effective use of sampling in the mix - carries off really well in the intro leading into the demonstration of axe talent in this band.

Nightmares Can Come True
Another prom night of ghosts and zombies - would make a great teen slasher movie theme tune.

Kings, Queens And Fools
A slower pace and a surprising show of vocal skill carries this off - not everyone can jump three or four octaves mid-lyric. A good pace for a rhythmic head-mosh throughout in the pit.

Dig In
Great guitar intro. Picks up the pace again as those imaginary prom-night miscreants look for a good place to hide a body…

Highway Baby (Get It On)
Metal and road-trip themes have been partners in crime since… and if they haven’t, why not? Really nice vocal chorus hook that sticks in the memory.

I Don’t Wanna
Must be awesome to see these guys live - they’ve got their intro’s spot on, getting you in the mood from the get-go, with catchy lyrical hooks you can already hear the audience screaming along with. More guitar riff skill that surprises you with a new technical sound just when you least expect it.

Shows imagination and talent by the truckload.

Happy Halloween, fellas…

L xxxxxxx

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Voodoo Review: BOB MARLEY Live at Crystal Palace, circa 1980 :)

Photo by David Corio

“Look, he’s sitting down - I think he’s in pain.”

That’s the quote I recall my mum, or maybe my aunt saying, as aged around eight, starving and thirsty, with my cousins, brothers and aunts and uncles, I sat in Crystal Palace Park on the hillside facing the live stage, and I recognised a track which had played at home often - “I Shot The Sheriff”.

It was a hot sunny day, I was boiling, and finally my mum got some frozen watermelon in a cellophane bag for us all to share and it was the best thing I’d had all afternoon. People were chilled out on picnic blankets all around us. Nobody seemed to have any money on them, and neither did they care.

At one point, my brother and cousins and I left to walk back to my aunt’s flat (with the really cool naked lady surfing mural, sadly now redecorated over) to get a drink, and came back, the only concern by the men manning the gate was that we were potentially about to make off with their Irn Bru and Cherryade. Otherwise we were free to wander.

If only we’d known at the time it was one of the world’s greatest reggae icons, and possibly the last time he’d appear in concert here… maybe I’d have paid more attention to what the grown-ups were saying instead of listening to my stomach grumble and feeling my throat dry out.

From what I’ve learned since though, there were additional factors in the air potentially contributing to my discomfort. But I was glad to recognise the song, even though I was too young to understand anything about fame or the man himself…

L xxxxxx
Photo by Tankfield

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Voodoo Review: Noisettes (Live in London, May 2009)

For anyone who’s missed them, here are some damn fine worthy groovers…

At the end of May 2009, with some cash burning a hole in my pocket, I got off the London Underground at Tottenham Court Road and left at the wrong exit trying to get onto Oxford Street. Instead I was confronted with a street full of mobile phone outlets, and most unusually, some friendly people with placards and flyers announcing “Live in five minutes in Phones4U! See The Noisettes free in Phones4U in five minutes!”

Still not sure I wasn’t on Oxford Street, I looked half-heartedly as far as the metro supermarket outlet, but failing to find anything remotely like a shoe-shop, I turned back and decided to go into Phones4U and see what the fuss was about. As one of the first few there, I found a space at the front, and shortly quite a crowd gathered.

Ten minutes later a petite lady in a plaid jacket, with classic 1940’s glam pin-up hair slipped in through a side door. In the meantime, the rest of the band gathered and tuned up on the stage. It wasn’t long before the lady herself joined them, minus the jacket and slipping off her shoes, pausing only to investigate an abandoned phone-shop manager’s coffee cup and to pick up a reception phone humorously and pretend to answer it…

…And boy, can the lady play and sing live. With renditions of “Don’t Upset The Rhythm” and other tracks from their debut album which was just out, she belts out a voice and energy very impressive for her tiny frame. For a spontaneous free gig in a phone store, it’s one of the more memorable.

Prompted possibly by her bare feet, I went on to buy three pairs of shoes in Oxford Street, and by the great performance, I bought the CD at my local Tesco’s when I got back home the same day.

Awesome stuff. Just what you need to brighten up a wet day in London…

Currently on MySpace, you can watch videos (now synchronised with Youtube), keep up to date with blogs, and on the NoisettesUK MySpace page you can listen to teaser 1-minute samples of “Every Now And Then”, “Saturday Night” (which featured in the soundtrack to St. Trinians II: The Legend of Fritton‘s Gold), “Don’t Upset The Rhythm” and others - but I’d recommend you treat yourself to the album “Wild Young Hearts“… plus more complete tracks including the rocking “Scratch Your Name” and “Don’t Give Up”.

Noisettes, London, U.K.
Band members: Shingai Shoniwa, Dan Smith

...Shame I didn't have time to buy a new camera-phone while I was there...

Appearing at the Xmas Extravaganza, Electric Ballroom, London, U.K. December 14, 2010 (see NoisettesUK on MySpace for details).


L xxxxxx

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Voodoo Review: Patrick Doval

If you were a British teenager in the 1980’s, you knew a thing or two about New Wave. There was the Human League, Fun Boy Three, Soft Cell, Gary Numan, and festival-monster band The Cure. Robert Smith’s big hair was so awesome, if you put him in a leather miniskirt he could have been mistaken for Tina Turner from the back of the stadium.

Until now, you wouldn’t think that anyone could equal the sound those heavyweight bands did in the 80’s. But someone has, and what’s more impressive, is that it’s just the one guy making it, with an image bang in line for the 21st Century. Put it this way - Buffy and Bella would be fighting over him while the vampires in Sunnydale and Forks would still be single and sulking…

Patrick Doval is an artist who knows what his strong point is, and hits it right on the head.

Alternative/New Wave/Indie
Albums: Deliverance and Fractured available on iTunes and Amazon mp3


Don’t Let Me Go
This is what took me straight back to schooldays in the 80’s, even before the vocal started. The drumbeats and strings are spot on - and then the vocal kicks in. That first teenage crush…

Endless Heartbreak
So catchy it could be a lost Cure track - “That phone rings… it’s never you…” - “Monday blues… always thinking of you…” Great lyrical couplets that stick in your head because they’re so true, matched to an even sparkier guitar riff that makes it memorable. Just like the person you’re waiting to get that call from…

Ashes Of Life
Rockier in sound and still staying in the same influence, almost Soft Cell meets Eurythmics in the middle and a teen angst theme that anyone can identify with (especially if you remember what teen angst felt like in the 80’s…)

A different intro with strings and semi-acoustic guitars, this rolls as it rocks, but stops short of being a ballad - a bass guitar riff in the middle and vocal tone picks out the cynicism in the theme “I know… you’ve seen it all before…” It’s a strangely upbeat track, even though “Tears are falling down from me…”

An impressive vocal range doesn’t go to waste in this track, but showcases it instead. This was what impressed me when first listening to Patrick’s music, that he sounds as confident as though he has the backing of a full band, and is just focusing on the vocals. Another track with a rockier backing sound, combined with a lullaby vocal that has been used to great effect - think of the B52’s “Deadbeat Club”, or Brit duo Erasure.

When the first teen crush comes to nought in New-Wave, there’s the soul-mate lined up, bringing a heartfelt promise of commitment forth - “You are my everything… the only one for me…” And it sounds as though the homework went out of the window and the best friends were abandoned and parents’ orders fell on deaf ears - just like real life…

Don’t Walk Away
…But what happens if the soul-mate chooses a different path? “It wasn’t your fault that the rain came” - the lyrics admit to sharing the responsibility, but “You and I see eye to eye - I know how you feel deep down inside.” More of those simple but great statements about love in a New-Wave world where all is black-and-white and the reasons are clear to everyone concerned… in the end, a plea to hold on and not let go…

Shattered Dreams
A third-person narrative tale after the soul-mate has departed. More impressive vocal in this one as well - if The Breakfast Club and The Lost Boys were combined and had an unhappily-ever-after, this could be the epilogue.

Many Faces
After the spell of adolescence is broken, you look back and wonder what made you the person you are today, the influences that brought on so many changes, the brief connections that left their mark but somehow failed to reach symbiosis - are you a chameleon or a ghost, do you belong anywhere or drift above it all… and what might you have missed…?

…Is it the solution, or just the answer to the previous question? Maybe all there is left are the “dream(s) of you” - “do you even care… whatever happened to love…” The lyrics are still in love with and falling for the soul-mate - or perhaps just the idea of being in love, over and over again. So is love obtainable or just a dream? You decide…

New Wave still rocks…

L xxxxxxx

(Photo courtesy of Patrick Doval)

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Voodoo Review: "The Dance" New Album by FAITHLESS

…And I said to him, “Wow, that’s the cheapest M.O.T. my car’s ever had!” Just goes to show, it pays to clean the trunk out first - although I stopped short of vacuuming because that would look just a bit too suspicious.

Anyway, enough about me. I’ve had a few surprised reactions from everyday folks who think MySpace went to sleep in 2007, but as you might have figured out if you’ve read this far now, it’s far from dreaming.

Puts me in mind of possibly the biggest trance anthem of all time - “Insomnia” by Faithless.

What was just one of the networking community sites back in the early days is now the hotspot for the world’s musical talent, where the newcomer sits parallel to the major player, can be friends with it, listen to its music, get information on touring, and watch new videos - as well as enter site-organised competitions.

So here’s a review which should put those surprised reactions to one side.

Faithless, the super-group combo of Maxi Jazz, Sister Bliss and Rollo, have been online since 2006. Currently on a world tour and with a new album “The Dance” in the charts (available from all outlets, my outlet of choice being the official supermarket, as I also felt the need for noodle fuel), their page is active with tour dates, videos, music, and blog updates. Currently on their page you can order the U.K. arena tour tickets, listen to Tweak YN Tiesto Remix; Not Going Home; Feel Me; Crazy Bal’Heads; Comin Around; Tweak Your Nipple; Flyin Hi; Love Is My Condition; Feelin Good; North Star; Sun To Me; The Dance Mini-Mix; Sister Bliss Mash-Up; Not Going Home (Original Mix); Sun To Me - Original (October Edit); Insomnia; Sun To Me - Jerome Isma-Ae Remix; Music Matters; spiderscrocodiles and (…and I am SO reviewing that one!!); Sun To Me - Alex M.O.R.P.H. Remix; A Kind Of Peace Slow; and watch videos for Feelin Good; Tweak Your Nipple, and Not Going Home Erotic Version.

That’s a lot of cake, as some people I know would say.

And if Faithless are here, then it’s the place to be.

Unfortunately the gang have had to cancel some of the shows scheduled for this weekend, but with a run ahead of them well into 2011, let’s wish them all the best - they’ll be back…

Here’s what their new album (and Thai noodles) do to my noodle… I mean brain…

World Tour & New Album: THE DANCE


Not Going Home
The opening hits the ground running all right. And Maxi’s at the wheel taking control. “I watch the rhythm slide right up your dress…” - the best new line since the one about the tights…

You know the feeling when there’s no escape and the daylight is still a long way off - make sure the guy you get in that taxi with is one you can trust… he’s not leaving unless it’s with you.

…You know when a guy’s had his fill of unrequited love. Tonight’s the night.

Feel Me feat. Blancmange
“Feel Me Now, Feel The Pain… Or Take The Blame.” A popping track with a great vocal from Neil Arthur. Redemption for unrequited love long overdue… or love turned sour…

Time for some quick thinking. He’s already reached his conclusion about the outcome. Pick a window, any window - just not one too many floors up. And make sure you can run in those shoes. No, not the Manolos, silly girl - put your Nikes on…

Crazy Bal’Heads feat. Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox
…No running here, it’s a nonchalant walk through reggae streets - if you know what’s good for you. Because running around wildly like a headless chicken just looks suspect.

Time to chill - wait for the right moment before running those crazies out of town.

Comin Around feat Dougy Mandagi
Almost an a’cappella intro with angelic vocal backing before the beats join in.

Now here’s a guy who knows the game-play: “Mirrors… Smoke And Mirrors…” But it’s about understanding himself first. He’s taking a look inside himself before reacting - “I’m Comin Around” - to a new way of thinking…

That’s a man to stick around for and watch the metamorphosis as it happens.

Tweak Your Nipple
A pacey beats intro works up a little sweat before getting the groove on… Maxi’s poetry leads this track “Drop Your Pebble In The Mainstream…” My thoughts exactly…

A big trance anthem floor-filler sound joins in the sentiment. A hymn to individuality, to awaken the genius in everyone who hears the word…

…All thoughts of love entanglements and complicated relationships forgotten. See the light of your soul in the darkness through someone else’s eyes…

Did I say the word anthem already? Oh good. Just making a point of reminding myself, then.

Flyin Hi
A gentle opening here to wake you from a perfect inter-galactic cyber-sleep gradually. And then the daily information overload begins, trickling in the news, the weather reports, the shopping, the money worries, the commuting…

…The commuting. The meditation. The escape into a bubble of passive motion - “I’ll Never Stop Trying… I’m Flying…” The daily affirmations.

The resurrection of the self from the “Essential Inner Drama.”

And still the determination to never stop trying… “For You…”

Love Is My Condition feat. Mia Maestro
…Leads seamlessly in from “Flyin Hi” with Mia’s effortless vocal moving the angelic melody along, only pausing to mourn the severity of the Condition - “Pills Won’t Help It…”

It’s not just the guys suffering from that unrequited love thing… sometimes even money and sympathy don’t work, as you enter the darkness of that isolation of emotion within yourself…

Feelin Good feat. Dido
Another seamless blend into a dance track that just needs an espresso and a J2O to jump-start you after all that introspection “This Is Waking Up And Feelin Good…”

A feeling not relying on anyone else’s input - just your own motivation to get up and dance - let the co-dependency connections go and see “The View From The Top Of The Hill.”

You might be surprised at what you see from that vantage point…

North Star feat. Dido
An after-dark tune to take you off the beach and out of the bar, back to where you belong…

Gone are thoughts of emotional blackmail, running away and co-dependency… “It’s Been A Long Time Coming… But It’s Well Worth Waiting…” Something different and reassuring emerges out of the darkness, the Star to guide you home.

A converging journey of two prodigal minds returning home - to one another.

Sun To Me
Back to the bass… a dance for the poet confronted with a muse who breaks the time barrier and becomes more than a passing moment - becomes the future, the eternity - “The Sun To Me.”

How can a chance meeting flood the mind in all conceivable dimensions? There is no ‘before’, only the ‘always’ that this one has had meaning in…

And yet the urgency and fervency are still there, as if the Sun might suddenly go dark - until then, there’s always the future, in which we “Fit Together Perfectly.”

Scandalous (bonus track)
The eccentric trippin’ intro complete with bongo beats is the perfect feed-line for this prose-artistry, a man in his worst mind over her, the conflict of mind and emotion and situation, taking him around in vicious circles - but like a rollercoaster, a ride he can’t get off… doesn’t want to…

Not even other women offering “A Pathway From Affliction” can break this delicious addiction…

And finally, from the Faithless on MySpace page because it contains spiders…

spiderscrocodiles and (online)
Oh boy, Raffertie would love this spider if it crawled out of his boot…

A quirky and addictive tune that plays in your head between waking from a nightmare and the next moment you fall asleep, waiting in a cold sweat for the instant you realise you’re dreaming…

The creepy Addams Family-manga intro “chocolate and broccoli, sand and dirt and squashing snails…” launches into a groove like you’ve never heard before, with a New Wave-style melody vocal - “spider-man” - think Siouxsie And The Banshees, Terry Hall of Fun Boy Three, or The Cure’s Robert Smith - before Maxi’s iconic rap poetry. A post-modern reference to “Insomnia” and baby-banter on the mic at the end wrap things up in a way that proves these guys are keeping it all real.

And THEN you wake up…

L xxxxxxx

(Image courtesy of

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Voodoo Review: Raffertie

On my way back from Literary Death Match (won by Dan Holloway) in Shoreditch, London last night, I couldn’t get a vegetarian pizza in the bar above M&S at Waterloo as they’d stopped serving food, so I went to Burger King instead. A few minutes after I sat down with my Piri Piri Meal, a nice gentleman in an apron asked me to move so he could bring his sandwich trolley inside (closing time being popular at around 23.30hrs still in our Medieval capital, I see).

So I took my tray to another table, and was shortly joined by a couple of nice older ladies looking very smart, and while I wondered why they were up so late they began discussing “the performance” and that “He should have worn a nice black suit and bow tie, a bit George Clooney, a bit more Frank Sinatra”. As I became silently more intrigued, their snippets included “Yes, it was different… I do worry what the reviews will be like.”

At the word ‘Reviews’, I swallowed the last of my lettuce and butted in.

“Who did you go to see?”

“Cliff Richard. At the Albert Hall. He’s 70, you know.”

I didn’t know, but gave it the automatic thumbs-up for that achievement. It was unanimous. Who cares what the reviews say, if he’s still performing at 70, good on him.

“So what was he wearing?” I’m imagining a woolly cardigan and checked trousers… er, but I don’t know why I’m also picturing Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit. I get that a lot lately.

“All white, with tails. It was a bit, I don’t know, too much - black would have been better. It’s called the Big Band Sound. He didn’t play his usual stuff, it was more suited to the band. But he sang all the way through, it was very impressive. For his age. He’s doing six nights only, all at the Albert Hall - full up, it was.”

If a 70-year-old can change his tune AND fill The Royal Albert Hall (and wear whatever he damn well pleases, I’m guessing), then rock on, buddy.

Even though I agree that a bit of George Clooney would be welcome in anyone’s book.

So - I go and catch my train and play with the FM radio on my phone. I finally get a signal as we’re passing Clapham Junction, and ten minutes into my return journey, Huw Stephens gives the best introduction to a track I’ve heard in a long time:

“…this guy has been voted our best Tweet ever with ‘A Spider The Size Of My Fist Crawled Out Of My Boot As I Was Putting It On’… this is Horseflesh from the new E.P. by Raffertie…”

After the mention of big spiders, I knew this was going to be good…

RAFFERTIE, Birmingham/London, U.K.
D.J./Recording Artist/Dance
On Tour & regular airplays on Radio One, club residency


Rank Functions (Clip)
A brief teaser intro from the Rank Functions E.P. A mystery vocal and keyboard beats followed by an F1 burn-rubber slide hints at what’s to come.

Visual Acuity
Goes straight into his Radio 1 airplays, and very impressive too. Like Space-spiders skittering up the walls - did you ever see Matt LeBlanc in Lost In Space?

If ya don’t like spiders, get outta there - otherwise, get suited up and get blasting…

7th Dimension
I don’t know why I’ve missed the earlier dimensions - although I’m pretty sure one of them is the bit that exists outside the mathematical doughnut-shaped Universe described in the world’s most efficient quadratic equation…

This could be Planet Ibiza on the radar with a great female vocal sample, as long as it’s not populated by spider-breeding zombie women… er, wait, why does that sound familiar… (Checking my photo album)

String Theory
Liking the physics analogy - a drum-and-bass warp under the cosmic vocal sample and wind chimes. Still in outer space looking for the future replacement for Planet Earth…

Let’s hope the rations last until then…

Wild Beasts Full Vocal Remix
Quirky vocal monologue into diversifying self-anthropomorphism backed by xylophone and beats. “Don’t Be Fooled By The Moonshine, It’s Tricking…” This particular lycanthropic tendency is all in the mind, folks.

A great job by Raffertie picking out the dark delusional tone in the track’s lyrics and giving it edgy moves.

No You Girls
Classic Ibiza dancefloor-filler stylee opening with a twist, going into a bass warp more suited to massive sub-woofers in the boot of a matt-black Ford Mustang driven by someone you’d be wiser not to hitch a lift with. Watch out for this one, girls… Looks like that might be a hockey mask under the driver’s seat…

“Love To Get To Know You…” indeed…

Stomping Grounds VIP (on MaryAnn Hobbs)
MaryAnn says “Brace Yourself”… Now this would have been a great theme tune for Literary Death Match with the Stephen Hawking-derived intro “Three - two - one… Fight!”

Proper old-skool speed house meets that bass warp again complete with twisted samples. Like the Addams Family on Acid…

Another space-mission here to Planet Ibiza meets a night in the trunk of a blacked-out Mustang with only loudspeakers and a baseball bat for company. If the music doesn’t knock you out cold first, that baseball bat might just save your life - “Bye-Bye!”

…Once that trunk pops the lid, get ready to start running…

Hurry up and add “Horseflesh”, buddy…

L xxxxxxx

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Voodoo Review: Shalini Boland


I’ve been lucky to meet this multi-talented lady through the HarperCollins authonomy website, and when she posted her site online in the summer found that she’s not only a great author (A Shirtful Of Frogs, Hidden - both online to preview on authonomy) but also an extremely talented singer/songwriter, who has recorded with Basement Jaxx and performed at The Brixton Academy.

Her demos can be found on her website - here’s my take on them as I get carried away by the music…

…See Basement Jaxx album “Rooty” 


Broken Dreams - Basement Jaxx feat. Sha Boland

A combination of sultry club songstress and a dark pop beat, with a brass section that would be quite welcome in Huggy’s V.I.P. bar. Guest list only, tonight folks - drinks are on the house, although I wouldn’t go chasing that dream at the end of the top shelf labelled “Spanish Fly”… a femme fatale indeed…

Looking Out My Window

An acoustic guitar number for those days you wake up and look out of the window not knowing what the day will bring… Will today be the day he comes home from those wanderings he never quite has the explanation for? Maybe he’s spending his days in that backwater bar with the dropouts, but “Lying… in the curve of the Moon” hints that maybe there’s something supernatural about this elusive lover, suited to the gentle melody and dreamlike vocals.


Gives Sheryl Crowe a run for her money with this acoustic rock number - challenging the silence coming from the end of the bar where that charismatic guy always sits, saying nothing. But his presence is deafening, and it’s time he joined the conversation…


Another soul challenge for Mister Charisma - this lady’s not for the turning back. Not sitting by the window or the phone “No longer dressed in black” - he had his chance and blew it all right.

Catch Me

A summer holiday to Calypso Beach, leaving those backwater bar blues behind. Shady characters and bad boys forgotten… “You can free me - free my love.” She’s moved on, even though there’s memories of darkness in the past. This is a new challenge, among the palm fronds and paper lanterns. Grab yourself a triple Tequila Sunrise and listen again… a holiday you won’t want to come home from…

Things You Do

An acoustic piano and tambourine this time as our songstress comes back to reality to face the facts about her love. He’s not going to go away, no matter how hard she tries to get over him…

Going South

…But maybe this Latin dance retreat will break his spell when she finds her true romance and “Spanish Eyes” hero, instead of that invisible, incommunicative bad boy who’s been on her mind all this time. Now she’s changing tack and looking elsewhere, somewhere his type would never show up. Because she’s part of the fun now - no missing out for this girl…

Go get ‘em, Tiger…

L xxxxxxx

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Voodoo Review: #1: Tr0uble07

There’s a lot of musical talent in the family. A big hatful of creativity. One of my brothers can jam on harmonica and summon Britney Spears on the television just by strumming a few bars of “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, while another was sharing guitar tutorials online at the age of 13. There’s plenty more to those stories too…

…Meanwhile, in London, my cousin Tr0uble07 has taken his recordings to profile on MySpace, and put together a demo that I want to hear on Jools Holland…

TR0UBLE07, London
Drum & Bass/Hip Hop/Trip Hop
The Man With The Golden Tongue… Makes Beats And Love…


Make Ya Happy
The intro - does exactly what it says on the tin. With a classic 60’s-70’s-stylee disco riff that makes me think of Huggy Bear swaggering into the club at opening time, like he owns the place. Oh wait - he DOES own the place. It’s that kind of feeling…

Sexual Intellectual
…Watch out, Huggy - here come the chicks, looking for free entry to V.I.P. Hey, that was a bit too easy! Wonder what favours the bouncers will be collecting later?

A chilled-out parallel to Armand Van Helden. Very nice too.

Prodigy of Mobb Deep - Keep It Thoro Remix
The confrontation in the V.I.P. private bar… maybe those chicks had a hidden agenda…

A rap number featuring beats and brass with a Fun Lovin’ Criminals laid-back element, and some nice sound-effect samples, especially the “Draw Your Sword” vocal and clashing blades towards the end.

Spontaneous Combustion
And now a drum and bass road-trip somewhere completely different. Not only do I love the title, being a closet pyromaniac, but it puts me in mind of dance tracks of the 90’s, from The Helicopter Track to T-Power’s “Police State”, just the right combo of beats, heavy and ethereal ambience to make me want to stay in that dance tent and forget who I am for the set.

A perfect track for stream-of-consciousness inspiration while having an introspective moment. I’d be taking lots of this with me if I was on a road-trip into the unknown…

Jedi Mind Tricks - Animal Rap Remix
Back to the rap and classic sampling for the crime scene back in Huggy’s club. Who saw what happened? Any witnesses? Good luck chasing up the statements for this one - it’s tense in the interrogations, and there’s no sign of those chicks that started it… just an observation, mind you…

Darkness Is All I See
A classy blues-feel trippin’ outro as the police scratch their heads and the chicks walk away from the scene unnoticed with the other innocent bystanders…

…Probably the coolest story idea I’ve had while listening to an album…

L xxxxxxx