The Gossip are the three-piece punk rock electro band from Olympia, Washington’s underground scene who broke through in the UK in spectacular style in 2006 with the single and album Standing In The Way Of Control. Lead by the unlikely rock star, lesbian, feminist, fashion icon and ‘cool’ person Beth Ditto, the trio have just [...]
For a person with the musical history of ex-The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite frontman, Mick Jones, he is a very unassuming man. I meet him on a humid afternoon in West London as he and a team of helpers are madly trying to finish putting together the Mick Jones Rock n Roll Public Library — an exhibition of some 10,000 pieces of musical and pop culture memorabilia that Jones has been collecting since childhood. While I wait for my time to speak with the man, as he poses for a photo shoot with a London paper and finishes putting pieces of jewellery into a glass case in a room titled American Artefacts, his press officer relays to him: ‘Southampton University want to offer you an honorary doctorate.’ Jones’ response is: ‘Why would I want to do that? I haven’t done anything.’ But that’s far from the truth.
Echo and the Bunnymen were spawned in the creative and fertile hub of Liverpool’s late-70s punk scene, borne from oft-discussed ambitions eventually called out. The three original members, who ‘didn’t really know what they were doing’, chose to perform — sink or swim — in support of Teardrop Explodes, and became cult icons; post-punk pioneers.
Punk rock goddess Brody Dalle is back from the depths of The Distillers’ demise with her new band, Spinnerette. Bringing ex-Distillers guitarist Tony Bevilacqua, and with a little help from husband Josh Homme’s Queens of the Stone Age producer, Alain Johannes, on ‘plastic surgery’ duties, Spinnerette is a slicker, more polished beast than anything Dalle has lead previously. The band’s debut EP, Ghetto Love, opens with a title track that immediately portrays her husband’s musical influence. It’s groovier, more mature, and with a less punk rock vocal sound than we’re used to from Dalle. These new songs could almost be considered alt-pop; but she reminds us of her roots with some gravelly screams regularly thrown in. And live, her stage presence is still pure punk: ‘We’re all about fun’, Bevilacqua says, ‘What would you say?’ To which Dalle replies: ‘We want to make really original music; I think that’s what it comes down to. Spinnerette in some ways really is gnarlier than The Distillers, you know?’
Reface, a new interactive website, has invited street artists to upload their work to the site, a selection of which will be projected onto buildings over two weekends during the upcoming Perth International Arts Festival. The project will test whether people’s attitudes to street art are different if the images are known to be impermanent.
Gogol Bordello’s frontman, Eugene Hutz, was born in Kiev to a Romany family which fled their home following the Chernobyl disaster when he was a teenager. He spent years travelling through Eastern European refugee camps before arriving in Vermont, in the north-east American region of New England, as a political refugee. He eventually established himself in New York as a musician and artist, and became the resident DJ at the Bulgarian Bar, Mehanata, which, thanks to Eugene’s ‘kidnapping’ of touring Romany and Gypsy bands and artists to perform there after their official seated concert hall shows, helped turn it into the ‘CBGBs of Gypsy Punk. Gogol Bordello formed after its original members met at a Russian wedding in Vermont, and soon snow-balled into a fully-fledged immigrant orchestra. Debut shows at famous New York venues, including the Mercury Lounge and the Bowery Ballroom, saw them banned for performances that were ‘too over the top’.
New Zealand-born, globe-trotting, communal-living, psych rockers, The Datsuns, have a new album, a relatively-new drummer and a new living set-up, so expect something fresh from the Anitpodean ex-pats. ‘The new record has a lot of different styles and influences’, says The Datsuns guitarist and vocalist, Christian. ‘When we were doing this record a great thing was that we could try different things that we hadn’t done in the past’, he says, thanks to the addition of new drummer, Ben, offering as an example: ‘The last track on the record is an eight minute psychedelic song; it was a pop song but we turned it psychedelic. We said to Ben ‘play psychedelic drums’ and he did. It was completely improvised. He enabled us to do anything we wanted to do’.