VA6 was an offshoot from the original line-up of Add N to XfeaturingAndrew Aveling.
Released in 1996, this limited seven-inch only single was the only output by VA6, and will appeal to both Add n to X fans, and collectors alike. The sound takes it’s cues from the experimental electronic sounds of Vero Electronics (BU004) but with more of a Rock’n’Roll edge (Velvet Undergound), and unlike ‘Vero Electronics’ has vocals on all tracks.
Impressing audiences with their groove-led exuberance, TRAP2 made a name for themselves as one of 2005’s hotly tipped new bands. A dose of Led Zeppelin, a rockier Stone Roses and a pinch of early Verve – it’s this hard to pigeon hole sound that has impressed the likes of Xfm’s John Kennedy and 2004’s big success story, Kasabian, who will be re-mixing Welcome To The Zoo…
Signed to buzz independent label, Playground Music in Sweden, Strip Music emerged from the dissolving of popular Stockholm band Yvonne. They had gained a sizeable core fan base in Sweden, and thanks to a European tour with International Noise Conspiracy, had support from further afield, but when genuine musical differences forced the members apart, frontman Henric de la Cour and bassist Christian Berg decided on a more minimalistic approach from the goth/synth style of Yvonne.
Starting with the basic idea of only two chords max every song, only two instruments and only lyrics about love, in time Strip Music evolved into a six-piece whose music was described by Vice Magazine in Sweden as ‘Joy Division meets early Manics’. More specifically, their debut album, gives us 45 epic minutes of Joy Division bleakness meets OMD pop joy meets U2 arena dynamics meets Suicide’s synth attack meets the shadowy, trance-like qualities of The Cure. All held together by Henric’s melancholic lyrical style and dynamic vocals, it’s signature Strip Music.
Taking all their influences and putting them in the melting pot, Strip Music are decidedly doing their own thing. Asked who his hero is, frontman Henric cites Blixa Bargeld from Einsturzende Neubauten, who recently performed in London, on April 5th, as part of their 25th Anniversary Tour, leaving de le Cour gutted to have returned to Stockholm just missing their show. “He’s the coolest musician ever…On one record he plays the cigarette. That’s inspiring to me. No boundaries at all.”
The Rifles formed in January 2004 and it wasn’t long before a demo was recorded and the plaudits started coming in. One of the band’s first champions was Alan McGee who helped out The Rifles throughout 2004. Towards the end of 2004 Radio 1 and MTV’s Zane Lowe also heard the demo of ‘Peace And Quiet’ and immediately invited the band into the Radio 1 studios to record a session. This was broadcast in December and The Rifles have since been name checked by Zane as one of the bands for 2005.
Produced by Nick Addison and Graham Dominy, debut single ‘Peace And Quiet‘ looks set to take the band onto the next level, joining the list of great, British, debut singles – ‘White Riot’, ‘Supersonic’, ‘In The City’ – mixing a 2005 swagger with the working class hero zeal of The Jam and The Clash’s agitated outsider cool.
Having recently supported Graham Coxon along with Bloc Party at the former Blur guitarists’ request, The Rifles will be undertaking a fortnightly residency to tie in with this release at London’s Metro Club – the first band to be invited to do so since The Bravery.
The Frank Popp Ensemble
Frank Popp is no stranger to Blow Up, having guest djed at the Blow Up club, and once again he brings his own brand of 60s cool to the UK with the release of the fifth single from the Blow Up 45 Series ‘Hip Teens Don’t Wear Blue Jeans‘. Frank Popp is an artist, graphic designer and resident DJ at Germany’s Unique Club, and it is the sound of his favourite records from 60s Soul to Freakbeat that set the scene for The Frank Popp Ensemble. When this single was first released in Germany it received extensive playlisting as well reaching No.1 in the club charts. The Frank Popp Ensemble have been described as ‘low-fi home recording and live-musicians meeting on the audiophile catwalk’.
Guy Pedersen, double-bass player extraordinaire, born 1930 Fort-Philipe, France. Pedersen played with Henri Renaud, Sacha Distel and Jean-Loius Viale, amongst others, at the Tabou and Ringside clubs in 1950s Paris. He played in many bands working with Michel Legrand, Baden Powell, the Swingle Singers and Dexter Gordon to name but a few. He recorded extensively as a highly sought after session musician.
However, as his ‘Indian Pop Bass’ single for the Blow Up 45 Series and the credits for Exclusive Blend Volume 3 will testify, he was not just an extraordinary musician, but also an extremely accomplished composer. Indian Pop Bass was released orignally as a single in 1970 (pictured left), but with a different b-side (‘amour, delicies et contrebasse’). The Blow Up 45 Series issue features ‘Les Copains de la Basse’ as a b-side, which like the a-side, is taken from Exclusive Blend Volume 3.
Noonday Underground was the much touted project by former Adventures In Stereo member, Simon Dine. He spent two years in Berlin tinkering with equipment, making the most of Eastern Bloc snippets and then piecing them together to form the album ‘Self-Assembly’ on M21 Records. His influences range from Stax soul and The Beatles to De La Soul and The Left Banke. The second track from this album, ‘London’ was included on the NME’s covermount CD, for their ‘Most Influential Bands In The World’ issue in December 2000, whilst in January’s Mojo Magazine, Paul Weller cites this album as one of the best he’s heard in 2000, and they have remixed his track ‘There’s No Drinking After Your Dead’.
Noonday’s offering on the Blow Up 45 Series is a double-a side featuring ‘Hello’, which is a remix of a track from the aforementioned album and the brand new track ‘The Light Brigade’, both featuring the strong soulful vocals of Daisy Martey. Since the release of this single, Noonday Underground has reissued ‘Self-Assembly’, this time including ‘The Light Brigade’ as well.
Swedish cult sensations, Komeda were started in Umeå by Henrik Andersson (now in Ray Wonder), Lena Karlsson and the two brothers Marcus and Jonas Holmberg, and are named after Polish musician and composer Kryzstof Komeda (known for composing music for early Roman Polanski films). They have recorded several albums for Sweden’s NONS Records, as well as being asked by Beck himself, to support his 1996 tour. Their music is a swirling mix of melodic pop, film music and 70’s/80’s punk/new wave.
Komeda provided the third single for Blow Up’s 1000 Series, which is a storming cut taken from their second album, ‘The Genius Of Komeda’. ‘Boogie Woogie/Rock’n’Roll‘ is a short sharp blast of Swede beat and is backed by the more jazz influenced ‘Herbamore’, previously a Swedish-only release. This was the first time either of these tracks were commercially available on a single to the UK.
Phillipe Katerine aka Katerine, is one of France’s most diverse contemporary singer-songwriters’, and possesses an almost english eccentricity. Katerine has been very prolific in his native France, and has participated in numerous collaborations, with artists such as Bertrand Bergalat and Blow Up’s very own Lucky 15 on ‘Les Souers Winchester’.
Formed in Helsinki in 1994, arctic icons The Elevators are reknowned for their weird take on lounge and jazz, and hooked up with Jimi Tenor as his backing band and providing the live accompaniment for the Finnish Sexhibition Erotica presentation in 1996.The Elevators’ single for Blow Up’s 1000 Series ‘Shave’ is a progressive bossa nova garage groove which is previously unreleased, while b-side ‘Separator’ has been taken from the band’s sole album to date – the apocalyptic kitsch curio “Linoleum”, on Finland’s Odor Records.