LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…today the doyennes of the indie disco return and this time rather than being physically played in one, or appearing virtually post-pandemic in another, they’re singing about the experience from a more grown-up perspective for us fans who’ve grown up with them, going from the Camden lurch to the (in my case at least) Dad dance. The Catenary Wires have a sparkling new single/EP called “Mirrorball” coming out on their own label Skep Wax which includes a faithful and brilliant cover of the Human League’s “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” on it. Not only that but they’re no longer just the duo of Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey (partners in life and music through bands like Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Temper Trap), they’ve actually got a full band together again. All they need to do is actually properly meet in the same room, as this one’s all been done remotely (how very Covid years we’ll look back and think). Especially as they’re due to tour with the similarly pop literate troubadour Pete Astor in September.
Off the back of the ace recent “song for ewe” from Rob to celebrate another of their current outfits Swansea Sound and the newness of Skep Wax, I didn’t need an excuse to get Rob & Amelia back on the pages of Velvet Sheep…to give props to and doffs of the cap etc more of their current indie loves.
And the Lucky 7 format means 3 each, which is perfect all round. So to kick us off, here’s a fetching pic of Rob under the disco lights before his picks…
1. THE MUSLIMS. CALL THE COPS
I wanted to hear some new punk music, so I looked around a bit and this is band I liked most. They are inventive, funny, combative and smart. They’re based in New York. Like a lot of American bands, they sing about how shite America is, in a way that makes you want to go there immediately. This is how they describe themselves: THE MUSLIMS is a crunchy, kickass punk band of Black + brown queer muzzies. Your dad is a racist piece of shit and THIS IS NOT A SAFE SPACE.
2. BLUE ORCHIDS. DEEPER THAN SIN
I got into the Blue Orchids when I was a teenager. Disney Boys, A Year With No Head and Agents of Change – those three songs were my favourites, but it was all great – full of mystery, passionate intensity and sardonic intelligence. Martin Bramah’s not lost any of those qualities. He’s never gone soft in the head. I’ve only heard one song off the new album (as it’s not out until June), but I can tell it’s going to be good –
3. THE ALTERMODERNS. SHE’S NOT YOURS
This Brazilian garage-art-punk duo are based in Bristol, I don’t know why they chose Bristol, but who cares – they make a really great noise and some very entertaining videos. I lived in Bristol until I was 18. I wish The Alter Moderns had been around in those days, life would have been a lot more fun.
Amelia is next to take the floor…
I’ve gone for three songs that I’ve had on my brain quite badly. All three are just so catchy. I feel slightly guilty even choosing them, in case they just infect more ears. But they are also very good.
4. PANIC POCKET. THE BOSS
Panic Pocket is a two-piece synth pop band from London, featuring long term best friends Sophie and Natalie. With a punked-up girl group sound, they write brilliantly observed, spiky lyrics , that make you smile while feeling slightly uncomfortable at the same time. They both sing and swear a lot. All their songs are great, but “The Boss” is my favourite. I love how they are totally happy to use un rock-n-roll words like “Got my P45, HR was never on my side”. Just great.
5. CHEEKFACE. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART. NO.
Cheekface are a three-piece from LA who write absurdist songs about the strange world we are living in.
“Listen To Your Heart” “No.” is the first song on their second album, a kind of grumpy call-and-response. It’s a great lyrical trick, which I wish I’d thought of.
6. BRANDI EDISS. BEES AND BEES AND BEES
I know next to nothing about Brandi Ediss, other than she is a children’s photographer from Northampton Massachusetts, and her surname supposedly rhymes with lettuce!
This song is deceptively simple. It sounds almost like a song she might have written to entertain the kids while photographing them. But somehow it is also both charming and moving. And songs about metaphorical bees are always great!
THE LUCKY 7TH: CATENARY WIRES. MIRRORBALL
Nick here just to explain that according to the band “Mirrorball” is “about two lonely single people out for a night out in an 80s disco. They’re surrounded by divorcees and middle-aged drunks, but will they be too shy to talk or will they find some love action?” A great nod to the Human League to add to the cover version of “Fascination”!
The lyrical to-and-fro, call & response jousts between Rob & Amelia are less acerbic and more romantic than we’ve heard from The Catenary Wires. And I’m here for it!
Featuring the new band of Fay Hallam (keyboard), Ian Button (drums) and Andy Lewis (bass) you can and should buy it/pre-order from the link below…
THANKS SO MUCH TO ROB AND AMELIA.
If you can’t get enough of planet Skep Wax here’s a reprise to the recent “song for ewe” by Rob:
and Amelia’s “song for ewe” from a while back…