Moonlight Phoenix has risen

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Interview with Sue Denim

I recently had a little chat with Sue Denim, who was one half of electro punk noise makers Robots in Disguise who has now become a nature loving, offline- weekending, acoustic songstress (and mother to be)! with the recent release of her solo debut album ‘And the Unicorn’. Check out what she had to say:

Hayley: You recently released your solo album ‘And the Unicorn’ on your own record label, it’s quite a departure from the music you make with Robots in Disguise- what made you decide to change direction for your solo work? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
 
Sue: I didn’t really have a big plan, maybe I should’ve! I just wrote some songs, bought myself a really nice guitar for the first time in my life (other than my gorgeous Fender Precision bass which I bought second hand right at the start of being in a band!) and decided to just record them very simply. I had met David Wrench and really liked his way of recording like this, plus wanted it to be easy to replicate live without either a band or backing track.
 
 
Hayley: What inspired the lyrics on the album?
Sue: I find everything inspires lyrics. Life, love, books, bikes…and yeah, North Wales, lately.
 
 
 
Hayley: What has the reception been like to the album?
 
Sue: Really lovely! I’m so pleased about it, and it’s really gratifying that it’s brought enjoyment to people other than just moi. Would be nice to reach some more folks but that’s a challenge on a lo-budget self-release. 
 
Hayley: What’s the newest single and why have you selected that particular song? 
 
Sue: ‘Hollow’  I love the simplicity of this song, and I knew a simple video would work with it. Plus my publisher told me it sounded like a single!
 
Hayley: How did the tour go last year? What tour plans have you got for this year?
 
Sue: Great ..well except for me having gastro-enteritis…! Oh and the small matter of promoters threatening cancellation which was a bit stressful..but in the end, all good. By the final few gigs I was no longer vomiting backstage before the gigs! The audiences were really lovely.
 
 
Hayley: Do you plan to record another solo album?
 
Sue: Yep! Soon…ish!
 
Hayley: Any plans with Robots in Disguise this year?
 
Sue: No. I guess we’re on indefinite hiatus or whatever it’s called. 
 
Hayley: You recently moved to Wales, what’s that been like?
 
Sue: Hard at first, I missed the big city. But I love it now, finally. Fresh air, nice tastin’ tap water, a room of my own to write songs in, and love – what more could I possibly want?
 
Hayley: On Twitter, you often promote things like ‘Offline weekends’ and only spending time online between 9 and 9. What made you start doing this?
 
Sue: I was just spending WAY too much time looking at screens and I couldn’t afford new glasses. I operate quite well with rules too, as long as it’s me who makes em! (And therefore gets to break em when I feel like it!)
 
Hayley: Are you an active feminist? What sort of things do you do? (protests, groups etc?)
 
Sue: Yeah! Lately a bit less active though, I’m slowing down a bit just recently, but will rev up again after the summer. I don’t wanna stress out my foetus with too much political rage!
But, yeah, I love a good protest! There’s not very much feminist protesting in the streets that goes on in Bangor but I did organise a couple of protests to raise awareness about Pussy Riot. I’m also in a feminist group here in Bangor. 
 
Hayley: Which women inspire you and why?
 
Sue: Vocal feminists. Non-comformistes.
My mum. Peaches. Emily Jones. Ah… there’s masses of inspiring women! Can’t name em all!
 
 
Hayley: what advice would you give to other women who want to try self- releasing their music like you have done?
 
Sue: Go for it! But don’t expect to get rich ! And do expect to have somewhat less time to spend on music! 
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Thanks again to Sue for taking the time out to answer my questions. If you haven’t already, go buy the album (click this link)!
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Pigtails and Army Boots Weekly Update

News Round Up

Kate Nash has released a video to go with her Record Store Day release ‘Free My Pussy’

Pussy Riot update- Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been denied parole by a Russian court.
 Her request was turned down by the penal colony she is being held in because she has failed to “repent” for her actions.

Weekly event guide

Mon 29th April-Sun 5th May

Wed 1st- Kate Nash at the 100 Club, London

Yeah Yeah Yeahs at 02 Apollo Manchester

Thurs 2nd- Yeah Yeah Yeahs at 02 Academy Leeds

Sat 4th May- Gabby Young and other animals at Jamboree, London

 

 

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Obsessive Compulsive: Seculo Seculorum album review

The last in the series for the April artist of the month.

Seculo Seculorum is the second full length album from Manchester based four piece independent band Obsessive Compulsive. This album was fan funded using the PledgeMusic platform, it’s not available to those who have been pledged but will be out on full official release on June 24th.

The title ‘Seculo Seculorum’ immediately grabbed my attention, for me I imagined it representing the album as a large mystical book filled with power and potency, but I have since learned it actually means ‘Forever’ as music does indeed live forever, no matter how long ago someone passes away, their music can be still enjoyed for eternity.

I felt that this album is about strength, independence and self- empowerment. For instance the song ‘Stamp Your Own Path’  with it’s lyrics “You don’t need anyone, you never did, you never will, so come on stamp your own path.”

My personal favourite is the shouty ‘No Logo’ about being against corporations and remaining true to who you are “I won’t sell my soul to the corporations” “We won’t tell you what to buy or how to live your life” sung with such conviction, you know this is something the band feel strongly about.

Musically I can’t put this album into one particular category, “No Logo” has elements of punk, there’s a definite metal influence across the album as well as hard rock and on the final song ‘Swallow the Sound” I feel like lead singer Kelli is channeling Alanis Morissette vocally and to some extent lyrically too.

The album has anger and passion in spades, but overall it personally makes me feel empowered and strong, this is a band that have worked hard and it shows. We need more bands like Obsessive Compulsive. So please support them and other independent bands by buying their music and going to their gigs. You can find all Obsessive Compulsive tour dates by clicking here 

The first single will be ‘Regurgitate’ released on May 13th.

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Pigtails and Army Boots Weekly Update

news round up

One of my favourite new bands ‘Deap Vally’ have finally announced the release date for their debut album, which will be called ‘Sistrionix’ and it’s released on the 24th June- a day before my birthday. This band are amazing.

As if Yoko Ono couldn’t be any cooler, she’s doing another cool project. The ‘John Lennon Bus’ which will be touring giving young people the chance to get involved with music, video, photography, game and broadcast projects.

It kicks off at The Museum of Liverpool on May 8th,  before touring around schools, colleges and festivals. For info visit www.lennonbus.org

Weekly Event Guide

Tues 23rd April- Sun 28th April

Wed 24th- What the Frock Quiz Night upstairs at The Big Chill, Bristol 7.30 for 8pm start £3 to enter, up to four people on a team.

Fri 26th- Peaches at Indig02, Greenwich

What the Frock! All female comedy night at The Square, Bristol get tickets here

ARTIST OF THE MONTH- Obsessive Compulsive- I interviewed their lead singer Kelli about their fan funded album check it out by clicking here

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Protection

This Thursday at Spiritual group, we talked about protection. The best protection is to be happy. If you want something to change, either change it or learn to accept it for how it is.  We got given the homework this week to cleanse our home and ourselves of negativity. We each got given a branch of bay leaves to take home.

Miguel and I did ours yesterday. We each had a branch, and starting from the back of our flat, swept the branches down all of the walls, then swept the negative energy onto the floor towards the front of our flat. I worked in the bedroom as Migs did the studio, then I did the kitchen as Migs did the bathroom, then we both did the hallway and living room. As I did it, I imagined black smoke. When we got to the front, where our balcony is, we opened the door and pushed all the bad energy out before sweeping the balcony with an actual broom to push it all away. It didn’t take very long as our flat isn’t that big but I felt like I had been doing a workout of sorts! At the end, we broke our bay leave branches and then threw them into the nearby brook to send the energy away. I got a bit concerned as my branch seemed to get stuck, but the main thing was it was no longer in the flat, so I felt better about it. When we came back from the brook, I hoovered the flat in the same direction we had done the cleansing, back to the front. (usually I do it the other way but felt compelled to do it this way, this time).

We had been instructed to have a cleansing bath within twenty four hours so we decided to both have ours in the evening of the same day. I had a very powerful experience which I wasn’t expecting at all.

I felt really weird as I got into a bath that was full of floating bits of fresh rosemary and sage, thinking we’d really overdone it. Bits of the herbs stuck to my skin, but I persisted in doing what I needed to do. I imagined the bits stuck to me being like leeches, sucking out the negativity. After a few minutes, I felt like my solar plexus area was letting out a bit ray of white light and I felt out of breath, like I had been running.

I noticed the herbs were starting to turn black, I wasn’t sure if it was because of the hot water or my negative energy imprinting on the leaves (or both). I pulled little bits off my skin and flashes of things from my past crossed my mind, friends that weren’t very good friends, relationship issues, arguments. The next thing I knew I was in tears! I cried, feeling it was a release. I then let the water out, and showered myself to get rid of the remaining bits of herbs, imagining anything remaining going down the drain, leaving me fresh and new, ready for a new beginning.

I was awoken early this morning by the bright sunlight, and spent the afternoon today in a beautiful park with some of the wonderful people I’ve met in the group. I couldn’t ask for a better start.

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I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes…

Whether we choose to notice them or not, signs are all around us. Literal and sometimes metaphorical. There’s the signs that tell you which way to go, there’s signs that warn you of danger, there’s signs to indicate the name of a building or shop. But then there’s the other kind of signs. The signs sent from above.

The signs can be found in divination using tarot cards, runes etc, but that’s signs and advice we are actively asking for. There are the less obvious signs that take you by surprise, that might mean nothing to one person but to someone else it could be something much more meaningful.

Yesterday on my way to work, I saw something unexpected. At first, I thought it was just a pile of leaves on the ground, and almost just walked past it without giving it a second glance, but then I saw it had eyes and I nearly jumped out of my skin! It was a brownish coloured frog! This isn’t a usual sight for me on my way to work, I was walking down a main road and I was nowhere near a pond or lake.

Animals are definite messengers of spirit. Animals are highly sensitive- cats and dogs for instance will often know when their owners are coming home, or exactly what time feeding time is! In lots of pagan traditions, something called power animals are used. These can be real animals or ‘spirit animals’ that are very real in our own minds. Power animals are animals that can teach us important lessons and guide us when we need advice. We can use them in meditations and even learn by watching the real thing, learning what skills they have and applying to our own lives. In shamanism, animals are very important, when tribes hunt animals they will use the whole of the animal and fully respect the spirit of the animal. On my personal path, I choose to be vegan, and not harm animals in anyway because I feel for me, that I’m in a position to live a cruelty free life and also that as my faith is about respecting nature, that should include animals even the ones we’re brought up to eat. However, I totally respect that shamanic tribes have a different approach to mine and understand it’s nowhere near the same as how western culture in general treats animals.

Anyway, about the frog. If I see an animal, but more so, if it’s an animal I don’t see everyday I take this as a sign. So of course when I got home later yesterday I looked up the spiritual meaning of the frog. I was quite surprised at how relevant the meanings were for me.

Firstly the frog is about finding opportunities in transition and can help us through tough transitions- which as I’ve mentioned before is how I feel about work at the moment- it’s still quite tough and next week we will be one staff member short again, so it definitely will be a challenging time!

They also represent transformation, rebirth and renewal which is hopefully what will come when I reach the other side of this difficult time.  They are also lucky in many cultures (if you look at feng shui statues there are always frogs with money in their mouths) and also they help with deepening our connection with spirit- which appropriately enough is something I put in the despacho ceremony!

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I’ve started re-reading one of my books about witchcraft, and this morning I was reading about divination and the writer described something called a ‘cledon’ basically you might hear a snippet of a conversation, a song, a quote on a t.v show, which feels utterly relevant and meaningful. I’ve had this happen before, heard something in a conversation and once I just heard the line ‘Everything is a- okay!’ from The Darkness song ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ but nothing else.

Then today another one! I was with my husband Miguel in Wilkinsons, and they were playing an Alisha’s Attic song ‘Indestructible’. If they played any of their songs I’d probably notice as I really like them but it was a song I don’t usually hear just in a shop- despite the fact it was one of their songs that was a single it doesn’t really get played on the radio any more. The particular lyrics that stood out though were ‘So give me a sign…because we are indestructible’  which I would take as another sign about being strong at the moment and being reassured I can get though it.

Even looking at the whole song now, there are so many bits that I can relate to- “but even when madness heads, it’s only gladness I keep inside” and “you always stay real strong, you can take the rough with the smooth, and I know we forget what we mean to say, too proud sometimes, guess we’re only human’

So I guess there is definitely something going on a deeper spiritual level with me at the moment and I’m being looked after. The signs are always there around us if we choose to see them.

Here’s the video to that song, as I feel it could be meaningful to some of you too!

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April Artist of the Month: Obsessive Compulsive

My band of the month for April are Manchester based Obsessive Compulsive. 

They recently had a PledgeMusic campaign for fans to fund their second album, which was a successful campaign and for those fortunate people like me that pledged, can now enjoy the fantastic album ‘Seculo Seculorum’.  They are a very hard-working band with a strong DIY ethic, booking their own shows and releasing music on their own label.

There are four members in the band- Keli on vocals, Giz on guitars, Pete on bass and Dani on drums. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact genre to put their music into, as they certainly have their own sound, but there are elements of metal, punk and grunge all mixed in.

here’s a couple of their songs for you to check out:

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Pigtails and Army Boots Weekly Update

Sorry for the late update this week, here’s the round up:

Kate Bush has recieved a CBE. She didn’t speak to journalists but did release a statement:
” I feel incredibly thrilled to receive this honour which I share with my family, friends and fellow musicians and everybody who has been such an important part of it all.  Now I’ve got something special to put on top of the Christmas tree”

Nadya Tolokonnikova, one of the jailed members of Russian band Pussy Riot has spoken from prison to declare she will continuing her political activism
When asked if she had thought about her life after prison,she replied: “My life isn’t going to change – there will be new key components because of the experience I’ve gathered here. The vectors of politics and art will continue the same.”

CSS are releasing their fourth album in June called ‘Planta’ . You can hear a tropical sounding track called ‘Hangover’ here

Weekend event guide (as I’m so late posting this) Friday 12th April- Sunday 14th April

12th- Kate Nash at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen

14 April – What The Frock! Comedy presents ‘Upstairs Downton’ – Windmill Hill Community Centre, Vivian Street, Bristol – Doors 6.30pm, comedy from 7pm – Tickets £10 advance or £12 on the door, if not sold out

Upstairs Downton: The Improvised Episode is the lost episode of a popular TV costume drama set in the 1920s, inspired by audience suggestions. As inventive as it is unpredictable, Upstairs Downton features the upstairs and downstairs characters of your dreams in full period attire. It’s just like on the telly. Only made up. Plus – support from Becky Brunning.

http://whatthefrock.bigcartel.com/product/upstairs-downton

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE are my band of the month and here are their current tour dates: (one of them is THIS weekend)!

APRIL

Fri 12th Manchester Star & Garter SOLD OUT!
Fri 19th London Black Heart Camden: only a few tickets left!! : www.pledgemusic.com/projects/ocalbum2

MAY

Thurs 2 Birmingham Adam and Eve
Fri 3 Leicester Shed
Sat 4 Maidstone Earls (Maidstone Fringe Festival all-dayer)
Sun 5 Nottingham Maze (Noize Level Critical weekender)
Tues 7 Canterbury Lady Luck Bar
Weds 8 Portsmouth Edge of The Wedge
Thurs 9 Bournemouth Anvil
Fri 10 High Wycombe Scorpios
Sun 12 Preston Dog and Partridge
Fri 17 Rhyl North Wales Inn
Sat 18 Huddersfield Parish
Fri 24 Bannerman’s Edinburgh
Sat 25 Morecambe Nice n Sleazy Festival
Weds 29 Newcastle Trillians
Thurs 30 Hull Adelphi
Fri 31 Bradford Gasworks

more posts about the band this month to include: a bio, a review of their latest album, and an interview with their lead singer Kelli!

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The Singer of Courage

I have a personal ritual that I follow every morning to get my day to always have a spiritual slant, and also makes me feel protected and connected.

First I’ll meditate, usually for ten minutes, sometimes maybe for longer if I don’t need to rush for work or anything else. I do this using my MP3 player, and I’ll let the next track play afterwards to make it my ‘song of the day’.

Then I sit in front of my altar, (it’s basically a household unit I use as one). I’ll light a candle for the Goddess in front of a statue of Bast (the Egyptian cat Goddess), and one for the God, in front of an image of the Green Man and ask them to help me walk the path of perfect love and trust.

I then, pick a card from two card decks- my main deck which is The Faery Oracle designed by Brian Froud and Rune Oracle cards by Silver Ravenwolf and Nigel Jackson. These cards are a guide for my day ahead. Then I’ll end by writing a prayer for the day ahead to the God and Goddess and thank them for anything particular I’ve received on the previous day or that I’m just feeling grateful for generally at that moment.

A faery card that has been particularly important and relevant lately is ‘The Singer of Courage’  The singers are the highest level of faery, and have very important lessons to teach us. ‘The Singer of Courage’ teaches us to seek the truth behind our fears. What are we really afraid of?

Courage has been something I’ve needed a lot in the last few weeks. To some extent, this year. With the spiritual group, I’ve had do some things that were a bit out of my comfort zone- in particular talking to a large group of people.

Work has been challenging recently as I mentioned in my previous blog, and I needed to face the fears I’ve had over it- worried that my boss would be angry with me as things hadn’t gone very well while he had been away. Eventually I had to accept that I didn’t need to take the blame for that, and that the fears I was creating my head were really irrational. I just had to let it go and accept that I can’t always be in control of things that happen around me.

Then, in the group this week, I was taken the most out of my comfort zone so far. We had all had to bring words to a personal ‘Power Song’. A song that makes us want to sing, dance, makes us feel good and has meaning to us in some way. We all spoke about our songs but then we had to sing! Every person had to sing at least a little. I was quite surprised that I managed to sing a little- and well as it happens the lyrics were very relevant even for the situation! My choice was Gossip- Move in the Right Direction. I sang this bit:

“One step closer, feeling fine, getting better one day at a time, I’m moving forward with all of my might, I’m headed towards a new state of mind. So I’ll hold back tears- move in the right direction, face my fears- move in the right direction. I won’t lose my mind, my mind.”

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Pigtails and Army Boots Weekly Update

Latest News:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have released the disturbing video to go with epic new single ‘Sacrilege’ check it out:

 

 

Obsessive Compulsive’s new fan pledged album ‘Seculo Seculoram’ was released to pledgers about half hour ago, I pledged, so am listening as I type and it’s sounding AMAZING. Review to come soon!

 

La Roux revealed a new reggae tinged song at a gig recently

 

Weekly Event Guide

Monday 1st April- Sun 7th April

Tues 2nd April- La Roux at The Fleece, Bristol

Wed 4th April- ‘What’s the Most Important Issue Facing Feminists today?’ at The Conway Hall, London. 6.30pm £5. Feminist bloggers from The New Statesman including the wonderful Laurie Penny discuss the issues.

Fri 5th April- Paramore at The Garage, London

Sat 6th April- Kate Nash at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

With the new album released today, I’m making OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE my artist of the month for April- expect an album review, videos and more over the course of the month.

 

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