Cats on Fire Live 26/07 @ Windmill London

Cats on fire : "I'm the white mantled King"

After a stunning gig kick-off by The Brights (we’ll talk about them later) and a cute minimalist set by our French darlings The Sunny Street, Mattias and his band  came up to set the Windmill… on fire. The song featured hereabove was  the introduction of a really brilliant and convincing set, driven by the band’s wonderful debut album, with no chapter for early EP’s. At the keyboards, we could recognize special guest Kate Dornan (Fosca, Scarlet’s Well).  Thanks to HDIF for organizing this memorable event, the main reason of our London trip, and to Mattias for being so kind and available …

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Friday Bridge vs This Year's Model


This Year's Model : The Clock Strikes Ten ( Marsh Marigold - Eur. release 3rd Aug. 07)

Friday Bridge : Intricacy (But is it Art? - released 23d May 07)

Friday Bridge (FB) and This Year’s Model (TYM) are both hailing from Sweden and have 2 other points in common, personnified into Ylva Lindberg, FB frontwoman - TYM keyboardist/vocalist  and Niklas Gustafsson, FB producer – TYM  vocals/guitars...


With its brilliant songwriting, its multifacial powerpop and  its Higher Elevations / Jesterbells-like jangly bits, This Year’s Model’s  ”The Clock strikes ten” is, after each listening, slowly growing on us like a breathtaking sharp-penned crime novel. It is to be noted it features musical guest Bid from Monochrome Set/Scarlett’s Well, as well as exclusive writings from Vic Godard, Jessica Griffin (both of él fame !) and Dickon Edwards (Fosca).


With its baroque arrangements and its elegant electronic pop stories, Friday Bridge’s Intricacy has become the soundtrack of our summer, titillating our buried Sandra and Mylène Farmer heartstrings...



Let’s talk with Ylva (Y)  and Niklas (N) about both musical projects :


-Released less than 2 months ago, Friday Bridge album got a quick positive response in Sweden and it’s starting now all over Europe. Do you think those catchy synthpop songs are commercially more viable than TYM jangly guitar tracks?


Y : Yes, probably – Friday Bridge’s danceable synth pop sound is a more ”popular” sound at the moment than the guitar pop of This Year’s Model, I guess – on the other hand, guitars can be very commercially successful too…

I’m very happy with the response to the Friday Bridge album in Sweden – the attention from the media and the public has really been more than we could hope for. Hopefully, this is followed by success for the This Year’s Model album as well, when it’s released.


-In the TYM album, I surprisingly found 2 references to Belgium: the song “Hotel Damier, Courtrai” of course, and the book trade label reproduction “Ancienne Librairie Castaigne, Bruxelles” in the splendid booklet artwork. What are the stories behind those mentions?


CastaigneLgY : Yes, that’s true! ”The Clock Strikes Ten” is meant to be something of an European album, where we have placed the songs in different European countries that we like – and since Belgium is one of our favourite countries in Europe, well there you are. The sea, the rain, the moules frites, the European Parliament, it all seems very This Year’s Model-esque…


-We see trough both TYM and - especially - FB albums that you’re a declared Francophile and I need to say your French is very fluent! How long did you stay in France? Any French artist/personality you feel connected to?


Y : Well, it’s a bit funny, nobody says someone is an Anglophile just because they sing in English… I wouldn’t say I’m a Francophile in the sense that I would worship everything French, rather I just like to use the language. I stayed in Paris for half a year, but I go there at times and stay for a while, it’s a wonderful city in many ways of course. The French (=francophone) artists that I like most I guess are the commercial pop artists of the 80s – Jeanne Mas, Corynne Charby, early Mylène... Yes, and Lio. And Elli & Jacno. I’ve grown out of yé-yé though...


-Last night I dreamt of the Return of the Marsh Marigold Christmas Party in Hamburg with This Years Model, Lovedance, Miniskirt, Alaska and Cats on Fire! Can you do anything to make this dream come true?



N : A great idea! We would love to do it, naturally. This Year’s Model are going to Germany for a tour shortly so I will talk to Oliver that runs the label and see what he says about it… hope he’s up for it!


-Which project are you planning to tour with actually, if any ?


Y : This Year’s Model will do a short tour in Northern Germany which will include performances in Hamburg, Berlin and Kiel. Probably a couple of more places. We start off by playing at M/S Hedi in Hamburg on 29th of August.

Friday Bridge will do an Autumn club tour in Sweden starting in October. The first show is in Lund in the south part of the country. Also we will, most likely, play in Stockholm, Linköping, Örebro, Uppsala and Gothenburg. This Year’s Model tour as a five piece while Friday Bridge live is just me and Niklas.


-Tell us about your collaboration with the enigmatic Dickon Edwards on both TYM and FB albums…Don’t you think he’s got the perfect murderer profile? Did the “crime theme” idea come before or after making the songs?

Dickon Edwards

Y : My (Friday Bridge’s) label, the rest of This Year’s Model and I all love what Mr Edwards is doing, both with Fosca and with his entertaining online diary. As the ultimate urban aesthete, he suited perfectly as a guest artist on ”Intricacy” and since he is also a great writer he was a natural choice to ask to write a short story for the ”The Clock Strikes Ten” booklet. Actually, Niklas has recorded and are about to mix a live Fosca album for release via the internet later this year. It will be distributed for free via But is it Art? in some way…

N : The crime theme is something that I always liked to do. Sherlock Holmes, and Maigret, and things like that has always been in my liking so when we realised that quite a lot of the songs had lyrics featuring references to crime scenes, Jean-Paul Belmondo (who is of course the most perfect of all on-screen criminals), suicide, abuse, criminally overrated artists etc… we decided to make it the main theme of the album.


-Mmmm I was wondering, in your old FB song “It Girl”, you talk about a venitian blonde woman with a stupid and ugly boyfriend… Is this autobiographical J ?


Y : Haha, well I am a Venetian blonde alright, but I have a both very bright and very attractive boyfriend… so, no! Generally, the Friday Bridge lyrics are not autobiographical in that sense.


=> Friday Bridge : Love and Nostalgia

=> This Year's Model : O Heaven Help My Foolish Heart (feat Bid)


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Michael Dracula


Michael Dracula : In the Red (Ze Records)

ZE records was established in NY from 1978 till 1986 by British-born Michael Zilkha (Z) and French-born Michel Esteban (E) and featured a bunch of arty NY-based artists integrating the essence of local predilection genres post-punk, avant-garde and disco, all reunified under the term “No wave”


Since its Parisian regeneration by Esteban in 2003, the label has concentrated in reediting its back-catalog including Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Cristina, James White and some reference compilations like Mutant Disco. In addition to this, ZE also reedited the full catalog of french pop icon Lio for our entire – not dissimulated - satisfaction...


ZE is now going a little further with its first proper release since more than 20 years and the result is beyond all opulent expectations!!!! Michael Dracula, fronted by Scottish-woman Emily Mac Laren, is more than a band perpetuating the “ZE sound”! Michael Dracula is literally hitting our minds with these abrasive and wild sound textures running over note’s sequences, not in the “experimentation” sense but in the “design” meaning, instituting the song as real work of art. The whole bunch is quite listener-friendly though : rhythm guitars coupled with metronomic beats, old-timey saloon pianos and Farfiza organs, nearly-psychobilly guitars plus Emily’s atonal mesmerizing voice. The real ZE new departure in this 21st Century…


==> Michael Dracula : In the Red

==> Buy the album HERE or HERE

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Invisible Twin


Each and every one of us surely has an invisible twin somewhere on Earth. Mine is living somewhere in Kashmir. How do I know this ? I feel it. Need to go there one day...

Bollocks ! Invisible Twin is the name of a delicate pop duo (Rose and Mario - ex Shoestrings -1994/1999 - of Le Grand Magistery fame) that is going to release its debut album this autumn on ... Le Grand Magistery. I heard them for the first time on "A Very Magistery Valentine" comp early this year with this "Best Kept Secret" song and I must say I'm conquered by the songs on their Myspace too, so we'll keep an eye on them, promised !!!

There's only one girl I want to hold, and it's you, why can't I tell you ?

==> Invisible Twin : Best Kept Secret



Retro Bonus from the wonderful "Wishing on Planes" Shoestrings album (1997 - Le Grand Magistery), which, despite being very sarah-guitar orientated, owns some "Invisible Twin" forewarning moments like this one :

==> Shoestrings : Timeline

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The Lodger


The Lodger : Grown-ups (Slumberland / Angular)

Since the latest Aislers Set album in 2003, I thought Slumberland label was dead...good news, it is not.

Since 2003, I thought Cinerama was dead too, they're still, sorry,  but somehow resurrected a bit through The Lodger ...

Since the discovery of the wonderful song "You Got me wrong" in 2005, I've been following each and every release by the band and here it is at last, the perfect 14 songs deliverance, including all the singles we've learnt to love...

==> The Lodger : Watching

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Cola Jet Set

Cola Jet Set : Contando Historias (LP 2005) / Suena el teléfono (EP 2007- Subterfuge)
Brought into existence in 2001 from the ashes of the cult Spanish combo Los Fresones Rebeldes, Cola Jet Set is an endearing band from Barcelona, driven by a sort of bubblegum vs mod vs surf pop sound, mainly supported by sun-filled hispano-female voices. The new EP "Suena el teléfono" is following the great "Contando Historias" LP (produced by Mr Guille Azul Milkyway), and both are made of instant melodies that will straightaway clarify your ideas...Perfect in the early evening with a vanilla tea and some english cookies, especially when it's pissing buckets outside...

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Ding Dong, time for a new radio show, featuring past, present and future stories


Cloetta Paris : I miss you someone (2007)              Sally Shapiro’s twin sister

The Lodger : Let Her go ! (2007)                            Leeds indiepoppers’ LP out on on Slumberland!

My Little Airport : Gi gi Leung is dead (2005)         Classic from long time H-K faves, reedited on Elefant

Doggy : Les petits parcours (2007)                          Great demo from anorak pop French ambassadors  

Ercola feat Annie : Follow me (2007)                      A Major club Hit !!!

Virna Lindt : Shiver (1983)                                      Our dearest ice blonde model agent at last on CD

California Snow Story : You set the Scene (2007)   Stunning comeback from the glaswegians on Letterbox

The Marshmallow Kisses : My dear giant (2005)      Another long time H-K favourite

Moral : The Aerage Life (1983)                               80’s Minimal Elektro from the cult Flexipop comps

M Charivari : Références (2007)                              Brussels golden boy vs Jérôme(Orwell)& Armelle (Holden)

Cradle of Smurf : Nouille drove (2007)                    French duo. Starts like Grauzone, finishes like Add N to X

Tot Taylor : Living in Legoland (1981)                    From “A Young Person’s Guide to Compact” on LTM

Friday Bridge : Love and Nostalgia (2007)              How we want pop music to be...

Alexandra : Solenzara (1968)                                 Alexandra's hypnotic velvet voice...

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Kleenex : Ain't You (Sunrise/Rough Trade 1978)

"All-girl band from Switzerland, they released Ain't You on their own label, Sunrise, one of the first releases distributed by Rough Trade before being re-issued on the Rough Trade label itself. In 1980 the band changed their name to Liliput after a threatened legal action by tissue manufacturers Kimberley-Clark (see also Glaxo Babies). Kleenex, alongside other Punk bands such as The Slits and The Raincoats had a big influence on the Riot Grrrl! movement of the 1980s and early 90s"

Note by Stuart Baker from the very instructive compilation "DIY, the rise of the independent music industry after punk" issued early 2007 on Soul Jazz Records

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