22 Sep 2010

Competitions

Just A Girl | The Long List

After an exciting six weeks of entries, questions and deliberation, we can finally release the Just A Girl long list!

Much contemplation, tea drinking, cig smoking, ipod shuffling and nail biting was undertaken by judges Viv Albertine, Ruth Barnes, Charlotte Richardson Andrews, Camilla Pia and Annette Barlow to compile the top 15 entries, but here they are in all their glory.

Now it’s over to YOU dear readers!  Peruse the long list below, where for each entry you will find a track, pic, mini bio and the judges comments: carefully make your selections and vote through the poll below. Spread the news and support your favourites!

The voting closes on 6 Oct, at which point the highest rated six will be announced. They will go through to the live finale on 23 Oct, when the grand winner will be revealed in time for Ladyfest Ten! Ready, set… GO.

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BIRDS OF PARADISE


BIO
: Dark gypsy blues, gospel and post punk music coupled with a predisposition for theatricality and elaborate costumes. With two members hailing from Australia, and another from France, the London based three piece count features in UK drama Skins, live performances at Born Bad and Exploding Cinema and supporting Coco Rosie amongst their musical accomplishments.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Charlotte
: Full points for full throttle drive and noir-ish hysteria.

Ruth
: Kate Bush does battle with PJ Harvey on guitar and the ghost of Tori Amos hammers away at a piano – and yet there’s something unique in the mix too… what more could you want?

Viv: Put off by the costumes.

Birds of Paradise – Mary


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SHE MAKES WAR


BIO: She Makes War is the solo project of Laura Kidd: multi-instrumentalist vocal chameleon, videomaker, blogger, sometime session musician (previously for I Blame Coco, Tricky and Alex Parks) and strident purveyor of grungey dystopian gloom-pop.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Annette: The whole package. Brilliant songwriter, distinctive vocals. Full of personality, skill, and guts. Massive high fives for all her DIY pro-activity: self-penned, self-produced, maker of own videos and more. She Makes War is exactly the kind of artist I’d like to see more of – doesn’t hurt she reminds me of Blood Red Shoes either….

Camilla: Woah emo pic alert! Nah I love that stuff really, plus she had to work with Alex Parks which must have hurt… Anyway I really love this girl’s voice and the musical arrangement of this track – the way it builds and builds. The song is striking and brooding in a beautiful way, great lyrics too and if I heard it on the radio I’d definitely stop and listen.

She Makes War – Scared To Capsize


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BLUE CHERRYS

BIO: Formed in 2008, this Argentinian based three piece comprise a dancer, model, photographer, artist and more. Self proclaimed purveyors of a “pif paf puff sound”, the Blue Cherrys aim to perform without posturing or judgement. Their only aim? Disarm!

THE JUDGES SAID:

Annette: Wicked, dirty, girl noise: The Coathangers‘ gobby, delinquent cousins. Descends into raucous chaos and I literally cannot wait to see them live.

Camilla: Discordant guitars, shouting, lo fi, proper pop racket with time changes – this ticks all of my boxes and it’s danceable too. Ace. Need to see this lot live.

Ruth: DIY-tastic, the true spirit of rocking out captured on this track, which speeds up and slows down as it sees fit – I want to see them live!

Blue Cherrys – Beat Bong


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RICA MINAMI



BIO
: Having grown up in Japan, Rica Minami moved to London aged 19, throwing herself into playing live gigs, jam sessions and songwriting. She began playing as a solo artist as little as one year ago, and has been flourishing since.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Charlotte: Inventive, and just the right balance of weird and accessible.

Viv: Pretty music. I like pretty. Angelic.

Camilla: Getting a very Tori Amos vibe from the start – girl’s got mad piano skillz. Well produced, I like the strings, and when it kicks in it’s all very epic and eerie. Not hugely my cup of tea but I can appreciate that this is really cleverly constructed.

Rica Minami – Soil and Bird


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MINNIE BIRCH



BIO: A three piece acoustic pop band from London Town Minnie Birch once had a gig review that said “be taken from zero to heartbroken in 60 seconds”, they liked that, they thought it was nice, and they do write some very lovey songs but they aren’t just girls with acoustic guitars who are having a moan about relationships. Clare and Emily have been in bands together and apart for years, and the addition of Charlot on vocals completes the Minnie line-up.

THE JUDGES SAID:


Annette: Sweet sweet sweet – consummately ‘British’ vocals, utterly without pretence, lovely story-telling, deliciously naïve lyricism, hand-made merch (Minnie Merch – it RHYMES with their name). Major swoon.

Camilla: Really cute biog which I loved – handmade merch is always a good thing. The music is so crisp and pretty with a compellingly haunting quality to it. I like the storytelling in the track, talented songwriters, they can really capture a moment and a feeling in their music. Definitely my favourite act so far. Would like to hear them do a more fast paced full band track to break things up a little.

Charlotte: Sweet and thoughtful in a Brit-folk vein, but not punchy enough for my tastes.

Minnie Birch – The Bicycle Song

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BABY STREUTH

BIO: Baby Streuth generally make music under the name Naomi Hates Humans. Occasionally she makes music under the name Wood And Nails. Even rarer than that she makes music under the name Mothers Opposed To The Occult. Clearly it was about time she made up a new musical endeavour: Baby Streuth. Coming up with a hairbrained scheme to invent a new ‘band’, complete with name, logo, and three songs, the weekend before this competition’s entry date, Baby Streuth likes a challenge.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Camilla: Shows great promise I think. I like the raw bluesy delivery and the fierce vocals and the way this girl has quickly put something together that is actually much better than a lot of the music I have heard so far. The logo is ace too – very important. More please!

Ruth: An uber-strong vocal over a driving guitar riff which is utterly relentless, demands your attention.

Viv: Liked dirtyness and edge to voice.

Baby Streuth – Trailblazer

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MS JONES


BIOMs. Jones is a French 35 year-old singer who’s been honing her writing and singing skills in her room for 9 years before finally bringing them to the stage three years ago. Drawing influence from folk, torch songs, tin pan alley songs as sung by jazz greats, pop songs and more, Ms. Jones performs a tentative creation of a language all her own.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Viv: I like Ms Jones, you can hear in her voice she has lived a life. She sounds truthful and herself.  That’s all I need.

Ruth: What a voice, flawed and truly unique – goosebump city.

Camilla: I like the way that the vocals aren’t perfect and the stark delivery of this. It has heaps of heart and emotion. Strings are a lovely addition too. I believe in Ms. Jones and what she is singing about – honesty is really important for me. Would definitely want to investigate more after hearing this.

Ms. Jones – A Secret Place

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HISSING AT SWANS

BIOHissing at Swans are a ramshackle ukulele and Casio-tone ensemble comprised of Clare and Sarah. They make films, write songs and drink snowballs.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Camilla: Bloody brilliant name – really stands out. Ukelele and casiotone is an awesome combination and I like the ramshackle energy to this track and the lyrics are great. It is obviously very badly recorded but I think I love Hissing At Swans and would love to hear more of their acerbic lo fi pop.

Ruth: More please! DIY aesthetic and a song about the dull, dull tedium of 9-5 office work. The unflinching drum beat really rams that home.

Annette: Shocking recording and mentally loud drum intrusion but I feel a bit swoony about this band. Arid dry lyrics and cute two-part vox. Lo-fi scutty thumbs up.

Hissing At Swans – Administrate

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AMAZON MOLLY

BIO: Comedy post-riot grrrl, fun, punk songs about Tetris, sex and gender politics. Influenced by pop, punk, folk, riot grrl, musicals, grunge, and “lesbian music”, Amazon Molly like to think they sound like the awkward shouldn’t-still-be-acting-like-a-teenager offspring of The Murmurs and Northern State, conceived with the Buffy soundtrack playing in the background. Except there is no rap. (Yet.)

THE JUDGES SAID:

Annette: A little bit smutty, a little bit silly, with bags of confidence and shutzpah. Strong, catchy track and am totally digging the bass. I think I love Amazon Molly.

Camilla: Ooh very Long Blondes. I loved this. Ridiculously catchy and skew whiff. I would listen to an album of this. Fun smart and with oodles of energy.

Charlotte: Rad in principle, annoying in execution.

Amazon Molly – Brainsex

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GLDGRVZ

BIO: A london based two piece consisting of MDMX and producer Sarah Nag. Since 2009 the pair have been making fun electro music with quirky lyrics and drum machine beats.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Charlotte: Atmospheric and sexy. Win.

Annette: Dang… Two fiercely divine vocals, achey bass and slick production. Makes me lusty.

Camilla: Ladytron-tastic. A bit too self conscious to really get me excited to be honest but this is well made smart electro pop that could well win this band a lot of fans.

Ruth: This track has it’s own fierce identity, epic synths and a strong vocal. And those French lyrics, tres sexy.

GLDGRVZ – I Am A Ghost

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GAPTOOTH

BIOGaptooth is a 26-year-old electropop singer/songwriter, originally from Basingstoke, now based in London. She has been writing and recording songs since childhood, but adopted the moniker of Gaptooth in 2005. It is her wry, often political lyrics with a feminist bent which set her apart from the slew of synth pop acts gracing the UK charts in recent years. Mixing the electronic pop mastery of The Postal Service with the riot girl attitude of Le Tigre and the dry wit of The Magnetic Fields, Gaptooth takes in a string of genres along the way.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Camilla: Oooh very Bis and Le Tigre-esque, interesting references on the biog too and well written political lyrics. The track is interestingly constructed and catchy and I like that Gaptooth is called Gaptooth, amazing, and that she combines electronic music with scuzzy riffs to danceable effect.

Ruth: A slice of classic Brit pop which works itself into a mighty fine electro-clash frenzy.

Annette: Completely unconvinced by the first few seconds before killer vocals in the chorus and tight lyrics leapt up and sucker punched me in the face. Electro-pop indulgence with great name.

Charlotte: A little too polished and derivative for me.

Gaptooth – Ladykillers

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VON BURL

BIOVon Burl is the work of Karen Crum, originally from Larne in Northern Ireland, now living in London. After years of procrastination (she was studying a PhD in Genetics at Cambridge Uni, before sacking it off to become a Bioinformatician… and then she got properly sucked into the world of work/life), Karen recorded some demos in November 2009 and decided to play live as solo project.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Viv: It’s all there but the song didn’t grab me.

Camilla: Very warm, beautiful sound. Lovely guitar playing. Reminded me a little of Laura Veirs. Heartfelt and quite magical. Karen is obviously hugely talented and this track really appealed to the romantic in me.

Ruth: Classically gorgeous melody and lovely vocals.


Von Burl – Heartbeat

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LISA KENNY

BIO: Lisa is 23, 24 in October and currently resides in Brighton. She has been playing the guitar all her life, and the ukulele for two years. She can also play the piano, drums, kazoo. Lisa has been featured on Radio Berkshire a few times, and has performed at WOMAD two years in a row, and was a featured artist at the London Ukulele Festival last year.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Viv: No denying the voice. Need more! More from the songwriting to stand out.

Camilla: Ooh I didn’t expect this girl to sound like this from her picture and biog! What a beautiful vocal, reminded me a bit of Beth Orton. Simple, affecting pop song. I imagine it’s total goosebump city when you see this girl live. Very promising indeed, would like to hear her do a track with full band just to see where she can take it.

Ruth: Lovely voice, nice melody, wears her influences on her sleeve which is no bad thing.


Lisa Kenny – Only

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ANNA MADELEINE

BIOAnna Madeleine is a leftfield electronic musician and vocalist. Her ‘built at home’ sound is breakbeat, electro, atmospheric, drum ‘n’ bass/hip hop. She is mostly influenced by film, science fiction, comics, graffiti and other street art, children’s literature, Welsh people, London. She has worked as a session singer, collaborator and musical theatre/cabaret performer and just started taking her solo stuff out recently.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Annette: Not perfect – but I love. A real grower. The list of genre influences confuses me a little, and I think this track is moody enough to take a bit more bass and dirt, but I think Anna is really talented and could definitely go someplace interesting.

Ruth: Loops, samples and layered, haunting vocals spins rather a captivating track.

Camilla: I was frightened by the mention of drum n bass and the bizarre picture but actually this track is interestingly arranged and produced. Not sure if it is that strong melodically but I like the sound and the thought behind it and would be interested to hear more from Anna. Like a sedated Kate Bush let loose on a laptop.

Anna Madeleine – The Angel

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V.A.G

BIOV.A.G. are an all girl group who got together in 2009 to show the male dominated music scene what they were made of. The ‘very angry girls’ started gigging as soon as the band formed, learning as they went along. The girls were the only all girl band in Ireland to get picked to play at Milk 2010, Europes first ever LGBT music festival.

THE JUDGES SAID:

Annette: Name change, name change!! This track is far from perfect, and veers into slightly uncomfortable territory at points but there’s definitely something here. Needs a bit more speed, bass and oomph, but these young ladies sure have potential.

Ruth: The name is off-putting, but the heart is in the right place! Need to be less self-consciously ‘right on’ and focus on making some great rollicking tunes, which they’re obviously more than capable of.

Camilla: Immediately horrified by the name and track title but let’s persevere. Angry girls, female genitalia references? Really I thought we were beyond this. It’s a shame because I like the vocals a lot and the grungey guitar sound. I think the song would sound better if it was sped up, more attacking. These girls are young, if they inject more energy into their delivery and change the name then they may just be onto something.

V.A.G – Safety Pin Grin

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134 Responses to “Just A Girl | The Long List”

  1. It’s a shame the winners of this competition will really be the people who have had the time and patience to refresh the page enough.

    Here at Sapphic Traffic, we love Amazon Molly. Till the end. They are sooooo rad in execution.

    xx

    • thegirlsare says:

      Thanks for your comment! As for the winners – they will be the people who perform best on the night. The highest rated six will go through to the live final, and then it’s up to them to wow both the audience and the judges in person! I think you’d be surprised by how close the results currently are…

    • Gaptooth says:

      I’d like to think that won’t be the case – after all, it would be a bit of a hollow victory, wouldn’t it?

  2. Belinda Brown says:

    Von Burl gets my vote… great guitar playing and lyrics full of emotion. Love, love, love!

  3. faith taylor says:

    AMAZON MOLLY = LIFE

  4. Joan says:

    birds of paradise = really are bop! AWESOME

  5. Chris says:

    Lots of good stuff here but for me Von Burl is the best!

  6. Curly says:

    THe Birds have it all.

  7. ms.jones says:

    so to all who voted for my song thank you… there’s a new track to be listened on my page: http://www.myspace.com/heloisesque
    good luck everyone in the final days..
    x
    ms. jones

  8. Barnaby says:

    She Makes War…Just so terrifyingly perfect.

  9. Baby Streuth says:

    If anyone’s interested in hearing more Baby Streuth songs – head to http://www.thesixtyone.com/babystreuth (I tried to put them on myspace but it’s a shambolic mess of a site these days)

    Thanks to all who’ve voted for me.

  10. Laura says:

    I voted for Anna Madeleine, she sounds the freshest to me. Too much derivitive/scene stuff elsewhere.

  11. Anna Madeleine gets my vote. I love the tied up tortured artist vibe of the photo and the track is hypnotic, very programmatic.

  12. […] Please vote for me to play in front of the Ladyfest panel on 23rd November by clicking here – voting closes at midnight tonight and here’s why I’d appreciate your votes. […]

  13. bmoss says:

    Minnie Birch got my vote, but there was a lot to love in this line up.x

  14. Pat says:

    I love Amazon Molly more than crusty bread.

  15. pia says:

    voted for von burl! beautiful song!!

  16. jackie mitchell says:

    With reference to the judges comments on Very Angry Girls, I agree with most of everything said, except Camilla’s comment,(Really I thought we beyond all this)
    I have to admit when I herd the name at first I was a little hummmmmm too . The more I thought about it and listened to more of the Girls songs the name grew on me. This is a group of very young women empowering themselves through their song writing, and I say Go V.A.G all the way. (Remember the Sex Pistols?)

  17. Laura says:

    Jackie – well said – and while I’m here I’d also like to show my annoyance at the comments made by Camilla about my entry.

    Why it’s seemingly fine for one of the judges of a female music competition to slag off one of the women I’ve been lucky enough to be hired to play for in the past I don’t know!! If you’re trying to make fun of my past employers there is far better fodder than Alex Parks, whose only crime was to write and release a beautiful second album against the wishes of her major label, then self-fund touring it with her band, which included me on the bass. It’s really childish to poke fun at that, and shows absolutely zero female solidarity.

    If those are the sorts of comments I’m to expect on the night of the final I’ll have to start coming up with some withering comebacks ;)

    Let’s keep the competition positive, shall we?

  18. Christian Labrune says:

    Congratulations, Miss Jones ! What a beautiful song ; what a beautiful voice !

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