Once classed as Leeds’ best kept secret, Post War Glamour Girls have well and truly emerged from the shadows. Their skewed observational lyrics and baroquish approach to sound, has seen them earn a following and respect that far out reaches the confines of their West Riding home. Their, soon to be released, third studio album ‘Swan Songs’ and upcoming tour (details of both below), will see that fanbase grow, as will their influence.
But what about the songs that inspire them? What music shaped them? We grabbed lead singer James and got him to talk us through the songs that make up the soundtrack of his life…
What was the first track you can remember? Hippy Hippy Shakes – The Swinging Blue Jeans
My mum had a compilation cassette in the car which documented the soundtrack of period Yorkshire cop drama Heartbeat. This one resonates because I used to love and hate it simultaneously. Heartbeat finished at 9pm on a Sunday night, which meant bedtime and the weekend being over, which meant back to school. Hippy Hippy shakes broke me weekly until the death of Greengrass. I stopped watching after that.
What was the first record you ever bought? Gorillaz – Gorillaz
With my own cash, it was this. I was 10 and had no interest in music. I’d refused to play any instruments at school because I was adamant music was boring and I was going to be a comic book artist. Dunno why I didn’t think I could like both… I remember getting dropped off at a friend’s birthday party with me sketch pad and felt tips. I took requests from the other kids about what cartoon characters they would like me to draw for them and stayed inside with the curtains drawn while they played out in the sunshine. It was a posh kid’s house so they had sky tv. One of the music channels was on in the background, I think it was ‘The Box’. This video with all these cartoon monkeys in it came on. I was drawn in by the visuals, but it was the doomy hip hop what hooked me. It was playful and dark and groovy, this album is still great. I decided to start a cartoon band with my friends shortly after. I was to be the animator and the drummer. Sometimes I wish I’d stuck behind the kit, would’ve made life a lot easier. I suppose too, would being a cartoon monkey…
What was the last record you bought? Strange U – 4080LP
Absolutely banging record. My friend Markus Clarke put me on to this. I might be doing a collaboration for Markus with King Kashmere off this record, I’m hoping it comes through. It’s weird and brilliant, for fans of space, surrealism, sarcasm and murky slop. UK hip-hop is a thing and this is the benchmark.
What’s your Saturday night tune? William Onyeabor – Body and Soul
Absolute party starter, the groove is incessant. Whenever I DJ I open with this, it’s powerful shit.
Your Sunday morning tune? Dorothy Ashby – Afro Harping
This whole album is on repeat at the moment. Most Sundays, put on a pot of coffee and have a little potter, Listen to a bit of R’ Dozza on the ol’ harpo. It’s great, she’s ace.
The tune most likely to get you on the dance floor? A Tribe Called Red – Sisters
I got a lift back from Bradford in this lady’s car last month and she had this on. They’re a Native Canadian DJ Collective, so the album is really varied and interesting with loads of different contributors and guests. Some really cool collaborations with the likes of Saul Williams and Mos Def on there, but this track stood out as it feels just on the cusp of not being cool, a bit cheese y’know? It’s really playful and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I think that’s why I like it so much, no one can dance meaningfully to serious music can they? Electric Powwow.
If forced, what would be your karaoke tune? Viva La Vida – Coldplay
Every time. Serious music people, who like music and talking about music always say stuff like ‘Oh… Coldplay get a lot of stick but the first two albums are brilliant’ as if everything they did since went down hill. But that’s just not true… This song is the best thing they ever did and will ever do and it’s a bloody journey from start to finish. It’s a song that makes me laugh, the pomp strings and the Eno euro-house kick, it’s hilarious. It makes me march on the spot.
What’s your tour bus favourite? Maynard Ferguson – Macarthur Park
We play this ace game in the van where everyone passes the ipod round and cues up a song each off spotify. The rule is you can’t skip. You delete the history every time so no one can see what the other people picked. You never stop passing it round. It usually goes round the van about 5 or 6 times before the first track has even finished, then everyone sort of forgets what they’ve picked and you just sit back and listen. The only version of this on spotify is a live version which is 20 minutes long and mostly a trumpet solo, before you know it you’re in London and Maynard has only just wet his little lips.
Favourite track made by your friends? Blacklisters – Trickfuck
Whenever we’re going for something ‘heavy’ we always start with this and work backwards from there. Blacklisters have influenced us quite a lot over the years. It just felt really exciting when this came out, great video too. It’s nice to call them friends because they are nice people that make nasty music whereas most nice music is made by nasty people, so that’s something to hold on to.
The greatest album ever made? Neil Young – After The Goldrush
What more can I say about this? It’s timeless. I’ve played it at least once a week for as long as I can remember. I’m always discovering new Neil Young records (re-act-or w/ Crazy Horse being a great record I picked up recently) but it always comes back to this. I want to write songs as effortless and brilliant as this, one day I will.
Your guilty pleasure? Bryan Adams + Mel C – When You’re Gone
To be honest, I don’t feel guilty over this. It’s brilliant, it’s like that Coldplay song, it’s hilarious. I absolutely love laughing when I listen to music and the line ‘even food don’t taste that good’ cracks me up every time, as if Bry and Mel have been eating dog dirt or crayons or summat and then someone gives them a bowl of ice cream and they’re like ‘nah, I’m sad my significant other ain’t about, it’s better than dog dirt and crayons, but it still doesn’t taste THAT good’. I’m not really keen on Bryan, I think he’s probably the worst Bryan. But I love Mel C and she was/is definitely the best Spice Girl.
A track that we would be surprised that you like? The Lightning Seeds – Lucky You
Again, probably not that big a surprise that I like it… It’s more how enthusiastic I am about it and how often I force people to listen to it at parties and in the van. My enthusiasm for The Lightning Seeds greatest hits CD I own is unwaning. It’s got Ian Broudie surfing on the Albert Docks on the cover. They always remind me of Salt and Vinegar Seabrooks and Greennalls pub beer gardens. I used to siphon me dad’s lager off through my charlie chalk straw when he wasn’t looking and The Lightning Seeds were always on the jukebox soundtracking those easy living 90’s pub summers.
Your favourite tune from your favourite artist? The Fall – Big New Prinz
Probably not my favourite tune. Possibly not my favourite band. But… They remain the band i’m most fascinated by, the band I go back to time and again. Explaining why The Fall are probably the best band ever to people who don’t like The Fall is a lost cause. With The Fall it can click at any time in your life and you can’t really force it, it’ll either happen or it won’t, though you can’t tell when. That said, the Brix era stuff is always a good place to start if you want to give them a try, as everybody should. I don’t understand how anyone could deny how great Big New Prinz is… but then again, I am a Fall fan, so I don’t get how people can’t like it.
A track from a band who you think should receive more recognition? Mi Mye – I Think Everything’s Going To Be Fine
Jamie produces our albums. He’s one of the most talented song writers and producers I’ve ever met. Mi Mye has been a thing for over 10 years but this is the first album where stuff has picked up a little more. Still, they should be cult-huge, easy. The album this is from is called ‘The Sympathy Sigh’ and it is mesmerising from start to finish.
Is there a particular song who’s lyrics inspire you? Smog – Held
‘For the first time in my life, I let myself be held, Like a big ol’ baby’
The song you’ll have at your funeral? Jim Carroll – People Who Died
I saw Patti Smith cover this at Roskilde in Denmark less than a year after a close friend of mine had passed away. It was cathartic for me to hear it, especially from someone as wise and beautiful as Patti. For me, the song is a reminder of how little control we actually have over our time on earth. Innocent children die before they hit double figures and Rupert Murdoch is still alive, so for me, there is no God, there is no justice. People talk about living life to the fullest, which we should, but it doesn’t mean daily skydives before breakfast or owt like that. It just means don’t be a cunt to people, seek out love in the little things, give as much as you can, make stuff, share stuff, don’t let the bitter feelings fester. When I’m dead, whenever that may be, I just hope that I’ve seen a little bit more of the world and that I wrote, recorded and performed as much stuff as I could, and that a couple of people got something out of it somewhere down the line. I also want my coffin to come down a slip n’ slide off a massive hillside, do a flip off a ramp and land in a bonfire.
The best track ever made? Talking Heads – Naive Melody (this must be the place)
Post War Glamour Girls third studio album ‘Swan Songs’ is released on 21st April
You can catch Post War Glamour Girls live on the following dates:
21 Brudenell Social Club, Leeds – Album Launch
04 Maguire’s Pizza Bar, Liverpool
06 Crux, Wakefield
09 The Polar Bear, Hull
10 The Cluny, Newcastle
11 Bar Bloc, Glasgow
12 The Music Cafe, Leicester
13 The Fulford Arms, York
16 The Portland Arms, Cambridge
18 The Owl Sanctuary, Norwich
19 Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
20 Gullivers, Manchester
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