Emily Breeze / Vile Vile Creatures / Fake Tan / Pencil Toes :
Peppermint Patti, Cardiff Chapter Arts Centre, 15/09/07

Pencil Toes. Indie-guitars-and-electronics. Day-glo t-shirts. Asymmetric hipster haircuts. Oh fuck, it's New Rave, rearing its deceptively pretty head and reaching out its tentacles to grab my beloved underground queer feminist rock scene in its brain-deadening stranglehold. Please, please, no. Only, New Rave pisses me off. It makes me want to rant, indignantly, at great length, and punch the next stupid NME-reading fucker I see wearing a smiley face t-shirt from Topshop. New Rave offends me, and Pencil Toes are far too inoffensive to do that. Innocuous, tuneful, quite nice, a bit dull.

Things get a whole lot better, though, with Fake Tan. This Leeds trio deal in spiky, exuberant, Raincoats-y poppy punky stuff with a healthy side order of grinning, and managed to turn the polite head-nodding in the audience into manic seizure-dancing within minutes. They're slightly ramshackle and irrepressibly bouncy, a breath of fresh air laced with amphetamines. http://www.myspace.com/faketanrock

Continuing the Northern theme are Manchester's Vile Vile Creatures, who've impressed me at PeppermintPatti before, and they're just as good this time round. Their sound seems to have got heavier and more focused, but they've still got that gleefully unstable stage presence, humour and revolutionary fervour. And the megaphone. If you only see one queer-grrrl-punk racket this year, make it them. http://www.myspace.com/vilevilecreatures

Vile Vile Creatures

Emily Breeze just screams PJ Harvey (with a dash of Nick Cave and a sprinkling of Patti Smith), all rockabilly-styled bad-girl perfection and filthy, atmospheric blues. This is primal, whiskey-and-murder-ballads rock and roll -- the sort of thing that's so, so good when it's done well, but unutterably cringeworthy in the wrong hands. Luckily, Breeze's hands are the right ones. She's got an immensely powerful voice and a striking presence, and there's a hint of pathos in the blood and sweat of her music that always keeps it from straying over the line into cliché. This sort of music has always been a bit of a boys' club, its undercurrent of violence often directed in worryingly misogynistic ways. Emily Breeze turns all that on its head, and it's a sweet, sweet sound to hear. http://www.myspace.com/emilybreeze

Jess Trash

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