Magazine & Web Articles

Sorry for the small break in transmission, it was much needed. I’ll start with some stuff from the band’s official website Free guestlist places for the UK tour shows are available, drop the band a line via their MySpace profile if you want one. The comp for signed album copies is over, check the site for the winner’s details. And the band have been added as headliners for Boobytrap Records’ 5th birthday party at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff on November 13th. The gigs page on this site should have more details soon.
Now, some real news. The Crimea’s drummer Owen Hopkin features in an interview and his own tour diary article in this month’s issue of Drummer Magazine. It’s available for ?3.20 if you can find it in a store, or for ?4.00 via their website. My copy’s currently in the post :o ).
The Crimea’s album Tragedy Rocks has also been reviewed in the December issue of Q Magazine, out now for ?3.80. Why these things are out a month early and sell out before the named month arrives is beyond me, but don’t wait ’til December to get it.
Speaking of magazines, I feel the need to mention the State Of Mind magazine again. If you live in the States, the October issue available from their website for $4.00 features a huge four page interview with Davey and Andy from the band, going into great detail about various song lyrics and the band’s last US tour. It’s a great read, and for anyone outside the states, I should have something online soon ;o).
Another interview with Davey MacManus can be found on the Clickmusic website, though there’s not much new from previous ones but you can hit More to read it if you so wish.
“The Crimea have produced a surprisingly delightful album”. Words from The Beat Surrender’s review of the album, ending with a 7/10 rating.
Also reviewing the thing are BBC Northampton; “I?m still only days into being enlightened to this band but already I love them”.
The Cardiff Barfly show on October 28th has a preview on the icWales site and there’s also photos from the show on the Xplosure site. Props to mr jon for getting his head right in the middle of it :o ).
To the blogs, again, the Big Bad Bit blog mentions them and the White Russian Galaxy song, while an old friend of Owen’s is suffering Hopkin withdrawals on the Pidster blog. Personally I’m happy people have stopped writing me for a week, I was about to die with all those reviews to post :o P.

The Crimea
The Crimea have just re-released (and re-recorded) their debut album ‘Tragedy Rocks‘, toured the United States with Billy Corgan, were on John Peel’s last Festive Fifty and frontman Davey MacManus is even a published author. Clickmusic caught up with Davey, to see whether it was all going a bit too fast.

It’s been a while since your album was released originally (albeit very limited) – why the decision to re-release it now?

Well, these things just take donkey’s years. There was a lot of fuss because we signed to Warner in the US first, then it took a while to get things going in the UK. We spent all year touring the States building a following in preparation for releasing the album next year, we came back for Reading, and now we’re beginning a concerted UK campaign. So geographical reasons really, with a generous helping of bureaucracy.

You’ve not long returned from a US tour. How did that go? Any particular highlights?

Jesus! It was all brilliant, it’s like going to Disneyland as a kid for three months. The people are receptive and it feels great to be somewhere like San Antonio, have a crowd and everyone be singing. It kinda puts Birmingham in perspective! The highlights for me were playing strange places like El Paso – it was like Watership Down but with street cats, where the blizzard was purer than ever before, us staying in the RV out in the desert. It was like Dances With Wolves!

You featured in the late, great John Peel’s final Festive Fifty. How does it feel to be associated with him in such a way?

It’s brilliant. Everyone in America loves him too. My sister gave him our early demo two years ago, and he played all eleven home recordings. It really helped us to get started. His championing of The Crimea made other people listen, who wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise.

With all this you’re gathering quite a good reputation in the music world at large – is this something that matters to you, or would you do exactly the same if nobody seemed keen on listening?

Well it’s just so strange for things to be turning out so well, it hardly feels real. Ultimately we owe our label half a million dollars, and there’s no point talking success until we’ve sold enough records to pay it back. It’s nice having people say good things, it’s always good to have the ego massaged, but we still did this when we were collecting rubbish and supervising school dinners. I take it all with a pinch of salt. There’s no doubt however that no matter what, we’d still be continuing in some guise.

Finally, what can we expect from The Crimea in 2006?

You can look forward to us having quadruplets which turn in to a band, I’ve seen the scans. We just plan on continuing our global war on terrible music. Not faltering. Get out of the toilets and in to the real venues. Keep pushing the snowball up the hill.

Interview from the Clickmusic website, 28/10/05.

The Crimea – Tragedy Rocks

This year has been a great year for me as far as musical surprises go, I?ve picked up debut albums by the likes of The Shortwave Set and Hard-Fi and been blown away by the fact they have done something different to everything out there at the time. Likewise one of my favourite albums this year came from Frank Black with Honeycomb, somebody I never thought would produce a solo album to match his Pixies work. Sebastian Tellier has snuck upon me and produced an at times brilliant and at times bonkers dance album but even that didn?t match the Vitalic album as far as that genre goes.

So what the hell has this got to do with The Crimea album Tragedy Rocks, even by one of my babbling monologues this is surely stretching it?

True, so I?ll press on, in short The Crimea have produced a surprisingly delightful album to add to that list. Tragedy Rocks is something that when I first put onto my discman (sorry still not had the money to join the Ipod revolution I?m afraid, but if you want to send me one free then you?ll find my address in the contacts page ? yes I know that?s shameless) to ease the journey to work ahead of reviewing it, I had so little expectation of it.

Sure I?d bought a couple of early singles, like John Peel who put Baby Boom in his top ten in the Festive Fifty in 2003 I?d seen some talent and I liked what The Crimea were doing, but nothing at the time suggested that this long player would become one of my favourite long players of this 2005 just a couple of years later.

The band as a whole are talented and I don?t want to put too much focus onto the main man, but Davey MacManus is the main focal point of the band, everything revolves around him and no song passes with him somehow conspiring to steal the show. Yes you might notice the sweeping drums on The Miserabilist Tango catching your ear part way through the song as it turns into a sonic finale, you might even be drawn into the album by the gentle piano opening of White Russian Galaxy but ultimately it?s his ability to carry any song, be it the darker, dense chorus on Opposite Ends that turns into an almost psychobabble in the verses or the melodic tracks like Bad Vibrations, everything comes back to MacManus.

This shouldn?t be seen as a bad thing in a band, dull front men make dull bands and that?s official. If they can continue to harness his talent into making blindingly brilliant, shards of pop music to light up my winter like they do on Gazillions Of Violins then I for one am gonna be a happy man. It?s not often you see such an ambitious debut come off so well, despite the inventiveness and creativity that?s gone into it, it?s not overly-arty or pretentious, it?s heartfelt and warm and resonates with an intoxicating aura of a band that you could grow very attached to.

Beat Surrender Rating: 7/10.

Review by Kev for The Beat Surrender, 25/10/05.

The Crimea Review
It’s taken only a week, but it seems Griff’s found himself a new love. The Crimea @ The Soundhaus; Thursday, 27th October 2005

I have a confession to make; a love affair has begun. Like a classic whirlwind romance, it?s all happened so quickly, I?m not sure where to start?

Seven days ago I was blissfully unaware how a mid-afternoon phone call would cause such chaos. But it did and I still coming to terms with the consequences.

?Would you like to see The Crimea at the Soundhaus next week?, asked the voice, as I had the receiver jammed between my ear and shoulder, trying to find my flaming pen and paper.

?When they playing?.yeah go on then,? I replied. I couldn?t find my pen, but you never can in our office.

?I?ll send you the album too so you can get a feel for them before you go.?

Conversation over, pleasantries exchange, I continued with my day, ignorant to what had just stirred into action.

True to their word, day three arrived and so did a copy of Tragedy Rocks in the morning mail.

I ripped open the jiffy bag, released the CD from its case and watched as it disappeared into the darkness of the player. Things began to take a turn and I really wasn?t prepared.

I?d been told to expect ?The Flaming Lips meets Radiohead?. Well if that?s the case, fine; but that?s way off the mark.

I don?t even know where to pitch this one to you. Don?t get me wrong, it?s not ?so original?. And it?s not ‘everything you could ever want from your music’ either. But I?m far from condemning it, quite the opposite.

You see, I don?t have favourite bands; just like I don?t have best friends or favourite foods. Everybody adds something new, bringing their own unique qualities. The Crimea are no different.

It?s clever, it?s witty, it?s personal, it?s real, it?s like something you?ve heard before but can?t quite remember where. It?s familiar.

I aimed to sneak into the gig at the back, screened off from the band by the rows of adoring fans. It seems they?ve not quite reached those peaks just yet.

Still it?s the punlic’s loss. Those absent missed 40 minutes of aching, longing, tear-stained bitter-sweet pop. You should know by now, a quiet night in is never the best option!

Front man Davey Macmanus is full of Tom Wait?s qualities. His guitar butt is tucked into his fleshy love-handles, while its neck is tossed from side to side. It?s a technique any soldier would be happy with if they were grass-cutting oncoming enemy.

The belief flows from the stage. And so it should. I?m still only days into being enlightened to this band but already I love them. I?m willing them on, feeling sorry that not more are here to reward them for producing such brilliance.

?We?re always surprised that anyone bothers to show up? claims Davey before their final number. Well you shouldn?t be. In fact I?m quiet annoyed they weren?t queuing around the block to get in.

But as the band themselves sing in White Russian Galaxy, ?Who knows what goes on in her pretty little head?. Who knows indeed?!

Review by Griff for BBC Northampton, 28/10/05.

Crimea does pay!

The Crimea, Barfly, Kingsway
THE Crimea make another visit to the Barfly tonight ahead of the release of their new album Tragedy Rocks. Famous for their vivid lyrics and wall of sound rock n roll, The Crimea have often been compared to The Flaming Lips and Leonard Cohen. Support comes The Heights and Smokehand, the latter of which should be well worth checking out. The four-piece ?dark loungecore? outfit dress like gangsters and play jazz, Latino, classical and pop-infused songs to create a sound which ranges from sinister to Sinatra.

Preview from the South Wales Echo, 28/10/05 via icWales.

Keeper: The Crimea ? White Russian Galaxy - The fellow who wrote this song says he was ?trying to write about the effects of alcohol on the psyche of young women.? There?s a little more to the story and, while the song sounds playful, I don?t think it?s meant to be funny. You can read about it at The Crimea’s official website (go to About Us then click on Lyrics/Notes), as well as listen to some of the band?s other great tunes. Also check out an unofficial website for additional information. The band has toured with Billy Corgan, Kings of Leon, Primal Scream, Stereophonics and Dashboard Confessional, among others. I haven?t had a White Russian in at least 16 years but I remember they were pretty tasty. The Crimea, a place in Ukraine, is one thing. The Crimea, the band, is another thing and they?re from London. That?s in England, you know.

News post from the Big Bad Bit blog, 14/10/05.

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