THE CRIMEA

Interviews, News, Reviews…

Davey talks alot (more that usual) about The Crocketts in an interview with I Like Music, and also his favourite place on earth – a huge fuckoff massive rainbow coloured dragon rode by green jelly babies. I think.
Owen talks more about The Crimea and their US tour with New Noise.
The inevitable Tragedy Rocks reviews come in via Manchester Music giving it a rare less than favourable mention.
And looky at this – Virgin give it the opposite, a great review. Not sure where the 3/5 fits in then, but being the company who droped the band’s previous incarnation I’d say maybe it’s a slight touch of sour grapes. Mehehe.
Another great review, but this one of a gig. Manchester Online witnessed crowd interaction and amp ascending. I’ve gotta get to a gig sometime.
The CrimeaAnother gig review comes via BBC Liverpool who showed up at the Liverpool Academy to be enchanted by babbles and bubbles.
Here’s a mention of the band from the Telegraph, apparently they’re on a par with the Artic “look at us at number one with no help” Monkeys.
I’ve added a few blog links in the past, some nonsense, some totally foreign, but this one’s a little different. Radio Wales presenter Adam Walton mentions them in his, but he’s kinda miffed with Warners for not sending him a copy of the album yet. So get to it someone. Speaking of AW, I just noticed a playlist from last year on his Radio Wales site. Look down the page and you’ll see what looks like him playing half the album in a row. I swear I don’t remember seeing it before, and I’m sure it wasn’t a session, so *yay* for mr Walton.
Oh oh, photos from Cardiff from mr Jon. More coming soon but christ, give me a break for a while, I’ve just spent four hours scanning magazine articles in. And the gigs page is updated for the guy who wasn’t sure whether the next Cardiff gig is on or not. It is. ?8 on the door I do belive.

The Crimea chat to I LIKE MUSIC

The Crimea present their debut album ?Tragedy Rocks?, a lush and lacerating collection of edgy and melodic cocktails sweetened by sonic ambition and spiked with frontman Davey MacManus? debauched, bitter-funny tales of mean streets, meaner romance, good gin and not-so-good times. The intoxicatingly inventive album is set for release on October 17th on Warner Bros. Records.

Highlights of the album include the carnival-ride lope of ?Lottery Winners On Acid?, the hypnotic ?Baby Boom? and the woozy jangle of ?Bad Vibrations?. Throughout, The Crimea succeed in creating a sound instantly identifiable yet utterly unique. In the States, The Crimea have already won favourable comparisons with artists as diverse as the Flaming Lips, Low, Elliott Smith and Leonard Cohen.

I LIKE MUSIC caught up with Davey MacManus for a quick chat …

ilm: Tragedy Rocks is out now. Of all the tracks on the album, which did you have the most fun laying down?

Davey: Hell, it was all a drawn out show of histrionics and tantrums, fun is not a word in our dictionary, its more like a need, like fighting in the trenches of the Somme. It?s not fun but it gets a result. I suppose because we spend a lot of time making songs it becomes more like work. My favourite to record was ?Losing My Hair,? we did it over Christmas 2004, at home, it came from nowhere, we recorded it, and that was alomost it, we recorded it again to change the arrangement a bit, then recorded it once more, mixed it in New York and stuck it on the album.

ilm: As the Crocketts, you originally signed to UK major label, V2 in 1998. What have you learned about the industry since 98. What?s your advice to musicians breaking into the industry?

Davey: At the time we were definitely clueless. I thought London was great, and rock city in Northampton heaven, since then I have learnt just what a loose cannon the industry is, we have had dodgy managers, shit tours, fights, been dropped for publishing and records, and signed both again to majors. I learnt its shit being in a cult band, everyone loves you but nobody buys your records. My advice is do everything yourself, do not let anyone else near it, become a Hitler type character, create your own republic, kill everything that gets in your way.

ilm: You released lots of records and toured non-stop as support to The Stereophonics and on your own, what was the highlight of that time?

Davey: There have been many amazing supports, but the highlight is always our own shows, its always a shock to actually get a crowd in the first place, theres nothing better than having your arse licked by 300 people and that?s the brunt of a headline show. A massive ego boost for the band. It was all pretty strange, we were so young and just out non-stop, eventually everyone went a bit bonkers.

ilm: Davey you?ve been called ?the Lewis Carroll of his generation?, how does that feel and please can you describe The Crimea songwriting/music making process?

Davey: I know people keep talking about Lewis Carroll but I still don?t have a clue who he is, other than possibly the lion in Lord Of The Rings. The Crimea songwriting process is elongated, it starts with a few ad hoc ideas clumsily stuck together, usually the initial lyric is a rhubarb style lyric which happens to fit the music, we then learn the stuff as band, change it 100 times and then record it in our home studio, we then demo it about ten more times in different arrangements and tempos and rythyms and keys till we find the ideal way of playing the song, yawn, it?s a pain in the ass, but its worth it.

ilm: You played ?Lottery Winners on Acid? at the Digital Music Awards, can you tell those who don?t know about you about that song?

Davey: It?s a classic love song in the ?something in the way she moves? mould. It is saying anything you do, I will do too, If you get herpes, I?ll get herpes, I even think what you are about to say before you say it, its old school Casablanca stuff.

ilm: How are you enjoying the digital revolution? Do you feel the internet is good for music/artists?

Davey: Yes, it used to take us a weekend to fold all our mailouts and lick the stamps and put the addresses on, now we just email people. Its very handy, it allows people to see what the hell we are doing at all times.

ilm: What piece of music hardware or software could you not live without?

Davey: I couldn?t live without my machine (16 track) its been my constant companion for the last 4 years. I spend all my time, mincing around with it, once you pop you cant stop, it takes forever, but the possibilities are endless. Why spend the night watching tv when you can record a song, because tv is more interesting. So basically I couldn?t live without Top Of The Pops on a Friday night, and now I come back and they?ve moved it to Sunday!.

ilm: What?s your current favourite song to play live?

Davey: Probably one of the new ones … ?Man?. Its probably the most complex chord sequence of all time, so it make me feel like Steve fucking Vai, its that childhhood dream singing into a hairdryer in front of the mirror thing.

ilm: What?s your favourite ?live? experience as a punter?

Davey: Being right down the front, for Shane Magowan, in Glasgow with all the crowd shouting Celtic slogans and then him coming on stage and saying ?hello Edingborough? I never felt excitement like prior to him coming onstage, he is one of the last living legends, who still lives on the edge and hasn?t morphed into a herbal tea aerobics fanatic.

ilm: What ambitions do you have left to fulfil?

Davey: I would love to buy a house, some nice pairs of jeans, a lifelong supply of marijuana, get my haircut, and lets be honest Top Of The Pops is still what the common man calls making it. So I want to be in the charts. I don?t want to be an indie no hoper forever, mincing about in an Oxfam cardigan.

ilm: Can you describe your favourite place on earth?

Davey: Well its about 300 miles long, green, it has lots of little men looking for pots of gold at the end of rainbows. The Gold is Black, and it costs about 10 fucking quid a pint. There are lots of pretty girls with fake tans. Their accents are hard to understand.

ilm: What is in your CD player right now?

Davey: Regina Spector

ilm: Please tell me your favourite tune that makes you chill out?

Davey: Chilling out is for incense burning schmucks, I prefer to spend all the time in a raging torrent, there is always some ongoing crisis to doomonger about. If not I am well capable of making my own mess. I suppose at Christmas I like a bit of early Elton John.

ilm: The site?s called I LIKE MUSIC.COM. Please finish this sentence. I Like Music because ?

Davey: I Like Music because … Otherwise I?d be a crackhhead.

Interview from I Like Music.

The Crimea: War Games

The Crimea are a new band who have already toured with the likes of Billy Corgan, Dashboard Confessional and Ash, can count amongst their members a former Crockett?s front-man and published poet (lead singer, Davey MacManus) and a drummer (Owen Hopkin) who moonlights for publications such as NME and Kerrang! They also had John Peel praise one of their early demos as ?the best thing I?ve heard in a long time?.

Oh yeah, and this is all before the release of their debut album, ?Tragedy Rocks?.

These are obviously clever guys with their fingers in many pies and New Noise got to catch up with Hopkin sitting in his record company offices in the middle of London to tell us more about the band.

So hi, how are you?
I?m good thanks.

A little bit of history first, how did you all meet?
Um?I knew Davey [lead singer] already and got to know the rest through a series of happy accidents ? once we started recording though, the actual band got together quickly and it?s worked really well.

You played at SXSW in 2004. What was that like?
We were an unsigned band when we went there, and it was also one of the first times that we had all played together as a group so it was understandably a bit nerve-wracking. But we got signed to Warner because of it – something that?s not expected out there, so we ended up having a fantastic time!

What?s the best thing about being a signed band?
It?s got to be the free stuff by far! Clothing, shoes that kind of thing – although if we aren?t careful we could all end up looking like members of a boy band. Oh and loads of Jagermeister?that?s really helped us on long nights when touring, and the bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere?.really it has!

John Peel played one of your early demos ?Baby Boom? on his show back in 2003, and it ended up #8 in his Festive Fifty. What was it like to be championed by someone like John Peel?
It was fuckin? fantastic, it really was. It was only an early demo, but John Peel is an amazing legend and it was a great feeling to know that we had his support there. It also worked well for us, as John was – and still is I suppose – really respected in the States, and so being played on his show got us a lot of much needed exposure over there.

What are your musical influences?
Well anything really I suppose. Lots of things from the 60s and 70s though; big band stuff. We are huge Dusty Springfield fans – and tried to re-create that sound in our songs – ?cept we only have a tiny Casio Keyboard to play around with! We also look at bands that are doing well now though and we try to react to that and pick up elements of their sound which makes them successful.

How does it feel to be compared by members of the musical press to singers such as Elliot Smith and Leonard Cohen?
Don?t mind really, they are amazing singers, and? I mean any praise has got to be good?right? I suppose though, as long as individual songs are compared, and not the bands? sound as a whole it?s all brilliant.

What was it like touring in the States?
America was amazing. It was like living a dream. We got to see all these places that you only ever see in films, got to go to some of the poshest venues – and I mean posh – and the reception we got over there was really fantastic. The audiences there are so enthusiastic and welcoming to new bands, and will let you know straight away what they think of you. Over here in the UK it?s harder to tell what audiences are thinking – they don?t wear their hearts on their sleeves I suppose – but that?s no bad thing either.

Are you looking forward to the upcoming UK tour?
Yeah – but it?s probably going to rain the whole time. Whenever we tour over here is always raining. We haven?t toured here since last April though and that was supporting Ash so it?ll be an interesting experience – different from America at any rate, but we?ve had a really good reaction to our new album over here so it?ll be good fun I?m sure!

And finally, have you got any plans for Halloween?
?Nah! We don?t trust those scary grannies. They might slip razor blades into apples or something like that?.anyway we?re too old!

Good luck with the tour, NN will be there checking you out in sunny Newcastle. Hope it all goes well!
Thanks, it should be ace. See you then!

Interview by Charlotte Otter for New Noise.

TRAGEDY ROCKS

:: The Crimea ::
14 November 2005 / Warner / 10 Trk CD

The Crimea is actually the latest incarnation of mid-nineties indie outfit The Crocketts. Founder members Davey Crockett (aka McManus) and drummer Owen Cash (aka Hopkins) had found new members for the original band and now having changed their name to The Crimea around late 2003, with a new deal under their arm, ?Tragedy Rocks? reflects the new sound. John Peel was a big fan and the bands later tracks made his 2003 Festive Fifty. It?s not hard to understand why, as the album swings from tender folk to subdued rock. McManus adds the charm of Grandaddy and hints of an early Watrerboys, which is all bolstered by the jangly, fairly inoffensive pop outlook. The uplifting topic of ?Girl Just Died? is straight up cabaret indie with deliberate, slightly bleak prospects. It?s a theme that?s constantly repeated and the bands legacy of early 90?s middle ground indie is all too apparent. The rather awkwardly and slightly bemusing title of ?Gazillions Of Minature Violins? sounds like an ethereal, slow motion, Peter Doherty track. Taking a step back from this, ?Tragedy Rocks? seems to make the right kind of noises, but there?s little to remember from the album once it?s back in its dust jacket.

Rating: 2.5 / 5.

Review by Manuel Ecostos for Manchester Music.

The Crimea – Tragedy Rocks review

Starting off with what sounds like a rather predictable Americana rock stylee, The Crimea’s debut album then goes on to spring no small amount of very pleasant surprises.

Quirky – as in Flaming Lips quirky – Tragedy Rocks is at once an alternative pop delight and an examination of the darker side of love, drug taking and general weirdness. Intelligent, indeed possibly even a bit too intelligent for its own good, the record offers up several classics in the making, like Lottery Winners On Acid, a jolly singalong number with undercurrents of madness, while Baby Boom – a single two years ago that made the top ten of John Peel’s annual Festive Fifty – is a glorious chunk of heartfelt pop rock, one which no doubt Crash Test Dummies were aiming for when they released Mmmm a number of years ago. As is Someone’s Crying, as near as an oblique homage to Leonard Cohen as you’re likely to find outside his immediate family.

Lyrically the band are up to it as well: “If you want to see my happy side/better tell me that my girl just died”, on Girl Just Died being a case in point, while on Losing My Hair frontman Davey McManus compares the world’s greatest events with the prospect of becoming follically challenged. Priceless.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Released: 17th October 2005
Label: Warner

Review from Virgin.net.

The Crimea @ The Roadhouse
Rating: 5 / 5.

03/11/05

DIRECT descendents of The Crocketts, The Crimea are Davey McManus?s latest incarnation and as such are not what the popular press might consider the sort of fresh meat they are looking for.

That could go some way towards explaining why their exceptional and potentially quite commercial debut LP Tragedy Rocks has been almost universally ignored. Alternative explanations anyone?

Emerging late (not even meeting their ten-thirty show time), McManus and his team are greeted by a dwindling Roadhouse crowd as people slip away, many no doubt hastened in their flight by the lameness of support act People in Planes.

How to stem the tide? Well one way is to jump off the stage clutching both mic and stand, work your way to the back and tear through the very first song (Opposite Ends) from there.

Justice

Yep, that ought to do it. This magical beginning sets the tone for a special display that does full justice to the exquisite pop songs that comprise Tragedy Rocks.

In fact, it is that album?s least spectacular tracks that are most noticeably enhanced. Girl Just Died, whose lyric is somewhat banal by McManus?s own skewed standards, stands tall as an Indie disco fave in waiting.

Lottery Winners on Acid, meanwhile, is realised as the crowd sing-along that it was always destined to be with a bubble machine on overdrive and McManus perching atop an amp.

An old friend?s tale of carrying McManus?s alter ego Davey Crockett on top of his shoulders at the Fleece and Firkin in Bristol seems ever more credible.

The Crimea can smack out a racket, but in an effortless and uncontrived manner, evidenced by White Russian Galaxy and Miserabilist Tango. Unlike their aforementioned warm-up band, these guys are no bunch of try-hards.

Impresses

But it is the richness of their sound that truly impresses. The piano that so prettily decorates Tragedy Rocks is accentuated tonight, while myriad keyboard effects are threaded in perfectly.

McManus himself cuts a somewhat broken figure. For all his gigging experience, interacting with the crowd appears not to come naturally to him. Still, this does not stop him bemoaning the fact that ?it ain?t easy being weird? or declaring that his band are in fact from Moscow.

He bears no hint of a Russian accent on set closer Someone?s Crying.

Essentially a repeating suite of movements with a central gospel theme, it runs through the entire gamut of dark emotions before coming to a resigned rest, and even finds room for the sweetest harmonies this side of The Magic Numbers.

Are The Crimea destined to become my favourite little band that no-one I meet has ever heard of, or are the critics and playlisters alike going to remove their earplugs?

Review by Stephen Gilliver for Manchester Online, 07/11/05.

the crimeaThe Crimea @ Liverpool Acadmey 3

The Crimea @ Liverpool Academy 3, 26th October 2005

With The Kills playing a couple of doors down at the same time, an already sparse crowd is probably thinned yet further in Academy 3. But The Crimea have been used to this sort of thing in the couple of years since they sprung out of the ashes of perennial underdogs The Crocketts, and having achieved a modicum of recognition over in the States recently, they’re back to show their homeland that they have indeed got what it takes.

“utterly enchanting ? helped perhaps by the presence of a bubble machine”

They’re in immediate danger, though, of being overshadowed by their support band. The Heights, from North Wales, are one of those pleasantly surprising supports, an engaging enough presence while chucking out quite danceable rock. The singer’s throaty vocals aren’t hugely appealing, but the lead guitarists are excellent, and the overall package gives an impression of being one to keep an eye on.

As the Crimea make their way to the stage, lead singer Davey MacManus chooses to place his mic in the open space in front of the audience, and proceeds to thrash about throughout the slightly low-key opening of “Opposite Ends” followed by the disappointing earlier single “Baby Boom”. The set needs something to kick it into gear, quickly, and the band oblige with the magnificent “White Russian Galaxy”. This song has been in their catalogue since the earliest days, and it has the required effect of immediately lifting the atmosphere.

The CrimeaIn a t-shirt that has clearly seen better days, MacManus appears to be demonstrating evidence of growing insanity, cryptically mumbling excerpts of his lyrics before each song. But as the set goes on, his performance grows in composure. While “Girl Just Died” ? also among their best efforts on record ? disappoints slightly live, the same can’t be said of “The Miserablist Tango”, an absolute belter of an epic that wouldn’t sound out of place on a much bigger stage. “Lottery Winners On Acid”, meanwhile, is utterly enchanting ? helped perhaps by the presence of a bubble machine ? showcasing their ability to write apparently dreamy songs with a dark undercurrent. By the time we come to startling closer “Someone’s Crying”, with Davey screaming his way through the vocal echo effects that have characterised the set, you’re left wondering how the set could have started out feeling underwhelming at all.

The Crimea may not yet have reached the “cult heroes” status that the Crocketts enjoyed, but they’re getting there, and with an expansion of their volume of material they really could go places. They’re back in Liverpool on the 8th November, playing the Barfly ? a venue that should suit them better – and if you fancy trying something a bit different, you could do worse than check them out.

Review by Seb Patrick for BBC Liverpool, 02/11/05.

The King’s reign goes on and on…

? Such has been the feeding frenzy over the Arctic Monkeys, you might think they were the only interesting new band in the country.

I highly recommend the Crimea, a London five-piece who are not actually all that new, they have just taken time to get going.

A favourite of the late John Peel’s since their 2002 single Lottery Winners on Acid, they were signed by Warner Brothers’ US division last year. Their debut album, Tragedy Rocks was hanging around release schedules for a year before it slipped out last month.

It would be a pity if it were neglected. Tragedy Rocks is an absolute killer, full of richly imaginative songs with dark, literate lyrics by songwriter Davey McManus, in which his fragile voice is set against arrangements linking the Stooges with the Beach Boys.

Maybe they should have taken a leaf from the Monkeys’ book, and just given it away on the internet. The band are currently on a tour of small venues around the country. Probably not the next big thing then, but genuinely worth supporting.

Article from the Telegraph website, 03/11/05.

Chills ‘n’ Thrills ‘n’ Bellyaches

Much as I?d prefer to slouch here and banter some more, I?ve got some hardcore tidying up to do. I?m very messy ? in my room ? I get so consumed in what I?m doing workwise that stuff just gets strewn about everywhere. I get the Dyson and the dusters out every couple of months and start scraping, and today is that day.

But before I go, Andy from the Crimea would like it to be known that they?re playing the Barfly in Cardiff this Friday. Much as I’d like to be there, I won’t be. I’ll be in Telfords, DJ?ing before some boogaloo rock ?n? roll retroists. Fate knows just how to rub salt into open wounds, doesn?t she? ;0)

Apparently, the Crimea have a new album coming out. Have their bastard stupid major record label sent me a copy so that I can plaster it all over the airwaves? Have they bollocks! There isn’t a major label in the country [other than V2] who send me records… hmmm… EMI do, and they’re good with it, to be fair; but the rest of ‘em… makes you wonder how on earth they can have their bands’ best interests at heart.

I have a rather inflated sense of my own importance in the grand scheme of things, don’t I? But you would think that the likes of Sony [with regards to Super Furries and the Manics] and Warner Bors [with regards to the Crimea] would understand that the tasteful and downright fucking groovy people who listen to my show, are far more likely to get up off their arses and buy the album[s] than those people listening to the shitty independent stations that these companies trip over themselves to please.

That makes me angry!

Blog post by Adam Walton, 25/10/05.

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