THE CRIMEA

Lights, Camera, Updates!

UGO PlayersStarting with the best: Under Ground Online have finally added the video of The Crimea’s special session for them to their website. The band played Lottery Winners On Acid, Baby Boom, Someone’s Crying and also did an interview for UGO’s Music Channel where you can watch and listen to the whole thing along with many other artist’s exclusive sessions. Props to the UGO guys for an early Christmas present.
Don’t think you’re getting away from them that easy; Tragedy Rocks review number 1572 (you think I’m kidding?) can be found at Attomic Duster. 10 / 10 ain’t so bad now, is it?
Unfortunately the album’s rating at Hot Press ain’t the only bad thing; you can’t even read it unless you pay them money. Time was I knew a website that gave out logins to all these silly pay-for-news sites, but I forget the address… Anyway, it goes along the lines of “They?re a band who seem split in two ? one half intent on making fairly average, mainstream American pop rock, the other half interested in what can best be described as, well, weird shit” and ends with a 6 / 10 for a Mr Phil Udell. Feel the wrath, my man.
Suicide GirlsSo, we’re in need of some pleasure again, and the Suicide Girls are more than happy to oblige. What? You fear for my morals? Eh, don’t worry about them, for it’s only their website’s interview with Davey that I’m talking about, though it’s still as strange a read as you’d imagine. And I’m still waiting on a copy of that S.G. DVD featuring The Crimea on the soundtrack.
More in touch with reality (well, almost… “Andy is half Russian” ?!?) is Music OMH’s interview. Which might be something to do with the contribution from members other than Davey. At least it’s a change, if nothing else.
Gig news comes in from Welcome To London’s preview of the Carlisle show. I guess in the capital they figure it’s all the same place anyways.
Down at Clwb Ifor Bach were GigWise to review The Crimea’s appearance at Boobytrap Record’s 5th Birthday party. There’s no rating but they seem impressed.
It’s that Reading Festival thing again; Pointless.org.uk have some shots of the band on stage, but Firefox users beware, it’ll slow you right down.
And here’s a sight that pleased this gamer’s tired eyes late last evening: A list of Owen’s favourite songs on IGN.com. Number seven? “Tegan And Sara – ‘You Went Away’. Two cute Canadian sisters. Both lesbians.” Well that figures. But you can catch them in session on that UGO site too.

The Crimea ? Tragedy Rocks (Warner Bros)

Now, I don?t give out ?10? ratings willy-nilly, but anyone who doesn?t think this album is astonishing is clearly rabidly barking mad.

Beginning with the symphonic tinkling piano intro of ?White Russian Galaxy?, where we find Davey McManus and co sounding rather like the Eels, ?Tragedy Rocks? is a fascinating, frequently uplifting and utterly brilliant album all the way through.

Flitting between the sound of Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Bright Eyes and Violent Femmes at regular intervals, it occurred to me that every single one of these tracks could also have been written by Luke Haines of The Auteurs fame. Now, this is most certainly not a bad thing, as ?New Wave? has been one of my top 30 favourite albums for a long, long time now, and there?s every chance that this album could end up in there somewhere in the not too distant future.

Compelling, majestic, refreshing, outstanding, inspirational ? none of these words are powerful enough to describe such an enriching album as this one. From the cheerful lilt of ?Lottery Winners on Acid? through the darker waters of ?Opposite Ends? and former John Peel Festive 50 chartee ?Baby Boom?, as well as ridiculously catchy tunes like ?Girl Just Died? and ?Gazillions of Violins?, this album is just absolutely phenomenal. One of the few records of the year, in fact, that?s capable of competing with the Brakes? ?Give Blood? album, and that?s no mean feat. 10/10

Review by Tone E for Attomic Duster, 07/11/05.

 SUICIDEGIRLS INTERVIEW 

Davey Macmanus is the lead singer of The Crimea which was formerly known as The Crocketts. The rest of the band is made up of drummer Owen Hopkin, guitarist Andy Norton, keyboardist, Andrew Stafford and Joseph Udwin on bass. Their latest album is Tragedy Rocks.

Check out the official site for The Crimea

Daniel Robert Epstein: What?s going on today?

Davey Macmanus: We just did a session at Electric Ladyland Studios in New York.

DRE: What made you guys choose the title Tragedy Rocks? That sounds a little too emoish.

Macmanus: Emoish [laughs]. People have a fascination with death and morbidity in art. It?s more from that really, just sort of anti-everything.

DRE: Do you have tragedy that rocked in your life?

Macmanus: [laughs] Yeah, a few dabs here and there. No more than the rest of us. I like to be aware of what?s going on around me as well. I really am definitely more fascinated by the more morbid side of life than the happy side of life.

DRE: Is it about also the death of The Crocketts?

Macmanus: No, I don?t think so at all. It was just like a complete different thing. This band kind of stems from having to work in a real job and be part of the real world, which is a pretty scary thing.

DRE: Why did The Crocketts change to The Crimea?

Macmanus: There?s no real difference. It?s a completely different kettle of fish. The two don?t compare at all. This is so much more of a serious thing. It?s just more focused and organized.

DRE: What made you decide to release a single through the internet?

Macmanus: Yeah. We were just really keen because we did so much touring all year long so we just really wanted to get something out and get going. So we took the online release as a way to get the whole ball rolling so that when we were playing all these live shows people were still able to get a hold of the record.

DRE: What?s the writing process between you guys?

Macmanus: I write the songs, more or less. But we?ve got like a really amazing band so everyone puts in their two penny worth so it?s a democratic process. It?s fucking convoluted. It takes forever and we spend a long time doing it but it?s worth it in the end when you finish and you?ve got a song that sounds great.

DRE: How much time did you guys spend on Tragedy Rocks both the writing and recording?

Macmanus: We spent forever. I?d say the bulk of two years. We demoed each bit of each song a lot. We recorded a lot of stuff at home and then we recorded in Mississippi for three months. We hit a studio in New York this past January and February in a real studio to make it sound a bit better. It was a long process but it was worth it in the end.

DRE: How did you guys get together?

Macmanus: The drummer, Owen, and I have been together for a long time. Not in a sexual way.

DRE: Well, not yet.

Macmanus: It took a long time to find a band with really good and nice people that you could get along with. We were quite picky and it?s all worked out nicely in the end.

DRE: What do you guys know about SuicideGirls?

Macmanus: The guys were on there the other day. They were looking for the live video. We?ve all got memberships, which is pretty good because one of our tracks is on there. Somehow we?ve managed to get free memberships. Everybody loves it. The concept is great obviously. I?m surprised nobody thought of it before.

DRE: [laughs] How did your track get onto the SuicideGirls: The First Tour DVD?

Macmanus: We know a girl who?s a big SuicideGirls fan and she managed to push it through from her end, excuse the pun. She sorted it out for us and it was pretty bizarre. I?ve seen women bouncing along to this song that?s talking about death and destruction. It?s great. You couldn?t ask for more.

DRE: Who are you guys touring with on your tour now?

Macmanus: Right now we?re out on our own doing three weeks of shows. We did some with this band called Youthgroup.

DRE: How do you like touring in America?

Macmanus: We absolutely love it. We?ve sort of been all over. This summer we?ve been to like Ft. Lauderdale, El Paso, Vancouver everywhere. We?ve just been touring over here quite a lot this year and it?s something else. It?s just your wildest dreams just like the cowboy movies looked.

We went out again with Billy Corgan for most of this past summer.

DRE: How?d Billy treat you?

Macmanus: He treated us very well. He?s a strange old fruit but it was really inspiring and exciting more than anything else. It was such a great opportunity. We couldn?t believe it. It was like being called off to war or something.

DRE: I?m sorry he treated you well. That?s not much of a story.

Macmanus: I know [laughs]. I was just glad to even talk to him and then when I did he was really nice.

DRE: Yeah, you want him to throw a cake at you or something.

Macmanus: Yeah. We?ve got a song called Losing My Hair as well which we were playing every night. I thought he wouldn?t have liked that, but he thought it was funny.

DRE: What are the Crimea groupies like?

Macmanus: It?s pretty standard fare I guess. A lot of our songs are sort of pro fat so I guess they?re a bit larger than usual, but generally spectacularly pretty beneath the fold.

DRE: You guys like the bigger girls?

Macmanus: Yeah. We do like the bigger girls.

DRE: Oh, that?s cool. What are you most excited to do that you didn?t get to do with the previous tour?

Macmanus: We really just want to get out there and do a decent trek on our own to see where we?re at.

Interview by Daniel Robert Epstein for Suicide Girls.

The Crimea – International Rocking Tragedies

The CrimeaThe Crimea’s Tragedy Rocks is the sort of album title that immediately makes you sit up and take notice, and the same can be said for the music of the London quintet.

Their debut album evades easy categorisation, exploring as it does a good many styles along the way, but with song titles like Lottery Winners On Acid and Gazillions Of Violins it was never likely to be otherwise.

musicOMH.com took the potentially hazardous decision to engage three of the band in chatter…

Left to right in the Warners press office: Davey MacManus (vocals, guitar, wordsmith), Andy Norton (guitar) and bassist Joseph Udwin.

Having just begun a tour of the UK, their opening night at Harlow is still fresh in the band’s memory. “It was the Wild West!” says Davey, “there were thirty kids all walking across the dual carriageway on the way, and then when we were playing the electricity went out and we had to power everything from our van. It was like being in The Libertines! We’ve got Liverpool, Northampton and Cardiff to come and the reaction’s been great so far. I don’t know if you’ve seen The Beatles, how people used to react to them? Well, no-one’s given us a panning, so long may it continue!”

Such humour punctuates the interview, the group seemingly enjoying even their promotional work. Davey does much of the talking, naturally, but then he’s the one singing, writing the songs. When he’s not talking and writing songs he also writes books. The creative ventures don’t often overlap, however. “It’s so much harder to write a lyric, with a book you can just write down anything on a piece of paper but with a lyric it has to fit the music, sound right”.

His lyrics are fiercely original, an approach reflected by the song titles. “Yeah. Well, I looked at the words of the Backstreet Boys!” (Cue laughter from Andy and Joseph.) “No, I definitely try to have original lyrics. People just don’t make an effort in a lot of pop music. Some guy sent in a review saying that we were a bit morbid but if you look at the song Girl Just Died, the lyrics say that people have an obsession with sex and death. I say, “Let’s embrace it”, not pretend it’s not there!” MacManus writes incessantly. “Erm, yeah. I think so. But then you could say that I talk a lot of shit!”

So incessantly in fact, that he commits to a regular blog that can be found through The Crimea website. His lengthy but involving texts include notes on the Pakistan earthquake and its relative disappearance from the news. “Well you know I’m a bit of a natural disaster junkie, when it was going on I thought it was important to talk about it, wanted to talk about it. With the earthquake it just seemed so ridiculous that 112,000 people died and yet 2,000 or so people died in New York on September 11th. I’m not talking it down, but it just makes the point that when stuff happens in the western world so much more is made out of it by the media.”

Returning to the band, Davey talks about their recent touring exploits, which have seen them spread their wings to bring their music to a wider audience. “We went on a tour with Billy Corgan in the States for a while; we did 12,000 miles in three months. With no air conditioning! You have to share a bed (nudge nudge, wink wink from Andy and Joseph) and just wake up at four in the morning covered in sweat. We went down south in El Paso, where it really does feel like the Wild West, more like Mexico. We’ve played there this year and last year – really loved it!”

A recent high profile performance for the group was at the Digital Music Awards, but Davey has mixed feelings about the experience. “It was brilliant, it was a shock you know, they managed to get us in at the last minute. I was pretty nervous, not used to being on telly and so you could see the whites of my eyes a bit, but no, it was a good experience.”

So what do the band aim to portray in their music? Ever helpful, Davey responds with “Er, I don’t know. It’s like Kylie Minogue being shagged by…Tchaikovsky.” “From behind!” smirks Andy. And are they, as many might suggest, similar to The Flaming Lips? “Well”, ponders Joseph, “I think there’s a certain mentality that’s similar about us”. “I had that Yoshimi”, adds Davey, “and I personally really like The Flaming Lips and think some of the psychedelic comparisons are justified, to a point.” “At the end of the day it’s down to you guys,” offers Andy, “you’re the ones who hear all the music and form these opinions. We don’t think about it too much.”

Moving on to other bands the Crimea respect, Davey responds that “Ash were really good, Charlotte Hatherley and Tom Vek as well. I listened to a band called Stars recently who I really liked, and Eels too.” “Girls Aloud!” comes the shout from the middle. “That was Andy, by the way!” excuses his lead singer.

The Crimea are described as hailing from Plaistow, but that proves to be pretty far from the truth. “We’re from all over – Dublin, Zimbabwe, Andy is half Russian and half Welsh” (I think they’re being serious…) “So Plaistow is just a stopping point for us. It’s a horrible place actually.”

Meanwhile the band, though touring heavily, remain focussed on their next move. “We’ve just been working non-stop ever since we got the deal with Warners. Music is our only way of fighting back, we don’t want to be a poxy band that receive a load of good stuff for our first album and then don’t do anything about it.”

Fighting talk then, from a band prepared to make sacrifices for their music to succeed.

Review by Ben Hogwood for Music OMH, 11/2005.

Crimea on the streets of Carlisle

LONDON-based band The Crimea are booked to play Carlisle’s Brickyard on Thursday night.

The group?s debut album Tragedy Rocks, released last month, is said to be both lush and lacerating. It comprises 11 melodic tracks laced with ambition, tales of the mean streets, even meaner romance, and the not so good times.

The late John Peel described The Crimea’s melodies as ?the best I?ve heard in years?, and other DJs such as Zane Lowe have raved about the band.

The Crimea’s third single, “Baby Boom,” came in at number eight on Peel’s 2003 Festive 50, just ahead of “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the White Stripes’s “Seven Nation Army”. Music magazines have compared the band to acts as varied as Leonard Cohen and The Flaming Lips.

The group is made up of singer/guitarist Davey Macmanus; Owen Hopkin on drums; Andy Norton on guitar; Andrew Stafford on keyboard; and Joseph Udwin on bass.

The band is being supported by The Heights and People in Planes.

The gig is the first of The Brickyard?s newest weekly indie night: Kool Jerk, which will occur every Thursday. Tickets are available at the door for ?4 or ?3 (student).

Review taken from the Welcome To London website.

Sunday 13/11/05 The Crimea, Attack + Defend, The Keys @ Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The celebratory tone is both in good measure and reason tonight, for the party is Boobytrap Records fifth birthday. A host of acts perform under the Welsh indie label?s nurturing banner to mark what?s become a bona fide success story for the Welsh music industry. The Keys, Sleifar a?r Teulu, Attack + Defend, Kentucky AFC and TV-OD are introduced by idiosyncratic and inexplicable compere The Ninjah. But despite the clear talent currently on Boobytrap Records? books, it?s nearly eclipsed by a fabulous DJ set courtesy of the mighty bravecaptain, Martin Carr.

The Keys? blend of Ride-like guitars, low-slung vocals and Pavement-style weirditude is a fitting way to commence the evening?s eccentric line up. Debut single, ?Gurl Next Door? is a slice of pure pop perfection no doubt cribbed from too many late nights pouring over Brian Wilson solo albums. In terms of mixing noise and melody there aren?t many musicians here tonight who can boast such raw talent ? Martin Carr accepted. Continuing in the same crazed, been-out-in-the-sun-too-long vein, Attack + Defend are a four-piece with a singer who has a penchant for owl t-shirts. They also keep an Amstrad 350 on the stage in a bizarre homage to all things early eighties. They are, in short, the musical equivalent of Pacman. Only with better tunes. Their electro-tinged indie pop wins favour with a crowd largely too hip to show any emotion. Attack + Defend claim to live on a farm and write songs about wind turbines and gypsy folk. Which could be complete nonsense were it possible to make out a single word they were saying.

And so onto The Crimea, who are slightly travel sick from an epic journey down from Edinburgh this morning. With their long-awaited debut long player, ?Tragedy Rocks?, out now, the title is as accurate a description of their frazzled and crazed Mercury Rev flavoured indie rock as you?re likely to find. It?s been a long journey for The Crimea, starting life as The Crocketts, they toured with the likes of creaky rockers The Stereophonics and The Levellers. Having then morphed into their present guise, they were dropped by V2 in 2001 and were without a home until they were rescued by Double Dragon.

As perennial indie survivor in chief, Davey McManus comes across as a troubled soul. The Crimea are awash with songs about missed opportunities and regrets. The five-piece have an urgency to their music that somehow unites majesty with something bordering on anarchy. ?White Russian Galaxy? and ?Someone?s Crying? are, however, loaded with the kind of earnestness that would make Ian Curtis spin in his grave. It?s slightly at odds with the other side of The Crimea?s personality ? Davey McManus looks like Lee Evans. Mid-way through the set they cover Tiffany?s ?I Think We?re Alone Now?.

Still, as an example of perseverance over calling it a day, The Crimea seem to have a lease on life purely through surviving. Drawing on that experience lyrically seems to be their stock in trade, even if the answers lurch between the glib and the clich?d ? on ?Bad Vibrations? we?re told, ?All this talk of Adam and Eve doesn?t make much sense.? Maybe it?s best to leave the pontificating to philosophy students.

There?s only one person here tonight with the answer to everything, and he?s not saying a word. Too busy clutching a Gil-Scott Heron record in one hand and a Public Enemy 12 inch in the other and nodding sagely, the mighty bravecaptain, Martin Carr plans on mixing the two. In lesser hands it would be disastrous, but the captain keeps everything on course as only he knows how. All is right with the world. If only five percent of the population were hearing the wondrous music he creates, there’d be no war. He should take a job at the UN Security Council. Instead he?ll dream up another kaleidoscopic symphony and smoke 10 Benson. World peace and Martin Carr for Prime Minster calls aside, what price now a Boo Radleys reunion?

Review by Alex Donohue for GigWise.

The Crimea’s Celebrity Cuts
Drummer Owen Fill shares his favorite tunes of the moment.

Rising out of the ashes of British popsters The Crocketts, The Crimea have quietly been making a name for themselves outside the confines of their native U.K.

We caught up with drummer Owen Hopkin recently and he was kind enough to share his favorite songs of the moment with us.

The Crimea’s Celebrity Cuts

1.) Dusty Springfield – “Breakfast In Bed” from the album Dusty in Memphis
This is tragic love as sung by the greatest female singer ever.

2.) Tom Vek – “On The Road” from the album We Have Sound
I love this song because of the lyrics. Sample lyric: ‘You said I was the glove compartment’. Genius.

3.) System Of A Down – “Radio/Video” from the album Mezmerise
Heavy metal isn’t crap, it just lacks bands with the musical invention of SOAD.

4.) The Pogues – “Summer In Siam” from the album Hell’s Ditch
Chronic alcohol abuse + bad teeth + poetic splendour = stone cold classic.

5.) Ween – “Stay Forever” from the album White Pepper
A heart-breaking gem from an incredible back-catalogue.

6.) Neil Diamond – “Sweet Caroline” from the album The Best Of Neil Diamond
This is a great song that makes the good times feel even good-er.

7.) Tegan And Sara – “You Went Away” from the album If It Was You
Two cute Canadian sisters. Both lesbians. Great pop music. What a brilliant idea.

8.) Pink Floyd – “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5)” from the album Wish You Were Here
This is simply a beautiful song and a true value-for-money jukebox selection.

9.) Blake Shelton – “Some Beach” from the album Blake Shelton’s Barn And Grill
This one brings back good memories from a bad time in Mississippi.

10.) Regina Spektor – “Carbon Monoxide” from the album Soviet Kitsch
Regina, we love you.

The Crimea’s latest album, Tragedy Rocks, came out earlier this year.

Article by Spence D. for IGN, 18/11/05.

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8 Responses to “Lights, Camera, Updates!”

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    "What made you decide to release a single through the internet?"

    Are SC talking about the Out Of Africa download, or the LWOA "import" EP?

    Macmanus: The drummer, Owen, and I have been together for a long time. Not in a sexual way.

    DRE: Well, not yet.

    :D

    Good interview(s) all round.

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