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Lovely people who read The Streetlamp

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Griff says; Paisley - fluffy kittens with sharp teeth.

So, given that I usually write about fey, shy, acoustic noodlers who couldn't blow a hole in a paper handkerchief, how do I follow Gordon's impassioned call-to-arms below? Can I attempt to offer up something which will stoke the flames of this mood of revolutionary fervour sweeping through Streetlamp HQ and yet deliver you your usual dose of lo-fi bedroom pop? Hmmmmm, well yes, I can actually.
You want sweet boy/girl vocals? Check. Lo-fi, pop style hand-claps in lieu of percussion? Check. A burst of whimsical whistling? Check. Of course, we'll need a little of that most familiar of all bedroom pop instruments; the ukulele. Check. Now last of all we need a commitment to a 'straight edge' lifestyle and a dash of revolutionary fervour. Check, check, check! Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Paisley.

Paisley is an Anarcho-pop, vegan, straight edge, Twee duo from Bloomington, Indiana, US. I would imagine that's probably a genre all of their own right there. The band consists of Izzy Jarvis and Madison Witheld and as purveyors of a slightly twee blend of mainly acoustic, lo-fi, pop they came to my attention some time last year. Their first demo of six songs was released in January 2009 and is available on their page as a free download. Other than those scant facts posted on the page, I know very little about them and they don't appear to have any other presence on the internet. Sadly, they apparently don’t play together anymore, but if you’re lucky you might find them busking at the inner harbour in Baltimore.

So what makes them different from all the other boy/girl bedroom pop duos? Simple, it's the lyrics. Have a look at a sample from 'I'm Right Here' (below). Ostensibly this is just another plea to a lover to forget a past flame. It's a topic visited by many song-writers throughout history. However, the last line took me by surprise the first time I heard it and subsequently always makes me smile.

Forget the girl, cuz I'm right here.

Forget the love, cuz it was never even there.

Forget the girl, cuz I'm right here.

Forget the love, cuz it's right here.

I hope you've wised up & learned that you can't play with girls that way.

It doesn't matter how you feel, you've got to be honest with me.

Be kind, be cool, always try to communicate.

We'll have to work together if we wanna smash the state.

Yes, indeed. Surely, that's the line Carole King kept trying to work into her songs of broken teen relationships but just couldn't manage. And there's more. What about this excerpt from 'Love Makes Up The Best Wishes' (below)?

You know I'd like to count the stars with you.

They say we can't, we know the truth,

It's the journey, not the destination.

So we slip on black masks, march loudly through the tear gas.

They will be blinded by our love.

Because love makes up the best wishes,

Blowing up dams to save the fishes.

Please make one for me now.

Let's burn down our home towns.

OK, it's not such a shock this time but that last line is still a little bit of a jolt when you hear it and quite frankly I think you should do just that. Paisley are a curiously charming duo with a naive honesty missing from 99% of the acts foisted on us by the music industry. I sincerely hope that they find time to record and post a second set of songs as I don't see me making it to the inner harbour in Baltimore anytime soon. If you ever do find yourself down that way, please tell them I said 'Hello' and errrm... 'Smash the State'. We've given the two songs quoted above the Streetlamp video treatment. Enjoy!


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