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Thread: Saint Etienne

  1. #16
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    Pretty great remix of Tonight:

    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  2. #17
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    Saint Etienne: why London's still calling
    With their eighth album about to be released, Saint Etienne take us on a guided tour of the city that has coloured so much of their work
    The wind is blowing the rain up the Thames from the North Sea. The trees that line the South Bank are shivering with each gust and the windows of the Royal Festival Hall's cafe are spattered with water. Nevertheless, it's spring: the trees are laden with buds and from time to time the sun forces a golden arm through the clouds.
    It's a very Saint Etienne kind of a morning. Theirs is music suffused with an exquisite sadness, a melancholy so fragile it can be banished with the merest glad thought, just as the sun can sweep away the rain. But it's exactly the wrong kind of morning to suit our plans. No one – not the band, not me, not the photographer – is bursting with excitement about the prospect of standing on successive street corners in the drizzle as we traverse the city celebrated in music and film by Saint Etienne, visiting the landmarks of their past.

    Which is why our London tour diverts from the streets to the pub later that day, a cavernous former cinema on the Holloway Road – the A1 – where old men nurse pints and Sarah Cracknell, Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley retire to a corner and reminisce. "It's been really, really good fun," Cracknell says, considering the 21 years of the group's existence. "There haven't been any low points." Then she adds, darkly: "Apart from Chessington World of Adventures."

    "You know the puppet show in This is Spinal Tap?" Stanley asks. "It was like that."

    "It was a charity event," Wiggs explains. "We'd been persuaded it would be a good thing to do. It was for the Variety Club of Great Britain. We were supposed to be bringing lots of press with us but we didn't realise that was our job. So they were cross we didn't bring camera crews. It was a PA – we were miming – and before us there were Australian clowns driving miniature cars and motorbikes, playing electric guitars while they drove. When they came off you could hear the roar of applause. Then Judith Chalmers interviewed Sarah on stage, and it was really awkward because she had no idea who we were. While that happened you could hear the flip-up seats banging as people left. The interview went on for ages because I didn't realise we were meant to be on stage. We heard the backing tapes start and ran on. My keyboard wasn't even plugged in – the plug was just dangling at the end of the cable. The only people left in the audience were these kids at the front in wheelchairs who couldn't get out. Afterwards, one of the clowns came up to me and said: 'Never mind, mate.' And we didn't even raise any money for charity."

    It seems fitting that Saint Etienne's most shaming moment came in the suburbs. They were suburbanites who escaped to the city at the earliest opportunity. Wiggs and Stanley grew up in Croydon, south London, a musically mythologised map of which appears on the cover of their new album, their eighth, Words and Music by Saint Etienne, where Wiggs, even as a child, would gaze in awe at the London portrayed in the TV series Paddington. Cracknell lived in Old Windsor: "As soon as I was 15, my friend Alison would get on the train at Ascot and I'd get on at Egham and we'd go up to Kensington Market. Well, at first it was to go ice skating at Richmond. We were serious about our skating."

    Childhood friends Stanley and Wigg were so in thrall to the capital they'd all but lie to themselves to feel part of the city. "The cachet of London was such that we used to go to pubs by the nearest stop that had a London postcode, because Croydon had a Surrey postcode," Wiggs remembers. "So we'd go to Norwood and New Cross, just to go to the pub. 'We're out in London tonight! Going uptown!'"

    Nevertheless, for a group who employ London and its landmarks almost as a character in their songs – not for nothing is one of their best-ofs called London Conversations – they seem to have slipped almost by accident into being chroniclers of the place. "I don't know why that is, apart from writing ourselves," Stanley says. And in the great psychic divide marked by the Thames that separates one sort of Londoner from another, they come down firmly on one side. "South London's not really London, is it?" Stanley says. "It's just an endless suburb. Also, there's obvious musical heritage in the bits of London I'm drawn to – Joe Meek in the Holloway Road. And Muswell Hill always seemed like a grimy place from the Kinks."

    We assemble at the Festival Hall in part because Saint Etienne were artists in residence there in 2006/7, and in part because it seems such a perfect symbol for the group: London's past, present and future in one concrete shell. For all their sense of history, Saint Etienne's music has always been sleekly modern, even as it nods to the past. And while Cracknell mourns the steady loss of London's old-fashioned pubs to the gastro invaders, and Stanley moans about faux-gentrification that does nothing to improve a street except drive out its previous inhabitants, Words and Music doesn't sound like the work of Luddites. It was recorded with former members of the Xenomania writing/production team, responsible for the success of Girls Aloud.

    "We were all working at Xenomania at various points in the last few years. It was pretty inspiring – you'd start really basically, sitting in a room humming melodies into a Walkman," Stanley says. "Then you'd take them into another room and work on them until they sounded like hit records. Alesha Dixon would make tea for everyone; Nicola Roberts would be watching MTV next door – I never heard her speak; Neil Tennant would call you up to the studio to put handclaps on something – it didn't bother me too much that he called me 'Lawrence'. It was an ideal setup, like the Brill Building, but with soft furnishings and a big picture of Serge Gainsbourg on the wall." Again past, present and future combined.

    After the Festival Hall we go to 83 Clerkenwell Road, where we stand outside the offices once occupied by Creation Records, then by Heavenly Recordings, Saint Etienne's long-time label. Though Saint Etienne have often stood on the fringes of scenes – indie pop, indie dance, Britpop – they've never been at the centre of any. "There was more of a connection with Heavenly, through the Social [a club set up by the label] and the people there. We made loads of friends and that felt like a community," Wiggs says.

    We hail another cab and head north. Stanley points out the pub that marked the westernmost outpoint of the Kray twins' empire; we bemoan the Islington Academy, a venue built in a shopping centre – until Saint Etienne remember that they, too, have played in a shopping centre, at the opening of a Virgin Megastore in San Sebastián. And we arrive at the site of Saint Etienne's old rehearsal studios on the Holloway Road, now long gone. We stand in the rain staring down an alley at nothing, getting wet. At which point the pub beckons.

    Before she heads back to her current home in Oxfordshire, Cracknell talks about what would have been our next location – her mid-80s flat just up the road in Archway, above a gun shop, where she was too terrified of her surroundings to do much more than venture out for kebabs. "Whenever we left the flat there'd be kids shouting abuse at us. So for food we had a sack of potatoes and I'd make tuna surprise." What was the surprise? In unison, Wiggs and Stanley answer for her: "No tuna!"

    Instead of going out, she and her flatmate would hook up the radio to an echo unit, get stoned and watch cricket with Brian Johnston's voice reverberating round the room. "But it was good," she says. "It made me feel on the edge."

    Stanley raises an eyebrow and laughs. "On the edge of Highgate."

    Saint Etienne tour the UK from 22-28 May
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  3. #18
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    Their album is streaming on NPR's First Listen:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/05/20/151711...-saint-etienne

    Haven't listened to it yet myself, but I am excited to. They're such a great, underrated band.

  4. #19
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    Some nice moments on the new album! Love "I Threw It All Away" for its urban baroque pop flavour.

  5. #20
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    I like what I'm hearing too although I've only had one listen while doing other stuff. Need to settle down and pay attention!

    I'm seeing them for the first time tomorrow. SO EXCITED!
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  6. #21
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    The Guardian have a few tracks from the new album including some of the remixes streaming here.

    It's already won four stars from Alexis Petridis, and now you too can swoon at the pop joyfulness of Saint Etienne's new album, Words and Music by Saint Etienne.

    The album comes in three different editions, and we've procured this exclusive blend of originals and remixes from across the three versions – with 2 Bears and Erol Alkan among those remaking Saint Etienne's music.

    The album was recorded with former members of the Xenomania writing and production team, after the group spent time working at Xenomania HQ. "Alesha Dixon would make tea for everyone; Nicola Roberts would be watching MTV next door – I never heard her speak; Neil Tennant would call you up to the studio to put handclaps on something – it didn't bother me too much that he called me 'Lawrence'," Bob Stanley told me recently. "It was an ideal setup, like the Brill Building, but with soft furnishings and a big picture of Serge Gainsbourg on the wall."
    They've been getting a lot of love in the Graun. Someone there is a fan.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  7. #22
    Senior Member Jake's Avatar
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    I still need to listen to this album! Popular came up on shuffle yesterday and reminded me of Kylie. Is that off base?

  8. #23
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    The last I heard of Kylie was when my Sister used to play Locomotion and I Should Be So Lucky endlessly so I'm not well placed to comment that comparison.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  9. #24
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    They were so much fun last night! Lots of tracks from the new album and plenty of sing-a-long classics. We got Mario's Cafe which has always been a favourite so that pleased me.

    The band and the audience alike seemed to be having a blast.

    Setlist:

    Like A Motorway
    Popular
    Burnt Out Car
    Tonight
    Spring
    Mario's Cafe
    Who Do You Think You Are
    Haunted Jukebox
    When I Was 17
    You're In A Bad Way
    Good Thing
    Sylvie
    Only Love Can Break Your Heart
    DJ
    Nothing Can Stop Us

    Encore:

    Last Days Of Disco
    I've Got Your Music
    He's On The Phone





    The sound quality of these isn't great as I was right by a wedge:


    Mario's Cafe


    Who Do You Think You Are


    I've Got Your Music


    He's On The Phone
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  10. #25
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    So I have listened to the album a few times while painting, and I'm slightly disappointed. I think it gets better as it goes along, but some of it sounds a little TOO Kylie for my tastes. I'm a casual Kylie fan, so it's not like I don't like her, but Saint Etienne is a bit more substantial and musicianly. "I've Got Your Music" and "Last Days of Disco" both sounds so chipmunk-y and breathy that they might as well just be Kylie songs. The album has received such rapturous reviews, I was hoping I'd like it more.

    There's some stuff I really like. "Over the Border" and "I Threw It Away" are great. When their music has a melancholy, nostalgic tinge, they're brilliant.

  11. #26
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    I am in love with this album. I've been into them since 'So Tough,' and this album seems like a pop culmination of their different styles. I am hearing 'Tiger Bay' (my longtime fav of theirs) and even 'Good Humor' influences. I did catch the Kylie touches, but that doesn't bug me too much since Kylie did vocals on a track with Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs a long time ago. I didn't know this until now, but apparently Kylie covered 'Nothing Can Stop Us.'

  12. #27
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    What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day Limited Edition DVD/CD Set PRE-ORDER

    Available for the first time on DVD, Heavenly films are proud to present
    their first Limited Edition release:

    'What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day?' - East London before the Olympics

    Shot during the summer of 2005, this enigmatic film was the second collaboration between director Paul Kelly and the band Saint Etienne
    it follows a young paperboy's adventure across London's last remaining wilderness in the Lea Valley on the eve of the Olympic development.
    A poetic ode to a metropolitan hinterland that has been forever changed by
    the impact of this summer's Olympics games.

    This edition - limited to 1500 copies comes with a DVD of the feature, a Paul Kelly designed booklet plus a CD of the original soundtrack recorded by Saint Etienne

    This is a region free PAL DVD

    (those with NTSC DVD players should check that this format is compatible before ordering
    should play on most computers - again please check PAL compatibility before ordering)

    Free Delivery to UK , £2 to all other destinations (currency calculated at checkout)

    PRE-ORDER shipping first week of September 2012


    I've pre-ordered.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  13. #28
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    I love Last Days Of Disco

  14. #29
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    ON THE ROAD AGAIN
    Hello everybody

    We're doing a few more shows in the UK again just before Christmas, stopping off at five cities we didn't get a chance to visit in May.

    We're also pleased to announce some VERY special guests in the form of Scritti Politti - proper heroes of ours - who will be opening up for us every night.

    The dates in full are:
    December 2012
    Mon 10: York Fibbers - tickets
    Tue 11: Edinburgh Liquid Room - tickets
    Wed 12: Manchester Ritz - tickets
    Thu 13: Brighton Concorde2 - tickets
    Fri 14: London Shepherds Bush Empire - tickets

    Because you are subscribed to the Saint Etienne database the links above give you the chance to grab the best tickets a full 72 hours ahead of the general public.

    The database pre-sale starts at 9.00am on 21st August - yes, that's tomorrow morning!

    Also, rather excitingly, we'll be playing our first American shows in six years this October and November. We will have full details of those very soon so keep your eyes peeled.

    Love Sarah, Bob and Pete xx
    Exciting!

    *sets alarm*
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  15. #30
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    US tour dates guys!
    Hello everybody

    After being kept loosely under wraps for umpteen weeks, we are finally able to bring you news of our long awaited tour of the USA (and a bit of Canada) this "Fall", which kicks off in Toronto on October 24th and winds snakelike across North America ending up in a gracefully crumpled heap in Los Angeles on November 3rd. We haven't been Stateside for 5 years or so - too long, and we're itching to bring you our party friendly set - featuring lots of "Words and Music..." interspersed with a liberal assortment of yer classics. And there'll be support from some of our current fave bands and DJs, a different 'act' every night (details on who and where soon) ...a veritable Pandemonium Shadow Show.

    Saint Etienne 2012 US tour
    October
    Wed 24 Toronto ON - The Opera House
    On sale now here

    Thur 25 Washington DC - U Street Music Hall
    On sale 10am Thursday 6/Sept here

    Fri 26 New York NY - Webster Hall
    On sale 12noon Friday 7/Sept here

    Sat 27 Boston MA - Paradise
    On sale 12noon Saturday 8/Sept here

    Mon 29 Chicago IL - Lincoln Hall
    On sale now here

    Wed 31 Portland OR - Wonder Ballroom
    On sale 10am Friday 7/Sept here

    November
    Thurs 1 Seattle WA - The Showbox
    On sale 10am Friday 7/Sept here

    Fri 2 San Francisco CA - The Fillmore
    On sale 10am Sunday 9/Sept here

    Sat 3 Los Angeles CA - Fonda Theatre
    On sale 10am Saturday 8/Sept here

    Love Sarah, Bob and Pete xx

    PS. If you haven't noticed yet our new merchandise store is open so push here to enter. Roll up, roll up, it's the greatest Etienne store on earth!
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

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