LOUD WOMEN ezine Issue #24 | Tokyo Taboo | Helen McCookerybook | The Menstrual Cramps | Colour Me Wednesday
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LOUD WOMEN gigs diary

26 June @ Camden Assembly
Dolls | Peach Club | I, Doris

30 June @ Bow Arts Centre – 
Matchwomen’s Festival 2018 
Maddy Carty | I, Doris | Samba Sisters Collective

14 July @ Hope & Anchor – 
Tokyo Taboo | Concrete Bones | Helen McCookerybook

26 July @ DIY Space – 
Miss Eaves | Oracy | Gravey | Militant Girlfriend

3 August @ Golden Lion, Bristol
Krush Puppies | The Menstrual Cramps | S L A G H E A P |
track not found | MISS KILL | Megs Emrys

11 August @ Hope & Anchor –
 Cryptic Street | Vertigo Violet | The Muffin Heads

18 August @ The Lexington –
 The VERY LOUD WOMEN Summer Party
Nova Twins | Shit Sick | I, Doris

8 Sept @ Roodkapje Rotterdam
Girls Go Boom with LOUD WOMEN –
Big Joanie | The Menstrual Cramps | I, Doris

15 September – LOUD WOMEN Fest 2018 at The Dome, Tufnell Park
Confirmed so far …
She Makes War | Petrol Girls | ZAND | The Franklys | Grace Savage | Dream Nails | You Want Fox | the twistettes | PUSSYLIQUOR | Ms. Mohammed | Crumbs | Sister Ghost | The Menstrual Cramps | WOLF GIRL | Sam Amant | The Baby Seals | Art Trip and the Static Sound | Drunken Butterfly | Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something

21 of the BEST!

The LOUD WOMEN: Volume One compilation album is now just £5 from

LOUD WOMEN is teaming up with our friends Wutip to bring you a special night at the Camden Assembly, Tuesday 26 June. Feat:
Peach Club
I, Doris

PAY WHAT YOU WANT (Suggested: £6 waged, £4 unwaged)

We’ll also be taking any and all donations for the Camden branch of Solace Women’s Aid, so please give what you can. 

LOUD WOMEN Fest is back on Saturday 15 September 2018 – bigger and louder than ever! Building on the massive success of our last two Festivals, we’re expanding to two much larger venues: The Dome, Tufnell Park, and Boston Music Room.

Line-up so far:

Petrol Girls

The Franklys
Grace Savage
You Want Fox
The Twistettes
Ms. Mohammed
Sister Ghost
The Menstrual Cramps
Wolf Girl
The Baby Seals
Art Trip and the Static Sound
Drunken Butterfly
Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something

Plus DJs including Mammory Tapes and more bands TBA – watch this space!

Stalls, zines, food, AND cake stall from Ladies of the Lock – The WI group for Camden, Kentish Town & Tufnell Park

Tickets £15 in advance from
£20 on the door
£10 NUS / JSA / over 60s

Get your LOUD WOMEN Fest tickets now!
Video preview: LOUD WOMEN Fest 3!
Our next gig at the Hope & Anchor is 14 July, with:
Tokyo Taboo
Concrete Bones
Helen McCookerybook
Carolyn Striho
Starts 8pm sharp!
Tickets £6 in advance, £8 on the door.

New LOUD WOMEN t-shirts are here!

Head over to our Bandcamp site and pick up a cool new tee in pink or black, yours for just £10 plus p&p. Tshirts will also be on sale at our gigs!

Video preview: Matchwomen Festival, 30 June 2018
This year we celebrate 130 years since the Bow Matchwomen's groundbreaking strike of 1888. Speakers confirmed:
plus a full programme of music in the evening from LOUD WOMEN bands and musicians, including:
Maddy Carty
I, Doris
Samba Sisters Collective
Steve White & The Protest Family

With no union, no money and no job security, they took action to defend one sacked girl, and ended up facing down one of the country's most powerful employers. Their unexpected victory began a social movement from which the new union movment sprang, eventually leading to the founding of the Labour Party. For our 6th annual festival we will take inspiration from each other, and from speakers of diverse gifts who have one thing in common: they never, ever give up!

We are thrilled this year to be just a stone's throw from the matchfactory, right where the strike began. This is the Bow Road the matchwomen knew, and promenaded, dressed to kill and arm in arm, on their days off. Here they began the strike which led to an unprecedented, supposedly impossible victory for poor, working class, largely migrant women. Our festival will take place in the courtyard of Bow Arts, an organisation that supports art at the heart of the local community, and celebrates its history.

Dolly Daggerz of Tokyo Taboo – Interview


Tokyo Taboo are headlining our next gig at the Hope & Anchor, on 12 July, and we cannot wait! We caught up with frontwoman Dolly Daggerz to get the scoop ...

Tell us about Tokyo Taboo – how did the band come about, and what’s the Japanese link? 
I really love ‘kawaii’ style which originates from Japan. Big eyes, manga / cartoonish appearance and creepy weirdness is my thing. I wear freaky contact lenses and like to mix those with bows in my hair and cute pink ‘Dolly’ outfits. I love to combine sexy, cute and feminine with weird and alien. That’s where ‘Dolly Daggerz’ my stage name comes from and I think our music is similar in that there’s some sweetness in my vocals and speaky squeaky rap which contrasts to the rock and roll screams and badass performance.

Do you, Dolly, write all the lyrics? If so, can you tell us a bit more about the songs which you’re particularly proud of from the album?
Yes the lyrics are an amalgamation of two years of my life where I went through a big change and – as cliché as it sounds – had to battle my demons and make some changes. I went through two years of therapy and wrote lyrics or ‘brain dumps’ as I worked through everything. 

I’m particularly proud of 'Drowning' as I hit a low point and to create something powerful from that is an achievement. I was literally sat on the tube on the brink of tears most days. That kind of depression is a physical pain that never really goes away and every time I sing the song live I go back to that painful place. I usually sit in the audience at this point in our set and try to get everyone to hold hands so everyone feels a sense of togetherness and community which is so rare!

Your live performance is quite something. We saw you play for the first time last weekend [at the Lady Luck in Canterbury], and had our jaws dropped by your fetish costume and theatrically sexy performance. A row of older, male fans stood at the front, filming constantly on their phones/cameras – ‘Dads making sexytime memories’, as a commenter put it. Do these kind of one-track male fans creep you out? 

I think if you are going to wear underwear on stage it comes with the territory a little bit and if it sells tickets to our shows I’m not going to knock it! The guys are really supportive and buy merch and attend shows regularly which is great. The creeps online are who I have a problem with. Lots of messages starting with ‘I don’t mean to sound like every guy but...’ Also I get 50+ friend requests from creepy guys and around 5–6 dick pics a week. It gets tiring. I really don’t understand the dick pic thing. Penises are disgusting in general. And receiving pornographic images whilst I’m teaching (usually young kids) is very jarring. A lot of images I see I can’t unsee. I’m a very visual person so would be great to have someone vetting my inbox! 

LOUD WOMEN is committed to putting on gigs that support the women on the stage, and also those in the audience. In what ways do you feel you, as a performer, can help make the gigs you play a safe and entertaining experience for women?
I’m always outspoken on stage and I feel as a female I’m told to pipe down a lot. A lot of people assume Mike is the one in charge of things and will ask him questions when really he has no idea of what is going on most of the time. I think it’s important to say ‘Hey come to me – I’m in charge! I book the shows. I call the shots.’ Also it’s really important to say ‘no’ to things I’m uncomfortable with. Like if someone gets a bit too close to me after a show while taking a photo or tries to grab me inappropriately I definitely will stand up for myself. I like to dominate the audience (especially older men) and tell them to sit down and shut up as most men feel like they are the boss and they want to be all macho and stand up rather than sit on the floor. I write in an ‘outspoken’ way (that’s the Taboo part) and will say what I think in interviews. People like that and I think it’s definitely part of being a strong front woman. I won’t be silenced and I will be heard! 

What are you working on at the moment - any releases recently/coming up? Other shows/festivals to tell us about? 
We are writing a second album currently which I’m really excited about. I feel like I’m a lot more secure in my vocal ability so it’s completely changed how I write. I also had a creative spurt a few months ago where I was writing a song a day so it’s great to have a lot of ideas to choose from!

On the 22nd of September we will be playing Looe Festival in Cornwall as part of our UK tour. Will be really awesome to play to such a huge audience. The festival have committed to the Keychange 50:50 pledge of having half their lineup female. So that’s great to see! 

What can we expect from your set on 14th July? 
We will definitely be playing our next single! It might even be an exclusive preview of what’s to come as we won’t have time to rehearse new material until July. So so excited to play new songs and showcase what’s to come. It’s all very busy and exciting right now so it will definitely be a night to remember! This will be our last London show before our September single launch so don’t miss it!

Catch Tokyo Taboo with Concrete Bones, Helen McCookerybook, and Carolyn Striho, at LOUD WOMEN on 14 July, The Hope & Anchor. Tickets on sale now.

Video: Tokyo Taboo – Make It Out Alive
Miss Eaves drops ‘Bush for the Push’ video … and guess where she’s coming to play?
LOUD WOMEN have been huge fans of Miss Eaves since forever, so when she dropped us a line to say she was coming to London and needed a show, we jumped at the chance! So clear your diary for Thursday 26 July when she joins us at DIY Space for London. It’s gonna be a night of US and UK rap meet punk, with support from our faves:
OracyGravey and Militant Girlfriend
Event details and tickets here!
Video: Miss Eaves – Bush for the Push

Helen McCookerybook: interview

Let’s start by a quick look back at your amazing history! In The Chefs you had a relatively short but eventful punk band career – what were the highlights of those years for you?
Getting the chance to write songs. Before The Chefs I was in proper 1977 punk band called Joby and the Hooligans – we never made any records but we did loads of gigs. That was where I learned to play bass, almost without realising it. I was surprised to be asked to form a band after that, but I realised that I had gradually become a musician. All of us in The Chefs worked really hard (we were not trained musically) to make music that we would really like to listen to ourselves. It was fantastic to make records (for Brighton label Attrix in the first place), and to meet John Peel, who up until then had just been a quirky voice on the radio.
In 'Helen and the Horns’ your music moved away from punk into jazzier and country styles – tell us a bit about how these different styles fit in with your own personal tastes and influences.
I've never been much of a fan of jazz and the band was supposed to have bass and drums at first – except I didn't have enough money to move the drum kit around so I just rehearsed with the horn players (meant to be a solo trumpet player like Ennio Morricone's music, but somehow I ended up with a whole brass section!). I did love the Doris Day film 'Calamity Jane' and the idea was to write songs that might be in an imaginary musical- show tunes. The horn arrangements came from listening to Louis Jordan's jump jive music and early reggae like Byron Lee's Allstars. Again, as an amateur I just had to make things up as I went along. I'd been a bass player in The Chefs and learned to play guitar when I was 'out of action' after the band split up (it was very upsetting). As a guitarist I loved old blues music: Big Bill Broonzy, The Reverend Gary Davis and of course Sister Rosetta Tharp.

These days I believe you mostly perform solo. Do you miss the camaraderie of having a band around you? Maybe the practical benefits of travelling solo counterbalance this?
I occasionally play with Helen and the Horns but I really like playing solo best of all. I have 'had a bumpy ride' through life, as my late Mum described it. I have a lot of good friends, but as far as gigs go, there is nothing more thrilling than setting off on my own with my guitar to a distant destination and experiencing life from a different perspective – there are different music scenes and music all over the UK and beyond. Experiencing that first hand is wonderful, and there's no-one to look after!
What are you working on at the moment - any releases recently/coming up? Other shows/festivals to tell us about? 
I've just been in New York recording four tracks which I will be releasing on vinyl very soon – as soon as they arrive in my mailbox! Vic Godard has just released a duet we recorded last year of a Francoise Hardy song called 'Rendezvous D'Automne' (Francoise Hardy is a brilliant singer and has just released an album herself). I'm finishing a book about women engineers and producers which has been ten years in the writing,  and also just finishing a DIY documentary with Gina Birch (of the Raincoats) called 'Stories from the She-Punks: music with a different agenda' where we have interviewed many female musicians from our generation of punk.
What can we expect from your set on 14th July? 
I'll have new songs, plus a Chefs song played solo called 'Lets Make Up' which I wrote with my fellow singer Tracy when we were both teenagers, and also the songs 'The Mad Bicycle Song'  and 'Women fo the World' which have been played on BBC6 music by Gideon Coe. They are from an album called 'The Sea' that I released last year and I'll have copies with me or it can be listened to/bought from Bandcamp.
Come and see Helen McCookerybook live at the Hope & Anchor on 14 July


Video: Helen McCookerybook – These Streets (live at Union Chapel)



The 5th episode of the LOUD WOMEN radio show on WRS is now available on Mixcloud for your listening pleasure! Listen here. Featuring:

  • Colour Me Wednesday – Heather's Left for Dead
  • Velodrome - His Physique
  • Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something - Heaven on a Plate
  • Amyl and the Sniffers - Cup of Destiny
Video: Miss Eaves – Thunder Thighs

LW Politics & Music

by Kris Smith

In this series of interviews, LOUD WOMEN has interviewed a small cross-section of the many fiercely-politicised, committed activists on the DIY music scene, with an emphasis on lead singer-songwriters. We didn't get to speak to everyone that we wanted to, but we always intended to end the series with a bang by talking to new band on the feminist punk rock block, The Menstrual Cramps.

LOUD WOMEN were first to book the 'Menstruals for a live show and first to review their debut album, so it seems fitting for us to be the first to publish a full interview with the group; and appropriate to their libertarian-socialist leanings, we've addressed the questions to all three band members equally. [At the time of interview they were still looking for a fourth member for drummer.]

Part 5: The Menstrual Cramps

What made you decide to use your songwriting to express political viewpoints?

Emilia: Growing up I wrote poetry as a way to express my political viewpoint and attended rallies and protests, so I think songwriting was just a natural progression from this. When we wrote our first song, ‘My Bush Ain’t Ur Business’, I lived with Cooper at the time, who was a full-time musician, and I was just ranting about the world and she just threw her lyric notepad at me and said write a song about it, so I wrote the lyrics while she wrote the music, then we recorded it on the spot and a couple of hours later The Menstrual Cramps was born and then I channelled my political writing into more songs than poetry.

Cooper: Well I’ve been playing and writing music since I was a kid and as I got older it was annoying to realise how meaningless the majority of popular music was in terms of message. When I met Emilia we just combined my love for writing catchy hooks and her love for shouting angrily about political stuff to create something meaningful!

Robyn: My mum used to write a lot of really great poetry and she influenced me a lot as a kid but I mostly used to write a lot of songs about love when I was younger, I didn’t really start getting political until I met Emilia and Coop, they definitely opened my eyes to more important issues in the world.

Do you use songs as tools to put across prefigured messages – or is it more that you self-express in general through music, with politics just one aspect of that?

Emilia: I think we’re just generally political people, we get angry about unjust things happening in the world and discuss and debate them. For us music is just a self-expression of how we’re feeling at that time, which most of the time is political and not happy with the status quo. And to be honest just living our lives as openly queer, outspoken, feminist women makes our daily existence political.

Cooper: I definitely self-express in general through music, I’m in a couple of bands and everything I do revolves around music. I write all kinds of stuff, but my interest in politics is a very large part of me so I find in one way another it comes out in the majority of songs I write.

Robyn: I’d say I’ve always expressed myself through music, it’s only after being in the band that I’ve started expressing myself politically.
Is the function of politics in music to affirm views within a reciprocal social group, or convert – or at least converse with – a wider public?

Emilia: I think it’s both. We love playing gigs with similar bands to us, and enjoy being part of such a supportive and inclusive scene. It helps with our self-care as activists, as women, as queer people, as feminists, which is super important. But I think our music also helps open up a conversation with people who may not be otherwise be subjected to our views or political standpoint. It’s important to challenge people through music and it’s also important to have a community where you know you are supported.

Cooper: Totes both!! What she said.

Robyn: Definitely both!

Explicit or ideological politics is a rarity in music, even most punk/DIY scenes: is that something you’re conscious of, and does it matter?

Emilia: Yes, I’m very conscious of it. A lot of people lead a privileged life wherein they have no need to talk about politics or get involved in activism or standing up for what is right or wrong in the world. Also, some artists and musicians may feel like they can’t voice their opinions due to their management, or record company, or fan base etc. I think it is extremely important that more artists and musicians stand up and speak up through their music. I think it’s especially disheartening when punk bands don’t explicitly discuss politics or current affairs or injustice in their work. Punk is about going against the grain, standing up against the hierarchy and trying to change things; anarchy should run through our punk veins, and it is a huge shame and discredit to the rest of the punk and DIY scene who are fighting and shouting every day.

Cooper: Aye I’m conscious of it, and like Mila said a lot of people in the big time aren’t actually technically allowed to be political, so I really respect the artists who voice their political stance to the public. Mila said it all really, woo anarchy!

Robyn: Yeah I’m conscious of it, I think it’s important for more musicians to voice their views on politics.

Do you see yourself as part of, and drawing influence from, a tradition of politicised music/art?

Emilia: I think in our band’s case we are literally just singing and shouting about what fucks us off, what we think needs to change and what we want to comment and open a conversation about. Of course we draw influence from the original punk and riot grrrl music/art scenes, and we are proud to do so, however we aren’t interested in looking so much back into the past but rather how the new punk and DIY scene can push forward and change things for the better.

Cooper: I think Mila was definitely more into some sorta scene than I ever was. I listened to punk music quite a bit when I was younger, but if it was political it went right over my head. She was the person that introduced me to Pussy Riot and other bands that have made political impact and as I got older and started to get involved with politics that’s when punk music really lit a fire in my tum. I dunno why I never thought of writing music to fit alongside my political views but I just never did, until suddenly we were doing it, and now I can’t write love.

Robyn: Emilia and Coop are a lot more political than I am, I’ve always felt strongly about politics but I guess I just never thought about writing music about those kind of things.

There are various ways that a performer’s politics might not communicate to an audience, but you make a point of speaking between songs to reinforce the message. Did that come naturally, in terms of the confidence needed? Is it to break the ice, to break down barriers with a crowd, or to clarify – or all of those?

Emilia: We didn’t plan to be in a band or plan to gig, so whatever happens on stage is really not rehearsed at all, and we like to keep it that way, we like being honest and raw. Honestly whatever comes in my brain on the night will just fall out my mouth! A lot of songs are about particular topics that we debate and discuss between ourselves and our peers anyway so we have a lot to say about them. I see talking as just as important as the songs we play at a gig, they both are a different way of telling the story or narrative or opinion we have. And to be honest I love ranting about things that I’m passionate about, I could happily fill a 30min set with just me ranting, but I’m sure the people who come to see us for the music wouldn’t be very impressed LOL! I feel completely myself on stage, I don’t get nervous at all, I love performing to people and opening up discussions and getting people angry about what we’re angry about! Also I think that being part of this incredible, inclusive and supportive DIY scene is amazing, I love talking to all the other bands and organisers and audience members, on or off stage!

Cooper: We rehearse for 3 hours before a gig then just get up and hope that people enjoy us! One song we wrote called ‘Lying Cheating Fucking Scumbag’ we knew we were gonna say something before just because it was written about a specific person, but the rest of it I suppose Mila just runs her mouth, it’s amazing. I guess it depends on the crowd too, it’s easier to interact with an interactive loud crowd.

Robyn: I think Emilia just goes with how she’s feeling on the night, she’s pretty good with crowds, it definitely breaks the ice to have a laugh with our audience, we don’t like to take things too seriously when it comes to performing.

Read the full interview on our website here!

Find The Menstrual Cramps on Facebook 

and of course catch them live at show of the year, LOUD WOMEN FEST – 15 Sept at The Dome!

Video: The Menstrual Cramps – I Like That Top

Colour Me Wednesday: 'Counting Pennies in the Afterlife' (LP)

review by Kris Smith

As the old expression has it, writing about music is like dancing around architecture while trying to herd cats into nailing jelly to a wall [check – Ed.] Reviews are tricky things and I’m increasingly aware of how easy it is to say more about yourself than the record you’re attempting to mansplain, I mean review.  Perhaps I should pen a precis of the essential information, so: “Colour Me Wednesday are a British DIY band, in the indiepop tradition; ‘Counting Pennies in the Afterlife’ is their second album and marks a musical evolution from its predecessor, 2013’s ‘I Thought It Was Morning’; this accomplished piece of contemporary female/gender non-conforming/queer art is available now from Dovetown Records” – but that safe stuff doesn’t really get to the heart of the matter.

There’s another well-worn cliche about the ‘difficult second album’. The notion is based on a group’s first long player being a summary and compilation of their writing so far, in the context of music industry pressure to provide a quick follow up, one that bands are often unprepared for; the difficult second album could be rushed, ill-conceived or stuffed with filler rejected from the first record. It could be testament to a number of factors that none of that applies here: that Colour Me Wednesday are in no rush, suffer no writers’ block, and feel no such pressure. The period between albums might have helped of course, but on the other hand none of the band are exactly slacking: they all earn various livings and busy themselves with sundry side projects. Still, ‘Counting Pennies in the Afterlife’ is a brand new set of 11 songs, all previously unreleased, mostly unknown to their live audience and showing a stylistic and thematic shift from previous records. In fact, in an era when many DIY bands are barely scraping by, this album is something of an artistic triumph.

If there are precedents for the precise Colour Me Wednesday formula I’ve yet to discover it. Their early scratchy-guitar home demo aesthetic helped link them with and to indiepop, but listening retrospectively to the likes of Tiger Trap, Black Tambourine, Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, etc.. well honestly it largely leaves me cold. Colour Me Wednesday are just a much better pop band than all that. They don’t play sloppy, don’t do the twee thing, and know how to put a tune together. ‘Indiepop’ is a broad church though, and there are/were (notably, British) bands such as the Popguns and the Sundays which brought a vastly superior skill for melody and songwriting to that scene, albeit in a slightly-formulaic/highly-polished manner. In contrast this is the first Colour Me Wednesday album that wasn’t basically recorded at home: until now they’ve been writing crossover pop tunes but playing and releasing them DIY punk style. And anyway, if the worst thing you could say about this music is that it evokes Harriet Wheeler fronting the Popguns on, say, Dolly Mixture‘s equipment, that would be just fine, because it’s not like everyone is mixing those ancient ingredients. But no: the secret to the rewarding variety in these grooves is in the fact that Colour Me Wednesday have always demonstrated an appreciation of more than one genre (pop, punk, electronica, reggae); it lifts their work above all these inevitable but frustrating comparisons.

Of course, the above ignores what the band itself has been telling us for years: that their original influence is the Boston indie rock of Tanya Donelly and Juliana Hatfield (more recent names that come up include Lemuria, and Sky Larkin). Perhaps it’s merely because that isn’t quite my heartland music that I hear other stuff going on but, for instance, there’s a lyric in ‘Exposure’:

I met a man like you before
He said he’d act on injustice
When the perfect moment arose
When the music swelled,

which has a pointed, searing, poetic (political) economy to it that reminds me more of McCarthy than any American groups. Similarly, ‘Boyfriend’s Car’ presents a post-apocalyptic scenario wrapped in beautiful, overlapping harmonies (complete with key-change crescendo), the car a metaphor for a system heading for breakdown, dark broodings on “unpaid labour, pain and obligation” sweetly sung:

If we all let go at the same time I know
That’s what we fear most
If we just let go

which recalls the message in the Jam‘s ‘Trans Global Express’, just as previous Colour Me Wednesday songs have recollected that band’s mixture of everyday social observation and suburban ennui. I’ve been listening to the Wednesdays for a number of years now and haven’t chanced upon any of their contemporaries who combine consciousness and melody in precisely this way, and shot through with a deeply English melancholy. You can also hear that alloy of resignation, hope, and anger – the cycle of non-acceptance – in the music of the Housemartins, Television Personalities, McCarthy/Stereolab and Comet Gain and I write this in full knowledge that Colour Me Wednesday may not listen to or care about any of those, after all, mostly male-dominated bands. They nevertheless mine a shared cultural seam.

Counting Pennies in the Afterlife acronymizes as CPITAL; you can even see a PCF flag fluttering in the optimistic breeze of the ‘Sunriser’ video, the album’s first single; yet at first glance the politics here are less conspicuous than before. Perhaps one consequence of becoming known for a song like ‘Purge Your Inner Tory’ is that every subsequent release seems superficially less didactic, but in actuality there’s a consistency in the way the band weave themes of interpersonal struggle with wider criticism of institutional structures, here and previously; they were always more Fromm than Fanon, perhaps. If that kind of talk seems overblown, consider the evidence in everything from choice of song subject to band organisation.

It’s sometimes remarked that Colour Me Wednesday ought to be a ‘bigger’ band than they are, but in what sense, and to what end? This is a group that determines its own image and direction, produces its own videos and releases their own recordings. They’ve created/curated their own world; even the logo of their own Dovetown label evokes an idealised community, its larger buildings presented as sound-system speakers, but otherwise at peace. A band that tours multiple continents and has released records in (at last count) seven countries has clearly found their audience. In fact in many ways what Dovetown has done goes to the heart of what punk was supposed to be about: not just a local hub for like-minded bands but an alliance promoting a different set of values, something probably only the anarcho-punk labels (Crass, Bluurg, etc.) actually accomplished. If you literally D-I-Y then things can take time, especially without the support networks the post-punk bands enjoyed back in what was a very different era, industry-wise. That a band can function in this way at all today, and with such prolific efficiency, speaks volumes. To paraphrase Joe Strummer on the Clash: they may not have ‘made it’ commercially, but they’ve made it in the culture.

None of which would matter too much if the music was no good. But over the course of the five years since their first album, the Colour Me Wednesday sound has retained its charm while developing and broadening in scope, furthered here by a professional production (by Matthew Johnson of Leeds band Hookworms). Back when the group started, the seeming influence of Lily Allen‘s pop-reggae breakthrough, combined with an underground (female-fronted) reggae-rock revival (the Skints/Dirty Revolution) could be heard in the song structures and vocal style of Colour Me Wednesday’s early songs. The offbeat has gone now, but that phase leaves a trace in a mastery of drum and bass, syncopation and space. The outstanding all-round skill of new percussionist Jaca Freer takes things to next level. Jen Doveton‘s voice, meanwhile, gets stronger with every release, and it’s hard to depreciate the keening, folk-ish, almost Kate Rusby-esque qualities of her vocal tone (although if I was capsule-reviewing for a magazine I might be more tempted to write: “FFO: Katie Harkin, Rose Elinor Dougall, Imogen Heap“. The final element that this album brings into fresh focus is the guitar work of Harriet Doveton and Laura Ankles, interweaving the expected crunchy punk chords and adroit arpeggios but given extra exploratory space here for texture and contrast. I’ll cut this paragraph short before I start using words like “soundscape”, but just to note a couple of examples, ‘Tinfoil’ builds slowly to a feedbacked climax, while ‘Disown’ and ‘Sad Bride’, there’s no other way of putting it, rock out.

The band then throw a complete curve-ball with penultimate track ‘Take What You Want (And Then Leave)’, which for the most part drops the guitars completely, providing one of the album’s highlights in the form of an affecting foray into indie electronica that wouldn’t be out of place on an Au Revoir Simone record.

‘Heather’s Left For Dead’ shows the band’s grasp of dynamics at its fullest: one of the album’s most immediate songs is also the shortest; its first bridge cuts back to a second verse with the chorus held back until half way through the track, after which the instrumental segues into a breakdown and reprise gilded with layered vocal harmony; the song never returns to a full version of a chorus that many a band would be tempted to milk to death. Colour Me Wednesday make their point and move on; we’re kept wanting more. Hey, other groups! This is literally How It’s Done. Are you listening? Well, are you, punk?

In retrospect, while their brilliant debut album ‘I Thought It Was Morning’ contained numerous notable new songs, it was also in some ways a slightly mixed bag, including older material dating back to the group’s student era. ‘Counting Pennies in the Afterlife’ is in contrast a more consistent, maturer work, as well as both a more steeled and hopeful statement. ‘Sunriser’ is as such the perfect opener, waving goodbye to failed relationships and invoking a new start; other lyrics pick apart the problematic behaviours of multiple (male) antagonists and authority figures. The songs, the band and the sound hang together for the full Dovetons’ Half Hour and once more I’m only left wondering what a band with this much talent and creativity will do next.

'Counting Pennies in the Afterlife' is out now.

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'Counting Pennies in the Afterlife': track by track guide by Colour Me Wednesday

Colour Me Wednesday's album Counting Pennies in the Afterlife is out now, and who better to talk us through the track than the band themselves ... the Doveton sisters, Harriet (Hat) and Jen

Hat: This song is about a relationship ending, and even though it ended because of choices and mistakes your partner made the burden is still on you to remain the strong one and keep them in a healthy place mentally. Their emotions are kind of holding you ransom and means you’re not allowed to be angry and upset with them for what they did, they’re protecting their own mistakes by physically showing you how badly they’re doing as a reaction to their mistakes. The lyrics also talk about letting your guard down and feeling like you you’re usually great at reading signs and seeing things coming but you’re kind of blinded by love and the trust you’ve invested in someone over many years.

Also it’s about the sensation of feeling like you’re falling and the person that would usually stop that from happening and hold you up is the person that is causing you to fall. A bizarre feeling, which means you can only rely on yourself to feel level headed or positive again. Which is where the title ‘Sunriser’ comes from - you can’t rely on other’s actions, apologies or regrets to give you closure or raise the sun for you. The song kind of flips between feeling like you’re falling apart and then being hopeful like “hang on, I think I can do this, but I don’t wanna tempt fate”. And going back in time trying to capture the comfort of the past or make things back to how they were before isn’t what will help you feel alive again and move forward with your life. Shortly after this all happened I went on a sunny European tour with the band.

Boyfriend’s Car
Jen: This song was inspired by a dream I had, it was quite a standard post-apocalyptic Walking Dead influenced dream where the streets were empty, the streetlights were off, society had collapsed and there was a general feeling of dread but also I have to admit, excitement. It got me thinking about how often this scenario is played out in the popular imagination - the collapse of society and return to fighting for basic survival. I think as much as it is a fear, it’s also a fantasy (albeit a naive one). Burning it all down, starting over, or just us all letting go and letting it crumble, finally being free of society’s rules and for many, finally being free of capitalism.

Of course something that extreme would be awful but it’s so hard of anything less than a zombie apocalypse doing away with capitalism. I think a lot of people feel the tension of a system that isn’t working, that’s barely held together and feels like it could collapse at any moment (like with the financial crisis), but never fully does. It’s held together by the people at the bottom rung being forced to settle for less and less (including hours and hours of unpaid labour, going into debt to subsidise their low wages, and begging for scraps of government welfare) while the people on the top rung talk about ‘growth’ and what a good and efficient system capitalism is.

I worked as a shop assistant for a large high street chain, and the company memos always boasted about how high the profits were and how many shareholders they had. But every closing shift in every store had 3 or 4 workers doing an hour of unpaid overtime to get the shop clean and tidy for the next day. Of course all our labour was bought at a much cost lower than it was worth, that’s how capitalism works, but think how many companies get away with squeezing workers for extra hours that are not on their books just so their CEOs can boast about how well they’re doing and what smart and fair business leaders they are? And that’s a minor thing, relatively.

Edge of Everything
Jen: This song started as a basic song about how it feels to live on the very edge of London, in Uxbridge but then ended up being a bit more poetic. It feels like I’ll never leave Uxbridge and everyone else who lives in London is appalled at how far away it is but obviously to us it feels like the centre of the universe. But even within Uxbridge Harriet and I have felt like outsiders, being those weird vegetarian left wing boat girls, we feel like we’ve been living in this undefined marginal space for our whole lives. I think that West London is kind of erased from contemporary cultural narratives about London. It’s like it lacks an identity. But it’s not like it’s a barren wasteland, loads of cultural stuff happens and has happened here (famous films made, legendary records pressed, huge South Asian communities, Eastern European communities etc.) and a huge chunk of London’s workforce live here but it’s like… who’s gonna feel proud saying they’re from West London? It’s almost a meaningless identity.

Heather’s Left for Dead
When you’re a DIY band everyone says that 90% of the experience is sending emails and 10% is the music. This is true, but there’s also SO much more admin and details to keep everything running smoothly and on time that no one talks about and are actually too boring to list. The DIY ethos and work ethic has been running through our blood since we started the band. But a pretty terrible side effect is not having time and space to be creative- which is why you’re playing music in the first place! This song is about neglecting the creative, carefree part of yourself- kind of like your inner child or alter ego. There was a point where band work took up so much of my time I felt like it was killing my creative side. Which I called Heather, because when people get my name wrong they call me this haha. As soon as I’d stop doing the planning side of things I’d freak out as stuff would start falling behind schedule, we’d miss out on opportunities and in turn band members would feel a bit freaked out too. The chorus is also about how female musicians don’t go down in history, they don’t make it into the ‘hall of fame’ then men occupy. They’ll go down in a small part of musical history as a niche, a footnote. So if Heather was left for dead, not many would really notice.

Read the full track-by-track on our website here!

'Counting Pennies in the Afterlife' is out now.

Find CMW on Bandcamp and Facebook

Video: Colour Me Wednesday – Sunriser

LOUD WOMEN is going to EUROPE!

Teaming up with the Awesome Girls Go Boom, we're piling in the LOUD WOMEN tour bus and  heading to Rotterdam AND Belgium in September, taking with us 3 of our fave bands:
  • Big Joanie

  • The Menstrual Cramps

  • I, Doris

We can't wait to play our first overseas show and make a start on WORLD REVOLUTION, LOUD WOMEN STYLE NOW!!
Video: Oracy – Dysfunctional
Our favourite queercore barmaids Militant Girlfriend just launched an absolute beauty of a single, and it’s free to download right now from Bandcamp.


Catch ’em live too on 26 July when they support the mighty Miss Eaves at DIY Space for London
Video: Gravey – CBA
Imagine That promotions in Bristol have teamed up with us to present...


A glorious celebration of women in music!
3 August at The Golden Lion
Krush Puppies 
The Menstrual CrampsS L A G H E A P 
track not found 
Megs Emrys Band 
FEAT. mini Zine Fair 

FREE eTickets now available on Headfirst!
Video: Crucial Features –  Miršta Sovietynas
Video: Greta Isaac – Undone
Video: LibraLibra – Tongues
Video: Muertos – Suck it Up

That's all folks!

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