House vs Home Singles Club 11: The Mini Skips

Number eleven in the House VS Home singles club series comes from Sheffield duet The Mini Skips. Having done a lovely job opening the House VS Home stage at this year’s Tramlines festival, Markie and Vinnie return with their first single – Advice for New Lovers. The title track is a back-and-forth argument between an apparently seasoned couple, set over a carefully picked (and sporadically jaunty) guitar and an accompanying Melodica lick. The B-side – a cover of Dean Friedman’s 1978 hit Lucky Stars – is presented here as the inspiration for the pair’s lyrical argument. It is quieter, and in many ways more devastating, than the title track but still stands strong as an anti-love song.

The Mini Skips are Vinnie Ransome and Markie Wainwright. Vinnie is known for singing vocals and playing keyboards with Steel city superheroes The Sweet Nothings, and also performed as part of The Marygreenes. Markie is known as the guitarist of The Parallelograms, as the front(wo)man of recently-revived pop-punk outfit Velodrome2000, and under his solo alias, Markie Plays Girlpop.

The artwork for this month’s single comes courtesy of House VS Home founder, Alex Hale. The tracks will be available as a ‘name your price’ download from the Shop & Audio page on here, or from http//housevshomerecords.bandcamp.com.

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House vs Home Singles Club No. 10: Vom Vorton

In time for Halloween, House VS Home singles club number ten takes the form of a duo of vampire songs from Vom Vorton.

Former front-man of indie-synth-poppers Lardpony (a role soon to be reprised), Tom Morton, has been playing under the moniker Vom Vorton for the past few years. With electronic tales of wide ranging subjects such as cats and robots, Vom Vorton reached internet fame earlier this year with a song about the Anfield Cat.

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Vom Vorton’s spooky contribution to the House VS Home singles club follows his wry storytelling tradition and tells two tales of the consequences of getting involved with vampires. Synthy A-side Vampires Will Always Break Your Heart tells a heartbreaking tale of the downsides of dating a vampire. B-Side I’ve Been Bitten is a more punky song about the upshot of falling asleep in a vampire infested graveyard.

The artwork for this month’s single also comes from the multi-talented Vom Vorton. The tracks are available as a ‘name your price’ download from the Shop & Audio page on here, or from http://housevshomerecords.bandcamp.com

House vs Home Singles Club No. 9: Cats:For:Peru

Number nine in the House VS Home singles club series comes from Sheffield boy/girl/boy/girl/boy indierockers, Cats:For:Peru.

C:F:P have been playing together as a five piece since 2007 and are a staple on the Sheffield indie scene. Assembled to bring life the songs of frontman Ad Follett, the band are known for their energetic live performances and the intricate arrangements of their songs. They released debut album Attack of the Pitching Machine (which was produced by David Sanderson and Alan Smyth – famed for their work with Arctic Monkeys, Pulp and the Long Blondes) in 2009, and follow up EP We Had This Problem Last Winter in 2011. Both were met with critical acclaim, and comparisons to inspirations such as Radiohead and Arcade Fire were inevitable.

October 2012 sees the five piece return with a double A-side – Three Brothers/A Million Colours – again recorded by the legendary David Sanderson. Three Brothers is a punchy, kick-drum laden slice of electronic pop. The guitars shine throughout which, combined with Ad’s shouted vocals, is reminiscent of the likes of Vampire Weekend and Yeasayer at their best. A Million Colours is somewhat slower, but not without punch. It builds up from a solitary guitar line to a full band stampede, before dropping back down and starting again. Both tracks are bound to become firm live favourites amongst the band’s already impressive back catalogue.

The artwork for this month’s single comes from the band’s own Stella Wright. The songs are available as a ‘name your price’ download from the Shop & Audio page on here, or from http://housevshomerecords.bandcamp.com

House vs Home Singles Club No. 7: August Actually

Number seven in the House VS Home singles club series comes from August Actually.
Previously a sea-pop sextet, and responsible for the very first House VS Home release,
August Actually return as a folk-pop four piece, branching out with a wider range of  subject matter. This particular single broaches the dual themes of supernatural transformation and love. A-side Werewolf blends funky beats and girl-boy vocals, while B-side Vampire is a more wistful piano-led affair.

The video for Werewolf, animated by August Actually front man (and HVH co-founder) Alex Hale, can be viewed here.

The artwork for this month’s single comes courtesy of Laura Millward; more of her
artwork, photography and general design musings can be found on her blog. The tracks are available as a ‘name your price’ download from the Shop & Audio page on here, or from http://housevshomerecords.bandcamp.com

House vs Home Singles Club No. 6: Knickers

The sixth offering of the House VS Home singles club comes from Knickers, the new project of acclaimed retro pop enthusiast, Simon Love.

Having disbanded his ever-changing ensemble, The Loves, after the release of their fourth album in February of last year, Simon has opted to take a backseat in his new band – focusing on the writing while ‘French girl’ vocalist Sarah really steals the show.

Perhaps it’s ironic, then, that the band’s offering to the singles club takes the form of two covers. But these two pop gems, recorded for fun during the sessions for their second EP, fit the band’s style as effortlessly as their own songs. The lead track, a reworking of Bacharach, Dixon and David’s often-covered classic ‘Baby, It’s You’ sounds as great as it ever has; the horns and organ in particular take the track to new heights, unrealised by  Smith, The Beatles, or even Cilla Black. B-side, Jacques Dutronc’s ‘Les Cactus’, sounds  perhaps a little more like Simon’s old work with The Loves; more upbeat and jangly than  the original, with a dazzling guitar solo in the middle, it’s yet another testament to the  diverse range of ‘60s influences on the band.

Knickers’ debut EP, My Baby’s Just a Baby (But I Love Him So), was released through Elefant Records in May and is available from iTunes. It can also be streamed from the
band’s own Bandcamp.

The artwork for this month’s single comes courtesy of House VS Home records own Alex Hale. The tracks are available as a free download from the Shop & Audio page on here, or  http://housevshomerecords.bandcamp.com.

House vs Home Singles Club No. 5: The Contortionist

House VS Home singles club number five comes from The Contortionist. The Contortionist weaves many and varying influences to cumulate into his self-styled ‘twee-step’. This is apparent in the genre mash that is The Solemn Vow, which masterfully combines beats, harmonies and catchy choruses. B-side Fertile Ground is driven by the vocals and pushed along by beautiful guitar lines.

The Contortionist is the solo project of Andrew Hirst, currently in London’s Fall Forwards, and formerly of Sheffield’s Japanese Sleepers. Andrew’s wide-ranging influences cover everything from Guided by Voices and Neutral Milk Hotel to the Knife and Burial.

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The artwork for this month’s single comes courtesy of Aferdita Pacrami. The tracks are available as a ‘name your price’ download from the ‘Shop & Audio’ page on here, or from http://housevshomerecords.bandcamp.com.

You can listen to and download for free tracks by Andrew’s other band Fall Forwards on their bandcamp page.

House vs Home Singles Club No. 4: MJ Hibbett

House VS Home Records are extremely pleased to announce the fourth instalment in our monthly singles club, from indie pop stalwart MJ Hibbett!

Hibbett’s Billy Bragg-esque brand of politically charged pop has been charming audiences for years. He has gained success with hits such as Hey Hey 16K!, The Gay Train and Do the Indie Kid; appearances on the Steve Lamacq show; and recent forays into musical theatre with 2 man stage shows Dinosaur Planet and Moon Horse.

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Suffice to say, Hibbett is a busy man. Though currently in the midst of promoting the full-cast album recording of Dinosaur Planet (featuring his long-term backing band, The Validators), he has kindly taken the time out to offer the House VS Home singles club two exclusive solo pieces. Stores of Not to Be is rather reminiscent of Hibbett’s earlier work. While it is nostalgic and thoughtful, it is carried throughout by an irresistibly catchy guitar riff. The B-side, Only a Robot, is a studio recording of a Moon Horse favourite – the resigned tale of an android dealing with his own inadequacy. Despite its origins, it still works perfectly out of context and, along with Stores, comprises yet another gem in an already impressive back catalogue.

The artwork this month comes from James “Indiehorse” Birtwhistle. Like Hibbett, Indiehorse is a master in his field and this piece is amongst his best. More of Indiehorse’s artwork can be found at indiehorse.com. The tracks are available as a ‘name your price’ download from the ‘Shop & Audio’ page on here, or from housevshomerecords.bandcamp.com.