Friday, December 11, 2009

Free MP3s from Gwenno of The Pipettes! *UPDATED*

I have always found it hard to write about The Pipettes. It's like if I put it in writing, the very magic that I'm trying to describe will evaporate.

But I've felt safe in asserting that only the British could do something like The Pipettes.

By that I mean that, in the world of American indie rock, The Pipettes would have quickly turned into a kind of knowing irony -- an exercise in kitsch, "Look at how quirky and retro we are" with eyebrows raised -- the kind of obviousness that I hate.

Instead, the group offered a decidedly retro presentation but with real tunes that work just as well without the display of the 3 young ladies and their visual echoes of a 1960s pre-Beatles British pop world.

That said, any guy who saw The Pipettes live probably said -- playing the sexist for the moment -- that Gwenno Saunders was "the hot one."

That's not to dismiss the tremendously talented Welsh singer but, like Debbie Harry in Blondie, Gwenno has the look that most people associate with The Pipettes.

But, also like Debbie Harry, she's an affecting singer who can switch between sexiness and genuine emotion in her music.

So, that's a long rambling introduction to these two great solo songs from Gwenno.

Of the two, "Lime Chordial" is the obvious wistful single; in this fan's mind it's a direct descendant of mini-masterpieces like Black Box Recorder's "Goodnight Kiss" or Catatonia's "Strange Glue" or Kenickie's sublime "Lights Out in a Provincial Town".

However, the real surprise is how great "St. Petersburg" is as well; my first thought was "She sounds like Rickie Lee Jones!"

And I can think of no higher compliment for a female singer.

After getting into The Pipettes I was pleasantly surprised to find that Gwenno had a pre-Pipettes career and -- luckily -- you can check out some of Gwenno's non-Pipettes Welsh pop on iTunes in the States here and here.

Be sure to check out Gwenno's MySpace page for updates on the singer's future endeavours.

Download "Lime Chordial" here.

Download "St. Petersburg" here.

UPDATE: I have it on good authority that the Gwenno-led Pipettes will be releasing a new album on Fortuna Pop in the U.K. near March. Look for a single before that.