Title: i'll be your spark Artist: zoomiiz 112 plays

Zoomiiz- I’ll Be Your Spark

Happy Record Store Day! This is a bit of a special post.

There is a friend of mine, Shirley. She has told me many amazing stories about her days in the punk/glam scene of the late 70s and early 80s.

Recently, Shirley posted a screen shot from what was clearly a music video. I realized I had never actually heard anything from the bands she told me so much about! I asked if there was any material available online, but to her knowledge she didn’t think that was the case.

Well, with a bit of digging, and to her delight, I managed to find the single. Unfortunately, the video hasn’t managed to surface (yet).

Apparently, the director of said video was Sir Alan Parker, that of Fame, The Commitments, Angela’s Ashes… just to name a few. Shirl apparently didn’t pay that much attention to him, and tells me she really only knew of his work on Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

I asked for some details about the band’s history.

Her first foray was a four piece all girl punk group called The Straits. They began in Leeds, toured the country, and gained quite a bit of press coverage and interest. They decided to move to London to take things further.

However, due to musical and personal conflicts, The Straits called it quits soon after. Guitarist Di Harde was poached by the likes of Girlschool and Cuddle Toys, before joining a band called The Spiders. Unhappy with the musical direction they were taking, a few of the Spiders quit the group. Shirley came in, and they changed their name to The Zoomiiz.

Vocalist Debbie wrote all of the lyrics and melody, whilst Shirley wrote the music.

Their drummer, Nick Flowers, is the son of Herbie Flowers, who was a session bassist for the likes of T-Rex, David Bowie, and played THAT riff from Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side”.

Their material went into a much more glam rock direction. They eventually landed a publishing deal and recorded this single at Abbey Road. It was a one off release on RK Records.

It appears to have become something of an underground classic amongst enthusiasts in that genre. It has made a number of appearances on niche radio shows around the world, as well as collector’s lists.

It’s very much a stomping singalong, fitting of the era it came from. It’s simply a fun, catchy tune. The b-side is a song called “Photograph” which is a toned down, more somber affair. It almost sounds like a 60’s girl group, but with bigger drums and synthesizers. As the early 80’s were all about.

Shirl remains friends with a number of other female musicians she met in the scene at the time, telling me “there was always a great camaraderie amongst the all girl bands.”

Anyway, with Shirley’s permission, here it is! Hopefully one day the video will make its way out the vault…

GUEST POST: Julia is the guitarist and vocalist for psychadelic/metal duo Moon Hag. They’ll be playing a house show in London, Ontario on May 4th.

Wrath- Warlord

This is a rare gem from 1975. Wrath were actually an all male group, but their vocalist fell ill when they were due to record this track. The singer you hear is in fact the guitarist’s wife at the time, Sherry Minocchi. This is the only time she ever performed the song, but it is perfect. It sounds like if Mary from The Shangri-Las ran away with a metal band.

Perkie- Run

Anti-folk/punk/pop.

I first heard Perkie about two years ago at this show, an evening that also featured Colour Me Wednesday and The Tuts (two bands I may have mentioned here and there). Perkie performed a solo set, as well as one with her other outfit, Feralus- a trio formed alongside Katie Raine and Ren Aldridge (Ren Spits at Magpies).

What really stood out for obvious reasons is her voice. It sounds almost effortless and delicate, but holds so much power. Even on the most fragile notes, she creates a stature that even the most loudest, aggressive of vocalists can not achieve.

Solo, it is just Perkie and a keyboard, and the music definitely holds its own that way. However, she also performs with The Perkettes, a supergroup of sorts including members of both The Tuts and CMW. It creates a completely new atmosphere on her songs, but it does not take away from the impact of their messages.

On “Run”, The Perkettes’ musical background appears to have had a slight influence on her material. There’s a pop-punk sheen over her more recognizable sound.

This is from her upcoming album, Time Machines.

Feature- Pre-Feel

A dreamy side of post punk from London, UK.

Liv Willars and Jen Calleja originally performed as a duo, but have recently added Heather Perkins (of Slowcoaches) to their line-up.

Admittedly, I hadn’t actually heard anything of this band until I was at one of their shows recently. It turns out that they had put on the night themselves, with a strong line-up of Witching Waves, Primetime and Good Throb. It was at Powerlunches in support of D.I.Y. Space For London.

Perhaps it was their recent move to playing as a trio, but they sounded much heavier live than on recordings, which made the songs even better. However, the vocal harmonies on this track are perfect on both mediums. On first impression they instantly reminded me of Montreal’s Hand Cream, who I also happened to discover in the same manner. It’s a shame I hadn’t seen them prior or perhaps in their original formation, but they were incredible never the less.

This is from their first release, Memory.

Big Joanie- Dream Number 9

Big Joanie are a punk trio from London, UK.

They began as guitarist Steph’s home demos. Eventually, when it came to the idea of playing them live, she wanted her band to be all black women.

Steph wrote this piece last year about racism in punk, which was unfortunately (and non-surprisingly) met with a slew of negative feedback. It was followed up with this entry (on her spectacular blog Don’t Dance Her Down Boys) as to why that reaction highlighted the need to put this band together.

The addition of Chardine (drums/vocals) and Kiera (bass/vocals) came together last summer, with the aim to play a First Timers gig- a mini festival of sorts that asks anybody and everybody to try their hand at starting a band.

Big Joanie accomplished this goal of course, and have been playing live ever since.

I had the absolute joy of experiencing them for the first time this past weekend at WOWZERS festival.

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They describe themselves as “The Ronettes filtered through 80s DIY” which is most fitting. Their guitar sound also had me reminiscent of both Pixies AND The Breeders, which appears to be a fare comparison as they’ve covered both. A very fun live treat came in the form of their rendition of TLC’s classic “No Scrubs”, which had much of the crowd singing along.

Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to talk solely about their unique take on other people’s material. Their original content is very promising, and although they are still young in band years, they are clearly putting the work in. They appear to have a clear vision of what they would like to do with this project, and the results are instantly likeable. This song in particular was one of my highlights so I’m happy to find the demo. It features a back and forth vocal between Steph and Kiera.

I also feel it’s something to be said about the energy this band portrayed on stage. I don’t mean in a way that they were throwing their instruments about or jumping around, more that they all seemed so radiant. They have a strong message that they want to bring out, but they do so in their own way. They were full of smiles and it reflected back from the crowd. Their music is where their power lies, and in creating such a positive environment perhaps the listener will pay more attention. I am really looking forward to seeing what else they will do.