SCHED* SXSW 2011 has ended
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Tripping on a summer ray of good vibration moonshine, Babe Shadow are an Arcadian beat-combo for our time. They make a buoyant and lovelorn guitar-twanging kind of pop music, for hot nights and romancers and dancers. Their intentions are pure. Tom and Dave Shadow co-write all the songs, an acoustic guitar each, in the time-honoured and good-old-fashioned way. Their influences are “fifties and sixties music with clean guitars.” They say they particularly like “Marc Bolan” and some old band called “The Beatles.” In a scene clogged up with shoegazers and twittering electronics, Babeshadow are happy pagan luddites. “When we started this band we vowed never to use synthesizers,” declares Dave, “or guitar pedals or anything like that.” There are no special effects at work here beyond cigarette smoke and mirrors. Tom and Dave have been best friends and consistent collaborators in music since they were twelve. “Making all the music we’ve made together over the years,” Dave says, “we’ve learned that we just want to keep it acoustic and natural. Music loses its soul when it’s just like; you push a button and a machine plays it all for you.” Tom and Dave came dangerously close to being called just ‘Tom and Dave,’ until they decided in a hurry, backstage a Pete Doherty support slot, to go with the kooky new moniker, plucked from the long title of the T-Rex tune that was playing at the time. It suited and it stuck. “We went through weeks and weeks after that, and sheets and sheets of paper, trying to come up with a proper band name. But in the end we came back to the one we started with” says Tom. “It’s kind of dumb but we like it.” The duo play and record and produce everything themselves, and they want to keep it that way. When they play live shows, they get a band together. They have an aversion to strumming chords, and so the songs are often over picked-out, tropical-sounding guitar lines. These two aren’t Afrobeat connoisseurs though, in the mode of a lot of jazzy new worldy-sounding bands out now. “I’ve never really listened to any African music” says Dave Shadow; “But I think I might try to this week. I’m told that I’m really going to like it.” The boys’ lyrics trade in the timeless and touching chestnuts of all the great romantic popular music: love, love, love, (it’s only love). It IS only love! Babeshadow encourage us to dance away our grasp of all this, by way of their dreamy, loved-up, good-old-fashioned make-the-club-dance sound. “The songs all come from dreams, or ideas of little stories, or paintings or photographs” says Tom. His distinctive warble sings words they write together. Tom is so tall and skinny and pretty that it’s actually kind of alarming. “I’ve written loads of songs about girls,” says Dave Shadow (shorter but still also tall and skinny and pretty); “but there’s basically been, like, no girl.” Babe Shadow say their heartfelt message is simply “Enjoy yourself.” They say they “didn’t start a band in any protest against anything, or to promote anything in particular, other than people enjoying themselves.” They say they’re not purists, but they rail against “plastic sounds” and “synthesised noises that were like, made in factories” and stuff. Tom always seems to be wearing a vest; this guy’s shoulders, at least, are closer to nature than most of us ours. In the ramshackle front-room studio in the flat on Shacklewell ‘creative hub’ Lane that they share (where their pals Jack Penate and Milo ‘Big Pink’ Cordell live a couple of doors down) Tom and Dave Shadow have honed their stripped-down, out-of-time, primitive jangly love-clatter into something a bit like Marc Bolan fronting The Modern Lovers while they play Anglophone folk songs in the style of a load of world music they’re only vaguely aware of. They make love songs that are pop songs that are pure of heart and intention. What’s not to like, you cynical cunts? Luv Luv Luv Records is proud to release Babe Shadow’s debut E.P into the burgeoning atmosphere of the summer. Keep your chin up, is all we’re saying; have a knees-up, cut loose, cut a rug. Remember what all this pop music’s all about. Play this record loud and dance about with the people you love. It’s only love. But love is hard to stop.

My Artists Sessions

Friday, March 18