Photo by Katie Coleslaw
A while ago we started doing monthly issue launch parties at the Old Blue Last. The whole concept should have been pretty elementary: have a party, a bunch of people drink and the bands covered in the magazine that month come down and play. No big deal, right? Well, it shouldn’t have been. Then we realised that a lot of the acts we were talking about in the magazine were, erm, not really ever from England.
This made us stop and think: where have all the good new British bands gone? Hello? Is there anyone out there? The answer is a pretty resounding “nope”. Stop and think of a genuinely good new band you have heard in a year that is already way past half-done and I bet you ten Chomps you’ll struggle.
Then we saw Pens and it changed everything. Their set lasts about 14 minutes and the girls swap instruments in between tunes mainly because it appears none of them really know what they are doing. The whole thing is so swathed in static and reverb and shambolic about-to-fall-apartness that it’s like watching that YouTube clip of the kid kicking through the granite wall and getting his ankle snapped in half: kind of bite-your-bottom-lip atrocious but kind of the best thing you have seen since ever. They also do a cover of “Sex Beat” by the Gun Club that sounds like the Germs trying to be the Shangri-Las through a gauze of early K Records fuzz.
Vice: Didn’t some of you used to be in that band Look Look Dancing Boys with all those songs like “Tit Wank” and “Suck My Balls”?
Amelia Bean (guitars): Yep, but that band fell down the loo.
Loos, balls, tits. This band even has a name that is a bit like the word “penis”. Would it be fair to say that you are a little genitally obsessed?
Stefania Orla (drums): Maybe a little. You aren’t the first person to point out “the missing I”. I hope the whole dick thing isn’t going to follow us around forever. Pens actually refers to drawing as two of us are real-life illustrators.
What are your favourite pens? I only ever use 0.5 Pilot v5 Hi-Tec.
Amelia: Pilots are good. Especially 0.4s and sometimes the 0.5. Other than that, Berols are great.
Helen Yell (keyboards): I like Microsoft Paint.
Why do you swap instruments so much?
Amelia: Short attention spans.
Helen: Can we go now?
Pens have a split seven-inch with Male Bonding forthcoming on Paradise Vendors Inc. myspace.com/penspenspenis