I hear the sirens calling
As the rain is gently falling

Trudy, madly, deeply

I’m a happy chappy today. I’ve just got “Dirt Cheap Melody”, the new single from The Trudy.

I last wrote about The Trudy in 1989. Which is slightly strange because that was 23 years ago and I’m only 27 now. It’s the truth, I tell you. The group went missing for more than a decade, but resurfaced in 2006. They’re busy people – singer Melissa Jo Heathcote has recorded with the Easy Access Orchestra and Just Jack and is also a member of The Pukes, the all-female ukulele punk outfit, while guitarist Paul Crook has a parallel career as a dancer and is the reigning UK Lindy Hop Champion (I kid you not) – but I’m pleased they still have time for a little bit of Trudyosity. Last month, for instance, they played at a benefit gig in London for Cardiacs main man Tim Smith, who suffered a paralysing stroke in 2008. Peter Tagg, The Trudy’s founder and drummer, was in the original line-up of Cardiacs.

Back in 1989, I described Ms Heathcote as “bubbling constantly, like a coffee pot left on the stove” and I called her hair “a virtual froth”. Which wasn’t very kind of me. She is certainly still a lively beggar, but there’s something quite delicate about her voice on “Dirt Cheap Melody”, a song about youthful dreams turning into kitchen sink dramas. It’s about earworms too – kind of like a new slant on the opening lines of Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby” (“You live your life by the songs you hear on the rock ‘n’ roll radio”) – and that’s more than a little fitting. “Dirt Cheap Melody” is bold and bright and breezy pop music with the lid blown off and a fat rainbow bursting out. If it doesn’t stick in your head, you’ll need to get yourself to a hospital and ask them to check your skull for holes. You’ve probably got a leak somewhere.

You can buy “Dirt Cheap Melody” from the Genepool download website, where it has been topping the best sellers list for the last two weeks. Click here for The Trudy’s Genepool page.

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Anarchy in the ukulele

The Pukes version of Damned Damned Damned The Pukes version of London CallingThere’s only three weeks until Christmas and if you’re still wondering what to get the punk in your life, the answer may lie with The Pukes. I’m not talking about some obscure group from 1977 with a solitary crackly seven-inch to their name. The Pukes are about as here and now as you can get. Well, kinda. They are a self-proclaimed “anti-society” of 10 ladies, some of whom have had several 21st birthdays, who perform classic punk songs on ukuleles. Which is a marvellous concept – and all the more so since they play with considerable skill and a big bucketful of gusto.

I’ve got to say that I’m buying pretty much whatever The Pukes are selling. And right now, as well as dusty old ditties rattled and twanged from teeny-weeny stringed instruments, the ladies are selling a 2012 calendar featuring their interpretations of 12 iconic punk record sleeves. Should you need telling, the revamped creations above are The Damned’s “Damned Damned Damned” and The Clash’s “London Calling” (yup, that’s a ukelele being trashed on “London Calling”), and others in the set include Blondie’s “Parallel Lines”, X-Ray Spex’s “Germ Free Adolescents” and the first Ramones album. The images have been put together by photographer Diana More and designer Lorna Tiefholz, who is herself a Puke.

The Pukes’ calendar is A3, printed on glossy art paper, and will set you back a freshly ironed tenner (plus postage). You can order it by clicking here. You can also see the covers on display at Filthy MacNasty’s in Islington, London, until 17 December, and then at Norwich Arts Centre from 6 to 30 January next year. Watch out for the sweetcorn and the bits of carrot.