Song of the day – 254: Bee Vamp
A recent mention of Eighties chanteuse Carmel led me to search out this seven-inch single, one of my favourites of ’79. Saw the band perform a few times: ace, rare fun. Dance? Oh yes, we danced!
From the excellent Messthetics reissue label site:
Bee Vamp’s “Valium Girls” was the second release on Manchester’s Monsters In Orbit label (made famous by the Colors Out of Time’s post-punk classic “Rock Section”). The band’s named for an early-’60s Booker Little jazz-tune, and their label-name comes from a Jack Vance sci-fi collection. “Valium” is a loosely-sprung and rather depressed Slits-jazz honk-and-gnarl – creepily true to its title. After Bee Vamp split in 1981, Jim Parris formed Carmel, who are online (along with much more) at Jim’s Neoglobal site.
Yeah, go figure. Kind of obscure. Chuck nails it with his description, although he omits to mention Bee Vamp’s masterful use of dynamics, surprise and silence. The way the percussion thumps in and out. The playfulness of the instruments. The constant pulse. Bee Vamp performed on stage in London a handful of times with Carmel as a guest singer: yep, it was a delight witnessing those loose and semi-spontaneous jazz-flecked shows. Always had them listed alongside Clock DVA and A Certain Ratio in my mind… didn’t need to catalogue, but I just knew this music would help me loosen up, when required. Uh. Except Clock DVA and A Certain Ratio had the opposite effect on me… um, as did Bee Vamp. ‘Valium Girls’ was their only release, far as I’m aware.
Oh, whatever. I tried to find a video for you to have a gander at, but – as I say – kind of obscure. So you can have a listen here. Sorry, no downloads.