08 July 2010

Peenko Exclusive: Mitchell Museum: The Peters Port Memorial Service - Track By Track

So you wait for years for a classic Scottish indie-pop album to come out, and then two come out in the space of a week. Monday saw the release of Kid Canaveral's amazing 'Shouting At Wildlife', next week sees the release of Mitchell Museum's debut album 'The Peters Port Memorial Service'. Another album we've had to wait a while for, but then again after finally getting my hands on a copy on Monday night, it was more than worth the wait. I guess it might sound lazy of me, but it's difficult for me not to compare this album to the Super Furry Animals or the Flaming Lips. Both of those bands make unconventional indie-pop songs, that are both catchy and just that little bit bonkers. It works, I don't why or how it works, it just does.
Now it's time for me to pass you over to Cammy to talk you through the album....

We won 2nd Prize

This song refused to sit anywhere else on the album. We asked it to go in the middle and it said “NO WAY”. We then politely tried to persuade it to take a seat at track 13 (The last song on the album….but it was all like… “I’m the first song on the album! You play me first at gigs and people even call me the first song, so I’m sitting at the front of this junk pop bus. Like it or p*ss off” To be fair our songs aren’t normally so….rude….but we still like We won 2nd prize.

Warning Bells

Warning Bells by mitchellmuseum

This is the first single form peters port memorial service. A man called Ewan Millar from the Skinny said this about it “Mitchell Museum cheerfully sing about nearly drowning in a hospital of razors, whilst sounding like Mercury Rev jamming with Panda Bear (and presumably laughing hysterically and twitching lots)” maybe he’s right…maybe he’s not…..but if I know anything for sure I know that….if you listen carefully you can just (barely) hear me blowing a straw into a glass of water to make that sort of “octopuses garden” bubble sound. It pans round your head in stereo, and took us about an hour and a half to do. Andy Bush (who recorded and co-produced the album with us) didn’t seem to mind me spitting water over his most expensive condenser mic…..How he felt with it being turned right down in the mix?….well….I haven’t asked him about that….and probably wont any time soon.

Room for Improvement

This is one of my favourite songs on the album. To make this song we took the chord progression from Elton Johns “Can you feel the love tonight” (From the lion king) , jumbled up the lyrics to Hot Chocolates “You sexy thing” and stole a drum fill from Phil Collins…That’s… of course not true. It is one of my favourite songs on the album though. The title comes from something that my granddad said (I call him Papa in real life…but feel it sounds childish so from now on I’ll refer to him as “Big G Sharp”). Me and Raindeer were visiting our grandparents and we were talking about the album to Big G Sharp. We were saying that the recordings were sounding really good and he said something about “There’s always room for improvement though”….or something like that….and then he started laughing a lot…and we did too….and then he said you can call your next song that if you want…and we did…..and then he said “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall ‘cause he was a lazy bastard” and that is true. Big G Sharp is some man….

The Peters Port Memorial Service

Peters Port is a place in Uist. I lived in Uist for a bit. I used to come back to Uist for Holidays with my family..... We don’t anymore….and we wont again. This is a track that marks the end of that. It’s a fairly experimental track. A fond farewell to a holiday home I won’t see again.

Take the Tongue Out

This is the first Mitchell museum song that I wrote. I used to sing “Rip the Tongue out”…but that just seemed a bit…violent. The songs actually based around a terrible noise that Raindeer made at the New Years party that gave birth to our band. He was banging his fist on a piano and Dougie, Kris and myself started joining in….and haven’t really stopped since. The originally New Years Eve version of the song lasted for about 14 minutes and wasn’t very good. There’s an interesting fact for Popup video!

No. 3

This song was terrible at first. We had been playing the song slightly differently live and when we first listened back to a rough mix of it we realised that it really didn’t fit with the feel of the rest of the album. I was really worried about it as it had been a live favourite for a while and we were seriously thinking about bumping it off the album…Which would have been a real shame. I made a couple of new demo versions of it and one finally worked. I play a little bit of electric guitar on this one. That’s something that I never normally do…electric guitars scare me.

Mission One

Mission 1 by mitchellmuseum

I think this is quite a sad song. In terms of what it’s about anyway. The lyrics (as most of the lyrics on the album) are quite abstract so I suppose it’s not entirely clear what it’s about….but I’d rather that these songs felt like they belonged to you, so you can make up your on personal sad interpretation of what it’s about. This song features mike for the seventeenth century. He’s playing cornet on this because it sounded a lot better than my squawky keyboard. Mike plays on two other tracks on the album….and he’s very good at playing the cornet…. and he’s a very very nice guy!

Tiger Heartbeat

Tiger Heartbeat by mitchellmuseum

Ok…so I’m going to go against what I just said about not telling you what the songs are about. For this one time only! This song is partly about the first funeral I ever attended. YAY!!! It’s more about the people that attended the funeral though. Horrible, greedy little people. The person that passed away was an impressively intelligent, extremely funny and exceptionally caring lady, but the people that were at her funeral seemed to care more about who was going to be taking her antique ornaments home. There was an argument about a gramophone and a porcelain ballerina….it made me sick to my stomach. Making a song is the best way to help me deal with that kind of thing.

Cut Lantern

This song utilises our DJX sample keyboard to maximum effect. The song is made up of lots of little sampled phrases (“Little” being the appropriate word as the DJX on has a 6 second sample memory) A recorder, a giant lion and the sound of Dougies head being dragged across a wooden table are just some of the sounds that you might be able to pick out of this song.

Copy and Paste

The demo for this song was made on my mobile phone. I recorded the sound of me banging my fist against the handset whilst singing a vague melody. I broke my phone after that. This song also has some extra friends singing on it. A man called Nitro is on it and you can hear him quite clearly….he has a strong manly voice….for an English teacher.

Bleed The Bottle

Here’s an interesting fact about this song….well slightly interesting. There are clarinets playing in the verse of this song …but the part that they collectively play was originally written by Dougie on the guitar, and then he suggested the idea of swapping one guitar for 3 clarinets….So each clarinet represents the 3 strings that were used to make the chord that Dougie was plucking on the guitar….or something…. It was a hard thing to do….but we got there in the end. Mikes on this again making his lovely Mike cornet noise.

A Series of Instructions

Is a instrumental piece that links the last 2 songs together. Again there’s quite a lot of DJX sampley stuff going on. There’s also a lot of us banging our feet on the ground in Andy Bushes kitchen. It’s quite a noisy affair.

Novels and diaries

In much the same way that “we one second prize” argued that its rightful place was at the start of the album. Novels and Diaries was quite adamant that it belonged at the end of the album…and we agreed. So we got some of our friends together, made them drink a box of white wine, gave them some Pringles and invited them to shout over the top of our song….and they did…and it was fun. A memory that I hope to hang on to for quite a long time.

The Peters Port Memorial Service is out on July the 12th through
Electra French Records, you can pre-order a copy on very sexy 12" over on the bands website or alternatively you can buy a copy through Amazon or iTunes. The band are celebrating the release of their album with a semi-secret gig on the 14th of July, you'll need to email the band to get the password mind you. You can find further details on the event here. Also, if you are heading along to T in the Park tomorrow (9th) then make sure you head along to the T Break stage to catch the guys playing live. Trust me you won't regret it!


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