Caught by the River

The Girl with the Replaceable Head – Evil Debt Hotel

15th September 2012

by Kevin Pearce.

Why do we do what we do? What drives us on? Love and hate? The desire to provide an antidote to consensual Coldplay ceremonials, dangerous Boris buffoonery, and all those shades of grey? Perhaps. The stark truth is that so much of what is beautiful in the arts is being created on the sidelines, for fun, out of desperation, because of the DIY impulse. This has nothing to do with careerist, cosy craft whimsy, and it’s a world away from the promotional merry-go-round and the carnival of critical commentary. It’s about people that are old enough to know better, using up life savings, giving up their free time, simply to communicate with a few people, and make small but significant ripples that may become something more.

Evil Debt Hotel by The Girl with the Replaceable Head is a perfect example of what’s happening in the margins. It’s a self-released CD featuring Sylvia Hughes as The Girl with support from husband Taffy, who some may be interested to know is pictured on the sleeve with a red Fender Jaguar. It’s a record of incredible beauty, and it’s to be hoped that romantics stumble upon it at some point in time. The Girl sings about buttoning suede coats up against the cold eastern wind, two-star hotel rooms and Pasolini. I don’t think it’s particularly pertinent to describe the sound The Girl makes. But it is perhaps worth spelling out that you might love Evil Debt Hotel if you love:

Autumn sunsets seen unexpectedly, Blue Orchids, Charity shops, Doo wop and death songs, Empty Shell sung by Vic Godard, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Gurney Slade’s strange world, Haydée Santamaria, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Jackie DeShannon singing When You Walk in the Room, Kendra Smith singing Fell From The Sun, Local libraries liberating minds, Milton Nascimento’s melodies, Naomi Yang singing anything, Overheard conversations, Poundland’s surprises, Questioningly by The Ramones, Resistance stories from occupied Europe, Smalltown Girl by Tracey Thorn, Tears of Rage, Unicorns and underdogs, Victor Serge and socialist thrillers, Wildflowers growing through pricey imprinted concrete drives, X-ray music, Yé-yé gospel greats, The Zombies performing This Old Heart of Mine on French TV.

That’s off the top of my head. Today. Tomorrow may be different. But The Girl with the Replaceable Head will still stir the soul. Evil Debt Hotel can be bought in a number of formats here.

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