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Help She Can’t Swim

Hurrah for Help She Can’t Swim! They bring back happy memories of all manner of great riot grrl punk, injecting it with a twist of spiky Bis-style pop and Fall-esque delirium. They’re full of energy, urgency and yelping invective, but without forgetting that – hey! – we wanna dance too. And dance we will.

Leesey Francis – vox, keys
Tom Denney – vox, guitar, keys
Tom Baker – guitar, keys, bass
Tim Palmer – bass, keys
Lewis Baker – drums

Location: We are from lots of places, namely Christchurch, Bransgore, the New Forest and Brighton. We all meet somewhere in the middle to practise.

Formed: October 2003

What do you think you sound like, and how different is that from what other people have said or written about you?

Tom – I hate having to describe what we sound like ‘cos I don’t really know how to articulate it. One of the strangest descriptions said we sounded like Pulp playing with really cheap amps, which I just don’t understand. Some people at a gig we played said we sounded like some mix-up alternative bands from the 80s and 90s, which I quite liked as it was so vague but kinda summed us up.

It seems as if things have been moving pretty quickly since the Vacuous Pop release – what have you been up to?

The Vacuous Pop release was originally our demo that we recorded in December 2003 when we’d only been together a few months. We just sent it out to people to try and get shows. At the time we only sent a CD to Vacuous Pop to try and get a gig – I wasn’t thinking they’d wanna release it. Around the same time, we started talking to Fantastic Plastic who’d heard some nice things about our demo and asked for a copy. They came to see us play a lot and kept chatting to us and it all led to the idea of us doing an album. We went and recorded the album a week before the Vacuous Pop EP came back from being pressed.

‘Drew Barrymore Movie Marathon’, ‘Bunty Vs. Beano’ – does pop culture play a large part in yr music?

I guess it does. We do mention and reference a lot of things but I think sometimes people take the references literally and think that they’re what the songs are about. ‘What Would Morrissey Say?’ has very little to do with Morrissey.

Tip us off – what great new bands are there in your locality, or that you’ve played with, that you’d urge the curious music fan to check out?

There’s a band from London called Garrett who are really cool. They have this kinda Shellac-y/post rock thing going on, but with synths, and they are really good people. (www.garrettband.co.uk) There’s also a band from Northampton called the Retro Spankees who you should check out too: they do twisted twee indie pop in asimilar way to Bearsuit. And there is a band from Reading (or thereabouts) called Melitzer who we played with recently, who were really good fast noisy post-punk (www.melitzer.cjb.net).

Do you feel much affiliation with any community with regards to your music?

Not greatly. It’s always good meeting bands / promoters etc. who are nice and genuine people. It was really cool to play some shows with Bearsuit recently. They’re cool people and even though musically we’re kinda different, they are one of the bands in this country I think we relate to more. I don’t think we really fit in with any sort of scene (or at least not one that I’m aware of) and that’s fine.

Where did you get your band name from? Do you like it?

The name came from a big list of possible names that we made up. I think once you settle on a name you don’t really think about it. I like it – there are a lot of very boring band names about at the moment.

Which is your favourite of your own tracks and why?

I like playing ‘Fermez La Bouche’ and ‘LA Ain’t No Great Place To Be’ live because I really like throwing myself into those songs and feeling totally exhausted by the end. Then I realise we’ve got about ten more songs to play. I always enjoy playing new songs a lot and seeing how they work out. It’s really exciting playing a new song in practise once it’s written just because it’s so new.

What would you be willing to give up/sacrifice for success in your band?

I don’t know… we haven’t been offered any sinister deals yet so it’s hard to say.

What does your family think of your music?

I don’t know if my parents really like the music. My Dad listened to our single and said he couldn’t understand a word I was singing. But they are really pleased and find it all pretty crazy what we’ve managed to do so far.

What are your day jobs?

Me and Leesey don’t have jobs: we are finishing our last year of university.Tim is also finishing his last year but is a more upstanding citizen and works at Bookers. Tom and Lewis used to work in a country pub where you can buy mic rowaveable poached egg. Yum.

You’ve been asked to contribute to a charity covers album. Which song(s)would you most likely cover?

Something that wouldn’t be obvious. Maybe ‘Everybody Knows’ by Leonard Cohen.

What’s your favourite bit of band kit?

All of it, or else we wouldn’t be able to make enough noise. I just got a Casio VL tone keyboard I bought off eBay through in the post today so I’m busy playing with that.

If diskant could buy one thing for your band for Christmas, what would it be?

Perhaps a van and someone to drive it, but that would be two things. Maybe just the van: you could give me the driver for my birthday.

What are the last couple of albums you bought and are they any good?

I got the new Q and not U album which I like soooo much more than their other records. I like their other albums, but this one just seems to have a lot more personality and is really fun. I love how dancey it is. I’m also listening to the last Elliott Smith album, which sounds good from the few listens I’ve had. The song that goes ‘I’m already somebody’s baby’ is amazing. The new Bad Seeds album is pretty cool – I like all the gospel choir stuff. Also got the Panda Bear solo album: it’s a grower, but good.

Choose between:

(a) Indie label or major label deal?
For us, indie. You shouldn’t really be on a major unless you are going to be what the label want you to be. What’s the point in signing to a big label if you are just going to get dropped and put in debt because yr not going to meet the label’s expectations?

(b) CD or vinyl?
Vinyl sounds more yummy and the sleeves look nicer than CDs because they are bigger, and nicer to hold. But then CDs can be a lot more practical.

(c) Records or live music?
Have to have both.

Sing us a song:

You are my sunshine… my only sunshine.

Website: www.helpshecantswim.com

Records we can buy:
Suck Our Band EP – 7” (Vacuous Pop)
Bunty Vs Beano – CD/7” single (Fantastic Plastic)
Fashionista Super Dance Troupe – CD album/LP (Fantastic Plastic)