The New Southpaw Soviet
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The New Southpaw Soviet

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"The Line of Best Fit Loves the NSPS"

This unsigned London band are named after the fact that all of their members have that singularly curious trait – they are left-handed. Formed by brother and sister Jim and Jen Robottom and also comprising drummer Ben Rawlence, multi-instrumentalist Isabel Why and vocalist/guitarist Alex Rennie, they had the tastefulness to invite TLOBF to listen to their demo recordings.

That demo comprises four tracks of painstakingly-constructed, energetic populist rock, all jangly guitars and vocal harmonies. The band’s mandate is to create deceptively simple pop tunes whilst incorporating witty, intriguing lyrics and lots of changes in key and time signature. This approach results in songs like “Decisions”, a piece that starts with sunny guitar riffs but quickly evolves into something a driving, pulsing confection laden with up-tempo backing vocals and insistent drums, through which we hear that “we are made up of decisions…”

Elsewhere is “The Night Sky”, a more subtle, narrative-driven song with a conversational tone reminiscent of Paul Simon’s work – especially “I Know What I Know” from his classic 1986 album Graceland, which has a similar premise. Depicting two different characters meeting in a bar, the lyrics comprise their wry, cynical discussion. A more upbeat song is their opener to their demo, “A Little Piece of My Brain”, another perky rocker where the lyrics are at their most witty, in keeping with the fact that the band are, in their own words, believers in “lyrics, harmonies, time signatures and string theory”.

It’s hard to believe that The New Southpaw Soviet can possibly remain unsigned for long, so with any luck we can expect to hear much more from this interesting, talented band. In the meantime, their MySpace page contains full versions of their entire demo disc as well as a couple of other songs besides, so that’s the next port of call to hear more from them and find out more – not least a huge list of influences ranging from Dusty Springfield to Sly and the Family Stone. The New Southpaw Soviet think they “might just have something a little special” - they might just be a little right.

- Line of Best Fit

"Packing a Punch"

They're collective - not a cult - and your arty indie friends like them. SACHA BLACKBURN talks to Harrow natives Jenny and James Robottom from The New Southpaw Soviet about what makes good music, instruments and Radiohead

WHAT do you get if you cross a charity press officer, a human rights watcher, an artist, a physics teacher and a trainee barrister? No, not another hilarious BBC sitcom. You get The New Southpaw Soviet.

Created by brother sister duo Jenny and James Robottom, the Carpenters they ain't.

The siblings think REM, The Stone Roses and The Smiths are great. A chasm opens when Bjork rears her tiny Icelandic head into conversation: Jenny says she's good, James says she's bad.

James likes Radiohead more than Jenny and thinks the Beatles "write something so complicated it's simple".

Jenny unknowingly echoes the idea: "We try to put lots of ideas into songs with the aim of people not really noticing."

Knowledgeable James explains music like bandmate Isabel, the physics teacher, might explain the Large Hadron Collider.

Jenny played Lionel Richie on the flute at Harrow School for Young Musicians each Saturday morning during her teens and used to be in a band that supported Mogwai.

The New Southpaw Soviet, an all left-handed fivesome who have been together for four years, tell me they like to do entertaining covers live sometimes.

They know things I don't, like how to write a melody, what a dominant 7th is and why nobody else can imitate the opening of The Smith's Bigmouth Strikes Again.

They use lots of 'proper' instruments like flutes, violas and clarinets and, unusually, four of them sing. I like them, and so, apparently, does The Guardian.

The New Southpaw Soviet have recorded four songs as a demo and want to get signed. Then they want to make an album that's either more or less obscure than Radiohead's Kid A, depending on who you ask, Jenny or James.
- Harrow Observer


Still working on that hot first release.



The New Southpaw Soviet emerged when brother and sister Jim and Jen Robottom, physicist Isabel Why, artist Alex Rennie and human rights monitor Ben Rawlence decided it was about time they formed a left-handed musical collective that was high on harmonies and low on 4/4 time signatures.

From 2004 – 2007 they honed their craft amidst two illnesses, physics lessons, fine art exhibitions and their drummer’s regular visits to war torn African countries. Life affirming melodies and a wealth of percussion instruments was the only answer.

Since then their audience has grown through celebratory gigs and lovingly created recordings.

In 2008 Laura Barton chose their song ‘A Little Piece of My Brain’ for the Guardian Film and Music play list and said:

"A sublime burst of melodic pop from this as-yet-unsigned band from London town; sounds a little like Franz Ferdinand roughing up Martha Reeves and her Vandellas, egged on by the Smiths."

The well respected indie website Line of Best Fit said:

"It’s hard to believe that The New Southpaw Soviet can possibly remain unsigned for long, so with any luck we can expect to hear much more from this interesting, talented band... The New Southpaw Soviet think they “might just have something a little special” - they might just be a little right."

In 2009 The New Southpaw Soviet mastered A Little Piece of My Brain and Nautical (Wave Behave)- their paean to Schrodinger’s Cat, particle theory and bees- at Abbey Road studios. They would be delighted if you would give them a listen.