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Not for Pussies

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News

 

Not for Pussies’ new album “Under the Sun” was released on Bandcamp in October 2016.

 

The album is an exploration of humanity, considered through myths and modern media reports as well as the individual's perspective, which, in the end, is all each of us ever has. In 2016, it could seem like a world gone mad - but somehow, we hold on to a seed of hope, even if we don't know where that hope might come from, or lead to.

 

Any proceeds from the tracks "Lament" and "Under the Sun" will be donated to Save the Children’s Syria appeal.

 

Some reviews :

“The compassionate references to refugee and environmental crises might tempt some to call this Not for Pussies’ “political album,” but there is too much going on in this rich work to pigeonhole it so severely. In fact, the first two tracks, “Ice Maiden” and “Elemental” could suggest a psychedelic-meets-new-age potpourri starring Enya and Can. Suddenly, without changing the ambience, the third track “Lament” shifts into a naming of names for the thousands of nameless ones crossing the Mediterranean in leaky, hazardous craft, hoping only for a chance at life and finding a continent closed off to them. Janette Kidd uses her dubbed harmonies very effectively in this track, as well as in the following “The Secret,” which shift from the political and cultural domain to that of agape love. After an instrumental interlude, “Sylver,” with treated guitars and strings from Janette and Brian, the album delves briefly into myth, first with a transcendental song of immortality and memory, “Heroine,” followed by a reconsideration of the Icarus myth. The album reaches it penultimate climax with the title track, a return to the refugee crisis and the orphans of war. “Under the Sun” and the final track, “The Code” are united by an underlying theme of “Nothing new under the sun,” giving the climax of this album the same sort of eerie other-worldliness encountered in the album’s beginning measures of “practice makes perfect.” It’s quite possible Brian and Janette Kidd did not consciously intend to make a concept album, but the lyrical themes and musical arrangements of “Under the Sun” are enfolded in self-referential themes, making this one of Not for Pussies’ strongest albums ever.” - - Loring Wirbel, Colorado, USA

 

From Willy Vlyminck, Belgium: "The biggest compliment you can give to a recording is that it is unclassifiable and this is such one"

 

From Bob Ebdon, artist & musician, UK: "I managed to listen last evening. I am in absolute awe of your combined talents. So professional in every aspect, your voice has never sounded better Janette, and Brian's technical abilities and invention are just amazing. I felt I was listening to Floyd crossed with Crimson crossed with Jefferson Airplane, and loved the journey each track took me on. I also appreciated the relevance and importance of the content, my favourite being "Lament" at the moment. Fantastic work."

 

From Martin Lowe, musician & producer, UK: "Elemental - perhaps my favourite track from the ambitious forward looking terrific new album Under The Sun....so far that is - it's early days & there's lots to be found here... There are all the trademarks of a classic N4P album in this one tune though with great musicianship, lyrics & of course the trademark layers of vocals & harmonies from Janette. With interesting chord progressions & twists & turns that work melodically & rhythmically to draw the listener in, the band are clearly more & more at home in the studio & have lots more to do... This album is currently on repeat in my car despite me having lots to listen to at the moment in what's turning into a great year for albums.... "

 

From Massimo Onesti, Italy - " ... listened to everything ... very atmospheric and enjoyable listening ... beautiful too, deep lyrics and lyrical ... the musical texture so suffused and well arranged by the magic touch"

 
Listen "Under the Sun" Samples

About

 

Not for Pussies was born in the course of 2008. Brian & Janette Kidd had been together as a couple for just over 30 years and had been writing and playing music together for over 25 of those years. We had played in a proggy band - Alternative Communication - at University and shortly afterwards, then after a fallow spell, began to seriously write, record and play again as a twosome. We felt this new period of creativity and new project needed a name – so Not for Pussies was born.

 

The name comes from a Bette Davis quote when she was asked what it’s like to grow older.. “It’s not for pussies!” she growled. We both readily identified with this perspective!

 

Brian has played guitar since the age of 6. He bought his first electric guitar at 17 and fell in love with the soundscapes it could produce. His guitar heroes are the fast guys - Jan Akkerman, Robert Fripp - as well as those who create atmospheres and experiment with sound -Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) and Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) - as well as a scandinavian jazz guy called Eivind Aarset. And who wouldn't mention Jeff Beck... A particularly inspirational moment was when he saw Cocteau Twins play Exeter University in the early ‘90s and was blown away by the sounds Guthrie made by just strumming his guitar (through a bank of effects!). Brian also played trumpet from the age of 12 - Janette can remember his beetroot face, playing the trumpet in school orchestras. brians dad was a big fan of jazz and his family have a history in the brass band world. After school, the trumpet gathered dust in its case for many years, but after getting into Miles Davis in recent years, as well as seeing live acts like Beirut or Calexico, Brian has dusted off and polished up both trumpet and his embrasure and is exploring a new and exciting world of brass.

 

Brian is a major contributor to the rhythm section of the band… On drum machine programming plus live percussion and occasional live drums. He is also the man, when it comes to the mixing and production of Not for Pussies’ albums. Janette, however, has a lot of aural and verbal input into this process.” Also.. move the “Janette would say that whereas Brian is the technical wizard…

 

Janette began piano lessons at the age of 3, after driving her family nuts by climbing onto the piano stool and playing the theme tunes of various TV programmes she’d heard. Thus began many years of struggling with sight reading etc, and a difficult relationship with the piano, but eventually she gave up the lessons and accepted a more relaxed approach to keyboards – going back to her initial style of playing by ear! During the years when she abandoned the piano, she decided to take up guitar, but just couldn’t get to grips with it… She then saw someone playing a large 4 stringed guitar on Top of the Pops, whipped two strings off her little acoustic guitar and a love affair with bass began. She bought her first proper electric bass at 17 and hasn’t looked back since. Her heroes are Tony Levin (King Crimson; Peter Gabriel), Chris Squire (Yes), John Wetton (King Crimson, Roxy Music, UK) and more recently, Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree). She contributes all keyboards to the sound, plus some other instruments she’s found easier than guitar… mandolin, Greek tsuras and autoharp (which allows her to accompany herself, as you can see in her “unplugged” videos on the NfP FB page). On the new album, she even plays the “chanter”, which is the basic learning instrument for bagpipes.. Carrying on the family tradition (her Grandfather was a Pipe Major).

 

Both Brian and Janette sang in choirs at school and during her early childhood Janette was a bit of a rival to Lena Zavaroni on the stages of Blackpool, but the less said, the better…. Nowadays she loves exploring vocal harmonies, which comes across on all the CDs. Her other main contribution to the band is to write the lyrics. She’s written poetry since childhood and for a while was a member of a performance trio of poets, performing around Devon and the southwest in the early ‘90s (The Three Disgraces). Her poetry heroes include Norman McCaig, Charles Bukowski, Ruth Padel, Carol Ann Duffy as well as German poet Friedrich Hoelderlin.

 

Janette would say that whereas Brian is the technical wizard, she brings an intuitive side to the mix.

 

Neither of us would claim to be virtuosos on our instruments, but we do believe we have a unique creativity. If we have enough technical skill to express that, we’re both happy.

 
 

Not for Pussies have always written, arranged and recorded our own music - since early days in their first band Alternative Communication in the1980s . We’ve never been a “covers” band, as we’ve always had so much of our own musical ideas to work on..

The actual writing process feels very organic. One of us will start with an idea (a guitar or piano riff – or even lyrics) and the other will run with it. The synergy often surprises both of us. That’s the magic of it and what keeps us coming back to it.

It’s always difficult to describe our music. We’re both into a huge range of musical styles and we don’t like to compartmentalise.. but then how do you describe something? Best to just listen to the actual music!

Albums

 

Under the Sun

 
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Release Date : October 29, 2016 All music, samples instruments & voices: : Brian & Janette Kidd Lyrics : Janette Kidd Mixing, mastering & production:: Brian Kidd (with much verbal input by JK!) Artwork : Not for Pussies

 

The album is an exploration of humanity, considered through myths and modern media reports as well as the individual's perspective, which, in the end, is all each of us ever has. In 2016, it could seem like a world gone mad - but somehow, we hold on to a seed of hope, even if we don't know where that hope might come from, or lead to.

 

Any proceeds from the tracks "Lament" and "Under the Sun" will be donated to Save the Children.

 
← The Album List Binary →

Binary

 
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Release Date : June 27, 2015 Music : Brian & Janette Kidd Lyrics : Janette Kidd Lyrics (track 8): Brian Kidd Artwork : B&J Kidd. Cover photo : David Miller Ramsay Beach photos : Dougie & Mags Recording : Recorded, mixed and mastered by Not for Pussies at Stellasounds 2014/15

 

Last year saw Not for Pussies talking of a double CD. The songs were there but the process of concluding the proposed album resulted in two separate collections of songs feeling more appropriate. "Remnants & Aftershocks" came out in February 2015. The remaining songs (and some new additions) have been brought together as "Binary".

 
← Under the Sun Remnants & Aftershocks →

Remnants & Aftershocks

 
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Release Date : February 28, 2015 Music : Brian & Janette Kidd Lyrics : Janette Kidd All instruments : Brian & Janette Kidd (except track 5, "Choirgirls" - beats by Joe Logan) All album art : Brian & Janette Kidd Recording : Recorded, mixed and mastered by Not for Pussies at Stellasounds 2014/15

 

The fifth album from Not for Pussies (Brian & Janette Kidd) Eight contrasting songs, written, recorded and produced in 2014-15, at a time when Janette was dealing with an illness. As a result, many of the soundscapes and song structures were produced by Brian in the studio, with Janette stepping in to contribute her parts when she could. As a consequence, the album is driven by solid rhythms and broad synthesizer and e-bow based textures. A long time coming, but another is just around the corner! Watch this space....

 
Demon→ ← Binary

Demon

 
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Release Date : December 7, 2013 Music : Brian & Janette Kidd Lyrics : Janette Kidd All instruments : Brian & Janette Kidd All album art : Brian & Janette Kidd Recording : Recorded, mixed and mastered by Not for Pussies at Stellasounds 2014/15

 

Fourth album from Not for Pussies. All music and lyrics written and performed by Brian & Janette Kidd. Produced by Not for Pussies at StellaSounds studio. Massive thanks to Bartus for cleaning up our samples!

 
of winter born → ← Remnants & Aftershocks

of winter born

 
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Release Date : November 1, 2011 Music : Brian & Janette Kidd Lyrics : Janette Kidd Brian Kidd : guitars, Guitar synthesizer, E-Bow, Drums & Percussion, Trumpet, Backing vocals ("Cosmos") Janette Kidd : Vocals, Bass Guitars, Keyboards, Tsuras Ruaridh Kidd : Snare Drum ("Ash Wednesday") Erik Knussen : Double Bass ("of winter born") Photos, images & design : Brian & Janette Kidd Recording : Recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Brian & Janette Kidd at Stronachie Lodge Studio, January - November 2011.

 

TThird album from duo Not for Pussies (Janette & Brian Kidd) - a mix of snappy rock/pop songs and moody instrumental work with soaring harmony vocals and atmospheric brass.

 
After Dark→ ← Demon

After Dark

 
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Release Date : October 1, 2010 Music : Brian & Janette Kidd Lyrics : Janette Kidd Brian Kidd : Guitars, Guitar synthesizers, E-Bow, Drum programming, Percussion, Trumpet, Samples Janette Kidd : Vocals, Bass guitars, Keyboards Photos, images & design : Brian & Janette Kidd Recording : Recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Brian & Janette Kidd

 

Not for Pussies' second album, which was recorded between December 09 and October 10. It's a mix of sparkling rock/pop songs and thoughtful quieter moments. It deals with the themes of our place in the universe, death, loss and the darkness as well as the magic of life.

 
Not for Pussiess → ← of winter born

Not for Pussies

 
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Release Date : September 30, 2009 Music : Brian & Janette Kidd Lyrics : Janette Kidd Brian Kidd : Guitars, Guitar synthesizer, E-bow, Drum programming and Percussion, Tsuras, Trumpet, Backing vox (Seasons Change) Janette Kidd : Vocals, Bass guitars, Keyboards, Tsuras, Mandolin, Ukelele Jenn Knussen : Fiddle (Full Circle) Photos, images & design : Brian & Janette Kidd Recording : Recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Brian & Janette Kidd

 

The eponymous debut album comprised of songs written over a period of about two years, involving a range of styles from folk-based (Seasons Change, Full Circle) to ballads (Billie), rock songs (Not for Pussies) to atmospheric instrumentals (Introduction - The Journey, Alice). The result is a mellow melange of sound.. described by Jan Schelhaas (of Strawbs, Caravan & Camel fame) as " very parsley-sage"...

Dedicated to our Dads.

 
 
 
← After Dark ←← The Album List

Media

 

Photos

 

Videos

 

Other Projects

 
 

Alternative Communication

 

Having done the usual school music stuff, we had both discovered rock music in the 70s - listening to eclectic bands like Rush, Joe Walsh, Focus, Supertramp, Camel and Roxy Music as well as seeing some great bands and classical performers whenever they turned up in Edinburgh - our nearest city. We both bought electric guitars (Janette's was a bass) and amps and started practicing our Todd Rundrgren, Pink Floyd and Camel songs before we hit Edinburgh University to study in 1980 - looking for a band....

 

Almost immediately we met up with kindred prog-friendly spirits - and within a few months were the 5-piece band Alternative Communication and were writing and recording (very poor quality) tapes of our compositions in a garage in Dalkeith as well as playing live around the university. Sharing a flat quickly whittled the band down and by 1982 it was a three piece - the two of us and a talented guitarist/pianist, David Reid. We could never find a drummer who would listen (or wash) - a real problem (the listening..) when (as prog-types) many of the pieces used complicated time-signiatures! Instead we embarked on a relationship with the evolving world of drum machines - which would last over 30 years.

 

The band wrote and recorded three albums of original music. The first two were recorded live on a stereo tape machine - and the quality of these recordings makes re-mastering a challenge which is currently beyond us. However, the third album - Primitive - was recorded on a multi-track Fostex cassette machine - meaning that re-mastering in the digital world was much more feasable. In 2010 Brian revisited the old tapes and a remastered version is now available.

 
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The first 3 tracks of the album are essentially three "movements" of an electric suite. The Primitive title reflected the band's aim to produce music using only the instruments we could play live with no additional overdubs - comprising only two guitars, bass, drumbox and vocal. This was the case for the whole album - we think the textures in Half in Love really suggest synthesizers - but it's all the guitar and bass. In Primitive, themes are first heard in Part 1. and are reshaped and developed over the next two movements. (How prog is that!?) The result is a bit of a roller coaster of musical mayhem - and WE think it still works. {NB 1. The great warbly sound in Part 2 is an MXR Phase 100 Brian got from Dougie Mathieson and 2. No, the third part is NOT speeded up!}

 

Track 4 - full title is Half in love with easeful death. A melancholy piece which gets its title from a critic's description of the work of the great 19th century composer Gustav Mahler. All of the band were big Mahler fans and hoped to capture some of the qualities of his music - but without the 100-piece orchestra.....Ambitious.

 

Track 5 was of course 1984. Now in 2012 - when we've even weathered Space 1999 and the millenium bug of 2000 - its hard to imagine a futuristic world as depicted in the orwell novel, 1984. And yet, like Huxley's Brave new World the book was remarkably poignant at the time. After all we did have Margaret Thatcher and an invisible enemy - in our case apparently that was the miners.....A new film version of the book was filmed in 1984 and released the same year (John Hurt; Richard Burton's last movie) and we loved it (we WERE a pretty morose bunch...). Hence the title of the last ever song recorded by Alternative Communication .

 
 

The Five Elements

 

Alternative Communication was long gone by 2003. Work pressures, life and geography had all conspired to keep us both well away from playing music - except for the occasional hospital Christmas show. We'd maintained our interest in rock music - attending some great shows - standout gigs during the 80s, 90s include a chance to see Jan Ackerman in London, the Yes reunion concert at Wembley Arena, the Cocteau Twins, Talk Talk and the Psychadelic Furs. In 1996 we moved back up to Scotland for work reasons and bought a house with space to have a music room......and the renaissance begins......

 

We quickly discovered that kit was much more affordable than in our university days and began building up recording equipment, new amplification (and a PA) - then started to write and record in a recreational kind of way. We played music at various retreats etc (maily covers - Crowded House and Tom Waits) - but then Janette - who was doing a Shiatsu course at the Aberdeen School of Shiatsu - had to do something interesting for her final exam. Students had previously used art as a vehicle to present the ideas contained within the Five elements - the basis of traditional Chinese medicine on which Shiatsu i s based. Janette decided towrite and record 5 pieces of music based on the elements - and present them as her final thesis.

 

The music was recorded onto our fostex digital 16 track - but this didn't have the capacity for high quality mixing/mastering and (crucially) we couldn't burn CDs from it. Two of our musical chums had experience of recording using computer sofware - Protools. We bought a Macbook, an M-Box and produced the CD. Then, to present the music, Janette designed and printed CD covers AND a presentation of photographs which also aimed to capture the characteristics of the 5 elements.

 
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The recording, mixing and mastering of the Five elements CD was the starting point for the process which resulted in Not for Pussies. We started to write more music and both attended a recording course at a local college. A trip to the USA with very musical friends got us writing more and playing more confidently and on our return to the UK we started recording the songs which would result in the Not for Pussies album.

 

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