GUEST PLAYLIST: Miss Vincent

By Andy Joice

Punk rock outsiders Miss Vincent are a band on the rise, one who oozes heart on their sleeve honesty and aim to bring romance back to rock music. Delving into the challenges of aging, and how it affects relationships and the world around them, their latest single ‘Gravity’ is brimming with unmistakable frankness and shows their identity clearly.

With the announcement of their debut album, ‘A Funeral For Youth’, due to be released in September, Miss Vincent break down their inspirations for ‘Gravity’.


The Shirelles – ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’

Old songs are going to be a bit of a theme, because Gravity is drenched in vintage influences. I love The Shirelles – that whole ‘girl group’ movement (a very out of date term, I know) brought out so many great songs with the most beautiful melodies, and harmonies that bring the songs to life. Shirley Alston has the most effortless, distinctive voice, and I get so much inspiration from listening to her. I read recently that this song was the first no.1 by a black female group, which makes it feel all the more significant.


Bruce Springsteen – ‘No Surrender’

I’ve always liked Springsteen, but these past few years I just can’t get enough of his entire back catalogue. This song is such a great driving stomper of a rock song, which immediately comes to mind as an influence for Gravity. “No retreat baby, no surrender” is a killer hook to have in the chorus, and I love the way that each half of the chorus has different harmonies. I love straight up rock songs that don’t mess around and have an instantly memorable chorus, and this ticks all the boxes.

 


Sister Rosetta Tharpe – ‘This Train’

This one is less about a direct influence on the sound, and more about how it led me to approach writing certain parts. Sister Rosetta is one of the founding fathers of rock’n’roll, and her voice is one of the most soulful, natural sounds in the world. I honestly feel like I could listen to her sing the phone book and still love it. After all, a lot of her music is pretty religious, and I’m not religious at all – but even so it’s hard not to be reeled in by her voice. The way that she changes melodies halfway through a line, and occasionally adds an almost spoken word element to it is incredible. Whenever I’m struggling with vocal parts, I put some Sister Rosetta on, because she’ll get me right back on track.


Green Day – ’21st Century Breakdown’

This is a really underrated Green Day album in my opinion, and I love this track as an album opener. They’re the masters of the rock opera, which we all knew from American Idiot, but when this album came out I actively disliked for some reason. Then, when I went to see them on that tour (2009 I think?), something clicked and it all made sense. I’ve always wanted to write a song with very distinct sections that are totally different, but fit well together. ‘Gravity’ has a lot of that, and I can definitely hear the Green Day influence. We never want to be a pastiche of anything, but at the same time, sometimes influences shine through a bit clearer, which is definitely the case with this song.


Against Me! – ‘Bitter Divisions’

This is a song off the deluxe version of White Crosses, which is one of my favourite albums ever. Until recently I’d only ever heard the original album, so listening to the extra songs on the deluxe version was mind-blowing, I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to hear them. This song really stuck out to me as a bit different from the rest of the album, but it still made total sense – and it had one of my favourite choruses that they’ve ever written. Lyrically it was a little brash but somehow still constructive, and I found it weirdly positive. It’s definitely informed my approach to writing lyrics.


Connie Francis – ‘Who’s Sorry Now’

I first heard ‘Lipstick on your Collar’ and that really got me into her music. Then when I heard this, it felt like a beautiful ballad, but with a rock’n’roll undertone. It’s short and sharp, and both her vocals, the harmonies and the backing vocals all come together so cohesively. I really channeled this song in the bridge of ‘Gravity’. When we were recording the album, I was going to hard on the vibrato because I wanted to sound like her, and the guys had to get me to rein it in. She’s definitely got some of the best vibrato I’ve ever heard.


My Chemical Romance – ‘The Only Hope For Me Is You’ 

This is a weird one, because I don’t really like this album that much, but this song in particular has always stood out to me. It’s a huge stomping rock song and has one of the biggest choruses they’ve ever written, and if there’s one thing I love above all else, it’s big choruses. It also stuck out to me that it’s actually quite a plodding song, which I’ve always struggled to write. I generally gravitate towards fast songs, but with ‘Gravity’ I really wanted to rein that in and find a way of writing a massive chorus that was a bit slower. I remember seeing this live at Reading in 2011 (I think?), and it just sounded massive. That always stuck in my mind.


Ramones – ‘Danny Says’

It’s no secret that I’m a complete Ramones obsessive. I’ve been to the museum in Berlin a whole bunch, and I even met Arturo Vega by chance in NYC years ago before he passed away. They’re the greatest band of all time in my opinion. This song is on ‘End of the Century’, which is often seen as a misstep in their career, mostly I think because they worked with Phil Spector. But there are some really high points on this album and this song is one of them – I love the way it builds and Joey’s vocal performance is one of my favourites. There’s an undeniable romance in so many of their songs, and they channel all of the ’50s doo wop and bubblegum bands that I love. They were a catalyst for me falling in love with that era of music, and everything I’ve ever written, or ever will write, will be influenced by them in some way.


Danny and the Juniors – ‘Sometimes’

This one was a toss up between this song and ‘A Thousand Miles Away’, because they’re two of Danny and the Juniors’ best ballads in my opinion. The harmonies in this one are just the best, though. Back in the golden days of rock’n’roll, if you wanted to make a song bigger and fuller, adding harmonies was one of your only options, because recording was still so rudimentary. Harmonies are such a bit part of the Miss Vincent sound, so when I hear good harmonies it really makes a song stand out for me. There’s a beautiful, melancholy romance to this song, and lyrically I think it had an impact on ‘Gravity’ – especially in the bridge.


The Gaslight Anthem – ‘1,000 Years’

I’m in a minority of Gaslight fans because I unashamedly love this album to death. It’s raw, understated and incredibly vulnerable. When I first heard this song, it got to the line, “I heard about a woman once, who did everything ever asked of her. She died last week and her last words were ‘it wasn’t worth it’” and all of the hairs on my body stood up. The chorus is so uplifting, yet somehow so melancholy. Brian Fallon’s way with words is inimitable, but it’s certainly had an impact on me.


Miss Vincent’s debut album, ‘A Funeral For Youth’, is out September 17th via Silent Cult and available for pre-order here.