Sing Sing – in session for BBC 6 Music – January 6, 2006 – BBC Radio –
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Sing-Sing in session this weekend. They formed in 1997 in London, comprising vocalist Lisa O’Neill (who had previously worked with Locust, Mad Professor, and Kid Loco) and guitarist/vocalist Emma Anderson (formerly of Lush). They worked with a variety of musicians to create a sound which nodded to 1960s girl groups, electronica and folk. They disbanded in 2007.
Lisa O’Neill and Emma Anderson met via a mutual friend in mid-1997, and in early 1998 record their first demo as Sing-Sing, with Justin Welch of Elastica on drums. A second demo prompted Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie to release “Feels Like Summer” as a single on their Bella Union label in October 1998.
After having a track on a split single in 1999, they started their own label, Aerial, through which they released their next two singles, “I’ll Be” and a re-recorded “Feels Like Summer”, in 2000. They signed with Alan McGee’s Poptones label for the release of their debut album, The Joy of Sing-Sing, in October 2001. It was described as a “divine first album” by Allmusic and a “strong debut album” by PopMatters. Pitchfork Media gave it a 7.4 rating, with Nitsuh Abebe calling it a “tight, interesting, and great-sounding pop record”. New Music Monthly called it “a perfect soundtrack to a lazy afternoon in the countryside”. It was released in the US in 2002 by Manifesto Records.
They toured the United States twice in 2002 taking in both SXSW in Austin and CMJ in New York. To raise funds to record a second album they sold the Madame Sing-Sing EP via their website. Second album Sing-Sing and I followed in 2005, and was again well received by critics. Caroline Sullivan, reviewing it for The Guardian gave it 3 stars out of 5, while PopMatters gave it 6 out of 10.
Both the band’s albums were produced by O’Neill’s former colleague in Locust, Mark Van Hoen, but they also collaborated with the Mad Professor (remixed “I’ll Be” in a lovers rock style), Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins, cellist and string-arranger Audrey Riley, Tim Keegan (Departure Lounge vocalist) and 4AD artist Vinny Miller. Live musicians for touring included ‘Shifty’ aka Michael Scrivens (bass), Poppy Gonzalez (keyboards), Miguel Morland (drums 1998–2000), Jenny Jones (trumpet and keyboards), Darren Groucutt (drums 2000–2002), and Dominic del Torto (guitarist and backing vocalist 2005–2006).
At the end of December 2007, they announced via their mailing list and website that they had decided to disband.
In case you missed them, here is a session they did at BBC 6 Music on January 6, 2006.