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December 28, 2008

The PopArt End-of-year message

Filed under: music, editorial, Tamla Tim, PopArt, The label — digest @ 3:13 pm

Hello our darling Smart Kids

What a year 2008 has been for PopArt enterprises. Join us as we sit around the fire with a pipe and a brandy and muse on what has come to pass, and what delights are to look forward to in 2009.

We started 2008 with many board meetings in various pubs, frantically planning and scheming for the year ahead. Once we had dried out the beer soaked minutes and remembered what we said we’d do, we kicked off in earnest with an all dayer - ‘BritPopArt 2: Bargelife’ on the Battersea Barge, the now annual celebration of the glory and the folly of the Britpop wars. This saw the return of the game show ‘Line Up In Line’ with our resident compere, Leicester’s Funnyman ‘The Bullet’ Dave Rees. All the bands did a Britpop cover version and the PopArt AllStars supergroup did a full set of mad ferrit classics. There’s some footage from that event here:

Pete Green doing ‘Inbetweener’ | Goodbye Lennin doing ‘Ready To Go’ - | PopArt AllStars with ‘Babies’ and ‘Trash’

Shortly afterwards we set up home at The Fly on New Oxford Street for PopArt Monthly, the staff have come to both love and fear the second Saturday of the month in equal measure. They always compliment the bands we have on and sing along to our choice of tunes, but are often perplexed when we explain there will be a live game show on stage between the bands. We have had some fantastic nights down in the PopArt bunker, had some of our favourite bands play, had lots of silly fun with game shows like ‘Indie Bingo’ and danced the night away to indie pop, alt rock, soul, hip hop, stadium fillers, lost classics and the odd TV theme tune. London Fire Brigade paid us a visit one month due to a smouldering fuse box and the Smart Kids serenaded them with a disco chant of ‘Burn Baby Burn’ before dancing on to ‘Heatwave’ and ‘Panic!’. We ended the year in our own indie pop prankster style with the PopArt AllStars getting everyone in the yule mood with a set of Christmas covers. Some footage of that here:

‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ with Leiscester’s Funnyman ‘The Bullet’ Dave Rees | ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ with the living legend Mr Solo | ‘Do They Know It’s Christmastime?’ with erm … everyone

From January onwards there will be a whole extra hour and half of dancing at our PopArt Monthly nights. The party people often beg for ‘one last tune’ at the end of the night. We’ve listened and can now bring you lots more tunes until 3.30am! The first night of specially extended mayhem will be on 10th January, with the Bridport Dagger, Fulcher, Smith & Dance (featuring members of Art Brut) and Evilwitch playing live. Plus there’ll be a game show when we think of one.

October saw the third annual celebration of Belle & Sebastian at a bowling alley, namely ‘Bowl & Sebastian 3: Is It Wicked Not To Spare?’. This saw B&S cover versions from the fantastic bands, the return of every twee kid’s favourite American geography based quiz ‘The State That I Am In’ and another high octane set of covers from the PopArt AllStars with guest singers from Lucky Soul, Brontosaurus Chorus and Pocketbooks amongst others. Some footage of that here:

MJ Hibbett sings ‘La Patie De La Bourgeoisie’ | Mr Solo sings ‘Judy And The Dream Of Horses | Andrew from Lucky Soul sings ‘The Boy With The Arab Strap’

November saw PopArt London the fledgling record label make something of a splash with the long awaited release of the Subliminal Girls single ‘Self Obession Is An Art Form’. This was the first time we’d done a release that would be on iTunes and HMV and all that and, being like we are, we didn’t make it easy for ourselves. We signed up with a distribution company who would get the single in all the online stores and we started talking with authority about things we didn’t understand. We found ourselves saying things like “Yeah, no problem, I’ll send through the UPC code this afternoon,” and sometimes even knew what this meant. Other times, Wikipedia was our friend. The single itself was by no means run of the mill either. Actual Pop Artist Stuart Semple designed and made just ten special packages which contained the single on vinyl along with all sorts of arty goodness, and these were sold in galleries as far a field as Milan and New York, while we handled the digital release back here in Blighty. It’s still too early to know exactly how it went but it was number 1 in the Play.com indie download chart, which was very exciting, and we were delighted to be involved with such a fantastic song and such an interesting project. If you haven’t got a copy yet you can still download it from:

Play.com | HMV | Or search iTunes.

As ever, keen to run before we can walk or even before we’re potty trained, we are currently working on not one but TWO albums which will both be out in March 2009. This is very much hot off the press, the first whisper of two very exciting releases.

And What Will Be Left Of Them? - The Hi-Fi Low Life Blasting out or Worcester with a song in their hearts and whiskey in their bellies, AWWBLOT? have built up a storming reputation through years of gigging up and down the country. bringing their own charming brand of clatter pop to the kids, not least at PopArt events. This will be their debut album.

Brontosaurus Chorus - You’ve Created A Monster Also the debut album from this London 8 peice (yes, 8 piece) quirky but classic pop orchestra, marrying ringing guitar with throbbing bass with swoonsome strings with soulful trumpet with bitter sweet lyrics. Compared to Belle & Sebastian and Arcade Fire.

The CDs have just arrived and they look and sound amazing. Both will also be available as downloads.

What a year it’s been and we can hardly believe 2009 is shaping up to be even better. Stay tuned for more events and records which we and you, the Smart Kids, can inject with our own ramshakle charm.

Keep a little PopArt in your heart x

December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from PopArt!

Filed under: Uncategorized — scoobydom @ 11:09 am

December 23, 2008

The 12 Qs of Christmas: Dom (PopArt/Brontosaurus Chorus)

Filed under: music, interviews — scoobydom @ 3:26 pm

1. Highlight of 2008? 
On a personal note, Getting married to Rosie and jamming with locals outside a restaurant in Vinales, Cuba. Profesionally, and I use term loosely, launching PopArt as a proper label and playing Indietracks and Berlin with Brontosaurus Chorus. Also, I played bass with Mr Solo, Saturday Looks Good To Me, and 2 of my old bands Angels Fight The City and Go Rimbaud. Busy year!

2. Low point of 2008?
Boris.

3. PopArt moment of 2008?
Too many to mention, but I think the best feeling was seeing our Subliminal Girls single on the HMV website and feeling like a proper record label.

4. Single of 2008? 
The School - Let It Slip.

5. Album of 2008?  
Top 3: The Indelicates - American Demo, Roots Manuva - Slime & Reason, The Cure - 4:13 Dream

6. Best live band of 2008?
It’s between the Cure in Berlin on Valentine’s Day and Carter USM at Brixton Academy, 22.11.  Oh, and Dirty Fingernails blew me away at Indietracks.

7. Film of 2008?
Wall-E and The Dark Knight.

8. TV show of 2008?
Deadset. Pure genius.

9. Hero of 2008?
Obama. Oh, and Pete Adams.

10. What do you hope to achieve in 2009?
Success.

11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
I’m looking forward to albums from Pocketbooks, MJ Hibbett and the Laurel Collective. Plus you should check out PopArt London, a happening new label destined for big things. I also really like Shrag and the Chiara-Ls. Oh, and the new Dr. Dre stuff.

12. How will you be spending Christmas?
In Devon, eating lots of cheese.

December 22, 2008

The 12 Qs of Christmas: Andrew (Lucky Soul)

Filed under: music, interviews — scoobydom @ 4:54 pm

1. Highlight of 2008?
Our-pulled-it-off-against-all-odds-even-though-Ali-lost-her-voice-Drummer Paul-was vommiting-equipment failure-locked-out-of-the-house-in-Brooklyn-show in New York

2. Low point of 2008?
Last Thursday

3. PopArt moment of 2008?
The return of the Lucky Soul -Here we Go-style chant at Bowl and Sebastian.

4. Single of 2008?
MGMT Electric Feel

5. Album of 2008?
Grantura - In Dreams And Other Stories, lovely harmony country folk

6. Best live band of 2008?
Grantura again

7. Film of 2008?
Mike Leigh’s ‘Happy Go Lucky’

8. TV show of 2008?
Andrew Graham-Dixon’s ‘The Art Of Spain’ I’ll pretty much believe anything he says.

9. Hero of 2008?
Fernando Torres and Ernesto Guevara

10. What do you hope to achieve in 2009?
We’ll have a new single out in March and our dificult moody second album before the summer. I’d like a hit record please and to go to South America

11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
Two sets of Swedes on our label: Jens Lekman collaborator Montt Mardi/é/ and the many limbed beast that is Napoleon. You will not know what hit you. and Theoretcal Girl

12. How will you be spending Christmas?
Twixt pub and  fire in Yorkshire

December 21, 2008

The 12 Qs of Christmas: Pete Adams (And What Will Be Left Of Them?)

Filed under: music, interviews — scoobydom @ 2:08 pm

1. Highlight of 2008? & 2. Low point of 2008?
It’s been a bloody weird year for AWWBLOT. The natural highlight was (after two years work!) finally finishing the album but then we were faced with the natural low point of Lucy quitting and not knowing what to do with ourselves. But then we got the new line-up together (including Heather Wilson and James Perry) and we seem to be gelling together really well. We’ve even started getting some new songs written which is a blessed relief! We hadn’t written anything new as a band in over 18 months! Other than that we got to go to Germany with our chums Brontosaurus Chorus, played Pangea in Manchester, curated the flagship night of the first Worcester Music Festival, played in loads of other side-projects and things… There’s too much too mention and frankly I was drunk for a lot of it and can’t remember much.
On a personal level being best man at the wedding of my friends Bec & Bert Wood, followed by the arrival of baby Amber, was pretty damn amazing.

3. PopArt moment of 2008?
The PopArt Wedding of course [that’ll be Dom & Rosie’s where AWWBLOT played]!! I loved that those two crazy kids got together…

4. Single of 2008?
Me. I became single in 2008. And I’m pretty great if you like that sort of thing. Saying that becoming single may have been a low point of 2008. If only Dom from Brontosaurus Chorus would make some sort of grand gesture perhaps this whole mess could be sorted out. But he refuses…

5. Album of 2008?
Los Campesinos!’  two albums. I’m amazingly chuffed to see them do well. It gives me real hope for the future.
 
6. Best live band of 2008?
Noah & The Whale, I was incredibly moved by their Glee Club show the other week. Saying that I was incredibly drunk too.

7. Film of 2008?
I watch loads of films but I drink whilst watching them. I therefore have no answer for this question.

8. TV show of 2008?
Battlestar Gallactica is, I believe, the indie bands’ show of choice in 2008. There’s not a band i know who doesn’t have devotee members. And they’re ‘competitive’ too - they all mock you if you haven’t seen up to the same point they have.

9. Hero of 2008?
Batman.

10. What do you hope to achieve in 2009?
OUR ALBUM’S COMING OUT!!! ON POPART!!! Which is frankly a dream! So i hope it does as well as it possibly can! I then hope we can make a follow up album asap! I also hope to get some of the records I’ve made with my side-projects out…

11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
Brontosaurus Chorus. Subliminal Girls, Zebedy Rays, Spencer McGarry Season, Bridport Dagger and an amazing new band I’ve just discovered from Hereford called We Do Kung Fu!

12. How will you be spending Christmas?
Drunk.

December 19, 2008

The 12 Qs of Christmas: Mat Croft (Part Rocket/Robot Blues)

Filed under: music, interviews — scoobydom @ 1:13 pm

1. Highlight of 2008? 
Making my first short film and playing with Go Rimbaud at Pete First, the tribute gig for Pete, the greatly missed PopArt stalwart.

2. Low point of 2008? 
The inevitable demise of Part Rocket.

3. PopArt moment of 2008? 
Not strictly a PopArt one, but playing guitar in the reunited Go Rimbaud was great. Anyone else want to see them back together again?

4. Single of 2008? 
That White Denim one, “Let’s Talk About It”. Like garage rock, but way more interesting.

5. Album of 2008?  
Part Rocket’s In Limine. Not because it’s great (it is!) but because it took us so bloody long recording, mixing and mastering it that it had started turning into a mini Chinese Democracy. When it was finally finished we felt like Berlin in 1989.

6. Best live band of 2008?
Nick Cave at St Lukes - in middle age he’s just getting more and more like an evil Mick Jagger. Further afield, the Honest Jon’s night at the Barbican was an eye opening assembly of african musicians ranging from trad Malian fare like Toumani Diabate to heavy afrobeat from Lobi Troare. Lovely.

7. Film of 2008?
Tokyo Gore Police. Fifteen letters and three words that spell “awesome”.

8. TV show of 2008?
Was Flight Of The Conchords this year? It’s genius in any year: great songs, great jokes, an endless run of classic, quotable lines… In Murray Hewitt they manage to create a character that tops David Brent as the ultimate deluded middle-management loser.

9. Hero of 2008?
Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest dude.

10. What do you hope to achieve in 2009? 
Play some music, make some short films, and draw some comics.

11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months? 
The reformed Jesus Lizard and Sleep at ATP in May, plus new albums from Battles and Future Of The Left. And on the movie front, Crank 2:High Voltage. I’ve been waiting for it since the 89th minute of Crank.

12. How will you be spending Christmas?
With a roast followed by a long walk on Hampstead Heath.

December 18, 2008

The 12 Qs of Christmas: Laura (Metro Corskol)

Filed under: music, interviews — scoobydom @ 3:30 pm

1. Highlight of 2008?
Getting married at The Little White Chapel in Vegas

2. Low point of 2008?
Peaches Geldof getting married at The Little White Chapel in Vegas

3. PopArt moment of 2008?
Has to be Britpop on the barge

4. Single of 2008?
Lights Out - Santogold

5. Album of 2008?
Dig Lazarus Dig - Nick Cave

6. Best live band of 2008?
Amanda Palmer at Koko, where Neil Gaiman got onstage and sang backing vocals

7. Film of 2008?
The Dark Knight

8. TV show of 2008?
Anything that isn’t the Sci-Fi Dynasty disgrace that is now Heroes

9. Hero of 2008?
Amanda Palmer, for releasing an amazing album and playing an incredible gig at KOKO and standing up to Roadrunner Records, who thought she looked too fat to release the video for “Leeds Utd”

10. What do you hope to achieve in 2009?
Huge lottery win

11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
2009 is all about Watchmen

12. How will you be spending Christmas?
Drunk, in my jammies

December 17, 2008

The 12 Qs of Christmas: PhoeniX PhiL (PopArt)

Filed under: music, interviews — scoobydom @ 2:56 pm

1. Highlight of 2008?
Easy-peasy… getting married in Vegas! Followed by a honeymoon in LA. Life really doesn’t get better. When I was little I dreaded the concept of “having a wedding” but the way we did was so stress free and beautiful.. it was like have a big exciting rock n roll road trip. There is a more wordy blog to be completed and published when I get time (see question 10.)
 
2. Low point of 2008?
My uncle passing away was very sad not only for me but especially for a family due the circumstances which I wont go into here. Other than that I guess it’s the same little annoying things that are effecting everyone in this country at the moment… lack of money / cruddy weather / over-crowded and increasingly unreliable public transport / the whole general world going to hell MOAN MOAN MOAN feeling that’s seems to be prevailing in everyone and everything. But ultimately life is good.. any day above ground is a good day.
 
3. PopArt moment of 2008?
Burn Baby Burn! The fire and the “burn baby burn” chant was pretty damn special in a naughty way. Getting to Number 1 on the Play Indie Download Chart with our Subliminal Girls single filled my heart with pride.
 
4. Single of 2008?
“Two Doors Down” by The Mystery Jets was probably my “indie” single of the year closely followed by “The Promise” by Girls Aloud - my pop single of the year. Expect the full and frank “PhoeniX 50: 2008″ to follow.
 
5. Album of 2008? 
F*ck the backlash… “Chinese Democracy” by Guns N’ Roses. A splendid rock album… that in my opinion sits rather handsomely next to “Use Your Illusion 2″. Closely followed by “Dig Lazarus Dig” by Nick Cave and “O” by Tilly & The Wall. Other than those three I haven’t really been blown away by any other albums in their entirety this year. Sorry.
 
 
6. Best live band of 2008?
Overall… still The Laurel Collective. I adored Saturday Looks Good To Me PopArt gig. Other mentions must go to Hanoi Rocks running rampant at LA2 in March, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Amanda Palmer plus (from a fan boy perspective) Ace Frehley in April was amazing… when he opened with “Rip It Out” I nearly wet myself.
 
7. Film of 2008?
I hate to be predictable but “The Dark Knight” was amazing. “Lars & The Real Girl” was oddly touching. And the little boy year in me loved “Iron Man” and “Cloverfield”.
 
8. TV show of 2008?
The Wire Season 5… I know it’s clichéd now to bang on about it BUT a perfect end to a perfect tv show. Also just got into “Summer Heights High” which leads me to…
 
9. Hero of 2008?
…it could be Mr. G from Summer Heights High but it’s too early to judge. I cant really think of any sportsman, politician or pop star that’s done anything that’s truly amazing this year (although Jay-Z blistering through “99 Problems” at Glasto was pretty damn heroic) so I’ll say my heroes are the PopArt lads (for all their handwork), my friends / family (for their support and understanding through what has been a very busy year) and most importantly my wife (for all her love, support and every everything that she does).
 
10. What do you hope to achieve in 2009?
Alas a lot of stuff I put on last years Q&A so I suppose I would to like to gain the ability to freeze the ever speeding clock to give me a little more time to do stuff.

11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
Musically… I haven’t got a clue. Maybe I’m just getting old but I’m not finding a lot of new inspiration out there HOWEVER it’s not all doom and gloom… I saw a cracking set by a new band called “Help Stamp Out Loneliness” who sound like a John Hughes film soundtrack with Nico on vocals. “The Spells” put in a spunky set at PopArt the other months that could be the start of something really good.
 
12. How will you be spending Christmas?
Here, there and everywhere in the most cosy way possible. Merry Christmas everyone!

December 16, 2008

The 12 Qs of Christmas - Delia Sparrow (numerous bands and other things)

Filed under: music, interviews — scoobydom @ 8:12 pm
1. Highlight of 2008?
The world of pop not quite giving up just yet thank you very much. 

2. Low point of 2008?
Argh! redundancy! happy xmas…ho ho ho!

3. PopArt moment of 2008?
the look of horror on wotsit belle & seb singer ladies face when Mikey Devant was trying to get her to jump through the paper/art hoop thingy… [um, that was 2007, Delia]

4. Single of 2008?
Emmy The Great - We Almost Had A Baby or perhaps Glam Chops - Countdown To Xmas…

5. Album of 2008? 
Hank Williams box set with religious songs interspersed with cornflake ads all by the lonesome tones of mr Hank.

6. Best live band of 2008?
Fight Like Apes or perhaps Glam Chops

7. Film of 2008?
Die Hard 4.0

8. TV show of 2008?
Um. Don’t have a tv….um…..um……i’m sure they were all great and all deserved to win (etc)

9. Hero of 2008?
Mr President (until he does something really really really stupid…)

10. What do you hope to achieve in 2009?
Get my band The A-Lines some gigs and stuff now we’ve got back together. Get The Panthergirls band up and running. Put on the first gig by Tim Daddio’s new band and Bobby and Oli Fog Band’s new band. Join a band on drums. Oh yeah and get a great new job!

11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
The Panthergirls, Deadbeat Valentinos, Matt Glam Boy, Bob/Oli’s new thingy.

12. How will you be spending Christmas?

Eating, panicking, sleeping, delivering presents down the chimney cos i’m one of santa’s little elflings and you’d better be nice to me.

December 15, 2008

The 12 Qs Of Christmas - Theo (Pocus Whiteface)

Filed under: music, interviews — scoobydom @ 1:06 pm

1. Highlight of 2008?
Getting engaged? No, this is music, right? Seeing Papier Tigre. Amazing band.

2. Low point of 2008?
Missing every PopArt this year. Actually I think we did make one. Did we play on the barge this year for Brit PopArt? If so our miserable cover of Supergrass can count as a low point.

Actually I think seeing Tapes ‘n Tapes might actually top (bottom?) that. The new album’s okay but not quite hitting the highs it should compared to the first but live they were a real disappointment, making me just sad. Others loved it, though. To me they just had no charisma.

3. PopArt moment of 2008?
Hmm. Well I wasn’t there. Actually my best moment was making it all the way across from Kentish Town for the end of the PopArt new year’s bash at about 2 or 3am to drink one drink, see pxpl leaving looking shattered (and then not remembering seeing me) and generally thinking, “Wow, how did they get so many people here?” It was cool but we couldn’t stay long on account of already being trashed and I think I had my guitar and stuff with me? I really don’t remember fully. But that would have been the start of 2008 so I’ll claim it as a PopArt 2008 moment. [actually, Theo, you played BritPopArt in April - the photo on the left is proof!]

4. Single of 2008?
Now I don’t keep up to date with the hit parade like you youngsters. So when you say best single I’m going to say best single track from this year and who cares if it was released in its own right. These days you can buy a single track off iTunes/Amazon/somewhere so does it matter if someone in the band let a record label say, “This one spells ‘KERCHING!’, lads”?

Nope. Now I have to pick one.  The temptation is great to pick Flight of the Conchords’ “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros” but is it too comedy? It’s a toss up between “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” and “Freeway”, and much as I grew to like Aimee Mann’s latest I’m going with the Bad Seeds…Except I then remembered The Night Marchers’ “Whose Lady R U?” and it’s Speedo so I’m going to give it to The Night Marchers. Just. Close thing, but yeah.

(Hey a mention should go out to Jack White and Alicia Keys’ Bond theme “Another Way to Die”, which I really like but hasn’t really got the longevity to make that number 1 spot.)

5. Album of 2008?
Tricky. I still haven’t got the Popular Workshop or Tim Ten Yen albums but a quick flick through WinAmp reveals the following contenders:

AC/DC: Black Ice
Aimee Mann: @#%&*! Smilers
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
Flight of the Conchords
Dead Meadow: Old Growth
Deerhoof: Offend Maggie
Fuck Buttons: Street Horrrsing
The Night Marchers: See You in Magic
Papier Tigre: The End is the Beginning of Now
An Emergency: Wrecked Angles
Superman Revenge Squad: This is my own personal way of dealing with it all

So, who wins? It probably should be Papier Tigre based on recent listening but I thought I’d have a look at Last.FM for the last 12 months. Aimee Mann and then Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are taking that one but Aimee Mann is definitely influenced by Lo playing stuff at home on my profile. So the votes tell me it’s going to be:
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Wow!

6. Best live band of 2008?
After ATP weekend 1 it would have been Les Savy Fav but then I saw Shellac play Release the Bats and that gig can only be described as SLAYING everything else. So, yeah, Shellac.

7. Film of 2008?
Man, what did I like this year? The Dark Knight. Honourable mention to the Coen Bros. for Burn After Reading, though.

8. TV show of 2008?
I’m going to be all middle-class, beardy, sandal-wearing, Guardian reading and say that, indeed, it was The Wire. True Dat.

9. Hero of 2008?
Tim Ten Yen. 3 or so years back I saw him play and said I’d happily give him £500 with no return toward a single and put up another £500 that I’d like to see back if it was possible. I really thought he’d go far with a single. We discussed it for a bit and then a record label came in and made it all happen so I didn’t need to spend a penny. Yet apparently* the guy still found time to give me a credit on his album. Clearly a legend. :-)

*: I haven’t yet confirmed this as the album is still in the post from Norman Records. But he asked me if it was okay to give me a credit so even if it’s not made the print that’s good enough for me.!

10. What do you hope to achieve in 2009?
EP out in CD form (FINALLY! LONG TIME COMING) and the Pocus Album too, hopefully as a free release that. Not sure what else. Oh, get married. Music again, right? Okay.

11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
Um. Papier Tigre? I don’t know. There’s a guy called Steve or something who playes under the name ‘Theo’. It’s not me but it’s good. http://myspace.com/theo1000

12. How will you be spending Christmas?
At my mum’s with a small trip south to our good friends in Islington. Last year was champagne in a pool with Lo’s relatives in Australia. I like Christmas cold but that was cool in a different way. See what I did there? I’m a lexical GENIUS. Hold me down! Oh, that was the last question. Ah well.

Have a good one, Pop Pickers.

Theo

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