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Personal Best: What You At – album review

by Tony Rounce

I made the acquaintance of Personal Best for the first time at LOUD WOMEN Fest 4.  Their set was exhilarating – a sequence of beautifully constructed instant classics that made me a fan for life before their set was more than two songs old. It also made me angry with myself that I had never seen or knowingly heard them before, despite having been to gigs at which they had been on the bill in the past couple of years.  As a penance for my oversight, I got up the following day and immediately bought every PB single, EP and album I could find.  And I have been playing their latest LP “What You At” incessantly ever since.

A four (and, on record, sometimes five) piece based in Bristol, PB are fronted by Katie Gatt, energetic and personable with a clear and powerful voice and a smile a mile wide. The twin guitar attack of Gatt and fellow loud woman El Morgan has the stellar jangle of history’s greatest pop groups, from the Searchers to the Byrds to the Hollies to the Flamin’ Groovies to the Bangles, and Gatt and Morgan’s harmonies score pretty high on the ‘to die for’ scale too. PB’s superb rhythm section of Tom Baker (Bass) and Jason Cavalier (Drums) have the engine room on lockdown and provide the perfect base for Gatt and Morgan to build their joyful noise on.

On the face of it “What You At” is an album full of radio-friendly anthems, busting out all over with immediately ear-catching riffs and choruses that stick and stay in the mind right away. It’s only when you start listening to the verses that frame those choruses that you hear how deep these songs are and the full extent of the hurt that each one lays out, a chronicle of what one or possibly more broken relationships that can only be described as heartbreaking in the extreme. 

The painted smiles of each 3-minute masterpiece here mask an ocean of tears that nobody should have to swim.  If you’ve ever felt wronged in love, your grievances will pale into insignificance next to the knife-in-the-chest double whammy of the album’s closing tracks ‘One Damn Thing’ (‘Do You Both Sleep At Night In The Bedding I Bought You?’’) and ‘Salute’ (‘You Never Will Come Through For Me’). Nobody deserves that level of hurt. (Well, other than a member of the Conservative party, perhaps…)

That said, tracks like ‘Jennifer’ and ‘Every Day She Kills Me’ are the kind of perfect pop that mainstream radio would have once fallen over itself to play, before it got hooked on the aural tedium it pumps out hour after hour in 2019. 

“Classic Rock For Tragic Lesbians” may be Personal Best’s strap line, but it’s really not necessary (or indeed obligatory) for anyone to be either or both to appreciate just what a superb album “What You At” is. It’s been out a couple of months now, but it’s never too late to catch up on something this good. 

Which is where this review came in, really…


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LOUD WOMEN Volume Two compilation album: track listing revealed

Drumroll please as we can finally announce the full 22 track listing for the hotly-anticipated LOUD WOMEN Volume Two compilation album, which will be launched 14 September 2019 at LOUD WOMEN Fest 4!

1The FranklysNot Guilty
2The TxlipsThe Lost One
3I, DorisThe Girl From Clapham
4The Menstrual CrampsNo Means No
5The CleopatrasForty
6LIINESNever Wanted This
7PussyliquorMy Body My Choice
8Pleasure VenomHive
9ARXXIron Lung
10Ms MohammedNever Again
11The Baby SealsIt’s Not About the Money, Honey
12Peach ClubNot Your Girl
13T-BitchFrighty Nighty
14Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic SomethingSomeone Else to Blame
15Jelly CleaverYarl’s Wood
16Secondhand UnderpantsThe Anthem
17GaptoothPost-Patriarchy Disco
18Vaginas, What Else?Loose Tile
19GGAllan PartridgeI Feel Lobe
20HurtlingDon’t Know Us
21Personal BestRadio
22Bridget HartLet Loose Lucy

The CD is available to pre-order now for just £5 from our Bandcamp page – and as a thank you for pre-ordering, when the CD releases after 14 Sept we’ll also send you a copy of Volume One! So that’s 42 of the loudest of loud women, all for a cheeky fiver.

Praise for LOUD WOMEN Volume Two:

“Scabrous riffs, inventive songcraft and full force in-your-face woman power from all bands involved. Loud Women festival shows up the mainstream by exhibiting the very best of women in rock.”

– Paula Frost, Vive Le Rock

“LOUD WOMEN are inspiring social change”

– Kerrang!

At a time of toxic masculinity in the industry, platforms like Loud Women are a brilliant, and brazen, beacon of hope shining a floodlight on marginalised musicians. Turn it up LOUD.

Cheri Amour, Soho Radio / She Shreds magazine

LOUD WOMEN rock!

DJ John Kennedy, Radio X

LOUD WOMEN Fest 4 – final lineup revealed!

14 Sept 2019 at London’s Dome and Boston Music Room looks set to see the biggest (and best?) LOUD WOMEN Fest yet! Here’s the news we’ve been dying to tell you for months … our final* lineup, in no particular order …

Plus afterparty DJs, food, zines, records, and all manner of fun things we’ve not even thought up yet – get in touch with us on loudwomenclub@gmail.com if you’d like to get involved!

Earlybird tickets are now sold out but you can still grab regular advanced tickets from here.

*I mean, as final as anything is that could possibly have slight changes here and there in cases of sickness, injury, best friends throwing last-minute weddings, that sort of thing. But pretty damn final I’d say!

LOUD WOMEN Fest 4 – second wave lineup announcement!

Ridiculously excited to let you know the next 8 bands to make up our 20-strong lineup for LOUD WOMEN Fest 4! Drumroll please …

Joining us on Saturday 14 September at The Dome and the Boston Music room will be …

  • The Baby Seals
  • Personal Best
  • Pleasure Venom (USA)
  • Gaptooth
  • GGAllan Partridge
  • The Cleopatras (Italy)
  • Nervous Twitch
  • and The Samba Sisters

These awesome eightsome are in addition to the lovelies we have already announced, namely:

  • ARXX
  • Hurtling
  • Peach Club
  • Secondhand Underpants (Turkey)
  • The Txlips (USA)
  • The Menstrual Cramps

Which means that right now our lineup looks like this!

Best fest yet already … and there are still 6 more acts to announce!

Grab your earlybird tickets now:

Personal Best: What You At – album launch 14 June

The soundtrack to my day today is Personal Best’s hot AF second album, ‘What You At’ – and it can be yours too from this Friday! Jam-packed with deliciously retro indie-pop bangers and punked queer rock love songs, the record comes with the wonderful tagline ‘Classic Rock for Tragic Lesbians’. Out Friday 14 and available to pre-order now from Dovetown Records and Sheer Luck Records in the US.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Kate delivers powerfully poignant, often bittersweet, totally endearing lyrics over giant guitar riffs, taking the tropes of “classic rock”, aka “Dad rock”, re-appropriated for womankind and delivered in a shower of glitter. See ‘Near to the Wild Heart’, which deserves a medal for the, I assume, deliberately over-stretched outro; an increasingly complex array of instruments taking turns to solo. Actual lolled when a trumpet appeared from nowhere – I hope that was the intended response!

Stand-out tracks for me were ‘You Don’t Call Me Baby Anymore’, which instantly had me singing along to the chorus and dancing round the kitchen at LOUD WOMEN HQ. And title track ‘What You At’ is a triumph; I don’t often use the word ‘anthemic’ as a compliment, but seriously, if Personal Best don’t get to perform this queer rock anthem on an enormous stage some day there’s no justice in the world.

In the meantime, make sure to catch them on any size stage they play! Can’t wait to hear this live, this Saturday, when the band launch the album with a headline show at London’s The Victoria. Support comes from The Spares (the spin-off of our faves Spare Rib) and our own mummycore punk dinnerladies, I, Doris. Good times guaranteed. Facebook event deets here.

Stay tuned too for more exciting news about Personal Best relating to a festival close to our hearts … wink wink etc. Announcement coming this weekend!

Find Personal Best on facebook and bandcamp

Personal Best: 10 question interview

personalbest1Personal Best are headlining our show this weekend at Amersham Arms, awesomely supported by The Ethical Debating Society, Dream Nails and Best Praxis! We can't wait! To get to know them a bit better in the meantime, we asked them 10 questions ...
1. Who would you most like to cover one of your songs? 
St. Vincent could do a great job of ‘This Is What We Look Like’ I reckon. Get some cool beeps and beats on there. Make it a club banger.


2. If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play?
 I wanna say a sick guitarist like Mary Timony but then I’d feel really inadequate. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a pianist or keyboardist so I’m gonna say Carole King. She also seems really nice and I reckon she wouldn’t hog the hummus.

3. If your music could have a superpower, what would it be?
Turning homophobes into goldfish.

4. What’s best: playing a big venue full of strangers, or a small pub full of friends? 
 Big venue! We are a stadium rock band at heart haha. 

5. Recommend a record and a book that you think our readers might not have heard of.
Record – Any Other City by Life Without Buildings, which continues to blow my mind. It’s not mega obscure but they did one album then split up in the early 2000s and it’s perfect. I kind of admire them doing that just as they were getting loads of cult attention. Book – Near to The Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector. It plays with perceptions of time and perspective and explores amorality and disruptive childhoods.



6. One for the guitarists … bore us with the details of your set-up please.

My guitar is a 2015 Gibson Firebird (that model has an extra millimetre width on the fretboard). I love how extra this guitar is, it’s very silly and over the top. Amp – Cornford Roadhouse 30. The company doesn’t exist any more but you can still find the amps around occasionally. Best amp I know for the money. Cost me £380 and it’s amazing. Cab – a Zilla oversized 112 with Neodymium lightweight speakers. They make custom cabs with a bunch of cool options. I picked it up second hand a while ago. Pedals – Way Huge (Jim Dunlop range) Swollen Pickle fuzz, Way Huge Angry Troll linear amp boost, Boss RV-2 Japan reverb.

7. What’s the best thing about being in your band? 
When I bring a song to practise and everyone does their thing over it and makes it sound a million times more exciting.

8. What are your band goals? 
For this year, release album two, tour in the US which we haven’t done yet. Just get next level. World domination.

9. What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now? 
That we’re writing a really sick album.

10. Give your top 5 contemporary bands 
 St. Vincent, Doe, Nervus, El Morgan and the Divers, Colour Me Wednesday. Why? Cos they’re all amazing obviously.

Find Personal Best on Bandcamp and Facebook, and see them live this weekend at the Amersham Arms!
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