Source: EP Artwork

Talk about Girl Power. Millie Manders works wonders on her new EP with a full, powerful vocal. There are two EPs already in her back catalogue and Millie is clearly getting good at putting together songs that she should be proud of, and that display her talents both singing and writing. Her new EP, Obsession Transgression, is less of a spectrum of styles, more a splattering of colours thrown skilfully together to create a beautiful new shade. While the primary sound of this EP is that of ska, she could definitely perform highly in any genre she sets her mind to.

The opening track instantly cements the overlying ska theme with an instant hit of brass. On the surface it is a great fun song, as you’d expect from the genre, but listen to the lyrics and you get a taste of how socially conscious she is. The title track covers the subject of influential magazines and the media perception of beauty. It’s a deep subject for such a jaunty songs, but it’s well executed.

Teddy‘ is where we really start to see her range. The bass heavy intro already hints at a darker side to the song, in which the singer songwriter takes the role of a controlling or, as the lyrics say, ‘possessive‘ partner. In keeping with the line “You’re so pretty, I’m going crazy,” the vocals slowly lose control towards the end of the song. They gradually descend into madness and screams in a wonderfully weird way, only serving to prove the earlier point that Millie is multi-talented when it comes to her vocal chords.

The stand out track is ‘Bacchus‘, a wonderful ode to the God of wine. There’s something rich and smooth about this song. Appropriately, its the audio equivalent of a good, full-bodied red wine. And its so easy to sing along to with the repetitive refrain and catchy rhythmic melody. After listening to the whole EP, this’ll be the track you just can’t shake.

Overall, the EP has a solid feel of Chantal Claret meets ska. The world needs more ballsy female vocalists like this. There’s something oddly inspiring about the attitude Millie sings with that will no doubt have girls everywhere standing up and loving themselves, because if she can ooze this much confidence through four songs, why can’t the rest of us?





Obsession Transgression by Millie Manders

After being a fan of Millie Manders for a while, I was so happy that I got to review her. She defiantly didn’t disappoint with this awesome EP. It has smart lyrics and sick musical structure in the songs and I love the mix of old school ska and a cool clash feel to it. I can hear that Joe strummer was a big influence in her writing. One negative thing is that the recording is not that great but apart from that its awesome! Check out ‘Long Gone’, definitely one of my favourites.

Rating 4/5







Look around the Bloggersphere and you will find multitudes of posts about quality independant bands. Look a little deeper and you will see a large majority are about bunches of blokes, rocking it out (I sound like my Mother) Or dudes with synths playing with clicks and whrrrrrrrrs (I like clicks and wrrrrrrrrs a lot)


Maybe its just me not reading the “right” blogs but theres a lack of quality female artists getting the kudos and promotion they richly deserve. Today on The Barton Quandary lets hopefully put a little of the imbalance right  by introducing you to Millie Manders.

Millie has recently been touring up and down the UK to promote her beautifully poignant and chatchy EP Demon. I managed to have one of my strange email conversations with the very likeable and witty Ms Manders at the end of her current tour. But before we get there…..

I first came across Millie when I was listening to the Mr Peeps podcasts for my recent post on TBQ (click here to read)

The post  featured the single Raw which is taken from Millie’s EP Demon. The way Manders punches out the words to Raw reminded me of the young Kate Nash on her first album. Infectiously catchy and evocative lyrics describing the raw feelings and emotions springing from a sexual impulse / desire / need. (hence the name of the single i guess, great deduction there Steve…… HA-HA)

I wanted to listen to more after hearing the single. To be honest, I half expected to hear more of the same type of  track Raw was. I was pleasantly surprised. Demon is a fantastic collection of tracks which represent immaculately the range and talent this young singer/songwriter.

The honest and touching lyrics in the title track made haste working their way into my conciousness. So much in fact, I woke up with them floating around in my head. All to soon I was commiting them to an unjust rendition with my sad attempt to sing along.

The biggest surprise though was another clip I found on YouTube. I came across a cover Millie has done of the James Brown classic “I Feel Good” A beautiful acoustic jazz version. What a range his woman has. Smokey and sultry. I was lucky enough to see a young Sia Furler performing in the pubs of Adelaide in her very first band. A jazz band called Crisp, and hearing this track instantly transported me back to the Austral in Rundle Street. I just have to share it with you here.

Hey there Millie…..What has been happening this last couple of weeks for you?

Hi Steve! The last couple of weeks have been all about the tour and the promotion of the end of tour party.  It’s been amazing fun!!

So touring has been high on the agenda for you. Got a Bedford Band?

I will be perfectly honset with you, I’m not sure I would know what a Bedford band was if it sat on my face…. So I’m going to say no. Just in case.

Millie on stage whipping up a frenzy in green shiny pants.Of course you don’t know what a Bedford band is….Because i feeking meant Bedford Van….Note to self, proof read questions HAHA. And I wouldn’t suggest a Bedford Van on your face…….

How many ppl in the Millie touring party?

I have been touring with my guitarist, but the brought to you collective has been anything from five to fifteen people depending on the gig and the availability of the backing bands.

Got any special requests that you cant do without in the backroom??

Haha! I wish I could say something really interesting here, like “A large tank of tropical fish for relaxation” or “exactly 300 blue roses in 60 vases placed strategically around the room” but the facts are as long as I have plenty of water, enough money to feed myself and somewhere to crash, I am happy.

Any little superstitions. Fav pair of undies you like to wear? LOL…I did warn you

Again, pretty boring here, although I have recently aquired a friend by the name of Jeff the Dragon. A sand filled mascott for my amusement. You can find him on twitter. He’s WAY more of a diva than I am. @Jeff_The_Dragon

Does @Jeff_The_Dragon follow back?….this is gonna get him a heap more followers #teamfollowback……. Probably more than me LOL. (Not hard!!)

Raw, instantly reminded me of Kate Nash, the way to you punch the lyrics out, coupled with a lovely sexy tune. Which singers /artists have influenced Millie Manders

There are so many!! So I don’t write an essay I’ll try to narrow down my choices.  Skin from Skunk Anansie has an amazing range, the ability to go from a scream to a pure falsetto note in the blink of an eye and exudes more energy than the Duracell Bunny.

Aretha Franklin has amazing strength in her voice and seamless transition between head and chest voices – almost indistinguishable.

Gwen Stefani commands a stage and oozes sexuality, delivering a dramatic, storytelling performance as well as being one of the hottest rock chicks around… Those are probably the top three but there are so many more in so many genres.

embracing the feelYou say your life experiences impact on the songs you write. Is it easier to write a track about a happy event or do hardship songs flow easier?

It’s always easier to write a song about tough experiences; “Poems are my therapy, And love has been my flame, If I didn’t have a broken heart, I’d never write again” Having said that, I have been trying to write positive songs recently, and without giving too much away, i should have one around fairly soon!

Do you specifically sit down to write material, or does a tune / melody just pop into your head and you write then?

Song writing for me happens in a variety of ways. Sometimes a full blown song – lyrics, instrumentation, the lot is in my head instantly and easily translated.  I have been known to wake up in the middle of the night with snatches of melody or lyrics and record a voice not (I keep my phone next to my pillow partly for this reason)Other times I will be given a guitar riff from Davide or start a new song and it will take months to finish.

I read a letter you wrote to AMBY which was posted on that site. Music has been in your life as a passion from a very young age. Were your parents musical?

My mother played the flute, but not at a professional level. My Dad has always loved music and both parents exposed us to as many different genres as possible, and worked really hard to make sure that if we wanted to try something new as a hobby, we could.

Was it a big step to leave the comfort of a band, or did you see it as a natural progression

I didn’t really have much choice! My band entered into a dodgy contract which cost us five years of legally gaining the music back, and meant our fan base withered and died.  The best way to come back was to rebrand.  Going acoustic was the best decision as it has meant I have been able to tour with far more ease, and my fans have been able to engage with me any my music at a much more personal level.  It’s been a wonderful experience, but I am looking forward to using my band a bit more next year!!

Ive seen some live footage from one of your recent gigs in Manchester. What feelings do being on stage bring to you…. It seems so much more than just the songs from what ive seen….

I love being on stage. I love communicating each song through dance, expressionism and voice.  I love interacting with my audience and inviting them to join in with me.  There is no better reward than knowing that you have entertained people, made them laugh or cry or feel moved in any way.  There are very few things I could say I love more.


How did you meet and connect with your guitarist Davide

I was 21 and returning from South Africa after living there for a few months. I wanted to find a band and get straight back into performing.  Davide was looking for a singer and I found his ad in the Free Ads paper.  He didn’t want a song writer at the time, but we worked so well together I eventually ended up writing all the lyrics and melodies.

Every been mistaken for anyone famous… Johnny Cash?

No I haven’t. I think I’m fairly glad of that too. I’d much rather be considered unique, although I have been likened to various celebrities over the years. Usually whichever brunette, brown eyed one that happens to have media focus at the time… hahaha!!!

What is next in store for Millie Manders???

We are already looking at the next tour, and I am hoping to release a Christmas single, with profits going to the charity Walking With The Wounded at the end of November.

Why Walking With The Wounded, what is the connection?

Both my Grandfathers served in World War Two. On my fathers side, Les Manders was a computer operator. On my mothers side, John Ellery started on the front line, serving in Africa, and then in the Royal Air Force. While neither were injured, and both survived I have the utmost respect for those who lay down their lives for a cause they believe in.

Walking With The Wounded aim to bring positivity and respite to those who have been badly injured on the front line by making activities accessible to them. Everything from mountain hiking to kayaking. I love the fact they refuse to have a doom and gloom attitude and look to directly affect the life of each person rather than just chuck money and hope things will be better.

News to hand, Millie has just announced that there is more touring in the early new year. So if you want to connect to a fantastic performer get in touch with Millie to find out where and when…….If you would like this bright light of entertainment to come to your town, city or living room contact her, she is a delightful accessible (and no im not flirting ffs HA-HA) .





Follow Us