MJ Hibbett and his backing band The Validators released their debut album ‘Say It With Words’ in 2000. Four years later, one song from the album, ‘Hey Hey 16k’, became an internet hit thanks to an animated video created by Rob Manuel of B3ta.com. Numerous subsequent album and single releases over the last decade have gained him cult status in the indie world.
All of this and more was chronicled in Hibbett’s first Edinburgh Fringe show, ‘My Exciting Life In ROCK!’, in 2008. With that out of his system, he set to work on another show. Called ‘Dinosaur Planet’, the lo-fi rock opera promises “dinosaurs, giant robots, space invasions, high quality academic research and the outright destruction of Peterborough”. This year Hibbett brings that show back to Edinburgh for a second run, boasting an expanded cast (there’s now two of them), at The GRV until 14 Aug. Find more info at www.dinosaurplanet.co.uk
Ahead of the show, we asked MJ to put together this playlist for us, and here’s what he had to say about it: “This mixtape reflects the inner workings of my BRAIN at the moment, as I’m up to my ears in all sorts of stuff, notably ‘Dinosaur Planet’, my two-man musical that we’re taking up to the Edinburgh Fringe, and the Indietracks Festival, general PANIC about whether I’ve got everything sorted out, and some songs which have just got stuck on The Walkman In My Head. Listening to this should give you an idea of what it’s like to be in my head at the moment – for which, apologies!”
01 Doris Day – The Deadwood Stage
‘Calamity Jane’ is one of my favourite films and definitely my favourite musical. This is the first song on the soundtrack so hearing it always prepares me for a whole lot of good times.
02 Dinosaur Jr – Freak Scene
The first song I ever learned to play, I loved this so much that when I got home from polytechnic I made my nan listen to it, only realising it was the non-radio friendly version about two seconds too late.
03 Allo Darlin – Silver Dollars
I’ve become mildly obsessed with Allo Darlin this year. Their album is genuinely one of the best I’ve EVER bought (I place it alongside ‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ in my INDIE HEART) and this song especially moves me to tears when they do it live.
04 Standard Fare – Fifteen
Tomorrow (as I type) we’re playing the first full Validators gig for about a year. Bizarrely, and probably because it was booked ages ago, Standard Fare are supporting US. I think this is something we’ll be MASSIVELY showing off about when they’re mega famous, which ought to be very very soon.
05 Art Brut – Formed A Band
The gig mentioned above is a much needed warm-up for the Indietracks Festival. Last year Art Brut’s set was the highlight of an amazing weekend, and this is the song of theirs that makes me want to leap up and down and shout “YEAH!” at people I don’t know. YEAH!
06 Half Man Half Biscuit – Bad Review
I’m sure anybody familiar with my OUVRE will be ASTOUNDED to find that I like Half Man Half Biscuit… hem hem. I chose this song particularly because I’m probably going to be using it a LOT in Edinburgh whenever we get a less than excellent review for the show.
07 Divine Comedy – Assume The Perpendicular
I do like it when an album comes along which stops you listening to ANYTHING else for a couple of weeks, and ‘Bang Goes The Knighthood’ is the latest to do so for me. What other band could write such a fabulously catchy, joyous song about visiting stately homes? NONE OTHER, that’s who.
08 John Otway – A413 Revisited
John Otway has always been my absolute hero and inspiration, and this is one of my favourite songs of his. It came out as one of the b-sides to ‘The Hit’ a few years ago, and it beautifully sums up the nervous excitement you get in bands just after you’ve finished all the preparations and just before you find out what people think of it. I can identify with that VERY MUCH at the moment!
09 Monkey Swallows The Universe – Ice Cream Man
I couldn’t find the original on Spotify, but this is a lovely version that I’ve been lucky enough to hear live on a number of occasions. The original’s on ‘Modern Lovers Live’, which wins TWO accolades: Best Live Album EVER and also Coolest Record In My Dad’s Record Collection!
10 Chris T-T – Words Fail Me
Chris T-T is a lovely chap, a fantastic songwriter and the nearest thing we’ve got to A New Billy Bragg, especially when he plays live. He’s going to be on the soundtrack album for ‘Dinosaur Planet’ too! This is from his most recent, brilliant, album ‘Love Is Not Rescue’, which I really think people will enjoy.
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