Amelia’s Magazine | Coves and Caves introduce the video for Present Company

Coves and Caves present company
Following the success of our first collaboration on the Heart Explodes video (read more about this here), we asked Hull-based filmmaker Patrick Mateer to direct once again for Present Company. This time around, Patrick enlisted the help of another talented local filmmaker Josh Moore to co-direct, and brought together a group of local actors to bring the song to life. Hull Truck Theatre was the ideal location, as the clean lines and spare atmospherics of the performance space were a perfect backdrop to the video’s concept of a dreamlike mix of music and drama. We aimed for beautiful slow motion imagery interspersed with rapid cuts of improvised action, dance and our live band performance to enhance the textures and dynamics of the song.

Patrick explains: ‘The actors were asked to improvise scenarios built around the central themes of the song of staying together or being kept apart – or more simply, love or loss. Asking the scenarios to be improvised gave the shoot a real sense of immediacy. We wanted the actors to interpret the themes into scenarios that meant something to them. I think that’s a real strength of the video, as the shoot had a kinetic energy to it and we were able to capture this on film.’

Present Company is taken from Coves & Caves debut album Spinnerets – available to buy on CD and Digital Download here and at Piccadilly Records. Find a free download link to the song here.

Categories ,Coves and Caves, ,Heart Explodes, ,Hull Truck Theatre, ,James Eary, ,Josh Moore, ,Patrick Mateer, ,Piccadilly Records, ,Present Company, ,Spinnerets, ,video

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Amelia’s Magazine | Sea of Bees: Songs for the Ravens – Album Review


In autumn nature is vibrant, story drug but also gently muffled, dosage there as it whispers within the trees and slowly looks away from the warmer month’s naivety and brash explosions. These later, brown, red and golden months are melancholic and self defining. The blurriness of the previous heated moments become filed in nostalgia and glorious knitwear is exposed. The perfect music to announce this new phase, both outside your window and inside your stirring consciousness, is sweet, sensitive and yet, triumphant. Determination backing you up like a personal yoga instructor. Sea of Bees is the music you long for. Trust in Californian, Julie Ann Bee, to drift over in her ship and sail you away to a reflective, inspirational paradise.

Sea of Bees is ethereal in her folk sound. Her pitch is high and her instruments hark out in a manner less like ho-down festivity, more like modest little eruptions. There is an element of Decoder Ring, Laura Marling and Joanna Newsom in Julie. This is mixed with a distinct Californian, hippie edge. Despite a voice of sweeties personified (flying saucers), she has more bite than a girly girl, achieving this impression through her guitars, drums and confidence in her flowing notes. She’s that girl you see dancing with her eyes closed, oblivious, absorbed in her own thoughts and allowing her feelings to be shown like the cider in her hand.

sea of bees julie
Julie Ann Bee.

She must do this because Sea of Bees lyrics are so full of raw emotion, it’s like listening to someone’s heart beating, particularly, It Won’t be Long and Skinnybone. She is wistful, glorious and powerful. Just crack on Marmalade right now, I implore you, (available as a free download right here) and embrace the birth of something marvellous.

The new album Songs for the Ravens is out now on Crossbill Records in the USA and Heavenly Recordings in Europe. Sea of Bees is currently touring in the USA. You can check out her myspace here.

Categories ,album review, ,california, ,Crossbill Records, ,Decoder Ring, ,Ethereal Folk, ,folk, ,Heavenly Recordings, ,joanna newsom, ,Julie Ann Bee, ,Laura Marling, ,Sea of Bees, ,Songs for the Ravens

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Amelia’s Magazine | Vampire Weekend – Contra – Album Review

vampireweekend-contra3All images courtesy of Vampire Weekend.

Vampire Weekend released their debut album almost exactly two years ago today and those two short years have been very good for the band. Amongst other things Rolling Stone declared it the 10th best album of the decade. They have also picked up numerous awards and excited column inches from all over the music world.

When I first started hearing the buzz about Vampire Weekend I was a little dubious; I generally am whenever a band gets so much acclaim before they’ve even put an album out. However, drugs view I soon became a fan, after I heard the ska-esque track A-Punk in a club, which instantly had me running for the dance floor.

After getting hold of a copy of the album I was impressed with how different they sounded compared to anything else I was listening to at the time. The afro-beat sound fused with an indie sensibility married to interesting lyrics about Grammar, university and love struck a chord within me and the album soon became a favourite.

With the release of their second album, Contra, it’s time to see whether all the plaudits are justified. It’s a generally held opinion that the second album of a bands career can make or break them. They’ve often ploughed all their ideas into that first release and detractors are waiting to pounce on a band and claim that they’re ‘one trick pony’s’. Is this the case with Vampire Weekend?

The answer is yes, and no. Anyone who is familiar with their style will certainly recognise opening track Cousins, which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on their debut.


However after that one concession to their past they start to mix things up like on I Think Ur A Contra which gives the guitars a rest to focus on a simple drum beat and piano over which Ezra Koenig sings a plaintive song about his mistrust of someone he thought he knew.

The track which really breaks from tradition is Giving Up The Gun which has an 80’s vibe with throbbing synth and female vox. The tracks are generally stripped of any of the previous Vampire Weekend sound; the guitar is almost completely absent from the album. Instead they use plenty of programmed beats, piano, and string sections. The only thing that would make these songs recognisable to the casual listener is Koenigs’ vocal style which remains unchanged.

Personally I think the decision to excise the guitar sound from a lot of the songs has a negative effect on them. Most of them sound half finished, and the album leans too heavily on the use of synths and piano, which would have more effect with some stirring guitars to add depth to the music. Alternatively if they had fully embraced the African sound they incorporated into to the first album they could have been onto a winner.

It does show that they’re not afraid to try something different though. They could have easily churned out a copy of the first album with a few new bells and whistles. The creative well isn’t yet dry but it could probably do with a top up.

Vampire Weekend play a special instore at Rough Trade East on Friday the 15th of January. For more information look here.

Categories ,A-Punk, ,Contra, ,Ezra Koenig, ,Rolling Stone, ,Vampire Weekend

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings

Monday 12th Jan
Starting today: The Voice and Nothing More is a week-long festival at the Slade Research Centre that explores the voice as both medium and subject matter in contemporary arts practices. Established artists and emerging talent will work with leading vocal performers in an exploration of the voice outside language. On Wednesday the festival culminates in a presentation of objects, pilule generic performances, order and installations that are open to the public. There will also be performances on Thursday and Friday from 6 pm.


Wednesday 14th Jan

Now in it’s 21st year, recipe the London Art Fair begins at the Design Centre in Islington. A hundred galleries are selected to show work from the last few hundred years. This immense exhibition will encompass sculpture, photography, prints, video and installation art. It ends on the 18th of January.
There is a talk this evening at the ICA entitled Can Art make us Happy? where artists Zoë Walker and Michael Pinsky explore the notions of art as a social cure-all in times of economic and social gloom.
A new solo show from Josephine Flynn begins today at Limoncello on Hoxton Square. The Mexican was bought off a patient who was in hospital with mental health problems. When the patient talked about The Mexican she described how the process of making him had helped her – ‘healing through making’ was how she put it.


Thursday 15th Jan
Feierabend is a collaborative installation between artists Francis Upritchard, Martino Gamper, and Karl Fritsche, bringing together a shared aesthetic in their distinctive approaches to jewellery, furniture design, and sculpture. The exhibition plays with the boundaries of art and real life – looking like a workshop abandoned at the end of a day’s work, or a sitting room left in abstracted dissary, it’s only inhabitants a set of sculpted figures who seem lost in their own meditations.
Gimpel Fils opens a new photographic exhbition from Peter Lanyon and Emily-Jo Sargent, 100 Pictures of Coney Island.
The Asphalt World is a new solo show at Studio Voltaire from Simon Bedwell. Drip paintings are made from advertising posters in an ironic twist or corporate seduction.


Friday 16th

There are two exhibitions starting today at Wilkinson on Vyner Street. In Upper Gallery a, Episode III, Enjoy Poverty, is the second in a series of three films by Renzo Martens in which he raises issues surrounding contemporary image making, challenging ideas about the role of film makers and viewers in the construction of documentaries. In the Lower Gallery, there will be the fourth exhibiton from German artist, Silke Schatz. Through the conjunction of video, sculpture, drawing and found objects, Schahtz composes a personal portrait of the city of Agsburg.


Saturday 17th Jan

We featured David Cotterrell in issue ten, where in the picturesque surroundings of Tatton Park, he explained how his visit to Afghanistan, where he was invited by the Wellcome Trust, would be likely to have a lasting effect on his future work. Aesthetic Distance is David Cotterrell’s third solo exhibition with Danielle Arnaud, and focuses on the experiences and inevitable aftermath of a flight he took in November 2007 in a RAF C17, from Brize Norton to Kandahar. He was the sole passenger in a plane loaded with half a million rounds of palletised munitions and medical supplies to join Operation Herrick 7, a strange irony not lost on the artist.


Earth Listings

Monday 12th January, viagra 60mg 7pm

Climate Rush hits Heathrow


To whomsoever concerned by the biggest threat faced by humanity today-that of climate change,

You are cordially invited to Dinner at Domestic Departures. Join us for an evening of peaceful civil(ised) disobedience ahead of the government’s decision over a third runway at Heathrow. Inspired by the actions of the suffragettes, we will be calling for DEEDS NOT WORDS. The government acknowledges the huge problems we face from Climate Change but they continue with business as usual. This jolly evening is intended to produce much-needed positive change and we do hope that you would join us.

Location: Domestic Departures, Terminal 1, Heathrow Airport.

Time: 7pm (when the string quartet plays their first note).

Dress Code: Edwardian Suffragette: high collars, long skirts, fitted jackets, puffed sleeves, think Mary Poppins. Sashes will be provided. * Although advisable, it is not compulsory to arrive in Edwardian dress, the most important thing is that you your friends and family join us for dinner. To add the element of surprise, it is suggested that you arrive in a large coat to conceal your costume until the stroke of 7.

Bring: Jam tarts, scones, cucumber sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, tea cakes. Picnic blankets and table cloths. Tea and elderflower cordial. No alcohol please.

Entertainment: String quartet, art tricks from ArtPort, polite conversation.

We look forward to seeing you,

The Misbehaved Ladies from Climate Rush x

Tuesday 13th January, 6pm

Art, Activism and the legacy of Chico Mendes
8 John Adam Street


Tonight will explore the ways in which the arts can help shift society’s attitudes in the face of unprecedented climate change. Elenira Mendes, daughter of environmental activist Chico Mendes, will talk alongside panelists Jonathan Dove (award-winning composer), Greenpeace’s senior climate adviser, Charlie Kronick and fasion designer and activist Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Wednesday 14th January

Wednesdays Do Matter
InSpiral Lounge, 250 Camden High Street NW1 8QS

A night of music, comedy, poetry and film (and really good vegan smoothies!) in aid of global justice campaigners, the World Development Movement. Remind yourselves why everyday matters, even Wednesdays.

Trouble the Water
The Mall


Winner of this year’s Grand Jury prize at Sundance and announced as a finalist in 2009 Accademy Awards for Best Documentary. This is one New Orleans’ resident’s depiction of the catastrophic tragedy of Hurricaine Katrina. Shot with a (shakily) handheld camera, Kimberely Roberts’ footage starts from the weekend before the hurricaine and covers a period of a year. Michael Moore collaborators Tia Lessin and Carl Deal edit and append the tapes with their own film of the post-Katrina clean-up effort.An astounding portrayal of resilience and bravery.

Showing at the ICA 12th-15th January

Turning The Season
at The Wapping Project
Wapping Hydraulic Power Station
Wapping Wall


Recent crisp bright skies have been a welcome respite from the usual drab January weather. But who knows what tomorrow may bring. Turning the Season explores the social and cultural phenomenon of the British Season. It would be fair to say that the increasingly visible effects of Climate Change have further fuelled our national fascination with the weather.
Expect 100 bird houses, a roof-top lily pond and a photo story showing the break-up of a relationship against the backdrop of seasonal events shot by fashion photographer Thomas Zanon-Larcher.

Until 28th Febuary

Amazonia at the Young Vic


Although aimed at swarms of roaring key stage 3 schoolchildren as an educational piece on the issue of deforestation, this production from Palace People’s Projects is a true delight. Set in a traditional village in the Amazon that is eventually swayed by the ghost of Chico Mendes to not fall under the developers’ bulldozers. But not until some devastation has been wreaked first. A socio-political depiction of destruction of the Amazon with a mythical slant. All set to the music and dancing of Forro. An inventive stage (a mammoth man-made tree rather resembling an electrical pole, and pools of water seperating the audience) and brilliantly gaudy costumes by Gringo Cardia.

Until 24th January

Monday 12th January

Dead Kids, cost O Children, erectile The Lexington, London


Seriously energetic post-punk, sequinned and LOUD live act Dead Kids headline. No matter what you think of them on record, they’re sure to grab you live. Continuing the infant name-theme, as well as the intense post-punk sounds are support O Children.

Comanechi, Durrr at The End, London

With the ever-winning combo of Japanese girl singing drummer (also to be found as frontwoman for London band Pre) and jangular guitars, this is your best bet for a trendy sceney night out in London.

Tuesday 13th January

Banjo or Freakout
single launch party, White Heat @ Madame JoJos, London


Part of the new-wave of ultra-hip, genre-smashing music sweeping the artier corners of the globe at the moment. Should be a celebratory atmosphere as it is his single launch party.

Wednesday 14th January

Goldie Lookin Chain, Metro, London


Ho ho ho, GLC are sooooo funny. Free entry is promised to the gig but don’t leave your purse at home as you’ll have to pay to leave.

The Virgins, Rough Trade East, London

American New Wave tinged indie-rock.

Thursday 15th January

Wet Paint, Rough Trade East, London


Playing this gig in anticipation of the release of their new album, they’ll be supporting Bloc Party later in the year.

Emmy the Great, 12 Bar Club, London

Intimate solo acoustic performance of debut album First Love in full, ahead of its release in February.

Push, Astoria 2, London

A massive farewell party for the Astoria 2 which will be finally demolished on Friday. Catch Cajun Dance Party live as well as DJ sets from Mystery Jets, Lightspeed Champion, Good Shoes and Neon Gold among many others and mourn the demise of the sticky-floored dingy music venue in central London.

Friday 16th January

Cats in Paris, Brassica, Braindead Improv Ensemble, The Woe Betides, George Tavern, London


Massively hyped, bonkers 70s-ish glam-electro from Manchester.

The Golden Silvers, The Macbeth, London

Dreamy indie-pop from these regulars of the London gig circuit.

Saturday 17th January

The Bookhouse Boys, Empire, Middlesborough


Catch this 9 piece mini-orchestra, complete with mariachi brass, duelling drummers and girl-boy vocals, for their Ennio Morricone-style soundscapes.

Categories ,Banjo or Freakout, ,Braindead Improv Ensemble, ,Brassica, ,Cats in Paris, ,Comanechi, ,Dead Kids, ,Durr, ,Emmy The Great, ,Goldie Looking Chain, ,Listings, ,Live, ,London, ,Musician, ,O Children, ,The Bookhouse Boys, ,The Golden Silvers, ,The Virgins, ,The Woe Betides, ,Wet Paint

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Amelia’s Magazine | Vanbot Live at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen: Review

Vanbot London Live 2015-photo by Amelia Gregory
A few weeks ago I ducked out for the first time in what seems like forever to take in a rare treat: the first and only UK show of Swedish pop sensation Vanbot at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen with MAMA Presents. It takes a lot to drag me out in the evenings these days but I was not alone in being eager to see Ester Ideskog perform live, and the small venue soon filled up. Vanbot was resplendent in a puffy pale pink hooded dress over bare legs with hair scraped back, silhouetted against bursts of purple and pink neon. For the brief half hour set she poured pure passion into tunes from new album Perfect Storm, deftly combining her sweetly yearning vocals with a rich electronic soundscape.

Vanbot London Live 2015-photo by Amelia Gregory 2
Working entirely for herself clearly suits this DIY music making enthusiast but I would love to see her with more resources to create a bigger impact and I hope she will return to the UK soon! Vanbot’s brilliant album Perfect Storm was produced by Johannes Berglund, (of The Knife and I Break Horses, both excellent bands) and I have had it on repeat for the past few weeks – you should check it out too. You can read my recent interview with Vanbot here.

Videos courtesy of ribbled on youtube. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Categories ,2015, ,Ester Ideskog, ,Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, ,I Break Horses, ,Johannes Berglund, ,live, ,london, ,MAMA Presents, ,Perfect Storm, ,review, ,ribbled, ,The Knife, ,Vanbot

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Amelia’s Magazine | Album Review: She & Him – A Very She & Him Christmas

She & Him by HoBoJoBo
She & Him by HoBoJoBo.

Generally the realm of fluffy instrumentals and cheesy lyrics, it’s hard to take a Christmas album too seriously. But the joy of A Very She & Him Christmas is that Zooey Deschanel (She) and M. Ward (Him) contribute knowingly to an escapist genre and this is obvious right from the getgo. The album’s cover photography features hilarious shots of the duo in matching Yuletide get-up, complete with Santa hats, tartan prints, and a toy reindeer. It’s also worth noting that Ward first discovered Deschanel after hearing her sing on the 2003 comedy Elf.

She & Him by Barb Royal
She & Him by Barb Royal.

M. Ward puts She & Him’s music in context on their website: ‘I believe good production should be like a good photograph, which is a great contrast between dark and light… Somehow it all evens out, creating this perfect picture of life. Because life is not always sunny, it’s not always dark—it’s somewhere in between.’ And so it is that the album’s smiley lyrics are sometimes complemented by skeletal accompaniments or underscored by minor keys, making this a somewhat darker addition to the musical Christmas family.

She & Him by Autumn de Wilde
The Christmas Waltz is the opening track, a gentle number with delicate acoustic guitar, piano and vocals. It’s a whimsical entrance that signals a sparser sound compared with the duo’s earlier albums, Volume 1 and Volume 2 (read Ian Steadman’s lovely Volume 2 review for Amelia’s Magazine here).

Christmas Waltz

What hasn’t changed is the influence 1950s and 60s pop music has had on the pair, and their cover of the Beach Boys’ Christmas Day is an excellent example, where catchy guitar solos and multilayered backing vocals abound.

She & Him by Barb Royal
She & Him by Barb Royal.

The interesting bass line and arpeggiated chords of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, coupled with even more applaudable backing vocals make this feel like one of the most sincere songs on the album, while the sleigh bells and lovely rising outro of I’ll be Home for Christmas formed an upbeat reinterpretation of the classic tune.

She & Him by Autumn de Wilde
She & Him by Autumn de Wilde.

Christmas Wish is where your ears will really perk up though, as you hear the contrast between M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s voices. His is gravely and hers has an edgy timbre—combined, the result is magic. Again on Baby, It’s Cold Outside, the whistling, and effortless call and response between the duo make the track sound like it’s born from two people who are musically perfectly attuned to one another. My personal favourite is Silver Bells, stripped back to vocals and a simple ukulele strum, which draws our attention to the lyrics and the pauses between phrases.

Little Saint Nick, whose lyrics can irritate even the most avid Christmas carol lover, takes the Beach Boys influence to further glorious heights with gorgeous vocal harmonies, inspired key changes and a beat contagious enough to have you singing along in a West Coast frame of mind. A Very She & Him Christmas paints a quirky picture in darkness and light, and I’d recommend it for anyone in need of a winter pick-me-up: out now on Domino Records.

Categories ,A Very She & Him Christmas, ,Autumn de Wilde, ,Baby It’s Cold Outside, ,Barb Royal, ,beach boys, ,Christmas Wish, ,domino, ,Elf, ,Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, ,HoBoJoBo, ,I’ll be Home for Christmas, ,Little Saint Nick, ,M. Ward, ,She & Him, ,Silver Bells, ,The Christmas Waltz, ,Volume 1, ,Volume 2, ,Zooey Deschanel

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