Amelia’s Magazine | Ratatat

Water is accessible through a tap. Most of us, pills price (if were not trendy art students who squat) pay expensive water bills to have this privilege of running water. So why do I find myself forking out my hard earned pennies on bottled water during the day? WIth the recommended daily amount of at least 4 pints a day (equivalent to 2 litres), the disorganized and thirsty of us may waste up to four golden pounds to fulfill our liquid fix.

So there’s my rant out of the way. The main issue here is not just our pockets, but our environment. You would have had to have been hibernating over the last year if you are not aware and taking part in the risen popularity of recycling. Great! Yet, in actual truth a large proportion of recyclable materials end their time in Landfill, or even worse our beautiful oceans. Estimated to take between 500-1000 years to biodegrade we need to crack down on this issue. Even the relatively small proportion of plastics which are given a stab at the recycling process are transported around the globe to be reincarnated before returning to their origin. Again, this is a far cry from ecological efficiency. Before I ramble further, for those of us which are not inspired to change habits purely through concern for our planet, I remind them of the recent rumors of harmful toxins which disposable plastics are potentially leaking into fluids.

So there we have it. I’m not complaining about our sudden splurge of sun, but our rate of plastic disposal is rocketing during these summer months. Which leads me to the introduction of the reusable and recyclable aluminium drinks bottle courtesy of the clever SIGG people. Celebrating 100 years of establishment, the SIGG designs prove that although old timers, they are still able to produce an environmentally friendly and visually strong alternative to the plastic bottle. Constructed from a single piece of aluminium using minimum waste manufacturing processes the leak proof, easy to clean, seamless bottles are available in a range of sizes and designs whether you prefer a sleek professional sip or an illustrated cheerful gulp.

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As Amelia models, the Sigg bottle is very handy for festivals and teeth cleaning!
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Ah, sick the ICA, bar one of London’s finest scrums. But somehow it’s always worth it – and tonight it certainly is. First up, Herculean one-man-band, Bass Clef. Let’s start with an instrument inventory: trombone; Theremin; Roland IR-606; whistle; cowbell; drumsticks; Behringer mixing desk; cd deck and echo chamber microphone (as Ralph himself might call it) all shrouded in an unhealthy obsession with seminal Soviet dystopian novelist Yevgeny ‘We’ Zamyatin. The very polite Bass Clef aka Ralph Cumbers is quick to make point of the slothenly ground-seated audience who quickly adjust to two feet (I wonder, would they have taken to the floor if it wasn’t such a balmy summer evening).

After several years operating out of Bristol, Bass Clef’s sound bears the marks of that city’s bass-centric tradition. Yes it is as his name indicates all about the bass. I can’t help but mention Hackney Hardcore’s ‘Dancehall Dangerous‘ (Clef is now resident there) but if I mention Smith and Mighty, and Massive Attack as geographical forebears to the Bristol bass sound exhibited by Clef tonight the picture might become clearer, and Lennie De Ice’s ‘We Are I.E.’ would appear to be a reference point for Clef on both the quality of bass line and use of clicky snare hits.

His use of a repertoire of instruments not necessarily considered to be traditionally ‘dub’ is key to the unique sound and performance tonight. The sound is built up with the use of pedals and effects units to create a layered stratum of sonic jabs and reverb-ridden polyphonies that is reminiscent of the classic Dub sound but never as sparse. Clef’s set exudes strong avant-garde tendencies and for certain he was expounding this sound long before the only current scene with which he might be associated was born.

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As if fresh from one of their famous NYC guerrilla street gigs the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – eight brothers, the progeny of epic horn man Phil Cohran accompanied by drummer 360 – take the stage. The crowd is eager and hyped. This is the horn section for real. Like those viciously sampled by hip hop greats such as Public Enemy and Gangstarr but with real brass, real breath and real spit.

These guys rock their instruments with true party clarity and hip hop sensibilities. As they play they sway and glean touching such bases as the Salsoul Orchestra, Etiopiques, Blue Note and mid-70′s Herbie Hancock as they disseminate their ‘musical medicine’ with true jazz pedigree. It never feels dated – as it might easily do. It’s ‘Inner City Blues’, the soundtrack to a Donald Goines novel, Mardi Gras, Crooklyn Clan, fresh, fresh, fresh, all for today. 360 drums with the precision of Idris Muhammad, and the brothers play like it’s for the last time, in a room as hot as Sal’s Famous.

There is a strong element of crowd participation – not naff here – which adds to the block party vibe. The lights go down; the cell phones go up (instead of lighters). The waftiest moment of the night seems to work for the crowd – like panacea. At the end of the evening, after a very long encore, the players are introduced one-by-one James Brown-style. The crowd pour out onto the Mall, the humidity, the jazz, the summer is here!

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Last night after leaving the team Amelia’s free drink fest that was the Havana Club Exhibition I wandered over to Cargo full of anticipation (and rum) for Ratatat. I’ve had not seen Ratatat live before so I really didn’t know what I was expecting. But as feature on the constant play on my ipod, information pills I was sure it was going to be good.

Shuffling into Cargo just before 9 I realised with impeccable timing Micachu‘s support set was due to start in a few minutes. I was introduced to Micachu through fellow Amelia’s intern, pharm Sarah. I don’t think Sarah would mind if I let you all into a little secret; Sarah loves (maybe that should be capitals) Micachu. Enjoying the fading sun in the beer garden I realised said lady was sat a few centimetres away, Sarah really would be super jealous I thought to myself. The praise heaped on Micachu by Sarah and others is most definitely justified.

Watching Micachu as she performed with her band, The Shapes strumming her ukulele I was struck by how much she reminded me of Jaime T. In pretty much every way. The way she sings with a slight snarl of the lip (Elvis would be beaming), the stance, the strumming, even the way she looks! I’m not suggesting she rips off Jaime T, just that there are some unintentional similarities.

However Micachu was very much a warm up for the main event. The crowd seemed restless, and for an apparently sold out gig I was wondering where the swarm of people where. Grabbing the attention of the said crowd, was achieved by the inventive use of an oyster card and a vacuum cleaner. But even Micachu seemed to be keen on hearing Ratatat, with her praise of them uttered frequently.

So the moment I and everyone else had waited for was drawing near. The room started filling up, and I was no longer in any doubt as to the sold out nature, myself squeezed between over enthusiastic youths and a smooching couple. The projector flicked a Pioneer display across the screen, lighting up the instruments waiting for their owners. With all the waiting bodies and the unlikely sunny day, Cargo has been transformed into a sweat box. Nice. I receive a kick from the enthusiastic youths. Forty minutes later and still waiting I am reminded why gig going annoys me. Finally, as I’m giving up hope of every making it home at a reasonable hour Ratatat enter the stage.

Ratatat launch into song after song, with little verbal interaction with crowd. Apart from the encouragement for head nodding by the tour-only keyboard player whose gigantic curly mop is nodding frantically. I don’t think I’ve seen so many heads nodding in near enough unison, ever. However, it quickly transpires I am stood behind Mr. Nodding Dog who takes it to the next level. With every nod, his head runs the risk of flying off his neck and into my face. In a feat Cyclops would have been proud of I maintain one eye on Mr. Nodding Dog and one on the stage. For an instrumental band, its comes as no surprise to see visuals to lend support to a performance. But, super trippy visuals are unexpected. Slowed down images of geometric shapes and kung fu have a hypnotic quality. I even spotted Arnie pre-politics looking every bit the last action hero.

Ratatat played a good mix of tracks from ‘LP3′ and ‘Classics’ and hearing the first few bars of ‘Lex’ I almost forget to keep an eye on Mr. Nodding Dog, he obviously liked that one too, alerting me, as his nodding takes on a dangerous turn. Ratatat were pretty much what I was hoping for live, I had high expectations and they did live up to them. However, after the 40 minute late start I decided to call it a night after hearing ‘Wildcat’. I had hoped to hear the irresistible chimes of ‘Seventeen Years’, but I guess I’ll never know.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Album Review: James Pants


All artwork courtesy of James Pants
I must confess, advice I have been a bit over focused on just one genre of music recently; pretty much every track that I have downloaded, gig that I have been to and festival that I have attended has been of the alt:folk variety. If it doesn’t have a banjo or mandolin, it hasn’t shown up on my radar. So what a refreshing change to listen to James Pants, the eponymously titled album by James Pants, a noisy, feral, snarling beast series of tracks that would probably rip a banjo to shreds in ten paces if it tried to sneak into the studio and join in the melee.

This album gives us a telling insight into the workings of James’ mad professor mind, where musical fusions are created with a lightness of hand, and somehow, all the ingredients seem to come together seamlessly. Given that James blends electro, synth experiments, garage rock, a soupçon of shoegaze and a touch of dream pop, it all could have ended terribly, but somehow the tracks glide smoothly along; almost as if the musical DNA of the above styles was always destined to be mashed up.

It’s also telling that James’ most recent abode has been Cologne, Germany. The album has an unmistakeable electro/experimental and minimalist influences that puts the listener in mind of Kraftwerk. I had thought that Kraut rock is kraut rock, but apparently, there is a further genre of German rock that mixes traditional hard rock with dance-like keyboard parts called Neue Deutsche Härte (NDH): ‘New German Hardness’ (there you go, your fact for the day) and this album reminds me a little bit of this (but without the NDH Satanic imagery). Pleasingly, there is a beating heart beneath the shiny, futuristic contours of this album. Newly released single “Clouds Over The Pacific” is soft and fuzzy and layers delicate female harmonies over a nimble plucking of a guitar string ( or could be a harp), which in turn is layered over a wall of synth sound. James Pants is kind of loopy (and that’s the album I’m talking about, not the man), but I like it. Songs like These Girls, Alone and A Little Bit Closer are the type of tracks that give you a second wind when you hear them in a club (or field) at 2am and go crazy to the beats that sound like they have a bolt of electricity running through them.

If you need a clue as to how a collusion of styles and genres has been weaved together so artfully with ne’er a foot out of step, look no further to the unconventional life of its creator. James is the son of two Presbyterian ministers from an American backwater called Spokane, and his non-conformist journey has taken him from being a teenage DJ for a black nationalist rap group to a multi-instrumentalist with fans and collaborators ranging from Flying Lotus, Zane Lowe, Erol Alkan and XL’s new teen hip-hop internet sensation Tyler The Creator. His backround gives me a further understanding of this album. Only a man who can straddle as many different worlds and cultures as he does – and be wholeheartedly accepted – could make an album as diverse as this without losing any authenticity.

Categories ,album review, ,Dream-pop, ,electro, ,Germany, ,Indie, ,James Pants, ,Kraftwerk, ,krautrock, ,music, ,shoegaze, ,usa

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Amelia’s Magazine | Singer Songwriter Dustin Tebbutt introduces his debut EP: The Breach

Dustin Tebbutt by Claudine O'Sullivan

Dustin Tebbutt by Claudine O’Sullivan.

From organic beginnings during a stay in Sweden, The Breach by Australian singer songwriter Dustin Tebbutt has gained a momentum all its own, gaining fans on major radio stations along the way. As he prepares to head over to Europe for a string of dates I caught up with him to find out more about the man behind this beguiling four track EP.

Dustin Tebbutt by Hannah Boothman

Dustin Tebbutt by Hannah Boothman.

Why did you decide to relocate to Sweden and in what way did this influence your music making?
The move to Sweden was in part due to a friend of mine that grew up in Stockholm. We’d been playing music together for a few years and he spoken a lot about the music scene, and Scandinavia in general. It sounded like an interesting place! Also, I was ready to travel at that time. I hadn’t been overseas before and for a few years I’d been idealising the northern hemisphere, and the winter there. I’ve always been infatuated with that rugged appeal some places have … Alaska, Canada, The Himalayas… Sweden had that harshness about it too. 

How did you support yourself whilst away?
A combination of making a lot of coffee at a cafe, and eating mostly frozen TV dinners.

Dustin Tebbutt

What did you most miss about your homeland on your adventures abroad?
There weren’t any ‘Aussie comforts‘ I really missed. Each country has its own version of Vegemite I guess, so I was more focused on finding and enjoying the things that make Sweden unique while I was there. But there’s always going to be a few people you have to leave behind. That was the hardest thing. Especially when your not sure if/when you’ll be coming back. I think the music reflects this aspect of the journey, and how it affected me. 

White Lines

Who were your most formative musical influences growing up?
I used to listen to my Dad belting out Stevie Ray Vaughan licks when he’d play… and I loved this classical guitarist called Slava Grigoryan. Other than that, a fair bit of the Verve, Jeff Buckley and Radiohead

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What was the process of creation with this EP, and what were the easiest and hardest parts?
The process for this E.P. was really cyclical, in that I would move between individual elements in a song and rework them, over and over again. I did this to the point where one part that was once the foundational element, for example; the drums, became buried, or changed to just function as a highlight or secondary texture. In this sense, the tracks and their focus, are always shifting. It’s a really nice way to create… a real journey. The hardest part then though, is where do you stop? 

Where I Find You

How did you make the video for Where I Find You?
I shot that video in one pass, at home, using a combination of found footage, a computer monitor and a large block of ice. 

The Breach

What do the chalkboard drawings on The Breach video mean?
That’s really up to whoever is watching them unfold I think ;)

Where are you living now and why?
I’ve recently moved to Sydney, theres a great space here for me to work from and we get to see some amazing thunderstorms. 

What can we expect from Dustin Tebbutt in 2014?
I’ll be coming over to the UK at the end of Feb for a couple of things, and right now I’m just working on some new songs. So hopefully they’ll be out and about before too long!

The Breach EP by Dustin Tebbutt is out now. Catch Dustin Tebbutt in the UK at Servant Jazz Quarters on Tuesday 25th Feb, before he heads on over Tivoli Spiegelbar in Utrecht (Netherlands) on Saturday 1st March for a night with Marble Sounds and Mutual Benefit.

Categories ,Australian, ,Claudine O’Sullivan, ,Dustin Tebbutt, ,ep, ,Hannah Boothman, ,interview, ,Jeff Buckley, ,Marble Sounds, ,Mutual Benefit, ,radiohead, ,scandinavia, ,Servant Jazz Quarters, ,Slava Grigoryan, ,Stevie Ray Vaughan, ,sweden, ,sydney, ,The Breach, ,Tivoli Spiegelbar, ,Verve, ,Where I Find You, ,White Lines

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Amelia’s Magazine | M83 are the band for me!

Amongst a sea of nodding heads I can barely tread water enough to get a glimpse of tonight’s support man Ulrich Schnauss. All the way from the banks of the Spree; Schnauss is quite a regular on this side of the channel and particularly Manchester. Being sometime keyboardist for local favourite troubadours Long;View (or however they prefer to be punctuated). His coming over always creates a buzz and hence this sea of bodies amongst which I need to gasp for air.

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Ulrich Schnauss in action

Alongside the sometime melancholic, cheapest adiposity sometime ebullient sound-scaping he produces is a projection that seems to depict the exact thoughts and visions created by the music. It’s as if the projector was directly plugged into my imagination and transmitting them live as they appear. Images range from sunsets on beaches, information pills flora, fauna and fairgrounds. All a little clichéd you may think but perfectly apt for the far from clichéd ethereal sound Ulrich emits. This link between the image and sound makes it very difficult to extricate yourself from either and irksomely difficult to invent any images of your own.

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With M83 however my mind becomes satiated with strange and vivid imagery all coming from a magical blue box set in the middle of the stage emitting light, watts and ohms throughout the entirety of the Deaf Institute. Taking a certain quality of softly spoken vocal over loud reverbed guitar from shoegaze giants My Bloody Valentine and Ride, they create an all new form of dance music that sets it apart and creates an Ibiza club night atmosphere but with an air of Krautrock cool; let’s call it Neu! Disco. The crowd are euphoric, swaying, dancing and gyrating to an infectious beat, from the drum kit placed behind a perspex cabin, as I bob up and down, straggling to grab hold of a lifebuoy. Boy, it’s enough to blow your socks off, something front man Anthony Gonzalez would attest to (he plays barefooted, just to clarify).

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M83

M83 are currently preparing to embark on a huge tour of Europe with Depeche Mode, if you’re on dry land and have the opportunity to jump aboard then get to it captain, batten down the hatches and hold on to your socks.

All photos and lovely illustrations courtesy of Simon Edgar Lord.

Categories ,Deaf Institute, ,Live, ,Manchester, ,Review, ,Shoe-gaze

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Amelia’s Magazine | ‘Lights Out’ – Santogold

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My love for baile funk runs deep. I know it has had an awful lot of coverage in the past few years, more about generic and it only really fell out of the limelight earlier this year – but there’s something about the simplicity of the production, and the feisty vocals that just makes it fantastic club music.

So, arriving in time to see a DJ set, from the guy out of support act Gameboy/Gamegirl, was a bit of treat. I’m not a fan of their own work (bit too Super Super for my taste), but the crowd may have even gone wild for his selections, if it hadn’t of been about boiling point in the packed venue.

As they made their way on stage, I was shocked at how easily i had managed to get right at the front – something I very rarely opt for, usually preferring to stay right at the back (near the bar, with more space). I didn’t last long though, about 4 songs in I thought I was actually going to melt like a witch and the couple next to me seemed to be getting annoyed at me for having a bag that was getting in the way of their dancing, so I ungracefully weaved my way to the back.

Alongside their own releases, they threw in some real classics – much to the delight of the bulging crowd. The reaction to the snippets of ‘Robot Rock’ by daft punk was almost frightening, with sweat now literally dripping off the walls. Another highlight was ‘Summer Nights’ being mixed into ‘Push It’ by Salt-N-Pepa. The risk of the whole thing becoming naff was overshadowed by the fun factor of it all, with so many smiling faces it’s hard to fault them for a little bit of cheesiness.

The opening bars of ‘Solta O Frango’ was greeted by some debaucherous dancing from pretty much everyone within spitting distance of the stage. Not surprisingly really considering the sassy behavior of the two female MCs in the group. Leaping around the stage, throwing water around and making lude gestures with inflatable palm trees it was like they were at Corey Worthington Delaney’s house party.

This frenzy was then whipped into something else by the snippet of ‘I Just Can’t Get Enough’ by Depeche Mode that signaled the end of their set. I can’t honestly say I’ve never heard a bigger groan of disappointment when a band leaves a stage.

Bonde Do Role are perhaps responsible for carrying the torch of their genre after the world music ambassadors Diplo and M.I.A helped introduce baile to the world. They’ve made the genre more accessible to the masses, often (in my opinion) showing themselves to be a far more impressive outfit than the ‘nu rave’ bands they were grouped alongside.

Setting our watches to the Climate Caravan agenda, cheap Amelia and I heard of an event at Liverpool Street Station. Detailing the event on exciting yellow flyers as “Climate and Capitalism, more about ” we thought we’d roll down after a delightful spread of cous cous and see what these dedicated folks were up to. The meeting point, 3.30pm outside the Bishopsgate exit, we stood at attention with our eyes peeled for some dread locked cyclists.

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As time ticked by, we began to wonder if the crew had been held up in the hectic roads packed out with numerous buses and cars beeping for their bid at cramming through the tight city roads. With our ears flapping, we began to chat to other eager beavers hanging around. Spotting a few scruffy troops, we followed their footsteps and found ourselves stopping at The Royal Bank of Scotland. Joining in the chit chat, we circled round the bunch at the front of the unsightly glass structure listening to news of the current events. Eavesdropping while Amelia chatted to the activists she knew, I heard words of penguins, umbrellas and suits…

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Mel from Platform filling in the group with fellow suited activist… oh and me (lovely flattering shot, thanks Amelia!)

Cue the arrival of activist Mel of climate change experts Platform, clutching onto bags of pennies. Crowding round her, she announced she and her fellow suited and booted associate had acquired these pennies from RBS as a statement about carbon emissions. I must admit now, I may well be manning the earth section, but these Climate Caravan events have been a huge learning curve for me. As Amelia bids farewell to continue her schedule I bite the bullet and ask the dreaded question (quietly to the friendliest looking one), “why RBS?”

It is happily revealed to me that RBS are the UK’s largest financial drivers of climate change. Publicly marketing themselves as “the oil and gas bank,” RBS are in fact one of the world’s largest funders of oil and gas extraction. These fossil fuels investments they are making will trap us into emissions for decades, a low carbon economy will thus become impossible.

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The coins jamming the revolving doors

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Meanwhile Mel (above) and Olly (below) provided us with some light entertainment with a bike powered sound system and clarinet

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Causing quite a stir outside the RBS

Ah ha. I can see clearly why these these bags of coins are being thrown into the set of three revolving doors causing them to jam. As I dart around the guys, eagerly snapping the action I digest this in my mind. The camera goes back in my pocket. I don’t need 10 different angles of the activists, there are real photographers here for that. Gawping a little while at the security stuck in the bank, it occurs to me i quite like all this freedom of speech stuff (I have always been slightly bitter that my parents lived the 60′s, may be more for Woodstock and psychedelia). So as the guys start using the remainder of the coins to spell out slogans “dirty oil money” and “oil bank” I find myself kneeling with them, gathering the pennies and making my statement. Admittedly, my input was more of a continuation of a swirly line (it was supposed to represent the oil) which framed the slogans.

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After ten minutes (not too efficient guys) the security decided to join in the coin play

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The Climate Caravan crew didn’t stop there, eagerly using the confascated coins to re express their sentiments

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The security dealing professionally with the issue shortly before the cops arrived

Just as I was plucking up the courage to use words over images (I’ve just finished an Illustration degree so typography is a little scary to me) activist Penny announced the police were on their way and we had better move along. As cleaners gathered round the doors sweeping up the coins, kicking away our masterpiece the activists gathered the coins and headed to a local pub for a celebratory drink (phew these guys may all be dedicated vegans, but they do like a tipple).

With a slightly brisk step in my walk so as not to get caught up with the law, hurried back to our headquarters and blurted to Amelia and my fellow interns what I had seen. Still curious about why I had heard speak of penguins earlier, Amelia mentioned we had missed a large parade on London Bridge involving fancy dressed homeless penguins and polar bears to make a statement about the causes of global warming. What will they do next time?! (find out and COME TO CLIMATE CAMP!!)

After an exhausting day in the life of Antartic creatures, the crew made tracks to Hackney City Farm where Amelia headed down to join in the celebrations of securing the site in Kingsworth.

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If I was between 5 and 10 years old I would have had the time of my life at Camp Bestival, more about and I guess that was the point. The child in me was well jealous that there was no Camp Bestival around when I was a wee nipper – but then there was no way my parents would ever have taken me to such a debauched affair with no obvious cultural import so I might as well end the dream right there. And of course to enjoy Camp Bestival as a child you have to come with some adults; in all likelihood your parents.

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Castle family fun

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Kids Games

This meant that the festival was jammed to the pink lit Disney towers of Lulworth Castle (it looked so unreal!) with yummy mummies and trendy dads, most of whom were my age or only a little older. Oh how I have fallen out of my social norm! Nothing brings it home like going away with all your offspring-blessed peers to a festival catering to just such families. However I didn’t begrudge it – I actually really enjoyed the presence of the younger age group – it gave the place a light air… and my mates in their early twenties may have been somewhat bemused by the demographic (didn’t they read the site?!) but I think it is safe to say that for a virgin festival just finding its feet, a good time was had by all.

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The Incredible Hulks

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Kids watching binocular football

I travelled down on Thursday evening with my friends and their 2 year old, who got the weekend off to a flying start (literally) by projectile vomitting in spectacular fashion just, and I mean just, as we pulled up to the gates. And there was me wondering why I was singing Old Macdonald to myself… still it was a suitably dramatic way to enter the grounds, where we immediately met the rest of the band. It seemed so quiet, I could hardly believe that it could fill out, and indeed our graveyard slot on Friday morning was played to an empty field in the Kids’ area. Having said that I enjoyed very much watching the Insect Circus on my own, and we were loving lounging about on the soft grassy manicured lawns of Lulworth. It was like stroking velvet! But my, what a treat to share the same stage with thecocknbullkid, who did a grand job of playing to a crowd of well, me, dancing on my own. I loved her single On My Own Again, and it was great to see her showcase some of her other tunes. I’m really not sure what the ridiculous name is for, because it doesn’t really describe the sound of Anita’s look or music, which is all 80s synths meets 50s doowap dance moves: she was wearing a very nice frock indeed and swinging her tush for all it was worth given the distinctly slim audience. I particularly like the track I’m Not Sorry. Expect big things from this lady’s debut album.

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Friday – not really rocking it yet

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The Insect Circus

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thecocknbullkid

I later caught a bit of Kitty Daisy and Lewis who were of course on the mainstage, being part of the Sunday Best label. Looking glamourous as ever…. another youthhood I can aspire to have lived, playing in a band with my cool parents. George Pringle also played – how disappointing. I put her in the mag a few issues back on the strength of a single but had never seen her live before, but she was dull dull dull.

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Kitty Daisy and Lewis

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George Pringle

By Friday evening the post work crowds were descending in force and the place was thick with buggies, and a sedate but relaxed atmosphere pervaded the air. Electing to hang out at our campfire we had a drunken night as our posse, both Cutashine and Lost and Found, was about 50 members strong. Lost and Found
have pioneered festival madness at Bestival and Secret Garden Party for several years now – oft imitated but never matched for the sheer ridiculousness of their ideas, they did not disappoint. For Camp Bestival they donned specially-made Blue Coats and coralled the children into activities that could have seemed really quite wrong in any other context. A dog show featured an obstacle course where a willing parent could steer their dog (child) through hoops and over fences, whilst wearing a leash. Needless to say the kids absolutely loved it! A fox hunt had the Lost and Found crew careening all over the festival after a pair of particularly determined young lads made off with said fox. Never underestimate the competitiveness of small boys! A sock fight between children ended in tears but drew a large crowd of (possibly) sadistic adults. I learnt the joy of hulahooping and my mate Kat got so hooked that she bruised her ribs. Oddly, Hularama
appeared to be run by a posse of tubby men…. nothing like shaking up the old stereotypes!

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The specially-made Blue Coats

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Bluecoats dog show

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The fox hunt

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Hulahooping

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The dog show

The festival was full of make and do tents, from the cute little mushroom haven of Bobby Dazzles, where they were teaching how to make your own animal out of odds and ends, to the Knitting tent, full of cute young girls and their mums (and dads) busy knitting up a storm. We even found a lad on the Bestival staff featuring a specially made Bestival handknit. Granny would be proud (well, not mine, they don’t knit, but you know what I mean) There was also an enchanting woodland which led to a little farm that seemed to specialise in ducks and llamas. I was particularly taken by the Indian Runner ducks, who seem strangely upright compared with ours!

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The Bobby Dazzles

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The knitting tent

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Knitted jumpers

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The Indian Runner Ducks

Cutashine had another gig on Friday night, unfortunately this time up against headliner Chuck Berry – needless to say we didn’t stand a chance, although a crowd of youngsters seemed to enjoy it – not our usual audience for sure and I think the band struggled a tad to get any kind of vibe going.

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Cutashine attempt to av it

On Saturday Lost and Found held a Mad Hatters Tea Party – the theme of the fancy dress for the day being said concept. A huge table was laid out with fine china and flowers, and it all culminated in the Lost and Found Alice standing on the table and calling all the Alices of the festival to come and join her – amongst all the cuter little Alices there was perhaps inevitably a particularly fetching larger male.

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Mad Hatters tea party

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Alices table

What I found most mind-boggling about the festival was the fact that there was such a large area given over to Boutique Camping – who pays for this?! It was a mystery to us all, especially when we heard a rumour that to stay in a tipi or dog house or beach hut or double decker bus or yurt or any number of crazy options (each with their own regimented area) cost as much as £500. I can only imagine the kind of money floating about at Bestival if this was true…. as I said, mind boggling. But then a very beautiful programme which I would love to have had cost £7 – illustrated by our very own super talented Jess Wilson (who did a picture for me in issue 6) and Josie Da Bank, it was a work of art I just couldn’t afford…. so as usual I was oblivious to the line-up for much of the weekend.

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The Boutique Camping

Instead I had my first go at Singstar in a special booth with my mate and a seven year old, who instantly got in a grump because she felt upstaged – I was asked to come back for the grand finale on stage that night, so we did a duet of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper. My favourite part being watching a gaggle of young teens singing along and then doing the conga….. fab!

The Flaming Lips headlined on Saturday night, to a crowd by now mostly in the fancy dress that Bestival is famed for and in a real party mood – the theatrics went down a treat and they declared the festival their favourite one ever no less! For the evening a whole bunch of my mates decided to paint themselves silver and gold. The idea had been to go almost nude, but most of them were not prepared with gold bikinis and covered up for most of the night, leaving them with strange alien faces. However, a few did end up with their boobs out, and were told on no uncertain terms to cover up or get chucked out of the festival once Folkaoke – karoake to a folk backing band – took to the stage. It seems there are limits to debauchery at a kids’ festival, but surely this was a step too far when it was night time! I, having been sacked from the band (I was a backing singer) was asked to be page-turner. Oh the humiliation. Unfortunately things were running very late and after only a few songs, and just as we were getting into the swing of things, we were booted off stage. With adrenalin riding high it was decided to shack up at the Boutique Camping campfire, where Folkaoke managed to engage a few hundred people in a mass singalong. Overheard was that phrase that every performer lives to hear “that was the best thing I’ve seen at this festival yet.” Hurrah! Even if I am not in the band!

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Folkaoke!

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Folkaoke Stone Roses

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The gold singers

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A Gold Girl

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Molly silver

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Campsie Folkaoke singalong

Early on Sunday morning it was up and onwards to Lovebox… the festival scene is now in full flow!

Monday 4th August
Idea Generation Gallery, page ‘Robert Altman’s Photography from the ‘60s’: 16th July- 29th August
11 Chance St, London E2 7JB
Take a trip down memory lane to the 60s where naked love-ins and anti-war sit ins rule. Altman captures the psychedelic 60s as well as taking some shots of the Rolling Stones.

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Madder139 Gallery, ‘Paul Chiappe‘: 10th July- 9th August
137-139 Whitecross Street, London EC1Y 8JL
Chiappe questions the illusion between subject and object in a series of hyperrealist drawings. Taking images from the traditional school photo, books and vintage postcards, Chiappe then recreates the images with pencil drawings to blur and smudge the plots and characters. This emphasises the transitory and fragile nature of memory.

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Tuesday 5th August
The Art Vinyl Gallery Shop, ‘The Art of Fac51-The Hacienda’: 31st July-27th August
13 Broadway Market, E8 4PH
Peter Hook from New Order and Joy Division curates the Art Vinyl Gallery with some classic designs from the Factory Record Vaults.

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Artprojx, ‘Automamusic’: Aura Satz: 9th July-16th August
Artprokx at Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London WC2H 1LB
A film about mechanical music investigating intricate view of self playing violins, accordions, drums and pianolas offset by scenes in which floating musical instruments are played by invisible hands. This highlights the similarities between the beginnings of musical reproduction in the 19th century and spiritualist invocations of the dead, through sound.

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Wednesday 6th August
South London Gallery, ‘Games and Theory’: Jakob Kolding, Nils Norman, Lottie Child etc
65 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UH
International artists who share interests in play, sports and gaming invite viewers to become active participants in the exhibition and climb, crawl and experience the gallery in new ways. The show explores Situationalist ideologies and the radical potential of play as a form of resistance and expression of freedom.

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Thursday 7th August
Sartorial Contemporary Art, ‘4X4′: Chris Tosic
101A Kensington Church St, London W8 7LN
Four Artists are given a four day show each week in august. Each artist has been given free reign of the gallery and a prominent journalist or critic has been asked to write 444 words about them. Tosic’s pieces focus on collage, typography and collage.

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Friday 8th August
Nottinghill Artsclub, ‘Gin & curiosities’: Robert Rubbish: 4th July-5th September
21 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3JQ
Robert Rubbish of Le Gun magazine (he is co-editor) keenly celebrates old-fashioned eccentric ways and places in a body of work that brings together his interests in: curiosity and joke shops, facial hair, Victorian Punk revivalism and Gin. A mish-mash of paintings, drawings, posters and typography inspired by glitter and 70s cosmic rock band hawkwind is presented for your viewing pleasure.

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Hackney, ‘hackney wicked’: decima gallery, Elevator Gallery, Mother Studios, The Residence, Schwartz Gallery: 8-10th August
Hackney Wicked is Hackney Wick’s first major art festival celebrating contemporary art with open studio and galleries showcasing the best fresh new talent.

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Saturday 9th August
Viewfinder photography Gallery, ‘Nearly Nothing’: Mark Bellingham, Gerd Hasler, Kelly Hill and others:12 July-17 August
Linear House, Peyton Place (off Royal hill) London SE10 8RS
A photography group exhibition exploring the aesthetics of ambiguity. Images are often poetic and allusive.

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Sunday 10th August
Spacex Gallery, ‘International Film Programmes’: curated by Negar Azimi: 26th July-20th September
45 Preston Street, Exeter EX1 1DF
Presenting films by international artists. The programme includes screenings curated by Negar Azimi for www.tank.tv titled ‘She doesn’t think so but she’s dressed for the h-bmb’. Other short videos are by Siad Antar, Yael bartana, Haris Epaninonda and others. Also featured is ‘Sop. Watch‘ concerned with ecological emergencies. Artists Jordan Baseman, Phil Coy, Manu Luksch et al aim to inform and engage.

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I am quite the sucker for nostalgia so when I saw the Victoria and Albert Museum was putting on a village fete; I jumped at the chance to attend. Judging by the amount of people there on Friday night as part of the Lates series, more about I am not the only one who has a pair of rose tinted spectacles firmly in place when it comes to the past. Decked out with balloons and bunting the garden of the V&A looked like something the WI would be proud of, cheapest but the stalls on offer had a more modern twist to the usual rusty tombolas and coconut shy.

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Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

Wandering around the myriad of stalls I didn’t know where to start, there was fetebook, bringing social networking back into the real world, Mugshot, the chance to decorate a mug then hurl it at a mug tree (delightful for pent up rage). Also catching my eye were Adapt React‘s beard tent, which involved cramming as many trickets onto your beard as possible, not your actual beard but a hand made version thus avoiding a look pioneered by Mr. Twit. The lauded canvas bag was given an update at Here’s One I Made Earlier, a pic-a-mix selection of patches and buttons awaited pasting onto said bag. I saw one girl showcasing her adorable puffa fish patches. Over at ico designs you could flap your arms to race a chicken to the finishing line and I am assured no actual chickens were harmed in the process.

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Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

I spotted a rather manly bloke dragging up, even declining the offer of red lipstick he still made a fetchingly sophisticated lady, for his turn in front of the camera over at Pose Me a Postcard by Fred and Teo. Chuckling, we joined the small queue awaiting our chance for a dress up. I subtly hinted my appreciation of the cat drinking tea picture and lo behold I ‘randomly’ drew it from the various pictures on offer. I then had 20 secs to set up and recreate my picture before I was snapped for my postcard. Twenty minutes later we returned to find technological wizardry had transformed ourselves into picture postcards.

The fun continued with a caring attitude and guess work at Garudio Studiage’s stall. The R.S.P.C.A. make it clear that people should be nice to animals and Garudio Studiage seemed to agree. Taking the responsibility out of pet owning they came up with a fantastic idea to substitute a furry friend. Flat pets! Won in a game of chance by picking three matching animals from behind the doors of a host of hutches you could walk away with your cardboard bunny, kitten or puppy (ok maybe not the furriest of friends, but there would defiantly be no cleaning up after this little Rover)

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A fete go-er feels hungry
Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

Feeling a bit peckish I wandered over to Fever Zine‘s stall where they were serving up delicious illustration card sandwiches. Complete with brown paper bags! Ink stamped bugs infected the lettuce, a Caticorn on the cheese (my favourite), a wonderful Octopus teapot on the ham and finishing with a garnish of tomato, stamped with the head of a tyrannical leader. I always like my food to come with a slice of politics. With such a great concept Fever Zine highlighted why it has received so much attention in a sea of zines. However, snacking on cardboard just doesn’t quite cut it. So I headed over to the food tent and was rather pleased to see the fete theme had influenced the culinary delights on offer. Small quiches, a variety of homemade worthy cakes, jugs of Pimms and beers served in brown paper bags all added to the festivities.

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Caticorn Tattoo
Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

Spotting a familiar looking moustache I weaved on over to check out the Prick Your Finger tenet. For the current issue the girls of Prick Your Finger created a pattern for a crochet moustache (hence the deja vu). Bedecked in their woolly facial hair they hosted a silhouette portrait tent, with the choice of being drawn little or large. The lazer cut wizard Rob Ryan had made scratch cards from one of his whimsical papercuts, for a chance to scratch your way to a limited edition print. Pitted against the clock and the familiar countdown theme tune, I gleefully revelled in the competition. The leader board showed who was top of the scratching pops and for a few glorious circulations of the garden, between us we held the top three spots.

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Scratching at Rob Ryan’s stall

Over at the lovely Lady Luck Rules Ok stand, Punch and Judy would have been suitably pleased with puppet inspired staging. Offering personalised bespoke jewellery, they had taken the fete theme to heart. Rockabilly tattoo themed necklaces and brooches jostled for attention. But my eyes were drawn to the rosette themed jewellery. For those not lucky enough to honoured best in show, you could buy your own pin or necklace, in either girlish gingham or sunny stripes (I opted for ravishing red gingham).

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Pretend puppetry at Lady Luck
Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

Then came the moment I had been waiting for: heli-oke! It pretty much is what it sounds like. Karaoke twinned with helium, resulting in more hilarious embarrassment then when the vicar judges the phallic shaped vegetables. I’m not usually the sort of person who volunteers for public attention, but I caught the karaoke bug when I was in Japan and since then it’s been one big sing-along me (well not all the time). Despite the previous practices, our rendition of Madonna’s ‘Into The Groove’ was officially rejected by the discerning judges. But we did walk away with our once helium filled balloons to treasure forever. Feeling light-headed I moved on.

Perhaps this light-headedness was why I failed to loop the rings on the giant sized gloved hands at the Tatty Devine stall. Having lusted after anything Tatty Devine related for quite some time I really wanted to get my average sized hands on the moustache rings up for grabs. I overheard one women proudly stating she had spent £14 in pursuit of a ring (that was 21 throws, how could she not fail?!).

Finally as the evening was drawing to a close, we made for the undying queue at the tombola stand. With prizes on offer from Tom Dixon, Eley Kishimoto, Fortnun and Mason and B Store this most definitely wasn’t any old rusty tombolo. With the glittering booty displayed the Scarlet Projects tombola had attracted a steady stream of people all evening. Feeling lucky I reached in. But luck had other ideas and I failed to win the lusted after goodies but that blow was sweetened with a lollypop for my journey home.

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Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

With so many stalls and all of them such fun, next year I will be bringing a whole pouchful of pound coins to try out all the stalls on offer. As a testament to how successful the Lates series has and continues to be, my only complaint, I couldn’t find the Bauhaus ball pit. The effort gone into last Friday’s event really paid off with fete-ing good fun had by all!

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Heartbreak without a doubt put on a show. Singer Sebastian Muravchix gyrates his hips, thumb moon-slides (a hybrid of moon-walking and sliding, thumb yes I did just make that up), more about points, postures and poses all over the stage. In fact it in some places in descends into something a bit like Dad dancing, but he most definitely pulls it off. He is a little reminiscent of Har Mar Superstar, but with less sleaze. In contrast Ali Renault demurely plays his keyboard at the back. With such an energetic performance by Muravchix the crowd responded in the only way possible; dancing!

Heartbreak play such a catchy blend of Italian disco, it is hardly surprising they get this response when performing. Previously I saw them at Stag and Dagger and that show was just as impressive. As live performances go, they are pretty much like Christmas, in all its (cheesy) glee. And finishing with ‘We’re Back’, the song everybody loves, the crowd understandable danced that little bit more extravagantly.

Whilst researching a new label founded by two LA socialites Lauren Alexander and April Leight, dosage appropriately called LnA, I started thinking about the ever fading line separating men’s and women’s clothes. The pair’s debut ‘Boyfriend Tee Collection’, launched in Spring/Summer 2007, is described on their website as “a colourful, flattering and wearable take on the men’s under tee” and is made up of lots of different designs of plain, basic tees, all 100% cotton and all comfortable.?

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I’m kind of missing the link between their masculine inspiration and the final product. Correct me if I’m wrong, but these look like plain women’s Tees to me. What’s so special about these designs? Upon reading of the website I discovered; “The duo’s designs are wholly inspired by their lifestyles, sharing an affinity for wearing their boyfriend’s Tees out to LA’s hotspots.” Surely more inspiration can be found living in sunny LA, surrounded by movie star history and going to all those crazy ‘hotspots’?
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As well as a love for wearing boyfriend tees, the website says that the partners originally bonded over their fashion backgrounds. High fashion aspirations might explain the high prices, but the less than high fashion designs lead me to wonder whether their ‘fashion backgrounds’ amount to much more than that they both love a good shopping sesh. Then again, maybe I’ve been too harsh. I mean, these t-shirts do come in at least FIVE different colours. ? ? ?

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As can be expected, the celebrity following of the brand is huge. Nicole Richie, Rachel Bilson, Paris Hilton – they’re all wearing it. Lauren Alexander and April Leight evidently have some good contacts. This celebrity interest has no doubt affected the popularity of the brand (as these things do.) One review I found was from a massive fan of the ‘Deep V T-shirt’ (all the items are named after their cut – another injection of creativity from LnA) as seen on Mary-Kate Olsen. The fan boasts having the garment in seven different colours. I worked this out and, if my calculations are correct, she spent $392 (that’s around £196) on seven plain T-shirts. Either the tops are lined with gold or that’s one major Olsen fan.

In case you didn’t pick up on it, I’m not much of a fan. LnA ask for a lot of money for something so simple (which they claim to be the product of an individual idea). Yes, ok, they are 100% cotton, but you would think that for $50 you would be, I don’t know, helping the environment or half the cost would be donated to charity? Unfortunately no, you’re not. Although I’m all for basic, classically cut clothes with no prints or fancy bits, the way in which they seem to claim the ownership of the popular T-shirt design annoys me. Because of this I can’t get the idea of money grabbing attachment to this brand out of my mind.

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The live musical spectacles that you should try and attend this week.

Monday 4th August

Das Pop – Durr at The End, no rx London

With their debut album being produced by the brothers from Soulwax, and acclaim from just about everyone Das Pop deserve your listening time.

Peggy Sue And The Pirates – Pure Groove Records, London
The Mae Shi and Dananananaykroyd – The Old Blue Last, London
Reverend Horton Heat – Carling Academy, Glasgow

Tuesday 5th August

CutashineClimate Camp, Kingsnorth Kent

Come down to Climate Camp and see Amelia’s band, as well as learn lots and lots about climate change and how we can stop it.

Nisennenmondai – Bardens Boudoir, London
Bombay Bicycle Club – Pure Groove Records, London

Wednesday 6th August

Jack Cheshire, Mumford and Sons and Josephine Oniyama – Folkadot at Green Note, London
Drive-By Truckers – Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
Lawrence Arabia, Planet Earth and Dash Delete – The Lock Tavern, London
Reverend Horton Heat, Nashville Pussy and Vince Ray and The Boneshakers – Astoria, London

Thursday 7th August

Gig of the week

Zombie Zombie, Sportsday Megaphone and Night Visions – Pure Groove Live at The Macbeth, London

As Pure Groove’s night at The Macbeth goes weekly, I can’t hlp but wonder how long they’ll manage to get line-ups like this. Hopefully forever, as this looks mighty tempting.

Chrome Hoof, Diagonal and Invasion – Dingwalls, London
The Maccabees – Junction, Cambridge
Lawrence Arabia – North London Tavern, London
Magistrates and Esser – Proud Galleries, London
Mr Hudson And The Library, thecocknbullkid and Miss Odd Kidd – The Wonky Pop Club at Cargo, London
Those Dancing Days, Bombay Bicycle Club and The I Hearts – New Slang at McClusky’s, London
White Williams and Personality Crisis – The Lock Tavern, London

Friday 8th August

Slow Club, Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts and Tim Clare – Duke of Uke Salon at The Whitechapel Gallery, London

Make sure you get there early, apparently the last Duke of Uke Salon was rammed – and I can see why. Slow Club especially promise to be a real treat.

Bearsuit, Hotpants Romance and The Winter Club – Twee As Fuck at Buffalo Bar, London
Errors – Summer Sundae, Leicester

Saturday 9th August

Field DayBeyond The Wizards Sleeve, Foals, Howling Bells, Laura Marling, Les Savy Fav, Mystery Jets, Wild Beasts and so many more – Victoria Park, London

For me, this line-up is yet to be challenged by any other festival this year.

The Wave Pictures – Concorde 2, Brighton
The Rascals and Televised Crimewave – Push at Astoria 2, London

Sunday 10th August

King Creosote and Sportsday Megaphone – The Lock Tavern, London
I think almost every girl I know has tried making their own jewellery at some stage in their life. Whilst I never got much further than a fabulously sticky liquorice all-sort necklace, buy more about Melissa Leon has gone on to open her own jewellery design studio in London. I went along to the launch on Saturday, where we were treated to a sneaky peak at some of Melissa’s latest designs. Working with materials like Venetian glass, freshwater pearls and rose quartz, her pieces are full of colour and individuality. The jellybean inspired ‘candy cuff’ and necklaces are the kind of fresh and youthful creations that are bound to make Melissa’s pieces stand out from other jewellery collections.

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Rose Quartz and polymer clay bracelet and earring set

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Venetian glass and semi-precious stones

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Venetian glass and semi-precious stones

I arrived at the studio to find everything running fashionably late. A small runway show was soon underway allowing us to sit back and nibble down on the cakes provided, feeling that usual pang of guilt that you always experience when you eat in the presence of models. Seeing the necklaces in the flesh highlighted just how much the big statement pieces could transform an outfit, making them a great investment for updating your whole wardrobe.

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Melissa is keen to share her design skills with all wannabe jewellery makers and is running workshops throughout August and September this year. Participants will not only learn basic jewellery making techniques, but will get the opportunity to create their own set of earrings and bracelet. She’ll also be holding a special Black History Month exhibition at her studio in October. You can sign up for her courses online. I’m even thinking of reviving my own jewellery making efforts -edible accessories anyone?

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If your walls at home are looking a little bare and you have some (a lot) of extra cash to spare, case then head down to the HOST Gallery to buy some art where the first annual FOTO8 Awards and Summer Show is going on until August 31. The exhibition is filled with the best reportage, physician portraiture and landscape photography shot by established and emerging artists. What makes this show unique is that all the prints are for sale, so if you desire, the art can come home with you.

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A total of 1,800 images were submitted, and after being narrowed down by a panel of judges, 170 were chosen. I enjoyed the collection, however, I’m not sure these are the types of photographs I would have hanging in my living room. I was looking for brighter and more cheerful work. The images were similar to what I would see on the pages of PDN magazine, but not necessarily in a home decorating catalogue. Yet, maybe this is the appeal of it all. I absolutely loved the photograph shown below, taken by Aleksander Bochenek, called 4am on Las Ramblas, Barcelona, 2007. I think the eye contact and facial expressions are great, but personally, can’t imagine paying 700 quid to look at it everyday. If you are willing to pay the price, you get a 20″x30″ framed Giclee print(edition 1/20).

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One photograph that caught my eye as a good buy was of this woman on the beach, shot by Claudia WIens. This 20″x30″ color print runs at 500 quid.

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Whether your intentions are to purchase work or not, it is well worth the trip just to view the show. You can also vote at the gallery for your favorite shot. The photographer with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award. The exhibition is going on until August 31.

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Bethnal Green’s friendly local yarn shop, here ‘Prick Your Finger’, doctor is a cosy, more about homely establishment. Owned by Rachael Matthews (the co-founder of Cast Off knitting club) and Louise Harries (textile artist and Amelia’s Magazine issue 9 contributor), this little shop wouldn’t usually seem capable of hosting a rip roaring pom pom party. And yet, last Friday, Prick Your Finger did just that, and was packed to the woolly rafters with pom pom party animals looking to reconcile their differences through the medium of wool.

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Pom Pom International is the brain child of the American born, honourary Brit, Amy Lamé. Not content with only juggling radio and television presenting with being a model, comedian and club promoter, Lamé decided it was high time she started getting crafty in order to save the world.

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“I’ve been making pom poms at Duckie for about two years now” Lamé tells me, referring to her long running, alternative gay and lesbian club night. “I felt like; Oh my gosh, this is just such a brilliant ice breaker! It’s a really great stress buster and it really gets people to talk to each other.” From this small realisation a more ambitious idea began to -ahem- puffball.

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“I had the idea of using pom pom making as a tool to get people who are in conflict talking to each other.” Lamé explains, her trademark fly-away black-rimmed spectacles twinkling as she proudly scans the pom pom participants busily working away inside the shop. “The idea is that we’re collecting all the pom pom’s together to make the biggest collective pom pom for peace.”

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Pom Pom International has been seen at plenty of arts events, similar to this one at Prick Your Finger, but will soon be taking it’s first foray into solving larger conflicts with a tour of Northern Ireland this month to mark the 10th anniversary of the peace agreement. Lamé doesn’t plan to stop at that, though “My big goal is to take it to places like the Gaza strip or the border between India and Pakistan” she says.

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Although I haven’t really brought any of my own conflicts with me to the party, as the invitation had suggested, I am moved by Lamé’s vision of a wonderful world without conflict and so start preparing my own pom pom contribution. As soon as I start to wind my wool, I am struck by how easily the conversation begins to flow between myself and other pom pom makers.

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I get chatting to some craftivists who had been involved in the making of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, but more from them later. I also managed to ask Louise Harries about the inspiration behind her contribution to Issue 9 (which is proudly displayed within the shop); the crochet patterns for some lovely furry facial hair.

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“I definitely have beard envy,” she confides “Facial hair can signify so many things from authority to rock and roll excesses. Sod handbags as hot accessories beards are were its at!” Harries is resplendent in a full on Father Christmas beard for the party, and I wonder if she wears beards often “I haven’t yet worn one to pop to shops to get milk but after the V&A village fete I got the tube home and realised I still had a large pink curly beard on…..I thought the funny looks were for the sequin jumpsuit!”

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After admissions of facial fuzz fetishes, I am totally sold on the bonding power of pom poms. With my furry ball of woolly wonder done and dusted, the last step is to write a peaceful message to the world on a special Pom Pom International luggage tag. ‘Make the world like a pom pom,’ I write; ‘Warm and fuzzy.’ It’s a small gesture, I know, but standing back I can take in all the other pom poms hanging from the shop’s ceiling, all complete with well wishing notes. Hell, I think, this crazy idea just might work!

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You may recall Dearbhaile and Jocelyn writing about their trip to see the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at The Hayward last month. As they said at the time, information pills this man made reef (partly put together by keen crotheting volunteers using recycled materials) draws attention to the plight of the coral reef that is being destroyed by our disposable lifestyle; ‘Over 50 years plastic trash has accumulated in the North Pacific Ocean and is now a mass that is 4 times the size of England and 30m deep. Consequently, page the coral reef is disappearing at a rate five times faster than the rainforest; each year 3,000 square km is obliterated.’

Whilst making pom poms at Amy Lamé’s Pom Pom International event at ‘Prick Your Finger’, I was lucky enough to bump into some of the volunteers who had put their time and crocheting skills into forming part of the Crochet Reef. Crafty activists Alex Willumsen and Khadija Ibrahim were kind enough to take the time to pause their pom pom making and tell me all about how they got involved in the reef.

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Taking a well earned break from pom pom making are (L>R) Gemma, Khadija and Alex.

“We saw an email going out saying crocheters were needed to contribute to this coral reef,” Alex tells me “So we stepped up to the plate and we attended.”

“We’d never crocheted in our lives either.” Khadija goes on, “So it was a bit of a challenge, but so much fun. It’s very democratic, anyone can go and add to it. You don’t even have to be very good! We felt very welcome.”

“Crochet is a very forgiving craft” Alex says, almost thankfully “The crocheted coral reef has imperfections but, as in nature, things don’t always turn out perfectly”

Khadija agrees; “It does represent nature in a way. I like the word organic to describe the process, it’s very organic the way people just come and add their pieces. It kind of grows.”

Of course, the crocheted reef isn’t just an aesthetic wonder. It’s very existance aims to highlight the fact that litter, dumped by humans without a second thought, is eroding the natural beauty of real reefs. “You had to crochet with recycled material so it was a little bit of a challenge.” Alex says “We used cassette tape which is quite sticky and quite difficult to crochet with. You know what, though, a Waitrose bag makes a lovely pattern. The white and the green looks lovely!”

“We’d never done anything like this.” Khadija admits “We just went to this one workshop and the first piece that we ever made went on display.” “Honestly, that was such a sense of achievement.” Alex beams.

Apparently Chicago is the next place the reef will visit. As we contemplate the organic nature of the reef, a reef that is growing with it’s contributors (“About another 10 people attended on the day we went, but there were several sessions.” Alex tells me) the mind boggles at how large the reef may become as it makes it’s journey across the globe.

“It’s accompanying a professionally made coral reef that’s going on display in the Hayward gallery” Khadija explains. “But,” Alex interjects “the amateur one is actually better!”

We are then joined by Gemma Tucker, a fellow pom pom maker and fledgling crafter (“I once made a whole dress out of crisp packets, if that counts?” she says) and it’s a good opportunity to talk about Pom Pom International. I ask Gemma if she has enjoyed her pom pom making experience;

“It’s a very therapeutic thing to do.” she says, and when I ask her if pom poms might change the world she responds positively; “Definitely!”

“There’s something about doing a craft which makes conversations come to the surface that wouldn’t normally be there,” Alex contemplates “and I think that’s very interesting While your hands are occupied your mind is more free to wander.”

Let’s hope that all these crafty minds can help wander us towards a brighter future!

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The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef can be seen in the Hayward Project Space and Royal Festival Hall Level 2 Foyer until the 17th of August.
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Sweet Fanny Adams are a rock band hailing from Recife, viagra 100mg Brazil. With ‘Fanny, You’re No Fun’ Diego Araújo, Leo Gesteira, Hélder Bezerra and Rafael Borges follow up to their self titled 2007 EP with four new slices of rock and roll. These tracks see the Brazilian boys rattling along noisily in such a way that you can almost see their manly swaggers. This is cock rock that aspires to Stooges status but, whilst the music is not far off, the lyrics leave something to be desired.

Since English is Sweet Fanny Adams’ second language, I know I should really be giving the band a bit of leeway on this, but with first track ‘Hate Song’ I really can’t give an inch. With a very simplistic and clunky bass line (strangely similar to Flight Of The Conchords’ ‘She’s So Hot’), accompanied by minimal guitar strumming, all ears are on the lyrics.

If ‘Hate Song’ is singer Diego Araújo’s one chance at venting some hatred then he hasn’t really grasped the opportunity. ‘From now on I’m just going to unleash all my hatred’ he promises, but never does, instead constantly confirming ‘This is a hate song’ as if this will make up for the distinct lack of bile. At one point Diego barks the lyrics; ‘If this offends you, you are allowed to shout back’ which at once presents an amusing scenario; a ‘rock and roll’ front man (who says he carefully chooses his words just to sound more cruel) politely encouraging his listeners to express their own opinions if he rubs them up the wrong way. This isn’t how Iggy would have done it!

‘Everyday I wake up worse than ever’ Diego goes on to lament in second track ‘Killing Spree’. This is a man talking about losing his mind and sometimes having to break things just to calm down, but the song lacks a vital punch to make these admissions feel like any sort of reality. On this track it feels less like it’s the lyrics that don’t ring true, and more that the track could be saved if only the production was dirtied up a little.

I’m still wondering where the danger is when we get to ‘She Wants To Burn’. To me, this kind of rock and roll should pick you up on a heady, hedonistic rush of youth and carry you to a place where you feel unstoppable and unaccountable. So far, Sweet Fanny Adams’ have given me the impression that they are just naughty boys, rolling out nihilistic cliches, who pose no real threat.

This is how I feel until the last track, ‘C’mon Girl’, comes around. A Kings of Leon style rabble rouser this track is all the things I had been hoping for from the EP’s previous offerings. There is something delightfully fuzzy about the bass, something heart-racing about the driving force combination of guitar and drum beat. Admittedly, there is also something rather out of tune about the singing, but that just adds to the whole rebellious feel. Who cares about a bit of off key vocals if the soul is there? There is even a slowed down snarl that works itself into a frenzy…one of those tricks we love so much. With ‘C’mon Girl’, Sweet Fanny Adam’s prove themselves to be anything but just ‘naughty boys’ and I am prepared to eat all my previous words. There is definitely something really sophisticated coming to the surface here and it excites me.

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With ‘Fanny, You’re No Fun’ Sweet Fanny Adams show that they are a name to watch out for. This EP is worth a listen, not just because of the fantastic ‘C’mon Girl’, but also because this is good music if you like your rock manly, dirty and well made. I anticipate Sweet Fanny Adams to grow and gain in strength, this is only their second EP after all, and I’m sure they have it in them to create bigger and better things. In order to do this it’s not going to be a case of practicing what they preach as such, since sonically Sweet Fanny Adams are gutsy enough to pull off the rock and roll sound. It will be more a case of preaching what they practice; by moving their lyrics and emotions forward to truly convey that anarchic angst that is so essential to this style of music. I will look forward to seeing the outcome of Sweet Fanny Adams’ evolution.
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Three young men of Lets Wrestle are heckling their audience, ampoule bemoaning that Joe Reddinton: their friend, what is ed not-in-the-band, buy band member and subject of their song ‘You’ll Be The Death Of Me’, is for some reason absent. Between all the rowdiness however they do find the time to lay down some seriously touching and simultaneously frenetic punk pop.

Let’s Wrestle are DIY in their quick and easy assemblage of music, ace videos and sleeve ideas – yet this is never poise. This is what contrasts with what’s through the other side of the Bar and Grill where poses are aimed yet fired blunt, bouncing off chrome and brick walls as if saying ‘Hey, I’ve been to Lovebox‘. Look around you and the place crawls with City workers concealing their stench in borrowed knowledge and easily sourced clobber.

Wizz back a bit in the night and the live entertainment begins with Sir Yes Sir who sound like one of your mates bands you go and see and like mainly because you know them. Artefacts For Space Travel are label mates of Let’s Wrestle and I have to confess I was enjoying smoking outside through most of their set. The ending I caught however, and the singer’s voice made an impressive bellow. I’m not sure I understood it but then I take that on the chin for my ignorance in absence.

The Erotic Chuntney of Wet Paint are like a big soppy, drueling loveable retriever that you put up with jumping up and licking you because they seem so affectionate and nice, yet you’re kind of pissed off they’ve ruined your trousers. Melodic and warmly familiar, as if waking from a prolonged ’90s flashback where the smartest girl in class has Dinosaur Jnr tip-exed on her canvas bag.

Back to Let’s Wrestle. More a reference to David Shrigley than a love of fat men in pants. Maybe they’re a gang, whatever; they’re so tuned into each other that the audience heckling and shambolic nature feel like they’ve invited you round their house for tea. Amiable hosts who know how to hit that point of off-key vocal that luxuriously creams the ears.
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There is indeed no bag or case uglier than a standard laptop case. Dixons, approved PC World, visit this site Staples and dare I say Apple are all guilty of stocking such offensive articles. These black, faux leather (if your lucky) silver zipped, logo plastered objects are capable of giving anyone with taste a headache. Okay, so they are fairly essential to transport your fine tool, yet in refusing to use such an eyesore for my laptop I have been forced to wrap my little gadget in a canvas bag in fear of scratching it’s perfect form…. until now. Tinkering on the net for spangly new things we could not possibly live without, we came across this charming little piece any Gran would be proud of.

Since setting up on the Sunday Upmarket stalls at The Truman Brewery in 2004, Calliste&Carissa Yebloah have been knitting and pearling an exciting range of accessories from bow ties and necklaces to place mats. With their shop madewithhands accessible online, have a peep!
Having been disappointed by a number of Hayward Gallery‘s previous offerings this year there was pressure on the gallery to prove itself with its 40th anniversary show.

Big birthdays often corral bouts of introspection, drugs weeping that snuffs out birthday candles and so on. However ‘Psycho Buildings’ sees the Hayward in self-aware yet bouyant mood. Titled after artist Martin Kippenberger‘s photographic book of buildings that reacted against Modernism, website like this the show allows artists to run amok with the gallery creating utopian and dystopian spaces.

The Austrian collective Gelitin‘s installation rests precariously on the roof, a pea green murky pond navigated by rickety yet functional two-man wooden boats. A no-frills vibe permeates the work, ‘Normally, proceeding and restricted with without title’, with watercooler bottles strapped to the underside of the boats. The angular lines of the boats force rowers to sit ridiculously upright, correcting slouching and adding to an air of larking about on the river with Ratty and Mole. This gentility is undercut by the utter precariousness of the operation, at 12-plus metres above Ole Father Thames.

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There is something of a theme park ride feel to all of this, allbeit a sedate one; yet this does not necessarily exclude insights. Heath Robinson-esque contraptions spring to mind, as do apocalyptic visions of an alternate drowned London. Plus, the view and sensations are far more startling than anything that poxy Ferris wheel next door has to offer.

As with any birthday do, there is someone harping on nostalgically recalling past glories; here Ernesto Neto provides more of the same organic dripping forms, encased in nylon and filled with spices; it’s fine but really nothing that we haven’t see before from this artist, who surely has more to give.

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Much of the other work wants to create a feeling of portent, or of aftermath- alluding to the psycho in the title perhaps?- the dissected and suspended domestic interior of ‘Show Room’, Mike Nelson‘s monster lair, even Michael Beutler‘s oddly aggressive maze of chicken wire and primary bright florist’s paper, like a shanty town sponsored by the Early Learning Centre.

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michael beutler’s piece

But two pieces really succeeded in ratcheting up tension and ambiguity. One was Rachel Whiteread’s ‘Home‘, an eerie display of dolls houses lit up and arrnaged into deserted roads and avenues. The other, Do Ho Suh‘s neon elegant ‘Staircase V’ is a fabric template of a New York stairwell that creates a feeling of space and wonder but also claustrophobia.

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The cramming in of so many works, their interactivity and the slides into theme park-ness could have led to a frenzied atmosphere where novelty trumps thought. Yet the screaming tabloid headline of a title masks the quiet moments that really make this show, the gentle lapping of water against a sky-high boat or the quiet disquiet in Whiteread’s model village. As with the best birthdays, there is a mix of giddy excitement and reflection, welcoming in the future whilst holding onto the past.

I think camping might be a popular travel option this summer – well definitely for those of us effected by the credit crunch, what is ed the carbon footprint conscious, diagnosis or if like me you’re a struggling student battling to stay atop of an ever vanishing student loan. If you’re just about to pack your Cath Kidston for Millets tent or Toast swimsuit for a weekend trip to Brighton, thumb the Amie Bag might be an additional item worth taking.

Created by Helen Dixon from Devon Bear Designs, these fab printed bags are hand-crafted from vintage linen and come in a choice of three ice-cream inspired hues.

Devon Bear Designs also offer a customising service just in case you fancy personalising any of your textile items. They’d make a cute addition to a camping trip and they’re not too badly priced at £16.50 either!

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The live music that takes our fancy this week

Monday 11th August

Micachu – Single Launch Party @ The Social, medications London
KASMs – Pure Groove Records, story London
No Age, tadalafil Health and Lovvers – The Scala, London
Noah & The Whale – Roundhouse, London

Tuesday 12th August

Bombay Bicycle Club – The Soul Tree, Cambridge
The Dodos and Collapsing Cities – 100 Club, London

Gig of the week

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Late of the Pier – Pure Groove Records, London

It’s very exciting to see a group of young musicians who have the musical talent to match their bravado. The kind of band you have to see in the hope that one day you’ll have something to make your kids jealous about.

The Pipettes and Florence and the Machine – Koko, London
The Wave Pictures – Upstairs at the Library, Leeds
Cold War Kids – Concorde 2, Brighton

Wednesday 13th August

No Age – Stealth, Nottingham
Micachu – Pure Groove Records, London

Thursday 14th August

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Kings of Leon – Brixton Academy, London

I’m guessing you really don’t need telling that Kings of Leon are one of the greatest bands in recent times, and if you haven’t got a ticket already this is going to be pretty much impossible to get in to. I’m so jealous of those who are going, I’m sure seeing them indoors would be a real treat.

Billy Vincent, Ciare Haidar and Beans On Toast – The Lock Tavern, London
Brute Chorus, Wet Paint and Popular Workshop – 93 Feet East, London
Ebony Bones, Red Roots, Remodel and The World Is Yours – Rhythm Factory, London
Envy and Other Sins and Bang Bang Club – Buffalo Bar, London

Friday 15th August

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Keyboard Choir – The Luminaire, London

If you fancy something a little out of the ordinary from a live spectacle this would be right up your street.

Golden Silvers, Wave Machines and Laurel Collective – The Macbeth, London
The Wave Pictures – Barfly, Glasgow
Howlin Rain, Magik Markers and Mothlite – Corsica Studios, London

Saturday 16th August

Hatcham Social and Electricity In Our Homes – Proud Galleries, London
Van Morrison – Kenwood House, London

Sunday 17th August

Sway and Akala – Cargo, London
The Week That Was, Exlovers, Les Cox (Sportifs), The Penny Serenade and Mendicant

Monday 11th August
Jerwood Space, cost ‘An Experiment in Collaboration’: Sarah Williams, curator and artists; Michael Pybus, Karen Tang & Daniel Baker plus collaborators: 11th August: 171 Union Street, London SE1 OLN
A one off talk examining the intricacies of artists operating as part of a team or partnership, laying bare the process and opening it up to scrutiny. The ongoing project is collaborative on every level: curator, writers, design team, artists and associates, share ideas, negotiate changes and make decisions about possibilities and outcomes.

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Menier Gallery, ‘In Search of Beauty and Wellbeing’: Julie Cockburn & others: 23rd July-14th August
51/53 Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU
Centring on the role that art plays in a person’s emotional and physical wellbeing, the exhibition is supported by a programme of artist’s talks. The show aims to highlight the necessity for art as a means of communication, expression, and release, as well as general wellbeing.

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Tuesday 12th August
Elevator Gallery, ‘THE TOMORROW PEOPLE: Artists of the future now!’: Olsen and Johansen, Thjis groot Wasink, Tom Bradley etc: 9th-22nd August
Mother Studios, Queens Yard, White Post Lane, Hackney Wick, London E9 5EN
Presenting fresh contemporary art from artists of today that look forward to tomorrow.

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Bankside Gallery, ‘Summer in the city’ : various artists: 1st-30th August
48 Hopton Street, London, SE1 9JH
Members of the Royal Watercolour society and Royal Society of Painters exhibit in this joint exhibition.

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Vestry Room, ‘Fiona Athanassaki Paintings’: 6TH- 17th August
The Empire Gallery, Vyner St, E2 9DQ
Her painting is influenced by landscape primarily from the Mediterranean. Using simple abstract forms and colour, surfaces are worked on with glazes to build up a layered transparency and to create a sensation of depth.

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Wednesday 13th August
Schwartz Gallery, ‘Reflections in time and place’: Simon Atkinson, Gabriel Birch, Panayiotis Delilabros, Ismail Erbil, etc: 8th-24th August
White Post Quay?92 White Post Lane?London E9 5EN
‘Shift – reflections in time and place’ focuses on reflections,echoes and new beginnings. Physical and imagined places, temporal divisions, traces and memories are interpreted through contemporary fine art practice.

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Handel Street Project, ‘John Plowman The Reading Room’: 24th July-16th August
29 Thurlow Place, London SW7
Performances of Plowman reading as the books are thrown and re-stacked within a plywood structure play out the relationship between artist, audience, and gallery, analogous to that between author, reader and library. Membership of the Reading Group will be open to all and each week will focus on a particular book and members of the group will engage in a collaborative and performative action. Resulting in an accumulative piece of work that will develop over the course of the exhibition.

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Thursday 14th August
Sartorial Contemporary Art, ‘4X4′: Marcus Freeman
101A Kensington Church St, London W8 7LN
Four Artists are given a four day show each week in august. Each artist has been given free reign of the gallery and a prominent journalist or critic has been asked to write 444 words about them. Freeman’s pieces focus on clean, understated graphics.

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Castefield Gallery, ‘Shazad Dawood’: 7th August-21st September
2 Hewitt Street?Knott Mill?Manchester M15 4GB
Dawood’s 55 minute film Feature and new contextual work offers the viewer further readings and associations within the structure of the film. His work engages with mythologies, (in)authenticity, multiple authorship and intercultural interpretations. His film was conceived and filmed as a series of performances linked by an overarching narrative of The Battle of Little Big Horn, perhaps the most famous war between the Federal Government and Native Americans.

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Friday 15th August
Contemporary Art Projects: ‘Start your collection!’: Alex Derwert, Alex Hudson, Celia Hempton & others: 1st August- 21st September
20 Rivington Street?Shoreditch?London EC2A 3DU
Taking place over the quiet period of late summer, this annual gathering of highly collectible artworks by over 70 emerging contemporary artists takes the form of a mini-Fair and includes drawings, watercolours, small paintings and sculptures, limited edition prints and photographs.

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Room art space, ‘Projection Room’: a selection of artist’s films: 15th August 7.30pm.
31 Waterson St, London E2 8HT
Films, drinks and popcorn. What more could you ask for on a Friday night?

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Saturday 16th August
Park Gallery, ‘Gartlands’: Janie Nicoll: 9th August-8th September
Calendar Park, Falkirk FK1 1YR
The exhibition “Garlands” showcases new installations and video works by Janie Nicoll made for the Park Gallery, as a result of the residency at Callendar House and in collaboration with residents from the High Flats at Callendar Park. In one video-work, letters that spell out “Carpe Diem”* flutter on washing lines, linking art to the everyday routines, existences and environments.

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Sunday 17th August
Outpost Gallery, ‘FRIEDRICH NIETZCHE VS ART GARFUNKEL’S HAIRCUT VS PAUL SIMON’S HAIRCUT’: Simon Davenport: 2nd-21st August
10b Wensum Street, Tombland, Norwich NR3 1HR
Davenport describes the exhibition as a series of events, which becomes perceptible through a combination of physical processes. The installed objects and stage props are often subordinate to their performative function.

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When our Art Editor, price Tanya, order saw a picture of one of the hats that were to be displayed at an exhibition I was planning to attend, her initial reaction was, ‘quite nice, but normal people could never wear that – you could only pull that off if you were a model’.

I must admit I did initially agree with this. When you first glance at one of Monique Luttin Millinery’s extravagant hand-made hats you think, um… kinda pretty, but they’re only really fit for the catwalk, you could never casually throw one of them on.

My opinion changed when I went along to the launch of Monique’s new headwear collection at her exhibition ‘The Devil’s in the Detail’. It was one of those glitzy affairs. You know the type where every other person seems to be exceptionally stunning. To add to my insecurity, Monique had picked a selection of beauties to walk around and model her collection for the guests.

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Up close, the designs weren’t as over-the-top as I’d expected, but were understated, trendy and actually quite practical. Monique’s range of unusual headwear, which is beautifully crafted from felt, ribbon, netting and beads, include a selection of cocktail hats and berets alongside smaller headbands and accessories. The pieces are extravagant and for that reason, wouldn’t be to everyone’s liking, but I feel Monique should be commended for managing to create something so striking and unique that manages to remain tasteful at the same time.

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There’s more to Wimbledon than tennis. There’s Gold Teeth! No, cure I’m not talking about an expensive dental treatment. I’m taking about a band, information pills known locally as the Wimbledon super-group!

Due to the wonders of MySpace this band have been on every A&R man’s one to watch since day one. Joining forces at the beginning of this year they’ve encountered a pretty remarkable journey in six months. Xfm’s Jon Kennedy’s a big fan and invited them in for a session, viagra 100mg they were listed in Music Week’s one to watch and have been performing to huge crowds around London.

So what do they sound like? Erm, that’s a tough one. ‘Tropical / Afro-beat / Electronica’ tells their MySpace, but there’s way more to them than just Brit-pop / Indie. If you can’t immediately liken them to another band, then they’re good right? Well not always, but this band are accessible and original, a rare and special mix.

The band performed a blistering set, with songs from their E.P Traveling by telephone with Gold Teeth saving the best ‘til last, as ‘Everybody’ began, hundreds of coloured balloons fell from the ceiling, to the delight of the locals!

I really don’t want to give away too many secrets from this gripping performance -but they are without a doubt the best-unsigned band I’ve seen play this year. Judging from the suits at the back scribbling notes they won’t be unsigned for long, so go see them pronto. From what I can gather, each gig is a show and a half. They also have a very entertaining blog with all their goings-on and video diaries on it. Just you wait, you’re in for a gold treat!
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Since my ears first pricked up to ‘The Creator’ Santogold has been a constant surprise to me. It was a wonderful surprise, mind for starters, medications to discover what I thought was a new MIA type grimy female to sugar my ears with. ‘The Creator’ certainly gave us reason to believe she might be a fully practicing urban cut and paster, cialis 40mg with her dirtilly splicing screeches and tribal drums, a fusion of down beats and siren squeals.

My second surprise came when this ‘new favourite song’ of mine could be heard loud and clear as backing on a hair gel ad. I was confused; wasn’t this stuff functioning beyond the Ad Man’s radar? I was worried that it all meant Santogold would be a one hit wonder, her force immediately tamed by the ‘chew it up and spit it out’ nature of the commercial world.

Thankfully, this has not yet been the case (although the glorified converse advert does worry me a little). Santogold’s self titled album proved that this woman has real staying power with a line-up of tracks that span more genres than you can shake a stick at. This was, of course, my next surprise. I had been expecting a straight forward grime by numbers album, but instead came to realise that Santogold can’t be pinned down. Her skillful genre-hopping predicts that Ms Santi White will be much more than a flash in the pan, mainly because she’s an innovator and a wonderful songwriter.

White’s wonderful songwriting is nowhere more apparent than on her new single ‘Lights Out’. Right at the other end of the spectrum from ‘The Creator’, ‘Lights Out’ is just plain gorgeous. It’s surprisingly romantic, surprisingly beautiful, made all the more so by White’s lovely vocals. The way she seductively lolls over the word ‘Darling’ could melt any heart, and those blended harmonies and almost-too-perfect backing hark back to the polished girl groups of the 80′s.

‘Lights Out’ is not too girly or weak however; it’s femininity is gutsy, heart-felt and passionate. The whole track is tinged with grunge, evident in the heavy bass line and driving drums. And it’s damn catchy too, one of those perfect, sophisticated pop songs that will be sure to drive pop, as we know it, forward towards a bright future. I would tell you to get this track right now, but I’m pretty sure that you’re already dancing about like a loon in your bedroom to Santogold’s album as I type this. Well done you.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration: Open Design Brief

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Bora Aksu A/W 2010 by Gemma Milly. See original post here.

***Please note that this brief is now closed: you can now order a copy of this book online by clicking here***

Well, what is ed it’s that time of year. I’m about to put together another book, more about which will hopefully hit the bookshops shortly before Christmas 2010. In the spirit of my last book, Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration, my new book will take a look at two things: inspired by some of the fantastic work that illustrators have been producing for the fashion section of Amelia’s Magazine online it will be a must-buy guide to the best up and coming fashion illustrators working today, and it will also, to a lesser degree, be a guide to the best new ethical fashion designers currently working in the UK WORLDWIDE.

So, read on to find out more about how you can be included in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration:

I will be looking for a variety of styles of fashion illustration, but the final choice of who is included in the book will depend on a number of factors:

* Those illustrators who can demonstrably show that they are engaged with editorial fashion illustration. Priority will be shown to illustrators already contributing to Amelia’s Magazine online. If you aren’t already doing so then what are you waiting for? Get on twitter and start offering your services to myself @ameliagregory and to @MattBramf next time there is an open callout for illustrations.

* Those illustrators who can show that they have a good body of professional quality material. This does not mean that you have to be a professional (yet) so if you are still at college or only work on illustration in your spare time do not let this put you off. I will give your work the same chance as anyone else’s if you can demonstrate a good commitment to fashion illustration.

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J Maskrey A/W 2010 by Bex Glover. See original post here.

The way that you can demonstrate commitment is by submitting the following things to the open brief:

1. Six illustrations that you have done for fashion editorial purposes over the past year. These should include work for Amelia’s Magazine online, and for other companies if possible. You can also submit work done for your own personal use. Choose the 6 pieces that best reflect your style and please label the artwork accordingly when you submit lo res versions for the initial decision making process. You can include one or two pieces that aren’t strictly fashion as long as they show a similar style: e.g. illustrations of a band or other people based illustrations.

2. Three illustrations (exclusively for this open brief) depicting clothing from recent collections from your choice of one ethical fashion designer. Below are listed some of the designers that we will be considering for inclusion in the book (not yet definitive, and subject to change, so do check back in for an update) And please do go and research your own ideas wherever you live. Feel free to be as creative as you like – these aren’t going to be used commercially! These should showcase your favourite style of working to the best possible advantage. Please note that you may be asked to do some more illustrations of another ethical designer if the one you have chosen has been covered by more than one illustrator that I want to feature.

3. An illustration of yourself. Which will accompany your pages should you be chosen, obviously.

4. Proof of your commitment to professionalism in the form of your online presence: this should include a website, blog, facebook and twitter feed or similar. I feel that it’s so important for illustrators to network themselves on the internet that I am only going to include in my book those who demonstrably engage with social media in a major way. If you still aren’t doing so, well, you’ve got time! Quick, set up your online presence and get going for a few months before you send me your submission. It’s likely that I won’t be featuring anyone who isn’t following me on twitter.

5. A written piece describing how you work, why you chose the ethical designer you did and anything else you think is relevant to your pitch. This doesn’t need to be an example of perfect journalism, but I want to know that you have something interesting to say about your profession because I will be interviewing the chosen finalists. You should include a biography of current and future plans, the ways in which you engage with social networking and reasons for why I should include you in the book.

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Pam Hogg A/W 2010 by Etiene Del Monte. See original blog post here.

Other key things you need to know are:

You should always work to a large scale. The book will be the same proportions as my previous books, so it’s always a good idea to keep in your head the scale and proportions of my pages when working on new pieces for submission. I will run a mixture of double pages, single pages and pages with multiple images. For your main pieces please keep page dimensions in mind. A single page is 20cm x 24.5cm. Always work to 300 dpi at a large scale to ensure the best print quality.

The closing date for submissions is midnight on Sunday 18th July. Please send all submissions as lo res images at 72 dpi attached to an email titled SUBMISSION FOR AMELIA’S COMPENDIUM OF FASHION ILLUSTRATION as you really don’t want to risk me losing it in the flood of emails I receive daily.

You should also expect there to be a short list process for applicants who I am finding it hard to choose between. This may involve a second series of questions to answer, and you may have to produce a more specific piece of commissioned work to show you can respond to art direction well. It is more than likely that I will ask the chosen illustrators to produce more work for the book so that all the ethical designers I wish to feature are covered.

If you have found a new ethical designer that I don’t know about but are unsure as to whether they would be right for my book, then please do send me an email with a link to their website using this link, and do make sure that you join the accompanying facebook event so that you can keep up with my latest news, and because you’re down with social networking, right? I will be checking who joined the group when it comes to decision time… so don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration will be distributed internationally and available in all the best art bookshops. It’s the most fantastic way for you to get your work seen. So, what are you waiting for? I can’t wait to see what amazing creations you come up with….

Fashion Designers:
Ada Zanditon
Emesha
Beautiful Soul
Christopher Raeburn
Goodone
Tara Starlet
Ivana Basilotta
Anatomy
Henrietta Ludgate
Lu Flux
The North Circular
Julia Smith
Noir
People Tree designer collaborations
Wilfried Pletzinger
Tijana and Mila Popovic
Fin
Ciel
Makepiece
Minna
Edun
Izzy Lane
Junky Styling
By Stamo
From Somewhere
Max Jenny
Joy French
Wildlife Works
Viridis Luxe
Unicorn
Trash Couture
Prancing Leopard
Andrea Crews
Dem Collective
Howies
Righteous Fashion
Reflective Circle
Johanna Hofring
Anja Hynynen
Pia Anjou
Camilla Norrback

Jewellery (good for beauty/fashion illustration)
Oria
Fifi Bijoux
Ingle & Rhode designer collaborations
Cred designer collaborations
Joanna Cave

A good place to look for interesting new fashion designers is within the pages of this ‘ere Amelia’s Magazine, funnily enough. Remember, the chances of you appearing in this book are slim if you have never contributed to Amelia’s Magazine. That’s easy to remedy though – you’ve got nearly two months and we need illustrations all the time.
Start reading my Alternative Fashion Week series here.
For good examples of how we have used fashion illustration in Amelia’s Magazine already and to find other new designers start reading recent London Fashion Week blogs here.

Categories ,Ada Zanditon, ,Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Bex Glover, ,Blogging, ,Christopher Raeburn, ,ciel, ,Emesha, ,Etiene Del Monte, ,Facebook, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Gemma Milly, ,goodone, ,Julia Smith, ,Lu Flux, ,noir, ,Open brief, ,People Tree, ,Social Media, ,Tara Starlet, ,Tijana and Mila Popovic, ,twitter, ,Wilfried Pletzinger

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Amelia’s Magazine | First Aid Kit: My Silver Lining Video

First Aid Kit by Carie Martyn

First Aid Kit by Carie Martyn.

I am super excited that the third First Aid Kit album is due for release in June 2014. Stay Gold is preceded by the single My Silver Lining, which was directed by Elliott Sellers and shot on the road and at the infamous Paramour Mansion in Los Angeles, home to silent screen star parties back in the 1930’s.

First Aid Kit by Robyn Pond

First Aid Kit by Robyn Pond.

Sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg say the aim was “to create an intriguing and mysterious world where everything is just slightly off and the mansion slowly comes to life.” Listen, watch and enjoy!

First Aid Kit My Silver Lining

First Aid Kit will tour the UK in September, calling at Glasgow, Belfast, Manchester, Bristol before putting in an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall on 24 September. This follows the sold out show taking place this Thursday 15 May at the Islington Assembly Hall. The band also have main stage UK festival dates at Latitude and Green Man Festivals.

First Aid Kit by Simon McLaren

First Aid Kit by Simon McLaren.

First Aid Kit by Zena Brown

First Aid Kit by Zena Brown.

Categories ,Carie Martyn, ,Elliott Sellers, ,First Aid Kit, ,Islington Assembly Hall, ,Klara and Johanna Söderberg, ,My Silver Lining, ,Paramour Mansion, ,review, ,Robyn Pond, ,Royal Albert Hall, ,Simon Mclaren, ,Stay Gold, ,Tour Dates, ,video, ,Zena Brown

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Swedish musician Lykke Li


Photography by Lee Goldup

Sweden is a small country but it has produced some big exports. Whether it’s infectious pop, affordable furniture or fashionable, well-priced clothes (take a stab at guessing the brands!), the Swedes know what it takes to satisfy their consumers. Now if we extend these categories to ‘hip young musicians’, you’ll find that they have their bases covered here too.

We first featured Lykke Li back in February 2008 when she was just an emerging artist, relatively fresh to the gig circuit. Since then, she has well and truly blossomed amongst the underground and commercial elite of the music scene, building up a set of credentials to leave most of her peers looking on with green-eyed envy.

She released her debut album ‘Youth Novels‘ to critical acclaim in 2008 and has since performed with The Roots and hip hop legend Q-Tip, collaborated with Kayne West and MIA, and currently features on a track called ‘Miss It So Much’ on Roysopp’s latest album. As if that weren’t enough, she also penned the track ‘Possibility’ for the second installment of lovey-dovey vampire Twilight saga ‘New Moon’, gaining herself a healthy teen following in the process.

On the award front, Lykke’s musical talent and fashion sense have not gone unnoticed; she has received nominations for “Best Video” and “Best Female Artist” at the Swedish Grammy Awards and was voted “Best Dressed Woman” at the Swedish Elle Magazine Awards in 2009. Is there an end to this list of fabulousness?? (And she’s only 24!)


Photography by Lee Goldup

Dressed in an oversized black tassled jacket, a short black mini-skirt, bulky black boots and lashings of thick black eye make-up (and with few words), on meeting Lykke, I couldn’t help but feel that she exuded the demeanor of a slightly irked teenager.

I caught up with the Swedish starlet briefly, prior to her set at the Volvo Subject 60 launch party in London last week, for a rather intriguing interview in a drafty stairwell to talk about her international background, performing in front of big crowds and desert island necessities…

So how are you feeling about your set tonight?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to do some new songs tonight which I haven’t done before. The sets are also going to be more acoustic so it will be different and quite interesting.

You’ve had a very international upbringing – have you found that this has influenced your music?

I don’t know because I’ve never known any different. I don’t know how I would write music if I only lived in one place. I feel that my music comes more from within – not so much from the outside.


Photography by Lee Goldup

Who are your biggest musical influences to date?
There are just so many. I don’t really listen to a lot of new music. I get really inspired by weird chanting, like Voodoo music. I recently found these field recordings from the 1920s which I’ve been listening to a lot.

What bands currently excite you?
I really enjoy Beach House – the singer has a great voice and their songs are very well written. I am also listening to The Big Pink and a lot too who have an interesting sound. Of course, there’s always Leonard Cohen.

How have you found the transition of playing in big venues compared to small venues?
It’s been fine although I still enjoy playing small venues the most because there’s more of an intimacy you share with your audience.

How do you find playing in front of a UK audience in comparison to a Swedish audience?
It’s kind of crazy because I almost never play in Sweden; it’s so rare. I guess every audience is different but I find that in big cities, people tend to be slightly more reserved – there’s more of an effort that people make to be cool.

What has been your most memorable gig to date?
Last summer there was a festival on an island just outside Holland so we had to take the smallest boat to get there, but it was during severe storms and the water was really rough. Everyone on the boat thought that we were going to die. And then there was the coming back part when we were super drunk in the middle of the night. It was crazy but we had a great time.

Who would you most like to work with?
Leonard Cohen as always.

What’s the best piece of advice you can offer someone starting out?
It’s hard to maintain yourself in this industry. I think the main thing I would say is to be honest and always stay true to yourself. It’s clichéd but it’s true.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
I’m looking forward to going for a swim in the lakes in Sweden when it’s finished. It’s going to be a long summer for me as I’ll going to be in the studio for most of it. It’s exciting but I can’t sleep anymore because I’m thinking so much – my brain is working all the time.

What three items would you bring with you if you on a desert island?
A hot man, a Swiss army knife and some erotic novels by Anaïs Nin.

Categories ,Anais Nin, ,Beach House, ,CSI, ,Elle, ,Grey’s Anatomy, ,Kanye West, ,Kat Phan, ,leonard cohen, ,Lykke Li, ,MIA, ,Q-Tip, ,Royksopp, ,the big pink, ,twilight, ,Volvo S60, ,Voodoo

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Amelia’s Magazine | Robin Allender: The Bird and The Word

Robin%20Allender-The%20Bird%20and%20the%20Word.jpg
This is the kind of album you’d like to listen to before going to sleep, or the one you’d play on a Sunday morning when you’re off work. I started to wonder where abouts in the United States this guy is based. Probably somewhere north in one of those forgotten states where there is nothing better to do, and so tempted to take a guitar and get in to that sad and dreamy folk mood trying to escape – at least musically from the boredom of your neighbourhood.

To my surprise I discovered that not only is Robin Allender English, he is also not that unknown. He is in fact from Bristol and also signed to Warp Records, with his other band Gravenhurst.

The album itself comes in a beautiful case, the cover showing artwork of a simple plant to prepare you to that folkish atmosphere you’ll be surrounded by from the beginning. As a matter of fact the whole of the album is focused on Allender vocals and his background guitar can be compared to some of Jim O’Rourke solo projects, the only difference being that Allender stays closer to traditional composition, building mainly three minutes songs. Iron and Wine or Chris Brockaw are other songwriters that probably share something with him because of that delicate touch they’re capable to give to their songs, while Aerial M and Nick Drake come to mind when I listen to his gentle guitar melodies.

There is little strength in Allender’s voice and words are constantly delicately whispered in you ears. Sometimes there is a chorus (Leaves is an example) adding more depth to the whole sound while sometimes fellow musicians Alex Wilkins, Sam Tarbuck and Dave Collingwood from Gravenhurst appear giving a little bit of movement to the track. As The School Field is the only song that really makes you move your head to the tempo. Nature is always present: from the album title itself to the track names; often referring to leaves, oceans, waves or winter.

In my opinion the best track remains anyway Stag and Hounds, one of the shortest yet most dramatic songs on The Bird and The Word. Here Allender finds himself back from the war discovering how everything has changed, leaving him incapable of even recognizing the trees of his childhood.

This is however just an example taken out from a box of jewels: Allender managed to escape from the powerful sounds of Gravenhurst to build his intimate universe made of falling leaves and infinite sadness, creating a debut album that is one of the most promising things I heard in a while.

Categories ,Album, ,Debut, ,Review, ,Robin Allender

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