Amelia’s Magazine | Fuck Buttons @ ICA

Bands like Okkervil River are eminently missable. They’re so redolent of a slew of others, pill more about and if you’re not on friendly terms with their songs they’ll pass you by like so much jaunty, information pills pleasant Americana. They’re also a great illustration of why you should persist with music.

And that’s not some pious, try rockist view meaning you’ve got to put down what you’re reading, sit up, and pay complete attention. It’s just good to give things a chance to get beyond your initial scrobbler – which makes quickfire connections, comparisons and judgments based on an increasingly convergent shared knowledge-bank of 50 years of pop. It’s about checking in music’s hiding places for that spark that turns a casual recommendation from a friend into your favourite album of the year.

You need to listen to Okkervil River because the real star attraction is the lyrics of Will Sheff. Like a Prozac-ed Conor Oberst words tumble out of him in stanzas, cascading, beautifully chosen, but always controlled. “Although I put my lips to your face / trying to push his kiss out of its place / although my heart started to race / now it has slowed / I’ll let it go,” he sings on ‘Song Of Our So-Called Friend’.

Behind him five guys playing the alt-country instruments you’d expect stay out of the way. Childlike drummer Travis Nelson (who has excellent wiry drummer’s hair) and keyboardist and trumpeter Scott Bracket sing along with every word, like their own band’s biggest fans.

Six members is often a bad, self-indulgent idea but OR’s are always serving and augmenting their songs. The slow-burning ‘The President’s Dead’ segues masterfully into ‘Black’, which is a pretty straightforward three chord stomper but when Okkervillised it comes out yearning, wistful and layered. They’re like “partytime!” Wilco, Being There-era. There’s a touch of Arcade Fire in their scope and ear for an epic. This sometimes skirts too close to hokey, but with lyrics as good as Sheff’s they’ve earned their slide guitar solos.

On latest album The Stage Names, everything comes together during the final song ‘John Allyn Smith Sails’. All the words, all the fear, all the joy, all the themes that have preceded it fall into place when it morphs into something from a very famous album. It’s one of the most beautiful musical moments of 2007. Ruining it before you’ve heard it would be a spoiler on a par with that Planet Of The Apes video cover featuring the Statue Of Liberty.

It’s a transcendent moment tonight. They know exactly how good it is. They audaciously don’t even end the set with it. They’re rightfully confident. They may be America’s best band.

Why is it so great being 16? It’s an angsty, pill uncertain time in which you doubt everything, troche struggle with a bunch of new and confusing ordeals and inevitably puke down your top talking to the guy/girl you like at an underwhelming party. But we largely remember it with total fondness.

You needed to work your problems through to their logical conclusion, buy more about no matter how labyrinthine they seemed. You’d not yet developed the coping strategy for later life – blithely shrugging, saying “well, them’s the breaks” and getting on with it. We can all agree that that’s a far simpler and more practical way to deal with things, but Jamie Lenman of Reuben is stuck in adolescence. His last thought is his best, and he’s going to yell it at you. This is thrillingly vital. I worry for him.

Slightly overweight, borderline ugly, he’s preaching to a small and dedicated throng. It’s a metal crowd – everyone is either unfathomably young and infectious or crusty and old enough to know better. It’s like being back at your first ever gig. An unexpected obscure song, a friendly moshpit, loud, people screaming.

Lenman’s band expends tangible effort, like the best air guitarists. Drummer Guy Davis reaches Canty-like levels of inventiveness, buried under a relentless propulsive drumstorm. He sits up throughout, a skinny Rollins, if he shaved his head he’d be a nutter. Bassist Jon Pearce does a textbook tall man, long instrument, purposeful sway thing. The three of them look moments away from combusting.

They tick lots of my boxes. Inventive, heavy, melodic, loud, fast, screamy, catchy. These are mostly the wrong boxes for 2007. ‘Some Mothers Do Ave Em,’ with a gargantuan riff that Josh Homme would divorce Brody (remember her?) for, is tossed away, apparently unaware of its own greatness. ‘Let’s Stop Hanging Out’ is their pop hit – a problem, because like almost everything they’ve done, it’s structured as if written by an Asberger’s sufferer. It lurches from A to B via, like, 37, each section marginally better than the last.

This analysis is all very silly and waaaay too glowing for a band you could fairly dismiss as dunderheaded nu rock – big riffs, often-daft words, sometimes cheesy tunes. But there’s something elusive, weird and brilliant at work which makes it seem completely unfair that Reuben are playing a half-empty goth club rather than enjoying Biffy-like love and adulation at the Astoria.

Their tour DVD, documenting life in a band too poor to give up jobs at supermarkets, is the saddest music film you’ll see this year, including ‘Control’. There’s a purity to Reuben, because you feel deep down they’ve realised they’re never going to “make it”. They’re getting as much out of nights like this as they possibly can.

They will surely disappear within five years, but Lenman will be back, I assure you. He’s a genius, that kid at school who was amazing at everything he tried but strangely awkward. His songs, once you’re over their ever-so-slight similarity to a bunch of nu metal we all wish hadn’t happened, are like nothing else in 2007.

I emphatically resist that getting older means you need to listen to cerebral, reflective music. It’s patronising, and a denial of where you’ve come from. Reuben are funny, but they’re also extremely earnest, and that seems to be a dirty word these days. But why should we forget what it’s like to be earnest? Why are we ashamed of being heartfelt? Why is it ok to call directionless, indulgent “folk” beautiful and intelligent when loving heroically crafted “rock” gets you laughed at? By your early 20s these are questions that seem too unanswerable to worry about

It’s fair to assume that most bands are having fun; travelling around the country playing music and generally being outrageous on tour buses is fine work if you can get it. Kotki Dwa however sound like they’re enjoying it even more then everyone else, buy more about not only have they rummaged around the musical toy box but they’ve emptied the shop. Robin’s Clogs is a wonderfully crafted indie pop song, mind with slicing guitars not dissimilar to Foals except without the edge and with a squeaking synthesiser over the top playing out a melody as catchy as they come.

Kotki Dwa then are one of the new generation of British pop bands who are re claiming the fun in indie from across the Atlantic. Vocalist Alex, unlike so many of his contemporaries, is actually able to sing melodically and belt out fine vocals with a painfully delicate voice, sometimes sounding on the verge of tears, yet conversely remaining wistfully upbeat, lips smiling but eyes crying. You know the type. This is never more apparent than on B-side Halogen, which holds it’s own to make a single of two fine songs. Oh, and they can even sing in French.
New ways, more about new ways, site
I dream of wires.
So I press ‘c’ for comfort, information pills
I dream of wires, the old ways.
Gary Numan, ‘I Dream of Wires’

Not only an underrated Gary Numan B side, but the latest retro clothing shop to open off Brick Lane. On the opening night, I Dream of Wires offered a kaleidoscopic mix of vintage fashion and nostalgic trinkets creating an environment Mr Benn would have reveled in. Had he actually existed outside of television. (For those who were not raised on children’s cartoons, Mr Benn was my childhood hero and the eponymous character of the classic children’s television show. He tried on clothes and was transported to exciting and dangerous worlds through the back door of the dressing-up shop. Now you know.) The rails ached with an eclectic clothing range as a cropped Moschino jacket with candy-striped lining hung beside a fluorescent pair of ski pants and bejewelled sweatshirt. Carla created a strong look Gary Numan would have loved, pairing a vintage dress with animal emblazoned leggings. In the display cabinets, curious and peculiar ornaments were arranged, the sort your grandparents displayed lovingly on tabletops and shelves. The changing room was continuously occupied as treasures came back and forth to be tried on for size and, happily for all, there were no January sale style brawls. Visiting the shop was like being in my own Mr Benn inspired magical adventure, starting out in the wardrobe of my babysitter in the eighties and stumbling through to my Nana’s bungalow. With so many second-hand and vintage clothing shops located around Brick Lane, I Dream of Wires is sure to appeal to those who get kicks poking fun at retro styles to create eccentric, outrageous ensembles.

In amongst the glut of sugar coated schmaltz vying for the rather hollow accolade of Christmas number #1 for 2007 is this rather lovely cut from Welsh Wizards Super Furry Animals. A gift it is indeed. The track will be available free to fans in download format, view complete with B side and artwork on Christmas day. It’s safe to say this won’t be troubling the upper reaches of the charts then, viagra but when did SFA ever sell any records? The band’s lack of relative commercial success is still somewhat perplexing.

It matters not. Never intended to be a Christmas single, TGTKOG is one of many highlights from long player Hey Venus! released earlier this year. There are no bells or lyrics about snow. Just Gruff’s gorgeous tones, a meandering brass line and some intricate harmonies. Nadolig Llawen.

Imagine you’re watching one of those American hospital dramas on TV. Perhaps it’s the Christmas episode or season finale, medicine either way something is bound to go wrong. And when the shit hits the fan it breaks down into a montage of various characters in their scrubs, and remorseful, shop head in hands. Then, think of the music that accompanies those tearful medics. It’s emotive, driven by acoustic guitar and piano, with mildly folky vocals and a healthy dose of strings. Deadman, by House of Brothers, is one such track. Both sad and uplifting, this song has been strictly tailored in the studio to drag listeners up to peaks and down into troughs.

House of Brothers is Andrew Jackson’s solo project and is vastly different from his work with Scarecrow and The Death of Rosa Luxemburg. When I read the name of this EP I instantly thought of Jim Jarmusch’s film of the same title. House of Brothers’ release has little in common with the black and white western. I suppose you could say it’s lyrically bleak but the upbeat arrangements prevent Jackson from plumbing the depths.

Although lacking the polish of the title track, the other material has the same guitar/piano/strings, or indie-folk, sound. They are too long and it’s hard to maintain any kind of enthusiasm by the final track, correctly named The Last Ballad.

This EP is also aptly titled, because it retreads a musical style, which doesn’t have much life in it. It feels a little tired, as though most of the effort went into the first track. And was that effort worth it? As Jackson sings, “Don’t want to rise and shine for the second time. Just leave me be.” Perhaps we should.


Having already waxed lyrical about These New Puritans after seeing them live in September, viagra approved I was more than ready and willing to get stuck into their much anticipated full-length offering, pharm Beat Pyramid. After much to-ing and fro-ing with release dates, cialis 40mg it looked like this one was going to up in the air for some time, however news is that’ll hit shelves this January and if you’ve an MP3 player, turntable, cassette deck or CD car stereo, I urge you to go out and buy it in every format and play it at high volume wherever you go. This is not THE perfect album, if such a thing even exists, and I won’t and can’t vouch for its life changing properties. However, what this is, I’d like to hope, is the beginning of something great. An album that delivers some absolutely stompingly good tracks, interspersed with a few that never take off; however it’s all a matter of context. Reaching such heights of brilliance at some points, if they fall short for just a moment at others, it hits as a minor disappointment. The fact is some of their lesser tracks would put most ‘indie’ hits to shame. Not a bad position to be in.

Beat Pyramid starts as it means to go on. The opener, …ce I Will Say This Twice which is picked up again in the closing track, sets the scene perfectly for the rest of the album. A beautiful slice of 80′s inspired, sharply constructed electronica, vocals nothing more than a mysterious, androgynous voice stating ‘I will say this Twice’. At just 16 seconds long its peculiar hypnotic effect leaves you wanting more, the sudden end coming frustratingly too soon.

Luckily the stomping drums that usher in Numbers make everything better again. As with their live performances, the beat is king on this record and having seen George Barnett (ringleader Jack’s twin brother) do some quite incredible things with a set of drumsticks, I was more than pleased to see all that demonic, tightly controlled energy translate onto record. “What’s your favourite number/What does it mean?/What’s your favourite number/what does it mean?” Jack never lets up. Insistent repetition is very much the order of the day with TNP, words becoming a beat within themselves, not what is said but more the pattern in which it’s spoken, over and over until it loses meaning but never effect.

Swords of Truth’s distorted trumpets swoop in like the opening of a Dancehall track, the beat conjuring similar reference, it’s easy to spot those unexpected influences that transform this band into something far more interesting and complex than your average post-punk outfit. It would be easy to mistake their eclectic tastes for pretension (Sonic Youth, Dubstep, the Occult, David Lynch) but they’re all laid out here, grabbed and borrowed from seemingly disparate genres. When mention was made of hip-hop whiz kid J Dilla I had my doubts, but they meant it; his irresistible, inside out beats littered throughout.

And now onto Doppelganger. I first heard this track online and immediately spent a good hour trying to track it down and just own it. A stuttering, Timbaland-esque experiment in beat and rhythm, it’s sparsity and directness carried along by, what can only be described as a ‘jangly’ electro dreamscape, giving it a kind of futuristic grandeur and irresistible head nodding appeal. It’s very rare that a band actually creates anything new but Doppelganger is so wilfully unusual and unexpected that it becomes almost impossible to place. At points I’m reminded of The Fall, Aphex Twin, GGD, Klaxons but as quickly as the comparisons come to mind, they’re dashed aside. This is something else and I’m having trouble putting my finger on it. I gave up trying. Whichever way you read it, at its core is something that just works, ultimately making it the standout track of the album.

Infinity Ytinifnl, £4, mkk3, all march along in a similar vein, perhaps a little less instantly striking, they nevertheless continue that ‘new sound’ with some impressive angular rhythms. Aggressive, brash, disjointed, taut. Heard outside of the context of this album, they would probably have had me frantically scrambling for the volume dial. Instead I just sit back and enjoy.

Things come to an unusually melancholic close with Costume, all drawn out, languid keyboards harmonising with Jack’s slow, deliberate vocals as they rise and fall through what feels like one continuous chorus. Interruption in the form of George’s powerful stuttering, staccato drumbeat, take this track to another level. The obligatory ‘Downbeat Finale’ this is not.

So, we return to the beginning again with I Will Say This Twi…, this time just 7 seconds long and ending abruptly like a sudden pull of the plug. The album comes full circle and while none of the mystery surround TNP has been solved, as impenetrable and cryptic as ever in their themes, even their intent, what they do reveal is a unexpectedly accomplished collection of off-beat, otherworldly tracks that remind you that taking a risk sometimes pays off.

Candles – pillar, symptoms tea lights and especially church candles in wine bottles. I love them all. Once I bought a load of tea lights, visit web lined them up on the windowsill behind my bed and lit them, hoping to create a nice atmosphere in my squat (ok it wasn’t actually a squat, but we did have a beetle and maggot infestation – who thought these life forms could co-exist so happily?) This ambiance lasted for about half an hour, until my friend forgot they were lit and leant back too far whilst sitting on the bed. His hair caught fire. After this debacle I’ve been banned from candles just incase I drop out of University to pursue arson as a career. But fate was quick to intervene, as some delightfully scented Diptyque candles were delivered to Amelia and I got to spark up. Diptyque began producing candles in 1963, and in the ensuing 45 years it has cornered the candle market with its exotic wax concoctions and beautiful packaging. In time for Christmas and the New Year, Diptyque have produced three limited edition winter candles – Encens (incense), Gingembre (ginger) and Epicea (spruce). These are candles your mum will actually appreciate as a gift, and so will everyone else within smelling distance. With 60 hours of burning time per candle, this seasonal trio are sure to last through the festive period to deliver the perfect aroma to cure January blues.

I was told I’d really like The Chap by a good friend of mine. He went on to tell me he was drawn to them for two reasons; their name, this and the fact they had a song called Woop Woop. Luckily my friend isn’t four, cure he has a BA (!), more about so I took his word for it and waited in anticipation for what I hoped would be a pop feast.

I didn’t like Morviscous straight off the bat cause they all looked like sixth formers and I had a prejudice against their brass instrument collection. It didn’t help that the barman wouldn’t adhere to the advertised deal on red wine. But I grew to embrace their grim appearance over the thirty minute instrumental set and began to indulge in the progressive bass workout, the guitarist’s Django noodling and yeah, even the brass guy’s freeform squawk was good. I was a 21st Century Schizoid Man by 10 o’clock.

Zombie-Zombie let loose next and raised the bar completely. It doesn’t take a genius to pick out this duo’s influences. Their mix of synth and OTT echo on the vocals wreaked of Suicide, circa ‘77. If you ever wondered whether that effect could stay fresh after half an hour on repeat, in a live environment, the answer is yes. Top that with this dude, who calls himself CosmicNeman, perched just above a circle of drums of all sizes, bashing out relentless tom-tom beats that send the audience into a cosmic trance of their own, aided only further by the dark shifting light patterns that almost obscure their stage telepathy, and you’ve got one helluva kosmische party man! He even proceeded to leave his perch and dance uncontrollably in front of the stage for 5 minutes yelping like The Boss dodging a State Trooper, while accomplice Etienne Jaumet kept space wailing. Good it was!

I should have been more pumped up for The Chap but I think energy levels at that point were waning. More’s the pity that they couldn’t fix the situation; I think even my + 1 (who did the recommending) was having doubts after seeing Zombie-Zombie. The Chap were a horrible mess of irritating sing-a-long twee vocals without an ounce of soul. There was the odd flash of an interesting riff here and there but all I could think about was how much the singer looked like Tom Hanks in Big.


We decided to meet at 10.30ish in Hoxton for Ghost School. Suitably, erectile t’was raining, help windy and freezing for the haunting of the Macbeth on a gloomy Friday night in East London. A bit of a venue du jour of late, I finally rolled up at nearly 11.30pm, leaving our Fashion Editor, Catherine, shivering in the bone achingly cold side alley next to the Macbeth, vainly attempting to shelter from the icy rain (sorry Catherine). She kept having to tell people that, no, where she was standing wasn’t another entrance into the venue, but that the door was around the other side.

When I arrived, there wasn’t anyone lining up outside – nor were there any loitering smokers either. And that’s because everyone was already all toasty warm and inside. And lo, the smokers were upstairs, as they have a covered roof terrace to puff away under, rain, hail or snow. The venue was rammed – we had missed the two bands playing, Betty and the Werewolves and Kasms who were on earlier in the night. Being my virgin time at the Macbeth and after reading up on the Ghost School manifesto, I expected it to be trendoid central with egos abounding. But immediately, I warmed to the venue, and to the crowd – who were uber friendly and diverse as advertised. And when Rihanna got a spin (YES, it was played unashamedly, unabashed and guilt free, without a hint of irony…I was reveling in it), that was it, Ghost School had me possessed (har har).

An eclectic and choice array of music – though Catherine was craving a bit of Wham!, a request for the next night please Ghostly DJs (Friday February 8th). Though it took a while for people to properly bust a move, by the end of the night the stage had been hijacked and people were up and cutting a rug. The singularly annoying thing was how insanely difficult it was to cross from the bar to the dance floor; theoretically only about three metres apart, but a logistical nightmare with the amount of people in the place. The only question is, how long a night like that can stay like that. Let’s hope it’ll haunt the Macbeth as is for a while longer before it gets ghostbusted. See you there next month innit!

London’s Royal Academy was the prestigious venue for the MA Show 2008, prescription presenting the MA portfolio from students at the London College of Fashion. ‘More champagne madam?’ asked the young waiter dressed in black. ‘Why not!’ After all, visit web it seemed to be the finest accompaniment for the minuscule Yorkshire puddings topped with rare slices of beef that came round. Walking around the first room, glancing at the four walls, each graduate presented their final work, their inner selves…

Photographer Joanna Paterson’s presented her fashion series beautifully. In hues of green, pink and yellow, a model stood in the dark, wet location, amongst a flock of birds. Almost unnoticed in the room, stood randomly located light boxes; apparently the perfect resting place for the half empty champagne glasses the ‘art crowd’ had carelessly left. These containers, made by photographer Michael Verity, had a 3-D view of a stark white room with a black chair and a man randomly changing positions within it. Although it created simple, yet poetic compositions, I did wish I could have understood what it all meant. Adam Murray’s colourful display of over 100 Polaroid’s of young men and women captured the youth culture of today in a unique style. Lutz Vorderwuelbecke’s fashion photographs, whose over-Photoshopped images were pretty amateur, did little to inspire me, especially when the styling seemed so cheap; a perfect example of one graduate who didn’t MA-ster their skills! Fashion designer, Jula Reindell’s transparent body suits, adorned and filled with hair left me wondering if any humans were hurt in the making!

From the Journalism course, students had presented their final magazines. Harriet Reuter Hapgood’s cute and colourful illustrations using felt tip, reminded me of my childhood days, in a good way. And it was refreshing to see that men’s fashion was taken seriously with Lucy Preston’s Young Man’s Fashion Journal ‘Manual’. One of the magazines that I loved was ‘Goo‘ (below) by Rachel Gibson; a feminist magazine with a good sense of humour. Now, I only got the time to read small snippets, but the content was intelligent, and the use of imagery was creative.

It was a shame I missed the performances showed throughout the day, presented by the new MA Costume Design Course, as it would have topped off the energy that came out of the evening.

Much hype surrounds Dev Hynes, what is ed the devilishly handsome genius behind Lightspeed Champion. He’s a former member of Test Icicles, pilule a trio whose music and general on-stage movement resembled characters in a flick book. In contrast to this, Hynes’s current incarnation takes a drastic departure from his musically angular Test Icicle work. Tell Me What It’s Worth, the third single from his debut album, Falling Off The Lavender Bridge is a melancholic ode complemented by backing vocals worthy of a Disney Princess (actually the work of Emmy the Great). Mesmerising as this vocal combination is, once I listened closer, I found the lyrics humourously abrasive as Hynes coos ‘negros turn a blueish-grey when they’re dead, well that’s funny ’cause I’ve just gone quite red‘. Hynes’s lyrics provide a welcome contrast to the sing-song melodies of most folk music.

When watching Channel 4 at a ridiculous time somewhere between Friday night and Saturday morning I came across Hynes being interviewed. After confessing eternal devotion to American rock band Weezer, he took to the stage and played an acoustic set complete with violin accompaniment. It’s refreshing to see an artist who refuses to be pigeonholed into one musical category, be it folk, anti-pop punk or rock, but welcomes all influences.
It was Saturday, prescription I had a free afternoon, patient and so I decided to go to an exhibition. I like to do things like that because I often find something that inspires me… so I decided to go to the photographic exhibition by Darren Almond at the White Cube Gallery. With no expectations, I walked in…

Starting from the ground floor, there were large-scale landscape photographs on the wall, a series called ‘Fullmoon’. They weren’t just landscape photos. When Darren takes the photos, he uses an extremely long exposure in moonlight. As soon as I looked into them, I started noticing something strange. He seems to take them in remote locations; places with running water, like rivers, waterfalls or the sea, and where everything else in the photo stands still, like trees, mountains and cliffs. Because of this long exposure, the running water becomes blurry in the picture, making very beautiful and surreal images. The water looked like a very thick fog, creating a strong atmosphere. These very peaceful and calm images made me feel safe and secure. There was one fantastic picture, which was taken at sunset…I had to stand there for quite a long time because I couldn’t get enough of looking at the beautiful image. It was nostalgic, yet something I had never seen. Also, the softness of the water made different textures – like the surface of cliffs or trees – stronger and more powerful. That contrast and power of nature was fascinating.

When I went up to the first floor, there were other inspiring pictures from Tibet. They were pictures of flags. Actually, one of my friends brought one home from there when she went, so I have seen the flags before. But this picture was all about the flags; hundreds of them piled and hung together, making an infinite world. Plus, the flags were so colourful and bright, creating such eye-catching images.

When I was about to leave the room, a couple with a little boy came in to see the photographs. As soon as the little boy saw these pictures of flags, he had big smile on his face. I think that says just how good this exhibition was!

A selection of Mike Perry‘s delightful drawings and words of wisdom slipped through the letterbox this morning in a tantalising yellow envelope. The rather prolific illustrator/designer, viagra 40mg who honoured us with a drawing for the back cover of issue no.5, patient seems very busy at the moment creating books AND starting up a brand new, order beautifully designed fashion magazine. Keep it up!

To see more of Mr Perry’s work, have a look at his website, MIDWESTISBEST.



You can file Paul Pfeiffer as an elder statesman amongst an emerging generation of incisively critical American artists working within relatively new modes of digital media. Thus as Pfeiffer’s close kin we can count the ever excellent Seth Price, visit the BEIGE kids: Paul B. Davis and Cory Arcangel, a collective like Paper Rad, or on a more serious/theoretical note, someone like Paul Chan.

Above all what unites this new batch of practitioners is an edgy dissection of the techno-plurality of the contemporary moment: rather than be transfixed adoringly by the cornucopian delights of the Google-age, an artist like Pfeiffer rejects explicit hyperworld-positivism (art from the ‘technology is really great and can do nothing other that amazing, interesting things school’ – a la someone like John Maeda), favouring a somewhat more disenchanted creative turn.

Live from Neverland (2007), the central work at uptown West End gallery Thomas Dane, is a two part video installation inspired by none other than Michael Jackson (remember him? Mates with Uri Geller as I recall). Now, rather ingeniously Pfeiffer takes the full 10 minute dialogue from an interview conducted by Jackson in 2003 in which he squeakily enunciates his innocence regarding claims concerning certain nefarious nocturnal activities involving children and beds and restages it as a performance by 80 cherubic Filipino theatrical students. The nice poorly graded video footage of the Filipino students is projected large scale in one corner of the galleries main room (think school concert captured by an adoring parent) while the original interview footage – muted, synched and delightfully blended with the youthful chorus – is displayed in the opposing corner on a small floor monitor: the vision of Wacko’s weird surgically enhanced mouth appearing to speak in multiple youthful tongues being eerie to say the least.

In short a tricky issue: paedophilia, dealt with in a reasonably sensitive manner and diffused via a well recognised contemporary art trope: that big’ol nasty mass media thing and the many wonderful and weird conceptual personae it intermittently coughs up for our scrutiny

The second work Study for Koko (2008) is more immediately Pfeiffer-esque in its deployment digital erasure as a means to generate a simple but stimulating visual effect. It’s not bad, but the main show remains next door with the Jackson work.


Don’t underestimate Thao Nguyen. Her slight form and delicate features do little to indicate the intensity of her billowing voice that at once erupts into gusts of breathtaking passion. Trickling in and out of the guitar strings, order her fingers work faster than the eye to create an electrifying urgency more akin to a four-piece rock band than a singular acoustic guitar (Thao doesn’t use a plectrum, prescription instead preferring to strum with the backs of her fingertips). Her exceptional acoustic strumming takes centre stage but excels through the contented marriage of Willis on drums. The drum sections roar and retreat with grace, lending Thao the best possible platform for her breathy vocals and licks.

Through songs like Swimming Pools and Geography we are taken on a surreal voyage across America. Alluding to her American roots, she introduces each song as ‘another song from Virginia’, her home state and with her lingering vocals, Thao adopts a Californian drawl, tinged with the bluesy warmth of the deep south but garnished with the cynicism of New York. A timeless American artist, she has the ability to speak to all, her affecting lyrics (‘we don’t jump, we canonball‘) are heartfelt and stirring. Snippets of her affable American accent touched in between songs as she entertained with light flickers of humour, inviting the meek crowd to shimmy forward to the front of the stage.

Monto Water Rats in Kings Cross proved to be the perfect place to showcase such a vibrant, spell-binding performer. Think old-man-pub dinginess with a comfortingly musty aroma and comfortingly honest prices, thus providing a certain genuinity which would have otherwise been lost had Thao played at a more polished, larger venue.

Launching into songs from her debut album, We Suffer Bee Stings and All, Thao quickly finds her feet onstage, side shuffling in her cowboy boots with the odd flick of the ankle, stamping a certain country effervescence to her music, charming it with occasional light hearted élan which helps it to break free from the ranks of her more earnest contemporaries, namely Cat Power.

Thao has capably brought to life the whimsical and powerful meanderings of her album, resurrecting the poignant simplicity of a voice, a story and a guitar. If you ever take a roadtrip, take Thao with you.

Although they’ve been opened just six short months, price Recoat gallery have generated more interest than most galleries could in six years. A well stocked print rack and their Bargain Basement night has made owning contemporary urban art accessible to the masses while a choice of attention grabbing exhibitions showcasing both international and home-grown talent has earned them a reputation as one of Scotland’s must see galleries.

Their latest show, sildenafil ‘Of Beasts and Machines’ is by Andrew Rae; illustrator, animator and member of the Peepshow collective. Best known for his work as art director on BBC Three’s ‘Monkey Dust’, Rae’s doodlings have also been picked up by MTV, Orange, the Guardian and the New York tourist board.

The exhibitions takes its name from one of Rae’s postcard books, and neatly sums up the chief motifs of his work. The exhibition includes pieces from Rae’s portfolio of prints and original postcard sized drawings as well as a mural drawn by Rae on one wall of the gallery. All are executed in the same clean yet gallivanting line, where intricate detailing meets a childlike imagination. In one piece, ‘King of Beasts’, a huge prehistoric looking monster is made up of lots tiny animals, from snake lips to feline haunches; in another, ‘ADD Brain’, flailing wires form a tangled brain, knotted up with hamburgers, human limbs, Nintendo consoles and amplifiers.

The dark twists that fans of Monkey Dust will be familiar with are never sinister, being deftly steered into comic, tongue in cheek territory – like in ‘A Nice Day Out’ where a father and son, chest deep in waders and beaming from ear to ear hold up their catch of the day; a dying, doll-sized mermaid.

Rae’s illustrations are surreal and sublime, clever and darkly comic. At times ‘Of Beasts and Machines’ holds a mirror up to modern life and we see our reflection like in the back of a teaspoon. But his world, populated by hybrids of animals, people and machines is always oddly beautiful.


The prospect of free drinks will do an amazing amount to shift this society into action. Having strolled up to the entrance of Cargo happy and optimistic from a generous supply of champagne at a previous viewing, this site I was ready for a cheeky bit of entertainment from the grammatically complex Does It Offend You, information pills Yeah? The effects of the champagne slowly ebbed away as we stood outside in an enormous, stagnant queue of eager alcohol-vultures for almost an hour, but when we finally got through the doors the long wait had done nothing to diminish my enthusiasm. We joined the throng of people waiting – not ever so patiently – at the bar to collect their token beverages, and tried to stand our ground while the crowd heaved and pushed like a pack of sweaty wildebeests.

As our elbows grazed the bar the band came on, so we dashed with our treasured drinks towards the front. I was expecting a lot of energy from this gig, but strangely the entire session felt slightly flat – maybe that was purely the fault of the sound system, but I have to say I was left a little disappointed that I had been neither enthralled nor offended, but oddly subdued.

The music seemed to seep away quickly, and we were left wanting more, but not in a good way; more in a sort of “I queued for an hour for this? An outrage!” Not to mention the fact that the free drinks had so many terms and conditions, plastered literally onto the barman’s t-shirt on A4 paper, that I only managed to get one of the five I was promised. Ah well, maybe more drinks would’ve been a bad idea anyway.

I will conclude this anecdote with a positive message: the band are great, and I’ll put the poor performance down to an off-night. But did it offend me? No, and I’ve always got the paradoxically more lively CD to listen to. Besides, I learnt something valuable that night; that complimentary beverages can make wonders happen in London.

Recently the weather has been getting warmer and we seem to be having less miserable days. It’s almost like Spring is on its way; until the wind picks up, sales the skies turn grey and the rain pours down. But January mustn’t be remembered for the side effects of global warming, cheap as Canon is about to launch a new camera for this spring – the digital IXUS 80 IS. They have four colours to choose from: Classic Silver, Caramel, Chocolate, and Candy Pink. Highly compact and super stylish; they’re not just pretty, they’re also uber-functional. Canon have introduced a new clear 2.5” PureColor LCD II screen, which means that you get to see your subject in true colour (which is sometimes a bit of a reality shock at the end of a night out). I gave it a try and the screen was as advertised, particularly compared to the one I bought two years ago. But before you head off to your nearest electronic shop, there’s more! It has brand new Motion Detection Technology, enabling the camera to sense movement – no more blurry pictures! This is technology at its finest, if only it could magic the January rain away…
The unsigned power-pop/electro-pop/indie-pop London four-piece known as The RGBs were Thursday’s main attraction at Brick Lane’s Vibe Bar. Three sparkly sparkly gorgeous girls (wearing the RGB colours – red gold and blue) took to the stage. Joining them was a hoodied drummer – ‘the French boy’. He was not so sparkly (yet still pretty gorgeous) and looked slightly out of place amongst the glamour of the sequins, doctor beads, glitter, sparkles and glittery sparkles. Nevertheless I wouldn’t really want to see him all glammed-up and I felt he was needed to help avoid the girl band stigma.


The Everlaster opened the gig in a so-called Charlie Chaplin version. It was such a shame the microphones weren’t working for this particular song, with its powerful Bonnie Tyler meets Kate Bush vocals. Luckily the mic did what mics are meant to do in time for the second track – a self proclaimed ‘indie shimndie’ song called Your Scene – and there was a cheer from the growing audience (in size and enthusiasm). And what a diverse and random audience they were. There was a good handful of your Brick Lane trendies, a rowdy, energetic and sparkly groupie at the front, your token celebrity – Danny aka Shrek from Hear’say, a bunch of chavs and two suited, floppy haired business men who had probably gotten lost between Canary Wharf and Kensington.

I was torn between the entertaining performances from the band and their audience, notably the dance-off between the chavs and the floppy haired sing-along businessmen (super-fans). The band, fortunately won my eyes over. The RGB ladies have such a stage presence; the lead singer gave an aerobic like performance, with lunges, stretches, grapevines and the occasional sly leotard wedgy picking – all the moves reminiscent of Mad Lizzie. The moves really got going to Chicken Licken – an apparent tribute to Beyonce with a drum intro by the French boy just like that of Mucho Mambo by 90s dance/rave act shaft. And with the “Shake your, shake your, shake your booty…” the keyboardist stole the stage with her booty shaking. The businessmen seemingly knew every word to Chicken Licken and at this point got into the swing of their dad dancing.

After more vigorous moves, infectious pop tunes and glittery sweat, the gig sadly came to an end. There was a plea for an encore from the crowd – the sparkly groupie, the chavs, the trendies, the enthusiastic suits, Danny from Hearsay and from my friend Adam and I, of course. All in all a fantastic performance from a band who shone as much as their outfits and who are as truly colourful as their name lead us to believe.


Having grown tired of the sort of vacuous, viagra 40mg disposable music that has infiltrated our world in recent years, drowning out the quiet geniuses that modestly create wonders amongst them, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Junkboy‘s auditary universe of considered, positively unfashionable sounds.

With nature-derived titles such as There Is Light, Volcano Mono and Kano River, and the reverberating sound of crickets fading out the end of Tonight, Three evokes a stirring sensation of an imminent revival of nineteenth-century Romanticism, whilst slipping you softly into a lunar dream of skin-tingling dischords.

The sound of the sea, by which the Brighton-based band live, seeps lucidly into each and every track in a mesmerizing fusion of nature and technology, devoid of irony, sarcasm or the general post-modernist attitude that so many bands of this decade seem to operate around.


Tonight and Held Inside have the strange, distorted resonances of a medieval folk song that, with carefully placed silences, tinkling bells and soporific vocals, drowsily transcend the categories of folk, classical and electronica and, to quote the legend of Alexander Pope, will “wake the soul by tender strokes of art“. It is certainly the right time.

It’s easy to dismiss Poppy de Villeneuve as a girl-about-town with splendid connections (her mother Jan was a famous fashion model in the 60s, ed her father Justin was a photographer credited for discovering Twiggy and her sister Daisy is quite a well-known illustrator who regularly graces the society pages). But her first solo exhibition entitled ‘This is a Story of Hope and We are All Characters in it’ in Paradise Row provided a venue with which to scrutinize, buy not her pedigree or even her social capital (although the excellent turnout did prove that it doesn’t hurt to have a lot of friends) but her talent. The exhibition was a testament that behind the socialite façade lays depth and compassion intrinsic both in the photographs and the photographer.

The exhibit was a culmination of de Villeneuve’s trip to Rio Grande, ed where she had initially planned to document the migration of the Monarch butterfly but ended up taking photos of people who live in the desolate desert that flanks the Rio Grande (the river separating Texas and Mexico) instead. The landscape and the state of the place was the juxtaposition of the American Dream, the complete opposite of the fame that Hollywood represents or the wealth that New York embodies. Instead of fame or fortune, the people and the desert gave one the impression of hopelessness and defeat. But de Villeneuve was reluctant to portray her subjects as forever rooted in their wretched surroundings and opted instead to photograph them against simple backgrounds, silently pointing the viewer to the Humanist belief in empathy as purportedly articulated in the pictures. However, the six portraits failed to capture any empathy from the viewer as although the photographs were quite stark and vivid, the subjects seemed to lack any emotion. Some of the pictures though, notably two landscapes were powerful and lucid in their imagery.

de Villeneuve’s documentary-style photographs, though certainly not in the same league as Lee Miller‘s or Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s, has that glint of potential. And as a young photographer in the process of honing her skills and her style, de Villeneuve still has a lot to offer. Socialite or not, as a photographer, de Villeneuve is one to watch.

Call me a pessimist, viagra 40mg but the world as it is today seems to be fuelled with the need to grow up too quickly, and the value of youthful innocence is lost altogether faster then you could say “Fancy a fag?” to your 12-year old brother.

But low and behold there is a saviour – once you listen to the tracks of I Want You To Know There Is Always Hope by rising stars, I Was A Cub Scout, memories of old school never-should-be-talked-about-again naïve teenage crushes, impulse summer road trips to nowhere, and mooching around with your closest friends anywhere, because it didn’t matter where you were, only that your friends were with you, come flooding back again. This record takes you back to adolescent youth; days when it was perfectly acceptable to release the fickle rebellion inside because ‘you were going through that phase in life’, and when love (or lust, however you view it) could hurt. Bad.

The teenage (ish) duo made up of Todd Marriott, 18, and William Bowerman, 20, produce the kind of untarnished music, which makes you want to hug everyone in the room unashamedly. Todd’s voice oozes of heartache and emotion that evoke empathetic life experiences, and most importantly the music is, and feels real (unlike some of the more generic ‘bands’, which keep popping out from some sort of indie band pez dispenser). They re-coin the meaning of emo with their abstract but intellectual mixture of a little punk, a pinch of rock, extract of pop, and a generous smothering of indie.

Their first track of the album, Save Your Wishes, my personal favourite, sets up the mood of the entire album, commencing with an upbeat and captivating synth sequence combined with an equally up-tempo drumbeat, which allows the introduction of almost tear-inducing, (of the good variety) vocal chords, courtesy of Todd himself; young as he may sound, he doesn’t half know how to sing with his heart, which is hard to come by nowadays.

Then there is their forthcoming single Pink Squares, which also fails to disappoint; the juxtaposition of mellow synth lines with thrashing guitars and over-excited drumsticks sway to and fro states of tranquillity, and then back again; a parody of life that anyone can relate to.

Tracks in between manage to accumulate the best bits of an array of genres, from the indie-esque atmospheric keyboard lines in Echoes, to the reflective, and almost melancholic introduction of We Were Made To Love, which speedily picks up with a more playful, humorous pop beat. The closing track A Step Too Far Behind, is truly the delicious icing on this indulgent, feelgood cake of a record, ending with a glorious spectacle of Todd’s heartfelt vocals and Will’s pounding drums, guaranteed to hit the spot; I challenge anyone not to be moved by the last one and a half minutes of this track especially.

This album won’t knock your socks off, but could certainly well be the soundtrack to your life; after all, everyone has a little child inside them. And if it could put a smile on an often cynical, old before her time city girl, it could well save the hearts, and minds, of all the misguided alcohol swigging twelve year olds out there.

According to the Moving Brands representative giving the speech (who was like a tearful parent watching their child leave home) the Weare launch party was to celebrate the coming together of social media and fashion. He talked about this concept as if it was the Second Coming. I was slightly disappointed when he revealed a scarf, drugs rather than Jesus. This scarf (modelled below) was created from image contributions sent to a window gallery at the Moving Brands studio. Over 500 people participated, ask creating a garment designed by the consumers rather than simply for the consumers. This hands-on approach to design allowed anyone to participate, which is why the scarf featured everything from phallic symbols to Pac-Man. Apparently, the first suggestion for the launch garment was a cape. Personally I think this would have been amazing. Imagine – you could swish around the streets like a modern day Dracula. Maybe this is what Norton and Sons, a bespoke tailor of Savile Row, were thinking when they agreed to be the first to collaborate with Weare. Count Dracula was a dapper man after all.
The night gave me an insight on the future of designing and even if it was just in the form of a scarf, the concept was something a bit different than a launch for a lip-gloss. The Moving Brands employees were more than happy to talk and interaction seemed to be the theme for the night – there were blocks of post-its stuck onto the wall and you could re-arrange or remove them to your own delight. There was also an interactive table-top featured in the room, I wasn’t quite sure why it was there, but I suppose it went with the general theme of the evening. I felt like I was in a science dome.
I’ve never done a shout out before but I’m sending one to the exceptional waiting staff – my champagne glass never emptied. Wow. I feel like Tim Westwood now…
Try imagining a musical mash-up of a relaxing and melodic slice of Mogwai combined with an electronic club beat and maybe your getting close to this one. Skibunny‘s single Aah Ooh is juxtaposition between so many genres stemming from the DJing background of the band. A dreamy pop vocal draws you beyond the common electro-acoustic sound to create something else.

Normally remixing music, troche Skibunny have built up a solid reputation in the DJing scene, with a club of the same name holding a very good reputation for alternative nights. Now we see their first release of original material and it is an enjoyable song. Although slow and slightly pathetic at the start, the song has a steady build up throughout that draws you in to its tranquil sound. The vocal, with its echoing Aah Ooh’s, invites you to dream away about sitting in the sunshine with your friends and has a very positive summer feel. At the same time the beat does not distract from the dreamy mood of the song, only creating more of an atmosphere behind the calming vocal.

Slightly cheesy, but given a chance this song is actually very enjoyable. Anything that provokes such feelings of summer and drinking with friends is positive in my book. The single features a remix by Japanese producer and DJ Handsomeboy that has more electric knobs tweaked and piano bits. This is more upbeat than the single but equally pleasurable. The calming Aah Ooh is perfect listen on these cold days as we look forward and daydream about the summer.

So it’s down to the Coningsby Gallery for the opening night of SH OW. The Coningsby Gallery has a wide reputation because of its connection to the agency Début Art. The gallery acts as a shop window for the emerging illustrators of the agency as well as other artists. The reason I was there was for the free beer and to check out some up and coming illustration by a collaboration called ‘Lie-Ins And Tigers’. It was raining outside and pretty cold, order and therefore a lot of people had squeezed into the exhibition space, look leaving very little room to move around the work. Beer was located down stairs and awkward to get through to, but rewarding it was when I finally got there.

Lie-Ins and Tigers is a collaboration of three image-makers. Sam Kerr, Walter Newton and Russell Weekes. Together they offer their individual styles to forge a humorous mix of work. The group’s concept is comical illustration that is usually simple and straight to the point. Some of the humor is childish and yet still engaging and fun because of the style it’s produced in. A beer was the perfect accompaniment to this slightly laddish humor.

Sam Kerr’s work fuses together a realistic illustration style with humorous elements that, at times, makes you laugh out loud. The illustration of someone masturbating, only the penis is replaced with oil paint spurting out of the tube, was a particular highlight. His realistic style lends well to some of the commercial work featured in the show. Illustrations of Gordon Brown and David Cameron for The Guardian newspaper show the MP’s in cartoon like sketches.

Walter Newton’s work is a more cartoon illustration style often taking things and putting them into a new context. The missing wasp poster saying, ‘Have you seen my wasp with distinctive yellow and black markings,’ is a very funny piece that made me laugh. I found some of his other pieces more childlike and less humorous.

Fans of David Shrigley‘s illustration will enjoy Russell Weekes work. The humour is less in your face and has to found within his, at times, strange images. Two figs, written as if it were figures in a textbook, are another highlight.



Some poor saps believe that this country’s most talented singer/songwriters are best exemplified by dullards like Newton Faulkner, website KT Tunstall and James Blunt. But if anyone can save their souls it’s School Of Language. This glorious first release from ex-Field Music man David Brewis proves that you can be inventive with a much-pillaged genre, while keeping each melody completely singable.

A glittering example of what laptop recording can create, Sea From Shore starts as it ends, book-ended by two completely identical songs titled Rockist Part 1 and Rockist Part 4, with parts 2 and 3 sandwiched neatly in between. A series of daydreams on words, their meanings and the decisions which follow from them, these offerings are as compelling musically as they are lyrically – driven by woozy guitars, clattering rhythms, fuzzy basslines and a loop of incessant nonsensical vocals which sneak their way into your subconscious from first listen, while simultaneously giving the record an incredibly satisfying symmetry.

It’s an eccentric concept, but one that proves an undeniable highlight, along with such other stand-out tracks as the gorgeously squalling Disappointment ’99, which includes appearances from Brewis’ hometown pals Barry Hyde and David Craig of The Futureheads on vocals. The soaring psychedelic squelch-pop of Poor Boy and the infectious Marine Life are also hugely impressive, as is scratchy riff-tinged and time-change-ridden ballad Extended Holiday, which features an additional performance by Craig alongside former Kenickie/Rosita star Marie Nixon and friend Sarah McKeown.

Although it would seem that Brewis’ old collaborative approach to album-making is a hard habit to kick, his full-time band days seem to be behind him for the foreseeable future: in April 2007, Field Music announced that they were heading into hibernation to help the three core members, individually and collectively, ‘get creative and produce more and better music’. And while this decision disappointed both a large number of devoted fans and excited critics who had tipped the trio for greatness, it has worked out wonderfully for Brewis whose new project hints at the warm, catchy and quirky efforts of his former incarnation, while showcasing a strong desire to push himself and innovate both sonically and lyrically.

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of sampling any of this chap’s creations then you’d better start playing catch-up, as Sea From Shore heralds the latest twist in what promises to be a long and compelling career.


Dan Deacon will survive the media hype thrown at him in recent months because he knows he’s a space brain from Wham City, cheap USA (or Baltimore, Maryland to be exact). He knows what he likes; obsolete synthesizers, multiple effects pedals and the Looney Tunes. And he more than likely knows he’ll be compared to the original rock n roll space brains, Devo, at every opportunity.

But while the mass of similarities between the two rekindle happy memories, I’ve always loved Devo records for Mark Mothersbaugh’s social commentary-come-overall vocal bonkers-ness. And while Spiderman of the Rings comes close with Deacon’s own brand of chipmunk delay, he has decided to take the head crushing drum machine and synth route even further. And it works.

His Looney Tunes fascination is cemented after only 10 seconds as opening track Wooody Woodpecker loops the famous cartoon bird’s signature laugh over a dramatic build up of synth pulses and xylophones. This combination sets the tone for the whole record, immediately giving way to the best two tracks; The Crystal Cat and the epic 12 minute long Wham City. The first, beginning like an 8bit cartridge racing game, repeats one synthesized note with a steady bass drum until it explodes into a euphoric melody any pop producer would be proud of. Rolling Stone placed the track #84 on their list of the 100 best songs of 2007, and it’s easy to see how when a song clocking in at almost four minutes feels like it’s over before you’ve even had a chance to get up and dance. Wham City comes on like the first ever electro opera, flowing from calm xylophone loops and muted chords to pummel drumming and siren squeals headed by a choir of militant troops chanting a new age fairy tale over and over before fading to a down-beat game of drum ping pong and computerized harmonies. By the time an a-capella rendition of the chant kicks back into all out electro-popathon the listener is ready for bed. Big Milk provides the much needed rest but then comes the problem. There are still 20 minutes left of the record and you’ve peaked too early.

Much of the second side of Spiderman of the Rings carries the same traits as the first. A lot of synthesizer and drum machine driven computer music and a glut of high pitched vocal effects begin to take their toll. That said there are some great bass driven grooves in Okie Dokie and Snake Mistakes. The latter’s bass and shaker combination, reminiscent of the infectious Tom Tom Club, brings a welcome change of pace. Shades of Daft Punk form a strange interlude but Deacon pulls it back with the beautiful Pink Batman which allows a MIDI harpsichords and guitars to mix with organs and oscillators in a far more successful way than you’d imagine.

Running at nearly 46 minutes Deacon’s vision of an epic electro-pop showpiece almost comes off. The record is perhaps, just too long, but a definite grower. At first it may seem like you’re hearing the same song in 9 different ways, but once you notice the subtle dabbles with sine waves, vocoder blasts and discover his palette of garbage retrieved weapons (instruments), Spiderman of the Rings is a mini masterpiece in one man bandship.

I missed Pre. But I am sure they were suitably stirring and pleasurable and that Akiko got partially naked. They are like a Fun Park. Always there and always frequented. But next on where Skeletons, health who I definitely did not plan on missing. Grungy and demin clad, treat Matt Mehlan former solo project, price were instantly charming. Mehlan is a co-founding member of Shinkoyo records, an advocate of collaboration, experimentation, his Skeletons project does not disappoint. Percussion like drums, metronomic bass lines they have a mid-Seventies sound with late 80s slower tempos, dissonant harmonies, and more complex instrumentation. With lyrics like, “Every day he falls in love with the gorgeous backsides of every girl he sets his eyes on/ Follows them home to catch a glimpse/ But they never, they never, they never turn around” on Fake Tits delivered with wavering and delicate vocals. They have tribal rhythm and punchy brass, experimental instrumentation and inventive arrangements. They are inescapably endearing. Next. HEALTH, who for one have an insane drummer. Insane defined as ‘extended in time or space beyond what is consideration normal, reasonable, or desirable’ not legally incompetent. He was truly terrifying. Scratchy and rhythmic yet undeniably tight, HEALTH make you feel lazy. There are controlled moments though, with long hair being rhythmically swung about in a routine manner. But they do not last. As we return to feedback, which microphones being put on guitar amps and reverb-laden vocals teamed with an abundance of power. They are like a sped up version of Liars. In short, pretty incredible.
Princess Tina designer Beci Orpin is the purveyor of the finest accessories in town. Well when I say town, find I mean Australia. And luckily for me, they got shipped express delivery into my clammy little paws. Beci Orpin specializes in kitsch designs (in a good way), often featuring woodland creatures nestling amongst the Russian dolls and fairy-tale castles on her bags and badges. Toadstools, squirrels, bears and unicorns all make an appearance – and how! As my experience of wildlife is more The Animals of Farthing Wood rather than real animals in real woods, these rabies-free designs suit me down to the ground. Although it seems that learning so much from television has also made me think that a unicorn can be classed as a ‘woodland creature’.
Other accessories from her collection include single ear studs to mix and match. Finally it’s possible to wear a bird in one lobe and a rabbit in the other. But if badges, t-shirts, bags or earrings are not for you – don’t fret, as there is a selection of wash bags that will melt your heart. They feature a happy tooth on one side and a part-decaying tooth on the other side (with an unhappy face). This bag should be used as a campaign for cleaner dental hygiene.
I am such a fan of this label, that if I was allowed to take the badges home, I would wear them all at once. (see below)



Photography courtesy of Christel the Music Editor who’s always rambling about feral creatures (she’s a fox la).


Save the Whale epitomizes the best times a band can have before they reach the ambivalent clutches of fame and fortune; the desire to strike, dosage pummel and batter every instrument in sight like you’d never played or heard it before, no rx in the name of making sweet noise. Wet Paint has perfected the art of clogging up one’s phone with hundreds and thousands of complaints from your dearly beloved OAP neighbours about the ‘awful racket’ from next door – have they never heard of music?!

The single urges to be played louder, this and LOUDER, to reveal it’s true intensity. Babak provides vocals of the day, which are slightly tinged with a confusingly seductive arrogance, adopting a carefree ‘I’m singing because I can’ attitude. This against the melodic electric guitar and boisterous drumbeat is enough to send you on a solo Beyonce booty shaking frenzy, coupled with some head-banging Ozzy Osbourne would be proud of, provoked by such lyrics as ‘Do you remember those days/ dancing in your underwear‘. The song finishes with an escalating no-holds-barred thrashing of their willing instruments, (I swear there is a revving engine here somewhere!) which remind you of exactly how their music is to be portrayed; as beautiful, loud, noise.

If it all gets a bit too much, the ubiquitous Lightspeed Champion’s B-side version is the perfect medicinal-remedy (the doctor told me so) to nurse such frantic thrashing of the arms and legs. So much calmer it made me wonder if I was listening to the same lyrics! But the swooping ‘woo’ mid-song is enough to deliver another dose of fun and light-hearted humour, which depicts the attitude you should welcome this song with.

Now take off those shoes and dance your feet to death to the A side; but remember, such ravenous award-winning dance-offs may need a little pampering of the B-side variety.


The ‘Illustrators in Nature weekend pulled together 12 recent contributors to Amelia’s Magazine for a workshop at the Commonwork farm at Bore Place in Kent. Commonwork’s vision goes towards a fairer world, malady in which people work with one another and nature. It works by using it’s land and resources, viagra 60mg and by teaching people, rx from any age, the benefit of doing this. By bringing together like-minded individuals in a rural environment, the workshop intended to inspire, create nature awareness, and enable us to collaborate with each other on new levels. In other words, work as a community. Thankfully, the weather was on our side!


After a breakfast of fresh eggs, the gang sat down to express themselves. What inspired them? What were these young creatives all about?
Zakee Shariff‘s calming disposition was well fitting with her orientation towards ‘peace’. And James Shedwan‘s picture frame with a photo of a cut down tree marked a sad memory of his, once, favourite tree. Nick Garrett‘s comics had monkeys swinging out from the pages, and Ute Kleim‘s stuffed cat was kitsch. Nikki Pinder‘s handmade parcels with lucky pennies and vintage book tears were unique and Jess Wilson‘s honest illustrations in her books presented what culture means today. Jasmine Foster‘s delicate and girly watercolours mirrored her soft and smiley personality. Electronic device dinosaurs and armadillos made up of beer bottles filled Andy Council‘s folder, and Amy Brown‘s fun, monster-like creatures took imagination to a new level. And, as for Andrew Cross, as long as you have your Rabbit, your light-hearted bunnies will hop along at whichever pace you like.


Our guided tree walk with Leo Murray brought us much closer to nature. An environmental activist, he uses his creative side to express his involvement with nature through animation. I learnt a lot that day about the natural world that I live in. I was saddened to find out that Horse-chestnut trees in Britain are in turmoil because they are under attack by an aggressive disease.

Gorse and hazel were starting to bloom, in January! One consequence of Global warming staring me in the face! We picked up a fungus called King Alfred’s Cake, also known as tinder fungus, that grows on birch trees, and brought it back to use as a natural black ink. The special thing about King Alfred’s Cake is that as long as it is dry inside, it will catch a spark and light easily, perfect for starting fires.


Illustrator Simone Lia, renowned for creating children’s books like ‘Fluffy’, showed her work on a projector. By drawing faces on any everyday objects, Simone manages to turn the most disregarded things into dainty characters of their own. ‘Chip and Bean’ really do feel alive! ‘Poor old bean!’ I sigh. In fact, one photo that she presented to us of her dad holding her as a young child had a strong resemblance to Chip and Bean.


Have you ever sat on your own in a quiet place, in the same spot, for half an hour? It’s really something everyone should try out. We all found a spot on our own, for ‘quiet time’, listening out for the bell to ring at the half hour mark, for our return. Now, for everyday people with hectic lifestyles, ‘quiet time’ is a real rarity. I for one like to go on walks every now and again to clear my head, but each to their own. So, there I was, in the middle of a field, perched on a pile of old tractor tyres, watching the sun go down and listening to my new surroundings. One or two crows screeched, the crazy farmer man shouted instructions at his herd of cows, and planes soured above me every few minutes. Well I must have found some sort of peace, as I found myself wandering back to the barn an hour and a half later, looking through the window to find my peers sitting in the front room, fire going, and cups of tea in hand! I had somehow missed the bell! Reassuringly, ‘stripy’ Andy had returned only 5 minutes earlier too.


The weekend was a weekend where even the most closed books had to open up. Being thrown statements in which we had to answer in pairs for 2 minutes each, uninterrupted, let us engage with each other’s personal thoughts. ‘What upsets me the most is…’ ‘I get over that by…’ ‘What I fear most for the future is…’ ‘What inspires me is…’ These were real people in front of me, pouring out their feelings. Suddenly they were no longer just the makers of ‘pretty pictures’ that I had previously only known on paper.

On Sunday renowned illustrator Andy McGregor led the next task, chopping up piles of intensely coloured vegetables. No, not for eating! For making natural inks! (The recipes are available in issue ’08 of the magazine.) I donned my rather large and attractive old shirt, and with flour and crushed charcoal filling the air, we transformed the contents of our fridge into bright and beautiful coloured inks. I am yet to find out if these intense red inks work as a good hair dye!


Ruth England, resident leader at Commonworks, worked with us making willow sculptures, by bending and shaping willow branches. We made large leaf masterpieces, by covering them in tissue paper, soaked in the flour and egg white paste mixed with the natural inks.

Working together, we conspired, inspired and created George. Ah, George, our weird and wonderful friend of nature. Made up of painted cardboard cut out into leaves and wild animals, sculpted willow, and dried twigs and grass, George began to emerge from the majestic tree. If only I could see how our sculpture will decay in the coming weeks.


Our games of consequences, our rather muddy stumble into the fields to admire the stars in this rural corner of Kent, the visit to see the chickens and Nikki and Jasmine’s late night frights due to an old tapping heater brought smiles to many faces.

All in all, the ‘Illustrators In Nature’ workshop weekend was utterly inspiring, fun, and gave me the chance to meet all these great people. If only it had lasted longer. Time, now for another cup of tea I think!

Not being known as a fervent political activist, here I was ready to be coaxed and cajoled out of my apathy by Peter Kennard‘s It didn’t really happen. Kennard’s cut and paste images address political, nurse environmental and social issues, unhealthy all very admirable, but unfortunately a lot of the work smacked of the sketchbook images of a fifteen year old boy who’d just read ‘Animal Farm’.

Symbolism such as pigs, bombs, gas masks and skulls were in abundance. Images that cast John Major as Mona Lisa and the Houses of Parliament as a casino have a certain humour, but to me most of the work was too unsubtle to be witty. In fact, some work seemed a little crass; ‘Time Difference’ depicts three clocks, labelled New York, Baghdad and London. The Baghdad timepiece has a military helicopter at the centre, with its blades as the clock hands. Any satirical message about political issues and the veracity of media information can be lost under such a heavy-handed use of imagery.

As a social commentary Kennard’s photomontages are very effective; the show at the Pump House exhibited work made by the artist over a thirty-year period. Over this time Kennard’s work has been regularly published in broadsheet supplements and left wing publications; some of these were on show in this context at the gallery. Perhaps this is where my discomfort lies: the images seemed much more at home next to an article. The four storey Pump House is quite a vast exhibiting space; Kennard’s politically charged work can seem a little repetitive by the end. Maybe this is indicative of how saturated the media is with images of this kind, or maybe it demonstrates that our generation really is too politically indifferent.

The saving grace of ‘Uncertified Documents’ is the chance to see Kennard in collaboration with Cat Picton Phillips in a more performative piece. In the video piece ‘Stop Posters’, the artists are seen presenting some of their photomontage posters on the perimeter fence of RAF Lakenheath, a US army base. This is where the work should be, actively protesting rather than languidly urging exhibition-goers to do so. The fact that the army tries to get the artists arrested for this act makes the point of the nonsensical ways of the military better than the posters in the gallery ever could.

Explosions In The Sky typify instrumental post rock. Their compositions, information pills that often stretch to ten minutes in length, approved comprise of intricate, viagra 40mg technically sound musicianship characterised by a duelling guitar sound that is both brilliantly epic, wonderfully subdued, melodic, raucous, and at times breathtaking. A skilful avoidance of self indulgence, and just the right amount of commercialism has resulted in a prolonged career, helped in no small part by a relentless commitment to the gruelling schedules of life on the road. Tonight’s show is the second UK date as part of a 5 month world tour – the Texans barely pausing for breath following a similar jaunt in the second half of 2007. An enthusiasm of this nature is essential for a band given the unenviable task of headlining the soul-less cavern that is Bristol’s Anson Rooms. You can’t help but feel that any band playing here are up against it from the start. Ultimately, tonight, Explosions can’t quite overcome the handicaps they are faced with, which is a real shame. But it would be wrong to attribute an underwhelming performance entirely on the substandard venue. Some blame lies with the band themselves.

Interaction is one of the main problems this evening. There are no vantage points in The Anson Rooms meaning that even a clear view of the band proves problematic. This is coupled with a bizarrely quiet stage sound and consequently two of the most essential elements of live performance are largely diminished . The band’s lack of audience interaction is normally something to admire – it highlights the absence of bravado, promoting a simplicity that allows the music to do all the talking. But here it seemingly increases the division between band and crowd. It’s frustrating, and the frustration is merely compounded by an audience who remain hushed throughout. Instead of creating a poignant atmosphere, the place just feels a bit awkward.

It is testament to the quality of the band’s output though that there are still some moments to savour, despite such testing circumstances. Memorial arrives three songs into the eight song set, providing glimpses of what Explosions are capable of. It crackles and twinkles and leads you on a merry dance before unleashing itself with a carefree abandon. Such ferocity still thrills even without the benefits of unfamiliarity.

There were no similar heights reached during the remainder of the performance, only fleeting moments, but given the right surroundings Explosions can be a great live act. Here’s hoping they avoid the Anson Rooms the next time they visit these shores.

Whether this comes as good or bad news, prescription this is quite different from last year’s Barnaby. Unlike the aforementioned computer game electronica, adiposity there is something outdated about All Over My Face. It could rest easily in 1997 with Morcheeba and The Sneaker Pimps. At least this trip-hop approach shows that My Toys Like Me are more than a one-trick-pony.

Frances Noon must be bored of people describing her voice as “childlike” or “infantile”. If all you had to go on was Barnaby, troche then you could be forgiven for assuming she can’t sing. But she definitely can and this is the proof.

Noon’s voice shimmers over Lazlo Legezer‘s dub beat, mariachi horns and acoustic guitar. Her overdubbed vocals spiral out from behind this mix hauntingly along with a smattering of electronic noise that sounds like owls whistling. Lyrically it’s a little pseudo-romantic but the only marvel of this track is its construction around Noon’s compelling tones.

This single is released with two other remixes. The J-star mix brings the horns to the front but also increases the bounce with a reggae guitar line. On the other hand, the Hostmix augments the original’s creepiness, taking the edge off the dub and stripping down the accompaniments. Worryingly these tracks precede the original mix on the copy I was given, which suggests they are as underwhelmed with it as I am.
Although beer companies no longer use this kind of music in their ads, you can envisage sitting on a leather chair in some bar full of wood-trim and orange neon. It lacks any of the spunk or grit that My Toys Like Me have shown before. If nothing else, All Over My Face is an exercise in versatility and they have proved they can make decent background music.

With a stage decorated in pink flowers and fairy lights, purchase the Brudenell had become a veritable twee-folk domicile. Purveyors of brooding alt-country inflected with twangs of Americana, cost The Rosie Taylor Project sing forlorn tales of alcoholism and lost love. Melancholy and nostalgia intertwine through their literate and confessional lyrics, viagra order which were conveyed by measured vocals and echoed in the plaintive tones of the trumpet and acoustic guitar. The recent addition of a drummer and subtraction of their lead guitarist has induced the group to experiment. Sadly, this meant they altered an old favourite, Sun On My Right, by increasing the volume and adding synthesized effects to the backing vocals. On the whole though, change has proven to be a good thing for the band, who unveiled new songs to their set. The ethereal A Few Words Of Farewell, was a highlight, deftly summarizing idealised love in its opening lines: “they say she’s not all she seems, you’re only seeing what you dream“.

Playing to a full house might be daunting for a band with just two members, but Slow Club live are something special. They fill the stage with their vivacious presence, delivering a panoply of folk-pop songs with verve and panache. A playful, bouncy boy/girl duo from Sheffield, they are not afraid to dance to their own songs. They trade in twee and are unfailingly upbeat. Their rockabilly thrumming and mellifluous harmonies evoke American campfire singsongs and ’50s prom bands. A teenage fascination with sex and death is humorously and honestly conveyed in their lyrics, which evoke childhood summers and awkward teen romances, but with a self-deprecation that is unmistakeably British. Even their self-proclaimed Sex Song, all pulsating bass drum and trembling guitar, opens with the smirk-inducing line: “There are things in my wallet I will never use”. Executed with all the vibrancy their youth affords, their songs- Because We’re Dead and ode to adolescent marriage pacts When I Go – gloss over any latent morbidity with sugar sweet sentiments. Like their song, Apples and Pairs, this duo is so cutesy and sentimental they could be dismissed as schmaltzy, saccharine also-rans.

However, they incite smiles all round, and it’s hard to think of a more uplifting pair. Their bubbly personalities are so captivating, their cheeriness so infectious, that they can be forgiven any hint of mawkishness, and even a degree of technical buffoonery. Rebecca says she’s can’t play guitar, and does falter occasionally, but her lilting voice carries over any mishaps. In fact, these moments when their set breaks down are a vital ingredient of their charm as a live band. They glide over technical glitches with quips and easy laughter. Enjoyable to the last song, Slow Club Summer Shakedown gets their crowd jigging and ambling again in a Northern version of a country ho-down. More twee please!

In the heart of Dalston, drug down the end of a small alley road was a large garage with a little door. Through this door, more about a group of 24 artists showcased their work. Sculpture, cialis 40mg music, performance and photography took place in the old car workshop that was far away from the usual pristine white walls of gallery spaces and created a rustic, and inspiring location for this exhibition, MC Motors.
With flame heaters to warm those tootsies, and the symphonious sound of a violinist haunting the open rooms, I found myself immersed in the eclectic furniture and art.

Sitting on a small row of old cinema chairs, I watched Alana Revell-Rohr and Charlie Sekers’ presentation of two simultaneous slide projections. On the white and heavily chipped brick walls they had written sentences, which as the slides changed, made utterly random and odd sentences, such as ‘think of the possibilities…ginger used to some with us’. James Gillham‘s installation of a suspended boxing bag and a series of photographs of boxers faced Andrea Greenwood‘s gym bars. Christopher Patrick’s rusty, brass bed frame contrasted with his bunches of coloured pencils hung throughout the entire room (below). On the table, a small china ornament of a lady and a man, broken to reveal the river of red crystals. A giant blackened banana was decorated with white and red patterns by Ben Nathan, and Katie Miller had her photograph of a woman squatting on a wooden chair, with a large black paper cone on her head, covering her face; a surreal portrait perhaps.

Anna Sikorska had a giant installation of what looked like a huge upturned, dead flower, and a fully laid dinner table with knobs of butter. Molly Gibson’s photographs, portraying the different cultures of 5 shopkeepers, hung in the back room with the parked retro car. Up the spiral staircase, was a short film of an OAP in his residential home. “I eat porridge everyday,” said Gordan, a 62-year-old pensioner.

So there we have it, MC Motors, an exhibition heaving with expensive collectables made into art; a backlash at the contemporary, formal galleries with little imagination.

Opening their set to the swaggering bombast of She Was Always Cool, approved The Brute Chorus performed with promising gusto. Not merely toe-tapping or leg twitching, more about their torsos were jerking around the stage as if possessed. Jiving in brogues and bathed in red light, it seemed as though they were auditioning for the devil himself. Their music comprised the marching drums of Archie Bronson Outfit conjoined with the hand-clapping skiffle-rock of The Rumble Strips.

The Brute Chorus shun the current vogue for lyrical mundanity espoused by their contemporaries Kate Nash and Jack Penate. They prefer to fictionalize experience into folk tales and femme fatales. The cantering drumbeat of Nebuchadnezzar accompanied reminiscences of an old flame: “she sucked the rings from off of my fingers… she made me forget I was a poor boy, she made me feel like a king”. Its thumping bass line and bluesy guitar was punctuated with kazoo, whilst Chateau featured a bass line straight out of The Cure’s Lovecats.

Grow Fins signalled a momentary dip as they tried their hand at a sing-along pop song. It was a faux-rock affair in the vein of The Zutons that bumpety-bumped along until the advent of a cheesy guitar crescendo, all topped off with a drunken sailor of a chorus, “Let it rain, yeah let it rain now, let it rain!”

Luckily, they soon reverted course to their garage roots. Vocalist Tigs joined them on stage for a rendition of their single The Cuckoo and The Stolen Heart, which sounded like The Noisettes taking on Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. A revengeful Poe-esque narrative told to foot-stomping country, the duet romped through Murder Ballads territory, effusing the folk-tale vernacular of Henry Lee with such lines as, “A heart that never loved can never bleed”.

It certainly seems a case of ‘better the devil you know’, for if only they would discard the weak pop songs and cultivate the rockabilly and reverb that they excel at, The Brute Chorus could go far.

A gallery. The wrong place for music. One table, order the kind you see wrestlers thrown through. An iMac, things with keys in strange places, dry ice, a sampler, a suitcase, something you’re supposed to blow, something marked “Korg”, a drum in the middle. A reverential silence. Two American-looking guys arrive, baggily clothed. They have surprising middle England accents.

They play some pretty plinky piano, a pleasant tip-toe on a keyboard. Here comes the fuzz. Effects pedal: on. Benjamin John Power, one of men onstage grimaces. He and his friend Andrew Hung sway to an inaudible beat. Then an angry growl oscillates your organs. It bursts and bounces around the room, which suddenly seems vast. An intense man in the audience purses his lips and nods along as if agreeing with every cascading sound wave.

Power felates a toy mic plugged into a toy radio and mimes frantic mouth movements around it. The result is distant death metal, obscured under radio static. Notes, oscillations and treated vocals are juggled in much the way you’d expect. You can freak out during music like this. “What is the mood? What is the point?” Perhaps it’s best to be content to just “experience” it. In general the guys nod, the girls watch as if in awe of some magical art.

Later we’re in a deeply unsettling dream. Alarms of every kind, and a wasteland of white noise. Tribal drums. It’s very po-faced. The vast, sprawling electronic noise is building to an evasive climax that you’re made to feel foolish for ever expecting. There’s a touch more form and order than most “noise”, but nothing discerningly clever or emotionally affecting going on. It feels dark and difficult. I guess my impulsive desire to write down a stream of evocative words as soon as they came onstage is proof that there’s something intangibly intriguing about Fuck Buttons‘ music. And I’d prefer to be confused, uncomfortable, even repulsed by music than bored.

But Fuck Buttons, as a wise quasi-racist man once sang, “say nothing to me about my life”. That’s no crime if you make something transcendent and immersive, but they’re neither. The music is distracting, rather than compelling. Neither admirable, nor charismatic, nor particularly fun. They turn into a mutant Underworld at one point, riding their first straight beat of the night, rocking out over their synths. It’s less cerebral, but immediately more brisk and arresting than anything else they’ve done so far. It feels like the segue between two really good songs in a DJ set. Once again, the pay-off never arrives.

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Amelia’s Magazine | FrYars – THE PERFIDY EP


With such dry, look visit ironic observations as ‘home is where the house is‘, this cialis 40mg Superabundance introduces itself as a melodious continuation of the faux-geek, visit web insightful pop-rock that first emerged in Voices of Animals and Men, but proceeds to take us on a spiralling journey into the dark depths of the Young Knives‘ psyche. In Terra Firma, we are confronted with the beginnings of the climactic incantations that slowly envelop us in a humming and howling hypnosis in Current of the River, which follows a sombre, medieval chant in the delightfully foreboding, pagan harmonies of Mummy Light the Fire. I don’t like to compare bands, but I found some of their wistful, nautical narratives redolent of the Decemberists‘ historical fictions.

While the insinuations of suicide in Counters left me feeling tempted to phone the three band members to see that they were alright, Rue the Days has a positively nonchalant nineties feel and Flies, a gentle meditation on the natural world, seems to encapsulate a recurring fascination with human-animal relationships; a little idiosyncratic perhaps, but I get the feeling this album is somewhat an eruption of the Young Knives’ musical multiple personality.

I listened to every word of the album, and realised it was poetry; a super abundance of philosophical metaphors immersed in a synthesis of unexpected genres, undulating from pensive, orchestral flickers to thick, satisfying explosions of bass, good old enthusiastic shouting and some of the catchiest hooks around. It may leave you weeping, but it may just as well have you running out the house in your dancing shoes.

Photograph by Jason Nocito

Thrilling things happen when oddballs get their hands on dance music, sickness and Hercules And Love Affair are the perfect latest example of that. These five colourful characters currently breathing new life into disco are an NYC-based collective comprising of Hawaiian-born jewellery designer/DJ Kim Ann Foxman, illness Amazonian CocoRosie and Debbie Harry collaborator Nomi, about it gay B-boy dancer Shayne, Miss Piggy-loving ex-waiter Andrew Butler and new rave hoodie-donning keyboardist Morgan. And then there’s Antony Hegarty of course, he of the Johnsons fame, and it is his beautifully crooning vocals combined with the pulsing rhythms, incessant bassline and playful horns of Blind that has worked both dancefloor enthusiasts and bloggers into a frenzy since it leaked onto the internet late last year.

The outfit’s self-titled debut is littered with more of his famously melancholic performances over shimmering beat-driven efforts, but do this eccentric bunch have the talent and songwriting capabilities to sustain an entire album? The answer is yes – by the bucketload. Hercules And Love Affair slinks delicately into action with dark and sultry opener Time Will as Hegarty pleads “I cannot be half a wife” repeatedly over finger clicks and minimal backing before segueing nicely into Hercules Theme; a more upbeat affair driven by sweeping strings, soft female vocals and discordant brass snatches. This track along with the light and breezy sway of Athene, Iris’ stripped down stomp and the headspin-inducing walking bassline and scat singing of closer True False/Fake Real prove that Butler and co. can shine magnificently even when they don’t play the Antony trump card. One trick ponies this lot certainly are not.

Blind, of course, is sumptuous, sounding more and more like a classic with every listen, but it is cushioned by album tracks that each stand up admirably alongside it, and which reference everything from Chicago house to punk funk, techno and disco simultaneously through the irresistible ice cold veneer conjured up by killer production duo main-man Butler and DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy. In fact, Hercules And Love Affair is the perfect example of an epic work so cleverly constructed that its wide-ranging influences seep out subtly instead of bombarding the listener. Heartbreaking and dramatic yet utterly danceable, it boasts intelligence, heart and soul and features musical prowess that will stop you dead in your tracks. Prepare for this to soundtrack your life for months to come.

Once upon a time there was a hunter, help who woke one day to find himself transformed into the deer he killed before he had rested. Is he now the hunter? Or is he the prey?

Fashion, illness performance, advice and storytelling merged into one as Daydream Nation’s design duo Kay and Jing presented their ominous tale ‘Good Night Deer’ at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Whilst the audience sauntered in, a man stood behind the branched mic stand donning a furry animal head. He cackled, and whistled, and screeched, and crooned ‘There’s nothing in this world for you my dear’, whilst the band played at his side. The stage had morphed into a forest.

The lights dimmed, and the performers crept in with what looked like a white drum, acting as a moon. Each of them haunted the stage wearing sleeveless t-shirts in dark brown, with bark print on the front. By pulling them up over their heads giving the illusion of trees, the indoor theatre became a night scene. With all the garments made by manipulating old clothes, Kay and Jing create new myths each season. Two girls merged together in one outfit and became a deer, whilst others had t-shirts, and dresses in earthy beiges, browns and greens, and were embroidered with antlers and deer’s.

A large silver sheet was laid on the floor, with the hunter concealed beneath it. It rustled, and lifted, before finally revealing the deer. Looking up at its audience, it was literally a deer caught in the headlights. Draped coats fastened up with bows, and a brown pinafore was worn over a silk, blue blouse. Daydream Nation’s show was an utterly enjoyable evening, full of enthusiasm and creativity.








Young Love is the beautifully melancholic ode of a one-night stand. The Mystery Jets are bang-on in featuring Laura Marling, more about the latest young darling of the music scene, tadalafil on the first single to be taken from their second album, Twenty One. I’ve never been a huge Mystery Jets fan (I wasn’t fooled, and I most certainly wasn’t called Denis) but the dialogue between Laura and Blaine telling both sides of a brief encounter won me over within the first ten seconds.

In a move I haven’t seen since the works of Jane Austen, the love affair is cut short by that damnably unpredictable British weather. Far from regarding this as twee, the lyrics “you wrote your number on my hand but it came off in the rain” melted my icily sarcastic heart.

Laura sings of how “young love never seems to last”, and it’s with this stark honesty the dialogue tells of the ephemeral nature of youthful liaisons and the quiet acceptance of the pains of growing up. It’s this self-effacing honesty combined with the vintage handclaps, oohs and aahs that create one of the best pop songs of this year.

Oh, and check out the video: it’s bound to be at the top of the YouTube hit parade in no time, as Laura and the Mystery Jet boys are involved in a game of human curling. Now that should be an Olympic sport.
‘Five Portraits of Cloth’, site a large scale, tadalafil cunningly crafted work by Jayne Archard could have been an enveloping piece – if it hadn’t had to compete with cramped canteen style tables and chairs. The Tricycle Gallery suffers a problem often seen in community arts spaces: areas are not properly defined, this meaning that an exhibition space can be transformed into a cinema’s ante-room, and a café’s overspill seating space. I’m all for showing artwork in something other than the traditional White Cube, but it can only be a hindrance to the work when you have to battle with a chair to see it properly.

‘Other Visible Things’
is part of the Tricycle Gallery’s Recent Graduates 2008 programme; giving artists like Archard and Knight valuable exposure that can be difficult to achieve so soon after graduation. Regrettably, in this case the work shown doesn’t function as well in the outside world as in the bubble of the art college – why should the artists assume that all the gallery goers would be able to read, or even care about, the references to conceptual art history? Adam Knight’s ‘Studio Corner (After Mel Bochner)‘(below) is an interesting photograph that investigates illusion and the documentation of a sculptural object, so why the need for the clever nudges and winks to those with a subscription to Art Review?

Even the title of this show is taken from Bochner‘s influential exhibition: ‘Working Drawings And Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art‘. In the confines of the art college studio, Archard and Knight’s works are accessible as the viewers are more likely to have a similar knowledge to that of the makers. In the Tricycle Gallery, a space attached to a café, theatre and cinema in Kilburn, the art history allusions can seem like an elitist in-joke. I can see that Knight’s work in particular could be viewed as a playful re-working of ideas about Minimalism and Conceptual Art, but unfortunately the humour falls short.


Walking into Gramaphone five minutes into Tom James Scott‘s set was not a good idea. His music sounded so delicate that even the whir of the drinks refrigerators was distracting, this web so the sound of a door opening and two stumbling youths almost threatened to destroy the ethereal atmosphere he had created. His fragile guitar sound had an almost filmic quality; evoking images of cinematic landscapes. The performance seemed shyly self conscious, order perhaps a little fractured, but in a way that only enhanced its subtle beauty.

The acapella sound that began Wounded Knee’s set also demanded the audience’s full attention: the quiet fell once more. The singular figure of Drew Wright concocted an alchemy of sounds that ranged from the ghostly to the jubilant. Relying on effects pedals to build up intricate and textured music, the songs still sounded firmly traditional. Who’d have thought that a looped kazoo and bassy scat singing could sound so Gaelic! His music contrasts a sense of history with a playful method of music-making to create a joyful racket.

Having been lulled into a state of wooziness by the last two acts, I’m not sure I was quite ready for Jenny Hoyston. Perhaps it wasn’t that well-considered a line up by Upset The Rhythm, as previously I was more than eager to see the solo efforts of Erase Errata’s vocalist/guitarist. Hoyston’s back and forth with the audience seemed to amuse most people present, but to me it jarred after the pathos of James Scott and Wounded Knee. However, there’s no doubt that the slightly scrappy sound of Hoyston and her drummer revived me slightly; driven on by the sparse yet considered drum sound. Brief, low fi songs shined when they included rhythmic Krautrock references. It’s just a shame that the vitality of Hoyston’s music seemed oddly displaced after the previous acts.

The toilet paper is really thin here in Brazil. And it’s tropical as all hell. In an invigorating, this though makes-me-wilt-severely kinda way. And that’s about all I have to complain about so far.

We’ve been here since Wednesday and since then it’s been non-stop. We touched down on Wednesday at 6.30am after a smooth and fairly non-eventful flight on a Brazilian airline. The lights inside the cabin were getting all new rave and glo-stick on us, prostate which I actually quite enjoyed. Plenty of leg room, this site and even better: not one, but TWO spare seats adjacent to us. I live for the movies and the food when I fly, and was really impressed with the whole thing until I settled in to watch Nanny Diaries, when halfway through it, it switched over to Pirates of the Caribbean in Portugese. Nooooooooo I’m forever doomed to the dis-satisfaction of never being bothered to want to watch the first half of that film again to get to the part where Nanny gets with cute boy and affects loving change in her employers’ lives.
The effects of global warming are clearly upon us. Whether it’s on the front page of the newspaper, stuff or staring us right in the face, abortion climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing us today. Blooming and reproducing in February; even nature and wildlife seem to be getting confused what time of year it is! The world seems to be wilting before our eyes. Environmental activists have been pushing the seriousness of this problem for a long time now, and thankfully the rest of the world are starting to take note. Artists, historically, are often first on the mark too, defining such issues. ‘Climate 4 Change’ exhibition does just that.

Leaflets and posters emblazoned with ‘Campaign against climate change’, and ‘Do you know the constitution of human rights?’ overwhelmed me as I entered. The smell of incense hit my nose.

Allie Biswas’ ‘No Rave’ painting (below) propped against the wall on the floor. Her abstract blue painting was organic, with orange, green and yellow forms, often dripping down the canvas. Frustrated with the ‘anonymous’ theme running throughout the exhibition, she claimed her work by scribbling her name on a post-it-note, and sticking it to the wall.
In the ‘Bombastic Bureau’, a man with his oversized army jacket, wearing a shiny wrestling mask protests: ‘Don’t worry I’m here, here to kill the rabbit!’ As the notes on a keyboard haunted the space, on the wall were projections of war. In a small room on its own was a short film where hands pushed and pulled, gripped and slipped throughout, defining gravity.

There was a small, perspex house, suitable for a hamster, but filled with furniture, beds, a TV, kitchen, even a parked car outside. Sawdust covered the floor, and food pellets spilled over the sink. Opposite, a man sat on the floor and asked me to shred pages of newspaper. As I proceeded on doing so, he took the tears, put them in a sealable food bag, and signed it ‘Don’. “What does it mean?” I asked, “It would take too long, I’ll tell you in the pub afterwards! Make of it what you want,” he replied. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make of it, and maybe he didn’t either, but the bag is sitting next to me now, so thank you Don!




Glasgow School of Arts textiles degree has churned out some pretty talented folk in its time; Jonathan Saunders and Pam Hogg are just two of their previous students. So all eyes will be on the graduates showcasing their womenswear collections in the Fashion as Textiles show at the Atrium Gallery. This exhibition aims to explore the relationship between textiles and fashion and dispel the idea of these as two separate disciplines.
Suspended from the ceiling Emmi Lahtinen‘s simple shift dresses hang like clouds, more about weightless yet substantial. Inspired by Finnish minimalism and Cecil Beaton, Lahtinen’s dresses embody a sense of light, depth and wonder. Her rain-soaked palate of greys, blues and greens are created using a mixture of screen printing and dying with digital inkjets.
Inspired by the stained glass windows in Glasgow’s Burrell Collection, Lori Marshall’s collection features high-waisted leggings with digital-prints of stained glass, laser etched velour and layered tops of sheer fabric with Tudor-style ruffled necklines.
Florence To moves away from conventional approaches to textile design. Working in neutral colours, To wraps strips of raffia and polyvinyl around wooden rings. These are linked together to create large-scale accessories, which are draped over tailored silhouettes, creating serene and lightweight designs.
Combining woven fabrics with synthetic materials, Shona Douglas’ collection challenges traditional approaches to weaving. Using raw edged silks and wools cut to fold around the body, Douglas’s skirts and tunics combine a rough-hewn aesthetic with a minimalist approach.
Huddling in the corner like a murder of crows, Louise Browns blue and black coats are dramatic and elegant, featuring appliquéd velvet roses, and topped with light-as-moor-mist ruffles. Brown focuses on volume and as a quote from Coco Chanel overhead reminds us: ‘Fashion is architecture, it is a matter of proportions’.
Although the layout of the Atrium means that some of the students have had to cramp their work into one corner, the gallery is flooded is light and its size allows intimacy, encouraging a closer view of the clothes and highlighting the details that are missed in fashion shows. That these textiles stand up to this level of scrutiny is a testimony to the talent of these promising designers.


Seven pound alcoholic ‘Coconut Grenades’ combined with WAG central a la Mahiki Bar was perhaps not the ideal location for treating my ears to a lovely bit of Swedish pop. However, cialis 40mg I was determined not to let jersey sequinned smock dresses and trout pouts get in the way of seeing my new favourite female artist, stomach Lykke Li, who EVERYONE who is anyone is talking about, singing her wee heart out whilst shakin’ them hips, and proceeded to squeeze my way to the front of the unjustifiably ostentatious venue.

The best thing to come out of Sweden since momma’s homemade meatballs, this innocent-looking, (looking being the operative word) Bambi-eyed 21-year old starlet knocked me off my feet that fine evening, and left me hungry for more. Performing late in the night under extremely dim lighting – advanced apologies about the video quality – it was initially hard to get into the mood, but when Lykke’s alluring voice rang out to Dance, Dance, Dance it was effortless to let go of all previous pent-up bitterness; a perfectly chosen track to start off the show. Creating an all round exhilarating but unperturbed ambience, she continued to deliver hefty handfuls of arousing yet sensitive, alternative pop, with tracks such as I’m Good I’m Gone packing a jaunty punch with an attitude, the heart-wrenching Tonight, and the most painfully addictive song of the year, Little Bit, which just happens to be her forthcoming single. Sincere and honest words of unrequited love, pain, lust and heartache were sung in an omen to the most complicated of relationships.

With dance moves as quirky as her Princess Leia inspired hair-do, and mountainous amounts of raw energy, the pretty young thing owned the stage and was within her own element, even with the rather challenging audience present. Hopefully the next time Lykke will be down in London town her team will be able to find a better-suiting venue to compliment such fine talent. Now if you excuse me, I shall be off to listen to her album, Youth Novels, on repeat again and again. And again.

Lykke Li performing ‘Little Bit’ live @ Mahiki – for more Amelia’s videos click away: AMELIA’S VIDS.

If Kate Bush was a man, prostate joined a book club with Joy Division, had Patrick Wolf over for cups of tea on a regular basis and they all did each others’ make-up on ketamine, this collective of genius might have produced sounds equivalent to FrYars‘ musical offering. Following last year’s EP The Ides, The Perfidy is a keyboard-borne manifestation of this scenario of auditory dreams, but with unique elements that only FrYars – the pseudonym of nineteen-year-old Ben Garrett – could create; songs formed from prose, telling melancholic folk stories of treacherous impregnation, ‘evil’ and the collapsing marriage of a novelist: “Now you can see there’s a mess you’re in/ No problem solved without ketamine/ And it’s probably best that you stay in your hole/ For I’d rather stick to my ethanol”. The video for Olive Eyes is like a French film noir starring Garrett as a New Romantic enshrouded in horrifying shadows, contemptuously eating a bowl of cornflakes. Indeed, there is something of the k-hole that lingers in this slightly nightmarish scene, but something equally intriguing and seductive; a conflicting attraction which the music itself also provokes. I imagine it is most probable that when he finished the making of this EP, FrYars raised Lord Nelson from the dead, had a duel with him, and won; such is the strength of the message that anything is possible, subliminally communicated through FrYars’ astonishingly original work. Kismet, Hardy! I’m off to join that book club.

Categories ,Music Book Club

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Amelia’s Magazine | Bella Union Label Night at the Union Chapel

Naomi New was undoubtedly one of the highlights at Graduate Fashion Week 2010. Her incredible costumes dazzled the press and had me bouncing up and down on my seat at the Northumbria show and the Gala Show, there for which Naomi was one of very few students selected.

I had a chance to have a chat with Naomi about her experience of Graduate Fashion Week, more about her advice for next year’s brood, unhealthy and what the future has in store.

Why did you choose to study fashion?
I have always been fascinated with clothes, how they define who we are and communicate that to others. When I was young I used to dance and loved designing my own costumes, picking fabrics and even helping sewing on sequins; so from early on I have always known I was going to be a fashion designer.

Did you undertake any placements during your studies?
I did two internships. I spent one month with womenswear designer Aimee McWilliams, then went on to spend five months with a high street supply company, Pentex Ltd. This gave me a fantastic insight into working in fashion in two different areas.

What inspires you, both for this collection and generally?
I am a hands on designer who immerses themselves into the brief. I believe that inspiration is all around us and never leave home without a camera or a sketchpad. I like to visit as many exhibitions and museums as possible, visit archives to get a closer look at my subject and always feel inspired by theatre and film. The inspiration for my collection came from my life long love of horse riding and a visit to the royal armouries at the Tower of London where they were showing Henry VII armour. As my research developed I looked at military wear and most importantly the post-apocalypse films Mad Max.
The concept behind the collection really came from the Mad Max Road Warrior film, where Max battles with both good and bad to survive in a world that had been abused; where survivors were left with nothing. I felt that the story wasn’t too dissimilar to what we are living now, with the recession. I wanted to make a collection to equip the modern day woman in her quest to be successful throughout her life.

Your collection was one of the most flamboyant and creative of any I saw at GFW. Did you consciously decide to avoid commercial viability, or was this not a factor?
I didn’t set out to make something crazy and out there, I just knew that that was what was going to happen – it’s just me and I am very happy you think my collection was one of the most creative at GFW. That’s a massive compliment.
When designing and making the collection I was very conscious of the fact that this was probably going to be the only chance I would have to do something totally me and totally the way I wanted it. I took a risk in doing so but I worked very hard to ensure the collection was theatrical and flamboyant while still beautiful with intricate and authentic details. I think the risk paid off, the collection is everything I dreamed of.

Your collection made use of materials with high aesthetic appeal and avoided bright colours. Is there any reason for this?
The colour story of my collection was inspired by the Mad Max film I have mentioned – in the film two rival gangs fight, one dressed in white and the other black, so I decided to have halve the collection with these colours.
I wanted each look to make a statement, so I decided to have each look mainly one-block colour for the most graphic impact.
From my equestrian and armour influence I knew I wanted to use leather, suede, metal and neoprene, all fabrics that protect the body. But the Mad Max film inspired me to push the metal hardware content and look to further alternative materials such as ostrich, bone, chain, horse hair and human hair.

What did you like about Northumbria and Newcastle in general?
I chose to study at Northumbria for its amazing reputation and facilities. I couldn’t have asked for better tutors and technical staff. I’m also based close by in Sunderland and at the time of applying for universities I felt it would be foolish to move away when I live so close to a great university. Living at home also ment that I have been able to really focus on my studies.

How did it feel to be selected for the Gala show? Did you expect to win?
I never in a million years thought I would be chosen for the gala. I was delighted to show at GFW and that was enough for me, seeing my collection open the Northumbria show was amazing. In fact, as soon as the last look in my collection left the catwalk, I couldn’t stop crying! It was so overwhelming and what I had dreamed for.
When I found out about the gala I couldn’t believe it, it is such an honor that the judges liked my work and it was a privilege to show the gala judges my portfolio. The gala show itself was amazing and I got to meet some great people through it, too.

Does this open even more doors?
I think being in the top ten has opened more doors for me, I have had a lot of interest from stylists and photographers who want to use pieces after seeing them in the gala show, which is fantastic. A few looks are possibly going to China in the next couple of weeks for a promotion event for GFW, which is amazing too.

You received a lot of attention from the press, who compared your collection to both Lady Gaga and Elvis‘ wardrobes. How does that feel?
I was over the moon with all of the press attention. My muse is Lady Gaga, so when I read the references to her I was delighted. I admire her strength and individuality and feel she is the prime example of a woman who has had to use dramatic fashion in the battle to be noticed and be successful. When working on the collection having Lady Gaga as my muse gave me confidence to keep pushing myself further and further, to create something people could see her wearing, it would be a dream to see them on her.
The Elvis suggestions are a compliment too, I grew up with my dad always playing Elvis’ music and I have always regarded him as one of my personal fashion icons, so this must have shown through.

Which designers do you admire or look to for inspiration?
As you can see from my collection I like drama in fashion and have always admired Alexander McQueen’s showmanship and rebelliousness. I am also really inspired by the work of Iris Van Herpen; she uses a lot of leather in her collections with amazing detail so I worked hard to aspire to her standards when making my collection.

What advice would you give to students preparing their collections for GFW 2011?
I would tell them to go with their heart and work harder than you ever thought you could work. Always look for ways that you can improve and develop your work and ask for and listen to feedback from tutors and peers. It is the most amazing year you will ever have and all the hard work really does pay off – you will want to do it all over again.

What do you have planned for the coming months?
In the next couple of months I will be sending some pieces to China as I said and will also be showing some pieces from the collection at Pure London where they are organising a similar GFW show, which is really exciting. I want to continue making one off pieces that have a similar feel to my collection. Other than that I will be looking to relocate in London where I will be open to all opportunities that (hopefully) come my way!

Illustration by Dan Heffer

Around the monolithic event that is Graduate Fashion Week at Earl’s Court, ambulance there exists what might be known as satellite events. This is no way refers to the quality of work that is on display only to the difference in size between shows. I was lucky enough to visit the millenary on show at Kensington and Chelsea College’s end of year show.

I’m not sure whether it’s the wedding’s I’ve been too recently or the constant press attention regarding the ladies hats at certain races (hello Ainscourt) but recently I’ve been paying more attention to headwear.

Illustration by Lauren

The quality of the work on display was unmistakable and a joy to photograph through the sculpture shapes. Each Milliner had created a story around their final product, some of the topics covered envoked narcassim, Alice in Wonderland

Illustration by Rachael

to old myths and Legends.

Illustration by Krister Selin

Photographs by Sally Mumby-Croft

Bella Union are one of those labels who quietly release album after album of quality music, adiposity waylaying the hype and bullshit that so often surrounds major labels’ releases and concentrating instead on seeking out and nurturing some of the most impressive and talented folk and country artists of recent years. With the likes of Midlake, cialis 40mg Fleet Foxes, buy more about Andrew Bird and Radiohead’s Phil Selway on their books, the label is fast becoming a stamp of true quality for singer songwriters, and what better place to air the talents of a handful of their more recent signings than the echoing and intimate surroundings of Islington’s Union Chapel.
First up is Alessi Laurent-Marke, otherwise known as Alessi’s Ark. Wandering onto the empty stage barely announced with the sun streaming in through the stained glass windows, Alessi’s self-deprecating charm wins over the lucky few who arrived early. Her unique voice takes on a strange accented tone placing her somewhere between Dublin and Bergen rather than her native Hammersmith, captivating the audience from the first note. ‘Roots In My Boots’, ‘How Are Things Looking’ and ‘Woman’ are delicately executed, with brilliant acoustic guitar picking and ethereal melancholic tones. The crowd sit in silent appreciation, the grandiose surroundings lending an air of reverence to the proceedings that continues throughout the night.

Next up is Leeds native Lone Wolf (aka Paul Marshall), this time accompanied by a full band. With a sound that seems at odds with itself, Marshall clearly appreciates the value of a stadium rock anthem a la Coldplay, but toys with the folk sensibilities of so many of his label mates, not always with successful results. With a voice that wouldn’t sound out of place on the west end stage, Marshall is clearly a talented multi instrumentalist, but his songs are, at times, paint by numbers Americana with a strange clash of styles and direction. Is he folk or AOR? He is at his best when his powerful voice is softened and delicate and he can certainly nail a whistling solo, which is no mean feat. Sadly, however, I was left wishing it was headliner for the evening, John Grant, behind the mic rather than Marshall.

Third act on stage are the fascinating and one of a kind vocal outfit Mountain Man. Contrary to their moniker, Mountain Man are three girls in their early twenties from the States who perform close harmony a capella bluegrass ditties without the use of microphones or amplifiers. Their unpretentious and precocious talents are intoxicating as they giggle and grin through their charming set, with the now full crowd eating out of their dainty hands. Never before has a venue and an artist fitted so perfectly. Their madrigal stylings and pious looks are so at home in the sacred surroundings it seems hard to imagine them performing anywhere else. Their sound is at once soothing and exhilarating, steeped in a long bluegrass tradition, which seems at odds with the three young girls standing up on stage. There is no pomp or pretention, just huge amounts of talent and charisma – which makes a refreshing change. By the end of their all-too-short set, there was a universal sense of having just experienced something very special indeed with set highlight ‘How’m I doin’ left echoing round the heads of all who had the blessed luck of seeing this most fascinating and unique of vocal groups.

Finally comes the man that the crowd have been waiting for. John Grant comes with a whole load of emotional baggage. For the uninitiated, Grant suffered years of suicidal depression following the collapse of his beloved group The Czars, only being pulled out of his mental struggles by label mates Midlake, who agreed to act as backing band on his latest album ‘Queen Of Denmark’.
As the big man takes to the stage, there is a sense of relief from the crowd to see him looking so good, so healthy and so.,well…alive. King of self confessional balladry, Grant kicks off proceedings with stunning missive to a lost love ‘TC & Honeybear.’ His rich and powerful vocals echo round the vaulted chapel with his wistful piano following suit. He has a mesmerising stage presence – his sheer towering size not withstanding, he seems strangely vulnerable behind the full beard and slicked back hair. Throwing out ballad after ballad, his sincerity is touching and real, although some may find it a little soppy at times – Grant is not a stranger to cynicism and humour in his music, but the overpowering notion of heartbreak lends pathos to his music, however irreverent. He is most successful when sat at his piano – the few tracks he performs standing up front are a little awkward, but the songs are so perfect that any weaknesses in physical performance are quickly forgiven. The starkly personal and raw nature of his songs creates a special intimacy between performer and audience, his set becoming more personal catharsis than straightforward performance. Finishing his near perfect set with spine tinglers ‘Queen Of Denmark’, ‘Fireflies’ and ‘Caramel’, there were a fair few moist eyes in the crowd, mine included. An all-consuming experience.

So hats off to Bella Union, who put together an honest, unpretentious, impressive and charmingly understated line up this evening. Following the four predominantly brilliant performances showcased this evening, Bella Union are without doubt one of the most exciting and respect worthy indie labels around at the moment.

Categories ,Alessi’s Ark, ,Bella Union, ,Fleet Foxes, ,Gig review, ,John Grant, ,Lone Wolf, ,Midlake, ,Mountain Man, ,Phil Selway, ,union chapel

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Amelia’s Magazine | Interview with Swedish singer Cornelia about new single Aquarius Dreams

Cornelia by Lisa Stannard
Cornelia by Lisa Stannard.

New music sensation Cornelia was introduced to me by Manchester based illustrator Lisa Stannard, abortion who features in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Cornelia's Aquarius Dream by Fawn Carr
Cornelia’s Aquarius Dream by Fawn Carr.

Cornelia is a talented singer, songwriter and producer who hails from Sweden but is now based in London. Her new single Aquarius Dreams was released a few weeks ago, accompanied by a wonderful animated video. Let’s find out more…

Peaceful Intensity for Cornelia by Joanne Oatts
Peaceful Intensity for Cornelia by Joanne Oatts.

How do you know our lovely Lisa Stannard? One of the featured illustrators in my new book told me about you…
Lisa fluttered into my life by coincidence, sharing common friends and flowers. Her distinct laughter and lashes swift as butterflies’ wings made me curious. They say creative hearts draw to each other.

Cornelia by Finn O'Brien
Cornelia by Finn O’Brien.

How did you growing up in a remote rural location affect your creativity?
?Growing up on a barren island gave me a big, colourful palette to play with. No physical instruments or tools except my piano. But a lot of sky, lone walks and time to read books.

Cornelias by Sam Parr
Cornelias by Sam Parr.

How did you get from Sweden to London? There must have been some steps in between…
?A few years back I followed the path from Stockholm to Barcelona, where I met some of my first London friends. They persuaded me that London was the city for me. I started exploring this curious melting pot, and eventually moved here.

cornelia Aquarius Dreams
Photography by Christopher Hunt.

What was your previous band called and how would you describe it in three words?
I’ve been in many musical constellations, but only one traditional band before I decided to explore music on my own. It was called Popshop. I remember I didn’t really like that name, it made us sound like something plastic. Which we weren’t. But I liked my band. It was naïve, charming and a good learning curve.?

Cornelia by Jane Young
Cornelia by Jane Young.

In starting your own label you have planted your own ‘savage seed’ in order to control your own destiny. What have been the best and hardest things about this process?
?You can never fully control your own destiny? But you can plant your creativity where it has the potential to grow freely, organic and unique. The trick is to find the right soil, and it took me a long time to get settled.

What happens on Camp Mozart? Are you planning to release other musician’s music too? Do you produce for others?
I write songs for others. Maybe because I like the challenge. And I hope to put out more music by other musicians but there will be a time and place for that.

Cornelia by Lina Hansson.

Who or what inspires you vocally?
Hauschka’s music. It makes me sing. ?

Aquarius Dreams by Jane Young
Aquarius Dreams by Jane Young.

You are inspired by the hip hop and electronic scenes – how did you get involved with these?
Music comes to you a bit like friends do. You have a few things in common but still there’s something interesting and different with them that you want to find out more about.?

YouTube Preview ImageAquarius Dreams

How was the video made for Aquarius Dreams?
The video is made by Martyn Thomas from Stitch That. Martyn used stop motion techniques with each frame of film sketched by hand, then individually photographed against a backlight. It’s the work of a champion. Everything of flesh and blood in this video is sketched by hand like they are made up beings, whilst dead things like metal robots or lampshades looks perfectly real. I guess I’m trying to describe how it can be to get caught up in your own creativity and loose concept of reality.

Cornelia by Sally Jane Thompson
Cornelia by Sally Jane Thompson.

What are you doing for the rest of your summer? Any recommendations?
I’m rehearsing my live set, supporting Portico Quartet in London in August. I’m slowly finishing my album with my co-producer Utters and I’m also working on some productions with Scratcha DVA for his next album. I’ve been travelling so much this spring that I’m going to try and stay put for a bit. Enjoy that I’m living in one of the most culture hectic capitals of the world, not too far away from some stunning nature scenery.

Cornelia by Camille Block
Cornelia by Camille Block.

A long walk around the lake district is one of the most soothing yet energising things I’ve done in my life. If anything that’s my recommendation.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,animation, ,Aquarius Dreams, ,barcelona, ,Camille Block, ,Camp Mozart, ,Christopher Hunt, ,Cornelia, ,Fawn Carr, ,Finn O’Brien, ,Hauschka, ,Jane Young, ,Joanne Oatts, ,Lina Hansson, ,Lisa Stannard, ,London Kills Me, ,Martyn Thomas, ,Popshop, ,portico quartet, ,Producer, ,Sally Jane Thompson, ,Sam Parr, ,Scratcha DVA, ,singer, ,songwriter, ,Stitch That, ,stockholm, ,Swedish, ,Utters

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Amelia’s Magazine | Psapp: The Camels Back


We were all rather chuffed this morning when we spotted Amelia’s Magazine was featured in this weeks Timeout!!
It’s not everyday that an exhibition offers a alternative world so bizarre, case so enthralling, decease as to make you surprised to find it’s still raining when you re-enter the street outside (it is Edinburgh afterall, more about it’s always raining). It’s like being lost in a matinee film only to find afterwards that the sun is still shining; like walking out of a nightclub and the birds are singing. Yet creating worlds and drawing you into them is what Canadian creative duo Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller do best. And it’s their latest show at Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery, is as absorbing as they come.

I like galleries in which visitors can interact with the artwork. There are no pretty paintings here, no glass separating precious art from prying eyes. The first thing you see when you enter the Fruitmarket Gallery is a small-scale house constructed entirely from old books. The house has no windows but it does have a door, and inside I am pleased to see a scholarly gentleman, three rambunctious children and a Japanese tourist secretly wielding a camera phone.


In the dark of the next room appears the 2005 installation Opera for a Small Room. The room is contained within a life-size chipwood box, and to see in the audience must gather around the window, or crane to see through holes in the walls and cracks around the doorway. Inside are twenty-four antique speakers playing, periodically, operas, arias, pop tunes, the sound of someone scuffling about, a voice that mutters seemingly to itself. The décor is shabby and littered with almost 2000 records in stacks. Outside a train is heard rumbling past, the chandelier rattles. When it rains the speakers crackle. You get the feeling you have stumbled upon a remote and rundown property, trespassing on the life of some kind of music-worshipping recluse.


Yet the real delight of the exhibition is to be found upstairs, where, confronted with a door and, once you’ve overcome whether to open it-you find yourself thrust into a dark and cluttered world that looks like a midnight flea market with a strange audio accompaniment. Old dresses hang from racks, saucers bear the remains of toast and tea, and miniature models merge with old books and nostalgic bric-a-brac. Around the room appear, between this forest of collectables, mechanical paraphernalia: speakers that whisper greetings, snatches of dialogue and fragments of a story that piece together the tale of the Dark Pool. What you come to learn is that Cardiff and Miller are, essentially, horders; this final room a captivating and voyeuristic plunge into the depths of a stranger’s life and soul.




Leaving the Fruitmarket Gallery after exploring this exhibition is a little like reluctantly finishing a really good book. The reality in this case is far less exciting: the rain continues, the intrigue is gone, and you are left feeling sorry for the people who will inevitably have to dismantle such intensely detailed and intricate works.


Desert two frisky musicians in a junk yard stacked high with second hand children’s musical instruments, approved a box of magic tricks and a few bon bons for inspiration and out pop Psapp.

I fell head over heals with Psapp with their contribution to the Hallam Foe soundtrack, this Tricycle. With twinkly layered sounds of instrumentals and vocals sweeter than honey, it was bound to be a winner for the romantics and dreamers out there. Fresh, yet strangely familiar their third album The Camels Back is no exception.

Opening with a crash bang wallop, those cheeky little noises poking out that Psapp are so renowned for proudly ooze through tracks like Homicide, Marshrat and Mister Ant. Vaguely reminiscent of Young Marble Giants, Psapp truly prove themselves in songs such as Parker when these abstract instrumentals jigsaw puzzle together with the fragile vocals of Galia Durant.

A soundtrack of adventures, The Camels Back is a sophisticated collection of chirpy, uplifting little numbers which require a listener with an imagination.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Laura Marling

Not as impressive as their first output, more about mind not as depressive as their comeback, ask their third album manages to have some really solid hits while they explore their own roots and bring the angular guitars back. Unfortunately, site the excessive number of fillers making the experience less pleasant than it should be. You can’t blame them for trying. Their new songs see them trying to sound like their old selves – back when they had enough dancefloor anthems to make Franz Ferdinand jealous, and a major behind after them. After being dropped by their label because of News And Tributes, the second album which lacked the material which made them interesting in the first place, they had no option but to go back and give us their best impression of The Jam playing punk versions of Beach Boys songs. In The Beginning of the Twist, Radio Heart and Broke Up the Time they show that they still have what it takes to create shiny pop-dance songs. So what am I forgetting to mention? Oh, yes, the bad songs on the album. The ones that sound like a pastiche of themselves; soulless use of guitar and drums (as well as their accent – which we all liked) making me wonder where the energetic, meaningful two minutes of punk madness went. It could’ve been their chance to make it via their self made label, but regrettably This is Not the World could only be a good if it was an EP.

The member of Black Ghosts‘ solo project Lord Skywave is steeped in biographical influences and sways into the worlds of pop, and dub reggae and avant-garde electronica. Then again, order when you look at Simon Lord’s musical career you can see why his solo project is such a multi-genre mish mash.

Perhaps the most heartwarming part of this album is his extensive use of his families musical past. He samples the music his grandmother used to make so many moons ago. After a summer of visiting his grandfather’s house and going through his collection of old reel-to-reel tape recordings and 78′s, pilule he had an entire archive of her fantastically composed sweep off-your-feet instrumentals to work with.


As well as this, all the electronic bass sounds on the album were produced using the Lord Skywave synthesizer which was built by Simon’s dad in the 70′s, and only 10 were made. Which I find hard to believe with such a tantalizing name, surely there must have been more demand!

I don’t know about you, but I find all this absolutely fascinating, and such a refreshing change from the majority of music, which can sometimes can appear to be something of a soulless, money grabbing, dried out husk.

It’s so hard to pinpoint my favourite tracks on this album because it’s all so diverse and to start comparing them makes my retinas hurt. I think what I find so gripping about his style is his voice. At points it’s heartbreak in a sound wave and at others it‘s the happy morning shower singing that I thought only really occured in plays set in New York in the 1950′s.

Even though Simon Lord is an established musician, as both an ex-member of Simian and current half of The Black Ghosts, this album sets him apart from all his previous endeavors. It sounds like Prince if he was quintessentially British. What more can I say?

I’d seen the Amarylas a couple of weeks ago at an Oxjam night at Brixton’s Windmill and had been pleasantly surprised. Heading over to Islington’s hallowed pharmacy +Greater+London, what is ed +UK&fb=1&view=text&latlng=469594232395886090″target=”_blank”>Hope & Anchor, it was time to reacquaint myself with their psychedelia infused sound.

Tonight they were the opening act on the bill, so the venue was still pretty quiet, which was a shame. A guitar based four-piece, led by mop haired singer Luke Segura, they blend that classic, slightly psychedelic pop whimsy of Syd Barrett or Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake-era Small Faces with a Clash inspired New Wave edge. Basically, what Pete Doherty might sound like if he didn’t have quite so many, er, distractions!

For all of you still mourning the passing of the Libertines, make sure you check out the Amarylas when they play a venue near you.

Calling all budding fashion designer’s, adiposity Carla Fernandez, medicine founder of the leading ethical label, there Taller Flora, is giving designers the opportunity to jet over to Mexico to become part of her team for five months.

After winning the British Council’sInternational Young Fashion Entrepreneur Award, Carla has been rewarded with a cash prize to spend on a project which both tailors to her specific interests and contributes to developing the relationship between her country and the UK. The Mexican designer has chosen to give a printed textile designer and menswear designer from the UK the fantastic opportunity of working with herself and the Taller Flora team on two lines of clothing in Mexico in August 2008.

This is not, however, for someone who just likes the idea of sipping tequilas in the sun. The menswear candidate will work with Carla to develop tailoring within the range while the textile designer will help out on her printed textile designs.

Requirements for the menswear applicants:

Should have a BA or MA in fashion or be a talented designer.
Demonstrable competence of pattern cutting is mandatory
Ability to work independently
Team player with good interpersonal and communication skills
Knowledge of and an interest in ethical fashion
Knowledge of Spanish would be an asset
Must be a resident in the UK.

And the requirements for the textile applicants:

Should have a BA or MA in textile design or be a talented print designer
Excellent freehand drawing skills
Knowledge of Photoshop is mandatory
Silk screening experience
Ability to work independently
Team player with good interpersonal and communication skills
Knowledge of and an interest in ethical fashion
Knowledge of Spanish would be an asset
Must be a resident in the UK.

Sound like you? Designers interested in the project are asked to send a short (no longer than 300 words) written statement outlining why they want to be part of this project, up to 12 images of their work, their CV and the details of one of their references, to or Carla Fernandez at by 16th June 2008.

For more info visit the British Council website.

Good Luck!



Wednesday 11th

HEALTH at Korova, abortion Liverpool
Emmy the Great, web Diane Cluck, buy information pills younghusband at Cargo, London
White Williams at Puregroove Records, London
The Dodos at Night and Day Cafe, Manchester
I Was A Cub Scout at Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
Semifinalists at Amersham Arms, London
Beach House, Fleet Foxes at ULU, London

Thursday 12th

Gnarls Barkley at Bush Hall, London
The Dodos at Crawdaddy, Dubin
O Children, S.C.U.M. at Puregroove Records, London

Friday 13th

Little Boots at Club Pony w/Midfield General, Sheffield
Sportsday Megaphone at Club NME @ Sin City, Swansea
Wild Beasts at Cross Keys, London

Saturday 14th

Deerhunter, High Places at Dublin Vicar Street
Leonard Cohen at Irish Museum Of Modern Art, Dublin
Meltdown – Massive Attack, Fuck Buttons at Royal Festival Hall, London
Sportsday Megaphone at Club NME at Welly Club, Hull

Sunday 15th

The Twilight Sad at Edinburgh Bongo Club
The Sugars at Fleece, Bristol

On Monday evening Ethic held the award ceremony for it’s annual ethical fashion competition in London.

Being one of the hottest days this year, buy I arrived at the uba trendy Fashion and Textile Museum feeling slightly harassed having endured 10 minutes of the rush hour on London’s sweaty central line. Thankfully I quickly located the bar and after gladly helping myself to a chilled white wine and tasty mini tuna baguette I was ready to fully immerse myself in the show

Now in its second year, more about The Ethic Competition is a contest open to over 150 fashion courses in the UK. Students were given the brief of designing a garment under £100 which addressed a key issue surrounding ethical fashion (eg fair-trade, organic materials, recycling, animal friendly or innovative environmentally friendly new materials), while still maintaining elements of current trends.

While I’d admit that none of the finalist’s work could be worn beyond the museums four walls, credit has to be given to the students for managing to produce garments that were at least visually appealing and a pleasure to watch on the catwalk. Design team Reduce, Reuse, Recycle managed to create a strapless full skirted gown using just newspaper, bubble wrap, bin bags and scrap pieces of recycled material.


The winners, and admittedly my favourites, were Nicole Da Silva and Phong Nguyen from Hackney Community College, who used second hand materials and clippings from the BBC website to address the issue of recycling while still managing to incorporate this season’s obsession with volume and ruffles in an extravagant tiered wedding gown.


Once the winners had taken their lap of honor and the buffet started to fizzle out, I made tracks to leave feeling very inspired and I must admit, a little merry!

Whether you’re eco-minded, page bemused by the concept, price or like me, help just generally confused; scribble down in your diaries ‘Climate Forum’, which is happening this weekend! The event includes a huge range of 50+ seminars with speakers varying from Michael Meacher MP, Tony Jupiter (Director Friends of the Earth UK) to George Galloway MP. But, you’ll not be listening to others all day as workshops, art, music, performance, stalls and exhibitions allow you to get stuck in straight away. There’s even a Saturday night party ‘Climate Caper’ at the Synergy Centre for those groovy rebel campaigners wanting to throw some shapes.

The event is organised by the group CCC (‘Campaign against Climate Change’) who seek to raise awareness about the gravity and urgency of global warming. They aim to get people together, forming street campaigns, pushing for a reduction in global emissions. The first day’s plenary is: ‘Are we losing the race against climate catastrophe?’ where workshops will investigate solutions such as climate justice, biodiversity and even ‘Youth and climate change: Campaigning for our future’ (so all you raging student activists with burning questions to ask-note this down)! Sunday will consequently focus on ‘Climate change from around the world’ where speakers will be holding a selection of workshops, including: ‘direct action’, ‘climate change, energy and health’, ‘combined networks’ and many more.

One workshop that pinpricked my interest was: ‘Youth and climate change: Campaigning for our future’ with Abigail Jabines of Greenpeace on Saturday. In a 2007 seminar in Sydney she stated that a one-metre sea level rise would result in 700 million square metres of land where 15 out of 16 regions’ coastlines would be affected. Not only does risen sea levels effect eco systems but it also has immediate consequences for small communities ill equipped to deal with climate changes.

The assortment of workshops happening throughout the weekend range from the political (‘Energy and Anarchy: why we need to escape from market-based thinking’), economical (‘Climate change and your bank’), political (‘Direct Action’), to spiritual (‘Faith and Climate Change’). One organiser told me the objective of the Weekend was to ‘raise awareness and forge a community of people who care about these issues; through political action as well as individual choices’. Her sunny outlook imparted a sense of positivity in me, as in the words of Abigail Jabines in her lecture; ‘We can do something. The window for action is getting very slim and the time to act is now.’


The line-up tonight does appear a little bit thrown together, page as all the bands don’t really lead on from one another. What Would Jesus Drive kick off the night’s proceedings. I’ve yet to decide on how feel about bands who get their names from bumper stickers, but judging a band by their favored car trinkets should always be avoided. This duo and their drum machine manage to put on a quirky live show of American tinged indie rock that seems to entertain this crowd at least.

Next on the bill is Polka Party, who offer a perfectly enjoyable bunch of pop songs with more southern drawl and dandy temperament than you could shake a stick at. Their latest single ‘Japanese Haircut’ is almost perfect indie disco fodder and it certainly had one girl at the front pulling Agyness Dean style pouts for the camera. I think this must be how indie music is rated nowadays.

Dananananaykroyd stole the show quite easily, though it’s not their style to do things effortlessly. The energy from their live show was infectious, and I’d have to say the catalyst for this was their duo of drummers. Facing opposite ways they dual perpetually, and the effect is almost hypnotic. Thankfully there is a large distraction from all the fun drumming in the form of the ever so brash lead singer. His microphone seemed to be broken for the majority of the set, but he truly didn’t care, and neither did I. He was shouting so loud that you could get the jist of what he might sound like if the microphone was working, and his flailing was for more interesting than any type of lyrics. I’d like to think of him as a lead flailer than a lead singer.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings


Monday 1st December

The Lady: A Tribute to Sandy Denny, Royal Festival Hall, London
An evening of songs from the back catalogue of one of the most influential female folk singers, Sandy Denny. Various artists including Marc Almond, P.P. Arnold and Johnny Flynn will be performing songs from her Fairport Convention days as well as her solo career. Should be a really interesting night in light of the current trend for new female folkies and a timely tribute to one of the godmothers of the genre.

Asobi Seksu, Hoxton Bar and Grill, London

Sweet, fun indie-pop from Brooklyn. Should be a good one for dancing.

Gallows, The Macbeth, London

Noisy punks celebrate collaboration with Atticus clothing range.

Slow Club, Jay Jay Pistolet and special guests, Union Chapel, London

A lovely gentle way to start the week with this folky-country duo who will hopefully be celebrating the first day of December with a performance of their Christmas single, released next week.

Tuesday 2nd December

Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed and the Trueloves, Oran Mor, Glasgow
Big-voiced retro soul.

Deerhoof, ULU, London

In the UK for one night only, this much-loved San Francisco band’s staccato, rough-round-the-edges punk pop is even better live.

Ten Kens, The Duchess, York

Anyone who has a blurry picture of people snogging on their record sleeve is a good bet for a messy live show and these Canadian grungers are reportedly no exception. Should be good in this small venue too.

Baby Dee, Union Chapel, London

New album produced by Will Oldham, harpist on Anthony and the Johnsons first album and with Andrew W.K. providing bass on her new record, this transsexual musician’s musical pedigree is assured.

Wednesday 3rd December

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis single launch, Madame JoJos, London
Snappily dressed, hearse-driving siblings playing rockabilly at their single launch party.

Liam Finn, Night and Day, Manchester

Introspective folk.

The Wave Pictures, Club Fandango, St Aloysius Social Club, London

Thursday 4th December

Vivian Girls, The Social, Nottingham
Uber-hyped Brooklyn girl group bring their shoe-gaze tinged grunge-pop to the UK. Time to see if they live up to their recorded promise as a live act.

The Unbending Trees, The Luminaire, London

Leonard Cohen-influenced Hungarians.

Dirtbombs, Faversham, Leeds

Fuzzed out rock and soul. Catch them before they play at the weekend’s All Tomorrow’s Parties.

Friday 5th December

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Princess Charlotte, Leicester
Fuzzy pop from yet another hip hyped Brooklyn band.

Dan Black, Barfly, London

New single ‘Yours’ has been receiving lots of radio play.

Saturday 6th December

Dead Kids, single launch ‘Into the Fire’, Push, Astoria 2
Should be pretty sweaty and heavy.

I Am Ghost, White Rabbit, Plymouth

Bringing some metal to the South West.

Under One Sky, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

John McCusker’s diverse folk composition.

Sunday 7th December

Tanlines, Old Blue Last, London

The Brooklyn invasion continues. Did they all club together and hijack a plane from JFK International?

Bon Iver, Victoria Apollo, Dublin

Really bummed about breaking up with some girl called Emma, he headed into the woods alone and wrote an album about it. He must be feeling a bit better as he’s spreading the heartache on a UK tour.

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Rock City, Nottingham

Lovely duets from surprisingly compatible artists.

Categories ,Asobi Seksu, ,Baby Dee, ,Bon Iver, ,Dan Black, ,Dead Kids, ,Deerhoof, ,Gallows, ,I Am Ghost, ,Jay Jay Pistolet, ,Johnny Flynn, ,Kitty Daisy and Lewis, ,Listings, ,Marc Almond, ,Music, ,P.P Arnold, ,Sandy Denny, ,Slow Club, ,Tanlines, ,Ten Kens, ,The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, ,The Unbending Trees, ,Vivian Girls

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