Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings


Hello, treat treat Katie!! featured in our latest issue, prescription as part of the New Brasil section. It’s the vision of Hisato, who Amelia described as ‘a small portly man with the slightly pallid demeanour of someone who lives for the night”. He’s a very well respected DJ, and I think this says a lot about the key idea behind his latest EP, ‘Girls’.

Opener ‘Don’t Panic (That’s The Way It Is)’ is drenched in the atmosphere of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ – famously the highest selling 7″ of all time, purely because of it’s popularity with DJs. Vocals come in the form of some super cool sounding girl, who I imagine to look exactly like the type you see standing in front of DJ booths in the hope of grabbing attention. It’s a song that I guess comes from Hisato’s time spent hanging around the super cool, Djing fashion shows and stuff like that. Considering the band is named in honour of Kate Moss herself, this is perhaps something to be expected.

My favourite track is ‘Female Moustache’. It has the feel of a soundtrack from a high octane action movie, building and plateauing, only to return to its peak moments of drama once again. You can imagine some bald guy with stubble diving between trains to it, or something like that anyway.

It finishes with ‘Today’s Tomorrow’s Breath’, something of a respite compared to the rest of the album. The vocals sound almost scary, sung by Hisato himself in what sounds like a cave.

The EP comes across like a party in your ears. It has all the aspects of really fun party music that has put Brazil on the musical map in recent years.

Having interviewed the girls who will be featuring in issue 10 of Amelia’s mag (keep an eye out for them), click I was keen to make a pit stop to their preview of their exhibition, look ‘in bed with the girls’.

The first thing that hits you as you enter the bubblegum pink Beverly Knowles Gallery in Notting hill is the burst of colour within all the photos. Cramming 12 years worth of staged portrait photography, capsule self portraiture and performance pieces in one smallish room gives their work an intensity. A few faves are the performance piece where a naked lady is adorned with various sweet treats such as: swiss rolls, tarts, custard creams. The performance piece reminded me of the oldsy english countryside picnics that now looks like a novel practice. With a priest sat next to her this set to unnerve the viewer.


Also the smurfette pieces were cute and kitsch.


Most of their work is playful, set with lavish sets, however I also like some of their black and white shots particularly Dungeness which are actually tiny.


With so many different sets designs and images, these reflect two varied, bubbly personalities. They reference pop culture, the idea of Englishness, gender roles, nostalgia and desire in a fun yet also subtly dark way. So there really is something for everyone.


Perhaps you’d like a pair of wizard boots? A caterpillar? some skeleton string? or a monster forest? Inventory of Parlour, ed an Australian designed jewellery label, more about offers treats for the imagination! A range of delectable pieces with intricate and distinctive designs that originate from another realm.

Katia, who studied textile design at RMIT University in Melbourne, was introduced to the wonderful world of jewellery when she spent some time living in London interning with the infamously unique Tatty Devine. The influence is clear – treating jewelry as a piece of art, creating something personal to illustrate the wearer. Katia’s own inspirations draw from the Parlour rooms of the 1800′s and the curious happenings within them. The pieces themselves are made mostly out of collages using text and vintage imagery from periodicals, catalogues and encyclopedias.

“A world of alakazams and abracadabras.. demented delights and a menagerie of oddities..”

Intrigued? Want to see more? Unlock the cabinet of goodies on the their blog and get a new lace for that neck!




Photo: Dan Spinney

Despite my obsession with These New Puritans (we’ve all read the inspiring reviews from music boffs across the globe so its not necessary for me to rationalise this passion), medical neither time nor cash had granted me with a chance to witness them live, prescription until their set at the Amersham Arms. Perhaps it was dangerous levels of excitement which left me doubtful (or the fact that Derv from Amelia’s team wouldn’t stop chatting in my ear), but I couldn’t help but feel that I was left half empty.

There’s something about the intensity of delivery by lead vocalist Jack Barnett which just didn’t hit me as hard as my 5 year old Woolworth’s headphones. Its not that I’m not accusing them of being poor live performers, ‘Colours’, ‘Infinity ytinifnl’ and ‘Swords of truth’ resembled the album versions to a T, but all that intellectual equation and science stuff just seemed that little bit more magical without the hustle and bustle of a pub. Naturally These New Puritans took the opportunity to drop a few new tracks, which if this occasion is anything to go by, prove to be bordering on bland or atmospheric depending on your perspective or the volume of your glass.

Micachu and The Shape’s set wasn’t as enthralling as it should have been, mainly due to the venues poor sound. Teamed with a crowd that seemed preoccupied with having a chin wag, their music almost seemed to take a back seat. When I’ve seen them before, crowds are usually silenced by their magnificent performances, but I think most people were too preoccupied with drinking at that stage of the night. ‘Golden Phone’ did seem to divert people’s attention, and it’s definately still her standout track. She’s an artist destined for much bigger events this time next year.

Next we headed over to The Tavern to finish our night with sets from Loefah and Benga, and were subjected to some very garage heavy selections, which delighted some, but for me it just wasn’t too exciting. Soon after they had taken to the decks though, the speakers blew. It was announced that the line-up would be moved to the nearby Goldsmith’s Student Union Bar.

Photo: Louis Hartnoll

We followed the crowds round the corner to where there was already a sizeable queue forming. I hate situations like this, when a mass of people is trying to get into a venue and the venue’s security sees it as an excuse to exercise their power by just being weird and annoying. Eventually they decided everybody had waited long enough an allowed us in. The choice of venue was strange, and didn’t really suit the music. Nevertheless, everyone was there to have a good time, and it’s difficult not to enjoy yourself in that type of environment.
So this morning I received an email shouting about NOISE, erectile an online arts showcase funded by the Arts Council & NWDA. The idea is to showcase art, ask music and fashion all conjured up by creative beings under 25. The curators include acclaimed industry professionals such as Badly Drawn Boy for music and Norman Rosenthal for fine arts. This month NOISE festival will cherry pick the crème de la crème for your viewing pleasure. Here’s a few things I spotted:

The talented miss amy brown, prescription who designed the cover of amelia’s mag issue 8 has her portfolio on here. She says that an average day consists of replying to e-mails, tea drinking, drawing, and wiping paint off my kitten Millie-Rad. She also comments that she has always loved drawing and just hope that people get as much enjoyment from looking at [her] work as [she]does making it! Have a peek at her work.


patrick gildersleeves, aka wowow is inspired by the people of the world, patterns, paper, animals and plants. He likes to work with a pencil, felt tips and paint. His biggest influences are Inuit art, Ancient South American culture and drawings from the Far East.


heres a cool image of promo shots for the electric circus band by ‘paul’

6 by rae:

clockface by chimere:

brunch from brunch series by shauba:

So if you want to inject a little brightness to your day or are seeking some inspiration go and check it out.


It’s been a busy few days – I’ve been up early again with the Suffragettes to try and persuade city commuters that they should join the Climate Rush on Monday.


getting ready in the station


Tamsin sandwiched by commuters


I’ve learnt that the amount of technical devices attached to your body is a direct indicator of whether you are likely to engage with a piece of paper coming your way. Commuters plugged into ipods are in their own little world and noone is going to disrupt that other place… and if you also have a mobile in your other hand you are doubly likely to ignore anyone else. Interesting, this site how we disassociate from the real world around us. Also a trend I have noticed that disheartens me – people with bikes are also more likely to ignore people who are flyering. Very saddening that – all the more I think because as a fellow bike rider I always expect people who ride to be on our side.




flyering aplenty

That said, remedy many flyers were given out and since then the Suffragettes have been out every day all over town to try and raise awareness. I will be joining them on Friday afternoon in Soho (5.30pm in Soho Square if you fancy coming along) The more the merrier – we’re quite an arresting sight amongst all that grey.
On Saturday we’re going to be making more sashes at my house – if you fancy joining in email us. I am in east London and we plan to go out on the town afterwards dressed as Suffragettes, so come meet us and join in the fun!


shaking a fist for the cameras

Then yesterday I hotfooted it over to Newham town hall in East London (well, more like District line slowfooted it. How slow is that tube line?!) to meet up with the Flashmob, there to oppose plans to expand City Airport.


I love this golden light…

The council was meeting to make the final decision on whether expansion goes ahead and local group Fight the Flights directed a flashmob of about 30 people in a chant for the ITV cameras. Everyone was wearing distinctive STOP AIRPORT EXPANSION t-shirts. It was all over very quickly and I then had to slowfoot it back into town to do my jewelery class for the evening.



flashmobbers still need lipstick

Unfortunately I have since found out that the council has given the go ahead to the expansion, but the evening was not without its drama. I’ve just spoken with Leo from Plane Stupid, who was one of some 25 people to present objections during the meeting, and it sounds like the locals put up a great fight. There were about 75 objectors in the audience who were “kicking off left, right and centre,” so that by the time the meeting drew to a close some hours later a lot of people had been removed for causing a ruckus. Leo was eventually removed for throwing paper airplanes.


looks like Ken, of Barbie and Ken fame. is actually a highly groomed ITV reporter.

Apparently the local group will be taking the council to court on the grounds that there was no proper consultation – even though up to 13,000 people will be affected by increased noise pollution there have been no new measurements of noise since the year 2000, and only 10,000 letters have been sent out as part of a mandatory consultation.


A local teacher explained that his students had been processing field data which showed that the noise levels are frequently reaching 85-95 decibels, and not the declared 57 decibels, over which the government considers noise to be a nuisance. Funny then, that the airport owners have forgotten to take new measurements in the past 8 years.
Leo described the yellow tie wearing owner as being totally complacent, safe in the knowledge that his plans would get the go ahead. In fact he was looking so smug that the locals even had a pop at him about it. I wasn’t there, but I can picture him in my mind’s eye. I bet he would have wound me up too.
The airport expansion may be mooted to go ahead, but don’t expect it to happen without a fight…


sporting an E.On F.Off badge in a hairband. Lovin the look

We think we may just have sparked a bit of a trend with the USB we gave away free with our last issue. Mr. Scruff has made a pretty tasty looking; tuna shaped stick that has his new album ‘Ninja Tuna’ on it – and it’s the first thing we’ve seen similar to what we did in the UK.


Now you may think that such fancy packaging may be compensating for something, look but I assure you that the album is equally as good. It has all the jazzy hip hop stylings you expect from Mr. Scruff, but with a few forward thinking surprises thrown in for good measure.

The high point of the album for me has to be Roots Manuva’s cameo on ‘Nice Up The Function’. It’s a far cry from their previous collaboration ‘Jus Jus’ on Scruff’s second album ‘Keep It Unreal’ – something of a standard Roots Manuva tune (if that’s possible).

Scruff has a philosophy behind his music, in which ‘drinking tea holds mythological status and where it’s always music that gets you high’ – which lead me to believe that perhaps he’s just a little bit too much free time lately to be thinking about these things. It did mean however that a tin of organic tea bags was also sent to us. I’ve now listened to the album when drinking tea, and when I have not been drinking tea. My verdict is that the tea makes no difference to your listening pleasure, but is quite nice.


Every year at two different creative cities in Europe, buy more about Illustrative International Art Forum displays the best in graphics and illustrative arts. This year is happening at Zurich and displays over 400 works from more than 60 artists. This two week long festival aims to exchange ideas, treatment promote emerging new talent as well as rediscovering current trends. With conferences, film programs, book art, illustration and concept art added to the mix, the festival promises to titillate the creative senses. At the end of the festival a Young Illustrators award will be presented to the best young talent. Why not have a peek at the talented bunch’s work. You might even pick up some inspiration. Here’s a few bits of art that tickled my fancy:

heiko windisch:

dave prosser:

olaf hajek:

keith jones:

andrew hem:

tara gschwend:


I walked along to this gig not expecting anything particularly unusual, viagra little was I to know that I would walk away from it wondering whether it may have actually been the best thing I had seen all year.

It was the last night of the tour, which always kind of suggests that you’re in for something special. Jape take to the stage and announce that they’re most excited about the fact that they’ll soon be able to go home and wash their clothes. Their set however suggests they’re a bit more excited than they let on. The singer is literally leaping as he thrashes his drum machine.

As a support band they more than fit the bill. They’re a band not a lot of the people in the room would have known of before the gig, but they manage to get a pretty good reaction. I can’t help but think that their songs don’t seem to have quite enough body to them though. They make Tom Vek styled electronica that could be brought to life by laying off with the use of backing tracks and adding a couple of band members. In my opinion you just can’t beat doing things live. Obviously some bands are great using purely electronics and sampler, but I think Jape’s style of music just doesn’t quite suit it.

Friendly Fires have been a real favourite of mine for quite some time. They have the same chic, funk sound LCD Soundsystem mastered, but with a little more swagger and panache. Lead singer Ed Macfarlane demonstrates some of this panache by strutting and wriggling around the stage like a man possessed.

They open with ‘Photobooth’; one of their songs that I think is slightly overlooked. Out of all their songs I think it has to be the best demonstation of their songwriting skills. But then it was the song that first got me interested in them. So perhaps I’m a little biased.

I expected the crowd to be standing through their album tracks, waiting for them to play the hits. I was sorely mistaken though. Not that they have any bad album tracks, I just thought they would be hard to make enjoyable live. I was sorely, sorely mistaken. ‘White Diamonds’ and ‘Strobe’ were perhaps some of the highlights from their set. The band took them to whole new levels, and the light shows that went along with it more nothing short of dazzling.

Understandably ‘Paris’ and ‘On Board’ seem to kick the crowd into a frenzy, and it’s at this point that they let off confetti launchers. Usually I’d say this was pretty gimmicky, but I’ll let it pass, it was the last night of their tour.

They finish their set with recent single ‘Jump In The Pool’, and about half way through some Brazilian drummers and carnival dancers appear on stage. From then on the song just builds and builds until everyone in the crowd’s faces are awestruck. Ending your tour with a miniature carnival works, and as the stampeed of everybody trying to leave the building began, the only words on people’s lips were “Wow!”


The Climate Rush is tomorrow, for sale Monday 13th October, order and the modern day Suffragettes have been busy preparing.


getting ready in Soho Square


Alice in Old Compton Street



discussing tactics outside Les Mis



We flyered the Friday night drinkers in Soho Square, buy information pills culminating in some chalking outside the Private Eye offices and the offer of a free haircut for Alice from The Soho Salon. I managed to wangle myself a complimentary up-do for my appearance as emcee at the Climate Rush, and a quick look at their website also tells me that they specialise in ‘boyzillians’ – that’s male waxing to you and me! Boyzillions are described as a “must for every discerning man” – so now you know! (or maybe not… what are they talking about?) Anyway, I anticipate a suitably Edwardian pin-tucked hairstyle to go with my not very suitable cobbled together probably a bit too plunging neckline and ruffled petticoat Suffragette get-up.


now who would like a free haircut?!


what kind of haircut would madam require?!


foxy Alice modelling her new do from the Soho Salon (done in remarkably quick time)

On Saturday I frantically tidied up my house in anticipation of a Suffragette beer-swilling bake-off.


Anna mixing up vegan glories

It was a roaring success – we knocked out dozens of colourful fairy cakes, coconut yoghurt cake and vegan banana bread. Expect these lovingly baked delights to be handed out at the rally with a nice cup of tea. With ten suffragettes in the house we also made light work of pinning all the sashes, which are going to look absolutely magical.


messy red food colouring…


Tamsin and I double icing


ooh, look at them colours!

Aside from the odd paranoia dream where hardly anyone turns up to the Climate Rush – and those who do have forgotten to wear period dress – I’m now really looking forward to tomorrow.


pinning sashes

I hope it will be the start of a new era of direct action, so please do come along to Parliament Square from 5.30pm and remember, Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History


Monday 13th:
Tate Modern, Cildo Meireles‘: Until Jan 09
Bankside, London SE1 9TG
Cildo Meireles creates mysterious and atmostpheric installations which invite the audience. A new version of Fontes that includes 6,000 carpenter’s rulers hanging from the ceiling, a thousand clocks and thousands of vinyl numbers is included.


Tuesday 14th:
YFBS gallery, Pivot Points: Turkey England Turkey, New Photography by Helen Sheehan: 15th-18th October 08
207 Whitecross St, London, EC1 8QP: 15-18 October, 930-5pm
In ‘Pivot Points’ Sheehan showacases narrative photomontage work which focuses on two individuals James and Zehra. James comes from a well-off background yet his value systems ensure he is involved in campaigning on oil and social justice. Sehra’s family have been persecuted for political reasons in Turkey. Sheehan explores the intensely delicate territory of integration, loyalty, longing, alienations and belonging across two landscapes that shape her subject’s realities.


Wednesday 15th:
Bournemouth, ‘Postcards’: ‘Ishihara’: Emily Draper, Charlie Gates, Rebecca Johnson etc: All day-12pm
An all day exhibition of instillations, video, interactive and
wall-based artwork, accompanied with live elctronica and djs in the evening.
Ishihara is here to feed your eyes, ears and dancing feet with the talent of
current students and recent graduates, as well as music from Bournemouth’s
best kept secrets. Ishihara doesn’t end when the bar closes, with
afterparties and opportunities for all of you to get involved and exhibit in
future Ishihara shows.


The old brewery, ‘NEW SENSATIONS’:
The old Truman brewery, T2 Space, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL: 15th-19th October:11am-6pm
Taking part in the Frieze Week in October are 20 shortlisted artists as well as four finalists chosen by judges in this exhibition showcasing new exciting talent. The four finalists of the competition will be given £1000 bursury to make new work. There will be 2 winners of the new sensations 08 competition- one will be decided by the public and one by the panel of judges. So if you want to check out the latest and newest ‘sensation’ then stroll along for this free show.


Thursday 16th:
Regents Park, ‘FRIEZE ART FAIR’: 16th-19th Octobe
Frieze Art Fair focuses on contemporary living artists with a line up that is packed with talks, artists’ commissions and film projects, many of which are intereactive or performative and encourage visitors to engage with art and artists directly. 11 commisions curated by Neville Wakefield, a New York based curator, critic and editor. With talks including ‘passages of light’ by yoko ono, and ‘the aesthetic responsibility’ by Boris Groys, this is one to write in your diary. Tickets from £21.75


Brown mountain Festival of Performing Arts at Slade Research Centre, ‘Brown Mountain Festival’: the dolly mixtures, goodipal, grand theft impro, emma hart and others: 16th-18th October
Slade Research Centre, Woburn Square, London WC1
Why not indulge in your drama queen tendencies for a bit of performance art action. With collaborations between artists, producers the range of pieces promises satire, wit and optical ingenuity.


Friday 17th:
The Hayward, Robin Rhode: Until 7th December
Southbank Centre, London SE1 8EZ
South African artist Robin Rhode presents inventive performances, photographs and drawings. Charcoal drawings and witty performances as well asanimations makes him a jack of all trades. Animations include two-dimensional representations of everyday objects; he draws a candle and tries to blow it out. His work comments on urban poverty, the politics of leisure and the commodification of youth culture.


Saturday 18th:
V&A,’Cold War Modern’: Until Jan 11
Cromwell Rd, London, SW7 2RL
The Cold War is the cite for inspiration for an exhibition which shows over 300 objects that reflect both the fears of nuclear devestation and the fantasies of space flight (an Apollo Mision suit). All this characterises an anxious era, from brutalist architecture of the Eastern bloc to the futuristic designs of Dierter Rams.



Tuesday 14th October

The Aliens and Sisters Of Transistors – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, cialis 40mg London
Beggars – 100 Club, London
Shred Yr Face – No Age, Los Campesinos and Times New Viking – The Portland Arms, Cambridge
The Chap, Barringtone, Nattcu – White Heat at Madame Jo Jo’s, London
José Gonzalez, Horse Feathers and Wildbirds and Peacedrums – ULU, London
Cut Off Your Hands, Divisions Of Laura Lee, Sounds Like Violence and When Gravity Falls – Monto Water Rats, London
The Streets – 53 Degrees, Preston
Maps and Atlases and This Town Needs Guns – Barden’s Boudoir, London
Jeremy Warmsley – Night and Day Cafe, London
Esser – ICA, London
Dirty Pretty Things – The Roundhouse, London

Wednesday 15th October

Indian Jewelry and Gentle Friendly – The Luminaire, London
Blood Red Shoes – Cockpit, Leeds
Holy Fuck – Bodega Social Club, Nottingham
Styrofoam, Sportsday Megaphone and Artha and Martha – Club Fandango at 229, London
Hot Club De Paris – The Other Rooms, Newcastle
Screaming Tea Party and Collapsing Cities – The Barfly, London

Thursday 16th October

Towers of London and The Pack A.D – ULU, London
Dead Kids, Math Class and Pre – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London
of Montreal, Eugene McGuinness and Wave Machines – Koko, London
The Rivers, The Situationists and Toy! Toy! – The Fly, London
Foals, Holy Fuck and Dananananaykroyd – Brixton Academy, London

Friday 17th October

Hot Chip, Kate Nash, Tilly and The Wall, Florence and The Machine, James Yuill and Slow Club – Matter, London
Johnny Flynn – Nice N Sleazy’s, Glasgow
The Pipettes
Golden Silvers – Bronze Club, London

Saturday 18th October

Selfish Cunt and SCUM – The Enterprise, London
Roots Manuva – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
The Correspondants, Disappears and Man Like Me – Sassoon Gallery, London
Maths Class, Messengers and The Reunionists – Artful at New Cross Inn, London
Chas & Dave – Broadway Theatre, London

Sunday 19th October

Blood Red Shoes – Cafe Drummond, Aberdeen
James Yorkston – Joiners, Southampton
No Age, Los Campesinos and Times New Viking – Rough Trade East, London

Categories ,Blood Red Shoes, ,Chas and Dave, ,Cut off your hands, ,Dead Kids, ,Dirty Pretty Things, ,Eugene McGuiness, ,Florence and the Machine, ,Foals, ,Golden Silvers, ,Holy Fuck, ,Hot Chip, ,James Yorkston, ,James Yuill, ,Los Campesinos, ,No Age, ,Roots Mauva, ,Screaming Tea Party, ,Selfish Cunt, ,Slow Club, ,Tilly and The Wall, ,Times New Viking, ,Towers of London, ,Wave Machines

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Amelia’s Magazine | Devendra Banhart + Laura Marling @ The Forum

Alex Gene Morrison’s art can’t help but attract attention. Despite being displayed on a backward-facing wall, mind purchase the second I walk into the ‘The Future Is Now’ show, website like this my eye is drawn straight to it. He is exhibiting three large canvases; each of a painted face, buy more about but it is the middle one that I find most conspicuous. The head, body and hair are hidden under a dense layer of matt black paint, leaving only a set of menacing eyes in the picture. The larger than life size does nothing to mask the unnatural peculiarity of Morrison’s portraits either. My walk around, champagne glass in hand, takes me past the odd inspiring piece. Somewhere on a balcony above me I spy a tower of precariously balanced teacups that look fairly beautiful from afar. Still on the ground floor, however, I stop to admire a row of miniature portraits, skilfully painted in muted colours. Each displays a varying degree of abnormality – none of the delicate faces are by any means normal.

David Hancock‘s enormous, hyper-real landscape is definitely something to be seen. Vaguely reminding me of one of those children’s T-shirts with unicorns, hills and fairy dust on, the canvas depicts a fantasy mountain scene, with wonderful skies and a dreamlike river. Hancock has chosen to makes certain parts of the canvas 3D, presumably using something lumpy like mod-rock to create an unsatisfying surface you want to reach out and touch.The piece that really stayed with me that evening though was by Alexis Milne.

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Whilst scanning some art on the other side of the room I caught sight of Amelia and the crew hovering around a small, darkly painted shack. On closer inspection I discover that inside the hut is the scariest clown I have ever seen, complete with tarot cards and a fake American accent. Pinned to the walls are various masks of animals and child-like paintings. The clown (perhaps Milne himself?) is reading Amelia’s ‘tarot cards’ in his loud,phoney, and frankly creepy voice. He tells her that she is a horny schizophrenic. I decide I must also have a go while we’re there. He wastes no time in telling me that I am to end up a chariot racing, lap dancer with a fondness of eating.

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Hmm. He also makes me wear a creepy cat mask whilst talking to him, so I understand this is to be taken with more than a pinch of salt. On the whole ‘The Future Is Now’ show displays an array of style, quality and substance in the pieces they have chosen to exhibit. I am left feeling overwhelmed (it really is quite a big exhibition) but more importantly inspired.

Photography: Amelia innit!
Photo 1: Sophie, Anna, James and Tim

After forgetting to RSVP to the Young KnivesRough Trade instore, case some of the A-Mag team and I were sitting outside nursing ciders wondering whether it was time to try and sweet talk the doorman. Funnily enough, approved munching on some food next to us was none other than the Young Knives manager, who took pity and kindly put us on the door. Thanks Duncan!

After trying to scull the rest of our cider – yes, all class we are – we walked into Rough Trade to the sounds of the song The Decision, and an epic, Phil Collins style drum fill. Oh yeaaah baby. I, not having the vertical advantage of my companion’s six foot four inches, had to crane my neck from mid-way through the crowd to glimpse the thick rimmed geek chic of Henry and Thomas “House Of Lords” Dartnell and Oliver Askew, garbed up in what Tall James described as conservative shirts and ties, looking like they’ve come fresh out of their nine to five jobs at a real estate agent.

With mature, well-crafted indie pop songs, the Young Knives are musically tight like tigers. As has happened in the past from what I gather, Razorlight got a mention – as they have a song called Up All Night as well…incidentally, as do Unwritten Law, Lionel Richie, Boomtown Rats and the Counting Crows. Their vocal harmonies are reminiscent of Crowded House. Repetitive guitar riffs ran under infectious hooks, getting heads bobbing and a warm reception from the crowd.

With their easy stage presence and self-deprecating banter that conveyed their confidence and self-assurance at the quality of their own music; and whether they were sartorially splendid or committing fashion faux pas in their outfits, they could convince me to rent a property any day. And then I’d ask them to play at the housewarming.

It was the most incestuous night of music ever – though apparently every night at the Brudenell Social in Leeds is a musical pit of incest…

Besides being an opportunity for solo music makers to take their bedroom brainstorms out onto the stage, visit web MAN ALIVE! borne of Leeds artist collective Nous Vous, pharmacy included a number of other artist collectives showcasing and selling various works and bits and bobs.


First up was Dinosaur Pile-Up, recipe popping his gig cherry with a two song set. With a hand injury in play and the first rehearsal with a band backing him up that same afternoon, performance-wise it was much better than some could have done under the circumstances. It sounds like commercial success to me. Love is a Boat (And We’re Sinking) is an infectiously catchy anthem for frustrated heartbreak and confusion at relationships enough for an entire American teen series (enter Ryan and Marissa).

Glaciers, one Nic Burrows was up next with a bumbling Mr. Bean-like stage presence that really charmed, to many female exclamations of “Aw How sweet!” One of his mates actually commented “That slick bastard knows exactly what he’s doing.” Musically, he certainly does. Plaintive, earnest and warm, Glaciers is lovely. Guest appearances by the darling she-beast Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin fame and Mike Payne aka Mechanical Owl in Melamine made it an onstage pow wow.

Vest For Tysso is Will Edmonds and is a one, and occasionally, a two man band. Glaciers’ Nic Burrows popped in and out of the set on various instruments. Sweet, rich and multi-dimensional, just like a hearty carrot cake, this was, amazingly his first and last gig before jetting off to play at Canada’s Pop Montreal Festival.

Star of the night though was Mike Payne aka Mechanical Owl, who surprised with some genuine pop gems. After some technical mishaps including a core meltdown on his MACbook, and a badly placed mobile phone (which resulted in the tell-tale interference of an incoming SMS – though in this context, it may not have been totally out of place), Mechanical Owl impressed with the well rounded maturity of his varied and well thought out songs – smile inducing, strong and melancholic.


Then came Napoleon IIIrd, who never disappoints, with his heady mix of strummed acoustics, undulating synth, full of cuts and clicks, a triumphant trumpet section, and impassioned and ragged vocals. His is a set full of choruses that will march around in your head, with a broody, somewhat troubled, but ever hopeful Napoleon IIIrd fully in command of his electronic brigade.

Whether you like it or not, the royal family themselves are a result of inbreeding; as are most sovereign clans. Generally, this sort of family tree results in at the very least, mildly cross-eyed, buck-toothed, hammy-eared dolts. On the other hand, the MAN ALIVE! bill saw everyone having some kind of finger in everyone else’s pie; and instead of the usual weak specimens, gave birth to the rather uncanny result of an unfairly talented line up, despite springing from a small (and refreshingly un-skinny) ‘jean’ pool.

Flier by The Nous Vous Collective
Napoleon IIIrd Photograph by Christel Escosa

One of my favourite artists at the moment, illness and one of my favourite London venues…. surely Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan and co) at Camden’s majestic Koko would be fabulous, approved right? Of course it was. I missed the support because I was running late: I simply couldn’t decide what Natasha would want me to wear. When I finally arrived, mid the Bjork-esque Trophy, the quiet crowd were already mesmerized by the sound of Khan and her band. I couldn’t fathom whether the eerie, sombre silence and general lack of movement was good or bad – until the raucous applause at the end of the opener. Clearly the room was full of Bat fans, and it was a struggle to find any spot in the whole venue where a good view was to be had. I weaved in and out of folk until I found myself at the highest balcony, which was surprisingly only half full.

From here, a clear view of the stage was to be had. Winter trees framed the singer and her band, whilst a mystic moon hung creepily over the ensemble featuring interesting projections – available as a post card set for you to treasure after the gig.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this incredible act live, and instead have only read a syndicate of reviews, by now you will no doubt feel nauseous reading the following words: eerie, scary, spooky, haunting, chilling, magical, bewitching. I’m afraid, dear readers, that only this compendium of descriptions summarises a gig like this. But what most reviewers often omit is that, beyond the monstrous melodies, this is a stunning woman – musically, technically, physically.

Natasha, dazzling as ever in a bat-winged glittered smock, leggings, long boots and staple headband, moved effortlessly from track to track – presenting her svelte frame sometimes at front stage centre, bells and all; sometimes taking time at the piano, or on one occasion brandishing her recently acquired ‘wizard’s stick’ for a reworking of classic track Sarah. Natasha firmly has her feet on the ground, and spoke short, sweet sentences in between songs – her timid demeanour shining through on lines sung bashfully – such as Taste The Hands That Drink My Body.

Seeing the gig from the upper balcony was a true experience – the crowd wore their complimentary Bat For Lashes paper masks (featuring Khan’s original trademark feather head dress) and witnessing them all lined up, facing the stage, heads tilted upwards – was a little disturbing. Feeling like a prize pervert at a strange cult meeting was not what I expected, but nevertheless it was entertaining.


Songs like the dazzling Horse and I and crowd favourite What’s a Girl To Do? were given an more interesting up-tempo flavour; it was a huge shame the latter was let down with weak backing vocals. These tracks were interspersed with softer choruses such as The Wizard and the poetic Saw A Light, which were kept at their spellbinding best. A sweeter cover of Tom Waits’ Lonely was an attractive interpretation and would have gone unnoticed to all bar revellers acutely familiar with Natasha’s music. New track Missing Time was also showcased; it sounded great but stuck out like Natasha’s outfit might do at a funeral.

Last night saw the end of the Fur and Gold tour, an album that has lauded critical acclaim internationally. Let’s raise a toast to Khan and Co, and keep everything crossed that the follow up album will be equally as affecting as the debut.

Photography by Matt Bramford
Nate Smith and Pete Cafarella met years ago at university and played in a lick of bands together, page during which time Pete also starred in Nate’s student films. After uni they were reunited in New York and started as a duo in Nate’s bedroom in Queens. Shy Child was born.


They don’t discuss references or influences, order as it is too difficult. As Nate states, ‘ How many tracks are on our ipods?’ They would like to go down as a modern-day Chas and Dave, and currently listen to Metronomy, SMD, Black Sabbath and classic Wu Tang, amongst many others.

This new-wave/electronic/techno/punk pairing are going down well here in the UK and had made it their focus for this year, and after the festive season they’re heading back Stateside to pick up where they left off there.

Saturday saw their last date in London, at the Carling Academy in Islington. Nice little venue. I had been banging on about this band for a while, so I took two friends along as they were keen to offer a listen. What I failed to tell them was that it was a MySpace backed night, beginning very early, and featuring the youngest crowd I have ever seen at a gig. Ouch. Now I know it’s a little while ago now, but at 16 I do not remember skipping everywhere. Honestly. And I have no real qualm with skipping, but it is really all that necessary? Maybe skipping is the new black, or the new new-rave, maybe. Hopefully not.

Anyroad, we arrived and were asked for ID. With 80 years between the three of us, I’m hoping as we enter that this isn’t going to be the only pleasurable part of the night / late afternoon.

Whilst in the UK, Shy Child have performed a number of gigs, appeared on Jools Holland and more recently teamed up with Stella McCartney for Swarovski Fashion Rocks, which saw them enjoying a little musical chairs action with the models. “It was really fun and different for us,” says Nate. “And what we did together was a lot more exciting than some of the other pairings.” Agreed. Such a gig has brought their music to the fashion set, and their synth-styled, new-wave beats have hit the right market (it is no haphazard coincidence they have supported the Klaxons, amongst many others). The true measure of this band’s phenomenon, though, is that they can appeal to such diverse crowds – from Stella’s shmoozers to angst ridden teens, whose parents just, you know, don’t understand. That sort of thing.

I bumped into a friend of mine from Vogue there, who had a tale to tell. She’d gone into the toliets with a girlfriend, and a young girl had run out of the toilet, sssshing anyone who entered. Politely, my friend asked “Why do we need to be quiet in the toilet?” Naturally, the girl remarked, “Because Leanne is in that cubicle on the phone to her parents, and they think she’s in Pizza Hut.” Classy.

The duo that are Shy Child, on record and on stage, sound much more than two guys with a keytar and a drum kit. They are innovative, exciting and raw. They’ve stripped what was a heavy, electronic sound back to basics. Painfully catchy Drop The Phone is an immensly funky beat and is a pastiche of all sorts of tunes. Other favourite tracks of the night were Astronaut which has a distinct Giorgio Mororder disco flavour. The superb Good and Evil also floated my boat and has an incredible reggaeton influence. All enjoyed by a huddle of excited teens bouncing at the front – as well as everyone 18+ tapping their feet at the back.


A great night had by all, not least the kids. So it was time to head home, and play muscial chairs.

Photography by Matt Bramford
It’s a brand new kletzmer world!

The new Rough Trade superstore is cavernous and full of trendy young things casually perusing the flyers and freebie magazines near the coffee shop, viagra many on their own like me, website due to the stringent ticket conditions of this in-demand gig. Yes, visit this this is a gig to be accompanied by coffee or fruit juice only – beers to be had later in the bar next door.

At the back under a sign saying Dance CDs, a small stage had been erected and the racks shunted out of the way. Beirut is a cute teddybear of a man accompanied by his scenester hoodie crew. Only here will you see what looks like a new raver playing double bass to a new wave kletzmer soundtrack.

Beirut is discombobulated…he’s got jet lag and the mikes are having feedback issues that mean I spend most of the gig with a hand over the ear nearest the speakers – but that doesn’t stop a rousing set. Accordians, multiple ukes, a man playing a funny drum thing on the floor next to the cds, mandolin, violin, trumpet – all musical bases are covered. This is the return of the rock orchestra – people are bored with the traditional guitar, bass, drums combo, and everywhere I turn I’m seeing a move towards the instruments of an orchestra or big band. This is music that wouldn’t be out of place in Red Square in Moscow, but suddenly it is being feted as the next big thing. Not a bad thing I say.

I met Nancy at Thermal Festival in September. She’s ace. Wearing a very fetching grey jersey dress – that I am sure had more than a few men drooling over some carefully revealed chest – she sat down between guitar and harp.


In her hair were some artfully arranged buttons (tip: she sews them onto hair grips) and on her lap she placed her harp. Nancy sings songs that touch your heartstrings. It’s just her, more about her pure sweet voice and a harp or guitar, nothing else. She peppers her uniquely modern folk songs with funny little Nancy-isms and anecdotes. “You’ve cheered me up. I get all flustered when I come to London; I feel all weird. I stayed on my brother’s sofa in Hackney and he told me not to leave the house today cause I didn’t have a key. So I stayed in on the sofa watching daytime TV. Not good!” Down to earth and naturally talented, Nancy didn’t disappoint. Not many people seem to know of Nancy in London yet, but with a multi-album deal sorted her reputation is bound to grow. Catch her while the venues are still intimate, where she can leap off the stage to sell her merch as soon as she finishes playing. “There’s albums over there for sale. By the way…”
Three years young and buoyed by the glowing acclaim heaped upon their second LP, approved 2006′s Yellow House, try Brooklyn’s own Grizzly Bear offer up something of a celebration of their talents with the release of Friend – a ten track compilation of covers, nurse collaborations, new material and reworked favourites. Having invited the likes of Band Of Horses, CSS and Zach Condon (Beirut) to contribute, Grizzly Bear have managed to avoid notions of ‘shameless cash-in’ and produced an offering of merit. Indeed there is lots here to enjoy.

Brooding, dirty guitars help define opener Alligator, an alternate take on a cut from GB’s debut release. It features the first contribution from Zach Condon, and though it plods and outstays its welcome slightly, a glorious choral burst midway through manages to save it from being the drab opener it threatened to be. Things take an upturn with a brilliantly dark cover of The Crystals smash He Hit Me. It’s sinister tone is offset by a vocal that tips it hat to the late 80′s new romantics, and the sporadic sonic explosions serve to create an unforgettable slice of haunting pop.

The middle of the record then drifts along in a pleasant enough manner, without really exciting – which is a bit of a shame. The bizarrely titled Granny Diner exemplifies the problem. Positively, things are kick-started again with an energised, disco version of Knife courtesy of CSS. It begins, rather unfortunately, with a sample that appears lifted directly from StereophonicsDakota, but soon recovers itself. Punchy, choppy beats and a wave of synths dominate, and the upbeat tempo is just what the record needs. Band Of Horses then take us from disco to country and western with a banjo led take on Plans. It doesn’t quite work, but there are enough quirks – a lovely honky tonk piano solo outro being one – to engage. The record ends in a melancholic way, with a rather dreary Daniel Rossen home recording entitled ‘Deep Blue Sea’. It’s inclusion ill-judged.

Despite it’s flaws there are some lovely moments on Friend. It is diverse, sonically ambitious and at times captivating, which is no mean feat.

Gigs like this, no rx epic ones, medical are always daunting. You want to see all the bands but you’re clearly not going to. At ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES, pharmacy it works. It’s over a whole weekend and everyone is in the right mindset. So that is what made this gig kinda strange; as essentially it was all the same people you get at ATP looking slightly bemused.

With a line-up of bands like these, even though they are becoming big, you still like to think of them as your little secret. So when you see them playing at a venue like that of The Forum, the enchantment is somewhat lost, you wish you were seeing them at Barden’s or at a festival, or, most idealistically, your friends’ warehouse. Especially, ESPECIALLY, when at first you’re told you cannot leave the balcony (what is that all about?!) where I was confined to as I watched Black Lips. Who – besides being as far away as I could possibly be – were exciting. I missed Fuck Buttons and all but one song of Deerhunter, because I was putting my white face paint on. Which is a little unforgivable, as Fuck Buttons are one of the best dirty yet beautiful duos around of late. Though Black Lips, with their lo-fi garage punk and their sloppy vintage sound and sweaty little faces, was the perfect start for me. They did a very special cover of Thee Headcoats ‘Wildman’, which was the point when we got distinctly pissed off being stuck on the balcony so snuck downstairs, for Liars.

The Liars’ new album is strange. It is just really simple. Had it come first, before ‘They Threw Us In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top’ and two more equally as concept driven albums it would have made more sense. But ‘Liars’, self-titled as it is, is a key, not just as noise led or art like, like their set, which bar the old songs, resemble more of a 1970s garage band than that of the beautiful, sadistic nature of the Liars we have come to expect. Its like they’re doing everything backwards; digressing to a pared down, more simple punk sound. But they’re Liars, so in all probability just messing with us, so maybe we should just let them get on with it.


By Deerhoof I wanted to expect big things, a grand and innovative performance. It all began charmingly enough, but by this point and most of my friends were trapped outside because they smoke and I really wanted find two them to be there as Deerhoof are so magical you want to re-assure yourself its real. So I spent a good deal of time during Deerhoof’s set wondering around as a lost zombie, and the big venue meant I kept losing the sound and meeting more equally frustrated people who were leaving. So halfway though their set I did just that. Left. ATP do festivals best.

Gillan Edgar (yes, dosage that’s his real name) is a Scottish songsmith who has set up home in Manchester with his girlfriend, prostate their two dogs, rx and an cluster of instruments. His performances tend towards the retro; reliant on basic acoustic grooves, and he has a unique, happy-go-go-lucky sound. Imagine how today’s fix of troubled indie bands might sound if they actually had a smile on their face, and you’re half way there.


On Monday, Gillan and his band put on a show at the Indigo2 – the new, lavish O2 arena’s cooler, alternative sister venue, housed in what was the Millennium Dome. Edgar is, at the moment, unsigned; but the clock is ticking for him to find his perfect match in the music industry. Bound for the pop charts with his boyish good looks, Gillan exudes confidence and is a completely natural show-off. I’m not usually one for crowd participation, but encouragement by Gillan to sing The Greatest Gift’s chorus (No no no no, no no no no) was met by myself and the crowd with excitement. This is exactly the kind of thing he promotes at his intimate gigs, which light-up the faces of his small but loyal following. In between marvellous melodies he connects with his audience with his laid back, witty persona and larger-than-life stage presence. I had been waiting for him to play in London for a while, so imagine my excitement when I heard the Bedford (the small Balham live music venue) were to host him here at the Indigo.


Edgar’s music is exciting indeed – and can only be described as pop and rock sitting contiguously, providing heart warming lyrics and a musically ‘up yours’ to pretentious indie bands who have the attitude but not the substance. Gillan has the credentials to perform with his band in such a grand venue, and I’m sure seeing him play solo with his guitar at a cosy gig would be equally impressive.

It’s so refreshing to find a musician who combines honest music with good old-fashioned fun. Gillan knocks out quality tunes with a huge smile on his face. Hooks like Mr Inconsistent and The Eureka Song make you bounce with glee, whilst the more poetic The Greatest Gift and Victoria Has A Secret make the mind move instead.

Gillan’s music isn’t complicated, assuming or prescribing – it’s just effing good. I smile smugly at my compadres with a look of ‘I told you so’ as Gillan plays his last tune. A long awaited debut CD is in the pipeline (hurry up, man!) but until then, it’s back to his MySpace for a listen.

Photography by Matt Bramford
It’s the politest crowd of all time. People move out of the way without me asking them to. One skinny guy, site wearing glasses and a cardigan, sildenafil apologises for no discernable reason. This isn’t surprising. Nice people generally come to the Luminaire. Normally to watch nice men play quiet acoustic guitars, nicely. A bit like Gravenhurst’s first record Flashlight Seasons.

The first shock for anyone whose only involvement with Gravenhurst being Flashlight Seasons – an accessible, downbeat folk album – is that this is not just that one guy. It’s a four-piece ensemble onstage. Singer Nick Talbot wears earplugs, unnecessarily. He makes some Slint-y harmonics on his electric (!) guitar. Alex Wilkins on other guitar echoes it with warm swathes of gentle noise. The rhythm section is pounding, concise and unrelenting.

This is unsettling. Gravenhurst’s four excellent albums sound markedly singular, the product of one brain. But the band’s performance is crucial to their live sound; the instrumental moods build up, develop and fade. Talbot’s voice, when it finally arrives after a drawn-out jam, is fey and resigned. His voice is often the band’s main draw on record, but live it’s not quite translating. On The Velvet Cell, Talbot’s a pissed off computer techie, singing about murder “lying dormant in the heart of every man” with a touch too much passive relish. It’s great, but the harmonic guitar stuff at the beginning of the set led the songs better than his paper-thin voice, which was weedier and shyer than it should be.

The second shock is the music. It’s hard to think of a neater, more comfortable niche than “that band on Warp who do the quiet folk thing,” but to their credit Gravenhurst have moved closer and closer to total psych noise mania with every release. Hollow Men from new album The Western Lands is total Dinosaur Jr territory, without the solos. Talbot strums his guitar manically, making his right arm look like a crazed, live side of ham.

They get called “post rock” a lot. I guess that’s fair. The quiet parts are inventive and fluid. The loud bits are rocking, not revolutionary, but totally worth the wait when they arrive. That’s about the biggest plaudit I’m ever likely to give “post rock”. But it sounds more like bastard Kraut to me, anyway.

Occasionally the strumming, feedback, fragile voice and layered drums catch alight and it feels like everything is beautifully interlocking. Except, you know, in a non-stoned way. Talbot’s voice warms up and becomes the beautiful counter to the instruments’ tired, reliable funeral song. It’s weirdly welcoming, but it wasn’t what I expected.

When music editor Christel told me I was on the guest list for this gig, patient she was greeted with a week of agitated over-enthusiasm and stupid Devendra-related questions. Not only was I smitten for the Banhart, I was a recently converted Laura enthusiast too, after weeks of listening to her soothing melodic tones in Amelia’s kitchen. To say that she has featured on every one of my recent mix tapes is an understatement. (She’s made it on to each one twice.)

So finally the evening arrived, and with my floral maxi-dress and lace headband in place I met up with my +1 (boyfriend Jake) for a pre-gig beer in Camden.
I thought I might be a teensy bit jealous of Laura Marling before the gig – (she’s a 17-year-old singer/songwriter extraordinaire who gets to support folk legends for god’s sake!) but after watching her I was absolutely green. How dare she be so unfailingly talented and successful at her age! And her attributes didn’t even seem to end there: to watch, she was the cutest of urban nymphs: tiny, with somewhat scene (click on this, no really) peroxide hair, an oversized hoodie slung off the shoulder and an unassuming manner that found her mumbling graciously between songs. Though she looked like she might not be enjoying herself, she was making a lot of us in the audience happy. I sang along fanatically to the ones I knew, and enjoyed hearing some new tales from her latest repertoire. Unfortunately the set was pretty much over before it began – she slunk off stage after five prettily concise tunes (alas without playing my favourite New Romantic) but left me in high spirits.

Devendra kept an impatient audience waiting for half an hour after Laura’s set, while he probably did something cool like smoke a joint backstage with his bohemian friends. We were pretty heated up by the time he stepped out from the shadows (hey just ‘cos it’s folk doesn’t mean the audience don’t push and shove a little) but oh my god did he make up for it! The most beautifully enchanting man I have ever seen, Devendra practically seemed to shine in the light of his own velvet clad aura. He opened the set with a joke song that he deliberately mimed, and just kept the skillz coming and coming, somehow managing to be funny, talented and entertaining the whole way through.

His voice sounded quite different live, and I mean that in a good way. Maybe it was just to do with getting the whole Devendra Banhart experience. It would be unfair not to mention his band while reviewing the gig because they obviously play a big part in his live performances. I couldn’t stop looking at the guitarist to his left. I swear he had actually stepped right out of ’69, complete with a shoulder-length mat of centre-parted hair and three piece flared suit. Together they made a pretty marvellous bunch.

I left the gig with an even bigger crush than I’d arrived with and a desire to pick up the guitar and learn a few tunes… perhaps next time I’ll be the supporting act.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Stornoway talk about playing at the 2011 Larmer Tree Festival, 13th-17th July in Dorset

Stornoway by Sally Jane Thompson
Stornoway by Sally Jane Thompson.

I’m really excited that Oxford indie folksters Stornoway will be playing on the bill at Larmer Tree Festival this year. Their lovely debut album Beachcomber’s Windowsill was released in May 2010 and although I didn’t get around to reviewing it I’ve been listening to it loads since then. We caught up with them in advance of this year’s festival madness.

stornoway by Michael van Kekem
Stornoway by Michael van Kekem.

Larmer Tree is famed for the wild peacocks and mackaws that roam around the grounds. What kind of bird or animal would the band be for the day and why…
As a collective band perhaps we should be a group of choughs, information pills as that wouldn’t require too much of a transformation: they’re nothing particularly special to look at, diagnosis but they’re sociable, illness quick, and make an interesting noise….

YouTube Preview ImageI Saw You Blink

Have you been doing a lot of traveling as a band? How is life on the road and where is your favourite place to play and why?
Yes, we’ve just got back from our second European tour and in a few weeks we’re going back to the US. Thankfully the novelty of becoming travelling minstrels is a long way from wearing off yet! We continually feel like we’re on some mysterious musical holiday. Our favourite destination on our travels so far has probably been Berlin, even if we stayed in a dormitory. It’s an alternately kitsch, funny and dilapidated city – spiritually about as far from Oxford as you can get.

Stornoway by-David-Merta
Stornoway by David Merta.

The UK has an amazing festival scene – there are over 400 taking place this year! What do you think of UK festival crowds?
Please forgive the sweeping generalization, but people at festivals over here do tend to be gently eccentric, in the best possible way, and respond well to eccentricity, which is a highly appealing trait. It’s as if they’ve been waiting all year to be themselves!

YouTube Preview ImageWatching Birds

Any special collaborations you have coming up this year? What are your plans for 2011?
Right now we’re working on an exciting live collaboration with the North Sea Radio Orchestra – we’ll be performing with us at Somerset House this summer. Meanwhile, we’ve been working on various bits of recording collaborations with Kathryn Edwards and Anton Barbeau which should hopefully see light of day this year.

Stornaway by Claire Kearns
Stornaway by Claire Kearns.

What encouraged you to first start making music? Who were your earliest inspirations, musical and otherwise?
Co-incidentally it seems that we were all either forced or bribed to be musicians for as long as we can remember (we still are in a way). Early inspirations were Roy Orbison, Euros Childes, John Tavener, South African punkpop band Tweak, Arthur Scargill and Wizbit from Paul Daniels’ magic show.

YouTube Preview ImageZorbing

Lots of young musicians and performers attend Larmer Tree. Do you have any advice for those looking to break into the music industry?
As we never had some grand plan to follow, it’d be pretty disingenuous to come over as if we thought there was some surefire way of making things happen in the world of music! Don’t “plan” anything related to the music industry, as it’s in flux – just work on being the most versatile and sociable musician you can be and you’ll do just fine.

Stornoway by Sally Jane Thompson
Stornoway by Sally Jane Thompson.

Who are your most revered musicians and what do you find so inspiring about them? Have you ever met your idols and if so what was it like?
Brian and Jon’s first ever conversation was about Teenage Fanclub, as they had both been er teenage fans of the band. Anyone can do vocal harmonies, but Teenage Fanclub developed a signature three-part vocal sound over the years which is distinctive and special. We supported them last year in Camden and briefly met Norman Blake; although he seemed like a very modest, unassuming kind of guy, we were pretty tongue-tied and in awe.

YouTube Preview ImageBoats and Trains

You must have a lot of dedicated fans, what is the strangest thing a fan has ever done?
A girl once licked Brian’s shoe onstage in Milwaukee. She’s known as The Shoe Licker locally. Also, quite recently we were followed across Europe by a young fan we thought needed help, and then it emotionally blackmailed us into bringing it home. It wasn’t the same one as The Shoe Licker.

Stornoway by Camille Block
Stornoway by Camille Block.

What music are you listening to at the moment? Can you give us any tips on up and coming acts or hidden gems we may not have heard of?
We are listening to Caribou, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Andrew Bird, Chapel Club and some new chap called Leadbelly.

Stornoway Phenakistiscope by Laura Frame
Stornoway Phenakistiscope by Laura Frame.

We’d recommend listening to Tom Williams and the Boat, Message to Bears, Spring Offensive and Otouto.

YouTube Preview ImageFuel Up, live on Jools Holland

What can we expect from your performance at Larmer Tree Festival?
We’ve been working hard on some new bits and pieces of music which we’re hoping to air at Larmer Tree. Last time we played at the festival Rob chickened out of his tap-dance, so fingers crossed it will happen this time. If not, Brian will regale you with endless facts about peacocks and mackaws; he might even write a song about them for the occasion.

Stornoway Live by Laura Frame
Stornoway Live by Laura Frame.

You can of course catch Stornoway playing on Saturday night at this year’s Larmer Tree. Read my full listing for Larmer Tree Festival here. It’s going to be a good one!

Categories ,Andrew Bird, ,Anton Barbeau, ,Arthur Scargill, ,Beachcomber’s Windowsill, ,Camille Block, ,caribou, ,Chapel Club, ,Choughs, ,Claire Kearns, ,David Merta, ,Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, ,Euros Childes, ,folk, ,Indie, ,John Tavener, ,Kathryn Edwards, ,Larmer Tree Festival, ,Larmer Tree Gardens, ,Laura Frame, ,Leadbelly, ,Mackaws, ,Message to Bears, ,Michael van Kekem, ,Norman Blake, ,North Sea Radio Orchestra, ,Otouto, ,Oxford, ,Peacocks, ,Roy Orbison, ,Sally Jane Thompson, ,Spring Offensive, ,Stornoway, ,Teenage Fanclub, ,The Shoe Licker, ,Tom Williams and the Boat, ,Tweak, ,Wizbit

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Amelia’s Magazine | Best Christmas Indie Songs for 2014

Smoke Fairies
I’ve been too busy to do any recommended Christmas present blogs this year but I couldn’t forgo my annual Christmas music round up. Here’s what I recommend listening to for the 2014 festive period.

The Smoke Fairies release Wild Winter – an antidote to the usual jingly affair that encapsulates the sometimes sorrowful aspects of Christmas. Scuzzy guitars, off kilter chords and ponderous drums ground the sweet vocals on a subtlely betwitching album that could easily be enjoyed throughout the year. The Smoke Fairies say ‘Sometimes winter provides us with a sense of togetherness and love and sometimes it leaves us feeling alienated, cold and playing a glockenspiel alone in a darkened room. It’s part of the year that will always be bittersweet and wild.’ The video for the jaunty Three Kings features a succulent, an embroidered star and toilet roll kings: what’s not to like?

The Singer and The Songwriter is Rachel Garcia and Thu Tran: combining multicultural influences with lush jazz inflected vocals in the softly beautiful Those Old Christmas Songs.

Another Messy Christmas by Dan Michaelson adopts an unusual viewpoint – that of Mrs Christmas, ever tolerant as Santa spends yet another festive season at work.

The brilliant A Yodelling Christmas Song by Lynne Butler came out in 2013, but I heard it for the first time on 6 Music this year, and instantly fell in love. Just check out the totally lo-fi video with the little boy jingling away in the back ground.

Hand of Glory records present the Christmas compilation album Christmas Joy in Full Measure, featuring the likes of Mary Epworth (label co-founder) and Young Knives. Each artist has been commissioned to create an original Christmas song and the result features diverse influences and experiences, from the dark synth pop of Mary Epworth’s The Wolf and the Woods to the bouncy new arrangement of ancient wassail Awake Awake by the legendary Paul Hawkins and the wintry ballad Old Year’s Night by Richard Holley. Mary says ‘We didn’t know what to expect, and we certainly couldn’t have predicted that it would be quite so weird. Personally, as each song arrived I was thrilled to hear how no two artists had approached this from the same angle, or had gone for similar atmosphere. Christmas, Yule, or whatever you call it means many things to many people.

In a curious case of synchronicity Ontario based singer songwriter Carly Thomas releases Hold You (On Christmas Eve) – another song that takes a light-hearted look at the longest night of Santa’s year through the eyes of Mrs. Claus, left home alone.

Hannah Peel releases the synth-tastic Find Peace as part of the Snowflake Christmas Singles Club, a small Netherlands-based festive label set up for the love of making limited vinyl just for Christmas. The song is a haunting offering with a distinctly contemporary feel.

Bethany Weimers presents Winter Heart: it’s not entirely Christmas focused but I love the animated video that accompanies this lilting tune.

Song Four | Black Christmas by High Contrast from Occupation on Vimeo.

Lastly, High Contrast’s new Christmas-themed protest song, Black Christmas is worth a mention as I am sympathetic to the theme of over consumption, and the video is great.

Ah, and here’s a late addition from Dublin based Monster Monster: with Christmas in Liverpool.

Have you heard any fabulous new Christmas songs this year? I love discovering what indie artists have to offer, so do let me know about your discoveries. Here’s to a fabulous holidays one and all, see you in 2015 xxx

Categories ,6 Music, ,A Yodelling Christmas Song, ,Another Messy Christmas, ,Awake Awake, ,Bethany Weimers, ,Black Christmas, ,Carly Thomas, ,Christmas in Liverpool, ,Christmas Joy in Full Measure, ,Dan Michaelson, ,Find Peace, ,Hand of Glory, ,Hannah Peel, ,High Contrast, ,Hold You (On Christmas Eve), ,Lynne Butler, ,Mary Epworth, ,Monster Monster, ,Old Year’s Night, ,Paul Hawkins, ,Rachel Garcia, ,Richard Holley, ,smoke fairies, ,Snowflake Christmas Singles Club, ,The Singer and The Songwriter, ,The Wolf and the Woods, ,Those Old Christmas Songs, ,Three Kings, ,Thu Tran, ,Wild Winter, ,Winter Heart, ,Young Knives

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Amelia’s Magazine | Bebe and Paolo: An Interview

The Christmas festive season is now upon us and many artists are selling festive products. However few are initiated to help the poor, what is ed the downtrodden and the destitute. All I Want For Christmas Cards 2009 is one such group of creatives whose latest project is in support of the Bristol based charity ‘Young Bristol’. 20 local artists’ and illustrators’ specific works for the project are being used to create a limited edition run of Christmas cards that will be sold as packs containing each of the 20 cards.A competition, price with the brief to create a piece of work based on the phrase ‘All I want for Christmas’ took place and after receiving an overwhelming response, shop the final 20 artworks were chosen, each on their individual merits and included in the final 20 cards. Initially created with the idea of promoting the charity Young Bristol, All I Want For Christmas Cards has also brought together artists and illustrators local to Bristol for this exciting illustrative project. Here is an opportunity to support those who need! We are today interviewing a few of those illustrators who very kindly lent their creativity to a good cause.

Valerie Pezeron: Hello all. I would like to know who came up with the idea for such a wonderful project and could they tell our readers a little bit about themselves?

Creator/Organiser Ben Steers: The idea for a project like this had been rolling around in my head for a while but I just didn’t know how to best implement the concept. After moving to Bristol to kick start my illustration career and spending some time building contacts with local artists and illustrators I realised the huge concentration of talent that Bristol had to offer and after doing some voluntary work for Young Bristol I saw the opportunity to launch the idea and bring established and aspiring artists together and at the same time help benefit a really worthwhile cause. We have been really blown away by the response from everyone involved and have thoroughly enjoyed the whole process and having the pleasure of meeting so many positive and friendly people.

VP: There are many charities out there? Why pick “Young Bristol” charity for this project? What is the aim of the charity?

Ben Steers: I have recently helped Young Bristol put together a quarterly magazine on volunteer work and events in the area. There are so many great charities out there doing outstanding work every day but I think in the case of Young Bristol I felt that I could offer my creative services in some way and they also focus on helping disadvantaged individuals of my sort of age through media and arts courses. They aim to give those who didn’t have the opportunities that a lot of us take for granted, the chance to further themselves in creative fields and I think that is really something.

VP: The competition was very popular. Was there a jury and how did you select the final 20?

B S: It was a really difficult selective process as we didn’t want to turn any of the designs away simply because people had made a real effort and in the end we had over 40 design submissions to choose from. We both sat down and went through all the designs trying to select 20 on their individual merits and on how well they would sit against the other 19 as a collection. We were very aware of how all 20 cards would look if we sat them all next to each other. In the end we were very lucky in the response we got and selected 20 great designs which are varied in both style and content.


VP: What motivated you to apply for the competition?

Ben Steers: Ben’s enthusiasm made it very difficult to say no and it’s always fun to take part in Bristol projects especially when it’s for a good cause.

VP: Have any of you ever been involved with charities before?

Illustrator Ben Newman: I’ve been involved in a few charity projects raising money for hospitals and endangered animals but my involvement always depends on whether my other projects allow me enough time. I’m really pleased that sometimes I can use a skill to help raise money.

VP: It is so easy to fall into cliches when coming up with a concept for Christmas cards? Those cards are truly original and infused with humor. How did you find inspiration for those cards?

BN: My card was inspired by some of the designs on Record company advertising banners from the 1950’s.

VP: I know what I want for Christmas and it is to welcome lovely kittens into my home. What about you, lovely people?

BN: Booze, food, friends and lot’s of sleeping.



Illustration by Bjorn Lie

Name of Illustrator: Bjorn Lie

VP: What motivated you to apply for the competition?

BL:  The fact that it was for a local charity. I normally do work for clients in other countries, which is nice, but makes me feel a bit detached from where I actually am, Bristol. This was a chance to be a part of something positive, by just doing my own thing.

VP: Have any of you ever been involved with charities before?

BL: Not actively, no. I would like to do more of it in the future though.

VP: It is so easy to fall into cliches when coming up with a concept for Christmas cards? Those cards are truly original and infused with humor. How did you find inspiration for those cards?

BL:  I’ve been doing a lot of wintry scenes recently for a picture book, so I was already in that frame of mind! My card features a guy on a “spark støtting’, which is an old school means of transportation back in Norway where I’m from.


Name of Illustrator: Rich T

VP: What motivated you to apply for the competition?

Rich T: I thought it was a great idea for a project, a good brief and most importantly fun. If you want people to do stuff for free you have to make it fun, you can’t rely on good will. Kids today….

VP: Have any of you ever been involved with charities before?

Rich T: I have donated artwork for charity auctions in the past.

VP: It is so easy to fall into cliches when coming up with a concept for Christmas cards? Those cards are truly original and infused with humor. How did you find inspiration for those cards?

Rich T: I didn’t want to draw anything to do with Christmas so for me the opposite of Christmas is probably Pepsi, always forgotten in the festive period along with Jesus, job done.

VP: I know what I want for Christmas and it is to welcome lovely kittens into my home. What about you, lovely people?

Rich T: All I want for Christmas is loads of expensive gifts, preferably ones I can sell on E bay, and a dog but I don’t want it forever, just Christmas.


Name of Illustrator: Chris Dickason

CD: More than anything else the brief sounded like a fun way to spend some time away from commercial work and a chance to get a little Christmas over nostalgic whilst I looked for inspiration. There’s a fantastic wealth of talent in Bristol and consistently the artists and designs here produce work that’s as innovative as it is clever, funny and engaging. I’m really interested in being involved with projects that help promote the city as a creative hub. And obviously it’s great to be involved with a local charity as well.

VP: Have any of you ever been involved with charities before?

CD: I’ve worked commercially for charities and raised a bit of money from sponsorship for just about plodding myself around some marathons but I’d been looking for a project that consolidated my own discourse and a worthy cause. The ‘All I Want for Christmas’ project ticked a lot of boxes in my head when I received the email. It’s very much a win-win situation for the artists. Projects like this offer creative freedom are chance to see work viewed along side your contemporaries as well as providing a healthy dose of the ‘feel good factor’ as you get to support a charity to boot.

VP: It is so easy to fall into cliches when coming up with a concept for Christmas cards? Those cards are truly original and infused with humor. How did you find inspiration for those cards?

CD: Christmas is a great time of year because it provides some very personal memories but these experiences are similar to that shared by most other people. I was motivated to create an image that was based on occurrences that are typical of my Christmas experiences (over indulgence, goodnatured gluttony, sharing & caring) and hoped that these ideas would resonate with the audience.

VP: I know what I want for Christmas and it is to welcome lovely kittens into my home. What about you, lovely people?

CD: The main thing I want for Christmas is in fact free and that is a nice chunk of uninterrupted sleep. If I had my may I’d turn into a big grizzly bear and snooze all winter long and wake back up when the temperature is back in double figures. Alas I’m yet to master this skill.


So now you know what these chaps all want for Christmas. How about you? You might just want to escape the usual uninspiring, tacky and overdone festive art on display this season and treat yourself to fun, cheeky and sustainable charity cards. The Christmas card packs are a limited edition of 500, each containing 20 cards individually designed by 20 of Bristol’s finest illustrators, litho printed on 100% recycled card, 20 envelopes and an A2 poster. They cam be purchased on Price per pack: £15 + £2.99 p&p


Bebe and Paolo are a rockabilly and jazz inspired duo from Weymouth. Just 5 months into starting out they played Camp Bestival, ed after winning a local Battle of the Bands contest. I ventured down to the Flowerpot, see Kentish Town, to see the dynamic duo play…what a gig! I got chatting to front woman, Bebe Black afterward…

How did you two meet and decide to start making music together?
We met about seven or eight years ago in Weymouth, and used to hang around the place drinking and smoking and generally being a nuisance like teenagers are. Eventually Bebe moved away to Bournemouth and then London and Paolo went to study at the ACM. We didn’t meet again until Christmas 2008 at an Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster gig back home. We started chatting about our love of jazz and 50’s rockabilly, and within a week Paolo had written a piece for Bebe to sing over. We finally got it together in February 2009, and have been gigging and writing non-stop since then.

What type of music would you say you make?
We’ve named it “Jazz Punk Erotica”


Which bands have influenced your music?
Kate Bush, Edith Piaf, Robert Johnson, Eddie Lang, Ruth Etting, Billie Holiday.

Who would you love to cover one of your songs?
I would like to hear Phoebe Legere covering “Good Boys” live with an accordion.

What has been your best live experience so far?
Playing at Camp Bestival was wild, the running order went something along the lines of: “Spongebob SquarePants, Bebe and Paolo, PJ Harvey.” You can’t beat that!
We also played on Sark, in the Channel Islands. It’s a little island with no cars, no streetlamps – only horse and carts and torches! We had a great time, but we were banned from singing some of our more risqué songs!


If you could play live, at any venue in the world, where would you choose and why?
We want to play Ronnie Scott’s, and we want to wear Nike air max whilst we’re doing it! Also the Luminaire would be amazing and of course the Jools Holland Show for reasons that do not need to be explained…

Bebe, Your outfits are always very cool and you express a very distinct style. Are your outfits always well thought out? or do you just chuck anything on that looks good?
I think it’s a bit of both! I studied and worked in fashion, so the way I put things together is probably fairly programmed by now in the way that I like wearing one striking piece of clothing and keeping the rest simple. I only buy items that I think will stand the test of time, and usually those kind of clothes stand out on-stage. I’m about to start collaborating with up-and-coming designer, Sam Membury, who’s pieces are simple but beautiful. My mum says “Look rich, Live Poor” so that’s my motto when it comes to how I dress!

What is your favourite item of clothing/ accessory at the moment?
A vintage studded belt that I forgot I owned until I found it hiding out in the back of my wardrobe last week and a Butler and Wilson skeleton brooch that I paid too much money for, but love endlessly.

Images by Briony Warren

See Bebe and Paolo play this Friday 27th, at the ‘Swinging Sixties Night’ at the Fashion and Textiles Museum.

Categories ,Billie Holiday, ,Camp Bestival, ,Eddie Lang, ,Edith Piaf, ,Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster, ,Erotica, ,Fashion and Textiles Museum, ,Flowerpot, ,gig, ,interview, ,jazz, ,Jools Holland, ,Kate Bush, ,live, ,london, ,luminaire, ,music, ,Phoebe Legere, ,PJ Harvey, ,punk, ,Robert Johnson, ,Ronnie Scott’s, ,Ruth Etting, ,Sam Membury, ,Spongebob SquarePants

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