Amelia’s Magazine | Slow Club: Plug – Sheffield: Live Review

gustav metzgerGustav Mertzger at The Serpentine

From tomorrow

Gustav Metzger’s “auto-creative” and “auto-destructive” art  involved antics like spraying acid on nylon and building objects only to tear them down, ask each shape the materials made on their way down forming new works. A bit theoretical, store although interesting, buy information pills but he also engaged in art activism, displaying work to do with the Vietnam war. His work is even said to have influenced the guitar-smashing meme in rock music, started by The Who. This retrospective covers almost a lifetime of work.

kate merrington

Now You See It at the Cafe Gallery

This lovely little gallery tucked away in the middle of Southwark Park is squeezing lots of new artists into its show “Now You See It”. Works from Cecilia, Bonilla, Jemima, Brown, Lucy Clout, Timo Kube and Katy Merrington among others explore the tricks a camera can play on you and quite what can be considered real.


Focus on the Rainforest at Kew Gardens

From Wednesday

Award-winning photographer Daniel Beltrá is exhibiting his stunning photographs of the rainforest in the fitting surroundings of Kew Gardens, starting Wednesday September 30. It seems like our generation has been trying to save the rainforests our whole lives and yet the counter on the homepage of the Prince’s Rainforests Project shows how quickly it’s still being destroyed. The exhibition is designed to raise awareness and is also extremely easy on the eye. Rainforests are actually quite frightening and full of spiders, and getting there pollutes the atmosphere, so this is the best way to appreciate their special beauty.

You must also check out Vivienne Westwood’s contribution to the project:

Damien Hirst spots

Pop Life: Art in the Material World, Tate Modern

From Saturday

The artists on display in Tate Modern’s “Pop Life: Art in a Material World” exhibition are so influential on the world of advertising and prevalent in any satire on art, that sometimes works by artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin can seem a bit over-familiar. This exhibition acknowledges the way our recent art has wormed its way into popular culture and happily taken its place there, with bright, bold images that are easy to co-opt into the material world it contends that we live in.

anish kapoor royal academy

Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academy

All week

This mega-artist’s new exhibition works with the actual fabric of the building to create mind-bending works like his “Svayambh”, shown above in France, a long path made of wax. There are lots of new works for dedicated fans and the grand scale makes this a brilliant way to introduce yourself if you are a recent convert.


ShowStudio: Fashion Revolution, at Somerset House

Fashion Week is over but this stellar exhibition, also located in Somerset House, scampers on. Garnering rave reviews, especially from our own fashion section, this mix of video, mannequins and allsorts celebrating nine years of the website. Some of its content has appeared online before, but much is new and everything is fashion inspiration incarnate.
gustav metzgerGustav Mertzger at The Serpentine

From tomorrow

Gustav Metzger’s “auto-creative” and “auto-destructive” art  involved antics like spraying acid on nylon and building objects only to tear them down, ampoule each shape the materials made on their way down forming new works. A bit theoretical, although interesting, but he also engaged in art activism, displaying work to do with the Vietnam war. His work is even said to have influenced the guitar-smashing meme in rock music, started by The Who. This retrospective covers almost a lifetime of work.

kate merrington

Now You See It at the Cafe Gallery

This lovely little gallery tucked away in the middle of Southwark Park is squeezing lots of new artists into its show “Now You See It”. Works from Cecilia, Bonilla, Jemima, Brown, Lucy Clout, Timo Kube and Katy Merrington among others explore the tricks a camera can play on you and quite what can be considered real.


Focus on the Rainforest at Kew Gardens

From Wednesday

Award-winning photographer Daniel Beltrá is exhibiting his stunning photographs of the rainforest in the fitting surroundings of Kew Gardens, starting Wednesday September 30. It seems like our generation has been trying to save the rainforests our whole lives and yet the counter on the homepage of the Prince’s Rainforests Project shows how quickly it’s still being destroyed. The exhibition is designed to raise awareness and is also extremely easy on the eye. Rainforests are actually quite frightening and full of spiders, and getting there pollutes the atmosphere, so this is the best way to appreciate their special beauty.

You must also check out Vivienne Westwood’s contribution to the project:

A_View_from_afar_Main Image

Once Viewed From Afar at Gallery 27

There was a time in the arts when work on the British countryside was the main source of inspiration for artists and writers. It has since become viewed as either twee or been used mainly as a counterpoint to urban environments. Artists Sarah Crew and Chris Holman are returning to the appreciative mold of artist, revelling in the idyllic, the beautiful, the nostalgic about the countryside. Using paint and photography, they create characters – think an updated Animals of Farthing Wood. There’s a story being told here, by the most familiar creatures inhabiting the country we live in.

Damien Hirst spots

Pop Life: Art in the Material World, Tate Modern

From Saturday

The artists on display in Tate Modern’s “Pop Life: Art in a Material World” exhibition are so influential on the world of advertising and prevalent in any satire on art, that sometimes works by artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin can seem a bit over-familiar. This exhibition acknowledges the way our recent art has wormed its way into popular culture and happily taken its place there, with bright, bold images that are easy to co-opt into the material world it contends that we live in.

anish kapoor royal academy

Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academy

All week

This mega-artist’s new exhibition works with the actual fabric of the building to create mind-bending works like his “Svayambh”, shown above in France, a long path made of wax. There are lots of new works for dedicated fans and the grand scale makes this a brilliant way to introduce yourself if you are a recent convert.


ShowStudio: Fashion Revolution, at Somerset House

Fashion Week is over but this stellar exhibition, also located in Somerset House, scampers on. Garnering rave reviews, especially from our own fashion section, this mix of video, mannequins and allsorts celebrating nine years of the website. Some of its content has appeared online before, but much is new and everything is fashion inspiration incarnate.

Slow Club are Charles and Rebecca from Sheffield, viagra dosage they make saccharine folk-pop to brighten your day. The UK’s White Stripes without the self-constructed angst.
With Plug’s doors open at seven and the main act not on until twenty to ten, purchase there were two hours and twenty minutes of anticipation for Slow Club in Sheffield last Wednesday night. Just as we were beginning to get impatient, check the infectious pop duo snuck out and treated us to a brilliant rendition of ‘Wild Blue Milk’, performing it acoustically right in the middle of the crowd.

It’s when you see them without mics and amps that you can really hear how good their voices are. Unfortunately I lent my camera to an Amelia’s intern for London Fashion Week, so you’ll have to take my word for it that as well as being incredibly talented Rebecca was looking especially lovely, mesmerising the majority of the boys in the audience, including the one I was with (grr) and subsequently topping my mental list of girls I want to be.


Next, they took to the stage for the infectively poppy ‘Giving Up On Love’. They have great chemistry, casually bouncing off each other and showing that Northerners do sarcasm best, introducing the rather sombre, ‘There’s No Good Way To Say I’m Leaving’ by saying dryly: “It’s a party song Sheffield. Yeah, you should put this one on before you go out on a Friday night.”

The duo were notedly disappointed by the lacklustre reaction of the crowds at some points during their tour and were perhaps expecting more audience participation from their home crowd. This showed during the middle of their performance, but ‘Yeah, So’, Slow Club’s debut full length album has only been out since July, and it’s always difficult to tour when fans haven’t yet picked their favourites and learnt the words to all the songs.


A highlight for me was when Rebecca sang part two of ‘All our Brilliant Friends’ – a secret track on the album.  It’s a very sweet, sad song: “And you say baby you lied in your song/ and it takes all my courage not to sing along/ and now my beating heart belongs to my drums.” It seemed fitting that she took to the stage alone, without Watson, to tug at our heart strings.

The party didn’t really start until ‘Lets Fall Back In Love’, when they were joined by a gaggle of their friends, acting as Slow Club’s biggest fans. The band gained confidence in their presence and this loosened up the crowd, which was definitely helpful when we were all rushed outside to the smoking area for the encore, ‘Christmas TV’.


This was a truly superb way to end the night, with everyone singing along I felt like we were watching them jamming at a friend’s late night BBQ. Standing on top of a bench to sing is something you can only get away with in a crowd of a few hundred people. I hope they don’t get too used to small numbers because I’m pretty sure that by their next tour Slow Club’s membership will have swelled significantly.

All illustrations by Panther Club

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Amelia’s Magazine | Montreal Festimania 2011: Festival Mode et Design Music – introducing Parlovr

Parlovr by Sally Jane Thompson
Parlovr by Sally Jane Thompson.

Introducing: Parlovr. Also known as Parlour Montreal. Discovered at Festival Mode et Design in Montreal, price where they played a mid afternoon set in between catwalk shows on McGill College Avenue.

Parlovr album cover art
Parlovr by Parlovr.

Need to know:

The band was formed in 2006 in trendy Mile End (that’s look _Montreal”>Mile End, information pills Montreal, not Mile End, east London) when Louis Jackson (who plays guitar) and Alex Cooper (on keys) got together. Both of them sing. Drummer Jeremy MacCuish joined soon after.

Parlovr Montreal Festimania 2011 Alex Cooper
Parlovr playing at Montreal Festimania: Alex Cooper.

Their musical style has been described as Sloppy Pop. Think big Arcade Fire style atonality with infectious tunes. Created by just three lads.

The name just kind of happened: Parlour enraged another band of the same name so they decided to Latinise the name by swapping in a v for the u. They don’t mind how you pronounce it.

YouTube Preview ImagePen to Paper

Their live show is a supertastic energetic head-swinging affair, particularly from drummer Jeremy who really lets rip.

Parlovr playing at Montreal Festimania: Jeremy MacCuish
Parlovr playing at Montreal Festimania: Jeremy MacCuish.

They have toured extensively all over the world, including China, the US and Europe, supporting illustrious ilk such as the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand.

Self titled album Parlovr came out on Dine Alone records last summer. It has great illustrated cover art work. (see above)

Parlovr playing at Montreal Festimania: Louis Jackson
Parlovr playing at Montreal Festimania: Louis Jackson.

Go check them out! Find Parlovr on myspace and Parlovr on twitter.

Categories ,Alex Cooper, ,Arcade Fire, ,Arctic Monkeys, ,Atonal, ,Dine Alone, ,Festival Mode et Design Montreal, ,Franz Ferdinand, ,Jeremy MacCuish, ,Louis Jackson, ,Mile End, ,Montreal, ,Montreal Festimania, ,Parlour Montreal, ,Parlovr, ,Pen to Paper, ,Sally Jane Thompson, ,Sloppy Pop

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Amelia’s Magazine | Lewes Psychedelic Festival


Lewes’ quaint, cobbled streets and Dickensian finery belie the town’s rebel status and heritage. Thomas Paine, 18th century philosopher and all round radical was a local while the annual bonfire festivities are the kind of Pagan perverse, politically loaded Wickerman shindigs that grab national newspaper headlines. Situated slap bang in the life-affirming environs of the Sussex Downs and home to Harvey’s ale, it’s easy to see why Lewes is something of a hippy haven – genteel on the outside, pretty bizarre on deeper investigation. The perfect host to the neo-psychedelic revolution. Or a place where a bunch of bearded dudes get to hang out and discuss obscure Nuggets. Either way, I was home.


The happening unfolded in the All Saints Centre, a church where, most appropriately, Pink Floyd played in 1966. Heightening the sense of lysergic lasciviousness that characterised the night was the mind mulching lightshow provided by locally sourced hero, Innerstings. Such visual freak-ery was offset perfectly by the evening’s DJs who, for the most part, dealt in psychedelic music of the guitar based variety. No bad thing, especially if the crate digger behind the decks is Richard Norris, whose set seemingly unearthed the kind of gems Lenny Kaye would kick himself for missing. As was the desired effect, this all blended perfectly with the live performances which served to give the evening a modernist sheen and kick several shades of shit out of any sense of nostalgia that pervaded. Take, for example, The Notorious Hi-Fi Killers, whose singer resembled Jerry Garcia but whose band kicked up a beautifully godless stoner-rock racket. (Un)natural heirs to Rocky Erickson’s throne perhaps, they tore their way through an acid-spanked set of psychedelic garage punk and sounded far bigger than you’d expect from three blokes from South London.


Having obliterated the dance floor of rug cutting psychedelic Mods, it was left to headliners, The Yellow Moon Band, to restore some kind consensual good will. This was entirely apt as the Yellow Moon Band’s founders are Jo and Danny, hirsute curators of the Greenman Festival. Consummate professionals to a hilt, they play note for note the majority of their recent (and peculiarly danceable) debut album, Travels Into Several Remote Nations Of The World. On paper, their Steeleye Span meets Slayer schtick looks decidedly unappealing but, bathed in a wash of kaleidoscopic lights and played out with merciless efficiency the Yellow Moon Band are a strangely alluring, downright compelling and very psychedelic experience. Just ask the mass of people throwing shapes and gyrating down the front. Pouring out into the graveyard post show, chatting with likeminded souls and new friends, it seemed Lewes had given birth to a new spring time institution, one worthy enough of taking its place next to the other grand traditions of this beguiling and beautiful town.

Categories ,Festival, ,Lewes Psychedelic Festival, ,Live, ,Music

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Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Review: Vieilles Charrues

A couple of weeks ago, medications I was sifting through work emails and idly wondering how my forthcoming weekend was going to shape up; it seemed to be taking on the familiar pleasures of the default setting – drinks, pilule lazing around Shoreditch Park, case catching a gig or two, having a coffee at Columbia Road flower market; the same old same old essentially, and then an email dropped into my inbox that quickly made me revise my plans. It was from Ben, an old friend of Amelia’s Magazine from French-Music Org, and Liz from Brittany Tourism who were both involved in the French music festival des Vieilles Charrues in Brittany, and wanted to know if Amelia’s Magazine was interested in coming along to check it out. Being a champion of all kinds of festivals, both in England and abroad, but at the same time staying true to the ethics of not flying wherever possible, I was pleased to see that the festival encourages all non-flight forms of travel, and had a good deal with Brittany Ferries worked into one of the ticket packages that also includes transfers to and from the festival. I had a quick look at the line-up, which included performances from Phoenix, Midlake, The Raveonettes, Fanfarlo, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and Julian Casablancas. Then I checked my ipod and saw that apart from a little Francoise Hardy and Charlotte Gainsbourg, it was woefully lacking in French music and decided that this Gallic version of Glastonbury could be my guide to France’s vibrant music scene, especially seeing that Chapelier Fou, Revolver, Indochine, Fefe and the brilliantly named Sexy Sushi were all headlining. So that was that. All I needed to do was grab my trusty pillow and I was off to France! A few hours later, after a bumpy ferry ride that unfortunately took place on the windiest day of the year, I found myself in the picturesque town of Carhaix, home of the festival, and about 45 minutes inland from the coast.

Sune and Sharin of The Raveonettes give us a shock and awe performance.

Watching The Raveonettes with my friends – wet and bedraggled but happy.

It was straight to the festival and to the front of the crowd to watch The Raveonettes do a typically kinetic set of howling, fuzzy guitar riffs, liberally sprinkled with lots and lots of noise. Just how the audience like it. The Danish duo, made up of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are a dark force to reckon with and played an incredibly tight set, featuring songs from their fourth album, In And Out Of Control. I hadn’t see them play before and I came away thinking that the bands waiting in the wings such as Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Crystal Castles and Vivienne Girls still have a long way to go before they steal the crowns off of these two. Later I managed to get in some talk time with Sune who refused the offer of dinner with his bandmates in favour of shooting the breeze over mugs of vodka cranberries for a whole hour. (Interview to come in the next few weeks)

The next day, when I was a little less exhausted from twelve straight hours of travelling, and no sleep, I was able to properly explore the festival and see it through renewed eyes. Truth be told, it was refreshing to find myself at an overseas festival. The crowd were relaxed, extremely friendly (stand next to any random group of strangers and within a few minutes you will be conversing away happily in a garbled mix of Franglais) and the FOOD (and drink)! It doesn’t matter how many boutique festivals are springing up over England, festival des Vieilles Charrues trumps us with champagne bars all over the site (to be sipped insouciantly while you watch French rock gods Indochine) and food tents which can provide you cheese plates and fruits de la mer to go with your choice of wine. It being slightly earlier in the day, I was trying out the regional cider which was so tasty it practically made me weep, and made my way over to watch the Fanfarlo set. Unexpectedly, this was probably my favourite performance of the festival. Having toured constantly for the past year (watch the mini documentary on their website which painfully documents their incessant and exhaustion-inducing schedule), the performances of the songs from their 2009 release Reservoir have taken on a whole new level. Each band member seamlessly flitted between a myriad of different musical instruments; no-one ever held onto a guitar, trumpet, violin, mandolin or musical saw for more than a few minutes before doing some musical-chairs. I’m not sure how well France was aware of Fanfarlo, but the full audience loved every song they played, and noisily demanded an encore – which unfortunately they didn’t get, but then, the band do only have about twelve songs in their back catalogue.

Fanfarlo talk about life on the road and divulge the little known fact of lead singer Simon’s childhood love of ham radios.

Traditional Breton music. Everyone knew the dance moves but me.

Night time gave me a chance to flit between the bands playing. I watched Midlake, the indie Texans who are fast gaining popularity over on this side of the pond, serenade the audience as the sun set, their hazy Americana sound drifting over the breeze and through the fields. Then it was a hop, skip and a jump to watch Sexy Sushi, the raw Parisian rap of Fefe and – I didn’t see this coming – some traditional Breton music involving some old men, a couple of accordions and a lively crowd who were all versed in the dance moves that accompany the traditional folk style. Then the midnight hour was upon us and the audience was heading in droves to watch Phoenix, who are clearly the prodigal sons of France. I’ve heard before that some of the French don’t appreciate the fact that Phoenix record all of their tracks in English, as opposed to their mother tongue, but there was no such bad feeling in the crowd that stood around me that night, sending waves of love and adulation towards the stage which prompted lead singer Thomas Mars to briefly lie on the stage in slightly dazed wonder at this epic night.

It was frustrating to have to leave on Sunday, as I missed performances by Pony Pony Run Run, Julian Casablancas and Etienne De Crecy, but work commitments dictated an early departure. Nonetheless, I had such a great time that I am already planning next years Festival des Vieilles Charrues (which will be the 20th anniversary of the festival). Brittany was the perfect setting for such a chilled festival, and a welcome addition to the festival calendar.

Categories ,Brittany, ,Brittany Ferries, ,Carhaix, ,Chapelier Fou, ,Charlotte Gainsbourg, ,Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, ,Etienne De Crecy, ,fanfarlo, ,Fefe, ,festival, ,france, ,Francoise Hardy, ,julian casablancas, ,Midlake, ,phoenix, ,Pony Pony Run Run, ,Sexy Sushi, ,The Raveonettes, ,Vieilles Charrues

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Amelia’s Magazine | Friendly Fires and Jape


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!”

Categories ,Friendly Fires, ,Jape, ,Kings College, ,Live, ,Music, ,Review

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Amelia’s Magazine | Lily and Madeleine introduce their new single and video: Devil We Know

Lily & Madeleine by Rose Petal Deer (Emily Katherine Reader)
Lily & Madeleine by Rose Petal Deer (Emily Katherine Reader).

Lily & Madeleine are sisters hailing from Indianapolis. Both are still in school, but possessed of effortless harmonies and lyrical prowess beyond their years. I asked the girls to talk about the making of their video for new single Devil We Know (which can be viewed at the bottom of this post).

Lily and Madeleine by Katie Craven
Lily and Madeleine by Katie Craven.

Lily & Madeleine‘s self titled debut album comes out with Asthmatic Kitty Records on 28th Oct 2013.

Lily and Madeleine by Sandra Contreras
Lily and Madeleine by Sandra Contreras.

This album is our first full length and it’s our biggest project so far. We recorded it in about two weeks last summer in a really neat church-turned-studio in Bloomington, IN. The single from our first full length album is Devil We Know. This song is about beginning a new chapter in our lives. We’ve received a lot of really exciting opportunities recently and this song is about leaving behind all the doubt and just diving in to this new adventure. Arranging and producing this song was so fun! We wanted to create the sound of a rainstorm to mimic the imagery in the lyrics. The video is special because it shows us working in the studio with some amazingly talented musicians: Kenny Childers, Wade Parish, Matt Tobey, Heidi Gluck, and Shannon Hayden. We’re very proud of the album because it shows how we have grown since we first began this adventure, and we hope others have as much fun listening to it as we did making it!

YouTube Preview Image

Categories ,Asthmatic Kitty Records, ,Bloomington, ,Devil We Know, ,Emily Katherine Reader, ,Heidi Gluck, ,Indianapolis, ,Katie Craven, ,Kenny Childers, ,Lily and Madeleine, ,Matt Tobey, ,Rose Petal Deer, ,Sandra Contreras, ,Shannon Hayden, ,Wade Parish

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Amelia’s Magazine | Interview: Chad Valley

Illustration by Aysim Genc

Did you know that we’re all buying a third more clothing than we did a decade ago? Yep, find you read that right. A third more in only 10 years. And are you also aware that today’s average household contributes 26 items of wearable clothing to landfill every year? Tallied up, that’s well over 600,000 garments in the UK alone. Can you visualise that waste? It’s A LOT.

The appropriately-named ‘Trash Fashion’ exhibition is a relatively small presentation with a big message. Be honest, you can’t remember the last time that ‘textiles’ sprang to mind when thinking of world waste and pollution. Something along the lines of ‘oil’ or ‘water’ or ‘plastic bottles’ would be up there; never the words ‘clothes’, ‘dyes’, ‘fabric’. And yet, it’s a big deal. For example, a huge 17-20% of worldwide industrial water pollution is down to textile dye. The truth is that the concept of waste produced by the textiles industry is dangerously underestimated. Fact.

Illustration by Ankolie

Okay, so I didn’t predict a fashion-related exhibition at the Science Museum either. And, in its allotted space, Trash Fashion did rather stick out like a sore-thumb. One also is required to walk through the entire ground floor to actually reach the exhibition, which features steam trains, outer-space and other extravaganzas along with a large population of noisy children. As it was a Saturday, immersed in engines and spaceships, I’m guessing either über-nerdy kids or über-nerdy parents. However, I just used the word ‘über’ twice in one sentence so I’m clearly the nerd here.

Moving on, I learnt shed loads about ‘designing out waste’ in the fashion industry by wandering through. For one, I learnt that an initiative, led by Central Saint Martins, is being developed. An idea that started with a small mat of cellulose being immersed in green tea in order for it to grow into usable fabric. Fabric that is literally living and breathing. It turns out rather like leather and, having a feel of the fabric myself, couldn’t believe that it came from some bacteria bathed in green tea. Weird. Anyway, it turns out that, at this early stage, the so-called ‘Bio Couture’ is way too heavy and gooey to wear and would practically disintegrate in the rain. Nevertheless, it’s a damn-good start – the product is natural, non-toxic and compostable and scientists are working on developing the idea further all the time.

Another part of the exhibition that I found enthralling was a project hosted by the London College of Fashion called ‘Knit to Fit’. It puts forward the concept of ‘Mass Customisation’, something that I could definitely see materialising in the near future. It starts with an individual having a 3D Body Scan done by a special computer that reads all, and even the very intricate, measurements of the body. This information, along with personalised details such as colour and pattern, is then transmitted to a fairly new machine in the textiles world that, before one’s very eyes, produces an entirely seamless 3D garment. No off-cuts. No waste. Considering that fashion designers are known to leave a whole 15% of the fabric they work with on the cutting-room floor, these are absolutely imperative pieces of technology in the movement towards sustainable and efficient textiles of the future. The idea is that, in the not-too-distant future, the average shopper will be able to stroll into a clothing store and have a custom-made garment made there and then that is unique to us and, most importantly, will leave absolutely no waste.

Illustration by Caroline Coates

Without a doubt, the most immediately imposing feature of the exhibition was a large, flamboyant dress, made out of 1000 pieces of folded scraps of the London Metro newspaper. It stood tall at the entrance and its grandeur seduced a small crowd to gather around and take photographs.
In my opinion, however, it just isn’t enough to rip up a few copies of the London Metro, origami fold them into numerous pieces and make a dress – not to wear, but to make a statement. Not to dismiss the skill that goes into constructing such a fiddly garment, or the fact that it DOES make a pretty huge statement. It relates waste and fashion to one another, which is crucial, through something impressive and, ironically, quite beautiful. But it’s been done. I’ve seen countless garments like these, designed for that shock-factor yet completely un-wearable. It’s time to stop representing the problem and to instead turn to the solution – to science. And this, bar the newspaper dress, is where ‘Trash Fashion’ came up trumps.

So, despite being a little late-in-the-day with this one, might not be worth trekking all the way to South Kensington to see this exhibition alone. If you do, time it in with a trip to the National History or the V&A, both right next door. After all, it’s free entry. You’ll just have to hurdle past the children screaming at steam engines and Apollo 10 and I honestly don’t think you’ll regret it.

Trash Fashion: designing out waste is supported by SITA Trust as part of the No More Waste project and is free to visit at the Science Museum in London.

As part of the exhibition, there is an interactive competition whereby members of the public can submit photos of their ‘refashioned’ old garments, before and after, and could land their new design a spot in the exhibition. To upload pictures of your customised clothes go to

Illustration by Mina Bach

Chad Valley is Hugo Manuel. Oxford born and bred, tadalafil this musician and producer is a member of the recently established Blessing Force Collective and the frontman of alt-folk band Jonquil. As the cold light of the new year dissolved in February, stomach Hugo Manuel finished a tour with Brooklyn’s acclaimed Twin Shadow and participated in Blessing Force’s recent Warehouse Party at The Old Bookbinders in Oxford. In the days inbetween, Manuel chatted to Amelia’s Magazine about his latest solo venture and what would happen if he ever went for tea with Neil Young…

First things first, how are you finding 2011 so far?

2011 has so far been a blur and feels like its about 10 days old. Its still fresh, and there are lots of plans being hatched.

What’s the story behind the name Chad Valley? I see in previous interviews you’ve mentioned that it’s the name of a toy company begun in the Victorian era?

Chad Valley is actually a place near Birmingham where the toy company was based and it just a wonderful sounding pairing of words. I have no connection with the toy company and when I first knew of the word it wasn’t anything to do with toys. In fact, a friend of mine used it as his stage name when he was in a punk band. Its a kind of generational thing though, because people of my age don’t tend to know about the toy company whereas older generations are like ‘why did you name yourself after Chad Valley!?’ I guess it is a bit like calling myself Argos.

Video for Chad Valley’s Up and Down by Katie Harrison

Which era or decade would you say has inspired your music the most?

For Chad Valley specifically I would have to say the late 80s to very early 90s. Its a kind of end of the decade thing where there is change and new things coming in, a rebellion against what has come before. I think the production values of electronic music had, by then, reached something of a pinnacle and things had got so slick that its almost sickly, but quite amazing at the same time. Outside that though, I think the period of 1969 to 1974 is probably the time I would most love to be making music. The records that came out of that era by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Crosby, Still and Nash, Jackson Browne are all some of my favourites of all time.

What’s the musical inspiration behind Chad Valley? Are you still listening to Studio and The Tough Alliance or have you moved on to pastures new?

I still have so much love for those bands, absolutely. And Ceo, which is one of the guys from TA’s new project, is also great. That was definitely the jumping off point for Chad Valley, but things are moving on, for sure. I’m listening to a lot more R&B at the moment, and that is having a big impact on the stuff I’m making right now. I’m delving deep into R Kelly’s back catalogue for inspiration.

Illustration by Maria del Carmen Smith

If Chad Valley were a geographical landscape, what or where would it be? How would you map Jonquil?

It would be New York in the early 70s, just like in Taxi Driver. Jonquil would be LA, in the early 90s. Like in the Ice Cube videos.

What are your thoughts on Up and Down being described in the Guardian as “a slinky Hot Chip on downers, a disco-infused summer “joint” featuring some shimmering synths, padded drum beats and Manuel’s impressive croon”?

That was nice to hear. I like Hot Chip a lot, I think they’ve done pretty amazing things considering how weird a band they are. Also, it’s nice to get press in places like the Guardian because you can show your parents, and they can be very impressed.

Video for Chad Valley’s Portuguese Solid Summer by Katie Harrison

Who is the most inspirational person you have come across? What would a meeting between the two of you be like?

Neil Young, without a shadow of a doubt. I would love to have a cup of tea with him and just talk about writing music. I’m sure I would be 100% intimidated and just drool or something weird like that.

What is the most exciting or scary thing that 2011 will throw at you?

At the moment I’m fairly petrified about writing and producing an album. Because it’s just me and I don’t have other people to bounce ideas off, it can be very quite scary making the big decisions about lyrics, or song titles, artwork… those kind of things. But I’m getting way ahead of myself… I have about 2 and a half tunes for the album I guess.

I really like the ambient atmosphere of the video for Up and Down – how did the idea behind the video develop? How did you come across the footage?

It was actually made by my girlfriend when she had the summer off, and a lot of free time on her hands. It’s all stuff from across the internet, so it’s a pretty amazing patchwork of different people’s home videos, pretty much. I like that idea a lot, and its fairly mind-boggling, the fact that that is at all possible!

Illustration by Alia Gargum

What’s been your favourite gig to play at so far?

There are two that I’ll mention, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum for live shows. One was at a launderette in Hackney. A working laundrette that had been closed for the night and fixed up with a PA and some projectors. They place was heaving, in the best possible way, and everyone danced. Everyone. So at the other end is the show I did with Foals on New Years Eve at the Kentish Town Forum. I was on first, but being NYE there was excitement in the room, and the vibes were excellent.

What impact does being based in Oxford have on your sound?

The scene we have here… the whole Blessing Force thing, is so supportive and encouraging that I think being from Oxford has had a huge affect on the way I make music, and just simply the fact that I do make music. Being surrounded by other musicians all doing similar bedroom-recorded stuff gives you a huge amount of drive to make shit happen. But the things that make Oxford great are also the things that make Oxford not so great. People are always coming and going from Oxford… its in a constant state of flux and this give it an uneasy feeling sometimes. Like, if you stay here for a long time there must be something wrong with you. I can see myself leaving Oxford in the future for sure, but right now it offers so much to me, that I couldn’t keep away.

Categories ,Alia Gargum, ,Blessing Force, ,Chad Valley, ,Hugo Manuel, ,jonquil, ,Katie Harrison, ,Maria del Carmen Smith, ,Mina Bach., ,Neil Young, ,new york, ,Taxi Driver, ,The Old Bookbinders

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Amelia’s Magazine | Country Mile: an interview with the multi-talented folk singer Johnny Flynn

Johnny Flynn by Emma Mc Morrow

Johnny Flynn by Emma McMorrow.

Johnny Flynn is now a husband and a father, as well as an actor and musician. His many roles have inspired Country Mile, his first album in some years, and one which returns to his roots as a relaxed storyteller – relating journeys, both real and literal, in acoustic style. The result is a sonically beautiful yet raw selection of songs that will keep you warm through those long dark winter nights. I particularly love his title track, which is accompanied by a suitably lo-fi video that follows Johnny’s travels across hill and dale.

Johnny Flynn by Luke Montgomery

Johnny Flynn by Luke Montgomery.

Here at Amelia’s Magazine we have long been Johnny Flynn fans, ever since I saw you accompany Emmy the Great nearly a decade ago (gulp). What have been the main changes in your life since those heady days?
Hmm yeah that feels like a long time ago. I can barely remember what was going on then. I had no idea I was going to pursue music at the time – I was kind of living hand to mouth, quite often living on Emmy’s couch. I was happy to go along with chance encounters and end up playing different nights and with different bands. In terms of my own stuff – I felt private about it – I made lots of bedroom recordings that were only meant to be heard by a few people. So quite a lot has changed. I have a wife and son now. I’m somehow fully submerged in the music industry having never really intending to be here…

Johnny Flynn By Lynne Datson

Johnny Flynn by Lynne Datson.

It’s been awhile since your last album release, how has your approach to making music altered?
Well, this album was a return to the ethics of those early bedroom recordings I just mentioned. The first two albums were done in traditional studios with a producer. That was great and we made the albums in a few weeks but I wanted to go back to ‘tinkering’ with these recordings. That and having the autonomy of making it ourselves – I worked with Adam who plays bass in the band and who I’ve always worked with on demos/soundtracks/bits and bobs. We have a kind of short hand for communicating so it’s cosy to be just us in the studio.

YouTube Preview Image

What kind of journeys inspired the lyrics of Country Mile?
Mostly the kind made on foot along old routes and pilgrimage ways. I was inspired by writers like Robert Macfarlane – who writes mostly about his experiences in wilderness or walking ancient paths. I have a group of friends who all share an interest in being alone in nature: I think it’s healthy to head out on your own in a state of contemplation as often as possible. It’s something that is a prevalent aspect of lots of ancient cultures but has disappeared from our own. If you go back a relatively short time in our history, the act of pilgrimage was an important part of people’s lives. I have made a few ‘pilgrimages’ in recent years and always got so much from giving myself to a ‘way’. When all you have to do each day is walk along a path, all sorts of beautiful things occur – inwardly and outwardly – and you have the space and time to notice and enjoy them.

Johnny Flynn by Julie Gough

Johnny Flynn by Julie Gough.

I understand that the song Einstein’s Idea was written as a lullaby about relativity. How do you write a song with a child in mind?
I don’t know – it just came out of me. I wrote it when my son was box-fresh and I was starting to be filled with an overwhelming paternal energy that was totally new to me. I also wanted to commit something to that moment almost as a testament to my newfound love for this new friend I’d made. And the idea of writing a song abouts ‘Einstein’s idea’ (the theory of relativity) was kind of a joke but also my own cack-handed understanding of it in story form.

Johnny Flynn_CountryMile album cover

How has becoming a father changed your world view?
I’m no longer at the centre of my world… It’s a relief to have someone else to worry about, frankly. I’ve found that’s a lot of new parents have a similar feeling about having kids. It’s such a massive shift, it knocks you sideways in your perception of almost everything. My family comes first now and there’s a kind of lion instinct that kicks in when I least expect it – I get angry when I’m taken away from them.


Johnny Flynn by Lizzie Donegan at New Good Studio.

What productions have you lent your acting talents to in recent times? Any favourites?
I was in productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III when that started at the Globe last summer and finished in the west end earlier this year. They were pretty special shows and I was sad to pull out of the broadway transfer that’s just begun so that we could tour with the new album. It was wonderful to work with Mark Rylance again. After I finished the Shakespeare double bill I was at the royal court doing a fantastic play called ‘the low road’ set in 18th century New England. That was also a lot of fun and the court has always been my favourite theatre.

You are currently on tour for the first time in a few years, what can fans expect to find at your gigs?
We’ve enlisted the amazing Cosmo Sheldrake to play with us (and usually support us on tour too) so having him on organ and upright bass has really allowed us to fly. I feel like the old songs are sounding new and re-invigorated. Having a few years perspective on all that stuff gives us a chance to mess around with the arrangements. And we love playing the new songs. It’s been a while so we’re just happy to be up there.

Country Mile from the Country Mile album by Johnny Flynn is released on 18th November 2013.

Categories ,acoustic, ,Cosmo Sheldrake, ,Country Mile, ,Emma McMorrow, ,Emmy the Great, ,folk, ,Globe, ,Johnny Flynn, ,Julie Gough, ,Lynne Datson, ,New Good Studio, ,Raw, ,review, ,Richard III, ,Robert Macfarlane, ,Rylance, ,Shakespeare, ,Twelfth Night

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Eccentronic Research Council at Village Underground: Live Review

Eccentronic Research Council and Maxine Peake by Laura Hickman

The Eccentronic Research Council by Laura Hickman

For the first in a series of events celebrating a century since Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo published L’Arte dei Rumori (The Art of Noises), his manifesto on “machine music”, cross-platform artistic collective Noise of Art had gathered together an eclectic mix of collaborators. Perhaps fittingly, the venue chosen was Village Underground, a former Victorian warehouse adjacent to a disused railway viaduct on the fringes of London’s East End – a symbol of the industrialisation that had originally inspired Russolo.

As well as a series of DJ sets covering electronic music old and new, there was a brief appearance from the ever impressive alternative all-female choir Gaggle. Kicking off a short set with a thunderous Gaslight, they then unveiled their very own app, the Gaggle Phone (which certainly puts the tone into ringtone!). As has become custom whenever I’ve seen them perform, Gaggle finished with their album closer, the mournful Leave The City, with the various members departing the stage in groups as the music played out.

Eccentronic Research Council by Nadine Khatib

The Eccentronic Research Council by Nadine Khatib

The most anticipated part of the night, though, was the appearance of headliners The Eccentronic Research Council, playing their first show in the capital. Formed by two veterans of the Sheffield music scene, Dean Honer and Adrian Flanagan (who have, in the past, collaborated with such luminaries as Jarvis Cocker and Philip Oakey), they enlisted the considerable talents of actor Maxine Peake (most recently seen in the BBC period piece The Village) and released a concept album, 1612 Underture, based on the infamous Pendle witch trials of the 17th century.

The story of the Pendle witches looms large in the popular psyche of Lancashire (much like Pendle Hill itself, a distinctive feature on the skyline overlooking Burnley) – from the coaches on a bus route from Manchester named after each of the accused to Live At The Witch Trials, the debut album by The Fall, who just happened to be playing across town tonight (a band that, in a curious twist, Adrian Flanagan was once briefly a member of). With 1612 Underture, The Eccentronic Research Council recount the tale through a partly fictionalised, often witty modern day road trip (brought to life in an accompanying short film), which also touches on contemporary social parallels.

A full house cheered as the band appeared – Honer and Flanagan, the self styled “practical electronics enthusiasts”, took their place at the back, behind a table loaded with vintage analogue synths (and kept company by two imitation skulls), whilst on other either side and dressed all in white, like extras from the finale of the Wicker Man, Philly Smith and Lucy Cunsolo provided extra keyboards, percussion and vocals. Most definitely centre stage, however, was Maxine Peake, attired all in black.

Eccentronic Research Council with Maxine Peake at Village Underground by Sam Parr

The Eccentronic Research Council by Sam Parr

The set opened with the steady motorik of Autobahn 666, a Kraftwerk referencing ride along the A666, the so called Devil’s Highway that connects Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn, that Peake narrated with her rich Boltonian tones. This set the mood for much of the rest of the night, with otherworldly synths alternating between bouncy, burbly and just plain sinister acting as a soundtrack for Peake, a dominant presence, to recite from her little black book. Philly Smith and Lucy Cunsolo took over for Wicked Sister Chant, whilst another Sheffield colleague, Lucy Hope, took the stage for The Hangman’s Song (naturally enough, with a noose adorning her neck). Flanagan left his gadgets momentarily to duet with Peake on Another Witch Is Dead, probably the sort of song Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra would come up with if asked to score a film for Hammer studios (though I doubt Ms Sinatra could cackle quite so maniacally as Maxine Peake does at the song’s end).

Eccentronic Research Council by EdieOP

The Eccentronic Research Council by EdieOP

Not all was doom and gloom, and there was a fair bit of banter from the stage. Adrian Flanagan asked the audience if anyone was from Lancashire (being Salford born himself), but when he was overwhelmed by replies, he just gave up and joked “just shout random places at me!”

The core trio of Flanagan, Honer and Peake returned for an encore, the rather unseasonal but reassuringly acerbic Black ChristMass, which descended into an electro wig-out before they departed the stage for the last time.

With a London show now grudgingly under their belt, The Eccentronic Research Council headed back North once more and, with new material a current work in progress, we shall wait to see where their analogue odyssey takes them next.

Categories ,Adrian Flanagan, ,Dean Honer, ,EdieOP, ,Futurism, ,gaggle, ,Hammer studios, ,Jarvis Cocker, ,Kraftwerk, ,Lancashire, ,Laura Hickman, ,lee hazlewood, ,Lucy Cunsolo, ,Lucy Hope, ,Luigi Russolo, ,Maxine Peake, ,Nadine Khatib, ,Nancy Sinatra, ,Noise of Art, ,Pendle, ,Philip Oakey, ,Philly Smith, ,Sam Parr, ,sheffield, ,The Eccentronic Research Council, ,The Fall, ,Village Underground, ,Wicker Man

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