In The Seine is the second single from Year Of The Flesh by Dad Rocks!, the ambitious sequel to debut album Mount Modern. The album is based on Snævar Njáll Albertsson‘s interest in file-sharing and copyright issues, a subject on which he recently completed a university thesis.
Disaster struck during the video shoot for In The Seine but Dad Rocks! fans were quick to get behind a Kickstarter campaign to enable a reshoot in the freezing sea, and the video was finished. Snævar recalls…
‘This video had an eventful journey into the world! It was being shot in France, with an actor being filmed in the sea, in February. It went well, but on the last day there was very bad weather, and all the footage was lost… we launched a crowdfunding campaign for one extra day of shooting, and our community donated more than what we needed during just the first 24 hours. It’s quite incredible how much a loyal fanbase believes in you. I was humbled.”
DAD ROCKS on tour with MIMAS:
16.10.2014 – UK – London – The Lexington
17.10.2014 – UK – Newport – Le Pub
18.10.2014 – UK – Leicester – Firebug
19.10.2014 – UK – Manchester – A Carefully Planned Festival #4
20.10.2014 – UK – Glasgow – Broadcast
22.10.2014 – UK – Leeds – Trinity Church
23.10.2014 – UK – Norwich – Norwich Arts Centre
24.10.2014 – UK – Brighton – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
You’ve had an extremely interesting life – starting with six years on tour as a youngster with your dad’s punk band – how did that influence your outlook?
It gave me this sense of freedom that somehow clashed with reality. Poland was under an extreme regime at that point and I very early on noticed that our home and people that I was surrounded by were different; free, kind of …awakened… The punk movement in Poland was basically pop music in the 80′s and my dad’s band and the people around us were directly responsible for helping to bring Communism down, so it was risky, even though it was happening on a huge scale via the only major national censored record label. The movement was too big for the government to eradicate because the only free gatherings were allowed at gigs and churches. It was all about smuggling anti-system messages past the censors without getting the band members arrested, and that’s what people loved. There was so much passion! We had a real purpose, giving people hope for freedom, so hundreds of thousands of people went to those gigs and there was a kind of mass hysteria. I had this sense of the absurd, because I was navigating between two opposite worlds whilst I was going to school. I was always an outsider; I didn’t realise I was a kid. I’d hang out backstage when I was 3 and fall asleep under a stack of coats. So the main point is that I can’t stand barriers and limitations. The idea of the impossible just doesn’t occur to me. I love traditions but I am against systems, whatever they are, because they represent a lack of individual responsibility and choice, and sooner or later someone tries to abuse them.
You have been on the music scene for some time, first as a solo artist supporting Depeche Mode, then as part of Children and then Flykkiller – how did you get to where you are now?
I just kept going; it gets so hard sometimes. I can be very emotional and I worry too much, which is helpful for songwriting but it’s also like shooting fireballs inside my mind. You have to listen to your gut feeling: don’t get attached to ideas, people or places and don’t make plans. It’s a chain reaction that looks like a string of coincidences but you actually know it’s not and when you see that, it becomes fun. I just meet people, I try to learn, things happen, and I am thankful every day.
What’s the underground music scene like in Poland? Any other top tips for acts we should listen to?
I can’t say I follow it that much as I have dragged myself around the world for the past 13 years. But I came across a really cool electronic project called KAMP! recently, and I am a huge fan of Henryk Gorecki which is not very underground as he’s an iconic classical composer. I like all the vintage stuff, bands like Breakout who were total pioneers in the 60′s, then there is Komeda and some other awesome film composers.
I’ve had Wires and Sparks from Wires and Sparks EP x 1 on my brain for weeks – why do you think this tune is so catchy?
Aw, thanks! You know the crazy thing about those EPs was that right from the start we just couldn’t pinpoint which tracks should lead them, as everyone we played the songs to would have different favourites.
How did you come to shoot the video on a Warsaw rooftop? What is that very impressive building behind you?! it looks very gothic!
I spent most of last year in Brooklyn where bands would regularly set up guerilla gigs on rooftops and play until police took them down. One day I thought I’d be great to do that in Warsaw, so I rang a couple of friends who were film makers and we almost gate crashed this 30 storey office building on Halloween when it was empty, (turned out the security guy was a fan which helped I guess!) The building behind us is really iconic, so well spotted! It was a ‘gift of friendship’ from our Russian comrades in 1955 – there is a similar one on the Red Square in Moscow. Apparently there are rooms with no doors in it and it’s really magnificent: it has this gigantic old white marble public swimming pool in the basement, a purple velvet concert hall and a whole labyrinth of underground corridors used in the past for the Party leaders on the military parades. For the generation of our parents, it was a symbol of the Russian regime; for my generation, it’s an icon of change and chaos. I remember ending up on some amazing random rave parties there…
Who is in your band? Can you introduce us to Kasia? Who does what and is anyone else involved?
I went through so many line ups and I really love to work with big bands but somehow it feels really good to have this self contained little combo right now. Kasia is an amazing talent, I met her years ago when she was in a band in Warsaw and we started working together last year. She plays keyboards, bass and she sings backing vocals. I operate my big pedal board with a little mixing desk, effects, a sampler and a guitar and percussion stuff. I have to give a big credit to Mikko, who is our sound engineer but also sort of a third invisible member of the band.
What can people expect from a live Pati Yang performance?
The gigs are quite raw and stuff happens unexpectedly, but I get a real buzz out of them. I heard they’re quite emotional…
You are currently working on a full length album – what’s the day to day reality of this? Can you talk us through the process.
I recently moved back to London from New York so I have only just set up a studio where I spend most of my time, it’s still really fresh and exciting. I am in the middle of the writing process which happens in random places and times really. But then every day I just put those ideas down… at the moment I play all instruments and record vocals but I am really looking forward to getting other people involved. It’s always really touching to blend genes and see what happens if you let it go.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
These days just to carry on is a huge achievement. I know so many people who have way more talent than myself who put it on the back burner because it’s so difficult to sustain a life and not feel down about the music business these days. I have a lot of gratitude towards whatever and whoever makes me carry on. Factually, I guess I am really chuffed I had the chance to collaborate on some great soundtracks with some really super special people; they were my real teachers.
Where do you currently live and what is best about that place? Where would you take a visitor and why?
I am based in North West London near Hampstead Heath. It’s really quiet and you have to walk a long way to a any cafe or a grocery store, it’s very green and there are not many people around. There is an amazing church in Hampstead; I walked into a Sunday mass by accident and the choir was seriously out of this world. It’s nice to discover those little random gems; these are the moments you won’t forget. If I had a visitor I’d take them there, and we could visit the beautiful old cemetery near the church. There is also a mini zoo in the park near my house with some really funny looking animals. So, you probably won’t find me in a hip cafe in East London – I’m not sure if I’d be any good as a tour guide.
Monday 12th Jan
Starting today: The Voice and Nothing More is a week-long festival at the Slade Research Centre that explores the voice as both medium and subject matter in contemporary arts practices. Established artists and emerging talent will work with leading vocal performers in an exploration of the voice outside language. On Wednesday the festival culminates in a presentation of objects, pilulegeneric performances, order and installations that are open to the public. There will also be performances on Thursday and Friday from 6 pm.
Wednesday 14th Jan
Now in it’s 21st year, recipe the London Art Fair begins at the Design Centre in Islington. A hundred galleries are selected to show work from the last few hundred years. This immense exhibition will encompass sculpture, photography, prints, video and installation art. It ends on the 18th of January.
There is a talk this evening at the ICA entitled Can Art make us Happy? where artists Zoë Walker and Michael Pinsky explore the notions of art as a social cure-all in times of economic and social gloom.
A new solo show from Josephine Flynn begins today at Limoncello on Hoxton Square. The Mexican was bought off a patient who was in hospital with mental health problems. When the patient talked about The Mexican she described how the process of making him had helped her – ‘healing through making’ was how she put it.
Thursday 15th Jan
Feierabend is a collaborative installation between artists Francis Upritchard, Martino Gamper, and Karl Fritsche, bringing together a shared aesthetic in their distinctive approaches to jewellery, furniture design, and sculpture. The exhibition plays with the boundaries of art and real life – looking like a workshop abandoned at the end of a day’s work, or a sitting room left in abstracted dissary, it’s only inhabitants a set of sculpted figures who seem lost in their own meditations. Gimpel Fils opens a new photographic exhbition from Peter Lanyon and Emily-Jo Sargent, 100 Pictures of Coney Island.
The Asphalt World is a new solo show at Studio Voltaire from Simon Bedwell. Drip paintings are made from advertising posters in an ironic twist or corporate seduction.
There are two exhibitions starting today at Wilkinson on Vyner Street. In Upper Gallery a, Episode III, Enjoy Poverty, is the second in a series of three films by Renzo Martens in which he raises issues surrounding contemporary image making, challenging ideas about the role of film makers and viewers in the construction of documentaries. In the Lower Gallery, there will be the fourth exhibiton from German artist, Silke Schatz. Through the conjunction of video, sculpture, drawing and found objects, Schahtz composes a personal portrait of the city of Agsburg.
Saturday 17th Jan
We featured David Cotterrell in issue ten, where in the picturesque surroundings of Tatton Park, he explained how his visit to Afghanistan, where he was invited by the Wellcome Trust, would be likely to have a lasting effect on his future work. Aesthetic Distance is David Cotterrell’s third solo exhibition with Danielle Arnaud, and focuses on the experiences and inevitable aftermath of a flight he took in November 2007 in a RAF C17, from Brize Norton to Kandahar. He was the sole passenger in a plane loaded with half a million rounds of palletised munitions and medical supplies to join Operation Herrick 7, a strange irony not lost on the artist.
To whomsoever concerned by the biggest threat faced by humanity today-that of climate change,
You are cordially invited to Dinner at Domestic Departures. Join us for an evening of peaceful civil(ised) disobedience ahead of the government’s decision over a third runway at Heathrow. Inspired by the actions of the suffragettes, we will be calling for DEEDS NOT WORDS. The government acknowledges the huge problems we face from Climate Change but they continue with business as usual. This jolly evening is intended to produce much-needed positive change and we do hope that you would join us.
Time: 7pm (when the string quartet plays their first note).
Dress Code: Edwardian Suffragette: high collars, long skirts, fitted jackets, puffed sleeves, think Mary Poppins. Sashes will be provided. * Although advisable, it is not compulsory to arrive in Edwardian dress, the most important thing is that you your friends and family join us for dinner. To add the element of surprise, it is suggested that you arrive in a large coat to conceal your costume until the stroke of 7.
Bring: Jam tarts, scones, cucumber sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, tea cakes. Picnic blankets and table cloths. Tea and elderflower cordial. No alcohol please.
Entertainment: String quartet, art tricks from ArtPort, polite conversation.
We look forward to seeing you,
The Misbehaved Ladies from Climate Rush x
Tuesday 13th January, 6pm
Art, Activism and the legacy of Chico Mendes RSA
8 John Adam Street
Tonight will explore the ways in which the arts can help shift society’s attitudes in the face of unprecedented climate change. Elenira Mendes, daughter of environmental activist Chico Mendes, will talk alongside panelists Jonathan Dove (award-winning composer), Greenpeace’s senior climate adviser, Charlie Kronick and fasion designer and activist Dame Vivienne Westwood.
A night of music, comedy, poetry and film (and really good vegan smoothies!) in aid of global justice campaigners, the World Development Movement. Remind yourselves why everyday matters, even Wednesdays.
Winner of this year’s Grand Jury prize at Sundance and announced as a finalist in 2009 Accademy Awards for Best Documentary. This is one New Orleans’ resident’s depiction of the catastrophic tragedy of Hurricaine Katrina. Shot with a (shakily) handheld camera, Kimberely Roberts’ footage starts from the weekend before the hurricaine and covers a period of a year. Michael Moore collaborators Tia Lessin and Carl Deal edit and append the tapes with their own film of the post-Katrina clean-up effort.An astounding portrayal of resilience and bravery.
Showing at the ICA 12th-15th January
Turning The Season
at The Wapping Project
Wapping Hydraulic Power Station
Recent crisp bright skies have been a welcome respite from the usual drab January weather. But who knows what tomorrow may bring. Turning the Season explores the social and cultural phenomenon of the British Season. It would be fair to say that the increasingly visible effects of Climate Change have further fuelled our national fascination with the weather.
Expect 100 bird houses, a roof-top lily pond and a photo story showing the break-up of a relationship against the backdrop of seasonal events shot by fashion photographer Thomas Zanon-Larcher.
Although aimed at swarms of roaring key stage 3 schoolchildren as an educational piece on the issue of deforestation, this production from Palace People’s Projects is a true delight. Set in a traditional village in the Amazon that is eventually swayed by the ghost of Chico Mendes to not fall under the developers’ bulldozers. But not until some devastation has been wreaked first. A socio-political depiction of destruction of the Amazon with a mythical slant. All set to the music and dancing of Forro. An inventive stage (a mammoth man-made tree rather resembling an electrical pole, and pools of water seperating the audience) and brilliantly gaudy costumes by Gringo Cardia.
Seriously energetic post-punk, sequinned and LOUD live act Dead Kids headline. No matter what you think of them on record, they’re sure to grab you live. Continuing the infant name-theme, as well as the intense post-punk sounds are support O Children.
With the ever-winning combo of Japanese girl singing drummer (also to be found as frontwoman for London band Pre) and jangular guitars, this is your best bet for a trendy sceney night out in London.
Tuesday 13th January
Intimate solo acoustic performance of debut album First Love in full, ahead of its release in February.
Push, Astoria 2, London
A massive farewell party for the Astoria 2 which will be finally demolished on Friday. Catch Cajun Dance Party live as well as DJ sets from Mystery Jets, Lightspeed Champion, Good Shoes and Neon Gold among many others and mourn the demise of the sticky-floored dingy music venue in central London.
Friday 16th January
Cats in Paris, Brassica, Braindead Improv Ensemble, The Woe Betides, George Tavern, London
Massively hyped, bonkers 70s-ish glam-electro from Manchester.
Catch this 9 piece mini-orchestra, complete with mariachi brass, duelling drummers and girl-boy vocals, for their Ennio Morricone-style soundscapes.
I Love Boxie: a web-based business in London that tailors a t-shirt especially for you based on the story you tell them. The most astute of the fashion-conscious clan know that style should reflect your spirit and not merely robotic trends. In light of this; don’t wear your heart on your sleeve– instead wear it on a t-shirt; a Boxie t-shirt.
Here, cure founder of Boxie, troche Moxie shares her views on what fashion is truly about, how her brand works and what she hopes to achieve through her t-shirts:
Tell us the story of I Love Boxie.?
Each t-shirt tells a piece of the way – a place we have been, a person we have seen. We have many lines that fit many situations and could tell a piece of your story too. If not, we offer t-spoke. You call us, tell us a story and we turn it into a line on a t-shirt. We believe everyone in the world should have an unbranded, authentic tee that sings a line of where they have been and what they have seen. We are the opposite of any company who just put a logo on a t-shirt.
?Where does the inspiration for your t-shirts come from?
?From the people who write and call in everyday with their stories. The stories are wild, heartfelt, quiet, poignant and are better than anything we could make up.
What’s the idea behind the “half a conversation” concept?
If you think about branding for the last 30 years it’s been about distillation, reducing everything to a line eg: ‘just do it’ or ‘impossible is nothing’.
Our lines are about provoking expansion. It’s just the first line of the story, or the chapter heading. We want people to come up to someone wearing a Boxie tee – and go ‘wow, what the hell happened to you??’
Why do you make it purposefully hard for people to purchase your t-shirts, without contacting you directly first??
The tees are written about stupid, funny, weird, deep moments in people’s lives. All of them from the heart. They feel like they need more exchange than a credit card transaction. T-spoke especially. This is a creative collaboration that begins with the customer telling us their story. It is a strange and wonderful one off encounter between them and us. The t-shirt is their battle scar of that personal story.
Is all your business Internet based? ?
As far as being web based goes, our tees are obviously a form of self expression and there is no greater arena for that than the web. This taps into what a tee originally was – a piece of underwear, something that wasn’t supposed to be seen but kept close to the chest and hidden like a secret.
These days, the web is a place where secrets can step out of the shade, where people can talk about things they wouldn’t usually talk about in real life. Most times, you can learn more about someone from reading their status report than talking to them for an hour in reality, because the web has taught us the language of openness and sharing.
Boxie exists in the ether as part of that fluency. More importantly those web values – openness, sharing, community – are overflowing back into real life now. So, yes, soon we’ll be on the streets in some form, although the tees will never ever be in a retail space, hanging limply on a rack.
Your favourite Boxie T-Shirt to date??
So High and Solo
Any advice for the penniless fashionista?
Everything great creatively comes from being up against it and with no cash. You can’t ever see it when you’re in it but, as far as imagination goes, you are in an infinitely better position than someone with a million dollars. Do something great with this time. And then call us to get the t-shirt. ?
Advice for those wanting to purchase something Boxie??
Write to us directly at email@example.com
New York is spawning many a catchy-tuned electro based band at the moment – meet The Discoghosts, more about firstly they have a brilliant name, look secondly, approved they do what they say on the tin, this is a disco fest. Their ethos is nicely summed up in their lyrics, “We love ladies and they love us, cos we’re cool and disco plus.”
Otherwise known as M-Boy and Tracky, they meant their album title – BAD – literally it seems, rather than a tribute to the King of 80′s pop, as they are apparently, “trying to break the taboos of “good” music, while playing with clichés of club sound like repetition, climax, stupidity, autofilter, and sound fetishism.” I see.
That’s not to say they’re stuck in the past, their mellower synthetic beats, such as Jellyfish, track 9, have a Hot Chip vibe and that’s not a bad thing at all.
If their aim was to produce an awful album – they failed, maybe it’s just that I have a soft spot/great love for the 80′s but I very much enjoyed this, catchy, listenable songs that don’t take themselves seriously. My favourite line, from Straight but Gayish (sung by a high electro voice), “your boyfriend’s hetro but he looks homo.”
And they dress like this to perform:
How could you not love them?
It was legitimate for us to feel nervous. With indiscreet bullying from BAA and no knowledge as to how the police were planning to receive us, sick we tucked our dresses beneath our over-coats and shuffled through the throngs of intimidating fluorescent jackets at Heathrow Departures, illness passports at the ready and an impromptu conversation about flight times – very subtle. I wish I could have seen the briefing, look out for pretty girls in dresses and large jackets.
Once in, all subtleties were abandoned, a charming sight when the order of the day was Edwardian dress and dinner, an evening of very civil (ised) disobedience. Instruments, top hats, high collars and puffy sleeves – all were revealed as the clock struck seven, the string quartet took to its first note and picnic blankets were unfurled for the beginning of the Climate Rush organized party, Dinner at Domestic Departures.
Music played, food passed cordially from plate to plate, and sashes were handed out. It was not long before currents rippled through the crowd into cheers, claps, and chants, “Deeds Not Words”, “Trains not Planes” and, “No Third Runway”, with a contingency singing to the tune of 90′s classic There’s no Limit. The complete transformation of Zone C was helped along by Artport, a collective of artists working in collaboration with Cilimate Rush to redefine the space as we know it. Green all-in-one clad waiters weaved through the crowd with a planet for a cake and planes for spoons, whilst a parachute game bounced a blow-up earth from edge to edge.
In amidst this electric and elevating atmosphere, it was a spectacular delivery of a serious message. Climate Change is a very real threat and many people feel let down by the powers that be to address this threat.
We don’t want a third runway and call for cheaper train fares and better transport hubs instead of domestic short-haul flights. It is of course just part of a bigger picture: the greater threat of Climate Change of which aviation expansion is just a part, and the wider feelings of concern and dissatisfaction amongst citizens for whom civil disobedience is also, just a part.
Describing herself as an ex-Camden townie, link the self-taught illustrator, Zarina Liew, has thrown her arms up at the big smoke and a career in marketing; and has chosen instead the serenity of the Cambridgeshire countryside, pencils, watercolours, and strange lonely creatures ridden by lust and self-ruin.
Her Hunter Series, eight inked paintings which exhibited at the Shoreditch Shuffle Festival, started life as a 24-page graphic novel. It tells the story of a gramaphone and a lonely creature, who forms an unlikely friendship with three musicians. She is driven by a need for company and music, they are captured by her beauty and seduced by her authority. The musicians fall into her charm and into her gramophone where they are trapped and eventually perish, singing songs of solidarity and love.
Over a virtual cup if Green Tea, we ask Liew a bit more about her curious creatures of emotional turmoil, her illustrative inspiration and whether or not she misses Camden.
Tell us about the Hunter Series.
I wanted The Hunter Series to be an extension of the original story both visually and metaphorically – a story within a story. You get a sense of the narrative from the different pieces, but as a whole, you see the Hunter for who she is – a hungry, lonely and melancholic being. It’s an illustration of lust and self-ruin; both the musicians and the Hunter are acting on impulse, blind to their terrible fates. Even though she is the one to end the men’s lives, the Hunter does not get what she wants. With no one to listen or play with, she’s alone again.
Where do you draw information for your characters from?
I draw most of my information from observing the people around me. I never assume that what you see in someone is what you get – everyone has a hidden interior of ambition and desire. Music plays a large part as well. I found the musicians for The Hunter listening to an unsigned band playing at the Dublin Castle in Camden – the Parallel Animals. After falling in love with them – and the front man! – I offered to sketch them during rehearsals and help out at their gigs. Seeing how hard local bands work at this music business, and how ruthless the whole industry is, gave me a sense of direction in depicting the musician’s fate in my artwork.
The emotional context of the characters is strong; the nature of lust and self-ruin… is this an expression of your own emotional turmoil?
I suppose yes – in a sense that all of my work is an expression of myself, my feelings and thoughts. I wouldn’t say that I am strongly affected by the nature of lust and self-ruin though, let’s just say that I am extremely aware of it in myself, and all too conscious of letting myself go, or losing control of who I am. As I mentioned earlier we all have a hidden interior of ambition and desire – acting on lust however (whatever the desire – money, sex, fame) can only lead to self-ruin. Sometimes I wonder if I’m making the right choices, I question why I did certain things and what is behind my motivations. It’s a constant cycle of self-reflection.
And finally, Camden vs Cambridge countryside… who wins?
This is a real toughie. Can I be wayward and say that weekdays are for Camden and weekends are for Cambridge?
During the week I get a lot of inspiration from the Camden kids, lovely hidden-away galleries and sweaty underpriced indie nights. By the weekend though it’s full of puffy tourists and very long queues for nothing.
That’s when I retreat to the gentle Cambridge countryside. It’s perfect for lethargic country strolls and relaxing afternoon teas; this is also where I get a lot of my inspiration down onto paper and start to paint. All the week’s bustle leaves my mind ready to draw in peace and quiet!
You can see more of her work here, or catch her at the Alternative Press Fair on Sunday 1st February where she will be featuring the Hunter Storybook alongside other homemade creations, and apparently, lots of Green Tea.
Why is it no-one tells you that when you leave uni, approved your life will have a huge vacuum and those 3 years you spent studying illustration suddenly seem wasted when all the available jobs are in call centres? What to do? Give up the creative dream? Not if you’re Brighton girl Anna Wenger. She decided that if there was no jobs out there, adiposity she’d start her own business, viagra dosage and Sacred Stitches was born. Her idea of stitching classic tattoo designs onto clothes and homewares has really taken off in recent months, and she’s kindly chatted to us about it:
How did your business come about?
I needed to give my family and friends Christmas presents but without spending much money, so made everyone cushions. I got a lot of attention from these cushions and created more and more and now embroider onto everything I can lay my hands on!
Do you wear your own designs?
Oh yes, and so does my boyfriend, his friends, my flatmates. My flat is completely covered in sacred stitches cushions!
Who or what inspires you? (i know the obvious answer here is tattoos –
but if there’s anything else!)
I live with a tattooist who influences my work; magazines and art exhibitions are good for getting new ideas. My boyfriend and friends are covered in tattoos and will come home with a new piece of art on their skin, so its hard not to be inspired when your surrounded by moving artwork.
Have you got any tattoos?
No, the design is still in progress.
Do you have a favourite tattoo design / what’s the best you’ve seen so
My favourite so far is by Judd Ripley of an amazingly haunting pirate ship. (pictured below)
Do you still love Brighton/can you see yourself living anywhere else?
I am originally from Brighton and moved back here after University, as it’s a creative city. I do love Brighton as it’s a very receptive place for my designs because people here like to buy from small businesses.
Can I have a t-shirt please?
Yes, what size are you, xxl?!?
How very dare you. A medium at the very most!
Thanks for your time Anna. Talent and ambition, the best combination.
Contact Anna about getting hold of your own personalised tattoo(ed piece of clothing) here.
So it may have looked like I was deserting my post last week, cheap swanning off to Paris to slide down hills on the ice and hibernate in nice restaurants. However, whilst my trip may have involved quite a lot of that sort of fun, I was not just being a bone-idle holiday-monger. Au contraire. I also had my ears opened to some great new music and had this excellent first EP by Hold Your Horses! thrust into my sweaty and eager palms (fine it was in a nice restaurant that this transaction took place but we were just following the model of most international business).
Most recent French bands seem either to do an excellent line in electronica or a terrible one in punk rock – you just can’t do attitude if your beige converse match your cashmere v-neck and your hair is cleaner and shinier than a Pantene advert. Hold Your Horses! have most in common with the second school, essentially a guitar band augmented with some strings and wind. However, perhaps the fact that they are a motley crew of diplobrats and true Frenchies contributes to the broader and more interesting range of influences discernible in their music. Sure, The Strokes are probably in every single member of the band’s record collection and at moments on this record, if you were to replace singer Flo’s Chrissie Hinde delivery with a Casablancas drawl, you would be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped back to Strokes-fever 2003, but this is really just what provides the catchy backbone of these songs. There’s a pleasantly shambolic tone – perhaps a little too shambolic at times due to the slightly rough-around-the-edges self-done mix – and when the boy vocals kick in partway through track two, a vaguely Celtic edge emerges.
Opener Cigarettes and Lies, the strongest song on the record, fanfares its arrival with a blast of trumpets before launching into a danceable meditation on youthful lust and confusion. After that, the titles get longer and the violins more prominent as they have a bit of an Irish-ska moment (fine that’s not like, an official genre but listen and you’ll know what I mean) before ending on the sultry Argue and the sweet Flo’s Folk. Although not perfect or polished, this EP is really promising and tips HYH! as a band it’s definitely worth catching live when they hopefully make it to this side of the Channel.
Christmas Olive Grove by Bex Bourne, based on As A Child I Awoke by Jo Mango.
A hugely successful Christmas tune is the holy grail for many musicians: just think how many times Fairytale of New York has been played. With royalties like that you’d never need to work again, not that this is the only motivating factor for the majority of musicians. It would just be nice, wouldn’t it, to have a song played every year… welcomed back like a much missed friend and enjoyed once more as if it were new. All of which is great because it means that every time the Christmas season swings around there is a host of brilliant new themed tunes to add to the mix, each hoping for a slice of immortality.
One release that is raising money for charity is the Olive Grove Records EP which features three original recordings and a cover of that famous Muppets song One More Sleep ’til Christmas.
For Folk’s Sake it’s Christmas 2012 cover illustrated by Sarah Oxley.
For Folk’s Sake It’s Christmas returns with another album featuring an absolutely stellar mix of tunes by the likes of Goodnight Lenin, Boat to Row and many others I don’t know but probably should. If you buy one thing this season make it this: the hard copy album has long since sold out but you can get the digital version for a piddling £7 and all profits go to the Evelina Children’s Hospital. It’s also worth downloading previous versions too.
Other returnees are Tim Wheeler and Emmy the Great, who have created a new video to celebrate their Zombie Christmas, just one track from last year’s fab Christmas album. Armed only with an assortment of decorations they must defend themselves from their foes, mid gig.
Kate Nash adopts that most seasonal of instruments, the sleigh bell, for Faith, her lo fi paen to the end of a tough year. It’s a taster of her new grungey sound, with a bass driven melody that segues into some pretty retro style harmonies.
One of my favourite new tracks this season is a cover of Mary Margaret O’Hara’s Evermore by Cold Specks, a gloriously cosy song that makes me want to curl up next to a roaring log fire.
Tracey Thorn has released a collection of Christmas songs entitled Tinsel & Lights which comes accompanied with an innovative bit of marketing: open the doors on this virtual advent calendar to find a series of links leading to exclusive material. I like Joy… which is a self-penned tale of defiant seasonal celebration and In the Cold Cold Night is suitably frosty.
In the Cold Cold Night by Christine Charnock. Tracey Thorn’s ‘In the Cold, Cold Night’ has dark and mysterious undertones to it which I wanted to reflect in my illustration response. The song creates an atmosphere of longing and loneliness, and a determination to find companionship in whatever way possible.
You can always bank on Darren Hayman for something a bit different: this year’s seasonal ditty concerns Oliver Cromwell‘s efforts to ban the festive occasion. He failed, luckily.
A really sweet video accompanies Dog is Dead‘s cover of Paul McCartney‘s classic Wonderful Christmastime.
Dog is Dead – Wonderful Christmastime by Sharon Farrow. I tried to take elements of the song and I wanted to include several Christmassy things: reindeer, snow, the tree, crackers, along with the humorous elements of the video. Hence the Christmas jumpers and the veneration of the humble (but essential Christmas delight!) brussel sprout. Where would be without them this time of year? The Christmas jumpers are also a nod to the Save the Children Christmas jumper campaign.
Tender Trap‘s Christmas tune Leaving Christmas Day tells the tale of a girl who discovers that her boyfriend is a Creationist Christian.
The Other Guys is an A Cappella choir from St Andrews University and their Christmas Gets Worse Every Year is a beautifully sung reminder that sometimes nothing beats a classic bit of choral singing at Christmas time.
The Voluntary Butler Scheme have released seasonal melody Quinzhee (Building Us A House Out Of Snow) with a grainy film of wintery figures building an igloo.
Katy Edelsten illustrates The Voluntary Butler Scheme – House out of Snow. I wanted to create something that mixed the breezy tone of the song with the simple lyrics, I settled on the castle made of snow because i thought it captured both the the air of the song and the dreamy-Beach Boys-esque haze of the lyrics. The colours and naive style were also executed for this reason.
Dan Croll gets into the spirit with his cover of Low‘s Just Like Christmas, accompanied by a kitsch video in which he smears his face in chocolate and luxuriates in a bubble bath whilst wearing a woolly jumper and smoking a pipe. Go on, watch it. It’s Christmas time everyone! Enjoy x
Katy Edelsten illustrates Dan Croll – Just Like Christmas. I was inspired by the artist himself- as the video is pretty captivating! I wanted something quite whimsical, with no line breaks, as the lyrics repeat and continue. I used a continuous line, in conjunction with pale colours, to depict the artist as Father Christmas. Inspired by the song (and Movember perhaps) I incorporated the song title into Dan Croll’s beard.
Can it be that in this cynical heart a glimmer of hope can still be dwindled from otherwise dull embers? If so then If anyone is going to do it then it’s raunchy Disco Pop from the irresistible chiselled jaw form of Frankmusik who although may not be so familiar to you now believe me he soon will be. He’s set to take 2009 from behind, pinching the life out of your hips, sending you screaming into next year.
The single is an effervescent ‘Blade Runner’ pop (as he calls it) jaunt with a twist of Daft Punk that sounds very studio honed and sleekly produced but in fact is created at home on a mac by the man behind the pseudonym, Vincent frank, aged 23. For the past few years he’s been in touch with his fans via his myspace but now has taken that further into the realms of technological wizardry by setting up a link from his GPS mobile (whatever that is) to a live google map which lets fans know exactly where he is on his tour.
Every night of the tour a two man production team who are filming his adventures will upload a daily ‘highlights’ show exclusively to the Frankmusik MySpace – www.myspace.com/frankmusik. Sponsored by Channel 4 and Myspace this tour will really be the first of its kind and if you want to get involved with someone hot go check it out now.
If the single isn’t enough to grab, and I’m positive it will, then the prospect of a reality, live music melange on Channel 4 and on www.frankmusik.com will be.