Amelia’s Magazine | The Ruby Suns – SEA LION

Danish born Louise Amstrup made her London Fashion Week debut at On/Off on the concluding day of the bi-annual trend event.

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For AW08 Amstrup took inspiration from film director David Lynch and the modernist artist Man Ray. Interpreting the surreal representations of mysterious women in Lynch’s films and TV drama Twin Peaks, salve this Amstrup combines their perfection and dark hidden agendas and the mood of Man Ray’s art with the surreal ‘reverse negative prints’.

The powerful music began, the bright lights lit up and astute looking women took to the catwalk. Two graphically sharp and nipped in, belted coats were the initial pieces in a collection of lavish clothes. Strictly constructed surreal and dreamy draping was contradicted by hints of chiffon, leather, wool and silk. Striking exaggerated folding methods and pleats erratically, and imaginatively cropped up here and there. Detail also took place in the form of tassels and fringing on garments, as well as on scarves and shoes. Oversized bags, killer heels and a turban headscarf acted as accessories. There was a satisfying colour palette ranging from cream and bran tones leading to dark and dusty blues, greys, burnt ochre and plum with black.

A surprising pair of trousers made the odd appearance- surprising not because this was a collection primarily comprising of skirts and dresses but because they were rather peculiar in their own right. Ill fitted, high wasted, wishy washey cream and jodhpur-esque, these trousers are going to be my only criticism in this otherwise pleasant show. I was also taken aback by Amstrup’s treatment of her models- alluring long hair was shaved right up the back of the partings! Surely this couldn’t be the case I thought to myself, then again it is the final day of LFW, and one can do whatever one pleases to these model’s barnets now right? But then this is only newee Amstrup’s show, not Vivienne Westwood’s. It took three or four models for me to realise that this expected extremist haircut was merely just a cunning hairdo and that no hair clippers were involved in the making- just clever hair stylists.

Welcome to London Fashion Week Louise Amstrup, a superbly talented designer making dreamy yet simultaneously powerful and shocking wearable works of art.

The invitation to the Aganovich A/W show promised a Valentine’s Day massacre. From that moment I knew this show would definitely not be short on theatricality. Once seated, information pills the mood music that had been piped in to calm the frantic diva nerves of the industry elite morphed into a pounding heartbeat. I was on edge. Then the strains of Frank Sinatra singing You’re Sensational began, seek and out stepped…a bride. This was a little surreal, especially as it was more like a conventional Home Counties bride and not some sexed up Quentin Tarantino version. Quizzical looks flitted across the front row as she swanned down the catwalk, but these were soon quieted as she made her exit and breakbeats set in. Once the ironic Valentine’s Day gesture was over, the real show began.
The archetypal bridal up-do was exaggerated on the Aganovich models to create a modern and subversive take on this classic style. Hair was either quiffed, or the fringe was styled to cover one eye. The make-up paired copious amounts of gold and silver face paint with Clockwork Orange style lashes. It was Grace Kelly in High Society meets Blade Runner.
The strong silhouettes created by the tailored jackets and military coats complemented the hair and make-up as shoulders were defined and padded out. Gold zips and chinoiserie prints brought some flashes of colour into the rather dark collection, while the traditional set of pearls worn by a bride was re-imagined into a half beaded dress.
The Aganovich label has always been intent on exploring paradox in its collections, and A/W was no different as silk dresses were finished with snakeskin detailing and sharp tailoring was created using cashmere. Two things made this show memorable. One being the willingness with which Aganovich desire to push boundaries, and the other being that the chosen soundtrack meant I got to mention breakbeats in a review.

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Yorkshire tea and quintessentially British cake preceded a long and tedious wait for ‘the world to come’. But the setup was unusual, here which I appreciated; the audience was divided into three rooms, so the models glided through from one to the next like a strange narrative when they eventually emerged. They were an embodiment of old English country-dwelling aristocracy, carrying books in their leather-bound palms and live chiuauas in their arms, harking back to a classic past yet obscuring it in a slightly vampire-like manner. All the models had a groomed, Dickensian look, pale, preened and ghostly, which echoed in the shuddering orchestral music. There were shawls that looped around the crown of the head, huge lapels, a cow-hide jacket, enormous, decadent floral corsages and tights the colour of Colman’s mustard. Sitting on wooden chairs in the fitting location of the Mary Ward House, a listed turn-of-the-century building, it felt like we were part of a 1930s English murder mystery film. Close-fitting black and maroon leather gloves made a frequent appearance, as did red netting draped elegantly over the shoulders. Peacock feathers poked out of the men’s trilby hats, over shining quiffs of brown hair, while the women were surmounted with red satin tiaras. A dazzling performance.

Unconditional share their marketing budget “with those whose lives are fragile”, and their funds support Save The Children.
Even though it was 9:30 in the morning, viagra sale there were a lot of people gathering at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. I have not been to the Royal Opera House before so I was excited to visit this venue. The whole place was covered with the smell of perfume and as soon as I entered I was served breakfast with coffee by a gentleman with a tuxedo. Very posh, page but I liked it!

After a short while I got in. I only had a standing ticket but I found quite a good spot and it was not packed with people like all the other shows, clinic meaning I could relax and view the show comfortably. Whilst everyone was still finding their seats, there were many photographers trying to take pictures of fashionista guests. With the solo piano melody, the show had started. The collection was slick and sophisticated, toned with browns, blacks, greys and reds. I especially liked the way they used red as a key colour of the collection. Also, flower motifs were used a lot in the collection upon brooches, prints and embroidery. I also personally enjoyed a skirt where the hem of was cut out as a flower motif. I can imagine smart career girls, who daydream about running around in fields of flowers, wearing Nicole‘s clothes. Music by Regina Spektor went well with the collection and added a jolly feeling to it. I got shivers by the end of the show, as I was very excited. I think shows should be like this more often to make people full of pleasure!

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Who doesn’t want to believe in magic? Whether we can suspend our disbelief or not, order I’m certain that a little bit of enchantment in our lives wouldn’t go amiss. The seven female artists in ‘Sex and Witchcraft’ (Hilary Jack, Anne Marie Kennedy, Rachel Tweddell, Lisa Penny, Kate Street, Susan Taylor, Beata Veszely) explore the ideas of the occult in very different ways; resulting in works that range from the exuberant to the quietly melancholic.

An essay by Gary Lachman, an author interested in links between the occult and modern culture, contextualises the work nicely. I’m one of those exhibition-goers who laps up any kind of socio-historic background to work, particularly when the essay in question gives such valuable tit-bits such as that sleeping with the devil is akin to being with ‘a stallion among mares’. Although there is undoubtedly an undercurrent of sexuality to some of the work, I saw the exhibition more in terms of ‘sex’ as a celebration of the feminine.

Highlights included Kate Street’s ‘Orchis’, a drawing of slow, considered beauty. The work seemed somewhere between a memento mori and a botanical catalogue image, fusing delicate petals with skull-like imagery. According to the ancient Greeks, orchids sprang from the spilt semen of mating animals; this rather earthy belief contrasts with the delicacy of the work.

Beata Veszely’s video piece ‘On the Way to Heaven’ also seemed to comment on the inherent beauty in nature; it celebrated in a dream-like way the power and movement of a white horse. The interaction between nature and the artist was a recurring idea in the exhibition, fittingly so since so much of our ideas of witchcraft are tied up with Wiccan beliefs of nature-supreme. The icon of the white horse is unavoidably linked with the unicorn, well at least in my child-like mind it is…and this is why this exhibition is so enjoyable: work that explores ideas of witchcraft persuades us to be as imaginative and as open to ideas of magic as we were when we were children.

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With the current proliferation of animal-loving musicians playing with tambourines and haunting harmonies, viagra it is interesting to see that The Ruby Suns are experimenting with their musical menagerie Sea Lion; they have bravely avoided finding a sound that ‘works’ and sticking safely to it, online taking a wildly different approach to each track. Blue Penguin, page There Are Birds, Morning Sun – what was that I said about a revival of Romanticism? The increasing emergence of animalia and flora in song lyrics is enough to convince me that today’s bands have been having words with the late William Wordsworth. To solidify my argument, Morning Sun consists almost solely of the lyrics; ‘When I wake up, I get the morning sun‘, sung in such a high-pitched repetition of solar-worship it almost had me falling sideways off my chair in a brainwashed, slumbering heap.

In the flip of a sea lion’s tail, the album oscillates between eighties electronic drum machines, latino guitar flicking and melancholic cult wailings, which may leave you asking, ‘Quoi?’

But each track is a singular gem, luminous and curious; the ecclesiastical It’s Mwangi In Front Of Me, which summons up images of smoking church candles and, towards the end, the ever-decreasing hallways of Alice’s rabbit hole (you’ll know what I mean when you hear it), precedes the wistful, dreamlike vocals interspersed with gentle wind-instrumental spates and apostolic chanting of Remember. Curiouser and curiouser.

Categories ,Music Lyrics Vocals Band

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Amelia’s Magazine | Los Campesinos! at Koko, Feb 25th – Live Review

Illustration courtesy of Zoë Barker

From outside, look the Koko in Camden looks a bit like one of those Swiss clocks – the ones where a girl in lederhosen comes out on a rail every hour to strike the chime. The bare white front façade is broken only by the large ‘KOKO’ illumination and the two doors at either edge of the building which allow the audience access to the smoking balcony, generic and there’s a fair few of them pacing backwards and forwards. Imagining them as clockwork Bavarians is the kind of thing I find amusing. It passes the time, try waiting in the coffee place across the road for the rain to ease and the doors to open.

Los Campesinos! are a band that I’ve had to convince myself that I actually loved, because for a while I was in denial. As far as my last.fm statistics go they’ve been my favourite band of the last 18 months, and I even found myself buying a ticket for their latest tour as soon as physically able and not really being sure why. It always felt like some kind of weirdly innocuous indulgence that support groups put out literature for – y’know, you swear it’s not a big deal, you could walk away at any second, it doesn’t control your life, etc. etc., only to wake up one morning and realise that you’re deeply addicted and in trouble. It’s frightening to realise you’ve had a new favourite band for so long and not even realised.

Illustration courtesy of Zoë Barker

Once inside the venue, I buy a drink and text my erstwhile companion, struck down with food poisoning. “I’m probably the oldest person here – where are the adults?“ I ask (and I’m only 22) – there’s a distinct whiff of Lynx in the air (at a guess: Africa). LC! are a bit of a joke to some people thanks to lead singer Gareth’s scribbled-journal lyrics, and frankly they’re right – they can be acutely embarrassing. I try to justify my love (my addiction, you could say) to my friends by being clever – they’re tongue-in-cheek, I say! The literal meaning is totally ironic, but the intent is still sincere! It never works. My first instinct, looking around the venue, is that these skinny, shy kids find Gareth endearing and sincere without any ironic pretension, which would be sweet and naïve if so. Or it could be seen as pathetic – sample lyric: “As if I walked into the room/to see my ex-girlfriend/who by the way I’m still in love with/sucking the face of some pretty boy/with my favourite band’s most popular song in the background/is it wrong that I can’t decide which bothers me most?” – but then ‘pathetic’ sounds so much like ‘pathos’ and I’m sure that their must be some kind of link or derivation at play there, because then there’s my excuse. The band excels at drawing out an emotional response in its audience.

As I’m trying to figure this out (I’m on my own, remember, so those kinds of thoughts are all I have to amuse myself – another excuse) the first bunch of musicians stroll on stage – it’s barely past eight, which leaves me thinking that I’ll probably be home and in slippers before eleven. But as for the band: the lead singer reminds me of Sinbad, and he starts wooping.

“Woop! … Woop! … Woop!” etc. – he’s jumped over the crowd barriers at this point, and is walking through the still-thin crowd, clearly sizing people up. Every now and again somebody will recoil, which I assume is because they assume that he’ll either a) want them to join in (poor, timid children), or b) eat their ears, because he’s mental. I think it’s hilarious. The rhythmic wooping is augmented by the rest of the band joining in with their instruments, using Sinbad as a metronome. They’re a four-piece – Sinbad, fringe girl, moustache guy, and Sweater (his sensible sky-blue knitwear is his most defining feature, I suppose) – and they blew me away. Rotating between instruments, chanting and howling, they managed to bridge the divide between the danceable electro-wash that I so admire in Holy Fuck or Gang Gang Dance and the careful racket of no-wave. One tune sounded like Arcade Fire’s ‘Wake Up’ shoved backwards through a plane turbine, i.e. sort of inverted by chopping it up into small pieces and reassembled with the bass brought forward and the optimistic chants turned into these awful, angry shouts… I was a total convert. Only by cornering Sinbad in the lobby afterwards did I manage to get their name – Islet. The internet tells me they’re from Cardiff, and they don’t like the internet, they have no recordings available for streaming or purchase (except this BBC live session), they have no website, they are entirely offline. The only way to experience Islet is as a live band, so go. See them live. They kick ass.

The break between the supports is short, and next on are somewhat-hyped London duo Swanton Bombs. To be fair to them, everything I’ve heard about their album has been positive (including a review on this very site), so I’m going to chalk their disappointing live presence up as unexpected. Every song reminded me of that nasty period in the early 00s when blues-rock groups were two-a-penny, where every song could be plotted on a chart with one axis labelled “Killing Floor“, and “Hey Joe” on the other. In short – it was dull, every song sounded the same, and Blood Red Shoes do this kind of thing with much more aplomb. I drifted out towards the back of the room and then upstairs, where I could fully appreciate how atrocious the Koko’s sound quality is for anyone not on the ground near the front – it’s an embarrassment for London, really, considering how much slack the place has had to take up now that the scuffed and glorious Astoria’s gone.

The audience of kids, mostly bored by what’s happened so far (Islet’s tribal antics went down like a civil servant in Downing Street), persists in ignoring whatever’s happening on stage. They’re very clearly only here for LC!, and it’s something of a relief that they come to life when the main act eventually makes an appearance – making me reassess my earlier assumption, that they were here out of a pathetic sincerity, as completely wrong. Namely: I was being pretentious and snobbish, and these kids just like how enjoyable a band LC! are – the lyrics are just plain funny, the music just plain fun, and whilst people like me with too much time on their hands (I blame my friend standing me up and leaving me to my own interior monologue) might debate the extent to which the band take this influence, or that level of twee irony, or said indebtedness to blah blah, this is bullshit. So I forgot about all that, and started jumping about with the rest of the mosh pit.

Illustration courtesy of Zoë Barker

Gareth’s certainly a livelier presence than I expected (seeing as he can come across as a bit wet sometimes). Tonight he bounds around like an over-stimulated puppy, and keeps thanking everybody – his friends, their manager, the audience (I count seven separate breaks between songs where he thanks the fans), the venue, the tour promoter. It’s sweet. The set opens with the steamrolling “I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed, Just So You Know,” which is a bastard of a song, frankly. Their latest album is filled with these, how to say, crunchy numbers, loud and a bit ridiculous, and each one sounds like an anthem tonight – the crowd on ground alongside me is just a heaving sweaty coagulation of fists and smiles, right through the more recent tracks (“There Are Listed Building”, “A Heat Rash in the Shape of The Show Me State; Or, Letters from Me to Charlotte” (it is assumed that if you cannot abide this kind of ludicrous titling of songs then LC! are not a band for you)) to the classics of a couple of years ago (“My Year in Lists,” “This Is How You Spell ‘HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics’”).

One of the best things about seeing these guys live, though, was that their first album suddenly made a lot more sense. Their sound in the flesh isn’t hugely similar to their last two releases (‘We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed’ and this year’s ‘Romance Is Boring’), which were relatively crisp and clean to the ear – live, they sound like the horrible mistake that was the David Newfeld-produced debut ‘Hold On Now, Youngster’, where the levels were all over the place and the whole thing was a sorry soppy mess of a release that would stick to a wall if it was thrown at one and would congeal into just a bloody mass of nothing at the bottom. It was poorly produced, is what I’m saying. But hearing them tonight I suddenly realise that Newfeld had captured them as they actually sound, essentially that exact kind of mop bucket softness, without edges, without any definition to grab onto. They aren’t half as exciting on there as they are here because, well, that’s the nature of live music, but I have greater respect for the Broken Social Scene producer now I can understand his Sisyphean intentions.

The highlight for most people comes towards the end, when the band crack out the song that they will presumably still be ending their sets with in middle-age – “You! Me! Dancing!” – which I detest. It’s a horrible song. I don’t know why it grates when I enjoy everything else that they do so much, but there it is. However, in the interest of balance I’ll say that this once it was awesome because, well, it was. I’d never danced to it alongside a few hundred other people before and the sensation was not, shall we say, unpleasant. When the band left the stage it was the end of their largest headline show to date – despite their quirks, their oddities, their introspection and their glee, I fully expect them to be playing even larger venues within a very short time indeed. They are the biggest and best niche group around. To hell with thought – it’s my gut that wants to see them again as soon as possible.

Categories ,camden, ,cardiff, ,headline tour, ,hold on now, ,islet, ,koko, ,london, ,Los Campesinos, ,romance is boring, ,septet, ,seven, ,swanton bombs, ,we are beautiful, ,we are doomed, ,you me dancing, ,youngster

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Amelia’s Magazine | DAT Politics : An Interview

Yellow and White mac 008Image courtesy of Christopher Raeburn

Christopher Raeburn
A designer whose name is never far from any eco fashion list is that of Christopher Raeburn, viagra sale who is famed for his high end, more about innovative and functional fashion created using re-appropriated military fabrics. Sourcing his material from de-commissioned military stock and hot-air balloon canvas among other materials Raeburn both redesigns and manufactures his groundbreaking garments ethically within the UK.

PB121954Image courtesy of Rachael Oku

Of his SS10 collection Christopher says: “This season presents a great opportunity to play with colour, page negative space and flowing lines; from its inception I wanted to create an upbeat, fresh and experimental collection.”
With the emphasis on rouching, contrasting geometric panels and colourful taped seams Raeburn utilises laser cutting techniques for the first time introducing repeat patterns of concentric circle cut-outs which are peppered throughout the collection cleverly hidden between panels and layered hoods and sleeves.

Parachute dress

Image courtesy of Christopher Raeburn

What is most striking about Raeburn’s new contemporary collection of dresses, ponchos, skirts and macs is how well his colour palette and themes work together with layer, light and silhouette being the main focuses. With the majority of fabric used being transparent it is Raeburn’s bright accents of colour and playful dots that really inject life into the garments, and are reminiscent of jellyfish.

Purple and White Jacket with matching bag 006

Image courtesy of Christopher Raeburn

Rather excitingly the new collection also features accessories for the first time, with Raeburn fusing woven netting with his trademark parachute fabric and cord to great effect adding to the high impact of this super functional range.

Lu Flux

PB121959Image courtesy of Rachael Oku

Another exciting designer who we’re predicting big things for next year is the lovely Lu Flux; who has just launched her debut collection after being named ‘London’s newest one to watch’ at Vauxhall Fashion Scout earlier in the year. What sets Lu’s designs apart is that her work is created using salvaged, vintage and organic fabrics, which she cleverly combines with traditional techniques such as knitting, pleating and patchwork.

PB121960Image courtesy of Rachael Oku

Lu’s witty and playful SS10 collection titled ‘The Eco Life of Riley’ is inspired by the ‘humble bluetit’ which is cleverly juxtaposed with bold jarring graphics throughout the collection. If developing her own eco brand wasn’t enough of a challenge Lu is also busy working on a project called Soko Kenya, which was conceived over two years ago when she visited the small coastal town of Ukunda in Kenya. The idea behind this project is to work in conjunction with local Kenyan tailors who attend the community owned Ukunda Youth Polytechnic, which offers basic vocational training to local residents at a low cost.

PB121962Image courtesy of Rachael Oku

This collaboration will see Soko invest a minimum of 5% gross earnings into the Polytechnic annually in addition to year-round fundraising to help acquire sewing machines and other essential equipment for the students. Additionally Soko are committed to providing support in the design and running of the Polytechnic’s existing tailoring department and syllabus according to international fair-trade and eco production standards.

PB121961Image courtesy of Rachael Oku depicting Soko Kenya products

Most importantly both parties are committed to working together to transform the Polytechnic into an eco institution by introducing a rainwater catchment system and working to create solar generated electricity. To find out more about this great project and where to buy Soko Kenya products head to their website.

Apron Dress and BodysuitImage courtesy of Julia Smith

Julia Smith
Another groundbreaking designer who caught our attention was Julia Smith, a designer who has graced the webpages of Amelia’s magazine a few times previously. Julia’s SS10 collection entitled ‘Nurture Me’ explores the idea of mixing beauty with function. Part inspired by the 1930′s and 1940′s, when loose shapes and function were paramount Julia’s collection also references the concept of underwear as outerwear. Created using tactile fabrics such as soy, bamboo and organic cotton and linen Julia cleverly juxtaposes these with recycled polyester which is made from recycled plastic (PET) bottles.

Lara Jacket and Power BodyImage courtesy of Julia Smith

What really sets Julia apart is her second line aptly titled ‘Julia Smith Made in Africa’, which supports lives in Ghana through the vision of Mrs. Marian Essel, a highly skilled batik printer from Ghana, West Africa. Having worked for the Global Mamas in Cape Coast, Marian and Julia Smith have now formed a co-operative in the suburbs of Accra, Ghana’s capital city, offering employment opportunities to the struggling community.

Made in Africa 1Image courtesy of Julia Smith depicting the Made in Africa collection

With Marian using all the proceeds of her work to employ disadvantaged adults as well as sponsoring children so that they can go to school, this is a fantastic initiative which aims to help everyone within the community get the best educational start in life. The ‘Julia Smith Made in Africa’ collection is stocked in Julia’s new flagship store in Marble Arch’s Connaught Village.

Matt and Nat
A new brand to Amelia’s magazine which is fast becoming a firm favourite is that of Matt & Nat, a pioneering vegan luxury accessories label who create animal free products for both men and women. Interestingly (which I’m hoping you’ll agree) Matt & Nat is not a design duo as the name would suggest but is instead founded by Inder Bedi who was challenged almost 20 years ago to forgo animal products for 30 days. Ever since he has made a conscious effort to use recycled and greener materials in his work steering clear of leather, wool and animal by-products.

For SS10 Matt & Nat are continuing where they left off last season with their 21 water bottles campaign which sees all the linings in their handbags and wallets created using 100% recycled plastic, with each accessory using an average of 21 bottles.

With the inspirations for their SS10 collection being biker chic and glam rock, each bag has been embellished differently with everything from studs to zip details. Made primarily from eel skin (incidentally the softest type of leather I have ever felt,) the colour palette of fiery scarlet, intense blue and blush pink bring a vintage feel to the pieces.

Henrietta Ludgate
A great designer who has already received quite a bit of media attention in 2009 is Henrietta Ludgate, who won the Ethical Fashion Forum ‘Fashion Innovation Award’ earlier in the year. Creating sustainable and sculptural garments from her studio in the remote Highlands of Scotland, Henrietta stays close to her Scotch roots by working primarily with Scottish linen.

With a brand ethos to support both the Scottish and British textile industry as a whole, all fabrics are sourced from within the British Isles with all pieces produced locally.

A champion of slow fashion, Henrietta’s minimalist silhouette remains hauntingly elegant and distinctive. For inspiration Henrietta often looks to Elsa Schiaparelli, and her vision of fashion as a type of architecture, and beliefs that clothing should be ‘closely connected to the frame of the body’.

With the recent opening of a swanky new showroom in London’s Covent Garden, things are looking bright for 2010.
Stay tuned for the second instalment tomorrow…
Yellow and White mac 008Image courtesy of Christopher Raeburn

Christopher Raeburn
A designer whose name is never far from any eco fashion list is that of Christopher Raeburn, cure who is famed for his high end, innovative and functional fashion created using re-appropriated military fabrics. Sourcing his material from de-commissioned military stock and hot-air balloon canvas among other materials Raeburn both redesigns and manufactures his groundbreaking garments ethically within the UK.

PB121954Image courtesy of Rachael Oku

Of his SS10 collection Christopher says: “This season presents a great opportunity to play with colour, negative space and flowing lines; from its inception I wanted to create an upbeat, fresh and experimental collection.”
With the emphasis on rouching, contrasting geometric panels and colourful taped seams Raeburn utilises laser cutting techniques for the first time introducing repeat patterns of concentric circle cut-outs which are peppered throughout the collection cleverly hidden between panels and layered hoods and sleeves.

Parachute dress

Image courtesy of Christopher Raeburn

What is most striking about Raeburn’s new contemporary collection of dresses, ponchos, skirts and macs is how well his colour palette and themes work together with layer, light and silhouette being the main focuses. With the majority of fabric used being transparent it is Raeburn’s bright accents of colour and playful dots that really inject life into the garments, and are reminiscent of jellyfish.

Purple and White Jacket with matching bag 006

Image courtesy of Christopher Raeburn

Rather excitingly the new collection also features accessories for the first time, with Raeburn fusing woven netting with his trademark parachute fabric and cord to great effect adding to the high impact of this super functional range.

Lu FluxPB121959Image courtesy of Rachael Oku

Another exciting designer who we’re predicting big things for next year is the lovely Lu Flux; who has just launched her debut collection after being named ‘London’s newest one to watch’ at Vauxhall Fashion Scout earlier in the year. What sets Lu’s designs apart is that her work is created using salvaged, vintage and organic fabrics, which she cleverly combines with traditional techniques such as knitting, pleating and patchwork.

PB121960Image courtesy of Rachael Oku

Lu’s witty and playful SS10 collection titled ‘The Eco Life of Riley’ is inspired by the ‘humble bluetit’ which is cleverly juxtaposed with bold jarring graphics throughout the collection. If developing her own eco brand wasn’t enough of a challenge Lu is also busy working on a project called Soko Kenya, which was conceived over two years ago when she visited the small coastal town of Ukunda in Kenya. The idea behind this project is to work in conjunction with local Kenyan tailors who attend the community owned Ukunda Youth Polytechnic, which offers basic vocational training to local residents at a low cost.

PB121962Image courtesy of Rachael Oku

This collaboration will see Soko invest a minimum of 5% gross earnings into the Polytechnic annually in addition to year-round fundraising to help acquire sewing machines and other essential equipment for the students. Additionally Soko are committed to providing support in the design and running of the Polytechnic’s existing tailoring department and syllabus according to international fair-trade and eco production standards.

PB121961Image courtesy of Rachael Oku depicting Soko Kenya products

Most importantly both parties are committed to working together to transform the Polytechnic into an eco institution by introducing a rainwater catchment system and working to create solar generated electricity. To find out more about this great project and where to buy Soko Kenya products head to their website.

Apron Dress and BodysuitImage courtesy of Julia Smith

Julia Smith
Another groundbreaking designer who caught our attention was Julia Smith, a designer who has graced the webpages of Amelia’s magazine a few times previously. Julia’s SS10 collection entitled ‘Nurture Me’ explores the idea of mixing beauty with function. Part inspired by the 1930′s and 1940′s, when loose shapes and function were paramount Julia’s collection also references the concept of underwear as outerwear. Created using tactile fabrics such as soy, bamboo and organic cotton and linen Julia cleverly juxtaposes these with recycled polyester which is made from recycled plastic (PET) bottles.

Lara Jacket and Power BodyImage courtesy of Julia Smith

What really sets Julia apart is her second line aptly titled ‘Julia Smith Made in Africa’, which supports lives in Ghana through the vision of Mrs. Marian Essel, a highly skilled batik printer from Ghana, West Africa. Having worked for the Global Mamas in Cape Coast, Marian and Julia Smith have now formed a co-operative in the suburbs of Accra, Ghana’s capital city, offering employment opportunities to the struggling community.

Made in Africa 1Image courtesy of Julia Smith depicting the Made in Africa collection

With Marian using all the proceeds of her work to employ disadvantaged adults as well as sponsoring children so that they can go to school, this is a fantastic initiative which aims to help everyone within the community get the best educational start in life. The ‘Julia Smith Made in Africa’ collection is stocked in Julia’s new flagship store in Marble Arch’s Connaught Village.

borrato

Matt and Nat
Image courtesy of Matt and Nat

A new brand to Amelia’s magazine which is fast becoming a firm favourite is that of Matt & Nat, a pioneering vegan luxury accessories label who create animal free products for both men and women. Interestingly (which I’m hoping you’ll agree) Matt & Nat is not a design duo as the name would suggest but is instead founded by Inder Bedi who was challenged almost 20 years ago to forgo animal products for 30 days. Ever since he has made a conscious effort to use recycled and greener materials in his work steering clear of leather, wool and animal by-products.

commix

Image courtesy of Matt and Nat

For SS10 Matt & Nat are continuing where they left off last season with their 21 water bottles campaign which sees all the linings in their handbags and wallets created using 100% recycled plastic, with each accessory using an average of 21 bottles.

hendrix blueImage courtesy of Matt and Nat

With the inspirations for their SS10 collection being biker chic and glam rock, each bag has been embellished differently with everything from studs to zip details. Made primarily from eel skin (incidentally the softest type of leather I have ever felt,) the colour palette of fiery scarlet, intense blue and blush pink bring a vintage feel to the pieces.

Henrietta Ludgate
A great designer who has already received quite a bit of media attention in 2009 is Henrietta Ludgate, who won the Ethical Fashion Forum ‘Fashion Innovation Award’ earlier in the year. Creating sustainable and sculptural garments from her studio in the remote Highlands of Scotland, Henrietta stays close to her Scotch roots by working primarily with Scottish linen.

4Image courtesy of Henrietta Ludgate

With a brand ethos to support both the Scottish and British textile industry as a whole, all fabrics are sourced from within the British Isles with all pieces produced locally.

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A champion of slow fashion, Henrietta’s minimalist silhouette remains hauntingly elegant and distinctive. For inspiration Henrietta often looks to Elsa Schiaparelli, and her vision of fashion as a type of architecture, and beliefs that clothing should be ‘closely connected to the frame of the body’.

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With the recent opening of a swanky new showroom in London’s Covent Garden, things are looking bright for 2010.
Stay tuned for the second instalment tomorrow…
DAT

French electro ensemble DAT Politics are coming to little old London town to headline the fourth installment of Mofofest this month. Taking place December 12th, treat My Tiger Timing and Bright Light Bright Light are also part of the jam packed line up. Ahead of this rare UK performance from the group, cheapest Politicians Claude and Gaëtan talked to Amelia’s about how their material comes together, this web Mofofest and the perfect DAT Politics party.

France seems to produce the crème de la crème of electro acts, why is this? Is there something in the water?
G: There is definitely a strong connection between electronic music and pop culture in France. It seems to be a historic thing, for at least fifty years the French electronic artists have produced dance music influenced by sound research and pop. Now, it’s a kind of collective spirit, the number of electro acts is massive but the best ones have a specific sound.

DAT Politics have been established for 10 years now, what have been the highlights of your decade in the industry?
G: Maybe our “Plugs Plus” album because it was a decisive step in our career. We switched from instrumental music to electro pop songs with lyrics, verses and a chorus. This choice gave us a lot of freedom and possibilities; it was like opening a new toolbox and breaking the walls in the house. Something very fresh, and the best part is that we’re still working on it!

What new acts excite you?
G: Not that new, but some tracks from Diplo with Rye Rye or Major Lazer are pretty amazing in the fucked up dance music register.

What older acts still have your attention?
C: Daft Punk, Peaches, Sonic youth, Kraftwerk

I’m really interested as to how your songs come together? They seem like they are made in the dark of night? I can’t imagine you work together during the day?
G: Actually, more like late afternoon with the curtains drawn and a pink neon light on.
C: When we decide to work on a new album we meet everyday for several weeks. We build up some tracks together. One comes with an idea for the beats for instance, one the synth lines, one the samples or the vocals. Gaëtan and I write the lyrics. Then we are just the 3 of us in front of the computer trying to assemble each piece. At some point each of us keeps the demo version of the tracks to listen to them and we meet again with new ideas and new material to finish. The process will be the same till we agreed on the final version of the track.

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What is the most unusual thing that has been used on a track?
G: One time, we used a coffee grinder for a NWA remix, also a talking bird which made some strange sounds. We can use any kind of unusual sources to set a specific atmosphere. It’s like the cherry on the cake but the main part of the track is done with classic electronics like synths and beats.

You obviously use computers a lot, Are you a PC or a Mac?
C: At the beginning, the project was based on laptops’ jamming so several laptops have been through our hands. We’ve been using both. They have the same abilities nowadays. But we’re mainly using Mac which are more stable.

When most people are on computers they get distracted by Facebook, does this happen to you?!
C: Of course, those social networks are easy to get addicted to, but we try to adjust and also concentrate on our activities.

The Artwork/Graphics/Visual side of things are important to you? Where does this come from?
C: We’ve been studying in art school, we are movie freaks, and read a lot of comics as well. Everything is potentially an influence. Our artistic universe is sonic and visual at the same time. It’s hard to imagine one without the other. Since the beginning, we design our own covers, it’s like we know better what fits to our sound, a kind of D.I.Y tradition: have fun with some parallel media like photography, drawings, videos…

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So you come to London for Mofofest…
C: It ‘s always good to play in London! And we know the girls from Mofofest, their parties are always great !! People always look so trendy! I like that a lot! The London crowd is often very sexy!!

Anything particularly special planned?
C: We’re excited to play “Mad Kit” for the first time in London, we played it many times everywhere else, It went very well, so we expect a lot of positive energy!

Are you excited for the rest of the line up?
C:Yes! always good to discover new bands/acts.

People should defiantly wear their dancing shoes when they come to see you, yes?
C: Of course ! Ballet shoes, sneakers, high heels, moonboots any outfits/shoes they are comfortable in !!

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How do you prepare for live shows?
C: We have a studio where we rehearse all together till we find the good compromise between the tracks on the album and how we should perform them live.
G: It’s important to set the gear in a space with a real PA and play loud to see how the things are gonna work for the audience during the show.

Where on earth do you find energy for this type of performance?!
C: We are working out a bit. But I guess that the audience is very important too. It really pulls you up! That’s a bit cliché but it’s so nice to see people react to your music!

I can imagine it is not easy to unwind after a live show?
C: That’s a weird feeling because before the show it’s hard to relax, and it’s difficult to appreciate what’s going on… Then we go on and when the show is over and went well, we are usually really high, and ready to party!!

Now for some quick fire party themed questions to find out what a DAT Politics party would be like…
Party song?
C: “Rectangle” from Jacno

Party food?
C: Ceviche

Party city?

C: Berlin / Paris/ Buenos Aires/ London/ Tokyo….

Party game?

C: Hide and Seek

Party drink?

C: Champagne

Party trick?
G: Oddibil (anti-hangover)

Party hat?
C: No hat

Party partner?

C: A good looking and funny young man

Party pants?
C: Shinny tights and high heels boots

Party like a celebrity?

G: I wanna party like Peter Sellers.

You can party with DAT Politics this Saturday at Bardens Boudoir, 38 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, 8pm – 4am. Click here for more details

Categories ,Bright Light Bright Light, ,DAT Politics, ,Diplo, ,live, ,london, ,Major Lazer, ,music, ,My Tiger Timing, ,Rye Rye

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Amelia’s Magazine | Coming up: Futuresonic Festival

Here at Amelia’s Magazine HQ this week we are all feeling rather revitalised, this salve with the prospect of spring safely in our sights and a stomach full of Easter eggs we thought what better time to share our energized disposition with you are faithful readers, and boy do I have a treat in store for you fashionista’s today.

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It comes in the form of exciting new Aussie talent Fashion Designer Josh Goot, heralded as “modernisms new messiah” it’s enough to get anyone in the fashion sphere jumping up and down excitedly in their Chanel heels. Goot first catapulted his way into the fashion sphere in 2005 after winning Young Designer of the Year Award in Sydney, but only made his debut on the London fashion circuit at this years London Fashion Week with his S/S 09 collection

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Goot studied Media Art and Production at Sydney’s University of Technology where he graduated in 1999. This background has shaped his distinctive approach to fashion design, renowned for his use of print and his minimalist aesthetic Goot has injected a healthy dose of artistic expression onto the catwalk.

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Goots A/W 09 collection did not fail to get our taste buds flowing, paying homage to the natural world it’s an explosion of texture and colour. Heavily inspired by geology the collection focuses on organic lines and silhouettes.

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Goot’s exquisite tailoring techniques come to the forefront in his A/W 09 collection. Enthused by the erosive textural quality of rock Goot uses angular tailoring with reverse contour lines to mimic the harsh lines that occur in sedimentary rocks. This masculine tailoring is then softened by his subdued use of colour; the palette is a hazy of distilled greys that merge with soft violets, yellows and blues to create quixotic and distinctly feminine pieces. His modernist aesthetic creates a look that is both functional yet expressive, with styles ranging from tailored jackets, panelled shirts to asymmetric tops and body con suits.

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The most enthralling element to the A/ W collection has to be Goots Marble effect series. Audiences were mesmerised by the haze of colour gliding down the catwalk. To me it conjures old childhood memories of marbling from art class. I remember excitedly leaning over a tank of water mixing oil inks and eagerly gliding my stick through the water to create patterns. I was mesmerised by the beautiful hues merging together to create such vivid canvases of colour. Goot encapsulates this perfectly in his prints, which were created from large-scale digitally printed water coloured pieces.

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After such awe inspiring pieces in his A/W collection I am eager to inspect what else Josh Goot has tucked up his sleeve. With stores such as Browns Focus in London and Marie Luisa in Paris already stocking his collections I have no doubt Goot is set to take the fashion sphere by storm!

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Lewes’ quaint, story cobbled streets and Dickensian finery belie the town’s rebel status and heritage. Thomas Paine, ask 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.

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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.

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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.
The Otesha Project team are an ambitious lot. They want to tackle climate change, more about poverty, cheap injustice, and educate thousands of young people on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Their weapon of action? The humble bicycle. You heard me! But the folks behind Otesha are a clever and forward thinking bunch. They can achieve more with a bicycle and a deceptively simple mission statement then most global corporations could possibly dream of.

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Back in 2003, the team that would go onto create the Otesha Project in Canada had recently returned from working in Kenya. Rather than being inspired by life in Africa, Jocelyn Land – Murphy and Jessica Lax were dismayed to find vast inequalities between the North Americans and the Kenyans. The extent of the unfair trading, irresponsible over consumption and labour exploitation that they witnessed left a bitter taste in their mouth but equally seemed too insurmountable a problem for two people to tackle. The feeling of powerlessness acted as a catalyst for their own personal change. On return to Canada they began to alter their lifestyles to reflect the change that they wanted to see in the world. And thus began the Otesha way of being. It’s a beautifully uncomplicated concept, and practically the only one that we can adhere to when all of the world’s problems seem too huge to tackle – that change can occur on the most massive scale by simply altering your own life – in other words, be the change! So this is what they did, and set off through Canada on their bikes, stopping off to make presentations to young people about the importance of social change. Seeing that this was a resounding success, and that they made over 250 presentations to more than 12,00 young people, Otesha was ready for more!

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This brings us to the Otesha Project UK, which promotes social change in a number of ways. The most well known way is through their cycle tours. I met with some of the team behind Otesha UK; Liz McDowell and Hanna Thomas recently, and they filled me in on these expeditions. Needless to say, I am not much of a cyclist, but even I was segmenting off part of my summer for the following year to join the next wave of cycle tours. So, for any of you that are interested in spending your summer doing something slightly different to the status quo, this is how it works. A team of volunteers (like yourself, or me after I have done a couple more spinning classes) cycle around a particular part of Britain for around 6 weeks; last year the venues included Cornwall and Wales; this year’s venues are East Anglia, a section of Scotland, and the coast of Wales. Whilst on the travels, the team stop off to speak at schools and communities about environmental and social sustainability. They don’t just speak; plays and workshops are also performed. Whilst on the road, the team record their experiences on journals and video recorders.

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There is a bit of a travelling circus element to it; and Liz and Hanna told me that the team clearly love what they are doing. Equally as important – the response from the groups that they speak to is always overwhelming. Many of the group return year after year; Otesha are good to their teams! As well as stopping off at schools, the team also have excursions organised for them. In Wales they get a couple of learning days at the Centre for Alternative Technology, as well as a visit to a permaculture farm. Those who head over to East Anglia get a chance to stay in a tipi at a Roman archaeological site. While this is all good fun, the skills that the team take away with them are invaluable. Getting a head start in public speaking, learning to work alongside and live with a large team of people – and maintain a great relationship with them – are attributes that can be taken anywhere.

When they are not cycling around Britain, The Otesha Project are working with groups of young people over longer periods of time to help create change in their local community. They work from the Otesha Handbook, which highlights issues such as Food, Money, Fashion, Energy, Trade and Transport. Last summer, Otesha worked with students in Tower Hamlets Summer University, who chose to do a project about food; specifically the issues of seasonable and organic food. The students approached local cafes, shops and markets to discover who was using organic, fairtrade food, and wrote to their MP’s asking that organic food be subsidised. This culminated with the students creating a Seasonal Summer Feast for their friends and family, which by all accounts was a great success.

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(all images courtesy of The Otesha Project UK)

Other projects have included Getting Ethical About Fashion, held at the Princes Trust XL Club in Barnet, where students discussed issues in fashion that are often swept under the carpets, such as sweatshops, child labour, and the chemicals put in clothes. My favourite sounding workshop was the Dirty Weekend held at Goldsmith’s EnviroClub Community Gardens. Ok, so it was not that kind of dirty weekend, and it involved plans for creating a garden for the local residents and students, but at least the students still got their hands dirty!

The Otesha Project like to say that they are germinating good things, and it does seem that way. Everything that they do is for the benefit of the Earth, and the people who are inhabiting it. If you are interested in working with them, get in touch at:
info@otesha.org.uk
After last years’ unforgettable appearances from Bobby Digital, physician Felix Kubin, online Gay Against You and Agaskodo Teliverek amongst others, one cannot help but be wracked with anxiety about what they can pull out of the bag for this years’ follow-up Futuresonic Festival. The festival will be taking place between Thurs 14th – Saturday 16th of May, this year.

Taking a glimpse at the line up it promises to be something to rival last years’ festival unequivocally.

Starting off with Mexican electronic pioneer Murcof (& AntiVJ) with Jóhann Jóhannsson, the festival then dips its toe into Hip Hop with the New York collective ‘The Anti-Pop Consortium‘. From this we trawl through some dark and muddy psychedelic rock from Electric Wizard. A real highlight comes in the form of a one off performance from the legendary Philip Glass; playing Etudes and Other Work for Solo piano.

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Not to omit an audio assault from Ariel Pink with Marnie Stern and Crystal Antlers. It’s gonna be an absolute monster of a year for the futuresonic team.

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“The best, most explosive, most all-encompassing Futuresonic music line-up to date, covering genres as diverse as dubstep, contemporary classical, lo-fi indie, electronica, deep house, math rock, leftfield hip-hop and italo disco.” – The Futuresonic team.

Some of the venues sequestered for the festival include the RNCM, The Deaf Institute and Urbis, where you will see “a celebration of musicianship and a salute to those who perform on the cutting-edge”.

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Photo by www.andthewardrobe.co.uk

With oodles of other events going on over the entire weekend including exhibitions, theatre productions and club nights, there’s no excuse to completely miss out, unless you’re in a coma that is.

Categories ,Festivals, ,Futuresonic, ,Live, ,Music

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Amelia’s Magazine | Bestival

So London Fashion Week is officially in full swing. It couldn’t have kicked off with a nicer day on Sunday as fashion folk of all shapes and sizes donned their finest and turned up at the various venues around the capital to see what’s in store for Spring/Summer 2009. Of course Team Amelia couldn’t possibly miss out on the chance of spotting new talent, medical try so putting all thoughts of Sunday roast firmly to the back of our mind, more about we joined the rest of the fashion community at some of the weeks opening shows.

Now in day 4, price my highlights would have to be the eccentric desert tribe meets punk-rocker collection presented by Horace; a breathtaking show by Quasimi which opened with a dancing violin playing duo and ended with a couture clad Erin O’connor; an exotic Hawaiian themed collection from Antoni and Alison complete with beach scenery, deck chairs and complimentary coconuts, and finally the beautifully detailed range of sculptured metallic shift dresses, oversized caps and two-piece suits from Bernard Chandran.

According to this weeks reoccurring trends, delicate pastels and neutral shades are set to dominate our wardrobes next summer alongside layered ruffles on just about everything. Don’t bother to ditch your gladiator and patent heels too fast because it looks like eccentric heels are set to stay for another season.

That’s all for now, but keep checking the website for detailed reports and pictures from each of the each of the shows.

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Horace

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Horace

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Musicians at Qasimi show

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Finale at Qasimi show

We should have seen the nipples coming, viagra order really. After all, we were greeted on the door by the most exciting clipboard wielder I’ve ever laid eyes on. A taste of what was to be expected…he checked our names off the list showing not one sign of embarrassment over his outfit (nor should he! He was fabulous, dahling), an ensemble that consisted of Russian army hat atop blue hair and teeny shorts held up by Union jack braces. And nothing on top. So, if we had had our wits about us, we should have known that nipples would be on the menu for the night.

We were, of course, at the Under/Current Magazine launch at Cafe OTO in Dalston. All the cool kids were in attendance (tired of heading West for Fashion Week, presumably) with many guys rocking the Giles Deacon/Terry Richardson big glasses look. There were some not so cool ones, too; we were rather put off by a guy who’s jacket was covered in dead foxes – not big, not clever. Still, we averted our eyes by taking a sneak peek at the first, ‘Dynasty’ issue of the new arts and fashion magazine. After taking in the beautiful cover shot by Babette Pauthier we had a good flick through. It’s a lovely size (30cm x 23cm, to be exact), full of avante garde fashion photography and I’m sure it’s set to become a firm favourite of mag junkies like myself. Lot’s of pictures, not so many words – just the way I likes ‘em.

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On to these nipples then. As we watched a few members of Cleckhuddersfax setting up, we noticed a rather foppish guy step on the scene and begin disrobing. ‘How alarming! Would there soon be nudity?’ we whispered amongst ourselves. Alas, no, as we soon realised that this was the lead singer, rather than some strange streaker, and he was only taking off his top layers to reveal his official stage outfit. Suitably under-dressed, and giving us no time to prepare ourselves, Cleckhuddersfax got stuck in.

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Cleckhuddersfax describe themselves as sounding like ‘Fake-Prog Musique Con-cretin’ on their myspace page. Erm… yep, it’s actually a fairly good description. From the looks of the band (excepting the lead singer, of course) long hair and beards had led us to believe that things would be getting pretty old school rock, and we were not disapointed. Cleckhuddersfax also have a bit of that mental operatic thing going on, which did feel pretty prog, but on top of this there’s keyboards and voice warping devices a-plenty.

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Cleckhuddersfax make the most alarming noises; it’s as if Wyld Stallyns had found a Korg and got into Devo. Perhaps it all sounds a little strange, but it was very fun and definitely dance-able with much toe-tapping taking place at the front of the crowd.

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Toe tapping wasn’t enough for the tango-ed front man, however. Seen below giving it his all in front of a video-projection by Adham Faramawy, he rampaged his way into the first few layers of crowd, shouting into audience members faces and daring everyone to dance. Many were glad to take him up on his offer, and things got a little messy in the front row.

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After getting all hyped up by Cleckhuddersfax, it was unfortunate that we had to take our leave. Ahh, well, I suppose Fashion Week is about cramming in as many parties as possible and, to be honest, I think I’d seen quite enough nipples for one evening…

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The Greengaged event organisers (left to right) Sophie Thomas (co-founder, erectile thomas.matthews), price David Kester (CEO, Design Council), Sarah Johnson of [re]design and Anne Chick (Director, Sustainable Design Research Centre, Kingston University)

As the girls were busy planning their outfits and getting their hair done I grabbed my notepad, A-Z and sandwiches and off I trundled in seek of the Design Council. I won’t bore you with the details of my nightmare journey, but all I will say is that London Transport and I have been the least of friends this week. My galloping through Covent Garden and colliding with dawdling tourists payed off and I eventually arrived at my destination to be greeted with a sticky name badge, coffee and biscuits. I poured myself a quick fix and pulled up a pew in the rather minimalist, swish function room (what else was I expecting?!).

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Simon Terry of Anglepoise

With pen and paper poised I sat and listened attentively as the first speaker opened the lecture on the sustainability of Product and Fashion Design. As the managing director of the lighting and manufacturing company Anglepoise, Simon Terry stressed the importance of that “a product should be a pleasure to use” not purely an aesthetic beauty. When addressing the query of how they as designers of the future can help to change the conscience of a consumer Terry spoke of the term ‘world view.’ Within this he outlined that it is not possible to make a consumer conform, instead you must enter their awareness (or world view) through their own agenda.

Cressida Granger, founder of DeWeNe a product design company mirrored these thoughts with their motivation in creating designs consumers ‘need’ not purely desire. Designs are based on utility and function over the ‘look’ of a product, very different to her background career with lava lamp company Mathmos. ‘Hook and Go’, one of their more popular product lines works with the current climate of shopping bag reduction, using a recycled steel trolley with wheels to transport shopping. Carrying up to 8 bags (32 kilos) of produce this design aims to reduce our carbon footprint, decreasing the need to use the car around town.

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Hook…. and go

A future addition is the ‘eco cooler’ worked on by David Weatherhead of the Royal College of Arts. Working with a terracotta dish and bowl, water is dispensed into the dish below which then evaporates and acts to cool the contents of the bowl. Designed for the preservation of our fruit and veg, Granger hopes that this will encourage consumers to use smaller fridges, thus dramatically cutting down our demand on energy. Keen to work with an ethically friendly product line, Granger has set up two places of manufacture, allowing the customer to decide for themselves what is high on their agenda. The cheaper option is made in India and imported, whereas the more expensive same design is constructed in Wales by the social project Crafts for All which employs people with physical and mental complaints.

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The eco cooler by David Weatherhead

Closing this talk was Tom Fishburne of the Method product company. The brainchild of an American product designer and scientist, this product line has only recently cropped up on British shores. They have quite a charming story behind the birth of their cleaning product company…. once upon a time Adam (the scientist) considered why we are encouraged to use registered pesticides (which in turn pollute) when we clean? Meanwhile the product designer was shopping and realised the disgusting array of nasty shaped and coloured cleaning products and began making thoughts on how to develop these. I am a little sceptical of the story (it is a bit cheesy and convenient) but, there is no doubt Method have found a gap in the market with 95% of current cleaning products refusing to bridge into the 21st mentality of green products. Non toxic and sourcing natural ingredients is absolutely the way we should be cleaning.

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The natural ingredient Method product line

In much similarity to the ideas expressed by Terry and Granger, Fishburne spoke of the need of how to shape clients. You can’t make the consumer consume less, instead you have to make them smarter. They are certainly achieving this, with product lines established in John Lewis, Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and of course online.

Insightful, inspiring and free… to all those designers out there, get your free spaces on the last few days of the workshops here!!

Carianne Laguna may look like a fresh-faced intern entering a building standing among lofts owned by fashion models in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood. However, unhealthy the 28-year-old is Vice President and General Manager of Blackheart Records, viagra a label that rock legend Joan Jett helped create in 1980. Laguna, drugs who resides in Brooklyn, tirelessly commutes to her office, where she signs new artists to the label, including punk acts like Girl in a Coma and The Cute Lepers. Not only does she spend days promoting artists, but she manages the “I Love Rock N‘ Roll” rebel. In the music industry – where few women take behind-the-scene roles in impacting listeners, Laguna does it all with a toothy grin. Yet, she wouldn’t have been crowned queen of indie music management if it wasn’t for her family.

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The Cute Lepers

Her father is Kenny Laguna, a music producer who, in 1980, began managing a 17-year-old Jett. Despite Jett joining a band when she was just 15 and befriending Sid Vicious, 23 music labels turned her down, causing her manager to sell demos from the trunk of his car. Consequently, the duo started Blackheart Records, one of the first music labels owned by a woman. Jett would go on to sell millions of albums, becoming one of rock’s top-charting females in history. Laguna, who grew up traveling around the world as Jett performed for thousands, would later carry on her father’s legacy. She graduated from the University of Colorado in 2001, where she took several internships to fully understand the business of music. “When I got to Blackheart Records, I said ‘I’m going to do this, but I would like to sign a lot of new bands that are in it for the music and not the fame,’” she says.

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Joan Jett

Laguna did just that, all while proving herself. “People tend to dismiss you if you’re a girl,” she reveals before groaning at how few females are leaders in the music business. “People think it’s just a fabulous thing to look as young as an intern, until you have to be taken seriously.” After many frustrations from Devil Wears Prada archetypes, she chose to keep moving without ever looking back. She takes a deep breath before gushing about her love of finding overlooked musicians and giving them a chance. “It just makes me feel good that I’m spreading their music. That beats out all those days when people would look down at you just because they had their own hang-ups.”

Just like her father perfected, Laguna is still applying the DIY method. From designing all the artwork, to selling merchandise during Warp Tour, Laguna isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. At times, she would even pass out Cds in bars, restaurants, and any place that plays music. Yet, it’s this technique that’s going to help save the suffering music industry. “This is a great time for indie labels and artists to get their art out there,” she explains. “A lot of people are discovering bands on the internet. You have to hit all the networking sites and play live as much as you can. There’s just no better way of finding new music.”

Speaking of upcoming hits, Laguna happily shared some exclusive news, including of Girl In A Coma and The Dollyrots going to the studio this fall. If that isn’t enough, she also revealed that Lana Davies, daughter of The Kinks founding member Dave Davies, was recently signed to the label and will be recording soon. It’s certain that as long as this bubbly brunette keeps challenging the all-male club known as the music industry, good music, with a woman’s touch, will always prevail.

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The Dollyrots

Appointed with the responsibility of covering London Fashion Week’s opening show – Dublin born and well established Paul Costelloe, there I had dreamt about providing a fabulous and detailed write up complimented by stunning pictures taken with my Canon 5D camera that I’d managed to get in without a hint of a bag search. I was rather perturbed, click as you can imagine then, to find that my review button didn’t work, which meant I couldn’t delete any photographs. From a FULL memory card. So whilst I struggled trying to get it to work, the show started. As guests including Erin O’ Connor and Hilary Alexander enjoyed the show, I went into panic mode in a desperate attempt to fix it. The poor guy sat at the side of me, clearly unsettled by my constant rummaging in my bag with beads of sweat pouring down my face, slid as far across the bench as he could. Before I knew it the show was over, I’d looked up 3 or 4 times, and the delighted audience were clapping while I clacked my teeth and painfully giggled at the irony of Fashion Week’s head sponsor – Canon.

This opening show whizzed by in seconds, or so it seemed, but what I saw of it through the tears in my eyes looked fabulous. With a colonial and uplifting soundtrack, models were adorned in sharp tailored suits (the designer’s signature) nipped in at the waist with a hint of military (just enough, not overdone) first in neutral beige and navy and then in stunning vibrant yellows and hot pinks. Shape here was key – hoods and shoulder emphasis was a fine element and reinforced the female silhouette – as did a combination of a-line and tulip skirts. The third segment displayed even more military flavour along with elegant yet discreet floral patterns. The shoes, supplied by ALDO, were understated and complimented each of the looks.

You’ll be glad to know that my camera is still under warranty, it seems to be working, and I’ll be covering shows later in the week. I do hope I can redeem myself.

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Images courtesy of www.catwalking.com

FELDER • FELDER are German twins Daniela and Annette Felder. They first launched their womenswear line in 2007 whilst studying at Central Saint Martins.

A folksy guitar track begins the show, web complimenting the altogether floaty and feminine look of the first few dresses to hit the runway. High neck lines add to the modesty of these dresses whose natural spectrum includes greys, website like this beiges, sickness mosses and mints. Waterfalls of ruffles flow across the body of each dress, which hang loosely from the tighter fit around the top. Multiple chiffon layers give weight and movement.

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The hues soon turn darker, pebble moving to slate, and ruffles move on to shoulders and skirts. As the music moves to an electro beat we are surprised by a pale teal coloured dress that reveals a bright aqua flash within its ruffles. More shocking is the entirely turquoise piece, a definite ‘neon pastel’, the hot new hue that everyone’s banging on about.

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The music begins to pound as a track from The Duke Spirit breaks out of the sound system and Felder Felder fall in to their stride showcasing a more rock chick look. This is an area that the duo became confident in with their AW08/09 collection that featured black fur, gold studs and leather. For SS09 leather embellishments, short shorts, cropped jackets and cuffs translate their harder edge to become more wearable in the more temperate months. Chiffon overlays soften the look.

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This bandage dress was the real stand out piece of the collection. In an interesting turn, dresses began to emerge on to the catwalk that were made up of shimmering oyster bands of fabric. Much clingier, these dresses accentuated the body and glittered like scales as the models moved. The tops of these dresses were tighter, cut more in the style of a biker vest, again falling into the rock chick category. Bright coral chiffons provided another splash of colour in this segment.

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With this show I was left in two minds about Felder Felder’s direction. I felt the loose silhouettes with frills over the front were unremarkable and perhaps included to fulfil a feminine sensibility associated with the Spring season. However, I enjoyed the self assured woman who later appeared in Felder Felder’s work summoned in by edgier styling and bolder colours.

Watch the show for yourself here.
10.15am may not be early in the real world, mind but in the world of London Fashion Week (especially on Thursday, ailment this is day 5 of 6 for gawdsakes!) 10.15am may as well be dawn. Skip that, I’m sure most fashionistas were still partying at dawn with ‘Mr Diamond-head’ or ‘The Turban Woman’. But, well, you get what I mean.

By Thursday I was already scraping the bottom of the little pot of Benefit ‘EyeCon’ that had come in a goody bag earlier in the week. With eye bags suitably smothered I yawned all the way to the Royal Academy of Arts for the Romina Karamanea show. I was greeted by a very small crowd of hard-core fashion enthusiasts and a helpful girl who told me the show would be starting at least half an hour late. Late? But this is the first show of the day! Oh well, I suppose the later the start the more hung-over LFW visitors they were be able to round up.

When we were eventually allowed to take our seats I was excited to see the whole first 4 rows decorated with goody bags (surely a reward for all those dedicated enough to get out of bed), each one complete with a bottle of Sabai Wine Spritzer and a packet of vodka filled chocolates. Hair of the dog, anyone?

But of course, goody bags aren’t enough to prise a gal out of bed. No, the crowd was eager to see what Karamanea, a St Martins graduate who has worked with leading designers such as Clements Ribeiro, Robert Cary-Williams and Preen, had to offer us. And with the knowledge that Karamanea impressed the late, great Isabella Blow (she reportedly took a shine to an ‘origami dress’ from the SS07 collection) we were expecting a lot.

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The feel of the show was utilitarian, yet sexy. Karamanea has admitted in past interviews that she is influenced by the functionality of the Bauhaus movement and this showed in her SS09 pieces. The clean simplicity of cut brought uniform to mind, indeed it often felt that we were being presented with visions of ‘uniforms of the future’. I don’t really want to reference Star Trek, but I might have to…

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Karamanea’s sculptural style that had been apparent in her origami creations of old came to the fore once more in her new works with almost absurdly boxy shoulders. The often harsh shapes were tempered down, however, with varying techniques. The occasional flash of neon blue found its way underneath garments, whilst sunglasses and Doc Marten boots punkified outfits to give a youthful edge. A very of-the-moment translucent softly flowing tangerine dress even cropped up in the collection.

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More flowing shapes were evident which, twinned with geeky brogues and shades, gave the look of a studious bad girl or an art teacher with a naughty past.

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Slightly less forgiving than the more flowing silhouettes were the tight playsuits, which I imagine the average woman would steer well clear of for fear of the dreaded camel toe.

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Front row fashion is, of course, one of the other spectacles of Fashion Week. Romina Karamanea’s show saw one guest robed in a rather revealing yellow dress, only hiding her modesty by covering her head with the biggest, pinkest hat I have ever seen. I captured her below in some sort of hat stand-off between herself and a model sporting a large black mesh visor. Which one will win in the style stakes?

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Karamanea’s jewellery was note-worthy, with plastic neck pieces that almost looked like ammo straps. High waisted shorts also found their way into Karamanea’s collection, yet another clue that we can be sure that they will feature heavily in our SS09 wardrobes.

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The styling of the models was definitely a hugely interesting part of the show. With hair that was slicked back at the sides but flowed in waves down the back (a look that nodded to Alice Dellal, surely) the girls looked cool and androgynous. Femininity was never girly; even the chosen heels were the brogue-ish Rosie shoe from B Store, their clever sculpted heel adding to the modernist feel. Clever uniforms accompanied by a sound-track that included a tune that told tales of motor cycles setting you free, this truly was a show for the bad girl with brains.

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I really enjoyed viewing Karamanea’s daring pieces and the whoops of appreciation that came at the end of the show meant that I definitely wasn’t alone. I look forward to see the shapes she will create in the future.

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Watch the show for yourself here and here.
In 2005 Helen, page Myra and Cathy, online three graduates from the London College of Fashion, decided to join forces (and the first two letters of each of their names) to become Hemyca. With their first show at London Fashion Week, we were promised a ‘Dream Of Time’, and the show was chimed in, quite literally, by the trilling, ticking and whirring of clocks.

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The ‘Dream of Time’ soon transpired not to be a dreamy Alice in Wonderland style flight of fancy, but rather the modern dream everyone shares of having more time; with models in sharp tailoring marching business-like around the catwalk. Pleats a-plenty softened and added interest and made sure the sillhouettes were anything but straight-laced.

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Catching our eye on the front row of this show was the (now almost legendary) Mr Diamond Head. I wonder if he was a fan of the Hemyca high-waist?

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Well, the high-waists in this collection really caught my eye, with the ensemble below being a particular favourite. Simple and smart, with an elegant attitude, the wide, loose trousers flowed beautifully as they moved and looked hot teamed with the racer back white vest. Inspiration for this collection had apparently come from the idea of a broken clock and garments were printed with illustrations along the same theme. The ensembles were topped off with wire mesh hats by Monique Luttin.

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Just as I was becoming comfortable with the show and enjoying the interesting shapes before me, I was a little bit shocked by some rogue brightly coloured pieces creeping in. ‘Neon Pastels’ is a palette that we’ve been warned to expect from SS09, and many designers have showcased lemon sorbets, candy pinks and aquas with aplomb. Hemyca, however, had concentrated on the ‘neon’ side a wee bit too much, sending a couple of warm canary yellow pieces down the catwalk. This was later followed by a cold, acrid lime coloured dress. The colours felt confusing, as I can’t imagine the two sitting together very well on a clothes rail. The miss-match felt like a curdle in the collection.

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I also can’t claim to be a fan of Hemyca’s use of bright blue tartan. My only explanation for the inclusion of the two tartan pieces was perhaps an over-exposure to Henry Holland. I can’t fathom, however, why yellow ruffles had crept in to one of the tartan dresses. The result was an unfortunate cheapening of some actually well cut dresses.

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After this acidic hiccup the rest of the show carried on as before, demonstrating Hemyca’s love of interesting shapes. Cocooned hips made their way back into the Hemyca catalogue (a hark back to their last SS collection, entitled ‘Secret Garden’), with some lovely jumpsuits. Yes, jumpsuits again! Seen at Olanic and Jacob Kimmie, amongst others, there’s no doubt these will be part of the idealised 2009 wardrobe. And if I’m going to have to struggle in and out of one of these bad boys every-time I need the loo then only the black, bodice topped Hemyca jumpsuit will make it all worth it. Seriously, I heart it.

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On the subject of wearability, that old conundrum the playsuit made yet another appearance on the LFW runway. Of course it looked amazing on the Amazonian model with legs up to her armpits, but how it would translate on the average woman? I just don’t know.

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With their last offering, Hemyca showed us that they can also do full on glamour. A beautiful, billowy, draped dress flowed down the catwalk, embellished with strings of jewels and metallic pieces reminiscent of a watch’s inner workings. Cog like embroidery over the back was a delicious, delicate touch.

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I know I will be keeping an eye on Hemyca, as I really love their interestingly structured garments. I do hope, however, that in the future they will stick to their more restrained colour palette. Either that, or take control of their own colours and not feel pressured by trend forecasts that predict ‘neon pastels’ or way too much tartan.

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See the show for yourself here, or take a peek backstage here.

We’re rather taken with London based Turkish designer, cialis 40mg Bora Aksu, physician here at Amelia’s. Not only was he featured by us way back in issue 1, but his ongoing collaboration with fair-trade fashion pioneer People Tree has got him into our good books AND our forthcoming issue 10. Needless to say, we were looking forward to see his Spring/Summer 09 collection debut at the British Fashion Council Tent.

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It looked like the designer has been partaking in one or two viewing sessions of The Sound of Music as we were greeted by a girl in a white dress and satin sash as the show began. Okay, so the sash was pink, and not blue, but girlish dresses did seem to be amongst Aksu’s favourite things for next Spring/Summer.

The femininity presented at Aksu’s show was not all young and frilly, however, with wonderfully tailored pieces (cropped jackets, high necks and puffed sleeves) giving an assured and womanly aspect to the collection. The head wear veered between youthful oversized bows and grown up Sunday-best hats (both by milliner Misa Harada).

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Aksu’s colour palette was spot on for the season; with frosted peaches, pistachios and lemon tones gracing the runway at the start of the collection. With talk of pastels (from candy colours right up to neon hues) being a big part of our warmer-month wardrobes next year, Aksu’s collection looks set to be bang on trend. Personally, I’m a little hesitant to go all out sugar-sugar with my own attire next Spring, so I was relieved to see daring combinations of purple and black further in to the show.

The striking thing about many of Aksu’s creations was the Art Nouveau style embellishments that drew attention to the contours of the wearer. Ribbon like piping ran across the garments, mapping out curves and acting like the leading in a stained glass window; it was a technique that allowed Aksu to bring in panels of new colour and texture.

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There has been much talk of ‘the modesty dress’ this London Fashion Week, the term referring to a trend for enveloping unforgivingly skin tight body-con dresses with billowing translucent over dresses. The double dresses were seen at Issa, Graeme Black, Aquascutum and, of course, on the Bora Aksu catwalk. Aksu’s take on the modesty dress involved anything from pink chiffon capes cinched in over dresses to Grecian style draping of fabric pieces that concealed choice areas.

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The stand out piece, for me, was a bubbly black party frock. A bustier front over a body of black mesh was both modest and sexy in it’s half revelation of back and shoulders, but this simplistic top soon burst out into an eruption of petal-like layers in the skirt. The movement of this skirt was flighty and fun, being especially voluminous at the back. Can you spy my favourite frock at the rear of the model queue?

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Romantic and whimsical, Aksu’s fairytale collection was the epitome of Spring/Summer 09 style. In a show backed by floaty folk and violins, ruffles and pleats took centre stage and won our hearts.

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Watch highlights of the show for yourself here. And look out for our profile of Aksu and People Tree in our forthcoming Issue 10!
Soft pastel patterns, pill ruffles and high-waisted shorts filled the Trinity Building near Regents Park last Sunday as Poltock & Walsh featured their Spring/Summer 09 collection at London Fashion Week. Think French Riviera in the 1930′s, which is what designers, Fiamma Poltock and Katie Walsh used as inspiration to create this line of elegant, wearable womenswear.

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High-waisted shorts seem to be back for yet another season, and Poltock & Walsh paired them with silk three-quarter length blouses and jackets. The shorts were slimmed for a flattered silhouette, but the tops used ruffled sleeves and square cuts to enhance shape. While the overall appearance may be a bit simple, they’ve accessorized it with just the right block belts to give it enough excitement to perk my interest.

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The ruffles and enhanced shapes continued to be the trend in their lively cocktail dresses. Cut graciously to show off the legs, some were slimming to show off curves, and others hung freely for a looser fit. I also caught a glimpse of print designs in blue and yellow pastels, inspired by the Art Deco movement of the 30′s.

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The duet met while studying fashion design at Kingston University and formed their label in 2006. Although fairly new, they already have quite a portfolio with a successful showing of their Spring/Summer 08 collection at Style 360 during New York Fashion Week. They have since returned to the homebase of London for Autumn Winter 08/09 and this latest show. Already discovered by Vogue as one of the new designers to keep an eye on, they are sure to be a hit in the seasons to come. Their collection is available for purchase at Sefton if you fancy splurging for the look of Poltock & Walsh.

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Olanic‘s collection took inspiration from the British summertime, stuff or lack of it as is often the case. The unpredictability of Spring/Summer09 resulted in a collection of geometric shapes blown sideways. The weather theme was further worked upon within the fabrics, a collaboration with Scottish textile companies. Designed by Niki Taylor the fabrics used abstract weather symbols executed in clashing colours.
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Summery colours of pink, green and blue, were mixed with muted tones more associated with the rainy days a British summer is famed for. Simple silhouettes of shift dresses, blouses and shorts were given a breath of fresh air with subtle details. These simple shapes were adorned with plaited necklines, shoulder wing-tips and fabric bows.
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The jumpsuit, which seems to be a firm favourite with designers for next summer, was reworked into an elegant evening wear piece. Only revealing its shorts form when the model strode down the catwalk. Sequins were sprinkled over a ladylike bustier, a pair of leggings and a cropped tux jackets. Other highlights included balloon tapered trousers in silk styled with an upside ballet wrap draped top, both in jewel colours.

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Olanic almost trademarked punkish Edwardian overtones were also present, the blues and greens gave way to red and black. Vertical striped spray on trousers, striped tux jackets and a marching band style red cape sashayed down the runaway in quick succession.

Creating highly wearable designs (often ignored in fashion), Olanic showed an accomplished collection which will only strengthen the label’s ‘one to watch‘ status.

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Monday 22nd September

Hearts Revolution – Puregroove Records, order London
Iglu & Hartly – Carling Academy 2, Liverpool
Ponytail and Mirror! Mirror! – Durr at The End, London

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Rolo Tomassi – Macbeth, London

I’m hardly the biggest fan of metal, but Rolo Tomassi are something else. I haven’t heard a band so forward thinking in ages and i think a live show would be very exciting.

Dananananaykroyd, Johnny Foreigner, My Psychoanalyst – The Venue, Derby
Undeground Railroad – Rough Trade East, London

Tuesday 23rd September

Adem and Mary Hampton – ICA, London

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Islands – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

‘Rough Gem’ is one of those songs that has stayed in my favourite, despite frequent listenings, and although none of their songs have really matched up to it again, they’re still an ace band.

Black Affair, The Oscillation and Hearts Revolution – White Heat at Madame Jo Jo’s, London
Ladyhawke – Pure Groove Records, London
Attack Attack – Rock City, Nottingham
Hope and Social, Muarena Helena, The Dodo Fightback, Royston Jones and Funny Face – Monto Water Rats
White Lies – Rough Trade East, London

Wednesday 24th September

O’Death – Crane Lane Theatre, Cork
Friendly Fires – The Joiners, Southampton
Little Man Tate and Inner City Pirates – Islington Academy, London
Rolo Tomassi – Barfly, Glasgow
Pete Doherty – Opera House, Bournemouth

Thursday 25th September

Broadcast 2000 and Gold Teeth – Proud Galleries, London
Dragonforce – Carling Academy, Glasgow
Thomas Tantrum – Cockpit 3, Leeds
Esser and Your Twenties – The Macbeth, London
Hot Club De Paris – Banquet Records, Kingston upon Thames

Friday 26th September

Midnight Juggernaughts and Heartsrevolution – ULU, London
Barringtone – Louisiana, Bristol
Chas and Dave – Rayne Theatre, London
Micachu – Down The Rabbit Hole at Barghouse, London
SCUM, Futurism vs Passéism, Vegas Whores and Wire Rooms – Whitechapel Gallery, London
Pete Doherty – Kasbah, Coventry
Lovvers, Bromancer and Sad Shields – Old Blue Last, London
Metronomy and Tubelord – The Macbeth, London

Saturday 27th September

Sky Larkin, Data.Select.Party, Sportsday Megaphone – Notting Hil Arts Club, London
Benga, Late Of The Pier, Metronomy and more – Tate Britain, London

Gig of the week

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Archie Bronson Outfit, Micachu, Clinic, SCUM, Jay Jay Pistolet, Ipso Facto, Polly Scattergood, Hatcham Social and more – Nail The Cross at Various venues, London

A very interesting line-up which promises to be the most interesting event in town on this Saturday night.

Future of The Left, Bearsuit, Calories, Cats In Paris, Chris T-T, Copy Haho, The Deirdres and more – This Ain’t No Picnic at KCLSU, London
The Spinto Band – Arts Centre, Norwich
Primary 1, Frightened Rabbit and The Hair – Weather Club @ 93 Feet East, London
Let’s Wrestle – Push at Astoria 2, London
Artefacts for Space Travel – Down The Rabbit Hole at Bargehouse, London

Sunday 28th September

Foals and Maps and Atlases – University, Cardiff
Polysics, Alan MX, Brontosaurus Chorus, The Duloks, Fighting With Wire, Popular Workshop and more – KCLSU, London
The Duke Spirit – Cockpit, Leeds

I know it’s been long since Bestival, advice but I’ve literally only just finished cleaning the mud off me. Seriously. Okay, viagra dosage maybe not. But it did take a long time and I have also sadly reached the conclusion that perhaps I am not as young as I used to be because it took me a good three days to properly recover from three days of fun, mud, music and random happenings. Still, that doesn’t stop me from wanting to buy my early bird tickets for Bestival next year.

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So, after my copious amounts of fruit smoothies and milk thistle tablets to get me on the mend, I can finally positively reflect on what was a bloody awesome weekend. After a comic session of wading through the mud-river that was the road to the campsite and then setting up our tents in an equally hilarious manner (to any onlookers not hiding in their tents) we gave up hope of ever being dry and warm, and sat and got drunk on rose boxed wine instead.

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Friday night started off poptastically perfectly with Alphabeat, and continued with Chromeo. We were gutted when Sam Sparro and Black Kids had cancelled, however. Something about the BBC Introducing stage being too muddy – um, what? Why not cancel the whole festival then? Bloody squares. (I later found out that Sam did do a set to a small crowd at the X-Box tent, but with no way of communicating this to the crowds, we all missed out.) Anyway we tottered along to CSS instead who were awesome, (although I think the sound technician was on acid) and then we headed to the Bollywood tent for a DJ set.

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Saturday was never going to be dry so we decided to hide in the Restival section instead and after a few games of Shithead, we were treated to some brilliant poetry performances from Hammer & Tongue. Seriously, if you live in London or Brighton or somewhere where they perform regularly, check them out. It’s a night you won’t forget.

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Why I even bothered wasting my time going to see Amy Winehouse on Saturday, I don’t know. Hot Chip were awesome and well worth pushing our way to the front for, but after that we had over an hour of waiting for Miss Amy should-go-to-Rehab-immediately Winehouse to pratt about on stage and manage to sing about 4 recognisable songs. It was pretty funny at the time, but looking back, it meant that I was so knackered after standing around in the cold I had no energy left to dance.

Miracle of miracles, it didn’t rain on Sunday and we made the most of it by finding all the places we hadn’t been to. Bramble FM was a highlight – a seemingly imaginary radio station which appears at all the festivals and gets the crowds dancing around in a circle or cheesy tunes – true story. And actually, it was awesome fun. Which is what festivals are all about – being just plain silly sometimes.

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We kept our blood pumping after a brilliant set by Six Nation State by heading to the ‘come dancing’ tent and showed ourselves up by being the only ones dancing to RnB. After the organisers realised that no true festival goer lowers themselves to enjoying RnB music, let alone dancing to it, they started a dance lesson, teaching us the ‘cha-cha’. That got everyone on the dance floor and after working up a suitable sweat, we watched a powerful performance by thecocknbullkid.

As it had finally stopped raining, we actually managed to have a meal outside our tent for the first time all weekend, and refuelled we headed to the main arena, having a bit of a boogie in the X-Box tent (Bournemouth clubs come to Bestival – hurray! – please note the sarcasm) and then checked out the Cockney Knees Up tent, which was supposed to have some drag acts on, but was actually just a bunch of transvestites dancing around to eighties music. Not really what we were looking for.

The Rizla arena was awesome, and we ended the night in true Bestival style by meeting some randoms and bringing them back to our tent for pointless conversation and more alcohol.

Getting off the island was less than pleasant – after a muddy session of packing up our tents we struggled with our backpacks up numerous mudslides and eventually made it back to land of solid ground.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Au Revoir Simone: Still Night, Still Light, Shines Bright

Having begun their incarnation as a Cycling Cinema which premiered at 2007′s Big Chill Festival, and capsule The Magnificent Revolution have progressed into all types of creative, information pills imaginative and inspirational forms in which to educate people about renewable energy and ecology. If you were around East London on Sunday 26th April, adiposity you might have caught their outdoor, bicycle powered film screening of Nanook of the North. This was projected onto a wall of a warehouse building in Hackney, which also serves as the location for the next wave of art, music, discussion and peddling power which will be taking place this coming Saturday, 2nd May.

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So, what did I miss on Sunday?

“We held an outdoor cinema screening – there is no electricity or power in the building, and we felt that this was an amazing opportunity to use our bike generators to power a screening. Last week we screened Nanook of The North; we chose it because it is a documentary about the harsh reality of living in a truly remote, isolated environment which is devoid of all the mod cons of our society – so there is a nice dialogue between what we are doing with this building space, and the fact that it is a barren canvas for us to work with. Also, Nanook is based in an isolated community and the fact that we can project this story onto a building in built up Hackney – (laughs) – we felt that we had a strange contrast between the Hackney area and the icy tundras of North America!”

Can you tell me a little more about the events that are taking place this weekend?

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“This Saturday, we have a programme of art and workshops running from 12.00 – 8.00 pm at 6 Orsman Road, Hackney. The main event is a live art installation and some video pieces created by a few of the Eastern European artists that are connected to the group who are occupying the ground floor of the building. They are in the process of installing site specific works which are dealing with the history of the premises – it used to be an old vinyl building. It was closed down about two years ago, has been left dormant, and is now in the process of planning permission to be torn down and rebuilt as as a five story apartment building. Obviously this is will obscure the views of the canal and block a lot of the light, and most of the local residents are unhappy with these plans, so there has been a lot of support for what we are doing, and the fact that we are bringing attention to the fact that people don’t want these new buildings springing up.”

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So who else is involved in the activities?

“There are various different organisations that are feeding into the project and we go by the collective name of Resistance Unit. Within that is Magnificent Revolution, which is basically an environmental education project. We have developed the bicycle generators which we tour around schools, and we also do festivals and events – we teach people about renewable energy sources and using the bicycle generators is a nice way to get people to understand the amount of power which is needed to power the households, and it also gets them to reassess their energy use.

As well as Massive Revolution, we have also got a group called Data Blender involved for Saturday- they are a dance collective, and they do various parties around London in abandoned buildings. Basically, we are providing a platform in which people can come down to the space and utilise in a creative way. So anyone who pitches up can take part – the exhibition will be taking up the space downstairs and upstairs will be workshops. During the day we will be running a workshop on how to make your own bike generator – we will take you through the process that we have been through in order to produce your own generators, you can learn more about the context of what we do, and then you can download further information off our internet site. So all in all, it should be a good introduction to bike power and renewables.

With regards to the rest of the day, from 4.00-6.00pm we will have an open drawing club. This is a session run by a friend of ours, Sebastian who is an amazing art teacher. There will also be discussions about art and philosophy as well as the experimental drawing! After this, from 6.00 -8.00 pm there will be a bike powered open jam session held on the roof terrace where we held the Nanook screening. It promises to be an interesting day!”

For further details, go to www.magnificentrevolution.org or email info@magnificentrevolution.org
See you there!
Monday 4th

Californian Richard Swift brings all the west coast sunshine to us Londoners, order where he will be playing his latest album, ‘Atlantic Ocean’, at The Lexington.
8pm. £8.50.

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Tuesday 5th

Our beloved Maccabees are back in town promoting a great new album ‘Wall Of Arms’ at Electric Ballroom.
6:30. £15.

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Wednesday 6th

So far the week is full of brilliant names and their new releases. For Wednesday we have the lovely Au Revoir Simone trio launching ‘Still Night, Still Light’ at Bush Hall, which is an album we`ve been listening to nonstop at the office.
7.30pm. adv £9.

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Thursday 7th

Music evenings at 93 Feet East are always good. This Thursday guests are The Franks, Perfect People and The Velcros bringing some outstanding indie to the house!

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The Velcros

Friday 8th

The gig we were all waiting for. Zach Condon`s aka Beirut will be performing some major folk at the HMV Forum this Friday.
7pm. £17.00.

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Saturday 9th

Folks at Bardens Boudoir say: “Halloween only comes once year, but why wait?”. Right. The evening entitled Palacio de Los Muertos celebrates all things morbid and macabre, from Mexican Day of the Dead to Halloween to Voodoo Death Cults, Hawaiin-Surf Creatures, Gypsy-Funeral Tarantellas, and the Danse Macabre. Featuring Molotov Jukebox, Rasp Thorne and a few other bunch of creepy people.

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Sunday 10th

Brooklyn based Bishop Allen + guests David Cronenberg’s Wife, Fireworks Night, A Classic Education, Foxes! and The Woe Betides for some easy and soft indie at Windmill.
5pm. adv £6 (including free barbecue).

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It is no exaggeration to say that ever since we received a copy of Au Revoir Simone’s latest album ‘Still Night, website like this Still Light‘, dosage we have had it on almost continuous play. Personally, I feel the mark of a great record is that it becomes the soundtrack to your life, and trust me, this one has not left my side and shows no intention of doing so. Still Night, Still Light (released through Moshi Moshi Records) is the third album from the Brooklyn based trio, and the band’s members, Heather D’angelo, Erika Forster and Annie Hart have unquestionably pulled off a hat trick. Brilliantly executed, warm and personal; if you listen to the record with your headphones on, it’s as if the girls are directing their pitch perfect and intimate harmonies solely to you. From 18th May, you will be able to get your hands on a copy and if you do so, you won’t have to search further for your soundtrack to the summer. As a taster; the first single Shadows will be released on 4th May. Before they set off on their European tour, I called up Heather and found out more about the making of this album, their musical influences and styles, and why this time around, they are twittering their tours.

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Good morning! Is today going to be an Au Revoir Simone day or a Heather day?

Every day is an Au Revoir Simone day. (laughs) We have band practice today, and we are doing a couple more interviews as well. We are doing a few performances already – we are starting our major headlining tour soon and will be in Europe and then America and then the cycle will continue for…. I don’t know! A long time!

Amelia’s Magazine obviously love this record, and judging by reviews, we are not the only ones…..

We are getting a really positive response, which makes us happy, and is very encouraging, because we as a band we really believe in this one and we finally feel that we made the record that we wanted to. The last two records had a few disappointments but with this one, we are really proud of every song on the album and we feel like we finally have an album that represents who we really are.

Tell us a little about the process of making this album…

We were really nomadic with the recording of this one, we couldn’t afford to go to a real studio, so we recorded literally everywhere, we even recorded at our producers mother in-law’s house (laughs). We did some studio stuff in Brooklyn, but we were never anywhere for that long. We mixed it in Sacramento and things really came together then in those two weeks. Mixing was where everything started to sound really cohesive. All these bits and pieces that we had recorded in the past month started making sense.

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If I were to imagine a setting where the album was recorded, I would have imagined a dusty mountain top cabin in the Catskills!

I wish that I could say that we recorded it in a fairy cave, and we had magical tea every day! We don’t have the budget for that yet! (laughs)

How do you all collaborate on the tracks? Every song seems so cohesive.

Where the album is more cohesive is the result of the girls and I touring and spending every day together for two years, when you are with the same people for two years, you become a lot more similar in style, and when you are experiencing the same things, well… we were going through the all same things emotionally and that reflects in the songs.

Your styles seem so similar – but does anyone ever say, ‘ let’s throw in thrashing metal guitar and see what happens?’

(laughs) No, we are all really similar people, and musically, we are also all similar. Annie has a punk, wild side, and she has a side band called Uninhabitable Mansions; that is not particularly Au Revoir Simon-ey (laughs) and she knows that. Erika writes more folky music, but all of the things that we choose to bring to the table are ‘Au Revoir Simone’ style. But before with earlier albums we would bring everything, all different styles of music, and it kind of made it disjointed. So, for this one, we would bring in the stem of the song – sometimes it’s a verse or a chorus and one will play it for the others, and we would work on it and work on it until it was perfect. It may not end up being the song that you first had in your head, but that is the fun part; seeing how it is going to grow once we all put our hands on it! Actually our favourite way of working is when we get to play for ourselves. We will riff for hours and hours and our songs come out of that.

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(photograph by Imma Varandela)

Your style is described as warm and organic electronic music. It is a hard thing to pull off – making electronic music seem accessible – isn’t it? Is it warm because there are three women singing, or do you have to make a conscious effort to make the audience feel like they are listening to something intimate?

I think that is the main thing that we think about when we are writing, and also a large source of our disappointment of what we have done in the past. Having the instruments that we use come off in the recording as warm and airy has been really, really difficult. ….. We would try everything; at first we would go straight into Pro Tools, which made it sound cold, and then we tried layering, and that didn’t work. For this one, Tom (our producer) said ‘pair it down, don’t use ten keyboards, use two and we will amp it so that the one keyboard sounds huge.’ That is a big lesson that we learnt on this album, how to make it even warmer, and also with three girls, it kind of makes it sound like a choir (laughs)

The harmonies are amazing, I feel like there is a French sound to your music; it reminds me of Stereolab and Air; do these bands influence you?

Oh, saying it sounds like Stereolab is the highest compliment ever! My two favourite bands are Air and Stereolab. I love French weird, electronic music, and what I love about those bands is that they never sound cold. And I love Electrelane; they were a keyboard band who also sound really warm. Too bad they are not together anymore.

Electrelane? I hadn’t heard of them.

Check out the The Power Out album.

I will! The last time Amelia’s Magazine met you was 2007, how have things changed since then? I take it that your schedules have got very busy. Is it all about the band now?

Yes, it’s all about the band now, once we start recording everything else goes out the window – It’s Au Revoir Simone every day!

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I saw that you Twittered some recent festivals. What do you think of this whole social networking business?

I don’t really know what to think of Twitter, it was a suggestion from a couple of people, so we twittered about the South by South West Festival that we played, but it felt like shouting into the void. You know, is anybody listening? (laughs) I don’t see how it will be practical for us to do it in Europe!

Right, next stop Europe! Where is the tour taking you?

We are playing everywhere; London, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki.… It’s a busy schedule!

Check out Au Revoir Simone’s website for further details of upcoming dates and album info. And maybe see some of you at their London show? I can’t wait……

Categories ,Album, ,Electro, ,Indie, ,Pop

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Amelia’s Magazine | Loverman – A Live Review – Prom Night of the Living Dead

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From out of the late 80s/early 90s shadows, healing Loverman launch their ‘Human Nature’ EP amongst the Shoreditch elite at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen with all the swagger befitting an underground goth-rock outfit of the noughties.

More often than not, visit web I prefer listening to music in the confines of my kitchen, case or soothing my earholes whilst I’m grimacing on public transport, than in a live setting. A bizarre opinion in a music journalist, but it’s the opportunity to form a personal relationship with the music without the many variables that diminish one’s appreciation. No drunks spilling their plastic pints of lager over you, no frustratingly poor sound system, no nightmare journey across town and back (although at least during which I can get intimately acquainted with an as yet untapped album).

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With Loverman’s music however, the live experience propagates my enjoyment of it. It’s not necessarily that I like the musicality of it any more, but seeing something amongst its own fans alerts me to its merits. Like the way you get swept up in singing the chants and blaspheming the ref at a football match even though you have no previous interest in the sport yourself. The messianic allure of front man Gabriel Bruce, as he captures his front row disciples in his visceral sermon, is enough to elevate the music to more than just a death-metal Horrors rip-off. Amongst his followers is model-come-DJ Alice Dellal who takes a moment out of her intoxicated stupor to manically toss her famous locks in time to the band’s knell. As the debonair front man flicks his bleach dyed hair, the girls around him almost physically edge forward in the hope of catching a droplet of perspiration.

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It is not just the band’s name and singer’s voice that nod to dark father Nick Cave. Before this band, the London four-piece have experienced their fair share of the scene respectively and have now found their peace with a deathlier sound. It does strike me though that even though the audience may be on trend in their 90s throw-back Goth-grunge attire, they look about as satanic as my nan and far more likely to stroke a kitten than bite its head off like a true Goth should… no?

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Tonight, the tracks from their EP swill around the room, lapping up the ominous noise and repugnant imagery, like Beetlejuice sipping a straw through Kurt Cobain’s name. Getting the death theme enough? Expect the cult of Loverman to gain a momentum of deathly proportions throughout 2010.

Check out a clip of Bruce crooning the audience like it were Prom Night:

Categories ,gig, ,goth, ,grunge, ,live, ,loverman, ,Nick Cave, ,nirvana, ,the horrors

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Amelia’s Magazine | Kyla La Grange – New single Been Better and exclusive interview with Intruders TV

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You may remember that I interviewed Kyla La Grange in person a few months back. Well, see she’s just finished a UK wide tour with Wolf Gang and her next single Been Better is due to be released on 11th July, viagra buy followed by a launch gig at the Lexington on July 12th.

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Been Better is another angsty anthem from the girl whose emotions run deep – shot at night with barely a ripple of light and plenty of gothic imagery, take a peek, then watch this exclusive interview from Intruders TV.

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Check out Kyla La Grange online here.

Categories ,Been Better, ,Exclusive, ,gothic, ,interview, ,Intruders TV, ,Kyla la Grange, ,The Lexington, ,Wolf Gang

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Amelia’s Magazine | Rough Trade- COUNTER CULTURE 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was extremely excited to go to the Skirt 1 exhibition at the Wapping Project, cure as the venue is one my favourite places in London and I always love what they put on…. I tend to bring people who have never been to introduce it to them. So I walked down the narrow road with my friend, chatting away through the gate.

Then ‘wow’…my legs had stopped and my eyes were taken by the installation. There, stood a tree full of yellow umbrellas, hanging from the all branches. The combination of bright yellow umbrellas against the dark of the night was just stunning! This made me much more excited to see what was inside.

At the reception, there was a very nice lady Julie Wright from The Wapping Project welcoming us in. ‘Wow’… my eyes sparkled with excitement. The room was full of leaves on the floor. It was like a recreation of a park in winter. All the red and brown leaves fell from the tree, and I could almost feel the wind come and sweep the leaves away… the place was surreal, but romantic and sentimental.

The exhibition presented skirts only, designed by students from the Fashion Department of the Fine Art Academy in Antwerp. 23 skirts were exhibited. All were very constructed and architectural. I was very impressed by all the little details that were put on the skirts. It was very crafty and utterly beautiful.

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’07. What a year: Klaxons; Led Zep Back; Gordon Brown; Rugby. Winehouse; Bhutto Dead; “Dead” Canoeist; Maddie. Bill Joel tributes aside, what is ed if you’re looking for a neat way to sum up a year Rough Trade’s annual Counter Culture retrospective is hard to beat.

Compilations like these are a dying and increasingly irrelevant form. Personalised, web aggregated recommendations tailored to your taste are within easy reach if you take an excursion to the outskirts of your iTunes and indulge in a quick scrobble. We get new music suggested to us at a faster rate than ever before and are used to having instant access to it, price but it remains reassuring to have a source you can really trust. Who better than Rough Trade, a comforting bastion of good taste, the cool uncle who slipped you secret beers at family parties when you were 15?

Some of their selections will be familiar. Justice’s overrated D.A.N.C.E. gets yet more recognition, and you’d have to be brave to ignore Battles‘ peerless Atlas which is here in truncated “single edit” form, slightly marring its perfect cyclical surge.

Here’s where the familiar ends, as the rest of these 41 songs will be unknown to most. Wooden Shjips are more shiny than you’d expect from their twee-as-fuck name. The Wood’s bring restless, epic folk with Be Still. Peggy Sue & The Pirates‘ close-recorded Vaudevillian sweetness goes unexpectedly yelly, demanding your attention. Then there are a few names which will familiar to anyone who keeps tabs on the whole “next big thing” thing. Hello Mika Miko, Let’s Wrestle, No Age and Glasvegas.

There’s no LCD, Radiohead or M.I.A. here, and who’s complaining? Who’s not been beaten about the head with those bands enough in the last few months? That’s what makes Counter Culture special. Eschewing the rote “big tunes” for more obscure choices makes it more human, more exciting. It elevates the compilation beyond a series of anonymous rightclick->savetargetas exercises.

The only real constant to these comps is the inclusion of a handful of songs which are completely unhinged. They’re a reminder of the world of interesting music that doesn’t even know where the radar is, let alone harbour any plans to fly under it. Perennial oddball Julian Cope turns up, and suddenly you’re listening to a talking book gone mad. Andrew Liles‘ contribution sounds like it was recorded from inside a broken washing machine, with a bonus track of Japanese commentary. John MausRights For Gays is a South Park piss-take song in waiting.

It’s not like this is a perfect two discs. It’s lacking in diversity. It’s a little white, and completely ignores several genres. But you’ll hear 10 songs you love, which you wouldn’t otherwise have been aware of. The smug feeling you’ll get from finding them removed from sinister hard-selling forces is an unadvertised bonus.

Categories ,Music Rough Trade 2007 Retrospective Music Song Sweet Counter Culture

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Amelia’s Magazine | Wavves, Pens and Mazes at The Old Fire Station Stoke Newington.

LuckyPDF is a new artist-led project based in Camberwell and Peckham, this web search South East London. LuckyPDF aims to promote and support new artists and creative talent within the area by finding innovative and effective ways to produce and exhibit work.

Recently taking up residence in the UNITY centre on the busy Peckham High Street, LuckyPDF will play host to a series of exhibitions, events and happenings over coming months, working within the restrictions of this unique space and around the other groups that share it.

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The current Exhibition features Molly Smyth’s Sculptures which tackle the difficult subject of fear in relation to the recent attacks in Mumbai. I asked her what initially inspired her;

“I originally wanted to create an overtly violent exhibition which highlights the horror of the terror attacks in Mumbai towards the end of last year. That’s however not what materialized. It became more to do with the fear involved.”

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An integral part of the show is a large piece entitled ‘Continuo’ which both propels the art to another level but also acts as an invasive field for the viewers.

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“It’s based on the the Basso Continuo rhythm within Baroque music which lies underneath the melody and both propels and holds back the music.”

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The exhibition continues tonight and tomorrow night @ UNITY, 39 Peckham High Street.

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The Norwegian artist Lise Bjorne Linnert has created a project in response to the tragic, viagra and ongoing situation in the Mexican border town of Juarez, discount which sits on the border of the USA. It is difficult to comprehend, sales but the statistics are chilling – over 560 women have been murdered, hundreds more have disappeared, their whereabouts forever unknown, but it is suspected that they have been kidnapped for trafficking.

Desconocida:Unknown has to date, traveled through 22 countries. The project is very much a participatory affair. Those who come to the exhibition are encouraged to become involved, and embroider two labels; one baring the name of one of the murdered women, and one with the simple word – ‘unknown’. These name tags are added onto a wall which becomes the central medium of the project. Until March 22nd, it will be showing at The Gallery at University for the Creative Arts Epsom. Here, visitors can embroider whilst watching a documentary about the situation, called Threading Voices, also made by the artist.

descondida4resized.jpgFrontera 450+, at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston Texas. A show dedicated to the women of Juarez and their situation. This inspired me to start the project. i had moved back to Norway at the time and I wanted to create a project that somehow diminished the distance, the physical distance to the place and the psychological distance to take in information of such difficult issues. I wanted to create a connection, because violence towards women is a global issue, happening in every society, rich or poor, far or near.The situation in Juarez is extremely complex and very difficult to describe using just a few words. But I think it is very important to share that despite the horror that still are happening and the increasing violence towards both men and women due to a war on drugs in the city, the women and the community I have seen and collaborated with is not a victimized community, it is a community of an enormous strength and ability to fight back and with a believe in change. Believe in change through working with the youth, education, support of the families so they can speak for themselves. It is all organized with the smallest means and in an environment of violence and mistrust. The government’s attempts on improvements are described by the activists as cosmetic.”

What inspired you to choose to have participants embroider the name of the murdered women onto the labels?

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” The idea of the embroidered nametags came after a long time researching and thinking. I wanted to use a female activity as a way to protest against the violence, I did not want to celebrate the violence. I wanted to establish a connection that would enable us to see the women and hear the stories told, see them as individuals. I also wanted an activity that had connections back to Mexico but yet were global, which embroidery is. We all have a relationship with names, it is the first thing we learn to write and by embroidering the names we would remember that name. By being embroidered, the mass of names each take on an identity again, a dual identity, that of the named and that of the embroiderer.”

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Other than the labels, have you been using any other art forms alongside the embroidery, and how to you feel that this compliments?

“The project has inspired me to work using different art forms. After visiting Juarez in 2007, I decided to go back to tell the story of Marisela Ortiz Rivera and the organization Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa. I wanted to share the power and strength the women are fighting with and made the short documentary Threading Voices. When exhibiting the project I also show the video “Missing young women” by the Mexican filmmaker Lourdes Portillo. This film shares the stories about the murders, following the families in their search for their daughters and for justice.
For me it has been very important to show that women are not victims but have strength to fight back. During the openings of exhibitions where Desconocida has been shown, I have done a voice performance, Presence, where I give a tone, and then I give silence. I take away the words, the relation to music and this leaves the viewer and I with the purely the voice, the note and the silence, and I think this brings presence forward. There are “no escapes”
For the opening at the Gallery at the University for Creative Arts, Epsom, I made a sound installation based on my performance idea.”

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What has the response been to this project, and where would you like to see this project going (apart from bringing justice to these women, of course).

“The project has grown much larger than I imagined when I started this, it has almost taken on a life of its own. I have decided that as long as people want to be part embroidering and the situation in Juarez remains the same, the project will continue to run its course. I hope more venues would like to show the project and by this engage more communities. It is important for me though that the labels eventually do not end their journey in a drawer in my studio. I am currently researching different ideas of how to bring the labels back out to the communities where they have been created, and doing so through an action/performance in Ciudad Juarez.”
What do you do when even the charity shops turn their noses up at your second hand freebies? Have them stripped for parts just like you would your bike! Tracey Cliffe, find with a background in costume design, information pills knows exactly how to spin fresh dresses out of frocks non-grata. Check out her popping new boutique in Afflecks Place in Manchester.
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Polly Scattergood

Rough Trade

Saturday 28th Feb, approved 2009

The ethereal Polly Scattergood performed a short set at Rough Trade East on Saturday evening to a small but attentive crowd. Whether they had wandered in from hearing her sound or were hardened followers was difficult to determine, pharmacy but all were enthralled by what Scattergood had to offer.

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Scattergood is an open and candid storyteller with the adorable quirkiness of Kate Bush and the timid vulnerabilty of Bat for Lashes. Part vocal, part soliloquy, Scattergood‘s songs are honest and real. She was a little nervous on Saturday, resplendent in an metallic puffball number with slightly tousled blonde locks. Her vocals wavered, but it’s a bold move presenting your music in a space as stark as a record shop. There’s no production, no flashy lighting, and there are customers wandering aimlessly trying to find their would-be purchases.

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In between haunting melodies, Scattergood gave little away apart from song titles. From one track to another, she kept a rapid pace, backed by a three-piece band who spend far too much time looking in a mirror (I’d imagine). The songs are original, though – and her dulcet spoken tones blend smoothly with her powerful voice (she dips like a young Moyet and peaks like a more mature Goldfrapp). She has a fresh indie sound with a scrumptious catchy pop twang, best detected on the balladic Unforgiving Arms. Scattergood is also onto a winner with the short show’s closing track, Nitrogen Pink, born with a whisper and maddening as it reaches its climax.

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April sees Polly embark on a comprehensive tour around the UK, with the album Stateside Releases expected to hit the shops this week. With a nod, a huge smile and a timid curtsy, Polly‘s off, safe in the knowledge that she’s served up a teatime treat.
Aussie by heart, for sale New Yorker by nature, pills Deanne Cheuk is at the vanguard of her field in fashion illustration. Her work has already graced the pages of Nylon, ampoule Dazed and Confused,Vogue and Tokion.She is showered with accolades, recently she featured as one of the top “50 creative minds in the world” by Face Magazine.

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Cheuk’s utilises a myriad of mediums that beautifully unite to create ethereal and dreamy pieces.Whisking you away from the realms of reality into the fairy tale-esque utopia of Deanne’s mind. Like a trip to the realms of Willie Wonker’s chocolate factory her visions are inhabited by mushrooms and a whole spectrum of colours, rather reminiscent of hundreds and thousands ,yum!!!

I have to concede I am so utterly besotted by Deanne Cheuk that even the thought of approaching her made me blush. But I am pleased to say I shook off my anxieties and hunted down this astonishingly talented lady to squeeze in a quick chat!.

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1.What other artists inspire you?

I’m always inspired by what my friends are doing, artists like Chris Rubino, Rhys Lee, Dmote, Suitman, Rostarr, Jose Parla, photographers like Jason Nocito, Juliana Sohn, Coliena Rentmeester, Davi Russo

2. In the past few years you have worked more in fashion illustration, was this a natural progression?

Yes it was a natural progression, I started out with drawing the Mushroom Girls series, and then ended up getting commissioned to do variations on that style for fashion magazines and fashion brands. I don’t really do alot in the Mushroom Girls style anymore as it started to get copied alot and a really tacky shoe company on the West Coast ripped it off as their branding. I’ve been doing alot of textile prints for different designers including my favorite designer Sue Stemp.

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3. You published a book a few years ago entitled the Mushroom Girls Virus Book, is there any chance of this going back into press?

Unfortunately there isn’t much chance of my book getting re-printed. The embroidered covers were all hand glued and that was incredibly time consuming for the printers to put together, it took a long time to produce. Though, regardless of that, I’d be more interested in making a new book than revisiting something that was already out there.

4. Alot of your work features mushrooms, do you have a fungal fetish at all?

I’ve always absolutely loved the under-sides of mushrooms, how delicate, intricate and soft and unique that part is. I’m also fascinated by the incredible varieties of mushrooms and amazing colors that are found in nature – so yes there is some fetish there for sure!

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5. Alot of your work is multi-media based, what mediums do you usually use when you work?

I nearly always start with pencil and watercolor on paper and finish up in photoshop on the computer, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and like to be able to retouch and control the final image in that way.

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6. Are their any plans to publish any more books?

Yes, I have a bunch of ideas for a typography book, and an art book and some kids books.

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7. Have you been to any interesting exhibitions recently?

I went to the Works On Paper show in New York this week at the Park Avenue Armory, my work is all on paper so it was really inspiring to see . My favorites were old Warhol’s and Lichtenstein’s’.

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You get a awe-inspiring sense from Cheuk of her passion for design, ,not content in conquering merely the fashion sphere she has set her intentions further a field in the world of children’s literature and graphic design. I for one can’t wait to see how these ideas materialise!
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Going from a magazine to an online blog; we at Amelia’s Magazine know all about the wonders of the internet. However until an email from Mousse Magazine landed in my email box I had no idea how much the process has moved on. Although the magazine is printed in runs of 30, viagra sale 00 and available from museums and galleries across the world it’s also available to download entire issues (and back issues) online. The best bit is that it’s completely free!

Founded in 2006 and distributed internationally since 2008 Mousse Magazine is a bimonthly and bilingual, written in English and Italian, review “that contains essays, interviews, conversations, exclusive artists projects and columns by correspondents from the international art capitals.” They aim to, “surf the trends, offer in depth analysis meet with the hottest artists, and capture the latest currents and developments in the international scene.”

Eager to see whether I could give up the thrill of flicking through the glossy pages of an art magazine I downloaded Mousse straight from the website (no visit to the shop necessary!) and had a look.

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Ok so it doesn’t smell the same as a new printed magazine, but I was pleased to see that there were still lots of lovely images of art for me to treat my eyes to. These pictures are accompanied by over 100 pages of articles about big contemporary artists such as Phillip Lai and meaty interviews with people such as Peter Coffin. The only issue is that reading the magazine on Adobe Acrobat is a bit of a challenge if you don’t have a massive computer screen. But think about the trees you’ll be saving!

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Over the last three months, treat I’ve done a lot of traveling. I toured with a band for three weeks around America and Canada. I turned that band on to Deer Tick by playing “Art Isn’t Real” for them as we drove through Ohio. After the tour, mind I went to visit friends in Brighton, England, Scotland, and Wales. I listened to “Standing at the Threshold” on the train to Brighton. I woke up blissful on my best friend’s living room floor to the tune of “Ashamed” and I cried, listening to “These Old Shoes” the entire plane ride home from England back to New York. For three months I was continually barraged with new things, new cities, new friends, new sights, sounds, and tastes, with one constant – Deer Tick was with me the entire time. I had their album “ War Elephant” piping through my headphones, regardless of where I was. All of these facts I “forgot” to share with the boys of Deer Tick, seeing as how I’m a shy person, and slightly embarrassed about my ‘superfan’ status. I did, however, manage to find out a bit more when I nervously found myself face to face (to face to face – because there are four of them!) with the band at a Chinese food restaurant around the corner from Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom, where they were about to play a headlining show, the first night of a 6 week tour around America.

Deer Tick had very humble beginnings,” explains John McCauley, Deer Tick‘s mustached front man. “A few years ago I started writing songs like this and recording them with my friend, Paul, on drums, and that kind of fizzled. I kept trying to create the band that I had named Deer Tick. It was kind of me for a while and I really didn’t like it that way. I didn’t like to be known as a singer songwriter with a moniker, I thought that was kind of stupid, but I was really patient and made sure I waited to find the right group of guys to play with.”

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John’s patience paid off and resulted in the formation of the band in its modern day incarnation: Dennis Ryan on drums, Andy Tobiassen- to whom James Felice refers as “the cute one”- on guitar, soft-spoken and self described “post-adolescent, geeky looking kid” Chris Ryan on base and of course, John himself is responsible for guitar and lead vocals as well as penning all of the group’s lyrics.

While “War Elephant” is the work Deer Tick is best known for at the moment, their upcoming album, “Born on Flag Day” will be the first that these 4 have played on together. “It sounds way different than War Elephant, and, stylistically, I think it’s much better than War Elephant too. War Elephant, to me, feels more like a greatest hits rather than an actual album, and this one feels like an album to me, and I’m really glad that I got to record it with a band, rather than multi-track mostly everything myself, which was the case with War Elephant.”

Deer Tick has received positive reactions to both their album, and their live shows. At the near sold out Bowery show, the crowd is singing along, and everyone I talk to in the crowd is genuinely excited to be there, indicative of Deer Tick‘s growing fan base. While the media is desperately trying to pigeonhole Deer Tick‘s sound (terms like “freak-folk,” indie-folk,” and “lo-fi” plague any literature you might find about them, as well as attempts to lump them in with other emerging Brooklyn bands, as John, originally from Providence, Rhode Island, is now living in Brooklyn) John insists that “We can fit in anywhere, from a dive bar to the Bowery Ballroom, like tonight. We’re not trying to be anything, I’m just writing songs in a variety of styles and they get pinned down as folk. And then you can’t just call anything done by a young person ‘folk’ anymore, you have to call it something stupid like “freak-folk.” I just don’t get a lot of labels that people give us. I like to think that rock and roll encompasses everything we do, and that’s where my heart is.”

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“Born on Flag Day” is scheduled for release in June 2009.

The world of neckwear has never looked so exciting. So say goodbye to the days of that tedious and generic tie lurking in the bottom of your wardrobe. I think as a general consensus every male has one, information pills right? Yes, sildenafil the one that only raises its ugly head for job interviews, weddings, or funerals. Well, cast that aside and end his tragic existence. Instead say hello and embrace the innovative, hopelessly stylish and nonchalant new accessory line from design collaborative Timo. Fashion Designer Timo Weiland originates from the bustling sidewalks of the Big Apple. He is no newcomer to the fashion sphere, having already enjoyed cult acclaim nationwide for his distinctive wallet designs and environmental conscious design ethos.

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Their kitsch Manhattan style exudes chic, and the brand have become regulars in hip fashion magazines such as Super Super. After the roaring success of the wallet designs ,Timo decided to set his sites higher and break into the broader world of accessories. Utilising a myriad of different fabrics from satin to cashmere the new AW O9 features beautiful and opulent neckwear.

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Weiland draws influence from all facets of design and genres. Reinvigorating class silhouettes from the bowtie to the skinny tie, and then racing up the spectrum to highly architectural draped collar pieces evoking a distinctly Elizabethan air. Then to top it all off he throws some traditional southern American western in for good measure.

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The unique feature of Timo’s designs is there ultimate use as a cross functional accessory. So that bland dress that hasn’t been out of solitary confinement for months could suddenly be unleased on the unsuspecting world with a whole new look.

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Weiland blurs the lines between gender with many unisex styles, so keep a close eye on that boyfriend of yours if you want to keep your bowtie to yourself!.
Prepare yourselves for quirky design group KIND! Injecting a healthy dose of cool to knitwear. The latest installment to their eccentric collections makes no exceptions fusing conceptual art with fashion, medicine in a burst of colour and activity.

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The Design collaborative are no newcomers to the knitwear sphere and have been in production since 2005. Each collection showcases new and innovative styles, continually pushing the boundaries in conceptual yet functional knitwear design. KIND have been avid followers of ours here at Amelia’s magazine and vis versa, we even featured them in issue 7 ( which is still available to get your mits on by the way!) We just can’t get enough of them, so I thought it important to unleash their new S/S collection on you. So prepare your eyes for a visual feast!

The new collection banishes all recollection of winter embracing the joyous arrival of summer with a myriad of warm colours and shapes.

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The brand are heavily involved in photography, interbreeding art with fashion is of paramount importance to these cool cats. Just one look at their S/S 09 lookbook validates this statement. Pieces are set against vivid tapestries reminiscent of the fundamental cubist painter Henri Matisse.

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KIND’s
focus is on functional and wearable clothing. The collection offers all your staples from dresses,tanks, to jumpers, all in lightweight cashmeres. So perfect for those cross seasonal periods, when its too cold for a t-shirt yet too warm for a jumper.

Kind has enjoyed universal success, having stocked their collections in Labour of Love, Tatty Divine, Liberty, Collette in Paris, UK style in Moscow, Isetan in Tokyo. Gosh its making me breathless just listing them all…….

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So keep your eyes open for KIND, I have a sneaking suspicion we haven’t seen the last from this eccentric bunch!
With a repertoire that boasts Blonde Redhead, page Stereolab, buy Pixies and the Cocteau Twins, approved 4AD rarely disappoint. The latest signing from the cult indie label, Kent four piece It Hugs Back, are no exception.

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Photo by Steve Double

Initially, you can’t help but notice how very young they all seem, which makes it all the more satisfying when they launch into such a mature set, cultivating a sound that is much older than their twenty three years.

Beautifully blended rhythmic guitars and soft Thurston Moore-esque vocals, they are clearly a group who have spent a lot of time cooped up in their bedrooms listening to shoegaze records. Although in essence, It Hugs Back are a product of their influences, this is not such a bad thing when your influences are so definably Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Yo La Tengo and potentially Wilco.

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Photo Coutesy of http://www.ithugsback.co.uk

Indeed, it’s their appreciation for music and sound that makes them so enjoyable and strangely refreshing. Clearly identifiable ‘Daydream Nation’ moments like in ‘Now and Again’ are juxtaposed with much more subtle melodies in tracks like ‘q’, where looped riffs and jangling guitars meet more industrial feedback sounds. In fact, many of the songs are indistinguishable, as they play with structure, breaking down more definable song narratives, so that the music remains continually listenable.

Definitely ones to watch.

‘Inside your Guitar’ is out on 6th April
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The Guinness World Record for it is 11 inches. Countless circus curios and lunchladies everywhere have caused us to stare guiltily at theirs over the years.
But not until illustrator Emily Mackey’s embroidered pieces have we seen such glorious and bewildering ladies’ beards. Argued to symbolize anything from wisdom and a pioneering spirit to shiftiness and eccentricity the beard remains a statement accessory. We speak with the artist about pistols, adiposity beards and women’s work.

Where did the idea for the bearded ladies originate?
I grew up in several different places, cialis 40mg locally and abroad, and constantly had to leave friends and make new ones. With each new environment I met a diverse range of people and their initial perceptions of me varied wildly. The bearded ladies are stating that people are not always what they appear to be. An initial perception of someone can be misleading, but if you take the time to look closely, you can usually see the truth in who they are.

Truer now than ever with the current cult of celebrity. Approach with caution though readers, in case the moustached madames are carrying one of these…

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What got you stitching the pistol series?
I abhor guns. They’ve brought horror to the human race. I’ve put images of guns through the process of a ‘women’s’ craft and converted them into harmless decoration.

We much prefer yours, and love the idea of subverting weapons into delicate threadwork. Where do you look to for inspiration and ideas?

From the age of ten, I’ve taken photo’s everywhere I go, so I have my own archive of images that I like to work from. I generally work from subjects that evoke my emotions. One my new projects will consist of a range of very powerful pieces that derive from a subject that I feel passionately about.

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Sounds mysterious and evocative, keep us posted!
How did you begin working with stitch?

I come from generations of weavers, embroiderers and lace makers, so as I was growing up, was often given a needle and thread to keep me occupied. I trained as a weaver and started to incorporate embroidery with my weaving…I got involved with free-machine embroidery about four years ago.

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Do you look to somewhere specific for inspiration or ideas?

My great grandmother has been a great inspiration to me. She used embroidery as a means of survival. She taught it to girls in the orphanage that she had grown up in and later set up many more orphanages that taught embroidery, among other things, to enable women to sell their work and earn a living.

How do you feel the medium relates to the subject matter?

What I love about stitching is that it can be such a controlled medium – ordered and solid and it can also be used in a loose, sketchy, expressive way. It can hold more depth than paint or pen and is more malleable.

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Where can we see your work?
I have a website www.maxemilia.com where you will be able to see examples of my work, past and present. I will soon be selling limited runs and one off woven, embroidered and printed pieces through the site too. I have some exhibitions planned for later this year – details will be posted on my website. A selection of my work is going to be published in ‘Illustration Now Vol.3‘ which will be out in the summer.

Thanks Emily, we will definitely keep our eye out for the book and can’t wait to see your upcoming show!
Three members of the Amelia’s Magazine team went down to the amazing venue Village Underground on Great Eastern Street yesterday to check out ‘100 minutes of Havana’, purchase a one off art battle. When we showed up a lovely lady from Havana Club, here who sponsored the event, no rx whisked us past the queue and handed us some drinks vouchers. After getting our rum on at the bar we went off to see the real reason we were there. A 200 foot white wall!

The group behind this event, Secret Wars, arrange guerrilla live art battles across the world. At this event the rules were simple. Two groups, Monorex and Intercity, battle it out to cover the massive wall with drawings, using only marker pens and coloured acrylic paint. While Monorex were the more experienced group, having done live shows for Secret Wars before, I didn’t fancy their chances against Intercity, which comprised of Concrete Hermit , and Amelia’s Magazine favourites Ian Stevenson and Andrew Rae.

At Half past seven the crowd counted the artists down from ten and then they were off! Team Intercity rather ingeniously attached a pen to some string in the centre of the wall and created a massive circle, which they hurriedly painted with red acrylic. While team Monorex got out the marker pens and started with some free style drawings.

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The event aimed to bring to life “the passion of contemporary Cuba to a London audience”. In honour of Cuba then, we headed to another bar for some free rum tasting and then looked around the venue at the other art works. Havana Club got some great illustrators to decorate some of their rum bottles and the results ranged from the sublime to the downright bizarre.

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With ten minutes left of the clock team Intercity pulled out all the stops and started firing paint bombs at their work covering their lovely doodles in watery red paint. The winner was decided by a combination of two guest judges and a crowd vote – whoever got the loudest cheers won!

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Monorex emerged victorious and Sabrina and I, fuelled on Mojitos and sheer cheekiness, went in search of some illustrators to grill.

While Sabrina headed off to chat up Josh Sutterby on the Monorex side.

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I went over to talk to the guys from the Intercity team.

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Despite being the losers the artists were in high spirits and had even sneaked some beers into the venue (there’s really only so much rum you can drink!). I grabbed Robbie Wilkinson for a chat and he told me that he got involved in the night through being one of a hundred artists to design a Havana bottle for a recent exhibition. The question I really wanted an answer to though, was, “Why do you think your wall is better than their wall?” Robbie confided in me that he wasn’t a fan of the graffiti style of Monorex.

I went over to talk to Andrew Rae and he told me that although he thought that the other team’s mural was one image that worked together, Intercity’s was much more fun to watch and “more of a performance”.

Next on my list were Andy Forshaw and Austin From New. They showed me their drawings and explained the idea behind the paint bombs was just to create a lot of mess and that they wanted the performance to be “Like a children’s party with jelly and ice-cream!”

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I’ll admit I got a little star struck when I finally found Ian Stevenson. I’m a massive fan after seeing his solo exhibition at Concrete Hermit in 2007.

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He was the most diplomatic of the group refusing to trash talk about Monorex but he did tell me about his next exhibition with Pictoplasma where 50 artists are taking part in a festival across the city of Berlin in March. Ok so we can’t all afford tickets to go to Berlin, but you can go and see the result of the nights events at The Village Underground until Tuesday 10th March.
It’s astounding what you can unearth when you delve through flickr. I exposed a complete hidden gem this week amidst the urban jungle of the internet. My gem came in the form of Italian Photographer Polly Balitro, treat and to tell the truth I have been left utterly in awe since my discovery. Her photos have a overwhelming quixotic feel, as if you have unintentionally stumbled upon her cherished diary. Every picture exudes sentimentality, charting Balitro’s exploration of love, loss and identity.

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Alas much to my displeasure I couldn’t warrant a trip to Italy for a interview with Polly so I decided a virtual email would have to suffice.

Your work seems very multi media based, what mediums do you usually use when making your work?

I am working mainly with analogic processes, darkroom printing and polaroid transfers, because I believe that art photography is a sort of performance that requires the rituals that just analog can give. But I always scan my work to put on social networks like facebook, myspace and flickr, to get people to know my pieces easily.

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What other artists have inspired you in your work?

I usually get inspiration from young unknown artists around me. I spend lots of time surfing the web through pages like flickr, deviant art and myspace. Young artists are fresh have really innovative and experimental ideas. I love how the combination between images, music and perfomance work perfectly together.

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Your work is quite nostalgic, do any of the images have particular sentimental value to you?

My work is certainly extremely nostalgic, because it’s totally based on feelings coming from my inner soul. I am currently working on my final thesis, for the end of my 3 years at photography school. It will be very intense work centering around the feeling of being hunted by someone. My photography aims to talk about some sort of ghostly presence that never leaves me totally alone, people from my past, present and future that are constantly affecting my mood and my action, even though they’re not actually here with me. I think this maybe can explain why I am truly attached to all of my images.

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You use a very subtle colours in your work, is there any particular reason for this?

The subtle colours in my work come with my love for the northern countries. I am strongly affected by the scandinavian taste for low saturation in colours, and I am extremely attached to my black and whites that I always process in my darkroom. I feel like low saturation and black and white make a perfect union with the theme of my photography.

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You work has a certain ethereal quality to it, would you agree with that interpretation?

The certain ethereal quality comes along with the soul theme of my whole work, as I said before: I am trying to speak about something that goes beyond the everyday material experience, to give away a sense of unknown and ethereal matters.

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What advice would you give emerging photographers to do if they want to break into the industry?

I really wouldn’t know what advice to give people like me. I am still trying to make my way to the world with my art works, and I don’t think it will be easy to get well known. I guess, the best you can do is to try hard and keep on believing that sometime you will find your place. A good way to start out is to try to get as much “audience” as possible: social networks are extremely good for that.

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It’s apparent Balitro has an abundance of talent within her sphere far beyond her years, I for one am going to keep my beady eye on her flickr account!
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Everyone loves a Rush don’t they? Well I do at least, search being a recent convert to the antics and actions of Climate Rush. Still it’s hard to not want to be involved in this particular case. When dear old RBS, in their infinite wisdom, gifted Sir Fred ‘The Shred’ with £16 million pounds of what amounts to taxpayers money, they couldn’t have possibly imagined the public outrage. And rightly so!

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I am one of the many millions who pays taxes, and I can’t remember being asked if my money could go towards one man’s pension. Or to help bail out a bank who have given £16 billion towards the dirty coal industry. (Did you know that 50% of CO2 in the atmosphere has come from coal?) This sordid scenario is just the kind of thing that makes Climate Rush‘s blood boil. If there are a few things that make them mad, it is irresponsible governments and a complete disregard for the environment. So when I found out that Climate Rush were popping down to the RBS building in the City to quite understandably ask for their money back, I felt that it was my duty to put on a sash and join them!

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Anticipating our arrival, the London police force had turned out in droves – on horses, in vans, on foot, and posted around the entrance of the RBS building. Still, I like to think that they were more on our side than on the banks. After all, it’s their taxes too that are going towards one mans retirement scheme. And how could they fail to be charmed by us? Many came dressed up, some as suffragettes, some as cleaners, a few as bank robbers. Everyone was good natured and friendly. And while we were obviously passionate about our rush, there is no reason to stop for lunch, so we all sat cross legged on a blanket eating bagels and biscuits while we were regailed with songs and speech. Now this is my kind of action group! At one point I noticed all the RBS workers inside watching us, and being the friendly girl that I am, I gave them a cheery wave, but no one waved back. How rude! I can imagine that many were curious about the commotion outside, perhaps they would have even wanted to come out and join us, and wouldn’t that have made for a good picture?

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After the lovely Amelia, Tamsin and Marina said some words about the reasons why we were all here, we gave out an award (shaped in the form of a dead canary) to Sir Fred – and he turned up to accept and say a few words! What a thoughtful man. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really him; the real Sir Fred was far away, counting his pots of money I would imagine, but the stand in got plenty of cheers.

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There was some more dancing to tunes with the theme of money, (plus Supergrasses Caught By the Fuzz; our way of doffing our cap to the rozzers)and afterwards, we disbanded. I walked through Spitalfields proudly wearing my sash, and I did notice that I was given a wide berth by plenty of business men who looked at me with slight alarm. What exactly did they think I was going to do to them? I left inspired, and feeling very much part of the group, the action, and the sentiment.
Born in Texas and living in New York City, seek via London Diego Vela has collaborated on a variety of fashion and art related projects. He found his calling and freedom with sculpture, clinic the sculptures in their own subtlety dictate the end results; the materials (paper mache’, what is ed plaster, glue, paint and found objects) give certain characteristics that inform that process. His work is a living process, rather than bodies of works in a form of a series; each new sculpture adds to the lexicon of his visual language. Currently, and for the next six months Diego will be focusing on new paintings.

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What inspires you in your work?

Most of my inspiration I draw from nature, I like to take walks and look for the natural world even in places like the middle of NYC, where man tries so hard to shelter itself from nature, and yet you see its effects always…grass growing in between side walks, cracks in walls caused by rain, and wind…it’s all so beautiful and scary. I tend to be drawn to the darker side of the natural world, drawn to things that some may not see as beautiful, of course which is a matter of opinion…and my opinion and aesthetic tends to be romanced by the underbelly of nature and the natural world.

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How did you get into art?

Art drew me in, like a moth to a flame…that is the romantic side of it, I studied it in uni, after many attempts at rational majors, majors that would probably have made a good steady career, with employment and everything that comes with it, but art finally won my heart in the end.

Who do you aspire to be like and who inspires you at present?

I aspire to be like many glamorous ladies of the past, Anita Berber, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburn, at least the on screen persona, oh, the list goes on and on… recently I have been inspired by my mother, and men who I have fallen desperately in love with, but of whom I am left pining…I suppose I have been mostly inspired by my own desire…I have been inspired by passing boys on subway cars, who for a moment mend my little heart from all of that passion unreturned… my, I am dramatic, how could I not have been an artist.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

Satisfied, and doing exactly what I want to do…preferably, in Berlin or London

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What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the art?
Work hard! Always keep an open mind, you can find inspiration in everything… and look for your opportunities… Learn to balance your artistic romantic nature with the realistic business aspect of the art world…But most of all work hard!

Do you have a muse?

At the moment I do not have a muse, there have been many mini muses that have come and gone, but my muse tends to be a person that my romantic heart is attached too, well on second thought, I suppose at the moment there is a reluctant muse…it’s complicated…But he does inspire me…it’s so complicated.

For more information have a look at the artists website or blogspot.

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If you’re a wannabe illustrator or even just a secret bedroom doodler Lazy Oaf wants to hear from you!

Gemma Shiel has been creating wonderful illustrations for her label Lazy Oaf since 2005. In them inanimate objects (bananas, ambulance milk cartons, cupcakes, boomboxes!) come to life with rosy cheeks and smily faces. Or animals get a fun screen print make-over with googly eyes and cheeky pink tongues. If you fancy trying to take Gemma on at her own game this is the competition for you!

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To celebrate the launch of their much anticipated Spring/Summer collection Lazy Oaf are hosting The Lazy Oaf Drawing Club on Thursday 23rd April from 6-8pm. On entry to the to the event, which is being held at their shop in Kingly Court, visitors will be given one of three postcards specially designed for occasion. After your given a ‘picture frame’ all you have to do is fill it with your scribbles and then hand it in. Everyones pieces of art will be displayed proudly in the shop window and the owners of the best five entries will win “extra special prizes”. If you want to make extra sure that you do a good job the postcards can be downloaded from the Lazy Oaf website soon and you can pick them up now from the Kingly Court store now.

Even if you don’t know a pen from a potato head down to the store anyway as Lazy Oaf will be offering 20% off everything all night – just because they’re nice like that!

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Monday 9th March

Franz Ferdinand

Pop favourites and Glasweigan Lovies Franz Ferdinand wanna take you out, sildenafil of your house, and shuffle on to the Hammersmith Apollo. With Support from Californian Soft Pack before their appearance at SXSW.

Hammersmith Apollo

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Tuesday 10th March

Videopia with Shock Defeat!

Ever wanted to star in miniature versions of Hollywood classics? ‘What like in that film?’ Yeah. Then make sure you get yourself to Notting Hill Arts Centre nice & early this tuesday. However if the thought of being on screen turns your stomach settle it down with the chocolate fountain & candyfloss machine, and watch your pals corpse and bumble the night away.

Followed by live music & DJs including Shock Defeat! and The Momeraths.

Notting Hill Arts Club

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Night Fever II: Cosmic Jebubu’s Soul Noodle House Vs. Panjeen’s Rap Village

Noodles a plenty from 12pm at Jebubu’s Soul Noodle House (supplied by DIY apparel company) with some African funk and ethiojazz by Panjeen rap village DJ’s and Live music later on from Bangerz n Mash and Chechnya blast.

Unity, Peckham High Street

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Wednesday 11th March

Jeremy Jay (K records) + Lord Auch

Jeremy Jay of K records, Calvin Johnsons celebrated indie label, plays his only UK show at the Macbeth! Plus witness a special acoustic show from Lord Auch.

The Macbeth, Hoxton Street

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Thecocknbullkid

19-year-old Anita Blay aka Thecocknbullkid graces the mall stage at the ICA this wednesday bringing along her own vibe of sleazy synth pop. With support from a whole bunch of people including Plugs (LIVE) Your Twenties (LIVE) Florence and the Machine (DJ SET) NYPC (DJ SET), FRANKMUSIK(DJ SET) and SPARKLEMOTION.

Mall Stage, ICA, London

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Photo by Dan WIlton

Thursday 12th March

Up the Racket & WOTGODFORGOT present… Crystal Antlers

Fuzzy, lo-fi garage noise with the skill and integrity that so many others lose in the fug. All the way from Long Beach Crystal Antlers create a live experience only too rare in this climate. Support from Sycamore and Plank!

Retro Bar, Manchester

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Illustration by Mr Hallows

A Team present… Squallyoakes Fanzine Launch Night

The A Team Brings You: Wasp Display LIVE. Plus TDJ Sets From: DJ FTW, DJ Julio, Lord Rockingham XV and of course The A Team.

Catch, London

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Photo by James Smith

Friday 13th March

Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) with Live Band

Old school legend Q-Tip is back with his new album The Renaissance. Support from DJ Tu-ki.

The Button Factory, Dublin

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Freitags
Joining the dots between Kraut, Baltimore Club, Techno, House, Indie, Electro, Outsider Pop, Disco, Cosmic Nonsense and forgotten gems with Manchester favourite DJ Wesley (Up The Racket)

Common Bar, Manchester

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Saturday 14th March

OK Crayola w/ Party Horse

Anglo Dutch comboParty Horse are in Manchester with support in the form of Thom Stone and the debut solo show of the awesome Matthew Ashworth (A Middle Sex).

Fuel Cafe Bar, Manchester

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Sunday 15th March

DOVES

Manchester stalwarts The Doves are back with a new album and on the road after over 3 and a half years. See them this week in Warrington (12th), Middlesborough (13th) and Glasgow (15th).

The ABC, Glasgow

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Rebecca Warren

The exhibition gives a twist to the traditions of sculpture, here she throws away its old typical associations with the human figure and introduces an abstract and almost child’s way of shaping clay. She’s the first to confess that her art is “not pretty”, Rebecca is a London based artist who was nominated for the Turner price in 2006, this will be her first major solo exhibition.

Serpentine Gallery, 10th- 1st April free admission

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Hussein Chalayan: Debate

A chance to see the ‘British Designer of the Year’ and find out more about his international fashion business and how he is still influenced by London, he will be joined by other key designers who are also based in London.

Shoreditch Town Hall £15, Wednesday 11th March, 7.15pm,

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Tonico Lemos Auad
: Cast graphite and burnt bread
Born in Brazil, studied at Goldsmiths college in London, the exhibition focuses on dimension and perception

Stephen Friedman Gallery, 13 March – 18 April 2009

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Dr Gunther Von Hagen: Body world and the mirror of time

The Doctor is back, as if the first time around wasn’t gruesome enough! With all the controversy surrounding the doc who freezes bodies and displays them, its a must see but not for the faint hearted. Your eyes continuously try to convince your brain that it can’t all possibly be real but after the second person in the exhibition faints it all gets a little too much to take in. The reality is that it’s all just a little too pristine and over varnished with an horror movie feel to it, is it science. Is it art? I’m still undecided but every time he is in town I can’t help but get curious and double check if I really did see, what I thought I saw last time.

The O2 Bubble SE10, the exhibition is on until Aug 23, £12, concs £9

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William Hunt: Perfomance
The Camden Arts center, 6.30pm 11th of March

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The Masques of Shahrazad
: Evolution and revolution through three generations of Iranian women artists.

A collection of masks from 28 Iranian women artists whose works span over three generations in the history of Iran. The works trace the development of Iranian art and artists over the past four decades during which Iran has gone through some dynamic changes. This exhibition is a very rare chance to see works by these respected women artists; it’s also been an opportunity for them to voice their opinion on issues that have concerned them over the last few years.
Artists include Golnaz Fathi, Shideh Tami, Maryam Shirinlou and Farideh Lashai.

Candlestar Gallery Hammersmith, 9 – 14th March 2009,

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Women in photography: South of the river

Celebrating the works of varied women photographers in South London, the exhibition is linked to International Woman’s Day (March 8th) and shows a worldwide celebration of women’s achievements aiming to reflect creativity and progression via photography.

Lewisham Art House New Cross, 11 – 22th of March 2009

Private View: Wednesday 11th March 2009, 19.00-21.00
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Featured Illustrator/ Artist

A G Brock

Born in 1970 in Fort Worth Texas US, Brock began drawing at a very young age using it to escape a childhood of bullying at school. Later on he was expelled from college after producing what teachers referred to as a “suggestive painting”, basically a painting of two women looking into each others eyes.

At 25 he was diagnosed with severe dyslexia and later in his 30′s found out that as a child he had a slight case of autism that had since manifested itself into O.C.D.
This diagnoses at least explained the communication problems he’d gone through growing up. Throughout the years he focused on art and used this talent as a means to escape various difficulties in his life.

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What inspires you in your work and why? Dynamic images, colours, sensuality, and of course martini

How did you get into Art? I was born like this its more of an addiction. I have a disorder called agoraphobia, which is an anxiety disorder that can lead to panic attacks so I rarely leave my home

Who do you aspire to be like and who inspires you at present? I guess Michael Angelo, or Da Vinci I don’t really follow the modern art world

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now? Probably right where I am, I don’t know how to sell art; most of my paintings are rolled up in the closet at home

What advice would you give to someone trying to get into Art? I think you’re either born this way or you’re not, its a difficult way of life sometimes

Do you have a muse? Oh yes, my enchanting wife she gave me three beautiful children and the finest life I could ever have imagine

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Forget the weekend, click Thursdays are the big night out in the London art scene. While Sabrina headed off to glamorous Vyner Street for First Thursdays I headed to the depths of East London to Peckham, dosage for the private view of Rufus Miller’s new show at The Sassoon Gallery. The gallery is much easier to get to than you would imagine. It’s right next to Peckham Rye station and just a short bus ride away from New Cross Gate station.

To get to the gallery you first walk through Bar Story, a lively little bar full of Camberwell students. This threatens the unwritten code of the private view free beer, but luckily Bar Story has a rather impressive cocktail list to make up for the lack.

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Photography by Fabiana Delcanton

The Sassoon Gallery is under the new curatorial partnership of Holly Simpson and Katherine Finnimore and they tell me that their aim is, “to support and promote emerging young artists from a wide range of mediums”. Despite having only been involved in the gallery from January of this year the pair have already built up a good collection of young artists. Up now is the week long exhibition of recent Goldsmiths graduate Rufus Miller.

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I see Rufus looking very smart in a shiny new suit as I near the gallery. He’s with a group of people sat outside the gallery keeping warm in front of a fire. Private views at The Sassoon Gallery are among the most relaxed and mellow I’ve ever been too, precisely because of this. Having space outside the gallery means that people can socialise and make a mess there, leaving space and quiet inside the gallery for really looking and understanding the artwork.

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The lovely space is actually in a tunnel under a railway line so the ceilings are curved and everything rumbles when a train goes overhead. Rufus‘ paintings are like the dark sketches that goth kid in your class draws in the back of his exercise book. An image the artist actively encourages in his press release stating “These are shit paintings. I don’t paint. I just draw, like everone does. Someone wanted me to do a show so I just did the drawings bigger. In paint. Skulls are just an easy thing to do.” Going on to say, “What do you get from an enlargement of something done offhand, half-arsedly? Nothing, nothing more, just a disappearance of what I meant in the first place: Killing time.” Sucessfully demystifying the act of painting in a show of paintings? Rufus Miller is my hero.
After a perplexing hunt down various side streets I eventually chanced upon this bizarre venue. I think its safe to say an old fire station is a rather unorthodox choice of location. Upon arrival it was apparent that was not going to be the kind of gig to accumulate in a raucous . Gaggles of children in karate outfits greeted me, unhealthy not the usual cliental for a Wavves gig. My powers of presumption led me to the conclusion that this was a community centre and not a gritty underground music venue. Not surprisingly there was no bar, viagra 60mg I happened to notice a few gig goers gingerly slipping in with clanking blue plastic bags. So I decided to follow suit and headed out to the nearest corner shop to stock up!

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The location had all the atmospheric qualities of a school disco; the wooden benches, drugs the wonky banners, the copious amounts of balloons. The first band up to the microphone were Mazes, exuding 90′s nostalgia these northern lads sound is a concoction of Pavement-esque melodies fused with the vocals of the likes of Beat Happening and the infamous Lemonheads. Songs such as “bowie knives” shows a return to the depths of the 90′s grunge phenomena, erratic, fuzzy vocals are teamed with ranging baselines, this is timeless pop at its finest!

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Then came the turn of the energetic London three piece Pens, to say they brought flair and vigor to the evenings proceedings would be an understatement. Bursting into their set with furious drums, droning melodies all set against aberrant vocals and hap hazard key boards. Tracks such as “High in the Cinema” allures you into a trance with its repetitive vocals and abrasive guitars exuding all the dynamism of Soft Cell. The audience suitably revved up, out came Wavves to provide a perfect accumulation to the evening injecting a healthy dose of lo-fi pop melodies from Californian based singer songwriter Nathan Williams. Songs such as “So Bored” were uncontrollably catchy exuding a west coast surf grunge feel, with undercurrents of The Breeders and Sonic Youth.

Here at Amelia’s Magazine we managed to wangle ourselves some time with lively three piece Pens during their exciting tour.


How much did your parent’s record collection influence you and your music?

Amelia- My mum listens to all the girly stuff like Winehouse and Adele now, but growing up she listened to a lot of Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and Leornard Cohen. I can remember requesting songs and spinning in the kitchen to it while she was cooking, probably has had an effect on what i listen to now, but don’t know how.
Helen – The three things I really remember from being little are Leonard Cohen (80s era), Terence Trent D’Arby and Fine Young Cannibals! I do have a massive soft spot for 80s production but I can’t really see that coming out in our music.
Stef – Well my ma only listened to 60s Italian pop songs (still does). My dad loves the Beatles, Buddy Holly & Roy Orbison, but I also remember him listening to Enya & Abba. Hmmm. I don’t think we sound like Enya.

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Do you think it’s fair to say the nofi scene seems to have a real sense of camaraderie, despite the fact that all the bands are spread out over the globe?

A- Yes, definelty. I think it’s great, and it’s nice to meet people that you look up to in music and hear their thoughts on your stuff. Also it works for like helping each other out, like when they come over here or us going to other countries. Looking after each other and stuff.
H – Yeah totally, I really think “DIY” or whatever you like to call it has a sense of “we give a shit about what we’re doing, and we know it’s rad to help other people out”. It’s not some stadium-rock, get-signed get-paid get-first-on-the-bill thing, it’s about sharing the bill with other bands you respect.
S – Yes that’s fair, i suppose it’s like a community cos it’s not so much about getting famous & making bucks but more about having fun with your friends & meeting new people. Also, one good turn deserves another.


How do you ladies spend your free time when you’re not doing music?

A- I like reading, drawing and vhs nights, but my favourite thing of all time is eating out with friends. i do that a lot.
H – Eating out has got to be one of my faves too. Particularly milkshakes, cheesy chips and good meat. Otherwise I take dumb SLR photos, and try and write whatever comes to mind. More free time please.
S – As above, plus added headbanging with friends, minus the photo-taking.

You’ve released several split records all ready, how goes the writing for the album? Any surprises in store?

A- Probably, i’m not really sure. The album is written and ready to roll. I think some songs are like crazy different and some are what people would expect. we mainly just write songs on how we’re feeling at the time based on who we like or dislike and that’s reflected in the songs. Haha.
H – I want to see what people think, we feel that we have a few different ‘sounds’ but people might be expecting us just to stay on one tip. We’re still a new band so we’re not getting formulaic.
S – Currently loving our new songs. Second album here we come!

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Who are your current tips? What are you listening to?

A- Oujia – some american lofi grunge punk it’s awesome and cute. The dude sent us the lyrics and now i’m hooked and singing it all the time.
H – I’ve been listening to SALEM a lot, dark electronic stuff. I bought their EP last year but I think I melted it by the radiator, which is upsetting.
S – The ones in our top friends

I’m looking forward to seeing you on tour with Wavves soon. How have you found touring so far? Any good stories? Have you found yourselves eating garage food and kebabs?

A- I can’t wait to play with Wavves. I’m so happy he’s getting good press over here because he’s the best band around at the moment in my opinion. We’ve only been on a short tour with a band called Friendship, was fun to ‘get in the van’ for the first time. the first night ended with a hella lotta jagerbombs and an icing sugar fight. messy.
H – I finished Amelia’s Pot Noodle on our South Coast trip, I think this is a bad omen ’cause I haven’t had one of them in years and we were only away for like a day.
S – The short trip with Friendship was tons of fun, so I’m really excited to be going on an extended road trip with my best friends.

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Riotgrrrl and third wave feminism were very vocal in the early 90′s, there’s nothing quite so forward right now. Do you think things finally balanced out?

A- Maybe, I reckon girls just have different things to rant about now, and i think women in all girl bands can be as tough as boys.
H – Not really. I have a huge amount of ranting in me, but there’s a certain degree of wanting to be known as a band first before coming out with my opinions on all and sundry.
S – I dunno, i think a part of me is (figuratively) sticking two fingers up to whoever makes me angry.

Jade Goodie has this week hinted her death will be filmed and broadcast by Living TV, will it also be the footnote in that kind of celeb media or a new dawn in awful?

A- I’ve never really disliked Jade that much. i think i was probably the only person who thought she wasn’t a racist just a little ignorant. I feel really sorry for her at the moment. i mean, what’s she’s going through is tough for anyone, especially if your a mum. I read in the paper that she is doing it to raise money for her kids after she’s gone. i won’t be watching it, but i do kinda respect her of her choices.
H – If people want to see it, then there’s not much you can say. I don’t think Jade has created anything by herself, the demand is there so why not exploit it? People are massively screwed up, but that said I really don’t get what 90% of the population does for entertainment so I’m not out to try and understand it. This is the stuff of a million undergrad Media dissertations though…
S – It’d be weird if it was shown on TV. But her haters are possibly forgetting that she’s leaving 2 very young children behind, & those kids are gonna grow up without a mum, so perhaps people should just have a little bit of consideration for her as she’s trying to generate a future for them while she still can.

On Valentine’s day I drank too much energy drink and ended up spending my evening asleep in the bath. Did you have a better one then me?

A- My valentines day was sick. Helen and i woke up and went for a burrito, followed by a trip to oxfam where we found Edward Sissorhands. Then we went back home to watch it in bed. haha. we ended the night by going to a Male Bonding and Graffiti Island show at the lexington. was pretty fun.
H – Yeah as above except I was totally ill, had to go home early and almost got run over on the way to AND from The Lexington. Pretty HML stuff but I’d forgotten it was Valentine’s Day by then.
S – I ate, napped, spooned, & played Pictionary.

So if you want to see these cool cats in action, they are playing Smash and Grab in London this thursday, you will be in for a treat!.

Categories ,80’s, ,Grunge, ,Lo-fi, ,Mazzes, ,Wavves

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