It was just another average Saturday. No post had arrived save for a reminder of how much I owe the Student Loans Company. Or so I thought. Then the latest audio offering from Art Goes Pop slid through my letterbox. This envelope, online emblazoned with a Nacional sticker, was the one I had been holding out for. Nacional (a Glasgow based quintet of very fine looking lads) have been set to release their first EP for what seems like forever, and finally I had it in my grubby mitts.
They’ve been gigging like demons for over a year (playing every venue known to man, including Glastonbury) and their dedication is reflected in the tightness and maturity which marks the evolution from early MySpace demos to these fully fledged EP tracks.
With a dirty bass line underpinning Telephone, Nacional deliver a brutally honest dissection of a relationship gone wrong. These simple yet heart wrenchingly honest lyrics are sang with such emotive presence that they prove an antidote to the pseudo romanticism offered by those who name check Baudelaire in an attempt to construe lyrical depth.
Having never visited Yorkshire (except through my childhood love for television series Last of the Summer Wine – that’s cool, right?) an ode to the moors and dales might have been expected from their B-side. Instead Yorkshire delivers a dissection of the expectations and mistakes made in adolescence. This tune gets you by the throat within the first twenty seconds and from that point on it soars.
Nacional have produced a majestic EP and I dare you to dislike it.
Last week I was invited along to the launch of ‘When Fletcher and Hay Met….’ a new book detailing a series of personal meeting with various characters within the creative industries. The event took place at the Beyond the Valley Store, rx just off Carnaby Street in London. As far as book launches go – it was your run-of-the-mill arty affair. Free booze, no rx trays of inviting hors d’oeuvre’s and a mix of designers, link pr’s, editors and shameless gatecrasher’s all appropriately attired in garments that screamed – ‘LOOK AT ME IM IN FASHION!’ One particularly interesting gentleman waltzed around attempting to look effortlessly cool, which would have washed had his extravagant up-do (yes he had an up-do) not looked like it had taken at least two hours to construct.
Having consumed a couple bottles of their Peroni beers, I thought it only polite that I actually take a look through the book whose launch I had come to celebrate. With contributions from Henry Holland, Ally Cappellino and Christopher Kane, When Fletcher and Hay Met….’ , is a visually stunning little coffee table keeper, which would make a perfect read for your journey to and from work. The book features a mixture of illustrations, photography, personal notes and informal interviews aimed at displaying these characters’ mindsets and inspirations.
Not too sure about the £32 price tag, but I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with a keen interest in fashion and art, or if you quite like the idea of reading how the editor of Vogue responds to abstract questions such as “What are you thinking about now?”
Limited signed copies available at the Beyond the Valley store.
What better way to promote recycling awareness across the world than splashing out on these splendid handmade leather bags by Nathalie Thakur. Available online, viagra dosage these fabulous designs mimic grocery plastic, tadalafil making them a splendid addition to any ecologically conscious lady… or thats my excuse!
All Prince Valiant haircuts and chain-mail shirts, viagra Southend art-rock types These New Puritans prove tonight that they just might be capable of propelling themselves past the potentially destructive hype that led up to the release of their debut, Beat Pyramid, last January.
Six months have passed and, while numerous careers have flickered in and out of existence during that time, TNP appear to have quietly weathered the column inches, Observer Music Monthly covers and a catwalk dalliance with Heidi Slimane by doing – as is evident this evening – what they do best by performing a blistering set that refuses to appease the hostile critics or beg for the audience’s affection.
Instead, TNP prove to be a defiant gang who proudly cling to their singular aesthetic; one that’s immersed within a Philip K. Dick sci-fi future-shock world filled with the repeated phrases of the paranoiac and the static hum of battered technology. Prowling the stage like a recent graduate of the Mark E. Smith finishing school for delinquent intellectuals, frontman Jack Barnett leads the charge singing and barking ‘Every number has a meaning’ over and over again on early single ‘Numbers’. Supported by bass player Thomas Hein on ‘En Papier’, the two shout their way over the track’s hyperactive hip-hop beats and jagged white noise to craft a new-school anthem for the 22nd century. Though it’s the dubstep influenced stomp of ‘Infiniti Yinfyniti’ that might point a way towards the band’s longevity as they declare ‘Infinity is not as fast as me’.
Charts may not be topped with the sound of tonight’s performance. Stadiums will never be filled with TNP’s occasionally divisive ways. But what we do see is further evidence that, given time, TNP might just be one of the only British bands of recent years to properly graduate to cult status. Here’s to the future.
Alec Strang is still an illustration student at London College of Communication, recipe which may explain why he chooses his contemporaries as inspiration. With a whimsical air and a stroke of a pencil, story Strang depicts everything from the aforementioned students to swans, rx foxes and Frau Leafman (whoever she may be). One illustration, a skinny jean mono-chromed cravat wearing man, who looks like he walked straight off stage and into the hanging frame, particularly expresses Strang’s fascination with modern youth culture. The simple mostly black and white illustrations, also deal with the darker elements of youth culture. An un-used Zebra rocking-horse with only the words “Alone at last” pencilled in at the bottom to keep him company cuts a forlorn figure on the page. Strang’s accomplished range of illustrations show a more than capable ability and hint at the potential still to be unfurled.
Dealing with a slightly creepy aspect in her work, Kate McMorribe, paintings offer a creepy twist, on otherwise normal scenes. Under her hand, a nurse resting her arm on a soldier’s shoulder conveys extra meanings, are they cohorts plotting a scheme? But equally, an ambiguity suggests they could be lovers of the star crossed variety. The watercolour illustrations have a Mexican Day of the Dead feel running through them, emphasising this some even come complete with sombrero hats. My favourite echoed all of the above sentiments, depicting a two headed fiddler player, offering up tunes to a horned beast with a skeleton for a nose! These illustrations definitely do not belong in children’s books. They give an insight into a weird world where skulls, embracing couples made of bees(!), running beasts of unnamed varieties, tattooed bums and masks all feature, making her work definitely worth a look.
Kate McMorrine image:
Alec Strang image:
In the distance, viagra 100mg I can hear vintage sounds. Rosemary Clooney is singing sweetly on ‘This Ole House‘. And as I get closer, seek I spy a cake seller dusting fairy cakes with chocolate beads and giant sugar sprinkles. Elsewhere fabric swatches and sewing pins are scattered nonchantly about the place.
I might be out shopping in a busy urban city on a Saturday afternoon, but I’m cocooned in sweet, olde-world charm. Everywhere I look, there’s gorgeous tea dresses, wartime records, homespun fabrics and swirling 50s skirts.
I think I’ve just stumbled upon the coolest time-warp in town, adorned with polka dot dresses, cassette player purses and homemade dolly birds.
In fact, the retro retail extravaganza warming my vintage soul is ‘Made in the Shade’, a seasonal, design-led craft market that might just be the greatest indie shopping secret of modern times. Think Dover Street market meets the village fete set to a rockabilly soundtrack and you’ll start to grasp the inventive agenda set out by the organisers.
Indeed, co-organiser Carrie MacLennan, describes the event as being inspired by the sights, styles and sounds of yesteryear, but closer inspection reveals the secret to this retail sensation is being bang up to date, and daring to provide consumers with a series of varied shopping styles.
Part boutique, part mad hatters tea party, pure rock ‘n’ roll; the crème of Scotland’s directional design upstarts and indie fashion entrepreneurs have gathered to stage an assault on the High Street brand of copycat clothing.
Influences from almost every era can be found amongst the stallholders. Vintage cut-offs and knitted lace jewellery to disco orientated luxe blouses, this eclectic approach appeals to their ever-growing kindred customer base.
Stallholder Lady Wurlizer, with her Doris Day dreams and kitsch artefacts may have stepped straight out of the 1950s, but the ever discerning fashionette can track down an art original by Suzanne Woolcott or source a futuristic slice of next season style by tracking the accessories on show at Aubeebop jewellery. It’s a charming, pick ‘n’ mix set up, primarily pulled together by a brilliant background soundtrack of enchanting, nostalgic music and crazily desirable craft designs.
The space reads like a role-call of emerging talent, the organisers having scouted only the best to showcase their wares within this forum. You’ll find Jennie Loof’s catwalk creations nestled alongside original fashion photography created by The Dandelion Project, or you can pick up sympathetically mismatched reclaimed tea sets at Bedcrumb, along with one of their leftfield fashion illustrations. And there’s standout second-hand collectible clobber aplenty on offer from the specialist vintage sellers.
These days, informed consumers demand more from their shopping experiences and ‘Made in the Shade’ rises to the challenge. Taking place in The Lighthouse, Scotland’s international centre for Architecture, Design & the City, there’s eco goods, cultural artefacts and reconstructed garments, with a heavy slant on deluxe chic. A shop that works as a catwalk, museum, exhibition space, music hall and showroom – It’s a retail revolution. This crafty bazaar might be overflowing with timewarp treats, but it’s got its experimental eyes set on being the shopping experience of the future.
Made in the Shade is set to take place on Saturday 25 October, check out the website for more details.
A pro active resident since 1978, architect and Founder trustee of the Spitalfield’s Historic Buildings Trust, Professor Dan Cruickshank considers how life and architecture has been reworked since mid-seventies in a talk this evening.
Tom Denney, thumb co-vocalist and guitarist from Help She Can’t Swim has taken a new path in the form his new project Lonely Ghosts. With his urgent angsty vocals, lo-fi guitars and Casio keyboard stomping chords, it’s easy to see why he has gained a following among skinny-jeaned-clad scenesters. Despite my skinny jean-less wardrobe, I was ready to be fed some hoppin’ sounds to jig along to.
Album opener ‘So young, So beautiful’ is a shock to the senses with an assault of sounds that keep you bobbing slightly. I only say ‘slightly’ as the guitar riffs are catchy but like the lyrics of ‘the nights are getting colder and the drinks need to be stronger’, everything feels a tad cliché. You can imagine a scene from Skins taking place where the cast are busy bumping mindlessly into sofas, jumping on beds, preoccupied with the notion of appearing effortlessly cool and lest I say ‘so totally drunk innit?!’.
However, ‘Plough Through’ and ‘Happy Lovers/Friends Forever’ did deliver upbeat lo-fi beats and disjointed rhythms that catch you toe tappin’. Despite lines like ‘Beating hearts to be ripped apart’ that reminds you of American soap-opera one liners, you are easily immersed by the repeated tugging line, ‘the pain’. The lyrics aren’t exactly poetic masterpieces but it doesn’t matter as you do get swept away in the blur of tangled guitar strumming and a voice fuelled with ‘pain’.
‘Maybe you could save me’ and ‘Hole in the sky’, introduce an element of calm that showcases another side to the album, which would have worked better if it was integrated more consistently. The smooth sliding voice and bare instrumental support contrasts to the earlier songs which should make it memorable. However like the voice, it slides away in a conveyor belt of forgetfulness.
Then comes a sudden injection of OTT lo-fi producing with a spontaneous dose of unexpected energy in ‘The unpopular future’. There’s a lack of direction and you feel a little drunk on clashing sounds that work against each other. Good if you feel like ravin’ it up and dancing like a mad hatter, stabbing limbs out and doing a jerky limbo-chicken dance, bad if you’re stone sober and want to find a beat. Ending on ‘hole in the sky’ is like a downer from electric highs. But the slow pace and numbed tone ties in with the rest of the songs as the tone feels like a plain foundation from which the others stem from.
The album is a mixed bag with some catchy tunes, namely ‘plough through’, ‘happy lovers’ and some simple effective songs such as ‘hole in the sky’. Yet despite this I can’t help but use the advice of the song title, ‘its time to wake up’ and see that not everything is brilliant. But then again, not everything is bad. Even with lo-fi overload and the screaming voice in latter songs that has it’s hands waving frantically in the air for approval, it fails to grab my attention. You listen but are not left with an after-taste. It’s like an enticing cookie filled with glistening smarties that you think is going to be a technicolour-rainbowed party in your mouth but ends up being like the familiar Maryland cookie variety.
The Aquarium L-13 is a lovely little shop just by Farringdon station. It’s an arty little place with a press and other specialist printing equipment absolutely covered in fanzines, page numbered prints, one-off cards and printed boxes containing Billy Childish poetry. Downstairs their gallery was full of work by musicians and artists all for the Stolen Recordings label.
One of the reasons why I went to the Stolen Recordings exhibition is because Tinhead had some work there. He’s the guy behind all of Foals‘ artwork. A nice mix of illustration, patterns, collage and chunky felt pens. If I had had £400, I’d have definitely bought the framed ‘Antidotes’ piece. If you know their album cover, you’ll be able to picture exactly what I was looking at. A sketched mans’ face with a brightly coloured mouth full of little faces. I think this is the original! His other stuff was all on canvas or wood. I like the way it’s all very detailed but jerky in its arrangement. A good example of this is Foals single ‘Balloons’. He did an etched limited edition vinyl for this too!
There was a cabinet that caught my eye. I like plastic figures, and this counter was full of them. This section was by Jock Mooney, the guy behind Dan le Sac vs. Scroobious Pip’s album cover. He’s done a great book with the Arts Council, which shows all the plastic characters he used.
Ghost Club really impressed me. Their work, which I’ll describe as like etchings, were surreal and highly detailed. ‘Brother’s fighting’ was framed and just looked amazing. If you go to their myspace, you’ll get an idea from their album cover. These may have only been in black ink but they were beautiful if not a little horrifying.
On the Stolen Recordings label, probably the most well known artist at present are Pete and the Pirates. In a glass counter at the back were a selection of their music sleeves. I like ‘Knots’. A simple drawing of a man with a really long arm, going all round his head. Screaming Tea Party also had some music artwork with a dog/cat-like thing. I’d have that on a t-shirt!
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