Amelia’s Magazine | Joe Dangerous @ Hoxton Bar and Grill

A pale, brooding character takes to the stage armed with only a small keyboard, which hangs from his neck, and a laptop. Joe (not so) Dangerous‘ lack of musical apparatus and physical presence does not do justice to the richness of sound he creates from so little, filling the spacious Hoxton venue with fragmented tones and hushed, eloquent vocals. To celebrate the release of his debut single, My Allergies And Me, on Mannequin Republic (the label owned and run by Sam Duckworth of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly), the short set he performed included songs inspired by diverse and weighty topics ranging from religion to Michael Jackson. I’m informed that Joe Dangerous is soon to appear with a full band including backing vocals, drums and violinist which can only add to his intensely atmospheric electronica
There’s plenty in the pipeline to keep this young man busy in the coming months. Joe Dangerous will be performing at the Dot to Dot festival alongside Hercules & Love Affair and the Mystery Jets, he’ll also be appearing at Kendal Calling in Cumbria and the Kentish Town Forum festivals with the likes of Amon Tobin and Chris Clark. All in a days work for this rare, unassuming gent.

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Puppini Sisters @ Sheperds Bush Empire

Many thanks to Mr Avsh Alom Gur who injected a bit of much needed humour into an otherwise straight-faced London fashion week. Part of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout line-up at Baden Powell House (which also doubles as a youth hostel, buy information pills salve useful for anyone who needs a lie down between shows) he drew a sizeable crowd for a relative newcomer. The enthusiastic rabble also included my ‘Best Dressed Show-goer of the week’; a woman I seemed to see everywhere, erectile pulling off the Katharine Hepburn power-trousers meets 50s rockabilly look with eye-popping skill day after day. Superb.

Anyway, back to the show which opened to the sounds of tinkling bells and Queen’s ‘Bicycle Race.’ We were quickly left in no doubt as to the theme. City cycling. A glamorous, multi-coloured ride around town. Your leisurely jaunt along a country lane this wasn’t. Acid bright chiffons and silks were turned into a series of loosely constructed short length dresses. The Grecian thing obviously hasn’t run its course just yet with AAG determined to push those Hellenistic necklines. Tie-dye made a brief but brilliant appearance in a simple, casual shift dress. I know tie-dye has been buzzing around for quite some time now but this was one of the first occasions where it didn’t look annoyingly ‘on-trend’, instead being just an interesting way to play with colour.

The obligatory swimwear moment turned out to be my favourite of SS08. A rainbow striped deep-v swimsuit which wouldn’t win any prizes for originality but was just plain gorgeous. Accessories came in the shape of (actual) bike wheel bracelets, spare parts as waist decoration as well as bike frames worn as shoulder pieces. All very OTT-the loud clanging noise was a little distracting, but fun all the same. Sponsorship by Raleigh was celebrated with a cheeky deep blue shift dress emblazoned with the company logo, topped in the silly stakes only by the Morrisons plastic bag dress.

On paper the collection wouldn’t be my cup of tea but there were so many charming touches that it won me over in the first two minutes. A brilliant soundtrack (Late of the Pier-the bears are coming. The candy-bright lipstick and slick (bike-practical) hair-knots. The Frida Kahlo-esque eccentricity of it all…I could go on. A bold collection that had us all grinning like kids in a sweetshop.
The Scala was full and the line outside, side effects long. It was a weird crowd, not what I expected in the slightest; made up mainly of middle aged, balding, paunchy men wearing polo shirts, mixed up with some younger’uns and other regular Jills and Joes who’d finished work at the office not a few hours earlier. I can’t quite remember what I was expecting to see from Simian Mobile Disco duo James Ford and Jas Shaw, but on sighting the set up on stage – some mad scientist’s mini lab – I wondered how SMD were going to present themselves and their music in this ‘live gig’ format.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Lykke Li @ Mahiki

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With such dry, look visit ironic observations as ‘home is where the house is‘, this cialis 40mg Superabundance introduces itself as a melodious continuation of the faux-geek, visit web insightful pop-rock that first emerged in Voices of Animals and Men, but proceeds to take us on a spiralling journey into the dark depths of the Young Knives‘ psyche. In Terra Firma, we are confronted with the beginnings of the climactic incantations that slowly envelop us in a humming and howling hypnosis in Current of the River, which follows a sombre, medieval chant in the delightfully foreboding, pagan harmonies of Mummy Light the Fire. I don’t like to compare bands, but I found some of their wistful, nautical narratives redolent of the Decemberists‘ historical fictions.

While the insinuations of suicide in Counters left me feeling tempted to phone the three band members to see that they were alright, Rue the Days has a positively nonchalant nineties feel and Flies, a gentle meditation on the natural world, seems to encapsulate a recurring fascination with human-animal relationships; a little idiosyncratic perhaps, but I get the feeling this album is somewhat an eruption of the Young Knives’ musical multiple personality.

I listened to every word of the album, and realised it was poetry; a super abundance of philosophical metaphors immersed in a synthesis of unexpected genres, undulating from pensive, orchestral flickers to thick, satisfying explosions of bass, good old enthusiastic shouting and some of the catchiest hooks around. It may leave you weeping, but it may just as well have you running out the house in your dancing shoes.

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Photograph by Jason Nocito

Thrilling things happen when oddballs get their hands on dance music, sickness and Hercules And Love Affair are the perfect latest example of that. These five colourful characters currently breathing new life into disco are an NYC-based collective comprising of Hawaiian-born jewellery designer/DJ Kim Ann Foxman, illness Amazonian CocoRosie and Debbie Harry collaborator Nomi, about it gay B-boy dancer Shayne, Miss Piggy-loving ex-waiter Andrew Butler and new rave hoodie-donning keyboardist Morgan. And then there’s Antony Hegarty of course, he of the Johnsons fame, and it is his beautifully crooning vocals combined with the pulsing rhythms, incessant bassline and playful horns of Blind that has worked both dancefloor enthusiasts and bloggers into a frenzy since it leaked onto the internet late last year.

The outfit’s self-titled debut is littered with more of his famously melancholic performances over shimmering beat-driven efforts, but do this eccentric bunch have the talent and songwriting capabilities to sustain an entire album? The answer is yes – by the bucketload. Hercules And Love Affair slinks delicately into action with dark and sultry opener Time Will as Hegarty pleads “I cannot be half a wife” repeatedly over finger clicks and minimal backing before segueing nicely into Hercules Theme; a more upbeat affair driven by sweeping strings, soft female vocals and discordant brass snatches. This track along with the light and breezy sway of Athene, Iris’ stripped down stomp and the headspin-inducing walking bassline and scat singing of closer True False/Fake Real prove that Butler and co. can shine magnificently even when they don’t play the Antony trump card. One trick ponies this lot certainly are not.

Blind, of course, is sumptuous, sounding more and more like a classic with every listen, but it is cushioned by album tracks that each stand up admirably alongside it, and which reference everything from Chicago house to punk funk, techno and disco simultaneously through the irresistible ice cold veneer conjured up by killer production duo main-man Butler and DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy. In fact, Hercules And Love Affair is the perfect example of an epic work so cleverly constructed that its wide-ranging influences seep out subtly instead of bombarding the listener. Heartbreaking and dramatic yet utterly danceable, it boasts intelligence, heart and soul and features musical prowess that will stop you dead in your tracks. Prepare for this to soundtrack your life for months to come.

Once upon a time there was a hunter, help who woke one day to find himself transformed into the deer he killed before he had rested. Is he now the hunter? Or is he the prey?

Fashion, illness performance, advice and storytelling merged into one as Daydream Nation’s design duo Kay and Jing presented their ominous tale ‘Good Night Deer’ at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Whilst the audience sauntered in, a man stood behind the branched mic stand donning a furry animal head. He cackled, and whistled, and screeched, and crooned ‘There’s nothing in this world for you my dear’, whilst the band played at his side. The stage had morphed into a forest.

The lights dimmed, and the performers crept in with what looked like a white drum, acting as a moon. Each of them haunted the stage wearing sleeveless t-shirts in dark brown, with bark print on the front. By pulling them up over their heads giving the illusion of trees, the indoor theatre became a night scene. With all the garments made by manipulating old clothes, Kay and Jing create new myths each season. Two girls merged together in one outfit and became a deer, whilst others had t-shirts, and dresses in earthy beiges, browns and greens, and were embroidered with antlers and deer’s.

A large silver sheet was laid on the floor, with the hunter concealed beneath it. It rustled, and lifted, before finally revealing the deer. Looking up at its audience, it was literally a deer caught in the headlights. Draped coats fastened up with bows, and a brown pinafore was worn over a silk, blue blouse. Daydream Nation’s show was an utterly enjoyable evening, full of enthusiasm and creativity.

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I LOVE THIS SONG SO MUCH.

Young Love is the beautifully melancholic ode of a one-night stand. The Mystery Jets are bang-on in featuring Laura Marling, more about the latest young darling of the music scene, tadalafil on the first single to be taken from their second album, Twenty One. I’ve never been a huge Mystery Jets fan (I wasn’t fooled, and I most certainly wasn’t called Denis) but the dialogue between Laura and Blaine telling both sides of a brief encounter won me over within the first ten seconds.

In a move I haven’t seen since the works of Jane Austen, the love affair is cut short by that damnably unpredictable British weather. Far from regarding this as twee, the lyrics “you wrote your number on my hand but it came off in the rain” melted my icily sarcastic heart.

Laura sings of how “young love never seems to last”, and it’s with this stark honesty the dialogue tells of the ephemeral nature of youthful liaisons and the quiet acceptance of the pains of growing up. It’s this self-effacing honesty combined with the vintage handclaps, oohs and aahs that create one of the best pop songs of this year.

Oh, and check out the video: it’s bound to be at the top of the YouTube hit parade in no time, as Laura and the Mystery Jet boys are involved in a game of human curling. Now that should be an Olympic sport.
‘Five Portraits of Cloth’, site a large scale, tadalafil cunningly crafted work by Jayne Archard could have been an enveloping piece – if it hadn’t had to compete with cramped canteen style tables and chairs. The Tricycle Gallery suffers a problem often seen in community arts spaces: areas are not properly defined, this meaning that an exhibition space can be transformed into a cinema’s ante-room, and a café’s overspill seating space. I’m all for showing artwork in something other than the traditional White Cube, but it can only be a hindrance to the work when you have to battle with a chair to see it properly.

‘Other Visible Things’
is part of the Tricycle Gallery’s Recent Graduates 2008 programme; giving artists like Archard and Knight valuable exposure that can be difficult to achieve so soon after graduation. Regrettably, in this case the work shown doesn’t function as well in the outside world as in the bubble of the art college – why should the artists assume that all the gallery goers would be able to read, or even care about, the references to conceptual art history? Adam Knight’s ‘Studio Corner (After Mel Bochner)‘(below) is an interesting photograph that investigates illusion and the documentation of a sculptural object, so why the need for the clever nudges and winks to those with a subscription to Art Review?

Even the title of this show is taken from Bochner‘s influential exhibition: ‘Working Drawings And Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art‘. In the confines of the art college studio, Archard and Knight’s works are accessible as the viewers are more likely to have a similar knowledge to that of the makers. In the Tricycle Gallery, a space attached to a café, theatre and cinema in Kilburn, the art history allusions can seem like an elitist in-joke. I can see that Knight’s work in particular could be viewed as a playful re-working of ideas about Minimalism and Conceptual Art, but unfortunately the humour falls short.

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Walking into Gramaphone five minutes into Tom James Scott‘s set was not a good idea. His music sounded so delicate that even the whir of the drinks refrigerators was distracting, this web so the sound of a door opening and two stumbling youths almost threatened to destroy the ethereal atmosphere he had created. His fragile guitar sound had an almost filmic quality; evoking images of cinematic landscapes. The performance seemed shyly self conscious, order perhaps a little fractured, but in a way that only enhanced its subtle beauty.

The acapella sound that began Wounded Knee’s set also demanded the audience’s full attention: the quiet fell once more. The singular figure of Drew Wright concocted an alchemy of sounds that ranged from the ghostly to the jubilant. Relying on effects pedals to build up intricate and textured music, the songs still sounded firmly traditional. Who’d have thought that a looped kazoo and bassy scat singing could sound so Gaelic! His music contrasts a sense of history with a playful method of music-making to create a joyful racket.

Having been lulled into a state of wooziness by the last two acts, I’m not sure I was quite ready for Jenny Hoyston. Perhaps it wasn’t that well-considered a line up by Upset The Rhythm, as previously I was more than eager to see the solo efforts of Erase Errata’s vocalist/guitarist. Hoyston’s back and forth with the audience seemed to amuse most people present, but to me it jarred after the pathos of James Scott and Wounded Knee. However, there’s no doubt that the slightly scrappy sound of Hoyston and her drummer revived me slightly; driven on by the sparse yet considered drum sound. Brief, low fi songs shined when they included rhythmic Krautrock references. It’s just a shame that the vitality of Hoyston’s music seemed oddly displaced after the previous acts.

The toilet paper is really thin here in Brazil. And it’s tropical as all hell. In an invigorating, this though makes-me-wilt-severely kinda way. And that’s about all I have to complain about so far.

We’ve been here since Wednesday and since then it’s been non-stop. We touched down on Wednesday at 6.30am after a smooth and fairly non-eventful flight on a Brazilian airline. The lights inside the cabin were getting all new rave and glo-stick on us, prostate which I actually quite enjoyed. Plenty of leg room, this site and even better: not one, but TWO spare seats adjacent to us. I live for the movies and the food when I fly, and was really impressed with the whole thing until I settled in to watch Nanny Diaries, when halfway through it, it switched over to Pirates of the Caribbean in Portugese. Nooooooooo I’m forever doomed to the dis-satisfaction of never being bothered to want to watch the first half of that film again to get to the part where Nanny gets with cute boy and affects loving change in her employers’ lives.
The effects of global warming are clearly upon us. Whether it’s on the front page of the newspaper, stuff or staring us right in the face, abortion climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing us today. Blooming and reproducing in February; even nature and wildlife seem to be getting confused what time of year it is! The world seems to be wilting before our eyes. Environmental activists have been pushing the seriousness of this problem for a long time now, and thankfully the rest of the world are starting to take note. Artists, historically, are often first on the mark too, defining such issues. ‘Climate 4 Change’ exhibition does just that.

Leaflets and posters emblazoned with ‘Campaign against climate change’, and ‘Do you know the constitution of human rights?’ overwhelmed me as I entered. The smell of incense hit my nose.

Allie Biswas’ ‘No Rave’ painting (below) propped against the wall on the floor. Her abstract blue painting was organic, with orange, green and yellow forms, often dripping down the canvas. Frustrated with the ‘anonymous’ theme running throughout the exhibition, she claimed her work by scribbling her name on a post-it-note, and sticking it to the wall.
In the ‘Bombastic Bureau’, a man with his oversized army jacket, wearing a shiny wrestling mask protests: ‘Don’t worry I’m here, here to kill the rabbit!’ As the notes on a keyboard haunted the space, on the wall were projections of war. In a small room on its own was a short film where hands pushed and pulled, gripped and slipped throughout, defining gravity.

There was a small, perspex house, suitable for a hamster, but filled with furniture, beds, a TV, kitchen, even a parked car outside. Sawdust covered the floor, and food pellets spilled over the sink. Opposite, a man sat on the floor and asked me to shred pages of newspaper. As I proceeded on doing so, he took the tears, put them in a sealable food bag, and signed it ‘Don’. “What does it mean?” I asked, “It would take too long, I’ll tell you in the pub afterwards! Make of it what you want,” he replied. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make of it, and maybe he didn’t either, but the bag is sitting next to me now, so thank you Don!

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Glasgow School of Arts textiles degree has churned out some pretty talented folk in its time; Jonathan Saunders and Pam Hogg are just two of their previous students. So all eyes will be on the graduates showcasing their womenswear collections in the Fashion as Textiles show at the Atrium Gallery. This exhibition aims to explore the relationship between textiles and fashion and dispel the idea of these as two separate disciplines.
Suspended from the ceiling Emmi Lahtinen‘s simple shift dresses hang like clouds, more about weightless yet substantial. Inspired by Finnish minimalism and Cecil Beaton, Lahtinen’s dresses embody a sense of light, depth and wonder. Her rain-soaked palate of greys, blues and greens are created using a mixture of screen printing and dying with digital inkjets.
Inspired by the stained glass windows in Glasgow’s Burrell Collection, Lori Marshall’s collection features high-waisted leggings with digital-prints of stained glass, laser etched velour and layered tops of sheer fabric with Tudor-style ruffled necklines.
Florence To moves away from conventional approaches to textile design. Working in neutral colours, To wraps strips of raffia and polyvinyl around wooden rings. These are linked together to create large-scale accessories, which are draped over tailored silhouettes, creating serene and lightweight designs.
Combining woven fabrics with synthetic materials, Shona Douglas’ collection challenges traditional approaches to weaving. Using raw edged silks and wools cut to fold around the body, Douglas’s skirts and tunics combine a rough-hewn aesthetic with a minimalist approach.
Huddling in the corner like a murder of crows, Louise Browns blue and black coats are dramatic and elegant, featuring appliquéd velvet roses, and topped with light-as-moor-mist ruffles. Brown focuses on volume and as a quote from Coco Chanel overhead reminds us: ‘Fashion is architecture, it is a matter of proportions’.
Although the layout of the Atrium means that some of the students have had to cramp their work into one corner, the gallery is flooded is light and its size allows intimacy, encouraging a closer view of the clothes and highlighting the details that are missed in fashion shows. That these textiles stand up to this level of scrutiny is a testimony to the talent of these promising designers.

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Seven pound alcoholic ‘Coconut Grenades’ combined with WAG central a la Mahiki Bar was perhaps not the ideal location for treating my ears to a lovely bit of Swedish pop. However, cialis 40mg I was determined not to let jersey sequinned smock dresses and trout pouts get in the way of seeing my new favourite female artist, stomach Lykke Li, who EVERYONE who is anyone is talking about, singing her wee heart out whilst shakin’ them hips, and proceeded to squeeze my way to the front of the unjustifiably ostentatious venue.

The best thing to come out of Sweden since momma’s homemade meatballs, this innocent-looking, (looking being the operative word) Bambi-eyed 21-year old starlet knocked me off my feet that fine evening, and left me hungry for more. Performing late in the night under extremely dim lighting – advanced apologies about the video quality – it was initially hard to get into the mood, but when Lykke’s alluring voice rang out to Dance, Dance, Dance it was effortless to let go of all previous pent-up bitterness; a perfectly chosen track to start off the show. Creating an all round exhilarating but unperturbed ambience, she continued to deliver hefty handfuls of arousing yet sensitive, alternative pop, with tracks such as I’m Good I’m Gone packing a jaunty punch with an attitude, the heart-wrenching Tonight, and the most painfully addictive song of the year, Little Bit, which just happens to be her forthcoming single. Sincere and honest words of unrequited love, pain, lust and heartache were sung in an omen to the most complicated of relationships.

With dance moves as quirky as her Princess Leia inspired hair-do, and mountainous amounts of raw energy, the pretty young thing owned the stage and was within her own element, even with the rather challenging audience present. Hopefully the next time Lykke will be down in London town her team will be able to find a better-suiting venue to compliment such fine talent. Now if you excuse me, I shall be off to listen to her album, Youth Novels, on repeat again and again. And again.

Lykke Li performing ‘Little Bit’ live @ Mahiki – for more Amelia’s videos click away: AMELIA’S VIDS.

Categories ,Live Sweden Dance Album Venue

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Amelia’s Magazine | Lykke Li @ Mahiki

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Seven pound alcoholic ‘Coconut Grenades’ combined with WAG central a la Mahiki Bar was perhaps not the ideal location for treating my ears to a lovely bit of Swedish pop. However, I was determined not to let jersey sequinned smock dresses and trout pouts get in the way of seeing my new favourite female artist, Lykke Li, who EVERYONE who is anyone is talking about, singing her wee heart out whilst shakin’ them hips, and proceeded to squeeze my way to the front of the unjustifiably ostentatious venue.

The best thing to come out of Sweden since momma’s homemade meatballs, this innocent-looking, (looking being the operative word) Bambi-eyed 21-year old starlet knocked me off my feet that fine evening, and left me hungry for more. Performing late in the night under extremely dim lighting – advanced apologies about the video quality – it was initially hard to get into the mood, but when Lykke’s alluring voice rang out to Dance, Dance, Dance it was effortless to let go of all previous pent-up bitterness; a perfectly chosen track to start off the show. Creating an all round exhilarating but unperturbed ambience, she continued to deliver hefty handfuls of arousing yet sensitive, alternative pop, with tracks such as I’m Good I’m Gone packing a jaunty punch with an attitude, the heart-wrenching Tonight, and the most painfully addictive song of the year, Little Bit, which just happens to be her forthcoming single. Sincere and honest words of unrequited love, pain, lust and heartache were sung in an omen to the most complicated of relationships.

With dance moves as quirky as her Princess Leia inspired hair-do, and mountainous amounts of raw energy, the pretty young thing owned the stage and was within her own element, even with the rather challenging audience present. Hopefully the next time Lykke will be down in London town her team will be able to find a better-suiting venue to compliment such fine talent. Now if you excuse me, I shall be off to listen to her album, Youth Novels, on repeat again and again. And again.

Lykke Li performing ‘Little Bit’ live @ Mahiki – for more Amelia’s videos click away: AMELIA’S VIDS.

Categories ,Live Sweden Dance Album Venue

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Amelia’s Magazine | Micah P. Hinson @ Hoxton Hall

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Planet Patrol is a series of ongoing live urban art events held at various venues in and around London. The concept behind Planet Patrol is to present some of today’s most in demand and sought after urban artists, purchase prescription in an environment which allows people to witness live art/music & visuals all under one roof. Aside from the regular London events, this site prostate Planet Patrol recently held it’s first global sessions tour of Japan, troche Bruno 9LI one of Brazils most talented street artists was invited over to create live art whilst DJ Aya provided the necessary musical back drop.

Screen prints & original pieces from the likes of Eelus, SheOne, Dan Malone & Adam Koukoudakis were also on show. Planet Patrol held a total of three live events, these included Tokyo, Osaka & Fukuoka. Bruno 9LI created three mind-blowing canvases, one for each event, these took up to a total of fours each to complete. The lucky few who had been invited to these events witnessed live art from a truly dedicated and highly skilled master of his art!

Planet Patrol have Just released a very limited, signed, numbered & embossed silk screen based on an original piece that Bruno created for the Tokyo event! Bruno’s next exhibition will be taking place in August at the Annno Domini gallery in California, Planet Patrol will also be exhibiting the new silk screen & an original canvas from the Japan tour at the Burning Bridges group exhibition to be held from Friday 13th June – 22nd at the Bricklane gallery, 196 Brick lane, London.

Mr Bruno Novelli has also designed the cover of Issue 9 of Amelia’s Magazine…..

Silk screen available from www.planetpatrol.co.uk
Tour photos: www.flickr.com/photos/planetpatrol
Not to be confused with Shoreditch Hall, this web Hoxton Hall is a stunning Victorian venue more commonly used as a community centre, viagra buy hosting coffee mornings and craft sessions in the forgotten art of basket weaving. For tonight, nurse the ornate iron balcony and draped red curtain were the perfect setting for an intimate gathering of just eighty invited guests to showcase Micah‘s forth coming album.
Micah performed with all his usual vim and vigour, a two hour set of tracks old and new, from the tender, heart-wrenching chords of Beneath The Rose to the crashing tones of The Leading Guy. Insisting that nothing he played from the upcoming album sounded anything like the record, Micah sang quiet songs about wishing wells and loud songs about regret intermission by anecdotal tales of life’s ironies. He also spoke of the happiness he’s found with wife of two weeks and four days, Mrs Ashley Bryn Hinson, a picture of whom now adorns his guitar.
Picture if you will a young man sitting on the front porch of his family home in the secluded town of Abilene, Texas. Convalescing from intensive surgery, the young man is confined by a back brace and the haziness induced by a cocktail of sedatives and weed. He spends his days writing songs for the girl next door whom he longs to see if only for a moment as she cycles past. This was just one of many fables regaled by Micah at the showcase. Such romantic yarns are the stuff of fiction, just another chapter in the life of Micah P Hinson.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Mystery Jets

The new section of amelia’s blog will be online shortly!
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Like most people of my generation, information pills my reference point for the Vietnam War is 1960′s Americana.
Apocalypse Now“, “Full Metal Jacket” and “Platoon” had informed my view of this now distant conflict. A haze of nostalgia, Jimi Hendrix and beautiful, tanned American youths sweating in the jungle dominated my perception of the Vietnam War. If you perhaps share this feeling then I would wholly recommend watching the documentary/ film “Winter Solider” at the ICA. The film, made by the independent and ad hoc film collective Winterfilm in 1972 is a distant from cry from the all-star Vietnam movies of Hollywood although no less powerful or gripping.

In 1971 a group of war veterans gathered together to testify to the war crimes they had witnessed during their time in service. The meeting, which occurred one month after the My Lai massacre, was filmed by an anonymous film company and has remained virtually unseen ever since. Simplistically created through talking heads or fixed camera shots on the various groups who met at a Detroit Hotel, the film is mostly a bleached black and white except for a few colour photo-stills. The men are filmed talking casually amongst themselves or at the conference tables in front of an audience. These real ‘characters’ are recognisable from all the main stream cinema epics but their script is horrifically different. The young men simply and honestly tell their stories, the events they witnessed and the actions they carried out. I felt as though I was in that hotel audience in 1971 and shuddered involuntarily on several occasions. The confessions of these young men were frank, sincere and often terrifying. No glamourisation of war can be found in this film and what begins as a recollection of events between old friends soon becomes haunting and highly emotional.

The most moving aspect of ‘winter solider’ is its relevance to today. I found the film disturbingly modern and disgustingly reminiscent of current events. There is a great feeling of sadness and anger from the veterans, mostly in their early twenties. The main question they are left asking is not how could such atrocities occur but how could we have committed these atrocities . Young, innocent, healthy American teenagers committing obscene acts of senseless violence and cruelty. And subtly the question is broached, what were we doing there anyway…..

At a time when we are once again in the shadow of a confusing and unjust conflict with countless civilian casualties and speculation of torture, this film unfortunately, is very relevant and opens a number of questions that we should again be asking of ourselves.

Gratuitously skin tight stone washed jeans; tanned oiled chests, clinic enormous hair, gallons of lip gloss and dangerously bulging crotches could only mean one thing….COCK ROCK. Yes, that strange yet tantalisingly great genre is back and has been gloriously saluted by the new issue of the Freaky Jason. To celebrate the near release of issue three of this new-cult magazine, fans of Jason and cock alike gathered at the beautifully dingy Macbeth on Wednesday. Drinks were flowing and the even the bar staff were enjoying the night, performing energetic feats of dance behind the bar.
We were entertained by bands Le Shark and Benin City and later by DJ the Juliets, all organised by Freaky Jason events master Jackson. The atmosphere was fun and vibrant without being so busy that you cannot move and get covered by other people’s sweat! I had a little dance, the crowd were very appreciative and the bar staff performed acrobatic routines whilst pouring a steady flow of rum and cokes. Good times were had by all!
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For those who have not yet been introduced to the ways of the Freaky Jason, this magic independent magazine is the creation of two Sydneysiders who have left the sunshine of Australia to bring their us ‘contorted’ sense of humor, obsessions and whims. The magazine is themed by underground-pop-culture and the phenomena of ‘Jesusy Boys’ and ‘Euro’ have been explored in the previous issues. In preparation for the new issue I have been blasting out ‘Poison’ classics and watching ‘Rat’ videos on you tube with rapturous glee! This fantastic and free publication is soon to be available across London, so be sure to look out for it!!
After successfully managing to snap the strap of one of my much loved handbags on a particularly horrendous journey into the office, viagra order I was on the lookout for a decent
bag that could actually sustain the wear and tear of good ol’ London Transport.

Whilst on my journey of discovery I was delighted to come across these nifty little shopping carriers by Envirosax. Designed as an alternative to disposable plastic bags, malady Envirosax have produced a collection of reusable all purpose bamboo bags. Not only are these little wonders 100% bio-degradable, approved but they can be rolled up and popped away when not in use – who said being environmentally friendly had to be hard work?

So – now down to crunch time – it’s all well and great being good for the environment, but how do they actually look I hear you sigh? Well – it turns out they aren’t half bad. The bags come in a range of funky patterns from eye popping polka-dot spirals to a more demure leaf design. Ladies – team them with a pair of linen trousers and oversized shades and you’re all set for a sunny stroll down Brighton pier – or maybe just a stylish dash through Sainsbury’s car park as you attempt to avoid the British rain… oh well … its always nice to dream every now and again.

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The ominous queue in the rain outside the brand spanking new puregroove store was not even a little off putting because these punters knew they were about to become at least seven times happier.

Warming up for those most mysterious of jets was the tremendous Jeremy Warmsley. I have to admit I’d never heard of him before tonight, capsule but his cover of New Order’s classic ‘Temptation’ was close to being the highlight of my evening. His Americana presence and suspiciously Elvis Costello looks almost had me announcing a ho-down, site but I restrained myself.

By the time the Mystery Jets were set to appear the store was rammed, to the point where it was almost uncomfortable and unfortunately a little dance was out of the question. A run down of their new album’s finest tracks delighted all, especially when the request of ‘MJ’ was answered. Much to my disappointment though the hail of “Dennis” was not. The band’s guitarist William Rees gave the reasoning that “me and Dennis don’t get on anymore”. This fall out wasn’t dwelled on for long though, as every song off their new album is instantly more engaging. I had thought this was due to the production skills of Erol Alkan, but no, they’re just astonishing songwriters.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Napoleon IIIrd

Brainlove Records were holding an all-day session at the Windmill, comprising of various (often slightly bonkers) artistes on their impressive roster. I’d wanted to catch the wonderful Tim Ten Yen (accompanied, as ever, by the Sinister Cat), as I’d seen him at the same venue some time ago, but sadly I’d missed him. However, the other main attraction for me, Napoleon IIIrd, did not disappoint.

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Tonight he was playing the many highlights of his debut album, In Debt To – backed by a full band. Running through favourites like Defibrillator and Guys In Bands, the supporting line-up of bass, backing vocals and drums provided a much beefier sound than on record, with the often weird and frequently wonderful toytronica accompaniment that dots the album more in the background. The set finished, with the aid of a guest trombonist, on the marvellous Hit Schmooze For Me, probably the greatest, wittiest dissection of the daily 9-to-5 yet committed to vinyl. How can you argue with a song that reminds you that a day job is just that, and not your life?

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Amelia’s Magazine | Of Montreal, Casiokids

It feels like of Montreal (who are actually from Georgia) have been around for even longer than their eleven years. They’ve never really felt the fickle grip of hype, instead remaining a constant presence; on mixtape compilations, at parties and in music blogs. Shamefully, their part-of-the-furniture demeanour has meant that I’m only familiar with a handful of their hits, having never felt the impulse to dig deeper and geek up on all of their releases (and boy are there releases; in just over a decade they’ve produced nine studio albums and six EPs). So tonight as we head into Digital, just off the pebbly shore of Brighton beach, I can honestly say that I have no idea about what will be store for us over the next three hours, but I can’t wait to get inside.

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Casiokids at Brighton Digital

While coats are swapped for raffle tickets and bar trips hastily made, Norweigen eletropoppers Casiokids take to the stage in a burst of bright, primary coloured lights and Cheshire-cat grins, fiddling about with the wires that extend out of the countless electronics and snake around their lace-up pumps. The self-named ‘electro troupe’ stand huddled in a close group enshrouded in equipment, energetically clapping their hands and throwing out jaggedy, pulsing dance moves. The music is vigourously dynamic but they appear relaxed as they spin out perky electro soundscapes, drenched in positivity and good times, as the stage is soaked in blocks of red, blue and green light.

Before of Montreal make an appearance, the atmosphere ascends; even the soundcheck is watched by the surrounding crowd with all the excitement normally reserved for an unexpected rendition of an old favourite, not the usual “one-two-one-two”. After being thrown into darkness, the lights eventually rise to depict a guy in a tiger mask standing center stage, setting the tone for the theatrical extremities that will follow. All members then appear to ‘She’s A Rejector’, dressed to the nines in glitter, dark shades, and ruffles, looking like a bemused circus group that have somehow got lost on their way to a carnival in outer space. It shouldn’t work, but it does, and I have to remind myself that this is a band who released their latest record, ‘Skeletal Lamping’, in various bizarre formats, including jewellery and bags.

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Of Montreal at Brighton Digital

Frontman Kevin Barnes never stops moving, always pointedly alert as he bops around and dramatically strips off his shirt. He performs one song sat high on someone’s shoulders and even manages a costume change. The band play their way through tracks from albums including Skeletal Lamping, The Sunlandic Twins and Hissing Fauna…, as pigs, ninja’s and buddahs dance across the stage and with band members, which is slightly disturbing and fantastically theatrical. Due to the many incarnations of of Montreal over the years, their music comes in various forms – it sometimes verges on a ramshackle of unpredictable indiepop, then swins into funky afrobeat, and then just when you think you’ve got them pinned down, they throw in some psychadelic grooves to prove you completely wrong.

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Of Montreal at Brighton Digital

For of Montreal a concert isn’t merely a runthrough of numbers but a grand performance; a chance to challenge perceptions and revel in insanity, dressed up and down and bringing their world onto the stage with them. As we leave I overhear a girl telling her friend, “My expectations were so high, but that has totally gone past anything I’d expected. It was incredible”, perfectly summing up the evening.

Categories ,Casiokids, ,Indie, ,Live, ,Of Montreal

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Amelia’s Magazine | Polly Scattergood @ Rough Trade

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.

Categories ,Bat for Lashes, ,Kate Bush, ,Polly Scattergood, ,Rough Trade

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Amelia’s Magazine | Stopping Heathrow’s third runway – through poetry

003_1Rick the punk poet does his thing

Being a wee bit literary, I have a penchant for poetry, check so it was with some expectation and enthusiasm I went along to the Poetry Night at Coffee And Corks coffee shop in Canterbury last night.

This poetry night is a weekly affair, drug held every Tuesday evening, but last night’s was different, in that it was being held in conjunction with the Airplot initiative. What’s Airplot, I hear you all clamour? Well, it’s a project that’s been dreamt up by Greenpeace to help stop the building of the third runway at Heathrow Airport – put simply, the NGO and a group of celebrities have bought a plot of land that is slap-bang in the middle of the proposed runway site. Members of the public can buy a share in the plot and therefore become a ‘beneficiary owner’ of the land.

002_1Coffee And Corks: it doesn’t just do coffee, there’s alcohol too – now that’s the stuff

As such, the evening was kicked off with an introduction from Greenpeace’s John Hallyday. “Climate change is having – and will continue to have – a massive effect on our species and every other species on the planet,” he said. “If we allow the third runway to be built at Heathrow, the UK won’t meet its greenhouse gas targets set last year. Plus, 500 people’s homes will be demolished in the village of Sipson, which stands in the way of the proposed site.”

After giving a plug to Canterbury’s upcoming Climate Fair, John’s final words were borrowed from the beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as he read a poem written by the latter while aboard a Greenpeace ship chasing whalers on the high seas. It’s fair to say it set a good vibe for the night to come. And it was immediately followed by the handing out of cards that those in attendance (poet participants, listeners or those just enjoying a coffee; all were welcome) could fill in for a prize – three hours’ free recording time at Canterbury’s West Track Studios. Not missing a trick (and why should they?), the organisers also ensured that by filling in a card and entering the raffle you also signed up to the Airplot campaign.

And so to the evening’s poetry itself. To say that there was great variety in what the poets – many regulars, some new – performed would be an understatement; to say that some of it was risqué and rather personal would be a vast understatement. However, I must admit, the vast majority of the poems impressed me, as did the pluck many of their authors had to stand up in front of people (some of whom, like I said, had only come in to sip a late latte) and deliver their thoughts, feelings, wit and wisdom through verse. I must give special mention to the middle-aged Adrian, whose ‘The Web Of Life’ was a lyrical, eco-friendly missive, and Rick, a self-proclaimed coffee-shop-culture-punk resplendent in a Mr Happy t-shirt, whose delivery owed much to the beat poets of old and whose entertainment value was only equalled by the title of his final poem, ‘Don’t Eat Dodgy Food In Foreign Countries’.

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What a fine sentiment – especially in a coffee shop

All in all then, this was a great evening that hopefully drew attention to and created new converts to Airplot, as well as highlighting the good work of the Skillnet Group Community Interest Company in the Canterbury community, in conjunction with West Track Studios. I tip my hat – or rather my beat poet’s cap – then to the organisers, in particular Helen Long who it was that brought Greenpeace, West Track Studios and Skillnet all together on this chilly evening in a caffeine-fuelled fun-filled event.

Categories ,Adam Bollard, ,Airplot, ,Coffee And Corks, ,Greenpeace, ,Heathrow third runway, ,West Track Studios

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