Amelia’s Magazine | Tilly and the Wall and Slow Club

Most of us pat ourselves on the back at the thought of having ‘done our bit‘, symptoms information pills whether it’s recycling or bringing a load of old clothes to a charity shop. Robert Bradford, ailment in that case, deserves a rather large pat on the back. Not only did he ‘do his bit’, but also got rather creative doing it.

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Whilst staring at his children’s box of discarded toys, a beam of light shun down from the heavens, a choir of angels sung and everything was still. Well, perhaps inspiration doesn’t happen like that in real life, but Bradford defiantly had a light bulb moment. Instead of taking the toys to local charity shop, Bradford decided to make sculptures out of them. Bradford assembles the toys into kaleidoscopic life-size dogs and people. Since his foray into toys, Bradford has also transformed other would-be discarded items. Crushed Coca-cola cans, combs, pegs and washing up brushes have also been made into extra family members and man’s best friend. Using what most would describe as rubbish, Bradford is one artist who wouldn’t mind his work being so called. It says so on his website.

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Images courtesy of Robert Bradford
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Monday 27th October

Connan Mockasin and Drop The Lime – Durr at The End, mind London
Noah & The Whale – Academy 3, dosage Manchester
Jesus & Mary Chain, Black Box Recorder and British Sea Power – The Forum, London
Mystery Jets – Glee Club, Birmingham

Tuesday 28th October

Alphabeat, Das Pop and Pandering and The Golddiggers – Shepherds Bush Empire, London
Fleet Foxes – Waterfront, Norwich
Smokers Die Younger, Wild Beasts, Stricken City, Cats In Paris, Tender Maulings DJs – The Deaf Institute, Manchester
George Pringle and No Bra – The Social, London

Wednesday 29th October

Yo Majesty – Pure Groove Records, London
Lords – The Portland Arms, Cambridge
Ipso Facto, S.C.U.M and Kasms – The Roundhouse, London
The Presets and Micachu – The Royal, Derby
Neon Neon and Yo Majesty – Koko, London

Thursday 30th October

Black Kids and Ladyhawke – Astoria, London
Hot Chip – Corn Exchange, Cambridge
Florence and The Machine and The Big Pink – Bush Hall, London
Anthony and The Johnsons with London Symphony
Orchestra – Barbican Centre, London
Primal Scream – UEA, Norwich
Wave Machines and Micachu and The Shapes – hush at Royal Albert Hall, London

Friday 31st October

Release The Bats – Shellac, Les Savy Fav, Lightning Bolt, Om, Wooden Shjips and Pissed Jeans – The Forum London
El Guincho, The XX, The Big Pink and A Grave With No Name – No Pain In Pop at Goldsmith’s Tavern, London
Peggy Sue and The Pirates, Alessi’s Ark and Derek Meins – The Windmill, London
Pete and The Pirates – The Fly, London
Underworld and Autokratz – Brixton Academy, London
Metronomy – ULU, London

Saturday 1st November

ddd – Barfly, London
The Metros and Lion Club – Push at Astoria 2, London
The Week That Was and The Ruby Suns – Crawdaddy, Dublin
Grammatics – Forum, Tunbridge Wells

Sunday 2nd November

Does It Offend You, Yeah?, The Joy Formidable, The Operators and Young Fathers – 229, London
Ned Collette Band, Lawrence Arabia and The Boat People – The Windmill, London
Good Books, Polka Party and The Molotovs – Proud Galleries, London

Monday 27th October
Camden Arts Centre, advice ‘Wallace Berman’: Untl 23rd November
Arkwright Road, drugs London NW3 6DG
Considered as a major mover and shaker in the beat generation in the late 50s and 60s, view Wallace Berman’s (1926-1976) jazz record covers, art publications are all on display. Also his 16mm film ‘aleph’ is screened as well as posters, book covers and postcards. Most people recognise his portrait on the cover of The Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ but he’s got plenty of other art to have a gander over.

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Tuesday 28th October
White Cube, Sam Taylor-Wood: Yes I No: Until 29th November
Mason’s Yard and No 1 The Piazza, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8HA
This show includes three groups of photographs and a large scale film installation on the subject of absensce and morality. Other photos based on Wuthering Heights with desire and suffering playing key themes.

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Wednesday 29th October:
V&A Museum of Childhood, Tom Hunter’: until 9th November
Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green E2 9PA
Exploring the changing face of the East End, Hunter’s photographs focus on people, places and community in and around the area.

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Thursday 30th October:
Stephen Friedman Gallery, ‘Catherine Opie’: Until 15thNovember
25-28 Old Burlington Street?London W1S 3AN
The exhibition title, ‘The Blue of Distance’, is inspired by Rebecca Solnit, a writer on photography and landscape. Here, Opie continues her investigation with two new series of work capturing the remote beauty of the Alaskan landscape.

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Friday 31st October:
Whitecross Gallery, ‘Girlie’: Daphne Plessner: Until 21 November
122 Whitecross St, London EC1Y 8PU
Whitecross Gallery welcomes you to ‘Girlie’, an exciting and thought provoking solo exhibition of luscious new paintings by talented artist Daphne Plessner.?Her work combines uncompromising social critique with colourful, elaborate surface decoration, and beautifully crafted, exquisite attention to detail.

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Saturday 1st November:
ICA, ‘Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’ Retrospective: Until 23rd November
The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
In tandem with Under Scan on Trafalgar Square, a retrospective of Lozano-Hemmer’s moving-image works, via a series of documentaries, spanning the past decade of his career. Lozano-Hemmer has been commissioned for events such as the millennium celebrations in Mexico City, the Cultural Capital of Europe in Rotterdam (2001), the United Nations World Summit of Cities in Lyon (2003), the opening of the Yamaguchi Centre for Art and Media in Japan (2003) and the expansion of the European Union in Dublin (2004).

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Warm and jubilant and wholesome. That’s how a Tilly and the Wall gig will leave you – and the title to their debut album in 2004, check Wild Like Children, cheapest is an indicator as to how. Add to this Slow Club, who when I saw several months ago in a weekly slot at The Enterprise in Camden, had brought along home-baked goods to pass round, and you’re wholly rejuvenated.

The ULU played host to this delectable recipe on Saturday, and they do compliment each other incredibly. Dulcet boy/girl harmonies, songs that pay homage to the bliss of youth and spontaneity, and full sounding percussion that is hard to put your finger on until you see it; The Slow Club often bang their drumsticks on chairs, and the percussion for Tilly is tap-dancer Jamie on a mic’ed up wooden box (they used to steal road-signs for the purpose but have since become more legit).

Tilly’s latest release, “o” was produced by acclaimed producer, Mike Mogis. Their kaleidoscopic sound has gotten bigger and fuller, but maintaining to the familiarity of Tilly ingredients. “I feel like I know them”, I heard someone say, and when the encore brought them back on stage with Charles and Rebecca from the Slow Club in tow, tambourines in hand, it felt like we all did. Clapping and stamping along, I thought the experience perhaps drew a thin line next to what I’d imagine an evangelist Sunday session to be like, only without strings attached, a drink in hand, and prophets that chant out about first loves, recklessness and “life that is so wonderful it shines like fire” (Let it Rain – Tilly); so put that in your wine glass and sip it.

Categories ,Live, ,Mike Mogis, ,Music, ,Slow Club, ,Tilly and the Wall

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with First Aid Kit about working with Mike Mogis on second album The Lion’s Roar

First Aid Kit by Michael Julings
First Aid Kit by Michael Julings.

The new album The Lion’s Roar from the wondrous Swedish band First Aid Kit is coming out later this month. In advance of my review, let’s catch up with the talented duo. Life has become much more busy in the past few years!

First Aid Kit Emmylou press shot
You’ve done 5 tours across America in the past 2 years, what has been the highlight?
All five tours have been highlights in their own ways. The first tour was especially exciting because everything was new and it felt like an adventure. We realized how big this country is, traveling through endless landscapes of of deserts, fields and forests. We sort of felt like we were on that epic american road-trip we’ve always dreamt of. Last September we went on tour with Bright Eyes, a dream come true for us. We got to spend two weeks with our favorite band. We went to Disney World, we went swimming in the ocean and sightseeing in D.C. We had plenty of free time and the weather was amazing. It was the perfect tour. Bright Eyes treated us so well, too. Every night was a party. Every night we played songs together. Mike Mogis played pedal steel on our song Emmylou, we sang Lua with Conor and two nights our dad even played the guitar solo in their song “One for you, one for me”! We couldn’t have imagined our own dad playing with Bright Eyes someday. We were very proud.

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Your new album The Lion’s Roar is out soon and was recorded in Omaha, Nebraska with producer Mike Mogis – how did that come about, how long were you there for and how easy was it to slot into working with a big American producer?
When I (Klara) was twelve years old I heard Bright Eyes for the first time. I loved the simplicity and honesty in their songs. Their music was a revelation for me. It opened up the door for us to folk and country music. I got a guitar pretty quickly after that. Inspired by Bright Eyes I started writing songs. We met Mike for the first time when we played in Austin, TX in october. Conor Oberst came to our show, and introduced us to Mike. He saw us the next day at the Austin City Limits festival and after we had played he wrote us saying; ‘I’d love to make a record with you.’ We couldn’t believe it.

First Aid Kit by Rosemary Cunningham
First Aid Kit by Rosemary Cunningham.

In May we went to Omaha, Nebraska to record the album. We stayed for a month, spending the first two weeks doing mostly live takes and then the rest of the two mixing the record. Working with a big American producer could be scary depending on who you work with, but Mike might be one of the most humble persons we have ever met. We understood each other from the get-go and we were on the same page musically. He knew what kind of record we wanted to make. Mike made sure that our vocals and lyrics always were the focal point. We worked together to find arrangements that would enhance the emotions we wanted to evoke, and not to just take up space. It was a fun and surprisingly easy process. 

First Aid Kit on log
What has been the most memorable place that you have visited on tour (worldwide) and why?
We were in Tokyo just a couple of weeks ago and that was memorable to say the least. The culture is so vastly different. We felt a bit alienated and different (mostly just very tall), but it was an interesting feeling we’re not used to. The Japanese were incredibly polite. When we stepped into our label’s office everybody there came to meet us and bowed in-front of us. It made you feel respected and made us treat everyone with the same respect. We did 22 interviews in two days so we were quite busy, but they took care of us well. We would love to go back to Japan and play shows there someday soon.

First Aid Kit by Sam Parr
First Aid Kit by Sam Parr.

Have you managed to retain contact with your friends back home in Sweden or do you feel your lives have diverged drastically? How much do you rely on a close sisterly relationship?
Luckily we have friends who understand why we have to be away so much and who are supportive of what we do. Of course it’s hard sometimes, not being able to be there for the people you love, but that’s a sacrifice we have to make. Having your sister around you is quite special. It always makes us feel like we’re home, having each other around. Our dad does the sound our shows, so he comes with us too. That keeps us from becoming too homesick. At the end of the day we get to do what we love the most, which is playing music, so we can’t really complain.

First_aid_kit_by_Geiko_Louve
First Aid Kit by Geiko Louve.

Do you remember the first time you sang in harmony, when was it? It must be incredible to have such a strong connection with someone you grew up with.
It was probably on one of our first demos, Johanna just tried out some harmonies and it sounded great. We have evolved a lot from back then though. We’re getting better and better at harmonizing everyday. Singing with your sister is awesome. Our voices are so similar it’s almost like singing with yourself. It’s easy. We’re so in tune with how we phrase and time words, so it always feels very natural. Singing with a non-relative is more of a challenge. You have to adjust to their way of singing and ‘get’ their voice. It’s not the same thing.

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You recorded the cover single Universal Soldier with Jack White in Nashville and you have just toured with Lykke Li. How did these come about and who else would you like to work with?
We have no idea of how these cool cats heard of us, we’re just very lucky that they did. Lykke Li had asked us a couple of times to play and last november we finally got to play together. It was amazing to see her powerful performance on stage every night.

First Aid Kit_Emmylou_PS
When we were on our second tour in the US, playing in Nashville Jack White called to say he wanted us to come into his studio and record two songs with him. Totally unexpected. We spent a couple of hours there the next day. It was the first time we ever recorded in a real studio with a full band. We love what we recorded, especially the traditional blues song It Hurts Me Too. Jack White brought out something new in us we didn’t know we had. It definitely has a Jack White sound but it’s still very much us. It inspired us to have a full band on the new record. We’d love to do something more with Jack White someday, it was really inspiring working with him and we both share a love for old Americana. We would also love to collaborate with Laura Marling or Dylan Leblanc, two amazing songwriters and singers in our age who are making similar music.

First Aid Kit by Wiji Lacsamana
First Aid Kit by Wiji Lacsamana.

Your voices and musical knowledge have been widening, who or what has been the greatest influence in the past two years and do you have your sights set on any other genres and styles?
The past two years, while writing for this new record there are two people that specifically come to mind when talking about inspiration – Townes Van Zandt and Joni Mitchell. Townes Van Zandt has a way of writing songs that seem timeless. His songs are often tall tales, mystical but at the same time serene and simple. His phrasing is really specific and it gives the lyrics another dimension. Writing for the record, these were all things that influenced us, both things we were aware of and things we’ve heard, listening back to the record, now.

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We got a little Joni obsessed when working on this record. Her lyrics are often like private diary entries, if everybody wrote amazingly poetic and clever diary entires, that is. There is something so honest, it almost hurts to listen to her music sometimes. For The Lion’s Roar, we knew we wanted to write songs that had a more personal touch. We wrote more about our own experiences and things we were going through. A lot of people write that our lyrics are ‘too mature‘ for our age, which is so absurd to us. We just write what we feel, we’ve never had any intention to sound older or more mature, we’re just ourselves in our music. We’re actually not very mature at all, haha.

You have said that you prefer to sing sad songs: why do you think this is?
It’s not really a preference, it just that we happen to write songs when we’re sad. Songwriting for us is a form of therapy, of catharsis. It’s a way of turning the negative thoughts in our head into something positive and creative. When we’re feeling like shit we listen to melancholy music, because knowing that someone else has felt the same way or even worse makes us feel less alone in these emotions. It’s strangely comforting. Hopefully our music could have a similar kind of effect for our listeners. Like a plaster for the soul.

YouTube Preview ImageEmmylou

What was the story behind the video for the new single Emmylou? It has a glorious outback feel that goes with the country twang.
Thank you! The song Emmylou is a homage to our favourite country acts – Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash and June Carter. It seemed perfect to go to Joshua Tree because we knew it was Gram Parsons‘ favourite place in the world. When we got there we understood why. We’ve also always been intrigued by the desert and had always wanted to make something in that kind of landscape, so now we got the chance. We worked with an amazing director called Maximilla Lukacs. We wanted it to have a 70′s psychedelic dreamy feel to it. She and her team totally got our vision. 

YouTube Preview ImageThe Lion’s Roar

Where can people see you live in the UK over 2012? Any particular dates or festivals that you are looking forward to?
We’ll be playing a few club shows in February. We can’t wait to play the new songs! We’ll also play the End of The Road Festival this year, which we’re totally psyched about. We love that festival. We played there 2009 and it had an incredible folk-oriented line-up. We saw Alela Diane, Blitzen Trapper, Tallest Man On Earth and FleetFoxes. In other words, our favourite bands. Good times! 

First Aid Kit by Estelle Morris
First Aid Kit by Estelle Morris.

Lastly, since we last met I have discovered that your dad used to play in a band with my mum’s Swedish first cousin, Matts Alsberg. It’s a small world, do you remember him?
Oh my god! That’s so weird, haha. It’s a tiny world, indeed. Of course we remember him, our dad’s band was a big part of our childhood. They were called Lolita Pop and were quite successful in Sweden during the 80′s. Their music was not like ours at all. It was punk and new wave inspired by Velvet Underground, Patti Smith and Television. Our dad was a guitarist and songwriter in the band. He quit the band just when we were born. Their music and tales from their tours were always around us growing up. I think we looked up to our father a lot and the fact that he had been a professional musician inspired us to take a similar path. Now dad’s working with us full time and it’s great having someone with so much previous experience on the road with us. He probably never thought he’d be touring all over the world with his daughters.

The Lion’s Roar is released on 23rd January on Wichita. *You can read my full album review here.*

Categories ,Alela Diane, ,Austin City Limits, ,Blitzen Trapper, ,Bright Eyes, ,Conor Oberst, ,Dylan LeBlanc, ,Emmylou Harris, ,End Of The Road Festival, ,Estelle Morris, ,First Aid Kit, ,fleetfoxes, ,Geiko Louve, ,Gram Parsons, ,It Hurts Me Too, ,Jack White, ,Johnny Cash, ,Joni Mitchell, ,Joshua Tree, ,June Carter, ,Laura Marling, ,Lolita Pop, ,Lykke Li, ,Matts Alsberg, ,Maximilla Lukacs, ,Michael Julings, ,Mike Mogis, ,Nebraska, ,Omaha, ,Rosemary Cunningham, ,Sam Parr, ,Tallest Man On Earth, ,Townes van Zandt, ,Wichita, ,Wiji Lacsamana

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