Amelia’s Magazine | Things to Make and Do with It hugs back

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.


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.”


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.


“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.”


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


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?


” 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.”


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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’.


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!

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.


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!

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.”


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.”


“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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…….


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.


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.


Photo Coutesy of

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

Categories ,4AD, ,Blonde Redhead, ,Cocteau Twins, ,Daydream Nation, ,It hugs back, ,My Bloody Valentine, ,Pixies, ,Sonic Youth, ,Stereolab, ,Things to make and do, ,Yo La Tengo

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Amelia’s Magazine | Saint Saviour at Bush Hall: Live Review

saintsaviour genie espinosa
saintsaviour genie espinosa
Saint Saviour by Genie Espinosa.

Fresh from touring with Groove Armada, treat with whom she collaborated on the album Black Light, viagra order Saint Saviour played her debut solo show at Bush Hall, in deepest Shepherds Bush. It must have been a bit bewildering, a week since playing at Brixton Academy after a run of shows that earned her rave reviews and numerous admirers (including the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant) to be appearing in a renovated dance hall on the Uxbridge Road, but the intimate setting was perfect to showcase her new material.

Photo courtesy of Saint Saviour.

Saint Saviour is no stranger to the pages of Amelia’s Magazine, having been reviewed a couple of times (including once by yours truly) with her old band, the ever-spangly RGBs (who were once described by the NME, no less, as delivering “almighty fem-pop… with an eccentric blitzkrieg wallop”). I’d seen them a few times around town, and I’d also caught her debut with Groove Armada at the climax of last year’s Lovebox festival. It’s actually one of those rare times, if you endlessly follow bands around gigs, where someone you’ve seen play often is plucked from little venues in Kilburn, Brixton or Shoreditch to tour the world.

Taking to the stage with what looked like a giant jellyfish umbrella (“make of that what you will” quipped Saint Saviour, aka Becky Jones), the set started off hypnotically – anyone expecting a set of pumping dance anthems was in for a bit of a shock. In fact, Saint Saviour’s set proved what a versatile performer she is, mixing up her styles and tempos – whether accompanying herself on keyboards on songs like the delicate Fallen Trees and Hurricanes, or upping a gear (backed with a full band and, for a couple of numbers, a string section) with tracks like Birdsong and the kick-ass current single, Woman Scorned: watch the video here:

YouTube Preview Image

The stage presence that I’d seen in places like the Windmill or the Old Blue Last, and witnessed by anyone who saw her on tour with Groove Armada, was there in spades tonight, whether entrancing a hushed crowd on the slower numbers with her voice (which has been compared to people like Kate Bush, and I think has a touch of Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins about it) or totally throwing herself into the up-tempo songs.

Saint Saviour by Karolina Burdon
Saint Saviour by Karolina Burdon.

To thunderous cheers from the crowd, Saint Saviour was tempted back out for an encore of the touching When You Smile, backed solely by harpist Jharda, before leaving once more to the rapturous applause of an appreciative audience. As a debut show, stepping out of the shadow of Groove Armada, it was great success for Saint Saviour and justifies the praise that she’d already received. It was also a bit of a strange moment for me, having seen her back in the day with her old band, and here she is (deservedly so) on the verge of playing bigger stages as a star in her own right.

Catch my post-gig interview with Saint Saviour here.

Categories ,Brixton Academy, ,Bush Hall, ,Cocteau Twins, ,Elizabeth Fraser, ,Genie Espinosa, ,Groove Armada, ,Jharda, ,Karolina Burdon, ,Kate Bush, ,Lovebox, ,Neil Tennant, ,NME, ,Old Blue Last, ,pet shop boys, ,RGBs, ,Saint Saviour, ,SaintSaviour, ,Windmill, ,Woman Scorned

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Amelia’s Magazine | One to Watch: La Garçonne presents debut single Super Hero

La Garçonne photo
First musical discovery of 2012: La Garçonne, the new solo project from singer Ranya Dube. She created this very lovely video for first single Super Hero, and is in the process of putting together an EP before she starts playing live around London town. La Garçonne is named after a novel by Victor Margueritte which was adapted into a French film in the 1930s. ‘It starred Marie Bell and Edith Piaff and was very controversial at the time as it portrayed women in way which society had never been done before. But like me, it was very daring and free which is why I decided to go by this name!’

The single was released on New Year’s Day and you can follow her antics on her Tumblr blog and Facebook and get a free download of Super Hero over on bandcamp. Plus I’ve just persuaded her to join the world of Twitter. Ranya Dube is definitely One to Watch. Take a gander at this mesmerising wonder: the Cocteau Twins never sounded more now.

Categories ,Cocteau Twins, ,Edith Piaff, ,La Garçonne, ,Marie Bell, ,Ranya Dube, ,single, ,Super Hero, ,Victor Margueritte

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Amelia’s Magazine | Review: Truck Festival 2011

Truck Monster Illustration by Barb Royal

Dancing like a loon to jungle music at 3am. Sitting next to a cornfield in the evening sunshine with a succulent burger in one hand and a cider in the other. No, for sale wait, getting some love from the Truck Monster…. no; feeling the love as the most perfect album in the entire history of recorded music was recreated live on stage…. I’m trying to sift through my favourite moments at Truck festival 2011, and I could sit here ad infinitum without coming any closer.

The weekend of July 22-24th is one of Summer’s prime time slots in the festival calender – if this was the telly, it would be the 7.30pm Eastenders or Corrie dilemma, so Truck has always run the risk of being overlooked by the bigger beasts of the festival scene, yet it has diligently carved itself a niche amongst good people who love great music. If I were to try to give Truck a unique selling point, I would say that it’s like attending the worlds hippest village fete (but with no pretentious ‘tude). Example? Next to the stage that Transgressive, Heavenly Records and Bella Union were curating the line-up, the local Rotary Club were serving up cups of tea and scones. At this rate, I wouldn’t have been surprised had I been served tea by a ray-bans wearing vicar.

This year, I brought a good friend who had previously only been to one festival (Glasto), so I was excited to see what she made of something a lot more intimate. Joining us for an all-too brief time was Amelia and her lovely boyfriend Tim, who I last saw at Wood Festival. Sharing the same ethos as Wood (which isn’t hard; they are run by the same family), Truck is a resolutely inclusive, family-friendly festival. Babies and tiny tots are held in high regard here, and are given plenty of fun activities and places to play, which must be a godsend for parents.

Illustration by Benbo

Amelia captures her crew in the early evening sunshine.

Photographs by Amelia Gregory

I noticed that Truck had expanded a fair bit, there were additions of a theatre space, a comedy and cabaret tent, (which I regretfully say that I didn’t give enough attention to – next year I promise!), as well as Wood Field, which was a little slice of Wood festival, curated by the Oxford Folk Festival and providing lots of environmentally friendly activities and workshops (and music of course)

Most of my time was spent by the Clash Stage. This was the place where Transgressive, Heavenly and Bella Union took turns in curating the days set list. I considered myself in safe hands with these three labels; the triumvirate of the independent music scene. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the people behind this. Not least because they nail it again and again and again. Transgressive had kicked proceedings off on Friday with acts like Gaggle, Peggy Sue, Johnny Flynn and Graham Coxon. Gaggle are a force to be reckoned with; I first saw the 20+ piece all-female performance art choir about a year ago at The Lexington and was completely transfixed. They exemplify everything great about being a woman; strong, loud, dynamic and passionate (with killer headgear), I found this photograph of Gaggle posing in the field above Truck to give you a sense of their presence.

photo by Andrew Kendall

Saturday was Heavenly Records turn to take care of us. When I was first really getting into proper music – after my Five Star faze – Heavenly were one of the first cases where I was intrigued by the label as much as the artists. Right from the get go, Heavenly had its finger on the pulse of the dreamy halcyon days of early 90′s indie-pop, underground and all matter of slightly letfield music. And they provided one of the biggest and unexpected highlights for me on Saturday night – Edwyn Collins. First of all, I had no idea how many songs of his I knew without actually realising who had sung them; of course his biggest hit was “A Girl Like You“, and his days with Orange Juice produced the glorious “Rip It Up And Start Again“, but apparently I’ve been singing along to many more of his hits over the last few years. Live, his set was faultless; it was energetic and fun and the audience were loving every minute. It was about halfway in that I suddenly remembered reading that Edwyn had suffered two strokes a few years ago and could not marry up the idea of suffering something so debilitating with the man on stage who was giving us such a wonderful show. After the weekend I learnt that after a stroke, a persons ability to sing can sometimes remain unabated. I left the set in absolute awe of this mans ability and talent.

photo by Andrew Kendall

Tearing ourself away from the Clash Stage for a hot second, we headed over to the Main Stage to catch Gruff Rhys who delivered a brilliant performance. I had never managed to see the Super Furry Animals live, so I was really happy to watch Gruff entertain us. Sensations in the Dark is one of those perfect songs where every second packs a punch – and it’s great to dance to. (Which we did of course).

Gruff Rhys Illustration by Barb Royal

Late Saturday night and the bars kicked into full swing, such as Kidstock (pictured above), home to several sambuca shots which fortified Anshu and myself for our next pit-stop – the Boxford dance tent. My lovely and kind friend Toby Kidd was DJing old skool jungle in a two hour set that led me to discovering that I can actually dance to jungle. (I’m well aware that photos exist that will disprove this belief, I’m just not going to show them to you).

Photo by Ian Taylor
Sunday was a blazing hot day and I spent the first part of the early afternoon watching bands from a horizontal position, whilst letting the good people at the Rotary Club feed me a late breakfast. (Not literally at the same time, that would be too sybaritic – even for me). Bella Union’s set was possibly my favourite over all, I loved Cashier No.9, who opened proceedings and have been playing a lot on 6Music recently. I hadn’t heard of Lantern’s On The Lake, but I really enjoyed their set – it was a mix of loud, jangly guitar and etherial shoe-gaze. In fact Lanterns took shoe-gaze to its most literal level – I didn’t get to see the lead singers eyes – she and her guitar were pointed resolutely at the floor, lost in the wall of sound that she was creating.

Alessi’s Ark is a favourite of Amelia’s Magazine and its contributors so I was eager to see her set as well. She has a sweet delicate sound that reminds me a little of Liz Fraser from Cocteau Twins, which is ironic seeing that the guitarists in the band founded Bella Union, the label that Alessi is signed to.

Alessi’s Ark Illustration by Barb Royal

While my friend went to chill out in the afternoon sunshine with a reflexology session, I made my way over to the Wood stage, where Rachael Dadd was performing songs from her new album Bite The Mountain. I’m feeling like a little bit of a Rachael groupie of late, having gone to both nights of her album launches, as well as watching the beautiful evening that she helped put on a few months ago to raise money for the Japanese tsunami appeal. So although I know most of her songs off by heart now, they still feel fresh with every listen.

Rachael Dadd Illustration by Tom Watson

The most epic part of the weekend took place on Sunday night. Over at the Main Stage, The Dreaming Spires were holding court. The band consists of Robin and Joe Bennett, the brothers behind Truck. Knowing these guys, I knew what they had up their sleeve after their blinding set, which made me very excited. So at 11pm, everyone rushed back to the Clash Tent, where alongside The Magic Numbers, Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou, and Sarah Cracknell of St Etienne, the band performed the entire album of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. From start to finish, every second was magical. The audience sang along for most of the songs, or danced furiously. Watching the album being performed live, it made me realise how sonically perfect Rumours is; the composition of each song is faultless. The songs were sometimes sung en masse, or the various bands would take it in turn to sing. Of course, it wouldn’t be Truck if the Truck Monster didn’t come on stage and dance behind the band, which added a suitably surreal touch to proceedings. It was one of those moments that can never be captured again, and I’m so glad that I got to experience such musical craftsmanship.
All of a sudden, the festival was over for me, as I had to rush home. My spies tell me that me that those who stayed danced late into the night (or early into the morning), drawing to a close a beloved festival that gets everything right.

Photograph by Ian Taylor

Some girls get all the luck. Photograph by Carolina Faruolo

Categories ,Alessi’s Ark, ,Bella Union, ,Cashier No.9, ,Clash, ,Cocteau Twins, ,Edwyn Collins, ,festivals, ,fleetwood mac, ,gaggle, ,Graham Coxon, ,Gruff Rhys, ,Heavenly Recordings, ,Johnny Flynn, ,Lanterns On The Lake, ,live, ,Orange Juice, ,Oxford, ,Oxford Folk Festival, ,Peggy Sue, ,Rachael Dadd, ,Rumours, ,Sarah Cracknell, ,St. Etienne, ,summer, ,Super Furry Animals, ,The Dreaming Spires, ,The Magic Numbers, ,Transgressive Records, ,Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, ,Truck Festival, ,Truck Monster, ,Wood Festival

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Amelia’s Magazine | You Look Cold by Patrick Kelleher: This is no sham rock.

The ICA has always struck me an odd gig venue; with it’s white lights and shiny floors, viagra 100mg symptoms but on Friday 22nd May, pilule something exciting was rumbling in it’s deep dark underbelly and I went home prepared to eat my hat…
I didn’t know too much about Comet Gain before the gig, viagra 40mg and expected them to be over-shadowed by the rest of the line-up, but they held their own in spectacular fashion with their unique blend of Northern Soul and lo-fi, to create a danceable but refreshing rock n’roll.

The Bats

Putting age before beauty, the Bats were on right before young whipper-snappers Crystal Stilts; the most magical inhabitants of New Zealand since hobbits. Having been around since the early 80s and having released a string of consistently good records they seemed to have avoided become publicly known and are quite the cult institution. The crowd at the ICA, myself included, are, blown away by their awesome crashing and soaring folky rock, with Crimson Envy going down like a treat. They have the look of the modern day Pixies (kinda old), with a sound that veers towards early Yo La Tengo or Low.

The Bats

Whilst loving the Crystal Stilts’ debut album, I’m always sceptical of hype bands, but Crystal Stilts most definitely deserve their hype. From the first note, their post-punk, melancholic wall of bassy noise and murmur vocals enrapture the audience. Their single ‘Love is a Wave’, the second song played is a butterfly in the stomach shoe-gaze fest of blurry noise and the rest of the set follows to form.

Crystal Stilts

It is perhaps over easy to compare Crystal Stilts to My Bloody Valentine and their shoe-gaze peers, (it seems that a lot of Brooklyn bands at the moment are being shoehorned into a neo-shoe gaze poor fit) and whilst an element of that is present; mostly from Jesus and Mary Chain‘s Psychocandy, Crystal Stilts are more indebted to the Velvet Underground in their sustaining of a glorious continous noise, and the tuneful grumble of Brad Hargett’s voice is not dissimilar to Lou Reed. Whilst having roots buried in a deep and fruitful musical heritage, Crystal Stilts manage to create something unique to themselves. A band not to be missed.

Crystal Stilts

Photos appear courtesy of Roisin Conway and Cari Steel

Last week I wrote about skate brand CTRL, what is ed and Finnish streetwear is making us giddy all over again with Daniel Palillo, viagra a Helsinki based designer who has recently hurtled into the fashion world. His designs are distinctively relaxed, salve and when I interviewed him he said simply that he likes that “people actually wear the clothes”, citing street style sites as a really positive influence on fashion.


Daniel’s designs are curious, seeing an emphasis on ease and comfort coupled with often a dark and strange aesthetic. The focus is on oversized silhouettes, cut-outs and graphic prints, and there’s a lot of interest in wearability. I think it’s a hard thing to couple both notions of fashion and comfort without sacrificing one for the other, and it’s a delicate balance to strike.


Daniel’s designs, like the CTRL boys, extract the relaxed and unselfconscious element of sportswear as well as making them stylish and progressive. Daniel says that “it’s important for me to feel cosy” and I think it’s an enjoyable philosophy in terms of an aesthetic, seeing clothes that look familiar and worn, but simultaneously edgy.


In a post-Beckham universe with the media heralding the triumph of the metrosexual male, skinny jeans, brogues and hair gel, it’s refreshing to see a designer who sends his models down the runway in beaten up pairs of sneakers. Daniel believes that “clothing should be more than a collar shirt and chino pants”, instead making way for the wardrobe for the moody younger brother who has emerged from his room, tousle-haired and sore-thumbed from too much videogaming, only to head off down the street to cause some trouble somewhere. The graphic prints recall 90s videogames like PacMan and Frogger, juxtaposed with relentlessly modern silhouettes. His Spring/Summer ’09 collection was inspired by ice hockey players and sailors, but equally he says his ideas can be generated by the epic act of hitting search into Google Image.



This younger brother has got a black side, though. The sense of familiarity is complicated by the movement into the darker realms of nightmarish fairytales, aliens, ghosts and monsters of the videogames themselves. It’s a darkness that Daniel says is influenced by Finland itself, maintaining “we are very pessimistic people here. It’s dark for all the winter, so I guess it affects the way we work.”


I think the pessimism is countered by something else, and a lot of people have found the tragicomic element of Daniel’s clothing one of the most extraordinary facets, as with the print of the eerie skull with a bouffant hairstyle, an example of two totally non-sequitar ideas that are difficult to respond to with any clarity about how it makes you feel. This is an idea reflected in his interest in playing with proportions of the human body, with his models often striking unnatural poses that impress the sense of distortion from the garments themselves.


The humour certainly throws the melancholy into focus, and he says that “thats definitely the way I look at life. You can find so many funny things in the saddest things in life”.

You Look Cold left me hot under the collar, viagra buy this debut album from 24 year-old, patient Irish Patrick Kelleher is awe-inspiring in it’s genre-bashing brilliance and refreshing take on a myriad of musical references. Swinging from Vincent Gallo‘s most whispery nonchalance to thumping electro beats circa Talking Heads with David Byrne/ Ian Curtis shouty vocals (‘He Has to Sleep Sometime’) via an obvious interest early 90s hip-hop, perhaps A Tribe Called Quest most noticeably, no small feat for one man!


There is a vulnerable innocence to Kelleher’s music, it would be too easy to pigeon-hole him as a Sufjan Stevens/ early Patrick Wolf troubadour figure. He consistently avoids being fey or folky by a unique drum loops, his sheer vocal range and spooky sampling and unexpected rhythm pattern worthy of Animal Collective, this is particularly noticeable on the wonderful ‘Coat to Wear’ and ‘Finds You’ . ‘Multipass’ whilst a midpoint interval from the Avey Tare-esque bumps and bangs, stands out as a personal favourite, with it’s quiet electronic epicness.


This album whilst crammed with diverse reference points and orchestral density avoids convolution or verbosity by having the defined structure of a true masterpiece, with leitmotifs that re-occur, like the Casio keyboard or drum machine. Kelleher clearly has the talent, intelligence and sound knowledge of lo-fi production (most noticeably cassettes although this is never the focal piece of the sound production) to create something that is not in anyway derivative and totally unique to himself.
Kelleher deserves a lot of recognition for this intelligent, spookily erratic and starkly beautiful record.


You Look Cold’ by Patrick Kelleher is released on 13th July on Osaka Records

Categories ,Album Review, ,Electronica, ,Folk, ,Indie, ,Ireland, ,Lo-fi

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Amelia’s Magazine | Efterklang – The Asylum, Birmingham – Live Review

This year the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2009 graces the walls of the Natural History Museum for another year and it’s safe to say this is one exhibition that cannot be missed. Owned by the museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, view the competition is one that prides itself on exposing and celebrating the diversity of life on the planet.

The room dedicated to this exhibiton is dimly lit and you discover that this is to make way for the photographs themselves. Each one is displayed on a screen, cialis 40mg illuminated from behind so that they stand as
The competiton is divided into categories, first showing the winner and then a selection of those that are highly recommended.

Under the heading of ‘Urban and Garden Wildlife’ I find the corresponding winner to be something of a stroke of genius. The entries are required to be poignant, beautiful or striking comopositions of wild animals or plants in urban or suburban settings. The judges look for uncommonly good images of common subjects. It’s easy to see why ‘Respect’ by Igor Shilpenok (Russia) was the judges’ favourite. The centre of the photo is a stage for a stand off – one small domestic cat against a considerably bigger wild fox. This is one cat that clearly has a ________ complex. There’s something quite triumphant about this scene. You feel a sense of jubilation in his victory over the intruder. Shilpenok was working as a ranger in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve in Kamchatka, Russia with his cat Ryska for company. He comments that, “One day Ryska, protecting me, ran to attack an approaching fox. The fox bottled it and Ryska instantly earned respect from the foxes – and me”.

In this exhibition, it’s not only the animals that are showcased – there are also categories committed to the plant kingdom. ‘Wild Places’ presents photographs that must show scenes that are wild and awe-inspiring. The judges look for beautiful light, a true feeling of wilderness and a sense of awe. The photograph of ‘The Fountain Of Ice’ by Floris Van Breugel is one that doesn’t quite register at first. It’s easy to read it as a digitally manipulated image and even after a closer glance it’s hard not see it in this way. Had I not known it’s origin, it could just be another picture in the same vein as other framed waterfall paintings found hung on the walls of a garishly decorated Seventies living room. But what makes this all the more impressive is that this is, without question, a completely bona fide photograph. Taken in the Bailey Range in Olympic National Park, Washington, is a challenging route with few trails. Scrambling and rock-climbing with a heavy pack, Floris was forced to stop short of his destination. But that didn’t matter, because close to where he camped, he discovered this miniature gem of an ice-cave and waterfall. The ice had melted to the thickness that allowed just the right amount of light to filter through and produce an otherworldly blue, illuminating the waterfall and waterside plants.
Last week a group of 21 activists from around the country stormed Didcot Power Station in an awe inspiring action that managed to force the power company to switch from burning coal to gas, ampoule a much cleaner power source, price dramatically reduce the output of the power station as well as inspiring protestors across the world.
A group locked on to the coal conveyor belts halting the supply of coal to the furnace and at the same time 9 protestors scaled the 600 ft chimney, occupied a room and pitched tents next to the chimney flues. Unfortunately the plan to camp in the flues for a week was impossible as it became apparent that they were too hot too stay in for any long period of time.

Although the Didcot Power Station protest may ostensibly have come to a rather unsatisfactory and anticlimactic end, with the nine remaining protesters arrested when they descended last Wednesday having failed to disrupt power generation for a week as planned, the protesters achieved something more important in successfully raising more awareness of the threat of climate change.

The group met at climate camp London this year, and are not just an obscure group of radicals shrouded in secrecy, but just ordinary individuals from all sorts of trades and professions who felt compelled to do something. Initiatives for environmental action are constantly being developed by normal people who happen to meet, and agree that something needs to be done.

While the action did not gain quite the level of publicity it perhaps hoped for, given its dramatic and unusual nature, there was a reasonable degree of press coverage.

What is surprising however, and perhaps indicative of heightened public concern regarding environmental issues, was that rather condemning the protest as the work of misguided hippies, coverage in the BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, and even the Daily Mail seemed at worst objective, and at best sympathetic.

Although a mainstream newspaper clearly cannot condone ‘unlawful’ protests outright, the Guardian’s article condemning ‘punitive pre-charge bail conditions’, while not compromising its own position, showed a certain solidarity by emphasising the increasingly dubious actions of law-enforcers.

The article’s inflammatory title, ‘Didcot demonstration: Police use bail restrictions to stifle climate protest’ carefully negotiates a pro-environment position that put the actions of police, not protesters, in the spotlight.

Of course, there will still be those who dismiss these facts as irrelevant, or outweighed by the jobs and electricity Didcot provides. But crucially debate is being provoked, and it is becoming increasingly clear that provocateurs are not extremists, they are people who feel that the current circumstances require extreme action. The demystification of environmental protest – making it seem more inclusive, distilling it down to an issue of personal choices just like any other political issue – will hopefully encourage others.

In a BBC article, John Rainford of RWE power is quoted as saying, “Sitting on top of a chimney isn’t going to affect climate change. The people who can – and do – really make a difference are the people at the bottom of the chimney – the power station workers. They are deeply passionate and absolutely committed to cutting emissions. These are the people who work in the community, live in the community and care about their community”. While it is true that sitting on a chimney did not stop climate change instantly and directly, there is more truth to his words than he knows. Protests are changing public opinion, and if wasn’t for public opinion there would be no call or incentive for a cut in emissions. It is small actions of the builders, receptionists and power station workers which together will determine the survival or demise of coal power in Britain.


Efterklang are a seven-piece from the tiny Danish island of Als who have big ideas involving strings, information pills brass and symphonic harmonies, viagra approved refusing to let a lack of classical training serve as a deterrent. We’ve heard and loved the album, Performing Parades, now it is time for the live experience with Nancy Elizabeth in support.

“Strong as a silk thread”

With songs like spider’s webs, Nancy Elizabeth takes the stage and casts spells. The silences between the music were broken only by the kerching of the bar cash register. A most incongruous sound against Elizabeth‘s songs, almost taunting her that her beautiful, Beth Gibbons style, delicate folk compositions will not earn her the living she deserves. Shamefully the record buying public will not embrace this artist as they should, will not clasp her to their collective bosom and give her a fraction of the kudos they heap upon the myriad of less inspired female singer songwriters. Elizabeth‘s ethereal vocal dominates the set and for several tracks is the only instrument used, to astounding effect. Elements of Cocteau Twins, Low, Portishead and perhaps even Aphex Twin, writhe and coil towards our ears, wrapping around our brain stems, poisoning us with the spaces between words.


“This world is for the birds”

Efterklang, here represented by seven human beings and their many instruments, are enormous. Each tune they play makes you feel slightly better about yourself. The exuberance and their sheer joy in playing this stripped down set wakes you up, running you through countless emotions. All the best ones, anyway. I say stripped down, they have been playing with a full orchestra, which bizarrely makes a stage crammed with seven bodies and multitudinous pieces of hardware ‘stripped down’.

“You wrote a novel, I gave it’s tune.”

On stage they talk and banter between each other and the audience in good nature, telling a story about a man called Bear and the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” I couldn’t tell you much more than that through the accent and mispronunciations, but how well do you get by in Danish? Lines from songs free themselves from their constraints and hurl themselves at me, lodging in my temporal lobe. They stayed there safe, until now when they spill across my page, headlining and bookending these words.


“I know we didn’t kiss”

They are many gigantic shades of joy and gorgeousness. They fill the room from floor to ceiling with music. Explosive, expansive music that excites you. Ethereal, angelic sounds that stay just on the right side of “soundscapes”. A solid mass of sound that will crush you, press you down, seep into you through your pores. It hurts.

Seeing this band live hurts. But in the good way.

Efterklang is the danish word for remembrance and reverberation, the album helped solidify that fact, the live experience makes the name ever more apt.

Categories ,aphew twin, ,brighton, ,Cocteau Twins, ,efterklang, ,gig, ,live, ,low, ,nancy elizabeth, ,review, ,sigur ros

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