Amelia’s Magazine | Album Review: First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar

First Aid Kit by Sarah Ryan
First Aid Kit by Sarah Ryan.

Out today: the beautiful new album from Swedish sisters First Aid Kit. Every tune is a wonder… starting with first single The Lion’s Roar, a plaintive ode to the moon, cowardice, love and life.

Johanna takes lead vocals in this perfect example of First Aid Kit‘s own particular blend of modern country folk. Then comes current single Emmylou, a song dominated by the gently pulsing pedal guitar in homage to their country heros. Klara takes on a whole verse, showcasing a newly confident voice that is full of sweet soul. Things take a more bittersweet turn with In The Hearts Of Men, whilst Blue opens with a chirpy glockenspiel that belies a tale of doubt, as do the glorious harmonies of To A Poet. The bigger sound showcased on this second album is perfected in I Found A Way, which features a backdrop of lush orchestration. The saddest of themes are given the slow pace of Dance To Another Tune, whilst the wonderful Wolf drives onward with a healthy beat and a jaunty singing style that marks it out as a possible next single. New Year’s Eve returns to more familiar acoustic territory – just Johanna‘s soaring vocals and a strummed zither.

First Aid Kit by Becca Thorne
First Aid Kit by Becca Thorne.

The album finishes on the upbeat (it’s all relative in the Söderberg‘s world!) King Of The World, which features a guest vocal from their hero Bright Eyes. It’s clear that these past two years on the road have heavily influenced The Lion’s Roar; inspiring and enriching these sisters’ extraordinary talents that put the over-produced auto-tuned pap that dominates our airwaves to shame. And the thing is, the Söderberg sisters are even better in the flesh, so if you have never seen them live make sure you do when they next swing by – you’re in for a real treat.

First Aid Kit by Hannah Lewis
First Aid Kit – Emmylou by Hannah Lewis.

Make sure you read my recent interview with First Aid Kit, in which Klara describes the making of and inspiration behind the new album. The Lion’s Roar is released today on Wichita Recordings.

First aid kit - emmylou by EdieOP
First Aid Kit – Emmylou by EdieOP.

Categories ,Becca Thorne, ,Blue, ,Bright Eyes, ,Conor Oberst, ,country, ,Dance To Another Tune, ,Edie Owczarek-Palfreyman, ,EdieOP, ,Emmylou, ,First Aid Kit, ,folk, ,Hannah Lewis, ,Harmonies, ,I Found A Way, ,In The Hearts Of Men, ,Johanna Söderberg, ,King Of The World, ,Klara Söderberg, ,Mike Moggis, ,review, ,Sarah Ryan, ,Swedish, ,The Lion’s Roar, ,To A Poet, ,Track by Track, ,Wichita Recordings, ,wolf

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Amelia’s Magazine | A meeting with indie folk blues rockers Peggy Sue.

peggysue by kellie black
Illustration of Peggy Sue by Kellie Black.

I arrive by bike as usual to meet the three members of Peggy Sue at Spitalfields Market. Rosa got lost on hers and didn’t make their 6Music interview earlier in the day, more about which handily alerted me to the fact that it is Katy’s 24th birthday today, as well as the official launch of their new album Fossils and Other Phantoms. I wonder if their plan to go bowling in Brick Lane has come off, but it turns out the bowling alley was closed and they had to make do with chucking oranges at Lucozade bottles in the Old Truman Brewery instead. After their launch gig at Rough Trade East the band plan to head over to the Scala to enjoy the scuzzy sounds of Mount Eerie.

Even though Peggy Sue have been around for a few years they were only signed to Wichita at the end of 2009. Despite this, Katy, Rosa and Olly began recording their album over a three week period in New York last year. Producer Alex Newport – who has worked with the likes of Does it Offend You, Yeah? – first discovered the girls a couple of years ago at SXSW and he was joined by John Askew, better known as a producer of trance music, but who has also worked with The Dodos. They worked on the album in the studio at night and it was really intense. “But we wanted to do as much as possible,” says Rosa, “plus we like to work really hard.”

peggysue by kellie black
Illustration of Rosa by Kellie Black.

Many of the songs were written in New York, but they came back to the UK to overdub the tracks with friends. Peggy Sue seem quite amused that some of their session musicians belong to bands much more famous than theirs, with a horn section provided by members of Arcade Fire and TV on the Radio.

With the album finished a little over a year ago I wonder if they aren’t perhaps a bit frustrated with the long wait for it to come out officially?
Katy: For a little while we were, but then you just realise that you have to work around other people’s schedules. We’ve only been playing a few new songs on tour so we’re not sick of them yet. We haven’t run out of emotion!
Rosa: We purposefully held back some songs till the album came out.
Olly: And we’ve written some new songs since the album was made.
How pushy is your record company?
Katy: No one tells us what to do.
That I can well believe….

Quite a few reviewers seem to have identified a strong theme of heartbreak running through the album. How would you respond to this?
Katy: Some songs are about breaking other people’s hearts
Rosa: …or endings in general. They can be morose when taken as a whole body of work, but not when taken individually.
Katy: Some people are just ignoring the other themes. We take it in turns to do lead vocals so it’s not like they’re all about just one break up. I don’t know if I want to be known as horribly bruised by love…
Rosa: I don’t remember the last time I had my heart broken!

peggysue by kellie black
Illustration of Olly by Kellie Black.

They used to be Peggy Sue and the Pirates. What happened to the Pirates?
Katy: When Rosa and I started the band we were both studying at Sussex and it was just for fun. I was doing American Studies and Film. I’m still supposed to go to the US for a year as part of my course, but I keep deferring…
Olly: I was studying Popular Music at Goldsmiths, but I didn’t finish either. I prefer to actually make music.
Rosa: I was studying English Literature, but I’m the only one who finished my degree. We started getting serious two years ago when Olly joined. It made sense to drop the Pirates bit when we stopped being a duo and our music became less folky.

How did you girls hook up in the first place?
Katy: I was offered a gig as a solo artist and I asked Rosa to help out.
Rosa: I was so nervous I vomited into my mouth when I went on stage.
Katy: It was really nice to do it together. It was how you should start a band – it didn’t work when I tried to find people I didn’t know; a band needs to be built on good relationships.

How did you guys find Olly?
Olly: I went to Brighton and saw Peggy Sue playing as part of Brighton Festival – I fell in love with them immediately and became a bit of a groupie. I met them again at SXSW, and saw them play in my hometown of Margate.
Rosa: You were one of our favourite fans; we used to give you CDs for free!
Katy: We made him come and watch The Dodos so he could see what we wanted with the drum section and he liked it.
Olly: To start with I didn’t think it was a good idea for the girls to get a drummer because I preferred them without… but then I kept sending lots of pestering emails…
Eventually he organised his own audition in one of the practice rooms at his college, at which point Katy and Rosa realised he could be a great asset. Does he mind being the only man in a band with such strong women?
Olly: Not really, I’m half a girl
Rosa: …and I’m half a boy.

peggysue by kellie black
Illustration of Katy by Kellie Black.

Olly learnt drums at secondary school, Rosa learnt piano and Katy learnt a bit of piano and some clarinet. But as a band they play whatever they can lay their hands on, with great aplomb. How do they pick up all these different instruments so easily?
Katy: There’s something about teaching yourself that means you only play what you can but you play it really well. It’s nice to be self taught as it means there are no rules.
Rosa: I understand enough about how to put music together but I can’t read music very well. It means you discover new things.
Katy: I understand music in quite a mathematical way but I find it hard to translate that into playing a guitar. They are two separate things in my head
Which are your favourite instruments?
Katy: I like my electric guitar.
Rosa: For me it always goes back to the guitar. But when I try a new instrument I end up writing new melodies as I learn how to play it, which means that every song turns out differently.
Olly: I never imagined I would play the guitar but I ended up strumming a few notes on some of the songs, and now I’ve built a bucket base too…
Rosa: …it sounded in tune until we started recording…

I loved the video for single Watchman. How did you get that made?
Katy: We asked illustrator Betsy Dadd to make the video when she was going out with my best mate.
I like the humping angels. What guidance did you give?
Katy: I said she could tap into whatever themes she wanted. We don’t often make videos.
Rosa: In a perfect world we’d have one for every song
Some of the imagery would be great for putting onto merchandise.
Katy: I’d like to put some of the stills onto a t-shirt. We’ve got only one design going at the moment. It features a wolf dancing with a skeleton.

At the time of interviewing the band Katy had just been offered a place at Berkeley in California, but fear not she won’t be going unless she can put her heart and soul into it. Which means we’ve lucked out instead. For now you can catch that great big heart and soul at a whole pile of festivals this summer. Including Dot to Dot and the Park Stage at Glastonbury on Saturday morning.

You can read my review of Fossils and Other Phantoms here.

Categories ,6Music, ,Alex Newport, ,Arcade Fire, ,Berkeley, ,blues, ,Brighton Festival, ,california, ,Does it Offend You, ,Dot to Dot, ,folk, ,Fossils and Other Phantoms, ,glastonbury, ,goldsmiths, ,Indie, ,John Askew, ,Kellie Black, ,mount eerie, ,Old Truman Brewery, ,Park Stage, ,Peggy Sue, ,Pirates, ,Rough Trade East, ,Scala, ,Spitalfields Market, ,Sussex, ,sxsw, ,The Dodos, ,TV on the Radio, ,Wichita Recordings, ,Yeah?

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Amelia’s Magazine | Album Review: Peggy Sue – Fossils and Other Phantoms

Illustration of Peggy Sue by Antonia Parker.

Peggy Sue have been around in various incarnations – previously accompanied by the Pirates – for sometime. So already engrained in the indie consciousness as they are, viagra sale it comes as a real surprise to discover that their first long player has only just come out. A true band of our internet led times.

Released at the end of April on Wichita Recordings, visit web Fossils and Other Phantoms therefore finds the work of an already mature band with a strongly identifiable sound of their own. A combination of indie and folk with a strong streak of the blues and even doo-wop, and husky vocalists Katy Klaw and Rosa Rex take turns to lead the tunes against a firm rhythmic backbone courtesy of drummer Olly Joyce, who comes crashing in halfway into opening track Long Division Blues after a slowly spiralling build up. His presence is never far away, even when the girls resort to the glorious simplicity of a simple guitar, kazoo or uke to back their playfully tumbling harmonies – I Read It In The Paper, Green Grow The Rushes and The Shape We Made soon grow into bigger songs with the addition of percussion.


Single Watchman is a tuneful favourite that is accompanied by a gorgeously surreal animated video by Betsy Dadd. Soulful lyrics sound heavily influenced by complicated love lives (though I discovered this is not quite the case when I interviewed the band) and render this album the perfect heartbreak sound track, but the point when you most definitely feel it’s time to pick yourself up and stand proudly independent again. Yo Mama sees them stand defiant “I’m gonna go downtown and find myself someone,” they assure us.

The album was launched with a free gig at Rough Trade East, which also happened to fall on Katy’s birthday. Accompanied by extra violin and cello “the one who bought me the cake is my favourite out of our string section” the trio powered through an energetic set in front of a clearly adoring though somewhat coy crowd. Despite problems with feedback and tuning “normally we tune up properly before a gig but we drank beer instead cos it’s my birthday” it was a great showcase for these talented and very individual multi-instrumentalists.

Illustration of the Peggy Sue string section by Antonia Parker.

Read my in-depth interview with Peggy Sue here.

Categories ,album review, ,Antonia Parker, ,Betsy Dadd, ,ep, ,Fossils and Other Phantoms, ,gig, ,Katy Klaw, ,Launch, ,Lover Gone, ,Olly Joyce, ,Peggy Sue, ,Rosa Rex, ,Rough Trade East, ,Wichita Recordings

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Amelia’s Magazine | First Aid Kit: a taster of the new album with single The Lion’s Roar

I’m a massive fan of the incredibly young Swedish twosome known as First Aid Kit, tadalafil and none more so than when I discovered that their father (and mentor) was once in a band with my mum’s Swedish cousin. Tis a small world, aye.

Listen to The Lion’s Roar here.

First Aid Kit have been wowing audiences in America as support for Lykke Li and now they’re back with a new single from their second album, both called The Lion’s Roar. At a performance in Stockholm they even dumbfounded the legendary Patti Smith (watch the video here)

YouTube Preview ImageGhost Town

On December 6th they will be wowing audiences with a full showcase of the new record at Bush Hall. The Lion’s Roar was recorded in Omaha with production by Mike Moggis of Bright Eyes fame, and their dad doing duty on the bass. If the single is anything to go by the new album will be every bit as superb as their first.

YouTube Preview ImageBright Eyes & First Aid Kit – We’re Going to Be Friends (The White Stripes Cover)

For more information visit the First Aid Kit website or read our review of their first album The Big Black and Blue and my review of their Union Chapel gig last year.

The Lion’s Roar (single) is out in December on Wichita Recordings.

Categories ,Bright Eyes, ,Bush Hall, ,First Aid Kit, ,Lykke Li, ,Mike Moggis, ,Omaha, ,patti smith, ,single, ,Swedish, ,The Big Black and Blue, ,The Lion’s Roar, ,union chapel, ,Wichita Recordings

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Amelia’s Magazine | Gig Review: Wichita 10th Anniversary Celebrations at The Highbury Garage

Peggy Sue Illustration by Emilie Lashmar

Wichita, price the record label that has brought us Bloc Party, The Cribs, Los Campesinos! and Simian Mobile Disco (to name but a few) continued its 10th Anniversary celebrations at the Relentless™ Garage in sunny Highbury. As a special birthday treat, early arrivals received a gift bag full of delightful Wichita goodies, including a Simian Mobile Disco vinyl LP and the new album from Peter, Bjorn and John. The resultant hubbub and excited rustling of bags did little to detract from a nice opening set from Meg Baird, whose delicate fingerpicking and lush, hushed vocals set the tone for a great evening of folk.

Next on stage was the more vivacious Peggy Sue, who didn’t hesitate to show a dazzled crowd why their debut album Fossils and Other Phantoms was so critically acclaimed. Opening the set with the captivating, percussive ‘Watchman’, Rosa and Katy really were a surprise and a delight – consider me a convert. Their luxurious, soulful vocal harmonies were only outdone by their impressive instrumental dexterity, alternating effortlessly between guitar, percussion, ukulele and accordion. With Olly’s marching drums ably complemented by the violin and cello of Becca and Emma, the highlight of the set came in the form of a particularly stunning rendition of ‘Yo Mama’, its chirruping, Gallic accordion and bluesy lead riff laying a spirited backdrop to Katy and Rosa’s spectacular voices. As the girls finished their all-too-brief set with a modest thanks to Wichita and the crowd, the sheer volume of rapturous applause (particularly in such an intimate venue) was a real testament to the performance. You can’t help but get the impression these two have only good things on the horizon.

Illustration by Jill Patterson

Last up were headliners (and perennial Amelia’s Mag favourites First Aid Kit, each taking to the stage in stunning gold dresses – Klara’s marbled with purple paisley, Johanna’s with a magnificent Persian pattern flecked with deep reds and autumnal browns. As someone who had heard little of their music beyond their fantastic cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ (Youtube it) and recent single ‘I Met Up With the King’, I was pleasantly surprised by their laid-back, distinctly acoustic folk-pop; mature, intricate lyrics and the sibling’s vocal harmonies – the combination of which results in a sound reminiscent of Tegan and Sara’s ‘So Jealous’ crossed with the aforementioned Foxes’ eponymous first album.

Despite coming off a little awkward at first, Johanna and Clara soon settled into a relaxed, warm-hearted banter with the crowd between songs as they made their way through debut album ‘The Big Black and The Blue’. It was settling in to be a perfectly pleasant – if unremarkable – set until, four or five songs in, Kara brazenly unplugged her guitar and the sisters emerged from behind the microphones and belted out a beautiful rendition of ‘Ghost Town’ to the muted room. The stripped down version of an already great song perfectly played to the intimate setting.

The spectacle didn’t stop there. Perhaps buoyed by the song’s thunderous reception, the girls then proceeded to hilariously produce four tickets to this weekend’s Latitude festival, before plucking four volunteering fans from the crowd for a heart-warming demonstration of the brave souls’ lyrical knowledge, with a pair of tickets going to the two winners. It certainly brought the evening to life, as the crowd – now buzzing with excitable chatter – cheered on their favourite contestant. And although you had to feel bad for the unlucky guy and gal who left the stage empty handed, it was impossible not to be charmed.

Closing off the set with the lovely lilting melodies of ‘I Met Up With The King’ was a perfect end to the evening (and no, I wasn’t biased by it being the only song I knew all the lyrics to). Emerging from the Garage and shuffling sleepy-eyed towards the Tube with a bag full of music treats, I couldn’t help but feel contented: beautiful music, memorable chatter and an irrepressible charm to the whole occasion – it perfectly summed up Wichita as a label. And the celebrations aren’t over; the likes of Los Campesinos! (a truly great live act), The Cribs and Johnny Foreigner are still to come later this week. On the basis of last night, it will be well worth a look.

Categories ,Bloc Party, ,First Aid Kit, ,Gig review, ,Los Campesinos, ,Meg Baird, ,Peggy Sue, ,Tegan and Sara, ,The Cribs, ,The Garage, ,Wichita Recordings

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Amelia’s Magazine | My Best Albums of 2010

Image courtesy of Rogue

Initiating a relationship over the Internet is an age-old tale and I have friends who have successfully trodden this path, viagra dosage no rx but not without some initial trepidation. There’s always the joke about boys being deluded about their height, unhealthy often adding an inch or four to their profiles (or being axe-murderers), and girls uploading old photos when they were a good few pounds lighter (or being bunny boilers). But beyond the aesthetics, how much do you really know about your online confidante? And on the flipside, how far are you willing to stretch the truth to ensure that you are presenting yourself in the best light?

Produced by filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, who directed the brilliant docufilm “Capturing the Friedmans” in 2003, Catfish is the directorial feature film debut of Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, who explore these themes, human psychology and the modern technological landscape as a medium for communication, closely following a ‘virtual’ relationship as it unfolds over Facebook and phone calls. Made with a budget of only around $30,000, the film was an unlikely hit at the Sundance Film Festival last year, which had audience members and critics alike hyperventilating with excitement.

Illustration courtesy of Avril Kelly

When I received my invite to the press screening, I was urged to read as little about Catfish as possible to avoid spoiling my experience of the film. As I would urge you to do the same, I can tell you that writing this review is going to prove difficult but here goes…

Filmed using a grainy handheld camera, the story revolves around the film’s protagonist, Nev Schulman, a young, charismatic, sleepy-eyed New-York based photographer who becomes involved, via Facebook, with an eight-year-old art prodigy named Abby in Michigan. Abby approaches Nev to ask for his permission to use a photograph for a painting and a fraternal relationship ensues between Nev and Abby, which becomes increasingly complex as Nev becomes involved with the rest of her family: Abby’s mother, Angela, and Abby’s attractive horse-riding, guitar-playing, party-loving 19-year-old sister, Megan, along with Megan’s intricate network of friends.  Needless to say, a less fraternal relationship develops between Nev and Megan and before we know it, they are “sexting”, amalgamating naked photos of themselves and speaking every night via the plethora of the networking tools that we have at our disposal today. Nothing, however, is quite as it seems as the film takes several unexpected twists and turns to reach a not entirely surprising yet poignant conclusion. 

Illustration courtesy of Avril Kelly

One of the film’s key strengths lies in Nev’s engaging hopeless romantic, drawing empathy from his viewers as we are taken on a journey of his evolving feelings for Megan and her family. Throughout the course of the film, we see Nev experience infatuation, doubt, anger, disappointment, betrayal and then sympathy – feelings of which are all doubtless familiar to us, whether in the virtual or real world. The way in which the film is shot, where Nev talks about his thoughts and feelings directly to the camera as if we were talking to a family member or a close friend (fitting really seeing as Schulman is Nev’s brother and Joost is one of his best friends), makes us feel as if we are sharing a very private experience with Nev, helping us to bond and identify with his character.

Where David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’sThe Social Network” is about the creation of Facebook, Catfish is a film about the consequences of such creations, which may explain why its subject matter has resonated so strongly with audiences, seeing as approximately 5 billion of us across the globe are subscribed to a mobile phone contract and 500 million of us are active users of Facebook (although I exclude myself from the latter).

Illustration courtesy of Avril Kelly

At the risk of revealing too much, “Catfish” goes far deeper than simply being “another film about Facebook”. It throws up moral questions such as to what extent one can indulge in what superficially appears to be harmless innocent fantasies before we start to infringe on the wellbeing of others. This issue, however, is not strictly confined to the realms of an online environment, although it can be argued that modern technological advances, especially social networking, has made this deception somewhat easier to play out and sustain.

There has been much debate about the authenticity of “Catfish” and I for one am not completely convinced that we are not being taken for a ride, however, regardless of whether the movie is a hoax, Catfish is an absorbing, thought-provoking and affecting indie about hope, crushed dreams and the society that we live in where social media and modern technology provides a platform for our inner-narcissist, potential to deceive or desire to escape reality to a fictional world where life is more kind. In Joost’s own words, “Our profiles are a chance to present ourselves to the world in a way we can completely control – unlike face-to-face interaction”.

Read our exclusive interview with the director of Catfish, Henry Joost, here.

Catfish is currently showing at selected cinemas across the UK and available on DVD from today.  

Ariel “Rel” Schulman (left) and Henry Joost (right); illustration courtesy of Matilde Sazio

The co-directors of Sundance favourite Catfish, for sale   Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, page met in high school and have been filmmaking partners since 2006. Together they founded the New York City production company Supermarché and have produced award-winning advertisements and documentaries for well-known companies and institutions, this including Nike, American Express, Harvard Business School, Pitchfork Media and The National Scrabble Association. As an acknowledgement of their talent, the duo’s web short “What’s the Big Idea“, starring Danny DeVito, was nominated for a Webby in 2008.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Joost spent most of his childhood travelling the world with his mother, a photographer, and his father, an international banker. He is still an avid traveller and collector of cameras, which he uses to capture both film and still.

To celebrate the release of Catfish, Joost talks exclusively to Amelia’s Magazine about the inspiration behind the film, his views on social networking and the emotional rocky road he shared with the Schulman brothers (Nev, the film’s protagonist and Ariel, co-director), from the moment the cameras started rolling…

Illustration courtesy of Matilde Sazio

How was the initial idea for ‘Catfish’ conceived? What made you start filming Nev in the first place?
From my perspective the film began as one of Rel’s pet projects that I became increasingly interested in. When Nev and Abby’s story became like a living soap opera I joined in, filming Nev as well. We have a deal with each other and with our friends that it’s ok to film all the time. We keep a personal record of our lives with these little HD cameras we keep in our pockets. Sometimes it turns into something but more often than not the footage lives on a hard-drive, unwatched.

Did you have any expectations when you started filming?
Rel had an instinct that he was shooting what could become a charming short film about two artists meeting on the internet and inspiring each other. Or just another strange episode in his brother’s life. That’s enough for us to go on. It was only after 8 months of filming sporadically in the midst of our busy lives, that we realized that true nature of the story we were telling.

What makes Nev compelling as a protagonist? Why should we care what happens to him?
Nev is compelling to me because he’s one of my best friends and plays a huge part in my life. I think he has a natural charisma that people connect with.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and he’s not afraid to expose himself, which people respect. In Catfish he’s an everyman. We’re all looking for connections online, hoping to find love, friendship, or inspiration.

How did you find your directorial relationship with Ariel evolve over the course of filming? Were there any debates at any stage in how you wanted to approach things?
Rel and I have been working together for about 6 years now, so we have a natural and largely unspoken dynamic. I think our personalities complement each other and we rarely disagree. My role was often to keep the peace between the two brothers.

Illustration courtesy of Matilde Sazio

What was the most challenging thing about filming ‘Catfish’?
The most difficult thing for me was balancing making the film with fear for my personal safety, although that fear turned out to be unfounded. There is a moment in the film that was the scariest of my life, but I felt emboldened by the camera and knowing that we were on a quest for truth.

Has Nev’s experience made you more cautious of social networking?
I was cautious about social networking to start with, so this has only confirmed my suspicions. Although the contradictory effect of the film is that I’m also much more open to people I meet online now, because those people could turn out to be real friends or collaborators.

Do you think social networking has served to strengthen or weaken the depth of the relationships that we build with people?
I don’t think it’s possible to have more than a few close friends with or without Facebook.  Social networking has allowed us to maintain more superficial relationships than ever before with incredible speed and ease, but I don’t think it particularly affects our few real relationships.

I don’t have a Facebook account – can you give me one fool-proof reason why I should join?
Wouldn’t you like to know what your boyfriend from 8th grade looks like now?


Illustration courtesy of Aysim Genc

Prior to the revelatory moment where Nev discovers that ‘Megan’ has uploaded Suzanna Choffel’s version of Tennessee Stud as her own, did you at any point have any suspicions about Megan and her family? Did anything seem odd to you?
We did have suspicions at first. It seemed strange that this artist was giving her valuable paintings away for free. But suspicions about a potential financial scam were assuaged when Angela sent Nev a check for $500 – half of the winnings from an art contest Abby won with a painting of one of Nev’s photos. Suspicions were always addressed in a clever way or buried under a mountain of contradictory evidence.

Illustration courtesy of Aysim Genc

What were you most surprised about when you first met Angela?
I was completely surprised by Angela. We imagined a lot of scenarios, but in my wildest imagination I don’t think I could have ever conjured up Angela in all of her complexity. More surprising still was how well we all got along so well.

What were your own feelings towards Angela initially and did they change as you got to know her better?
I expected to meet some kind of villain behind all of this deception, so it was a relief to meet Angela. We found her to be fun, smart, and engaging and were happy that she and Vince really welcomed us into their lives.

Illustration courtesy of Aysim Genc

Is there a message you’d like viewers to go away with after having seen ‘Catfish’?
I think one of the great things about the film is that everyone brings their own experiences into the theater with them, and walks away with a different message. I would hate to color that in any way with my own personal opinion.

Do you think there is an element of Angela in all of us in how we go about presenting ourselves in the ‘virtual world’?
I think we all curate our online personae and what Angela did is incredibly relatable. Who among us has not de-tagged a photo, or agonized about our “interests” or “relationship status” on Facebook? Our profiles are a chance to present ourselves to the world in a way we can completely control – unlike face-to-face interaction.

Read our review of Catfish here.

Catfish is out at selected cinemas across the UK now and available on DVD from Monday 10th January.  
Best Albums of 2010 by LJG Art & Illustration
Best Albums of 2010 by LJG Art & Illustration.

Last year I discovered a whole slew of marvellous new albums. So I thought I would round them up before we got too far into 2011 – some I have already reviewed, approved and some I meant to review but didn’t get around to it, sildenafil thereby giving me the perfect opportunity to do so now. Without further ado here are my picks of 2010.

Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou by Abigail Nottingham
Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou by Abigail Nottingham.

Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou – England
Loose Music
We’ve been championing this duo in various musical guises over the years… and their current husband and wife incarnation perfectly suits the harmonic beauty of their unique song-writing. England is a beautiful folk album that brings a modern flavour to age old tales of “peas, mash and pie” and “the catch of the day.” They have been working on a new album over the past few months and they start their extensive Tin Tabernacle tour soon, full listing here. Last summer they blew me away when they played an impromptu gig with Danny and the Champions of the World at our Climate Camp stage at Glastonbury. Make sure you catch up with them.

YouTube Preview Image

I Like Trains – He Who Saw The Deep
I first fell in love with the historical tales of iliketrains many years ago when I featured them in the print version of Amelia’s Magazine. Since then they have become I Like Trains (small but crucial difference), parted with their label and lost cornet player Ashley Dean – who has since created a fab video for Our Broken Garden which you can read about here. The crowd funded new album He Who Saw The Deep retains the gravelly baritone voice of lead singer David Martin but ditches the historical references in favour of a stirring elegy to the perils of an uncertain future “as Europe slips into the sea”. They go on tour at the start of February. Full listing info here.

the golden filter by daria h
The Golden Filter by Daria Hlazatova.

The Golden Filter – Voluspa
Brille Records
This album didn’t register on my radar until I saw The Golden Filter play live at Secret Garden Party in 2010. But here lies a clear case of an impressive live performance translating equally well into a recorded version – thereafter I’ve listened to Voluspa on a regular basis. It is impossible to find any information about The Golden Filter on the internet because they have done their best to maintain an aura of mystery around them akin to the swirling atmosphere that surrounds singer Penelope Trappes during their live performances. Other reviews have not been so kind about the hazy noodlings of the album experience but I love listening to it as a whole.

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The Pipettes – Earth Vs The Pipettes
Fortuna Pop
In 2010 The Pipettes staged a come back with a very different flavour to their last studio album, (read our interview with them here). This time the line up features sisters Gwenno and Ani, and they’ve taken a distinctly dancey turn away from their 50′s doo-wap inspired songs… whilst still retaining their deliciously girly harmonies. This should be a good year for this truly independent pop band, starting with their DJing spot for their irresistibly bouncy tunes at my launch party for ACOFI at the end of January. After which they will be guesting on the new Does it Offend You Yeah? album. You wouldn’t find the Sugababes doing that now would you?

Our Broken Garden by Faye West
Our Broken Garden by Faye West.

Our Broken Garden – Golden Sea
Bella Union
Bella Union rarely puts a foot wrong, and Golden Sea by Our Broken Garden is no exception… an absolutely stunning album that I have listened to over and over and over again. If you get a chance to see Anna Bronsted perform live TAKE IT immediately. Her gig at St. Giles-in-the-Fields was one of the most magical performances I have ever seen. You can read my review here.

6 Day Riot by Jenny Lloyd
6 Day Riot by Jenny Lloyd.

6 Day Riot – On This Island
Self released on their own label, 6 Day Riot are a prime example of an uber talented band doing it for themselves. As singer Tamara candidly writes on their blog it’s hard work to get yourself heard when you are up against the promotional purchasing powers of the major labels, a fact which as an independent publisher I know only too well. On This Island is an incredibly rich and rewarding album and 6 Day Riot are just as much fun live. I can’t wait for them to play at my launch party for Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Motorifik secret things

Motorifik – Secret Things
Despite a pretty terrible name – calling to mind, perhaps, Jeremy Clarkson loving rockers – Anglo-french twosome Motorifik won me over towards the end of 2010 with their 90s influenced shoegaze crossed with dance beats. Well worth checking out if you like your indie music lushly melodic.

Peggy Sue – Fossils and Other Phantoms
Wichita Recordings
Combining indie, folk, doo-wop and blues, this was my stand out favourite album at the start of 2010. The two girls in this three piece line up take turns on lead vocals, singing of complex love lives with heart rending passion. You can read my review here.

Napoleon IIIrd by illustratin grain
Napoleon IIIrd by Kiran Patel at Illustrating Rain

Napoleon IIIrd – Christiania
Brainlove Records
Starting with an intense splash of impassioned vocals yelped against a backdrop of reverberating beats, Christiania means business from the get go. Previous album In Debt To gained Napoleon IIIrd a coveted profile in the printed version of Amelia’s Magazine and this latest release does not disappoint, taking on board influences from genres as diverse as balearic beats, woozy cosmic pop and big bands. It comes out on the Brainlove label, home of all things eclectic and wonderful. Excitingly you can see both Napoleon IIIrd and I Like Trains together when they go on tour this February.

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Malachai – Ugly Side of Love
Flying the flag for totally out there psychedelia is Bristol based Malachai. Ugly Side of Love is a wonderful stoner concoction recently given the blessing of Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. Malachai mash up stomping rock riffs, crashing moogs and sampled loops – it’s totally mental and I bloody love it. You can read our review here.

Laura Marling by Yelena Bryksenkova
Laura Marling by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Other albums that I loved probably need no further promoting as they will have done well on more mainstream “best of” lists but I will give them a brief mention here. Following a storming tour of the festival circuit Villagers‘ Becoming a Jackal did incredibly well and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Read my review here. Perhaps inevitably Laura Marling‘s I Speak Because I Can has also done brilliantly…. because it is brilliant. What can I say? Laura is amazing. And of course you could read about her many years ago in Amelia’s Magazine, which ran one of her first interviews in print. Read our review here. The Irrepressibles finally released their incredible album Mirror Mirror, which I was lucky enough to discover several years ago when I put them in the print issue of the magazine. Read our review here.

Sea of Bees by Gemma Birss
Sea of Bees by Gemma Birss.

Helen Martin has already mentioned Mountain Man, Sea of Bees (tour listing here) and This Is The Kit albums in her excellent round up… and I loved them all too. She has great taste so I’m sure her other nominations are fabulous too, but I must confess that I haven’t heard them all for myself. Which is just as well because it left me space for this little round up.

I do hope you’ll support these incredibly talented musicians by splashing out on one or two of these releases, most of which have come out on tiny labels for the love of music. As for what to look out for in the coming year? I’ll be giving you my low down shortly… watch this space.

Categories ,6 Day Riot, ,Abigail Nottingham, ,album, ,Anna Brønsted, ,Becoming a Jackal, ,Bella Union, ,Brainlove Records, ,Brille Records, ,Christiania, ,Climate Camp, ,Danny and the Champions of the World, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,David Martin, ,Does it Offend You Yeah?, ,Earth vs The Pipettes, ,England, ,Faye West, ,Fortuna Pop, ,Fossils and Other Phantoms, ,Gemma Birss, ,Geoff Barrow, ,glastonbury, ,Golden Sea, ,He Who Saw The Deep, ,Helen Martin, ,I Like Trains, ,iliketrains, ,Illustrating Rain, ,Indigo Moss, ,Jenny Lloyd, ,Jeremy Clarkson, ,Kiran Patel, ,Laura Marling, ,LJG Art & Illustration, ,Loose Music, ,Malachai, ,Moto, ,Motorifik, ,Mountain Man, ,Napoleon IIIrd, ,On This Island, ,Our Broken Garden, ,Peggy Sue, ,Portishead, ,review, ,Sea of Bees, ,Secret Things, ,Tantrum, ,The Golden Filter, ,the irrepressibles, ,The Pipettes, ,This Is The Kit, ,Tin Tabernacle Tour, ,Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, ,Ugly Side Of Love, ,Villagers, ,Voluspa, ,Wichita Recordings, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

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