Saturday, 19 November 2011

Lianne La Havas & Willy Mason - No Room For Doubt

Lianne La Havas and Willy Mason.
Yeah, Willy Mason! Perhaps I'm pedestrian but Where Humans Eat was my first and last Willy Mason experience, at the tender age of 16, until this Lianne La Havas true gem. True diamond.

I'm listening to Oxygen as I type, it really is worth all the hype that it had in its day.

Willy Mason - "Oxygen"

I'm a Big advocate for the free download of a gig in LA of Lianne's, it's personable and really really good. from here:

And on a footnote, on the subject of the lyric 'pieces of me', do you think they were aware of the reminder it would bring to their listeners of Britney or Ashley Simpson? I hope so.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Alpines - Night Drive

This is lovely:
London duo Catherine Pockson and Robert Matthews. Pop-y and electro-y and warming. Produced by Craig Silvey who's CV can proudly claim the likes of The Coral and The Magic Numbers.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

David J. Roch

I first heard David J. Roch play in 100 Club sometime last year. It was about the time that serious questions were being asked about the venue staying open. I'd never been before, and was very excited to go to a place so monumental and steeped in so many artists' history. Needless to stay it hasn't closed, and I've been back several times. David was supporting Andy Burrows, I Am Arrows. It was a great gig and I remember leaving thinking that the supporting acts were a brilliant fit and that I enjoyed them.

I have been on David's email list since and enjoy reading his updates and look forward to opening them when I see he's sent another. Mostly the notes consist of gig dates, which happen, for the main part in London or his homestead of Sheffield. Of late, he has started offering guestlist and free tickets via the email portal too. I can't find a email subscription page, but his Twitter page is just as informative I'm sure.!/davidjroch.

I haven't seen David live since the first time, though I would very much like to. Today I revisited his music and rediscovered how much I like it. Bones, for example, is so dreamy and beautiful. Lyrically, it is stunning, and evokes such vivid imagery, 'these bones held in place with skin'. The pace of the song is such that you can really appreciate the lyrics. There's a clever little bouncy, humming guitar underneath to keep it rhythmic, and at about two minutes in there comes a tinkling glockenspiel which splits the record in two parts, the first observationally emotional Whenever you leave, you pull them tight and choke my heart., the second is questioning and more defensive and sad, 'Why can't you be kind, once in a while to me?'.


Here is him on Soundcloud.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

GIRLS - Father Son Holy Ghost

I saw a guy at Secret Garden Festival last year who had a Girls t-shirt and since then I've really wanted one but can't find one anywhere!

I'm listening to the album in full on The Guardian website and have just discovered Vomit, the hole gorgeous six minutes of it. A slow, melodic and calm build up that reminds me a lot of Sonic Youth. There's a big powerful chorus dotted through melancholic then powerful verses, a touch of In Rainbows in there maybe. Big guitar. Calm again before this amaaazing gospel voice comes in, it was a bit of a shock the first time round to be honest, but I love it on the third listen. Download for free from their Facebook

Iceage New Brigade

Are these kids the most exciting band to hit punk? Or are they stupid? Iceage are on the rise from Copenhagen. In the class of The New Way of Danish Fuck You, also including Sexdrome, Scavenger Brats et al. Apparently this name was originally meant to be The New Wave of Danish Fuck You but someone spelled their tattoo wrong! Fail.

I watched the video for Iceage's New Brigade after having read their interview in NME yesterday. The main gist of the interview was that the band are a group of young, polite boys who don't really want to talk to anyone. NME bribed them with beer and cigarettes.
Watching the video, this feeling of their desperation to grow up continues, it's trying to be fucked up and scary, except it's all shot in the daytime and the closest thing to crazy (hello Katie Melua ref, wasn't expecting that) they get to is a gammy finger being pointed at the camera. The KKK references, according to the NME interview, are meaningless. I'm sure these kids aren't racist, they are trying to shock their audience which is really really hard to do. I get why they're doing it but it's come out a little naively and i don't think enough effort has been put into it in order to pull it off. Opinions welcome.

Having said that I think the record is wicked. Angsty and detached and just a bit cool, much like a Danish teenager.

Iceage - New Brigade from iceage on Vimeo.

Friday, 2 September 2011

James Blake and Bon Iver - Fall Creek Boys Choir

Best collaboration ever, James Blake and Bon Iver make Fall Creek Boys Choir. The first time I listened to this, I got nothing, after some perseverance, I'm now on my sixth or seventh playcount and couldn't tell you how amazing it is.

Oop, make that eight.

Rainy Boy Sleep - Reading Festival 2011 - BBC Introducing Stage

Muse were incredible, MCR and 30 Seconds were insane, but also really really enjoyed this, Rainy Boy Sleep on BBC Introducing Stage with RSVP My Letter and Ambulance.

Probs too wide for my screen that.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Lana Del Ray Video Games - Jack Kerouac On the Road

Is everyone enjoying Lana Del Rey as much as I have been?

I've been reading some Jack Kerouac recently, mainly because Alex Turner put On the Road down as his favourite book on an NME interview a few weeks ago. Lana Del Rey's Video Games is based only in one city, LA, but I like a continuitive theme through reading and listening. I haven't finished On the Road, but LA is where Sal meets Terry. They have fantastic adventures.
Lana's view and the view of the LA that I have in my head from Sal Paradise make a wonderful juxtaposition.
On a separate point, over the last few days, I keep seeing the term 'beat' used, which must have originated from Kerouac's 'Beat Generation'. Whilst I don't pretend to be anything other than an average Londoner, it does does make me wonder what TfL are on about when they put up adverts saying 'If you're reading this, you're on our beat'.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Calvin Harris and Kelis - Bounce Music Video

Calvin Harris does this well, the timely release of Ready for the Weekend had the same effect. This is the new video for Calvin Harris's newest track, Bounce featuring Kelis. Annie Mac played it on her Radio 1 show the other day, I reck it'll be storming up the charts in the coming weeks.
I REALLY recognise the actor in the video, but I can't place him. Looks quite like Matt Smith I thought.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Brother covering Katy B, Katy on a Mission

Brother seem to be living their lives by the rule of 'all PR is good PR' but prove that they do have talent in this Katy B cover:

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Tom Vek - A Chore

Honestly, I had never heard of this guy before today, but stumbled across this today, listened to it this morning and the video (directed by Ollie Evans of videos from Klaxons, Foals, Noisettes, Gossip) the song and the girl/guy in the video haven't really left my head since. What do we think?
Apparently set to do well in 2005, Vek disappeared. Until now, where I and his 26000-odd views in the last 3 days have rediscovered him. Perturbingly mind-catching.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Arctic Monkeys - Don't Sit Down 'cause I've Moved Your Chair

So this is the new Arctic Monkeys, Don't Sit Down 'cause I've Moved Your Chair. Personally I've found, much like Kanye, the Arctic Monkeys have moved in out of being cool and not so cool. They're definitely on the money here. Everything seems to remind me of The Doors recently, but there is a definite melodic drone to Alex Turner's lyrical madness that requites itself to Riders on the Storm and L.A. Woman in general.
Put some aviators on, add a little barely American swag and "wear your shellsuit on Bonfire Night" then we're all good. Bloody love it. Point proven by the fact I've been listening to it on repeat all day.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Ulterior Black City Black Rain - New Music Video

This has been in my head for ages and the video for Ulterior's Black City Black Rain has been unveiled today. It's meant to represent London as they see it (apparently pretty gloomy). Directed by the Turrell Brothers.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Secret Garden Party’s Lost Lovers Ball at Battersea Power Station

I love festivals. Where else can you go, act like idiot for three days, listen to your favourite music, generally act a bit silly and only surround yourself with your friends? I’ve been to a fair few and Secret Garden wins by miles. There are the most beautifully random installations that manage to live in their environment without being pretentiously placed at all but are there to be enjoyed.

I got a bit excited when I found out about The Lost Lovers Ball which the company are holding in February. They’ve managed to get hold of Battersea Power Station (my favourite building in London ever) and are making use of their time there with three nights of activity.

For £50 you choose one of these three nights (11th, 12th or 13th February) and prepare to entertained by some of Secret Garden’s most delectable entertainers including Bearded Kitten and Tax Deductible, as well as some of the best of the talking and debating stages, people like Guerilla Science and The Forum. Get tickets here.

If you know anything about SGP, then it will probably be that you will look really out of place if you aren’t dressed up. I don’t really ‘dressing up’ is really the right term for these chaps though. It’s more a sort of alternate persona that you have to adopt when you’re there. It’s the same escapism as the festival. Except this time, I can walk home.

For good measure, and because I could never get enough of them, here are some of my photos from SGP10.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

H.A.M Kanye and Jay Z

Long awaited and highly anticipated. To be completely honest I hadn't heard about this until last week but what is there not to be excited about in a Kanye West and Jay Z collaboration?
H.A.M is the first single, dropped today, from the forthcoming album Watch the Throne. The whole album will be released in March. It's a big space to watch, but I've got my eyes peeled. Apparently they recorded the whole thing in a week. So much swagger they don't have to spend time on it to make it hardcore.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

CHERYL comes to London. No not that one.

There are a lot of events companies in London. I like events nights, if you find a good organisation that hasn’t got too pretentious yet, then as a rule, they are well-un by people whose main ambition is that you and your friends have a good time. That’s definitely not an invite that I would turn down.
My first experience of an events company in London was from The Last Tuesday Society. I really enjoyed the first masked ball in October 2009, then spent a really fun Near Year with them, my friends and some wonderful folk music at Liverpool Street, from there I’ve been to nights at the V and A, twice to their private club just off The Strand and others that are all as memorable as each other; they’ve done a bloomin good job and I’ve enjoyed every minute.
On The Handpicked Collection blog I posted an article a couple of months ago for events for Halloween. I ended up going to another Last Tuesday event, but second on my list was the more vulgar and frightening night organised by the Torture Gardens. This events company made it big with that Halloween gig and now it doesn’t seem as weird that normal people want to go to a night that fuzzes the border of mad party with bondage, freaks and ‘scenes of a sexual nature’. I suppose the only way is up after the abundance of parties that are to be had in the capital. How else to make something different?
Maybe it’s just good marketing. This month sees a transaltlantical force from CHERYL. No, not that one, and she’s got the wrong idea anyway. Chezza C may be leaving her Geordie roots for the American Dream, but this events company is making the much appreciated hop to our side of the pond. Originally starting out in NYC, they’ve recently hosted events in MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum.


‘The dance party that will ruin your life’ is coming to The Star of Bethnal Green. It sounds like a good night already, the website is full of strong images and the past events look brilliant. But mostly, I’m pretty curious to see if the New Yorkers have what Last Tuesday have, what Torture Gardens have, what an underground club in Soho has or what a gay club in Vauxhall has; some ingredients are blindingly obvious, good music, reasonable entry and drinks, but the best ones have an organised leniency and interesting surroundings. Last Tuesday has beautiful venues; in Adam Street you have to walk down about four flights of tiny stairs and bend under archways before you get to another big beautiful room with huge arches that run under the street. A bitch if you’re a smoker, I’ll tell you. Another company, Planet Angel, had an art gallery showing works by whoever wanted to exhibit. Half of the exhibitors were dancing to dubstep in the next room.
Cheryl is coming to London and I’m excited to see what they’re bringing!

Cheryl Saturday 22 January from 10pm.
Tickets are £4.00. Go to the fb for more info here

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes

As usual I have far too many unrealistic resolutions, one of which is to take further advantage of exhibitions etc. in London. So far (one weekend in) it seems to be going well.
Running from September until the end of this month at the V and A is the Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes. This is how i chose to spend my morning of the bank holiday Monday yesterday. Unfortunately, the usually dodgable 'No Photography' rule was rather strictly enforced and my grainy BlackBerry shots are nothing special of which to speak. I've used the ones from the V and A website instead. Thank you very much.
Diaghiliev (1872 - 1929) it seems was a bit of a character. Some of the first material to see on entering the exhibition are quotes from his contemporaries noting his qualities as a human being. Most along the lines that he is brilliant but 'terrible'. It appears that he was a difficult person to work with. He had many areas of expertise, philosophy, sorcery apparently and most famously a business and incredible creative for his dance company.
The exhibition is laid out chronologically, beginning with 'The first seasons'. This first room was the one i spent the majority of my time in (perhaps because at this point i was unaware of the five following rooms). I'm a sucker for hand stitching, and the costumes, created by the Russian-born Leon Bankst are phenomenal. There are lots of cultural influences. Some of the incredibly detailed handmade costumes looked nearly African with bright colours and what could be batik markings. Bankst also shows his sketching and painting ability with beautifully detailed costume designs and Egyptian and Arabic paintings using similar colour palettes. i don't really think Bankst had enough credit shown to him in the exhibition. Artist, set and costume designer - frankly sounds like a lot of work.
Another room which I loved was that containing the construction method and finished product of the backcloth for The Firebird; a 1913 production from the Ballets Russes.
It's huge, and looks a wee bit cramped in the triangular room the V and A have given it. The construction diagrams in the preceding room are just as fascinating. It's created in columns, first on large, scaled down but intricate and accurate drawings. The colours again remind me of spices and Arabic culture with the bright golden onion domes, reds, oranges and browns. These are translated magnificently onto the huge backcloth in the next room.
This image is from Little Design Book.