Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Song of the Day: "Pirates and Diamonds"


Intone1 from SquareiMedia on Vimeo.

This is the aforementioned Fiona Bevan, doing one of her new-ish songs "Pirates and Diamonds". Since seeing her play this last night I've not been able to get it out of my head. At the risk of double-post exposure, here it is for you to enjoy.

It's designed to be listened to on headphones by the people at Accidental Powercut, so do plug yourself in.

THE WORKSHOP

Fiona Bevan w/Mark Coldham |||| The Workshop @ Roadtrip, Hoxton |||| Tuesday September 28th, 2010
A beautifully tucked-away basement near Old Street station played host to two great solo musical talents last night. First up, Mark Coldham. He's a Canadian-born songwriter who completely throws off most preconceptions formed when seeing a guy in jeans pick up an acoustic guitar beneath some fairy lights. From the opening resonating chords of Radiohead's "Airbag" it's pretty clear that he's not just gonna play us his own love songs all night. This guy's got balls: I can't think of too many hilariously self-deprecating lyricists who would open with that number, but it gets the audience on his side right away.

Only when he launches into one of his own compositions do we truly see his unexpected technique and fervour flourish. His fingers move with ridiculous speed, tapping out syncopated rhythms on the guitar body in tandem with almost frantic finger-picking. This guy's good too. And his self-analytical lyrics about songwriting, best summarised by "The Song Song" are a brilliant example of intelligence in word choice and word play. If you like your solo artists quirky without being try-hards, you'll enjoy Mark Coldham. Email him via his MySpace to pester him for gig details and chances are you won't be disappointed.

Last of the night, Fiona Bevan takes to the stage. This woman is such a talented vocalist, that it's starting to make this post sound less like new things to like and more new things to embarrassingly gush about. Her debut album Plant Your Heart was on constant rotation on my iPod for weeks, and with good reason.

Experiencing it live is even more of a treat. These are songs over which her round vibratto chirps, driven by ukelele-like guitar. Her voice rings out with a sweetness that almost hides the heart-shattering nature of her love songs and hurt songs. With such lyrical honesty she side-steps the eye-roll inducing domain of yet another heartbreak song, made meaningless and grating. Instead, I find myself believing every word.

She performs with real joy, which is always inspiring to see. Check out her site HERE for information on her forthcoming EP release, as and when it happens. And have a listen on Spotify for a taste of her bittersweet and charming pop songwriting.

images courtesy of me

Monday, 27 September 2010

LOOKBOOK Faves


These are some of my favourite looks from LOOKBOOK.NU this last week. Hats. A high waist cinched with a slim belt. SATCHELS. So yummy.

images courtesy of autilia, badley, natalie, typhaine, coury, sarah

Song of the Day: "Home"



This is Glasser, aka Boston-born Cameron Mesirow. Well, Cameron Mesirow and a whole plethora of layered vocals. This song is my new thing to like today because I generally love hand-claps in songs, and her ability to switch from a breathy tone to cracked yodel. This stuff is good.

To grab a free download, via her website, click HERE.

And, if you like what you hear, she's playing Rough Trade East and The Macbeth on October 10th and 11th, respectively. For free! Boom boom pow.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

?uestlove Meeting People

These are snippets from ?uestlove's rather hilarious website, and have just given me another reason to love him. In case you haven't heard, he's the easily recognisable drummer for The Roots (their great album How I Got Over was released earlier this year).

Not only does he rock that afro comb in the hair thing FOR REALS, but he has this great site that I stumbled across a few days ago. In it, he basically provides hilarious and random anecdotes about encounters he’s had with various celebrities. It’s not so much a ‘wow look who I’ve met’ display as just a collection of stream-of-consciousness tales from a very interesting man. He’s apparently releasing a book in 2012 to look out for too.

images courtesy of ?uestlove & the urbandaily

Song of the Day: "Dirt" [NSFW]

SALEM - DIRT from ACEPHALE on Vimeo.

This is Salem. This is also NOT SAFE FOR WORK so please enjoy it slyly if that's where you'll be. And yes, there is just silence for the first minute.

Salem are a strange blend of dark, bass-heavy and synth-laced music that I'm not sure anyone's yet coined a name for. It's pretty weird, but this song is good too. Fans of Sleigh Bells will be pleased.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

FUZZY LIGHTS

Fuzzy Lights w/Hong Kong In The 60s|||| Buffalo Bar, Islington |||| Friday September 24, 2010
2/3 of Hong Kong in the 60s
London-based trio Hong Kong In The 60s are out to seduce the audience, oh so shyly, with their super-sweet electro pop. This is the stuff of Sino-Japanese kitsch daydreams, with a timidness heightened by the band's self-deprecating and whispered banter between songs. Mei Yau Kan, Christopher Greenberg and Tim Scullion (not pictured) all play Casio keyboards over bouncy backing tracks, mostly looking at their hands and each other. Their set could be the soundtrack for the two geeks in class to fall in love listening to, its restraint and measured accuracy both endearing and awkward. Although a Friday night crowd at the Buffalo Bar is perhaps too rowdy to give them a hushed listen, there's an adorable spark to this band.

Follow the link on their name to stream their SoundCloud tracks.

L-R: Blay, Rogers, Carney
The real meat and potatoes of the night, however, have to be Fuzzy Lights. Now, this is slightly dangerous territory since a friend of mine drums in this band- remaining objective was always going to be a challenge. However I can honestly say that the energy this five-piece brings to the stage is electric. Their dynamic builds and shifts are both brutal and haunting: the kind of music that grabs your mind and runs away with it, almost against your will.

At the group's core are married couple Rachel and Xavier Watkins, on violin/vocals and guitar, respectively. Since the band's conception in 2004 they've added Chris Rogers (guitar/vocals), Daniel Carney (bass) and Mark Blay (drums) into the mix. And what a mix it is. The band play with a crackling intensity, eased only when whispered vocals squeeze out a presence above rumbling drums and jittery guitar lines. It's sort of the place where post-rock clashes with folk, pretension-free. With LP Twin Feathers fresh off an August release (Little Red Rabbit Records), it seems the only way is up for this five-piece. Catch them at The Social next Wednesday (Little Portland St, nr Oxford Circus) if this whets your appetite so far.

EDIT: Mrs. Watkins

images courtesy of me

Thursday, 16 September 2010

IMPULSE BUY

That's where I'm going, for a few days on a random visit to see my Mama. The third image down is where we'll be staying: FUNS. If you know of any great and amazing places I should see while in Manhattan, comment away below! And if you don't, hopefully I'll find us some. New York Things to Like shall follow.

images courtesy of weheartit, laszloco, rogersmithhotel

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Song of the Day: "Coquet Coquette"


I'm not even a big fan of Of Montreal, but this song just makes me happy: it's the kind of cheeky, light track that makes me feel like winter isn't actually on its way. I heard it through InSound's September Mixtape (it's actually a zip file, but just don't tell that to your die-hard retro friends), and have had it on solo track rotation since. And also, those face paints are both creepy and great.

Their new album, "False Priest" dropped today on Polyvinyl Records, and if it pleases you, you'll be glad to hear that they're playing KOKO on October 6th. Get on it.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Song of the Day: "Night"


This, folks, is Zola Jesus. In case you hadn't heard, she's like the darker and better version of Florence and the Machine (vocally). She's also my new thing today because I've been unable to get the hook from this song "Night" out of my head for ages now. Nika Roza Danilova is the brainchild behind this project (pictured above) and as well as a lover of chocolate syrup poured down her face for promo shots, she is a trained opera singer and great songwriter.

This song is a sort of sombre pop with all the right amounts of texture and vocal focus. It resonates as both uplifting and unabashedly honest. Delicious. On the receiving end of great press from the likes of The Guardian, Dazed & Confused, Nylon Magazine and the NME, I'd definitely say Danilova's one to watch. If you like what you hear, check out her myspace for tour info, and RCRD LBL's artist profile for some streaming tracks.



images courtesy of zolajesus and pitchfork

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Song of the Day: "Round the Moon"


SUMMER CAMP - Round the Moon from Paddy Power on Vimeo.

This is London-based duo, Summer Camp. They're Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankley, and quite clearly lovers of the 1980s and all things teen-nostalgic. I'm feeling this, in a hazy and synthy sort of way. This song also reminds me of a great night that used to run in Brighton at its best club. New Hero you are sorely missed.

This duo were steeped in mystery when they first started gaining press attention earlier this year, but we now know that even though they've cut this video with footage from A Swedish Love Story, they are NOT Swedish. If you like what you hear and are in the South, go see them play at Jam in Brighton on September 30th, or at The Lexington in Islington on October 8th.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

LET'S PLAY

PLAY with a toy that folds out to reveal such prettiness
Steph Baxter's work
First of all, HELLO AGAIN BLOG-WORLD: I’ve missed you. Now settled in the new house, one of my first outings with some of my housemates was to this lovely illustration private view at East Gallery. It’s entitled PLAY and was put on by showcase platform, Inkygoodness.

As was to be expected from a gallery on Brick Lane, it was heaving with all sorts of hipster types who seemed generally unimpressed with the raucous laughter my housemate and I couldn’t suppress when faced with both insanely adorable and also some rather terrible art.
Steve Rack
These highlights are my new thing to like: the Dream Team of Stephanie Baxter, Steve Rack and the main attraction, McBess. Now I shan’t attempt a full-blown art critique here, since that’d most likely be hilarious. Instead I’ll just say that THIS IS WORTH POPPING INTO.

Baxter and Rack both use very cutesy characters and colours to pull at the eyeballs of the viewer and make them giggle aloud (or was that just us?). McBess on the other hand is all about beautifully intricate black and white illustration. This particular piece was actually a live design, which he sketched and drew right onto the Gallery's walls before and during the view. How AWESOME. I especially love how he draws hair, and throws in random profanity all over the show.

McBess' live art

Check his blog HERE to watch him make the mural in a fun timelapse clip.
images courtesy of me, mcbess, stephbaxter, steverack & inkygoodness
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