From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Archive for November 2011

November 28th Mixtape – Friendly Fires Frenzoid

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Tonight I am full of steely determination. Determined to dry my knickers in time for the morning as I fly out to Istanbul a day earlier that I was expecting. Determined to post my weekly mixtape even though it will be a rushed effort. Determined to catch up on Misfits. I fully expect this post to therefore not be my finest moment, and I suspect I will be wearing damp pants tomorrow morning.

My birthday celebrations this weekend felt like I was at a festival. I’ve been weighing up whether it was the relentless, carnival energy Friendly Fires rocket at you. Or if it was being with all my nearest and dearest, most loved and genius raggedy bunch of friends. Both parties smashed it at Brixton Academy for me on Saturday night. This mixtape is solely dedicated to those on stage and those off it. The ones that poured cocktails down my neck, performed interpretive dances of my birth, trudged around Brixton until the early hours of Sunday morning with me when I craved more G&T. Yet more cherished gig memories as I get older… and older… and older.

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play the mixtape.

1. Lovesick/ 2. Jump In The Pool/ 3. Running away/ 4. Blue Cassette/ 5. True Love/ 6. On Board/ 7. Chimes/ 8. Skeleton Boy/ 9. Show Me The Lights/ 10. In The Hospital/ 11. Pala/ 12. Live Those Days Tonight/ 13. Hurting/ 14. Pull Me Back To Earth/ 15. Paris/ 16. Hawaiian Air/ 17. Kiss Of Life.

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Written by Anon PA

November 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm

November 21st Mixtape Guest Blog from A Very Cool Pea

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And so the first girl steps up to the mark to guest blog a mixtape for me. Pea is so unbelievably cool she’s a frozen pea, fact! I have many musical soul mates, but Priyam really stands out for me as the epitome of über aceness when it comes to all those bands that could have slipped past my radar had it not been for her enthusiastic links to tracks (Zulu Winter, The Rubens, Yeasayer). She has a charming way with words as well, do feast your peepers on her blog, All Things In Print.

Making a list like this is bloody difficult. Make a mixtape she says, pick a few songs she asks, OK! I agree enthusiastically. Then I realise how many songs there actually are. It’s like asking a mother which of her children she loves the most. Cest tres difficult man. So, rather than just list everything that is on my iPod I have decided to dedicate my cameo, debut, guest appearance on From Disc Till Dawn to my all time, favourite, numero uno, live music experiences.

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play Pea’s mixtape, if you dig the Youtube then click here instead.

1. Augie March – Here Comes The Night (This song is taken from the band’s first of four albums, ‘Sunset Studies’. They are the first ever band that I truly obsessed over after I saw them at an Australian music festival in 2001. I was a massive festival rookie so after almost being killed and salvaging one of my shoes in the middle of an unexpected mosh pit, I decided to abandon the crowd and find some quiet place to put my shoe back on. It was about 37 degrees that day and the only way of cooling down was to stand under one of the many hoses that they had jetting out cool water. I stumbled, soaking wet, into the nearest tent and was blown away by the tremor and delicacy that is Glenn Richard’s voice. They are kings of Australian folk music and may they forever reign).

2. Roisin Murphy – Ramalama  (Roisin is one of my biggest hero’s. She’s outrageous, eccentric and so fucking cool Eskimos could live on her quite happily. The album Ruby Blue can only be described in exactly the same words. Oh and it’s quite sexy too. I saw her play at the Roundhouse (one of my favourite venues) in February 2008 and hearing/watching her live blew my tiny mind. I’m pretty sure I overdosed on endorphins. Or gin. Either way, this was the encore and ’tis my favourite. Ramalama is a religion. Bang Bang!).

3. Yeasayer – One (Anand Wilder – swoooooooooon. He is a Brooklyn God. I came across these guys listening to a compilation album called Dark Was the Night. I’ve seen them as many times as I possibly could – if you were there that was me yelling ‘Anand, I love you’. I begged Lady H to see them at Field Day one year and have suitably converted her into a fan. The most memorable gig I saw them at was at Digital in Brighton. Their music makes me want to get naked, put a daisy chain on my head and dance in mud. There can’t be any better feeling can there?).

4. Mozart – Porgi Amor (This is the most beautiful thing I have ever had the joy of listening to. It’s a song about the pains of love and you can feel every emotion in the Countess’s voice. I had tears in my eyes watching this in the Gods of the Royal Opera House. If you’re not a fan of opera perhaps I can persuade you with this? If not, then opera and champagne go hand in hand).

5.  Joan As Policewoman – Chemmie (Oh this was a disastrous day. I woke up not being able to remember what happened the night before and was physically unable to get out of bed. I shamefully had to cancel my afternoon plans of watching Fantasia on the big screen and very nearly missed out on this gig which a friend of mine had treated me tickets to. Mustering my will power, I dressed, drugged and watered my broken self to see her at The Barbican. She came on wearing an all-over, leather playsuit and I was immediately thankful for being there. Take it away Joanie).

6. Wild Beasts – Vigil For A fuddy Duddy (A friend of mine once described the Cumbrian quartet as operatic. I scoffed and asked what the hell he knew about opera (cause I’m such a officiando yeah). Turns out his dad is some big shot in the Scottish orchestra arena. Lucky I had my top off to distract from this embarrassing, backfired mockery. Annnyway, I freaked when I missed out on tickets to their gig at Wilton’s Music Hall and literally begged a friend to take me instead of his girlfriend (what? she wasn’t a fan anyway). Summer Camp supported, I almost wet myself on refusal of not wanting to miss a second with the inconvenience of a loo break even after 4 pints, the venue was spectacular and intimate, and the boys performed to perfection. I even had my ticket signed by all the lovely chaps).

7. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zero’s – 40 Day Dream (Amazing, transcendent, fantastic, supernatural, spiritual, enchanting, enigmatic. These words are the closest I can get to describing the phenomenon of their gig at The Old Vic Tunnels. The Tunnels were transformed into a small universe with everything from an ethereal Texas Tavern with its very own haunting Les Enfants Terribles, spacecowboys, shamans, sun, moon, contraband candy and magical rum cocktails. Credit to the production of this 3-day extravaganza goes to the almighty Nick Cave but Ed Sharpe and his Zero’s brought the love and the music and sent my soul soaring higher than it has ever  been without the use of class a’s. Nothing will ever compare to this gig).

8. Battles – Tonto  (Drrrrrrruuuuuuuummms! I love this band. They are phenomenal. My companion for their gig at Heaven was From Desk Till Dawn. My focus was entirely on the drummer. I was in absolute awe of his stick mastery, his rhythm, his concentration but most of all the sheer amount of sweat that he was exuding. By the end of the gig his shirt was sodden. I love instrumental bands and these guys are probably the best (ahead of Errors). Watching this kind of stripped, raw, heavy sound be created live is pretty damn special).

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Gig Poster Swoon

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The geek in me had to bore you all with this. I’ve spent a ton of hours looking at Kevin Tong’s band posters over the past few days. I can’t ever see myself getting bored with them. If you saw these during your grim trudge to work on the [insert your tube line here] platform your day would transformed into musical magic surely? I know I’d immediately scroll through my iPod to find the band I’d just clocked, closely followed by booking gig tickets. Much sexier than the dross adverts I see for chick lit every morning. 

Visit Kevin Tong’s site Tragic Sunshine

November 13th Mixtape. For Ghosts Of Gone Birds

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This weeks playlist is dedicated to the fantastic team behind Ghosts Of Gone Birds.

When I was a wee nipper Sunday afternoons used to be all about walking round Berry Head with my Dad. The end destination being the cliffs where a colony of Guillemots used to flock. Our house was covered in ivy, home to what sounded like a million birds all tweeting. My mixtape choices this week are all bird related tunes for childhood memories, our feathered friends and for the ghosts of gone birds.

Please visit this vast exhibition at the Rochelle School in East London and set aside a good chunk of time, you have until November 23rd and it’s free (donations welcome). There is so much to see and the good souls manning the decks are brilliant to talk to. I spent an age outside with an artist who sandblasts, watching him create a flock of birds in flight. By the time I wandered inside I had given him the idea to stencil tiles as he was miffed that his art couldn’t be sold. He has promised me half a shandy if the idea takes off.

Most important is the message Ghosts Of Gone Birds are trying to paint the sky with. They are truly passionate about the plight of our winged friends. I loved going to an exhibition that welcomed photography, saying it was important their message is spread as much as possible. My photos can’t begin to capture the strength of the artists on display, where else would you see a knitted Great Auk by author Margaret Atwood? My very favourite was a whole room of Ralph Steadman cartoons, who is best known for his work with Hunter S. Thompson. Ah, sublime little room of birds, I wish I could have stayed longer.

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play the mixtape and if you’re a YouTube purist click here to play the videos.

  1. They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse In Your Soul
  2. The Bees – Chicken Payback
  3. Patrick Wolf – The Falcons
  4. The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn!
  5. The Dead Weather – 3 Birds
  6. The Civil Wars – Birds Of A Feather
  7. Wild Beasts – Albatross
  8. Pulp – Birds In Your Garden
  9. Goldfrapp – Little Bird
  10. Fleetwood Mac – Songbird
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Ode To Jaime Harding

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Since I started this blog I have pondered deeply whether or not to blog about Jaime Harding, Marion’s frontman. It was an interview in the NME that I read last week that made me decide to write this. Specifically the picture that interviewer Luke Lewis painted of winding back his tape after the interview  to hear Jaime lean in to the mic and thank him for his time. Then sing a few lines from Fallen Through. It pulled at my heartstrings and made me decide to write about a chance encounter with him.

Marion reappeared in 2006. My cousin & I kohled our eyes and pulled on the 100 denier tights…actually wait, that’s been our style since hitting puberty so scrap that. The point is we relived our youth crush at Kings College, home to old indie night Collideascope and again at the Barfly in Camden. The Barfly gig saw us one ticket down, so we rubbed our hands together after I had been stamped, giving her a tattoo to sneak in. On this occasion we were also joined by dear friends, all screaming and spitting the lyrics to Sleep.

Fast forward to the summer of 2009 , one lazy afternoon at Broadway Market sat outside The Cat & Mutton drinking our body weight in fruit ciders I spotted Jaime walk towards the pub. I nudged my cousin as I wasn’t completely certain. The lithe, skinny Jaime looked bloated, ill, drawn around the eyes. We kept glancing over, “Is it him? It is him? It must be”. We would later learn that Jaime was telling his girlfriend “I think those girls recognise me? Do you think they recognise me?” There is absolutely no way the teenage versions of ourselves would have been able to invite him over for a drink, but as drunk adults we found ourselves in his company.

Jaime, along with his lovely girlfriend, was a warm, charming, polite and intelligent character to spend an evening with. He was also recovering from serious heart problems due to his drug addiction and was nothing but brutally frank when discussing his demons and failed/reluctant rehab attempts. When the pub closed we all jumped into a taxi to my cousins flat with a bottle of Vodka tucked under our arms. Jaime made a stop at their flat and emerged wearing a black fedora looking every part the frontman we’d seen perform.

We stayed up all night talking about music, authors, poets, books, books and more books. It was clear he had a thirst  for life in the amount of information he devoured. Here was a man who wasn’t using to self destruct, he wasn’t full of self loathing or doubt. I got the impression he just really like taking drugs, and really couldn’t stop. I am not trying to simplify drug addiction. It was truly heartbreaking to see the scars from his illness, the brown stained tips of his fingers, on a man you used to swoon over as a teen.

He was genuinely miffed when my cousin showed him Marion 7″ singles (he was also happy enough in our company not to panic about being held hostage by fans). At one point we called our friend who had been at the Barfly gig with us, who had recently dealt with his own heartbreaking troubles. He asked him to sing down the phone to him. Nervously Jaime hid in my cousins dimmed room and sang for Michael, blushing and grinning, becoming more confident and animated as he did. It was an expensive night for my cousin & I, but he gave my friend a pick me up that no one else could prescribe.

The NME report that Jaime is clean now. I truly hope he is. He deserves to get his life back on track and perform again with a great band from the Britpop era. 

Written by Anon PA

November 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm

November 7th Mixtape

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So I’ve had rotten flu for the past few days. Instead of being perched on Primrose Hill with cans of lager watching the fireworks on Saturday night I had to be content sitting on my windowsill in Willesden all by myself, blanket wrapped round my shoulders, straining to spot sprays of electric dots brightening my bleak horizon. I had to settle for local youths setting them off in the garage forecourt opposite, one hand poised over the 9 key in case I had to call for help. It’s a strange and extremely frustrating thing to me, a weekend indoors. I am mightily relieved I didn’t start talking to myself, making pasta shape paintings and writing dark, bleak poetry.

I did make hot buttered rum and didn’t know such a thing existed until my solo bonfire night. I also got to listen to a ton of music. There’s not enough hours in the day… scrap that, there’s not enough years to listen to everything I want in my ear drums. The Pavement back catalogue alone took up most of Saturday.

On a side note I’ve been compiling a Motape in support of Movember. Once I started thinking of mustachioed musicians I couldn’t stop and as a result I am posting a tashtastic song a day on a dedicated page so please do check that out and donate if you can!

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play the mixtape and if you’re a YouTube purist click here to play the videos.

1. Black Mountain – The Hair Song (was convinced I could add this to the Movember mixtape but alas my memory failed me. They’re just hairy in general. Which suits this track perfectly).

2. My Life Story – Sparkle (I’ve been taking a trip down Britpop lane this weekend, all will become clear in a post later this week. Always adored this track for its Marc Almond sense of pomp &  theatrical occasion. I dug out the 7″, all glitter and see through vinyl).

3. Hooray For Earth – True Loves (Single is out today. Remember when buying singles used to be exciting? Usually in Woolworth’s with some pick ‘n mix if you had enough cash? I wish iTunes gave out sweets. I digress. This is my Autumn song, trudging over leaves, skulking on tube platforms, pausing on London Bridge to watch the moon. I’m in my own world when I listen to it).

4.  Infadels – Love Like Semtex (Lolita & I were reminded of this band when we went to see Duologue last week. This track would have made every going out playlist I compiled in 2006).

5.   Duologue – Push It (I reviewed this band for Flush The Fashion last Thursday and highly recommend you check them out. Their site has a couple of free downloads so head over there and let me know what you think of them. My opinions are summed up in the review).

6. Florence + The Machine – No Light, No Light  (She can do no wrong. Number 1 album, angelic yet eerie performances on Jools Holland, face angles you could sharpen a HB pencil on. This is a stand out track on Ceremonials for me).

7. Camera Obscura – French Navy (John Osborne said it’s a rule in music that all girls like Belle & Sebastian. I also think that applies to Camera Obscura).

8. Family Of The Year – St. Croix  (I just love love this track. The same way my big sisters probably adored Prefab Sprout. Yes, it sounds a tad cheesy but I am willing to put good Euro’s that you’ll be joining in with the “Whoah a whoah oh” backing vocals and dreaming of making love potions and dancing in slow motion. Listen!).

9. Pavement – Stop Breathin’ (I honestly did listen to the entire back catalogue when I had sleepless nights this weekend. I’ve not listened to them for what felt like years. Vast work, underrated band).

10. R.E.M – We All Go Back To Where We Belong (Has it sunk in yet? Has it? No more. No more. I have no words for this*insert sad face*)

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Written by Anon PA

November 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm

There Are Minotaurs In The Tunnels

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I took two trips to The Old Vic Tunnels to see what Lazarides had created, with the help of an eclectic range of artists, in The Minotaur exhibition. The first was a surprise for Lolita (who two years ago would have ridiculed all art so that fact he now actively engages with exhibitions proves that he has come through puberty. Fact). The second visit was owing to the fact I am an idiot most of the time and deleted the most amazing photographs from the first visit. I don’t claim to be the proud owner of great knowledge in art, theatre, politics or anything for that matter. But I get excited and enthused by things and stuff and all sorts that engage me. Hence the geek out posts about exhibitions from time to time.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story of The Minotaur, Aphrodite was offended by King Minos of Crete boastful and arrogant ways so she compelled his Queen to fall in love with a bull. As we are in the territory of Greek Mythology this union resulted in the birth of a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a human. The Minotaur was hidden away in a labyrinth and its hunger could only be sated by feeding on youthful, unwed virgins. The most stunning, beautiful men and women were offered up to The Minotaur until Theseus swore he would slay it. He promised his father Aegeus that he would display a white sail if victorious on his return.

When Theseus arrived in Crete his mission was  aided by King Minos’ daughter Ariadene who provided a ball of twine so Theseus could trace his steps back through the labyrinth after he killed the beast. On his return home to Athens he deserted Ariadene and took her sister Phaedra as his lover instead. As he sailed towards home he was distracted with victory so much that he forgot to fly the white sails. His father, waiting on top of the cliffs for his sons return, presumed he had failed and threw himself to death, dashed on the rocks below.

The location for an exhibition dedicated to this tale could not have been any more perfect, just when you thought you were finished viewing Zak Ove strange Zulu models and skulls you’d step back only to have a looming shadow of The Minotaur projected on the bare bricks above your head, cast by cleverly spaced works coming together. Atma’s crucified beast threw a shadowed cross across the floor, over candles, up to the domed ceilings. Female street artist Lucy McLauchlan created a robotic style beast that looked like it was created from a barren tip but as you look closer again those shadows cast mighty horns and faces appear at the feet of the monster.

However it was David Fosters visual art that I was transfixed by on both visits.  A pitch black room with an installation emitting a vibrant yet eerie glow that morphed into faces, space, galaxies, creatures, wisps of electric blue smoke and of course The Minotaur.

Lolita claimed every new shape looked like a vagina and went back to look at the huge ball of rats as it reminded him of Neil Gaimans Neverwhere, on this occasion created by David Falconer. Not sure what Freud would have to say about that.

It felt like we were somehow being let in on a secret and I relished every moment of my feet clopping across the cobblestones. It was at times playful. Stanley Donwoods, Radioheads official artist, maze blinded you with strobe lights, mirrored rooms and ultraviolet glows that turned Lolita’s nails green. Equally I was taken with the sadness in Anthony Micallef’s beautiful paintings. Hands down the best exhibition I have ever been too and will be intrigued to see what they come up with next.

Photos from the exhibition can be found on Flickr.

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Written by Anon PA

November 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm