From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘Anna Calvi

Sunday Swoon. 25th August 2013.

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1. Anna Calvi is, for me, one of the strongest songwriters to appear in recent years. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her live twice and to those lucky enough to have tickets to see her at the beautiful Wilton’s Music Hall know that my jealousy runs deep and bitter. ‘Eliza’ is the first new track to surface from her second album ‘One Breathe’.

2. I read a book made for hipsters this week and I’m OK with it. Office Girl by Joe Meno is definitely one for the people of Dalston. People on bikes under the impression they’re the next big art movement. It has genuine charm and I found myself understanding and sympathising with characters I thought I would loathe.

3. I went to see Frances Ha on Monday and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since (my first visit to the tarted up Barbican cinema which is a gorgeous space and only £6.00 a ticket on Mondays). Directed by Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig plays Frances with a deadpan sincerity in the tale of a friendship moving into more grown up stages of life. But mainly I took away from the film that you need to be the happiest version of yourself possible in life. It was inspiring and I’d happily pay to see it again for that feeling.

4. Mikal Cronin’s MCII has been my summer soundtrack. He was spectacular at the Lexington and really hope there’s appetite for him to come back and tour the UK so more people get to see him live.

5. Finally, feels like autumn is almost at the doorstep in Mount Kimbie’s new video for ‘Home Recording’.

A Musical Congregation

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I have to start off by saying that never will you find a crowd so diverse and different in age, choice of footwear, height, regional accents, choice of tipple, background (you name it) than 6 Music listeners. I don’t think this really hit home for me until I had the pleasure of meeting so many of you/them at their 10th birthday party at The Southbank Centre last Friday.

From a statuesque giant rocker clad head to toe in leather, young hipsters wearing gold lamé skirts and pop socks, cheery cockney chaps flying solo for the evening refusing to watch Graham Coxon due to a bad experience at a previous festival. Impeccably turned out suburban types looking slightly traumatized at having to drink wine out of plastic cups. Women wearing wellies and dancing around pink gloves on the dance floor, another in her late 40’s swinging around a carrier bag, her feet performing the perfect shoegazing shuffle (both of whom looked happy as pigs in sh#t).

All united  because of a radio station that was very nearly axed two years ago. Where would we all congregate without it?

It also speaks volumes that 6 music were able to provide a line up that wouldn’t be out of place at the likes of Glastonbury. Beth Jeans Houghton and The Hooves of Destiny started live proceedings in Queen Elizabeth Hall, she thanked “sparkly eyed Marc Riley” for being the first person to play them on the radio. Her album Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose has been one of my most played albums this year but hearing it live really highlighted what a big sound this petite blonde has. Orchestral, classical, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Bon Iver and Beirut.

Anna Calvi, by general consensus of people we spoke to that evening, was the real highlight of the evening. About a year ago we saw her perform at the NME emerging artists tour at Koko and never have I seen a crowd so attentive and focused. Now she seems even more self-assured, people were motionless, rapt with her performance. There’s something dark and brooding in her, demonstrated in her sultry version of TV On The Radio’s Wolf Like Me.

Now my review will get slightly vague due to the amount of wine accidentally consumed.

Graham Coxon adapted his trademark stance (striped t-shirt, head slightly bowed, feet turned in, guitar go) and delivered exactly what he always does, a man so talented he’s unlikely to make any slip ups. I was holding out for Freakin’ Out which was frantically and energetically delivered. The beautiful Gruff Rhys dressed reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s Team Zissou and a hot science teacher you never admitted to fancying playfully poked the audience with cards saying “Thank You” after applauds, his solo work not a million miles away from the SFA but cosy, heartwarming and melodic.

PIL closed the evening to an audience on their feet, flooding into the aisles to dance and defying the staff trying to keep them seated. John Lydon gave thanks to the 6 music listeners saying “someone’s got to put up with this stuff”. This Is Not A Love Song was a personal highlight of the evening (though perhaps played a little too early in the set based on audience reaction).

What exceeded my expectations of the night, yet perfectly sums up the sense of community and interaction 6 Music shares with its listeners, were the moments you found yourself side by side with the DJ’s. Radcliffe and Maconie’s Northern Soul Disco was the most I’ve danced this year, and I have to say Stuart Maconie is possibly one of the warmest, genuine characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking too. Don Letts played songs that helped me get through sleepless nights of Tinnitus when it first forced its way into my ears. John Holmes pulled off a mash-up of ABBA & Van Halen (you can listen to it on Soundcloud) and I suspect was as drunk as us by the end of the night. Peter Serafinowicz was utterly  and effortlessly charming and I think both the boy & I developed a smidgen of a crush on him. Huey Morgan also treated us to an acoustic set of his new solo material (a love song to Shaniqua). If Queen Elizabeth Hall was the main party the foyer turned into the kitchen where all the brilliant people lurk with the gin picking the most amazing songs to play.

6 music could easily turn this into a yearly occurrence. Huge congratulations to all involved and thanks for the memories. Also, massive IOU to Mondonomy for swiping up tickets.

You can watch highlights from the evening here and there’s a set of photos over on my Flickr page.

PS Would love to hear from anyone that had tickets for the Purcell Room for Laura Marling and Lianne Le Havas. Please do comment below if you stumble across this blog.

Sunday Swoon. March 18th

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A weeks round up with Paul Weller, a big moth, Hot Chip and more……

1. Hopefully I’ll get round to writing a more full review of 6 Music at The Southbank Centre at some point this week as it deserves its own spotlight, but had to include it in this weeks round-up. Exceeded all expectations, met a lot of DJ’s that have introduced me to bands I now adore, great performances from the likes of Anna Calvi and Graham Coxon. A real credit to everyone involved in an amazing evening and congratulations to the staff, audience, artists and 6 Music for making it such a memorable night. 

2. Album of the week has to go to Grimes for Visions. This album is a truly a headphones moment, it’s been my soundtrack to solo strolls around the streets. It’s addictive and the track above is what I’d urge you to listen to as a way in. The video is brilliant as well,  a shed load of testosterone. Muscleheads in the locker rooms, sport fans roaring in the stadium and petite Grimes with her stereo singing an electro lullaby. She’s also on the cover of this weeks Dazed & Confused looking stunning.

3. I blogged about Paul Weller at Maida Vale for 6 Music earlier in the week so you can read all about it here and be saved from my ramblings again

4. Craig provides the words and then Thom sketches for “Me And My Big Moth“. Super funny content from super talented boys. All those things you probably shouldn’t be laughing at but will. Please check out the whole set on When Monsters Attack.

5. Hot Chip – Flutes is the first offering from forthcoming album ‘In Our Heads’ out in June. I woke to this song Saturday morning and I’ve been frequently going back to listen again. What I love so much about this band is that I literally find it impossible not to be feel happy and full of joy when they’re on. Infectious positive bunch of talented boys.  

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The Letter ‘A’ Mixtape.

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This year I have decided to take the mixtape element of my blog down Sesame Street and work through the entire alphabet so naturally this weeks mixtape is brought to you by the letter….

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. Aaliyah Feat. Timbaland – We Need A Resolution (Aaliyah was such an amazing talent, production was always perfection on her music, the biggest names wanted to work with her. Such a tragedy that her life was cut short as I have no doubt she had the talent to maintain a long and successful career).

2. Arrested Development – People Everyday (I remember learning all the words to this when I was 15 with my best friend, we’d take the male/female parts and possibly perform the most painfully white rendition of this track ever to exist. There’s a VHS of us performing it kicking round my parents somewhere. Huey Morgan (who else) played this on a 6 Music show recently and I can still KILL the entire song. Memory has served me well).

3. Au Palais – Tender Mercy (This track instantly creates a festival collage in my mind. I think it’s the perfect soundtrack to cider, mud on your knees, hearing rain on your tent as you lie with a loved one stinking to high heaven and deciding if you can get away with peeing in a bottle).

4. The Alps – Not So Laughable Now (One of those bands I was sure would gain a huge fan base but the only person I recruited as a fellow fan was my brother. Catchy indie, chiselled cheek boned singer. I shared some of his rum in The Good Ship, Kilburn once. It was a nice moment).

5. Architecture In Helsinki – Do The Whirlwind (A band that make me happy, Tilly and the Wall. Love the childish joy in this track, like a playground rhyme set to music. Video is also kitsch with its cartoon graphics).

6. Arctic Monkeys – Fluorescent Adolescent (Consistently brilliant, a band to be truly proud of as a Brit. They exude all the confidence of their talent without veering into the swagger and ego some bands have been guilty of. Alex Turner is like Larkin armed with a guitar, bleak and ruthless honesty in his lyrics, this track is especially poetic to me).

7. Anna Calvi – Desire (Beautifully gothic, dark talent who manages to remain quite a mystery. Entire album is a belter from start to finish, hope I get to see her again live in 2012 as she creates a brooding atmosphere on stage that’s hypnotising).

8. The Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (A classic, you don’t have to be a huge fan of 60’s music to adore this track, often the greatest lyrics are timeless and something we can all relate too.  Nina Simone’s original is amazing yes, but I think The Animals make this their own. Perhaps  the difference coming from a male singing it?)

9. Al Green – Lets Stay Together (I’m not particularly romantic by nature but I hand on my pumping heart I think this is my favourite ever love song penned . So perfect and simple.)

10. Arcade Fire – In The Backseat (Almost impossible for me to pick one Arcade Fire track as I am a huge fan, but this song is so overwhelmingly sad. Fragility in Regine’s vocals backed by the type of melancholic strings that cause a lump in the back of your throat, too scared to swallow in case it gives way to tears. Stunning. Emotive.)

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August 29th Mixtape – Guest Blog Thom Vincent

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This weeks mixtape is being brought to you courtesy of Thom Vincent. I’m having a week off, and it’s come at a much-needed time seeing as I’ve not actually managed to get out of bed yet after a picnic that turned into dancing in The Stag until the early hours & me trying to smoke an acorn as it was shaped like a pipe.

Here’s the thing about Thom. I met him through mutual friends and was instantly at ease in his company. He is nerdy, intelligent, funny and kind. Now he is living down under I can’t help but feel I did not spend enough time taking advantage of his company. Blighty will surely miss him.

He’s chosen one song from each of the ten albums he’s managed to squeeze onto his iPod shuffle while he wanders around Sydney. Enjoy his choices, I am quite in awe of his mixtape & the fact someone I know out there still has a iPod shuffle. However I have to dispute his comments on Foo Fighters, it is always cool to listen to them rock out. All tracks he’s chosen have a few words about them from the clever man himself 

1. Black Sheep – Metric
A wonderfully catchy tune from very entertaining but little known Canadian band. This song kicks ass in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
2. Foo Fighters – Rope
Just when you think listening to the Foo Fighters isn’t cool, they come out with another infectious, radio friendly rock tune. Don’t pretend you’re not smiling on the inside
3. Metronomy – Some Written
It’s a quintessential British pop album and it’s not going to far from my ears for a very long time
4. Darwin Deez – DNA
I have FromDeskTillDawn to thank for introducing me to this chap. Not a week goes by that I find a new favourite
5. TV On The Radio – Second Song
Takes a few seconds to kick in, but when it does that chorus is upbeat enough to make you strut
6. Anna Calvi – Love Won’t Be Leaving
Anna Who? This is what I would have said three months ago. Now I’m flying her flag
7. Charlie Darwin – The Low Anthem
This is a wonderful showcase and feels like a loving hug from your mother
8. Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – Pause
I discovered this lady while I was watching The Shadow Line. A very inclusive folk musician
9. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins
The most beautiful album in the world. You feel like you’re wearing a thick woolly jumper and sitting by a fireplace when you listen. It’s bloody evocative
10. Radiohead – Codex
Thom Yorke’s voice and piano – what more do you want? Maybe some strange vocal effect at the start? Okay, you can have that too

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Written by Anon PA

August 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm

On How I Smashed My Smile

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When I was about 11 I was the proud owner of my own stereo, no longer my *Dad’s cast off stack system in the corner of the room that was the size of a chair. I finally owned a CD player, which meant I could sneak into my sister’s room and steal The Stone Roses and stop listening to my tape of Hits 5.

As the old stereo ground to a halt (after way too many sessions of me taping the top 40) I became transfixed with how it worked, I wanted to see inside the stereo in the same way a Doctor wants to know the workings of the human body and take a peek inside. So one day I went to my **Dad’s tool box and took out a spanner, with my little brother for company, I started to take the back off and got more frustrated as I could see the panel of coloured wires and circuit board but couldn’t quite get to it. I dug the screw driver deep into the back of the panel and then if flipped up. INTO MY FACE.



The plop was half my front tooth landing in my lap.

What ensued was a very disappointed mother and many many trips to the dentist to try to fix my front tooth. Nothing stuck, whatever they done just kept dropping off. Eventually, after being marched down to the surgery on enough occasions the dentist eventually got it spot on but I wasn’t keen to smile for a while. I can still hear my Mum saying “You’ve bloody ruined your smile”.

Part of me is still a little bit obsessed with demolition. It’s probably a very good thing technology has got smaller and smaller as I have no interest in destroying my iPod, and I’m too emotionally attached to my record player (also needle hits record, music plays. It’s not as mystic).

I do however find myself increasingly intrigued by mixing desks at gigs. Sometimes I end up taking more photos of that than the band I’m seeing. So many dials, lights, knobs! Look at this one, it’s my favourite! If anyone has an old one you can donate it to me, call it an experiment to see if I’ve learnt from my childhood.

*My Dad still insists separate are best even though his stereo is slowly crumbling away. When my Mum suggested upgrading to an iPod and docking station recently he was very defiant and told her to “Leave it alone, it’s the only thing of mine in this house”.

**My Dad also owns the toolbox but he forgot to mention that when he ranted about his one and only possession in the house. Perhaps because I used it more to take things apart than he has ever done to fix things. It’s very rusty and dusty.

Written by Anon PA

June 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Posted in Music

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