From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘Bat For Lashes

Sunday Swoon. September 8th 2013.

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1. I always feel it’s terribly cliché to describe a track as haunting but I guess a collaboration between Natasha Khan and Jon Hopkins was always destined to be just that. Garden’s Heart is simply stunning.

2. I recently had the honour of hearing Margaret Atwood speak at Queen Elizabeth Hall. It was an inspirational reminder that I was lucky to be part of the generation that grew up with the likes of her and Kate Bush as role models. She was sharp, witty moving and wise and it’s an evening I will cherish forever. If you have never read any Atwood for some bizarre reason start with her poetry and The Handmaid’s Tale.

3. One  of the many terrible woes of suffering from Tinnitus is resisting the temptation to blare out tracks like Sleigh Bells Bitter Rivals through my headphones. Huge excitement that a third album is due out in the autumn.

4. Finally Gold Panda pays homage to Peckham is his video for Community. Making me think I really do need to drag myself south to nose at what’s happening down there.

Written by Anon PA

September 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Sunday Swoon. 26th May 2013.

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1. So I have a huge soft spot for Baz Luhrmann films. I’ve heard people niggling at his adaptation of The Great Gatsby, someone saying they walked out after ten minutes, but I loved it. The party scenes were visually breathtaking, made me feel like I am missing glittery ticker tape in life. The casting was perfect for the characters, Mulligan and DiCaprio as Daisy and Gatsby especially. It stuck close to the original book by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The soundtrack was perhaps a little too much vanity from Jay-Z.

2. The much talked about Parquet Courts played London’s historic The 100 Club last Sunday. Without getting drawn into the whole “is guitar music dead?” question what I will say is it was great to see a band who didn’t look like a Top Man advert, over groomed and too stiff for movement. There was a kid alone (he really was a kid, around 16) right at the front looking like he’d just discovered the greatest band of all time. Eyes unblinking, mouthing every word, rapt with attention. I love seeing that look on people.

3. I always get sucked into these “great summer read” books (I admit it, I even read Dan Brown). I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in about two days, staying up until the early hours to get to the end. It’s surprising and full of twists without over complicating the plot. I predict a film adaption will follow by the end of the year.

4. Field Day was utter brilliance on Saturday. Perfect weather, great company for the day and some real standout performances from the likes of How To Dress Well, Kurt Vile, Animal Collective and Bat for Lashes. I’ll opt to put a track of hers on here because it was the last crystal clear memory I have. Things after that got a bit gin hazy. The best day of 2013 so far, by far.

5. Lastly a new track this week from bare-footed, natty haired Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Better Days.

Field Day Mixtape 2013

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The bands I’ll be aiming to see at Field Day this Saturday in a mixtape (I distinctly remember writing last years sitting in a park in the sunshine). Although, from my present mood I am considering rounding off the day watching John Cooper Clarke so I should have added poetry and spoken word into my list. With a cider in my hand, the smell of petrichor in the air and dirt on my knees. I do get goosebumps over that first festival of the year feeling.

You can play my mixtape on YouTube.

Field Day

Hoxton Robbings and Roofs.

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Not many daughters are on the receiving end of a smug dad when they get robbed. My first weekend as an East London resident resulted in my iPhone being swiped as I dashed into a shop on Hoxton Street sober as a judge in broad daylight. My dad, born and bred in the area, has put up with years of people telling them how much Hoxton has changed but when my mum broke the news of this theft he  jubilantly exclaimed. “Told you Hoxton hasn’t changed!”.

Out of the two old dears that nosed their way into my misfortune one comforted me and offered to pray to Saint Anthony while the other shouted at me for “being an idiot. you can’t take your eyes off anything for a second in Hoxton It’s crap!.” I suspect my Dad would have sided with her.

Last year I set myself a to-do list. Life happened and things didn’t pan out despite achieving it in parts. I have three Lido’s left to swim in London and I learnt how to ride a bike (albeit not brilliantly yet. I doubt I’d pass my cycling proficiency). This move sparks a mentality of getting back on track as living here was part of the plan.

Up on the roof.

Up on the roof.

We sat up on our roof terrace last night with a bottle of wine watching the sun go down and the water returning to glass after a day of long boats passing, plastic bags floating past like lyrics from a Suede song, Laburnum Boat Club plunging in and ragged looking ducks disturbing the canal. I felt the luckiest and calmest I’ve been in a long time despite the bad luck on the first weekend I arrived. 

P.S I predict I fall in the canal by the time the year is up.

P.P.S My first week was soundtracked by Kindness, David Bowie, Daft Punk, Bat for Lashes, Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Haim. You can play my mixtape on YouTube here.

2012 Was…

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I do not have a decisive enough personality to make definitive lists so just off the top of my head this year…

Has been soundtracked by albums from Crybaby, The Maccabees, Friends, Wild Nothing, Mystery Jets, Mary Epworth, Beach House, Zulu Winter, Kindness, How To Dress Well, Hot Chip, Sharon Van Etten, Sleigh Bells, Polica, Toy, The Futureheads, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Grimes, Grizzly Bear, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Jessie Ware, Bat for Lashes and Perfume Genius. I wasn’t blown away by Alt-J (someone had to not be).

I can count the amount of times I went to the cinema on one hand but adored all the films. The Hobbit, Avengers Assemble, Moonrise Kingdom. Most of all I loved Beasts of the Southern Wild and Searching for Sugar Man.

It seems to be a year where I’ve mainly read David Sedaris. However, Anna Richardson’s Little Gods would be my book of the year. Stunning debut novel. After reading Virginia Woolf, A Room Of Ones Own I am determined to work my way through the rest of her books next year.

The exhibitions this year have been the strongest since I’ve lived in London. From Charles Dickens writing desk at the London Museum to Grayson Perry at The British Museum.

It’s been a year where I finally got to see Mystery Jets live, and at the Royal Festival Hall with someone who’s support has been unwavering this year. There’s been Gigs where I’ve been with my parents and created cherished memories, gigs of sitting in Hoxton basements and leaning over Heaven’s balcony. Drunk gigs, sober gigs, gigs that have moved me to tears or where I’ve come away with aching feet from dancing so much.

Above all these things it’s mainly been all about London 2012 for me. I hope I am forever changed by the Olympics and Paralympics. It made me kinder, motivated, deliriously happy and proud to be British. Actually, proud to just be a human being. This Public Enemy song will forever serve as a reminder.

It’s been a year of pesky Tinnitus, goodbyes and job changes. It’s been a year where friendships have sprang out of the unlikeliest of places and where I will never underestimate the kindness of strangers. At times you have overwhelmed me with your support and general brilliance (I know some of you read this blog, most of you will never even know you made a difference).

Of course there’s plenty of things I didn’t get round to in 2012. Like swimming round all of London Lido’s, having tea with Ian Hislop, learning how to ride a bike or shaking Robert Jay QC by the hand.

It’s been a year where I’ve decided bravery is one of the most important qualities you can possess. A year of remembering I can breathe underwater.

2012. In equal measures I’m glad to see it gone and reluctant to let it go.

Here’s to 2013. Happy New Year.

NB: Huge thanks to Pete at Flush The Fashion for putting up with my contributions for another year. To Pub Diaries for letting me waffle on in a Q&A. The ever energetic and tireless Dan Thompson for printing my pop up shop piece. To Darren Hayman for letting me talk about my love of swimming and to The Guardian for printing my ‘Six Songs Of Me‘. To Tim for having me on Resonance Radio. And to everyone who reads this. Cheers.

final collage

Sunday Swoon. October 21st

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Derek Jarman teaches me a lesson, mothers ruin and some stunning music…

1. You can always rely on Jack White  to come up with beautiful music videos (even if slightly dark and gothic in tone). For I’m Shakin’ we get double Jack in moody blues and blacks. I will never tire of the way he pronounces the word nervous in this track and the subtle colour flicks and changes (nail varnishes changing colours, gloopy blue tears to black) are a joy to spot.

2. As Derek Jarman slowly went blind during his battle against AIDS he wrote Chroma. His love letter to the colours he painted his life with. Yes it is sad, tragic and moving. But more than that it is a lesson to us all, a reminder that looking is not truly seeing. He has made me use my eyes again. “I wrote this book in the absence of time. If I have overlooked something you hold precious – write it in the margin…. I know that my colours are not yours”

3. Despite scrambling to sign up for The Gin Club in Soho’s Star at Night on the day it was announced it has taken me an age to make the pilgrimage to sup on mothers ruin. It was worth the wait and will be a new favourite haunt. Perfect Autumnal setting, cosy and candlelit.

4. Bat for Lashes released The Haunted Man this week. Regular readers here will know I adore her music and all that she stands for (on this instance not just ethereal beautiful music but for appearing in the buff, not a scrap of make up on the album cover). This album perfectly suits this time of year, soundtrack to my autumn.

5. I won’t say anything about Beasts of the Southern Wild other than to say it takes a lot to get me to a cinema so if I recommend a film then it’s usually meant a lot to me, and it’s likely that it’s made me cry. No spoilers. Just that it’s beautifully shot and reminds you of all we’re meant to find precious in life.

Sunday Swoon. October 7th

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Lots of amazing music, coffee and one night of non stop laughter…

1. Still laughing a week later, every now and again something Rob Delaney said during his sold out shows at Soho Theatre makes me break out into grins and giggles. When he returns next year do go see him (I will be again). I have no words that will give him justice. He is hysterical, charming and I wish more comedians approached jokes about women they way he does. Bravo. A million times bravo.

2. I got to review the insanely amazing SBTRKT (pronounced Subtract for those that have been living in the stars or working on an underwater scientific base) for the equally brilliant Flush The Fashion this week. You can read my review here.

3. What I love about Natasha Khan, Bat for Lashes, is how artistic and stylised her music videos are, you can instantly feel that a lot of love and attention has gone into the production. Whether there’s a tinge of Donnie Darko as she cycles through deserted streets with animals in hoodies or the sadness of a drag queen prowling the stage. In All Your Gold she is resplendent in moody monochrome, moon snapping at her fingertips as the tides turn.

4. As 2012 draws to its close (and where have these days gone, too fast again my friends) the race for album of the year is on and Kindness has never left my top 5 since it’s release. This week, thanks to 6 Music Live I was reminded just how brilliant Adam Bainbridge and his band are. They were my stand out act at Field Day. You can watch this weeks session here. I guarantee it will bring you a world of joy.

5. I had a lovely Saturday morning in Soho, deeply involved in an exciting writing project. The scene was set in Foxcroft & Ginger. As my addiction to coffee grows (this is what happens when you cut down on alcohol) I shun chains and seek gems like this. A cheaper and higher quality cup of coffee served by warm and lively personalities. Food served ranges from cocoa rich brownies, dainty apricot pastries to chunky slabs of aubergine and doorstep oozing, dripping toasties. I also like that they sound like Roald Dahl characters. Find them on Berwick Street.

Music for Melancholy

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Allow me to have a bad day. I am sat nursing one of the many bottles of wine leftover from the M&S dine in for £10 offers that have been collecting in the kitchen reminiscing on the past 12 months.

I got made redundant last August, found a job I was excited about only to discover on my second day that the office was closing down by Christmas. So the panic of finding regular employment started all over again just as soon as it had stopped. After a lot of energy sitting in my uncomfortable interview clobber I found another job by November. I jetted off to Istanbul for an exciting work trip within two weeks of joining them and contracted Tinnitus on the return flight to London.

12 months later I am being made redundant yet again as the office I work for closes. My lovely ENT Doctor who (not Doctor Who, that’s a very different Doctor) has worked so very hard and dealt with all my frustrations patiently and kindly, threw his hands up today and told me he’s exhausted every avenue he can think of to cure it. All of which have failed (regular readers of this blog will know that music is the centre of my universe and therefore my hearing is precious). Add to this the break up of a long-term relationship earlier in the year, which despite the fact I am happier out of that relationship I miss my sidekick and it was a tough thing to go through. Most days I laugh at all this shambolic rotten luck, because of all the wonderful amazing things landing on my doorstep (London 2012 especially inspiring, friends and families support even more so).

The point to all this? None really. I am by nature a glass half full sort. In fact I’m more glass half full, favourite crisps in the cupboard and a bottle of rum under the kitchen sink. I’m not typing this to offer any wisdom other than to say I think it’s OK to have a shit day every now and again, and it’s more than OK to admit it. This post isn’t intended to cause worry. It’s just about that one message, that it’s fine to have a melancholic evening. Drink wine, feel a bit peeved about the hand you’ve been dealt and listen to lyrics. Then wake up in the morning ready to kick the world in its chops and run round the park listening to Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On  A Prayer (I do that).

It’s good to have a soundtrack to wallow in, and beautifully sad music has a magical way of lifting me out of a sulk. Here’s what I’ve been listening to, just in case anyone out there is feeling a bit naff. Music offers a million things to me, that it can be cathartic is just one little element.

You can play this mixtape on Spotify or YouTube.

  1. Bat for Lashes – Laura
  2. Florence + The Machine – Never Let Me Go
  3. Fleetwood Mac – Landslide
  4. The Middle East – Blood
  5. LCD Soundsystem – Someone Great
  6. How To Dress Well – World I Need You, Won’t Be Without You
  7. Perfume Genius – Hood
  8. Anthony & The Johnsons – Hope There’s Someone
  9. Bon Iver – Holocene
  10. Kindness – House

Sunday Swoon. July 29th

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Searching for Sugar Man, swimming pools and our new hero….

1. Before Friday I was mainly ambivalent about the London Olympics, and like a lot of Londoner’s was more concerned with transport failing and being stopped every five yards to be asked for directions to [insert any old landmark here]. Danny Boyle has not only dashed my sport cynicism to the train tracks but made me feel so very proud to be British. Frankly, not something I have felt for a long time. The opening ceremony was utterly bonkers, quirky and bat shit wonderful. I, along with a ton of people, shed a few tears during this historic moment. To him and all involved I am truly indebted, thank you!

“This will be about us, and if some people don’t get it that’s fine. That’s what we’re like”

  – Danny Boyle

Fact: Emeli Sande sang the hymn Abide With Me which was wrote by the Reverent Lyte, penned in the little town of my birth Brixham.

2. The almost eerily beautiful Bat For Lashes returned with this heart cracking sad song this week. Such a woeful song with an equally saddening video for Laura. Stunning and has me almost holding my breath when I listen to it, and I’m never sure whether to cry or feel lifted by it. Strange but joyful quality.

3. Earlier this week I took my first literal plunge into a self-imposed challenge to swim all of London Lido’s over the next few weeks. Blog post here if you missed it. In love with swimming again.

4.  This week I fell in love, new music to my ears from a very old musician in Searching For Sugar Man. Such a moving documentary, made me cry, laugh, smile and shake my head in baffled disbelief. A musical fairytale. Any music lover, regardless of taste in tunes, will connect with this film immediately. Seek it out. 

5. Another skill, brill and ace video from Hot Chip demonstrating their playful randomness to end this post on, released this week for their single How Do You Do? 

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The Letter ‘B’ Mixtape. Part 1

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It’s been tough getting this down to my self-imposed 10 track mixtape so I am splitting this into two posts, this is the first installment. Until I decided to conquer an alphabet playlist I had no idea my music collection was made up of so many bands/musicians beginning with the letter….

And before any smart asses leave comments saying “What the F! You left out The Beatles” I am fully aware of this and yes it’s intentional. I’m more of a Rolling Stones girl myself. That’s what I’d like on my gravestone. “Here lies Hannah. She was always more of a Stones girl”

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. Belle & Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane  (In John Osborne’s must-see monologue for all music lovers, John Peel’s Shed, he mentions the number 1 rule in music is “all girls like Belle & Sebastian”. So utterly true).

2. Bow Wow Wow – Go Wild In The Country (An old colleague is married to drummer Dave Barbe, there were countless occasions where I clutched this on vinyl but chickened out when it came to asking her to have him sign it. Annabella Lwin was discovered singing at her saturday job in a dry cleaning shop, I don’t feel that she ever really got put on the plinth she deserves for being one of our great frontwoman. I literally worship this track).

3. Battles Featuring Matias Aguayo – Ice Cream (Non sensical grunting and groaning over plonky keyboards makes me smile until I’m sore. One of my favourite tracks from last year. Battles also have the most talented, insane, genius drummer)

4. The Bandana Splits – Sometimes  (I can’t remember which 6 Music DJ introduced me to this band but it was definitely one of them! If you like The Pipettes you’ll like this girl group. Trust me)

5. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark (Glastonbury 2009. Bow down to The Boss. “I’m just tired and bored with myself” is one of my favourite ever lyrics, surely we can all relate to that feeling? I’d type more but literally… have to dance when I hear this song and I’m playing it right now…)

6. Black Keys – Howlin’ For You  (I was lucky enough to see these a couple of weeks back at Alexandra Palace and blogged how I firmly placed them into my “Fucking Living It” category. How are they from this generation? I swear Bill & Ted kidnapped them from the 70’s)

7. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows  (Seeing Brian Wilson perform this, a single blue spotlight illuminating this genius made fragile from a life of excess moved me to tears last year)

8. Braids – Lemonade  (There are certain songs I really, really, really want to hear in a field, with the sun setting and a gallon of ciders running through my insides. This song would also make that playlist)

9. Bloc Party – Two More Years (This track has got me though many a bleak time, I can’t think of any other song that whispers such hope tenderly into my ears. Listen to the lyrics “be brave, there’s a right way and a wrong way, this pain won’t last forever,” to “You don’t need to find answers for questions never asked of you”and “I know, my love, this is not the only story you can tell”. Kele should man the helplines, he knows exactly what to say in a crisis)

10. Bat For Lashes – Daniel (I definitely have a ‘type’ when it comes to my girl crushes. Alexis Krauss, Karen O and Natasha Khan. Not a blonde in sight)

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