From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘From Desk Till Dawn

Sunday Swoon. April 29th

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Inspiration from Santigold, Breakfast like a king and World Book Night… 

1. It is no exaggeration to say that Santigold’s gig at Heaven on Thursday night utterly inspired me and lifted me to a better place. She just sort of left me thinking I want to be better at everything, all the time, whatever I choose to tackle. A pantomime horse, dancers that I couldn’t take my eyes off, a sweet spirit and singer that connected with her audience. Her album is also released this week and there’s not been a day where I’ve not played it, Disparate Youth and The Riot’s Gone standing out. Exceeded all expectations.

2. Monday night I took part in World Book Night. It was a brilliant experience and I immediately blogged about it once my copies of Let The Right In were handed out to the commuters of North West London. You can read about it here.

3. A very early start this morning was eased by a visit to The Breakfast Club. We’ve patiently  queued on many an occasion out in the rain and quite happily. It’s always worth the wait, Mocha’s, perfect poached eggs, pancakes and service always with a huge sunny smile.

4. Adore the tongue in cheek strap line on the poster’s for Blunderbuss. Jack White pitches it as his debut album which makes me smile considering his vast back catalogue and musical projects. This album is perfection, predictably Jack White but that’s why we’re all on the edge of our seats every time he releases something, with whomever is graced by his genius. 

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Written by Anon PA

April 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Twitter Presents A Mixtape

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I decided to have a week off from my self-imposed mixtape duties this week and handed the reigns over to Twitter. I asked people to message me the first song that pops into their head and the first ten people came out with the below (except it turned into eleven). With the tracks coming from completely different people the choices are truly eclectic, I may experiment more in the future with this format.

There are people I can’t compete with in coolness from their choices, there’s also a track in John Cale that I’d never heard before and Mick Hucknall managed to thrust his ginger hips (?) into my blog for the second time. Could not see that coming!

You can play the mixtape on Spotify or Youtube. Enjoy the randomness of this and a huge thanks to the eleven below that humoured me. Merci beaucoup. 

  1. Chairmen of the Board – Patches (monkeypicks)
  2. The Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian (CurlyKerryLee)
  3. Spiritualized – I Think I’m In Love (GarethEvans1975)
  4. John Cale – Pablo Picasso (BobWinckworth)
  5. Simply Red – Holding Back the Years (Sarah_Woolley)
  6. The Clash – Stay Free (GoingUndrground)
  7. Bob Dylan – Quinn the Eskimo (Ryledale)
  8. Spencer Davis Group – I’m a Man (famouswhendead)
  9. Janelle Monae – Dance or Die (elllmilll)
  10. The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio (buzzstas)
  11. The Beatles – For No One (DanStayte)

Sunday Swoon. April 15th

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An amazing man in a green jumper, Zulu Winter and a pioneer in puppetry….

1. Thanks to the blonde in the bottom corner (a.k.a Jo) I have discovered The Amazings and it’s just such a brilliantly simple idea. They help people who are about to or have already retired pass on their secret skills. From steel pan drumming, foraging to retro up-do’s (which we attended on Tuesday) the “Amazing” passes down a life lesson for a small fee. I learnt the secret to Victory Rolls, how to use Kirby Grips (finally) and we all fell in love with Michael from Toppers of Hackney, owner of a brilliant vintage jumper and a music collection that Shazam wasn’t picking up. Yes, he’s *that* retro.

You can book activities on their website. Do take a peek if you live in London. Props to the team behind it, I am hooked and will definitely return in the near future.

2. I touted Alabama Shakes as THE band to watch in 2012 for Flush The Fashions latest digi issue. Genuine, raw, soulful, vintage. The album is out this week and has made me want to glug Bourbon and buy a rocking chair.

 

3. This week I have been obsessively watching Jiri Trnka’s puppetry. Most of his movies were aimed at adults, for example adapting Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream or producing shorts warning against drink driving. He was a pioneer in stop motion and animation. Really charming and minutely detailed.

4. Caught the latest single from Zulu Winter this week and, like everything they’ve produced so far, instantly fell in love with it. Counting down the days until their debut album which will be released in May. They had at the cowbells on their first release Let’s Move Back To Front. Can’t recommend them enough. 

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Written by Anon PA

April 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Sunday Swoon. April 8th

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A holiday camp under tunnels, The Futureheads in a church, David Hockney’s epic collection. London never fails to delight me…

1. The Futureheads at Union Chapel this Wednesday were achingly sublime , faultless and I was completely smitten. My full review for Flush The Fashion can be read here so I shan’t reiterate my point, a few photos from the evening are on my Flickr. I implore you to catch them if you’re a curious and genuine music lover that wants to hear something brand new. Their album Rant is also out this week and has pretty much constantly played along with the album featured below.

2. I feel like I’ve been waiting an age for this album to arrive, from the moment Will Self  declared it his most anticipated album of 2012 via a rare Twitter appearance, to the change of release date putting it back. Internet Forever are simply a perfect band to me. Melodies, catchy sing along lyrics, pop, shoegazing, eerie 60’s undertones, indie. They make you feel as if you’re listening to all your favourite genres in one go without being crowded, overly complicated or scenester.

3. One of my very favourite London venues, The Old Vic Tunnels, once again came up top trumps over Easter Weekend with their pop-up Holiday Camp. Brilliant DJ playing the right amount of classic tack and pop to shake your jelly, indoor campfire, badminton. Old memories of summer holidays under the grey, dank, dark tunnels. Although hitting the bouncy castle on a full stomach of gin was not our wisest decision of the night. 

4. Sean Penn + Francis McDormand + the music of David Byrne had to only = a film I would love. This Must Be The Place is tragic, heart cracking sad but ultimately weirdly funny and redemptive. Actually found myself making triumphant and jubilant “aaahh” and “yyyeeaaayyy” noises at the screen.

“Dark flowers bloom in the autumnal garden that grows inside of me”

5. Being organised comes in handy when you can smugly walk past a very woeful but determined looking line of people chancing their luck at trying to get into David Hockney. Had I not pre booked I’m not sure I’d have lasted out in the rain. The Yorkshire landscapes made me feel nostalgic for my country upbringing in Devon. Luscious valleys reminiscent of Totnes. His paintings are overwhelming, from charcoal sketches to the colossal connected canvases painted from memory, to the same country tunnel revisited during the seasons. Definitely had an art high yesterday. Final day today just incase my words that don’t do it justice inspire you to run down to the Royal Academy of Arts. 

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Sunday Swoon. April 1st

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A week where I finished a book full of freaks and loved them all, spent hours being wowed by graphic art at Somerset House and discovered Afternoon Shift…

1. When I first started reading Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love I tweeted that I was more than a little disturbed by it. Thankfully people convinced me to persist. Yes it stems from a slightly sick and twisted imagination but the result makes the ugliest of things quite beautiful. It’s like the love child of Angela Carter and Neil Gaiman.

2. Something had to come along to stop my brain shouting “GRIMES” at me every time I paused when deciding what album to put on. Grinderman 2 RMX appears, for the moment, to be that album. The Joshua Homme remix of Mickey Bloody Mouse is something quite special. I can be guilty of dismissing remix albums as lazy but this doesn’t lack in imagination and is brilliantly produced. You can listen to is on Spotify here.

3. The Daily Mash had me in hysterics over their festival for twats piece this week. If there was ever an article I wish had come from my brain it could be this one.

4. Somerset House have hosted a contemporary graphic art fair called Pick Me Up. Thanks to good egg Jo I was able to cram in on the final day and was completely overwhelmed by the standard of artists on display. Oh to be rich and snap everything up. From Paul X Johnson’s soft and romantic figures to Zim & Zou’s paper Polaroid camera’s. Extensive, vast, varied and washed down with coffee and ham and piccalilli rolls.This really deserves a post of its own, you can find photos on my Flickr.

5. Huge thanks to @goodstufftom who put me on to Afternoon Shift this week. I will use his words “informative, clever and not stuffy at all”. For radio fans please give it a listen

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Sunday Swoon. March 25th

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Underwater musicals, manly meat and poetic books. What a mixed bag of a week I’ve had…

1. All thanks to Summer Camp (see swoon number 3) I developed a huge crush on Aquamusicals this week, more precisely Esther Williams. I am slowly working my way through her splish splash synchronized swimming films from MGM. The clip above is from Dangerous When Wet, her co-stars were Tom & Jerry on this occasion. Brilliantly kitsch, charming and quite bonkers (especially if you watch after a few gins).

2. I really don’t want to say too much about this book as I know a couple of regular readers are halfway through it and I’ve also said I’d lend it to a friend (as an escape from her book club reads) but the language is beautiful, the characters tragic yet lovable, their little obsessions are poetic and educational. Highly recommend Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance Of The Hedgehog.

3. My first live experience of Summer Camp was at Efes Pool Hall in Dalston last year and I can happily report that upgrading to a bigger venue doesn’t lessen the intimacy and audience inclusion you feel seeing them live. Elizabeth and Jeremy still keep the rolling montage of vintage films (hence my swoon number 1) back of stage lending to their concept  town of Condale (and making you nostalgic for your youth with Mary Poppin’s and Teen Wolf). As well as the familiar album they played new material and stripped down acoustic tracks including a sing-a-long inducing cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere (no microphone required for Elizabeth to give you an idea of how powerful and pitch perfect her vocals are). Truly special live.

4. There is an underground den for music geeks halfway along the Edgware Road called The Rock & Roll Public Library – Mick Jones. It’s a collection stemming from the man himself’s personal collection that started before The Clash was a glimmer in his eye. It takes in books, vinyl, fanzines, posters and is a truly fascinating historical archive. It’s only there until March 31st so time is ticking. A photo set is on my Flickr

5. I’ve been to meat mecca and it’s name is THE RIB MAN. Leaves the likes of Bodean’s in the shade not only in the quality of the slooowwwww cooked ribs pulled into fluffy white rolls the size of your face, but service comes with a huge chirpy smile (unlike aforementioned restaurant). Worth the queues and crowds on Brick Lane. £5 well spent. You can read more about The Rib Man on his website here

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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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Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Humans

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A couple of days ago I read an interview with Annie Lennox in The Guardian. She talks about winning the Barclay’s woman of the year accolade in 2010 when she asked for people to stand up if they were a feminist. Half the room remained seated, and chances are I’d have been in the half of the room that stayed on my bum. Not out of meekness or embarrassment. Certainly not because I’d have been picking my nails wishing I was back in the kitchen darning my partners socks or whipping together a casserole.

I’d of remained seated because I don’t feel the need to label myself just because I am female, independent, feel strongly about women’s rights and enjoy dancing to Beyoncé. For those reasons I also don’t know how I really feel about International Woman’s Day.

In the interview Annie Lennox ponders “it made me wonder, what is wrong with the word”. Nothing at all is wrong with the word, and being female (working ovaries, a brain, two feet etc) no one is more grateful that it exists. I may stand alone here, I just don’t feel the need to brand myself because of my gender.

I grew up in a family where my parents shared the mortgage, housework and childcare. I have watched my parents sitting down to the crossword every weekend together, mutual respect for their intelligence, as equals. Way before fathers were allowed into the delivery room my Dad was trying to barge past burly matrons to support my mum (only to be smacked round the head and sent down the pub by the midwife, “nothing for you to see here”).

In my career I have been lucky enough to work with inspirational men and women (more commonly known as my colleagues) and although I have experienced utter idiocy and poor decisions on numerous occasions they have simply been that. Foolish management choices, not sexist choices. I have frequently felt more supported and more equal to my male colleagues in fact. In the workplace it’s more often been female co-workers creating unnecessary competition and tension unfortunately (and I could write a book on how much this saddens me).

As for my relationships, I currently date a feminist. If you frequently take the central line in London look out for a man ranting at anyone daft enough to be caught ogling page.3 on public transport. He will also march against those that find strip clubs “lads” entertainment and spit at TV shows “aimed at woman enforcing the idea that you’re ditzy emotional idiots” (Sex and the City, Take Me Out). I must stress he doesn’t do this in order to get a hot meal and my pants off.

But when Annie Lennox says this shouldn’t be a female only members club I do wholeheartedly agree. Do not cross the line unless you can show your bra and prove you own a Patti Smith CD is outdated when I know so many brilliant men that see us as equal, not less able sex objects who have no worthy opinions or contribution to the world. Take a look at the men in your life and ask yourself if this is their picture of you? I suspect not. The reason being is because us women are great judges of character, have choices, earn a wage, know what is unacceptable and therefore we wouldn’t give anyone the time of day if they did treat us like this.

Maybe I am exceptionally lucky and rare, I am certainly not naive enough to think my experiences are a blueprint for every woman out there. Yes we have a long way to go. Woman are woefully represented at board level and in our parliament (and when we get there end up doing “ironic” sexy GQ shots, Mensch I’m looking at you). Vile programmes like Loose Woman do the sane, clever, witty lady zero favours. Mens appearance is not picked apart in minute details (Lana Del Rey recently at the receiving end of quite vitriolic abuse). But the people, male and female, I surround myself with give me hope.

I will be eternally grateful to the advent of birth control, the suffragette’s for pioneering the feminist movement and to Annie Lennox for cropping her hair, putting on trousers and showing us we can do it just like the fella’s. All these things are the reason I have the voice and platform to type all this and it was her voice that drifted through the walls from my sisters bedrooms when I was seven, one of my earliest influences and examples of a strong, talented, intelligent woman (all those things we weren’t meant to be once upon a time).

It’s just that I’d have felt more inclined to jump up on the table and swing from the chandeliers had she asked me to “stand up if you’re a human”. That’s where we need to be.

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Written by Anon PA

March 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm

The Letter ‘B’ Mixtape. Part 2

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As promised here is part 2 of the letter B Mixtape….

And still no sign of The Beatles.

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. Billy Bragg – A New England  (A voice of disparate youth, I always feel like the person singing this feels like a lone voice, not realising so many people are listening to this and thinking exactly the same. It sounds like a sigh and proves you don’t always have to shout loud to make you message loud and clear).

2. Blur – Good Song (Let us gloss over the shambolic Brits performance, just remember they are great recording artists. I like them most when they’re at their most tender – no pun intended. For fans of David Shrigley he is responsible for the music video).

3. Bon Iver – Skinny Love (For no other reason than a Bon Iver track had to make the playlist and the title of this makes me smile)

4. Band Of Horses – Funeral  (I was late to discover this band, they only really came to my attention when Infinite Arms was released. Adore this track more than any other of theirs)

5. Bombay Bicycle Club – Lights Out, Words Gone (People seem to either love or loathe BBC. They are the Marmite of bands. I’ll stick my neck out as a Marmite lover. I am a terrible sleeper, insomnia is frequently my bed companion. This track is calming and helps me feel restful)

6. Beirut – Postcards From Italy  (People went batshit over Beirut last year, quite rightly so. This is the song that made me fall for them. I love the clash of cultural sounds, it feels like it bridges many countries if that makes sense? The New Orleans horns, The Moroccan drums merging with European strings)

7. Bob Dylan – Hurricane  (Bob Dylan’s ode to the boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a protest song against his imprisonment, eventually overturned. Dylan stuck his neck out after visiting Carter in prison. You have to take your hat off to a man who uses his talent to defend those wronged, to stand by a cause. Sticking it to the man)

8. Breeders – Cannonball  (The second this starts you’re waiting for the bass line. It’s all about that. Simply one of my favourite songs ever. Sounding dirt and filth way before Sleigh Bells arrived on the scene)

9. Band Of Skulls – The Devil Takes Care Of His Own (Still find it hard to believe this band are from blighty! Caught them supporting The Black Keys earlier in the month and their albums have been overplayed since)

10. Bjork – Triumph Of A Heart (Spike Jonze directed the love-story with a cat video. It is insanely brilliant, never fails to make me laugh. She’s a creative force of nature, always amazing me)

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Written by Anon PA

February 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm