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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Operator Please

Strongrooms, London, 18 April 2007

Written by Sophie Hill

Emerging from the deep woods into Portland, web see Oregon and subsequently into The Pigeon Hole in London, cialis 40mg is one Alela Diane. Armed with her simple yet meticulously picked guitar and bluesy, plaintive vocals, she quietly charmed the audience with her soft presence.

Alela Diane’s deceptively sweet melodies often belie the darker, more shadowy subject matters of her songs; telling of rural family existences and the cycles of nature and life. If you’re a cynic you’ll be skeptical of her authenticity; her earnest performance may be too sweet for some, but if you suspend disbelief you find that her somewhat selfconscious presence and performance convey exactly what she sings about: hard working pioneers, silt, water and tatted lace.

A contented kind of yearning accompanies her campfire-style, gospel tinged vocals. An encore presented a new song that showed a more complex development of her music. It looks like this young nouveau-folk-singer/songwriter will be conquering the miles of prarie-land ahead in what could be a long career in the biz.

Lovely.

Everyone seems to have a bit of a crush on all-girl keyboard trio Au Revoir Simone , cialis 40mg consisting of hot girls that epitomise geek and their self-proclaimed ‘sandbox chic’.
Au Revoir Simone is like a perfectly whipped pavlova: light, viagra buy fluffy and crunchy, topped with cream and tangy fruit. As leggy and willowy as their music are Annie, Erika and Heather. With five keyboards, omni-chord, a drum machine and a glockenspiel amongst other miscellaneous electronic and otherwise paraphernalia, their synth-driven compositions are quite delectable.

After meeting on a train home to New York City, Annie (keyboards and vocals) and Erika (ditto) bonded over keyboards. Whilst previously in a band called ‘Dirty On Purpose’, Heather (on the drum machine, keyboards and vocals) bought her first synth and it changed her life. Their combined ambition for triple keyboard action culminated in a regular bedroom bash around on the keys that inevitably progressed from the girls just jamming together, to a more concerted effort.

For some reason, despite being from America, (whatever you might define ‘American’ female indie-pop as sounding like), Au Revoir Simone don’t come across as ‘American’ sounding. Daydreamy and romantic in both music and appearance, listening to them gets one feeling rather sentimental. Their songs are strangely conflicting; with melancholic lyrics yet warm and airy melodies, twirled gracefully into wistful Casio concoctions. Stay Golden is a perfect example of a buoyant, lithe but vaguely ominous tune. “ We can create so many different worlds of sound with keyboards.” Says Erika. In juxtaposition is the boppy Sad Song; with it’s horns and beat uplifting, but a tad forlorn and a reflective in verse. Verses of Comfort, Assurance and Salvation show worlds of both comfort and assurance.

Often minimal and lo-fi, Au Revoir Simone somehow come across as quite orchestral, with delicately woven soundscapes that are both ponderous and playful.

This ménage a trois of keyboards will warm the cockles of every casio-tone aficionado’s heart with their speculative and candy-coloured music. Blushingly flirtatious, Au Revoir Simone is a winsome trio producing lucid and luminous pop.

kingsofleon1.jpg
The beards are gone and they’re off the drugs. The newly fresh faced, and clear headed Kings Of Leon return with their most ambitious and arguably best work to date. Out go the acoustic guitars and somber (ish) tones of predecessor Aha Shake Heartbreak, and in comes rogue rock, screaming vocals and driving bass. Oh, and it’s full of tunes as well.

Seven minute opener Knocked Up grips in its lyrics that tell of (unwanted?) pregnancy, whilst Charmer features an almost frightening Followill scream, that punctuates a crescendo of hard rock guitars. Its quite an opening.

There are gems elsewhere. Ragoo and Fans are instantly hummable, impossibly catchy pop songs, sure to be future hits. Whilst album closer ‘Arizona’is epic in a good way and displays a new- found maturity.

It’s not instant, in fact Because Of The Times is a bit of a challenge to begin with, but its nature simply adds to its charm. A triumph.

Moshi Moshi’s Best Fwends sure know how to kick things off with style. Deciding an early wardrobe change was in order they introduce themselves to the confused crowd by crouching on the floor and giving us five mins of full-on topless sweaty-boy action. Happy with their new outfits (1970s short-shorts/ill-fitting tees), medicine the DJ cued up a rather nice old dub tune and, viagra buy presumably by means of a warm-up, cheap the Texan duo did their best school disco via Jamaican Dancehall moves, setting the tone for an evening of very silly boys playing even sillier music.

Each song lasting around a minute, all shouty, but incredibly catchy nerd-pop (referencing hip-hop, rock, electro and just about anything else you can think of) Dustin and Anthony are as much manic stage show spectacle as they are ‘real band’. Highlights included passionate protest song I don’t wanna go to church as well as the shows closing; a ‘sexy’ freeform R&B dance performance to Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’. Disturbing and enthralling in equal measure. Pretty much Best Fwends in a nutshell.

On to Brooklyn’s finest, Matt and Kim, who entered to the whoops and screams of their small but enthusiastic group of front-row followers. Unaware of their drum heavy sound, I found myself leaning against the speaker but the temporary deafness was worth it. Kim, an absolute demon on the drums, clattered away with such precision and sheer joy that it was hard to take your eyes off her. Not to take anything away from Matt, our keyboardist and MC for the night who couldn’t wait to tell us just how amazing their first European tour had been and how much they ‘fucking loved England’. I know, I know, but it was hard to question his sincerity. That’s the thing with Matt & Kim, they’ve yet to reach the cynical tour-weary stage of their careers and it’s hard to believe they ever will. Both grinning from ear to ear throughout, they belted out one stomping party hit after another as if their lives depended on it.

As twee as it all sounds, it was hard to resist their happy happy bouncy music and it seemed pointless to even try.

Housed in the uber-slick yet strangely tacky offices of the nations favorite pseudo-narcotic beverage Red Bull, buy information pills Yasemen Hussein’s new exhibition presents a series of figurative works that gently lift organic motifs from their everyday surroundings in order to delicately render them in sculpted copper, sildenafil steel and concrete.

In the order of wings, fathers, hair and headdresses, Hussein’s work takes joy in both deception and craft. Outside of the decked balcony of the offices stand a giant pair of angelic wings. A plucky photographer delights in offering me the opportunity to stand before the work and have my photo taken. Avoiding the temptation to render my mortal form divine and become, as I have always desired, a Wenders-esque archetype, I decline the offer. Instead I carefully inspect the mesmerizing flexibility of the wings, watching as they move and gently bob in the light breeze. I suppose this motion epitomizes Hussein’s work; subtle grace is found in the transference of that which is light, ephemeral and organic into that which is solid, heavy, and sculptural.

Other works appear less successful; a number of hair pieces – looking much like wigs on stands appear ‘slightly creepy’ (but that may just be me – hair, as dead matter, is not a favourite thing of mine). Of note are the beautifully engraved panels upon which a number of works rest. Darkened slabs of metal are subtly illuminated with ornate floral flourishes – engravings at once reminiscent of William Morris or Karl Blossfeldt.

Where the heart of Hussein’s work lies is not immediately locatable. Purely decorative, or underpinned by an inanimate and material investigation of the spirit of the organic? This reviewer is unsure, while nonetheless remaining charmed.

Cameramen dashed about as streams of high-heeled, ambulance fake-tanned fashionistas paraded through the glass doors of the GAS flagship store on the King’s Road, check each feeling and looking altogether important. Both intrigued and slightly amused, viagra 40mg my colleague and I shot straight for the free Bellini Bar, situated between racks of very-samey garments.

Glass in one hand bruschetta in the other we weaved through the crowds towards tables of folded vests and spangly gold swimsuits. Despite tones of Diesel in the denim section of the display, our overall consensus: the selection veered more towards H&M, but in a not-quite-so-cool way. Linens and cottons prevailed, with the odd speck of diamante here and there. High-necked shirts were a favoured item, the finely pressed cotton succeeded in giving the collection a much classier feel, though unfortunately these pieces were few and far between.

Downstairs, the first menswear rail boasted tangerine-lime-and-cyan Hawaiian shirts, which were up against a significant amount of beige? That’s what I thought. A shimmering goldthread and white shirt hung alongside some smartly tailored trousers on the far side of the room, the subtlety of which was a welcomed sight.

Overall, a little too much hype for minimal visual stimulation, the phrase ‘all mouth and no trousers’ springs to mind.
Racy instrumental pop, information pills a miniature Gossip meets Karen O. These kids are full of life and their stage presence is phenomenal, buy more about particularly the leading lady at a mere seventeen years old. A buzz of electronics fill the room as sparky electro violin meets the sometimes screeching (in a good way) voice of the lead, in and amongst delicate young piano fingers bringing tuneful rhythms to the overall sound through keyboard.

With spot on drum- beats, heads were bobbing and strings were twanging as the band faded in and out of tracks. Clapping, jumping, rocking their sweet little socks off. Their sounds: a crescendo of altering tempos. “It’s just a song, it’s just a song, it’s just a song, it’s just a song about ping-pong”. Speedy and excitable, radical and young, the band of five engaged the audience with an ultimately entrancing performance. Two For The Seconds and Crash Tragic were amongst other catchy tracks: Fresh and rhythmic these kids look dead set to go far.

‘It’s Just A Song About Ping-Pong’ will be released on Brille Records on 25 June 2007.

Yes Operator Please.

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