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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

SEA WOLF – Get To The River Before It Runs Too Low

Dangerbird Records / Pinnacle Distribution, Release Date: 7th April 2008

Written by Louise Chappell

A worryingly bright room with the stench of fresh white paint known as the Nog Gallery was illustrator Marcus Oakley‘s chosen venue for the launch of his new book.

Framed art and canvases, order website like this none much larger than A4, were hung tightly together in a line around the room. This was a collection of work that made the book that we were there to drink our beers to.

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A colourful collection of trendy, childlike illustrations were bought to life by Oakley and his fat marker pen, HB pencil and a selection of coloured papers and paints. His work involved a mixture of typography, pattern making, still-lifes, houses and numerous quirky characters and animals such as the creepy bear (above).

Oakley’s work also involved portraits of more familiar (yet still rather creepy looking) characters including Fleetwood Mac, Simon and Garfunkel and Neil young. There was definitely a 1970′s air around the exhibition: bygone architecture, retro pot plants and large collared fashion. Oakley appears to be influenced by the aesthetic beauty of the decade’s architecture, fashion, graphics and typography. The subject matter and his taste in music may be a little old but his style of illustration is definitely contemporary.

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The Glasgow School of Art undergraduate fashion show has been an annual affair since the 1940s, viagra approved so it’s no surprise it has established a reputation for being dynamic and innovative. This year proved to be no different, more about with 40 students from second and third year showing 108 outfits.

The theme for this year’s show was ‘Avant-Garde’ and the students aimed to challenge mass-produced fashion to create exciting and daring one-off pieces.

The show opened with work from the second students, salve who showed one garment each, followed by the third year students who specialise in one of four areas of textile design – knit, weave, embroidery and print – to create a three garment collection.
Featuring fluorescent colours on neutral backgrounds, jewel bright colours from opposing ends of the colour wheel, layered tones and rich hues, this was a show saturated in colour. The voluminous shapes and intricate folding, tucking, draping and pleating showed guest lecturer Julian Roberts influence.

The designers cite inspiration from architecture, industrialism, Optical art and the glamour of 1940s screen sirens. One minute cubic shapes in knits and print evoked city skylines, and the next Surrealism and Romanticism took over as the models were transformed into Cottingley-esque fairies in light chiffons and appliquéd flowers.
Using a toned down palate of coffee tones in gold and cream, Natalie Graham created a collection of juxtapositions. Masculine tailoring challenged ideas of femininity while her choice of tough woven tweeds patterned with mechanical shapes was classic and sophisticated.

Stephanie Parr drew inspiration from dilapidated buildings, and used thermals with laser cut fluorescent fabrics. The layered train of one dress, lifted and lowered by the model like fabulous neon parrots tail, created endless shapes and movements.
Nautical stripes were toughened up in Ian Porters capes in which striped panels and red rubber panels seemed more like an apocalyptic day by the sea.
This was a bold and self-assured show that once again cemented Glasgow School of Arts reputation as the place to look for new talent.

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You can tell Armen Eloyan lives in Zurich. With claustrophobic cabin interiors, health sparse, snowy landscapes and a cast of animal – human hybrids: wolves, dogs and black cats, his paintings seem like stills from a half-remembered Mitteleuropean fairytale. Take ‘Man Dressed as Wolf’: a figure in a stove-pipe hat and a vulpine smile stalks amid the fir trees, on the way, you can only imagine, to eating someone’s grandma.

Eloyan inhabits much the same territory as the notoriously grim Chapman Brothers, but while their demented cartoon characters are drawn with a twee neatness that underlines their menace, Eloyan’s visions are smeared onto the canvas with splenetic vigour. Cartoon imagery is removed from the flat safety of the printed page; in ‘Bear and Dog’ a speech bubble emerges, filled with frenzied, illegible writing, while in ‘(Bunch of a Story) Tea Table’, the viscous substance oozing from the pot doesn’t look much like tea. Random details surface from the swirling depths of the paint: although you can’t quite work out what infests the outer reaches of the canvas, you can bet your life it’s nothing friendly.

It’s well known that modern anxieties about childhood and the American film industry have excised the darker content from children’s stories and folklore. In Eloyan’s nightmare-world, these dark and haunting subtexts burst through to the surface, creating queasy juxtapositions between the painterly, expressionist backdrops and the goofy-eyed figures therein. In short, Bookstore Cure celebrates the triumph of the macabre.

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After a guestlist mix-up that had me convinced I’d be attempting to review this gig from outside the venue, seek we finally get the green light and find the perfect perching spot for first support act Youthmovies as a heaving throng of expectant early arrivees go wild for this Oxford fivesome’s thrillingly complex riff attacks. They are also very keen on next act Esser and rightfully so, as the pint-sized ex-Ladyfuzz drummer kicks off an energetic and compelling performance by dramatically thrashing at a cymbal and snare. Along with frYars and Micachu, the quirky chap is currently one of the capital’s most innovative young songwriters as he caters in everything from dark, off-kilter pop to shimmering electronics, stripped-down hip-hop and frantic thrash, throwing in maracas, creepy piano samples, strings and cowbells along the way. ‘I Love You’ and ‘Headlock’ sound like hits in the making and as Esser tumbles off at the end of a thundering finale, kicking over drums and microphone stands in his path, he leaves us gagging for more.

However, it’s headliners Foals that really bring the house down tonight, rather unsurprisingly as before they are even on stage a real party atmosphere pervades the Astoria with pissed-up punters chanting the band’s name and excitedly lobbing glowsticks into the air. The extremely talented quintet commence an intense and perfectly executed set of tracks from debut ‘Antidotes’ with a brief warm-up as smoke fills the stage, blinding us with red and blue flashing lights before ‘The French Open’ surges into action, all discordant horns, juddering guitars and clattering percussion. Gone is the tight circle formation of old, replaced by an increasingly confident live outfit unafraid to own all of the space they are entitled to – Jimmy Smith manically thrashes at his guitar while Yannis Philippakis pirouettes, hops and skips around the stage gesticulating wildly from behind his microphone and even launching himself into the front row at one point to dance with the crowd.

‘Cassius’, ‘Balloons’, ‘Heavy Water’, ‘Hummer’, ‘Two Steps, Twice’ and ‘Electric Bloom’ all incite screams and hysterical flailing from audience members, however, it is nothing compared to the encore of ‘Mathletics’ which sees people grabbing at the frontman and guitarist, pulling them into the pit and hugging them, as growling basslines, twittering riffs and rhythms at breakneck speed erupt around the venue. Anyone worried that a move to stages of this size would detract from the power of the Foals live show should leave tonight feeling appeased. The band are now more adept at putting on awe-inspiring performances than they ever were…

After having met Chris – Yeasayer‘s front man – the other week, ailment he extended an invitation to watch the band’s final London gig at the ICA last night. So with a note to himself written as a reminder to submit my name, page we parted ways with a sincere promise of a catch up on the following Monday.

I’d heard nothing but good reviews from an eclectic selection of people, so I was anticipating whether Yeasayer would live up to my expectations. Rolling up to the venue early in the hopes of catching one of the super sized fig rolls that the ICA has to offer, we were met with “We’re still waiting for their guest list.” Man, all I wanted was one of those fig rolls, could I wait in the café? No. So I was relegated to the lobby to await the royal list.

Not only were we at the mercy of the bureaucracy that comes with guest lists, but also the sticky red tape of being at the ICA. In my frustration I wanted to shout at someone, to para-phrase CSS, to ‘suck my art’, bizzatch!! Despite being amused an hour earlier to observe the ‘art crowd’. But some dim sum and a lot of phone calls later, we skidded in just in time for the lights to come up on the four piece that is Yeasayer.

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I wondered how Yeasayer were going to translate onto a live stage; as they were the kind of band that I imagined to have a raggle taggle but Slick Rick type gypsy orchestra backing them up. So when the sound swelled (the sound at the ICA is amaaaaaazing darling…but not up toooo loud, it’s all very civilised up in there) I thought that it was all too good to be true. And then I realised, and was initially surprised, at how electronic and backed up they were. I was skeptical for about a minute, when it all began to make sense to me. Recorded, and on a romantic level, Yeasayer are a seemingly untamed wilderness of exotic sound; a whirling dervish of drums, vocals chanting with abandon and organic handclaps. Often, images of bare feet kicking up dust as they stomp and dance cross my mind when I listen to Yeasayer. But of course, on an intellectual level, I know that every sample, every wail and every drum stroke has been carefully executed with the pride and precision of a military operation. And on observing the live version of proceedings, it was clear that it was almost a Wizard of Oz type procedure, with live mixing as well as live instrumentation.

I was hanging out to hear Sunrise and they didn’t disappoint me, I was appeased. Yeasayer lived up to my expectations, and were well worth the trouble that I, and everyone on either side of me on the food chain, had to go through to get me there. I got what I went for: the urge to gyrate, throw my hands up, dance in a fashion that would clear a wide circle around me and, despite one of my pet hates being anyone who thinks that going barefoot is a cool idea (vagrants), I also felt like I wanted to chuck my shoes off for a stomping jamboree with Yeasayer. Fantastic.

The introductory song of Jesse Malin‘s On Your Sleeve set the scene of the album well: the scene of an episode of Baywatch. Thereafter, sick a procession of power ballads marched on with ‘vim, search vigour’ and all the originality of a victoria sponge. The influences that he claims to have were difficult to detect – despite my strain to do so. Tom Waits! The Ramones! Where? Where? The entire album seems to merge into one mediocre commingling of many an eighties epic, nurse deep-and-meaningful pop rock effort. It did give my colleague hot flushes upon hearing it – although I’m not sure whether or not that is necessarily a good thing. There are many songs on this album, fourteen in fact, and many of them are rather catchy, but none of them – not even Rodeo Town or his rendition of Walk On The Wild Side filled me with optimism for the singer’s future in music. I understand that he is not trying to be edgy, and is singing truly from the heart, but I still can’t imagine anyone wanting to listen to it who doesn’t already have the greatest hits of Lou Reed. In fact it left me wondering, does he wear beads? Is it ironic? Is it a pastiche? It could be a quiche for all I care.
Possibly due to its close proximity to the grand edifices of the University of London, website the private view of Erica Eyres‘ show at the Bloomsbury-based Rokeby Gallery had a distinctly scholarly air. Take my exchange with one clever-looking chap in square spectacles…

Chap: What do you do?
Me: I’m a writer (mostly of essays, so technically true).
Chap: I’m a lecturer of French and Russian.
Me: Gosh.
Chap: (Something incomprehensible in French)
Me: (long pause, tumbleweed passes, etc) Oui.

And all this intellectual stuff is kind of ironic because Eyres’ show is one of the strangely visceral you’ll see all year.

There are certain media that are probably only ever used by adolescent girls, and ballpoint pen and coloured pencil rank high among them. Lucian Freud won’t ever display a new series of works in Caran D’ache. Likewise, it’s improbable that Frank Auerbach will abandon oils for biros. They do not scream ‘This is Art’. Eyres, however, embraces the associations of these almost apologetically workaday media to produce some uncomfortably familiar representations of female identity.

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At first sight the Canadian-born Eyres’ drawings of ethereal waifs are the stuff of much contemporary fashion illustration. You know the thing: wispy fringes, big eyes, coyly downturned chins; a bit sixties, a bit Sara Moon, a bit nothing. You can practically see the Topshop labels on these girls’ smock dresses. But on closer inspection (and it really is closer inspection, Eyres is so clever that nothing jumps out at first), you see their features have been gently, lovingly, devastatingly manipulated. The blotches and craters of their skin have been unsparingly detailed, their incardinate lips are grotesquely downturned as if grimacing children; their low-slung jeans creep beneath the pubic bone. And the worst of it is: these pitiful girl-children don’t realize how absurd they appear. They pose for the viewer in the attitudes of provocation, intensifying the pathos to levels that are both heartbreaking and comedic.

As I edged towards the well-stocked bar following my woeful attempt to impress my Francophone friend (whom I spotted later that evening similarly intimidating the gallery director) it struck me: what’s Eyres’ work is about is our universal terror, despite all our pretences, and all our fancy clothes, of looking a little bit stupid.

After seeing this Arkansas trio perform the same live set for over two years now, website it’s disappointing to hear Beth Ditto informing us that they will not be playing new material when she strolls out to three levels full of expectant faces in a packed-to-bursting Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The iconic vocalist looks as striking as ever tonight in a combination of figure-hugging, store shimmering green dress, huge bouffant hair with dangling crimped ringlets and dramatic black eye make-up – an outfit conjuring up the spirit of Hairspray’s Tracy Turnblad. She hitches the frock up completely during blistering opener ‘Eyes Open’ before the band treat us to fiery versions of ‘Yr Mangled Heart’, ‘Coal To Diamonds’, ‘Yesterday’s News’ and ‘Fire/Sign’.

Gossip have toured their essential breakthrough fourth album to death – so it’s no surprise that on occasion these songs have less energy than when they first unleashed them on a hungry UK audience in 2006 – but what makes this act so special is that even when they’re not firing on all four cylinders, they still knock the socks off their peers performance-wise. Ditto roars, shrieks and shakes along manically to drummer Hannah Blilie’s thundering rhythms and engages in witty banter between songs while fashionably speccy guitarist Brace Paine gives the frequently-photographed frontwoman a run for her money in the stage-owning stakes, creeping, crouching and hopping from one foot to the other while dishing out bluesy, attacking riffs and squalling solos. The outfit also pay tribute to some of music’s most influential females as Ditto sings snatches of X-Ray Specs songs and quotes Nina Simone before unleashing their famously sultry version of Aaliyah‘s ‘Are You That Somebody?’.

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These references seem to be lost on the audience, however, the majority of whom are only interested in hearing that Skins song, an advertising campaign responsible for transforming Gossip from a cult act into a mainstream proposition last year. In fact, they barely pay attention to the first airing of infectious electronic-tinged newie ‘Eighth Wonder’ – complete with pulsing beats and samplers – and dance half-heartedly to the first encore of ‘Listen Up’, before the familiar opening thrash of ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ kicks in, its pulsing bassline sending shivers down spines and sending the Empire into a frenzy. Suddenly Ditto is nowhere to be seen, enveloped by the crowd as she pulls hundreds of people over the barrier to dance with the band. They swarm the stage and flail around wildly, providing a spectacular visual finale to a show which, despite its intermittent failings, still packs a well-placed punch in the belly of modern music.
Here at Amelia’s Magazine we tend to grace scruffy east London galleries in the company of a trendy gathering with our presence. The private view of Andy Hill‘s West End exhibition was somewhat out of our comfort zone; there was no gathering of young scruffy trendies at The Coningsby Gallery but rather a lot of middle aged, ed well dressed business folk. No sign of cheap beer and coke here, cialis 40mg instead a selection of fine wines!

Andy Hill has been working in design and advertising for the last 25 years and is now, in his first exhibition named “If I couldn’t draw”, showing off his other creative talents of drawing and painting. He insists drawing and painting keeps him sane in his cutthroat day job.
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All three storeys of the gallery were used to exhibit Hill’s work. On the ground floor hung large painted canvases entitled ‘Elements of the Universe’, inspired by climate change issues. These apparent poetic justice of nature are inspired by the lack of care for the environment and are suppose to make us think twice. These were skilled paintings showing powerful stormy seas and skies, however not powerful enough to make me think about them, let alone think twice. And to be frank, I wouldn’t really look twice at them either. Does anybody actually read this? These paintings were oddly accompanied by framed charcoal nudes, which reminded me of life drawing classes at art foundation; amateur and unimpressive.

A pleasant exhibition yet nothing special. Hill obviously has the ability to be draw, as most creatives do, but maybe not the strength to be an artist. One expects to come away from an exhibition impressed, excited and inspired but I left Hill’s preview night feeling none of these, although I was slightly impressed with the gallery’s personalised toilet seat.

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Bow ties, viagra top hats and a plethora of impressively coiffured dainties with big bows on their shiny shoes made the ideal crowd for the exhibition of illustration at La Viande 3 Charlotte Rd, buy EC2. Whimsical and witty, the lengthy titled “an exhibition of juvenile, idiosyncratic witticisms from 4 nice people….” by artists and illustrators Ryan Todd, Jess Wilson, Chris Jones and Rob Flowers was playful to the core.

On our arrival (early) at La Viande we were pleased to discover that we were by no means the first to arrive, (although definitely the scruffiest!) and within a short time the gallery and street were packed. The colourful audience and the mood were fittingly light and jovial for the work on the walls.

Traditional ideas of love and romance were cheered, jeered, poked about a bit and eventually applauded by this exhibition from talents Todd, Wilson, Jones and Flowers . A refreshing combination of biro drawing, painting, sculpture and print were on display and neatly filled the small but welcoming gallery space. As I meandered around the gallery I was impressed by not only the high quality of the work but by the overall coherency of the exhibition. The artists, working across a range of disciplines maintained a strong sense of unity despite differing styles of application.

When I walked into the room, the first work to draw my attention was the Disney-eyed sculpture of Rob Flowers. Round, black, furry heads in stacks or clusters reminded me of the oversized stuffed toys found in rich children’s bedrooms in 1970′s films (in technicolour). Seemingly friendly but seriously creepy, these toy-like sculptures would have been the thing of nightmares to a small child, especially when given a tiny, plastic human nose and a tall clowns hat….eek. His work was centrally situated on the first and basement floor and created a bold presence beside the more subtle drawings on the walls.
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I had difficulty suppressing a smile at Jess Wilson’s series of prints based on two little grannies sitting together on a bench found downstairs in the gallery. From “ I love you” to insults, the evolution of love, intimacy and relationship was summed up in a cute and clever way. “Every night my cat falls in love” was one of the endearing phrases drawn in biro in Wilson’s series of pine panel drawings. I was instantly drawn to the scratchy and immediate blue biro line, friendly and familiar, reminding me of childhood drawing sessions on my bed head before getting told off for vandalism. It was interesting to see the often throw-away biro drawing given the physical weight of the wooden surface- instilling a sense of permanence and preciousness.

I was really excited to see that painting was well represented in the exhibition thanks to Cris Jones. His striking pieces reminded me of panel paintings in technique and were heart wrenchingly funny . A little naked lady, falling to her doom from a burst heart balloon while her joy-of-sex lover desperately clings to the edge of the basket entitled “don’t leave me”. It killed me. The downstairs wall was a salon hang of fantastic paper works by Ryan Todd. The impressive array of small drawings in biro, felt tip and ink drawings hung in a colourful cluster across the wall. Imagery mashed together ranged from headless skeletons to strange faces with love heart eyes and spooky grins. ¬¬Each image felt as though it were part of a narrative that had been broken into pieces and reformed on the wall and in a strange way, I felt that Todd’s work really summed up the exhibition. It was light but clever and ultimately endearing.

The exhibition was fun and sweet but definitely meaty enough for La Viande. To find out more about the artists check out
www.jesswilson.co.uk,
www.ryantodd.co.uk,
www.robflowers.co.uk,
www.myspace.com/jonesmr
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John Currin’s paintings are the art worlds equivalent of the strip club in Flash Dance. Sexually charged, order possibly debauched, medications visually seductive but pretty harmless. This new collection of paintings can be found at Sadie Coles and is a striking in both style and content.
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Firstly, I have to admit to being a John Currin fan and had been eagerly anticipating the exhibition. I had arranged to meet a friend/ fellow painting graduate (also a Currin fan) and we were both pretty excited about seeing the show. Rupert and I ran up the escalators at Bond Street with enthusiasm usually contributed to the promise of free wine, threw our a-z to the wind in and promptly got lost amidst the splendor of Mayfair. Some time later we eventually found ourselves squeezing into the packed new Sadie Coles gallery. The smartly dressed crowd was intermixed with familiar faces from the Glasgow School of Art and familiar faces of a different kind…but more of that later.

The exhibition of new works by Americas leading figurative painter is a departure from his usual soft core, eye candy imagery to an ultimately explicit exploration of eroticism. Where as past works hinted at sex or were lightly sexual in tone, this new collection leaves no question, yip , she’s being doubled teamed.
The erotic embraces leave nothing to the imagination however the sex depicted is not hard, challenging or threatening as is often found in contemporary art but highly attractive and seductive, like a French porn film from the 70s. The characters were round and fleshy, with strange wispy fair hair that reminded me of Otto Dix’s “Madchen auf Fell” lush and intensely labored, as if every hair had been individually painted. Amidst the cocks and vulvas were some amazing details, intricately painted gold necklaces, hyper-realistic soft furnishings and luxurious interiors all draped in a soft, honeyed light.
A reworking of Ophelia with a curious Currin-character as the reclining nude, delicately intertwining a long string of pearls in her unearthly pale hands revealed Currin’s skill as a painter. The pearls were handled such precision that I had to look closely to be sure that they had not been stuck on!

The basement floor offered a slightly more sedate but equally wonderful collection of etchings. His signature style of contemporary caricatured directly referenced famous classical paintings, but with currin-esque females implanted to play the leading roles. Christ as a strange doe-eyed blonde was witty and striking. A smallish canvas of roses in reds, pinks and soft sky blues, similar to something you might find in a middle-class suburban home contradicted the paintings on the first floor but neatly tied in with the exhibition as a whole. The brushy, fleshy painting of roses led smoothly on to the large-scale paintings of intimate sex scenes, the soft pinks and peaches used in the petals and the clitorises. This humorous link added to the overall atmosphere of domesticity versus sexual splendor.

Attending the opening alongside the artists and suited gallery-goers was a splattering of famous faces. Having only recently left glasgow where celebrity is non-existent, this was almost as exciting as seeing the new collection. Okay, well honestly, a lot more exciting! I froze, realising that I was standing shoulder to shoulder with the king of British foppishness and stuttering twittishnes, Hugh Grant. Alongside Hugh, were the pet shop boys, Lucien Freud and the aging high priest of rock and roll, Mr Mick Jagger. Inspired by the free beer I had consumed I was about to ask their opinions on the paintings for the blog…. So Hugh, what is your opinion of this vulva? Luckily, Rupert suggested this was not the best idea, I guess thats what friends are for!
I’m a huge sucker for electro. I mean real breakdancing-on-lino-in-the-middle-of-Wood-Green-shopping-centre-in-1983-to-the-sounds-of-Hashim’s-Al-Naafiysh-style electro. So I was highly excited when the new album from Bumblebeez began with more horn stabs, approved computerised blasts and turntable scratches than all 10 volumes of the Streetsounds Electro compilations.

Bumblebeez are a brother-sister duo from Australia, pharm Pia Colonna performing vocal duties, advice with brother Chris Colonna handling both vocals and spearheading production.

Confounding my immediate expectations the first proper track Black Dirt is a combination of lolloping indie hiphop beats with brother Colonna shouting through a distortion pedal about the dirt in his mind. In all honesty it’s pretty annoying. Big phat 808 sub-bass pulses layered under heavy kick drums is what I was expecting, and Clubb Clubb dutifully obliges on that front, Miami Bass beats and rousing synths storming along accompanied by perfectly able raps from Pia, The Sister of Ill. It is somewhat contrived, but certain to fill a drunken dancefloor.

I will say the album does work by being brightly multicoloured and altering music style track by track, however Colonna proves himself to be a slightly uninspired musical thief. There’s no interesting, off the wall styles being plundered, it’s all a bit safe, and while there’s nothing wrong with switching styles wildly throughout the album (the Beasties’ Ill Communication being a perfect comparison point), there is when it serves to destroy any sense of cohesion.

If I were being overly cynical, I’d say that some of the mini-tracks were included specifically to gain PRS revenue from television. In fact the lack of cohesion between tracks as a whole lends to this idea even more. Rather than evoking a childlike eclecticism, the changes in style make the album seem more like a catalogue of background music designed for advertising agencies marketing to Generation-Y. A bit of faux New-Wave here, a bit of P-Funk there, but overall there’s no genius production style to keep it all defined, to give it the identity for which it sorely begs.

There’s no doubt that it’s fun, and the more dancefloor based tracks such as the aforementioned Clubb Clubb, and the mid-tempo electronic groove of Rio (which successfully echoes Homework-era Daft Punk) really do work very well. Hopefully they’ll be released as singles and get even more effective remix treatments, as there’s plenty of energy here to be exploited by furtive producers.

There seems very little to engage, tracks sometimes seeming to have been specifically designed to accompany a visual medium. There are a few standout tracks that work very well, but they are lost in a morass of filler and sound effects. It’s not that it’s boring, but surely the idea of an album is to grab you by the ears and force you to listen from beginning to end. It does work on occasion, just not enough. There’s no reason why an album like this should attempt to be timeless, or even to represent the latest fashions in music; what it should do is provide enough interesting musical ideas to hook you to keep you involved for forty minutes or more – unfortunately I fear this lacks the qualities to allow it any kind of longevity.

Pop Idle is illustrator Jon Burgerman‘s current UK exhibition and is set to promise redemption, find salvation and salivation. Appropriately held at London’s Concrete Hermit Gallery, malady the exhibition includes new work produced for the show, consisting of sculptural pieces and original artwork. The exhibition also launches his monograph book entitled Gribba Grub.

The small gallery is dominated by three large sculptures; a primarily pink and orange triangular form, a rather rotund blue creation with rabbit-like ears and also a yellow sculpture with a spiky head. These sculptures, almost acting like three-dimensional figures of the characters within Burgerman’s doodles, have been adorned with his iconic graffiti style illustration.

Original artwork mirroring the sculptures hangs on the gallery’s walls. Quirky orange faces are painted on scraps of cardboard and are purposely presented in a skew-whiff composition. This set of artwork is juxtaposed with cleaner, more detailed and considered framed art. However, I did notice one of the cardboard canvases had randomly been honoured with a swish glass frame- nice touch.

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And Burgerman’s book Gribba Grub is also a creative joy to the eye. A monograph apparently bought about by a year of intensive drawing, travelling, idle thoughts and snacking. This book is a beautiful piece of art with a pleasant mishmash of photography, thoughts, doodles and Burgerman’s distinctive style of fine illustrations. Fine illustrations that according to that fact-pack encyclopaedia Wikipedia are influence by Saturday morning TV, sweet wrappers and root vegetables.

See Burgerman’s website for lots more photos from preview night, *free magazine for who can spot the four members of Amelia’s Magazine.

The exhibition runs until 30th April. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday-Sunday.

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Swarovski‘s new product brand ‘Crystallized – Swarovski Elements‘ unveiled an astounding collection of wedding-related designs, approved under the name Unbridaled, in an exhibition on Tuesday night. The range of one-off pieces created uniquely for Swarovski by around forty ‘mostly British’ designers – including Julien Macdonald, Vivienne Westwood, Viktor & Rolf and Erdem to name but a few gems of the fashion world – encrusted unsparingly with clusters of glistening jewels, were displayed in the luxurious, pure white setting of the Crystallized Cosmos and Lounge in central London. Strung white feathers hung from ceiling to floor, and pristine white sculptures of books, pears, miniature dogs and an oversized sea snail bedecked the crystal-scattered display cabinets. Betwixt this stunning array of rainbow-twinkling crystals, delicious canopes were served and glasses of Moet continuously replenished by the affable waiting staff. The incredible attention to detail throughout the exhibition was encapsulated by the cocktail sticks on which the scallops were served; a tiny seashell had been glued onto the top of each and every one.
But the feast for the eyes was even more satisfying; wedding dresses, veils, headpieces, shoes and tableware were all embellished with various manifestations of the world-famous rocks. Among the most ravishing of items on display was a Vivienne Westwood dress, a crystal-studded, cream and silver baptismal gown by Dries Van Noten, wine bottle corks surmounted with shards of translucent purple and clear crystal by Irina Volkonskii and an intricate golden headpiece by Erickson Beamon (modelled mischievously by our very own Lauren).
The Czech-born Daniel Swarovski founded Swarovski crystals in Wattens, Austria in 1895 and the company has remained in the family ever since, retaining its classic sophistication yet moving subtly along with the changing zeitgeists, and this exhibition was a sumptuous example of the company’s ability to marry the traditional with the excitingly avant garde.

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A coffee-table book featuring these designs, entitled ‘Unbridaled’ is available from the Crystallized Cosmos and Lounge at the address above.

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Despite sharing their name with a cold-war era attack submarine, approved

LA band Sea Wolf are as far from hard and aggressive as you could get. Their polished blend of gentle acoustics, erectile rolling rhythm and soft melodic vocals follow in the footsteps of Ryan Adams and Bright Eyes. Reminiscent of Damien RIce, only less plaintive, Sea Wolf state their influences to be purely wolf-related. If X-man Wolverine had covered Leadbelly, I think it would maybe be their myspace favorite. Although similarities can be drawn to other artists, Sea Wolf are interesting and worth listening to. If you are a fan of the fore mentioned bands then you will definitely like this. Sea Wolf provide a new approach to tender acoustic indie-pop and revel in their sparkly type of musical melancholy.

Light percussion, atmospheric instrumentals and bitter-sweet lyrics create a subtle and intimate atmosphere. Even amidst the bustle of the magazine office, with music ed Christel’s big head phones on, I feel as though Alex Brown Church is singing just to me. Long cello notes and picking guitar sets the base for Church’s lamenting vocals. Sung with heartfelt longing and yet with resignation. Despite claiming to never write another sad song, this is what Sea Wolf do best. In fact, they are masters of the genre. The songs are by no means ‘happy’ but they are strangely uplifting.

The afternoon light streams in through the window and results in my conclusion that this would be perfect music for walking along to, headphones on, feeling good about the world. Or maybe listened to late night when you’re by yourself, volume turned down low. Maybe fix yourself a dry’n’rye, close your eyes and imagine you just stepped off the greyhound bus heading down some empty highway. I’m getting sentimental but these songs are sentimental to the core. Sweetly mellow but not saccharine. And coming from Los Angeles, a city famed for the superficial, Sea Wolf write songs that are emotive yet honest.

I might’ve heard something like this before, but for this category of music, Sea Wolf really does the do.

And anyway, can you ever really have enough sad songs?

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