If I wasn’t boring I’d be at the Camden Crawl blogging with Vice, enjoying fringe events such as the Nightjar (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, Cumberbitches take note) and the film festival curated by Guillemots, as well as obviously listening to music from the likes of Tom Williams and The Boat, Little Comets and Beth Jeans Houghton. Except I’m cripplingly boring and my A Levels (officially) start this week.
Instead I’ll just churn out five of these babies:
“You never review new singles!” “Done” (Apr/May)
The Shoes – Cover Your Eyes (Crack My Bones LP released March, single TBC on Southern Fried)
Late night French radio is good for two things as far as I’m concerned. Besides the super-detailed meteo, sometimes a gem slips through the wireless with all the ease of a Parisian breeze. They’ve mixed for a menagerie of indie bands and had their music featured on Gossip Girl but that’s where the comparisons with serial remixers Justice, samplers Daft Punk and advert song duo Air respectively should end. As brilliant and French as those acts are, Cover Your Eyes is a brooding, dramatic slice of indie which leans more towards the pop than the electro. Seemingly taking its lead from Gaelic influences as well as British indie, its main hook and lyrics (e.g.: the “mathematics of a heart laid bare”) could have been plucked from 80s new romanticism…but how fresh it sounds. I think the whole album could be a winner, as long as I don’t hear “Cliche” on a cliche-d Toyota advert before 2016.
For fans of: Delphic, Zach Hill, Sebastien Tellier.
Japanese Voyeurs – Get Hole (was released 18th April on Fiction)
It’s not very often that I get ridiculously excited about a band who were formed before about 1997, or a band like Japanese Voyeurs who are possibly all talk. Question: is it possible to be a grunge band in 2011? Question: is it possible to have a pain-inducing riot grrrrl wail when the only Veruca Salt of your childhood probably courtesy of Roald Dahl? I’m going to stop asking questions because its ruining the crazy contrast between Exorcist-girl vocals and irregular Pantera-esque chords. Japanese Voyeurs aren’t Japanese but they’ve definitely been doing some voyeurism into Courtney Love’s back catalogue (is “Get Hole” actually a ridiculously obvious ref?!) … and, coupled with even more angry postmodernism, it works. Question: is this for real? Answer: I stopped caring after the first 30 seconds. Memo to Taylor Momsen: watch and learn from Romily Alice, Little J.
For fans of: the 90s, Rolo Tomassi.
The Sound of Arrows – Nova (was released 25th April on Geffen)
Winner of the most self-indulgent video ever award (they made it themselves), this is most certainly a guilty pleasure from the Swedish pair. This is Basshunter and MGMT collaborating at a party hosted by a porn baron, and it fails to conjure up the 80s vibe of Hurts because its a join-the-dots attempt at mainstream electronica with a homoerotic vid I think was intended to go viral. Controversial its really not, however it is strangely compulsive thanks to their Scandinavian pronunciation and predictable themes of stalking (“I’ll never stop following you”). The Top comments on the video sum it up…at the tenth play, I think I have Stockholm Syndrome.
For fans of: Saint Etienne, Pet Shop Boys, The Teenagers
Barbara Panther – Empire (Album to be released 16th May on City Slang)
Barbara Panther is a Rwandan singer from Brussels via Berlin, mixing potent electronic beats with poetically gothic lyrics, however because she is black she will ultimately draw superficial comparisons with that other black electronic pop singer, Santigold. I personally think any such comparisons would be a waste of time…Barbara Panther sounds like she’d be far more at home among the 70s and 80s artists on my favourite leftfield compilation ever, Disco Not Disco from Strut (which I’m lucky enough to own in physical form). She is vintage and trance-like without wearing her influences too obviously. The Lom remix of Empire deconstructs and reassembles this colonialist anthem (just kidding) with ease, and it is possibly better than the (utterly crazy) original.
For fans of: Flykkiller, Bjork, Summer Camp
Frankmusik – Do It In The AM (released May 3rd on Cherrytree/Interscope)
Club 18-30 choon which is the wrong side of electronic. Frankmusik’s polished-up vocals plus an appearance from Far East Movement (“who?” I hear you cry) can’t save this turgid cross between an X Factor winner’s third single and the theme tune of a BBC3 documentary on safe sex. Do it the morning kids, in the AM, before your parents find out or you fail your GCSEs! Oh, how the (relatively) mighty have fallen. On the subject of this vacuous piece of Americana, Mr Frank told some kind of Far East Movement fansite that “this new record has got a bit more finesse to it”, which I’m assuming he thinks is the French word for overproduced. “I’ve finessed the songwriting, the songs are a lot more punchy”, he continued, before defensively adding that his critics could “suck a dick”. FYI that would be in the PM because the AM is far too jam packed with bitches and hoes and Facetime with the lads back in East London. Pitbull circa 2009 he ain’t.
For fans of: Rohypnol
Got me feeling like a royalist…or not
Watch!! There are royalists and republicans alike in VBS’ latest production Rule Britannia: Royal Wedding. I loved the wedding myself (softy at heart), as well as tat like this , but this vid shows the crazy extremism of some and the anger at what is seemingly a symbol of conspicuous consumption by the firm during crazy austerity era 101, as well as the view from the Kings Road and the set of a porn film which really does have the crown jewels. Another great doc which explores the politically sensitive relationship from the point of view of the great unwashed and beyond – some royalists, others ready to burn the palace.
*For what its worth, I love them, and genuinely wouldn’t have had any objection to them shredding quantitively-eased money into beautiful confetti and endless rainbows.
Its April/May. The showers are coming down on my window like sweat on a pubescent kid’s spotty forehead in a tennis lesson (not speaking from experience here) and exams are impending BUT I still reserve a little time for such art forms as interviewing cool creatives like the guys from ad agency C.R.A.P !! Below you can see me prodding the collective intellect of Scottish Ad Men Chris Rush & Andy Peel.
FIRST UP: Top tips for advertising and some “random words” from C.R.A.P.
Subjectively, they’re the new Saatchi & Saatchi. I know someone will execute me for that. To save you from CSI-type measures, his name will be Charles Saatchi and he will be in the conservatory with the lead pipe.
HJD: Due to the popularity of Mad Men, which has just finished its oh-so-stylish third series, do you guys think that the ad world is getting a makeover? And, of course, what’s the most glamourous part of your day job?
AP: [its] between people spending money on our ideas and going on shoots. Traveling the world(ish) and meeting celebs is pretty good, and you can live in the pub so long as you’ve got some awesome work to show for it when you stagger out.
CR: ^What? *reality check Peely* maybe getting free drinks on expenses? We can go anywhere to do ‘work’ and not pay a thing when we’re there. Anywhere can be the office… till I have to direct some art at least.
HJD: Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (Mad Men) vs CRAP (you). Whats in a name, and do you honestly think your, well, crap? Do clients call you ‘crap’ or C.R.A.P? Or is it like M*A*S*H where the periods are ignored? Help.
AP: to start with, the name was everything. we were crap. We took the piss out ourselves because of people didn’t like our work, we told them “what did you expect from crap?” CRAP got us noticed and remembered. It works, but because he’s CR and I’m AP. If i was John and CR was Bob, being crap wouldn’t have a purpose. And it’s always crap, except my dad hates it, so to him we’re c.r.a.p.
CR: Clients don’t really know us. For the most part only the account handlers deal with them, there are exceptions of course. cr.ap is memorable. It just works for that. When doing crits (HJD: book crits are visits to ad agencies to try and get work by showing a portfolio) we’d start out by telling them we are crap – its on the cover of the front page of the portfolio – then anything they see from then on might not be crap. We’re getting better, not entirely crap anymore but always cr.ap
HJD: At least your not Chris Underwood and Nathan Thomas, I here that their agency didnt go down too well. Jokes aside, how did you guys get into the business and what advise would you give to someone of about my age (17) who is thinking of getting into the PR or mad ad world?
AP: I didn’t have a clue. I did an ad course, after year one I teamed up with Chris and then started getting book crits and placements ever since. Network, work hard and being nice go a long way. Plus being good at it helps. Find a coach/mentor that’ll help is a bonus. See our Facebook group for more.
CR: Have fun. Meet people -agency people all ‘have been there once’ and most will give you good advice on how to get into the industry. There’s not one set method that works, as a creative it relies a lot on timing, luck and of course you being willing to put the graft in. And be polite. Everyone knows everyone in this industry, piss one off and the rest can hear about it…
We got here by not being perfect. We made a lot of mistakes and did a lot of bad ads. It’s how you learn. Literally. Just practice. Meeting people who can push you in the right direction helps and don’t rely on just one person’s opinion because it is just that: an opinion. Always try and get several people looking at your work, then you can take a consensus from that.
AP: Sound advice Mr Rush.
HJD: Sound advice indeed. I’m curious as to what has been your favourite project to date and why? (my personal fave is the Jaffalympics above)
AP: A toss up between our first TV shoot for the Scottish News of the World and our pitch win for Scotrail which will break nationally (in Scotland) in the summer. (HJD: Scotrail is the Scottish railway if you hadn’t guessed).
CR: What AP said plus the Smoking campaign for Northern Ireland. It was effective and got a lot of good response.
AP: It’s because you got to fly to Belfast you jammie git. It looked pretty good though, *pats head*.
HJD: “CRAP is one guy drawing and one guy writing” – discuss
AP: One Photoshops, one waffles, but it works. I don’t think we’ve been blown our cover yet.
CR: I can’t spell, he can.
HJD: Would you ever consider more government propaganda…I mean, information campaigns…like your work for the NHS?
AP: of course, we worked with the Scottish and Northern Ireland Governments before. Sexual health, drinking and smoking. So long as it’s for a good cause we’ll sell our souls.
CR: They aren’t propaganda, there’s a difference between telling someone they must quit smoking and suggesting they do. We don’t really ‘consider’ whether we do a brief or not anyway. It’s a job, it pays the company’s bills so it has to be done. We’d never get a product that it is wrong to advertise because they aren’t allowed to be advertised. We do of course get some briefs we’d rather not have…like a girls beauty brief thats on my desk right now.
AP: that’s true. A brainstorm with 6 women is a scary moment. Especially when you can’t get a word in edgeways over the “isn’t he just gorgeous” or “eugh, fat thighs”.
Mr A.I.D.S: one of CR.AP’s NHS initiatives simplifies serious illness for dramatic effect.
HJD: Better than working on those disgusting ads where those women discuss diarrhoea over lunch. Finally, who would be your dream client and why? For example, if I had any idea about the ad world whatsoever I would love to make an advert where a car is created out of cake..ohh thats been done…
AP: Chris and John at Fallon (who made the Skoda cake ad) gave us our first crit and placement. I’d love to work on Sony, Nike or Coke. But something closer to home would be good.
CR: A one that just allows creativity to shine through instead of worrying about the size of a frigging logo. It’s amazing the difference between an original idea and the work which the general public end up seeing. 9/10 its a watered down version that isn’t anywhere near as good. So not a specific client, just one that wants to be creative and bold.
AP: I think our portfolio has a few of those in…
HJD: Thanks guys, all the best…Can’t wait to see if these guys do become the Real Life ‘Mad Men’ (which, by the way, I really don’t advise)
BEST OF THE REST
Elsewhere, I very unfortunatly had to miss the Underage Easter festival with Artrocker due to illness (boo), but I did end up with a friend at Storm Models, which got me thinking about something which only a tackly glitter graphic can show :
Vice Style is currently in Beta, but it looks pretty awesome. Some of the stuff I’ve found and loved so far has included a bit on bindis (below) with the beautiful French reporter Dora modelling some sticky jewellery to great effect.
Drop in some top-class editorials and pictures like this:
….and I think we can say that the little sister to Vice and VBS.tv s going to be huge. YVAN Rodic, LOOBOOK, WWW aside…ViceStyle looks set to join the ranks of net stardom. Oh, and some of their superb offerings make it into the paper VICE magazine. There’s even a few words with the world’s most famous plus-sized model, Crystal Renn – author of the memoir Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves.
And no fashion website worth its salt (or low sodium substitute) would be complete without the man himself, Karl Lagerfeld, as interviewed by film-director-cum-Vice-man Bruce Labruce (those familiar with Bruce, do excuse my wordplay there).
My friends at Vice are also going Pretty Scritti Political right now, in celebration of next week’s election! Click here to watch a trailer for their (genuinely thrilling) docu Rule Britannia: Elections.
On an extremely important political note, not sure if its just me, but don’t these guys look alike?
Possibly not the best picture to show a comparison.
I think I’ll finish with a bit of music, eh?
My mateys The Ruskins come from Isleworth (not too far from me) and I can’t believe they’re still unsigned. Not for long I hope/bet. Here’s their latest offering, Old Isleworth…the video features Elliott Tittensor (Shameless) and Kaya “Effy” Scodelario.
Its a cracker.
ALSO LOVING: OK GO, Lou Reed, N Sync, Amy Studt (yes I know), Sparks, Interpol (back on form), Julian Plenti…
Yes, that is Corbin Bleu’s Deal With It you can hear there…turns out that a whiley Jay Sean penned the song for the Afroed teen and sold the music to Korean superstars Shinee too. Clever move. Cleverer than that smug ‘blazer dance’ in the Down video, anyway…
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This is where my famous green typing ends for a while, and you get to sample The ‘Zine. It is a magical thing when you can use paper and a pen in a cross-promotional marketing strategy inspired by THE APOCOLYPSE OF PRINT. Here we go:
*Have you got any thoughts on this month’s paper-licious issue, written on pretty ancient paper my mother used whilst at university I might add? Email me: email@example.com with your thoughts. A letters page might happen, y’know.
PS: Click here to watch something which touched my heart this Valentines. Vice Magazine’s VBS bring you, yes you, a Rule Britannia special six-part ‘Swansea Love Story’, focusing on addicts such as Lee Dennis, who graphically recounts his drug abuse and how he contracted Hep C in prison, as he rifles through his possessions in an Iceland bag casually. Desperate fights to get clean in a city which, according to its older inhabitants hasn’t changed…its the people who have. All in all, such deprivation, tales of sexual abuse and familial collapse are handled with class by director Leo Leigh sooo go watch. Plus, CNN thought it was noteworthy.
Listening to: JAM. I hope Liorah Tchiprout, the author of this pretty amazing playlist for use with Spotify, won’t mind me sharing it with you x x
End of my girl crush.
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Even more January greetings from hannahjdavies.com…I realised that it would be a cool idea to keep a track of how many posts I’ve made by occasionally quitting with the ‘oh-so-ironic’ names and actually just telling you a number. So here we are: post number 24. Yeah, I was gonna make a Jack Bauer joke there but I think a Dane Bowers one might be more appropriate considering that the ‘singer-songwriter’ has just come second place in this year’s Celebrity BB.
Is it just me or…
1) Does Dane look weirdly like Anthony Costa? Are they, in fact, the same person?
2) Does a “Dane Bowers” sound like a specially bred sheepdog?
3) Am I the only person who heard this:
on loop everytime he engaged in parlance with other members of the house? It’s stuck in my head like a tapeworm.
Anyways, I digress, Alex Reid – the loveable ‘doofus’ of the house came out on top (not a reference to his new adult flick) – and Dane has seemingly gone back to being a ‘singer-songwriter’ for the time being. Whatever that means. Swedish voyeur Jonas aka Basshunter has presumably flown home, so us girls can breathe easy for a sec without having to worry about him re-enacting the moment when he left a pencil lying around for a helpless lass to chew on…which had been up his friend’s “area”. Should always observe that rule about not chewing borrowed stationary, right?!
Meanwhile, foul-mouthed ‘Lady’ Sovereign’s raison d’etre was to shock us with her childish behaviour, and then slag everyone off for “treatin’ me like a child!” She really made a (corned beef) hash out of staying popular in the house. Not sure if it was just me who thought that this Daily Mail pic looked like Davina “Peter Pan” McCall had gone all Fantasia on us and spawned an evil, (younger) twin?
Annoying Davina actually went in to the house, albeit for 48 hours, but the real stars of the show were big-lipped billionairess Ivana, who was duped into thinking she had won a business award, and Dane, whose chilli-themed attempts to ruin dinner for a task were actually met with culinary compliments. He went on to fake a nightmare in order to win the task, but to be honest I doubt anyone in the house was getting sweet dreams with oddball Stephen ‘Alex’s Brother’ Baldwin’s cautionary Biblical tales and glammma modull Nicola T’s spooky premonitions that something was wrong with her baby daughter.
Anyways, I digress; but this is a little scary:
Celebrity Big Brother 7 was one to remember, alright. We had a bit of everything, really, including wrinkly Ronnie Wood’s ‘girlfriend’ Katia, who bore a striking resemblence to a creepy doll and didn’t really have a lot to say for herself.
Sisqo was surprisingly cool. Guess I would be chilled-out too if I’d been living in the bargain bin of Asda since 1999, right next to all that Birds Eye.
Moving swiftly on…
Are the KIDS united?
I hate book-ending ‘pop culture’ posts with ‘culture posts’ but here we go…
Jacob Wheldon is your average 16 year old.
Until his parents took away his copy of COD this week, he could happily spend hours online and his penchant for Facebook is undeniable. He loves Cheryl Cole. Oh, I almost forgot…he’s a musician who was sharing a stage with Bloc Party when most of us were just getting to grips with the idea of ‘indie music’ rather than dance compilations of Billie Piper and Sonique (I do genuinely own a few of those). For all intents and purposes, Jacob has been Lo Fi Culture Scene since the age of 13, although he caught up with me to talk about his future now that the band are on a hiatus…
Here’s a tasty portion of vintage Lo-Fi if they’ve escaped your radar, with “ABSTRACT” from 2008:
Hannah J Davies: “Abstract” was written when you were rather young…is the girl in question real, or was she a composite figment of your combined pubescent imaginations?
Jacob Wheldon: I write all the lyrics for the band, i think “Abstract” really was a large overreaction to friends who were starting to drink/do drugs/smoke for the first time. The girl is basically just a metaphor for what I hoped it wouldn’t do to my friends. I still hope it doesn’t, but i’m less worried now.
HJD: Officially best hidden drug ref since ‘Golden Brown’ in that case. Your video for the new single “Waxwork” was filmed at Bush Hall, which is a beautiful venue…do you prefer ‘haunts’ like this to the commercialised ‘chains’ of venues *coug&h O2 Academys etc?
JW: Definitely, with no disrespect to any of the O2 Academies we’ve played, we are not fans of them at all. Bush Hall is the venue I use to put on all the shows that I promote, it’s a beautiful venue, and the people there are the best people to work with. I think it’s a shame that there aren’t more venues like it.
Lo-Fi with “WAXWORK” (’09), as heard on Radio 1. Ring the changes…:
HJD: Do you ever get any weird fanmail?
JW: We get a lot of strange messages through our Myspace, most prominently from Japanese fans as their English isn’t great, but all of it is really appreciated.
HJD: Do you think having four out of five members with curly hair impoves your indie credentials or makes it harder in a way…besides avoiding cities with high humidity you must get a lot of people assuming that you are a standard Kooks/The View cover band?
JW: Yeah a surprising amount of people comment on all of us having curly hair, i don’t really know what it does for our ‘indie credentials’, we get a lot of people relating us to The Kooks, which i don’t see as a bad thing at all, though many do, but i loved Inside In/Out [The Kooks] [Ed: can I join...please?]
HJD: What has been your favourite track to play live with Lo-Fi?
JW: Favourite track to play, in all honesty was our cover of “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas at our school’s Battle Of The Bands to end the night in November, and that was incredible. But of our own songs, probably a song called “Yes”. It gets people dancing and people are usually singing along with the chorus before the end of the song, even if they’ve not heard it before.
HJD: Finally, where does Jacob Wheldon go from here?
JW: I’ve got to get my GCSEs out of the way – we all do. For the moment i’m doing a lot of lyric-writing, and some songwriting. I’m working on with a guy called Dean Tynan which i’m very excited about, then soon we’ll [Jacob and Lo-Fi members Angus, Tom M, Tom H, Callum] be getting back together to start writing for whatever the name of the next project will be. I’m also starting to write for a website called Get Your Ears Out, reviewing a few shows and introducing some new bands. I’m hoping to do some more promoting as I did a few shows last year at Bush Hall to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust so i hope to do a few more this year. I also want to get involved in some form of acting if i can as soon as possible…so i’m busy as ever.
Jacob on… the disposable music industry:
Haha, well i would say that i’m very separate from the others [members of the band] in that, i got very very bored of guitar music about 6 months ago, and as a result have just looked elsewhere for new music. It’s not just pop music that i’ve taken to, but there was definitely something that intrigued me as to the way [pop producers] Xenomania work. They seem to have some kind of formula to writing great pop songs, and it was intriguing to see how they’d managed to do it for so long without really having to change a lot in terms of style. What interests me about pop music is the core of the songs and the melodies..I think if you can look past all the over-production and the auto-tuned vocals, a lot of it is very good stuff or else the people who wrote the songs wouldn’t be paid to write them.
Jacob on… the lowest point of Lo-Fi:
It was probably an internal thing at some point. It’s not like we don’t get on, but there’s always going to be arguments in any relationship. It keeps things fresh and exciting, though it’s important not to let it turn into an episode of Hollyoaks, which has happened on occasions.
Jacob on… freebies:
We got a lot of free albums and studio time from labels who wanted to sign us which was quality, we were delighted with it. Our booking agents also get us absurd amounts of guest passes to various shows which we are eternally grateful to them for.
Jacob on… mixtape heaven*:
Bloc Party – So Here We Are
Coldplay – The Scientist
Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road
Mark Knopfler – Sailing To Philadelphia
Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
*subject to change…every few minutes :)
- Thanks to Jacob Wheldon. Lo-Fi are represented by 13artists and Kids records.
VICE VICE BABY: Noam Chomsky
Before I go I better talk about VICE. I’ve – rather excitingly – just become part of their new Blog Network (you can find a list of the other Vicetastic members here.
This just means that, from time to time, I’ll cover new and exclusive content from Vice and VBS, but it doesn’t mean that my output won’t remain typically hannahjdavies!
Firstly, VBS caught up with Noam Chomsky recently…you can watch the full interview here, and below is a little teaser of the esteemed academic and ‘father of linguistics’ talking arts, speech, protest, Bad Religion, Obamarama and Americana plus much more, all with his usual eloquence and Conservative brand of anarchism.
Slightly more sense spoken between Obama’s online publicity guru Kate Albright-Hanna and Chomsky when they caught up in Dublin where he was giving a lecture, than happened here in 2006:
Chomsky proves himself to be a thought-provoking speaker in both interviews, although the latter certainly sheds more light on the world of politics and arts than Cohen did, although oddly enough, he is also Jewish and has a pretty good degree behind him so maybe they talked more enlighteningly off-camera.
Do watch Kate Alrbight-Hanna and Noam Chomsky having a truly intellectual interview here.
Adieu til next time,
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