Tuesday, 14 August 2012

PRINTED WORDS / Company "Music: Your Edit"


Pick up the September issue of Company to read my music edit of new band, venue and book recommendations. Plus an awkward picture that makes my nose look huge. All good stuff. 

I don't have a scanner so here is a blurry picture of the article in question. I'll try to find (and use) a scanner at a later date. 


Friday, 10 August 2012

DIGITAL WORDS / Singtank "In Wonder" Album Review

Read the original review HERE


Brother and sister musical duos; they’re kind of creepy, right? And slightly unsettling is also just about the best way to sum up the electro indie début album of French sibling double act Joséphine and Alexandre de la Baume as well.

Although they have been writing music together for around six years and spent their childhood arguing over whether Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson was truly king, Singtank only started showcasing their shared creative efforts last year on five track EP, The Party. The delay, perhaps, can be put down to the fame imbalance of Singtank; as well as writing the lyrics and providing the vocals for this musical project, Joséphine de la Baume also fills her time by being an actress, model, wife of Mark Ronson, and general fashion and hipster muse who is frequently asked to reveal the secrets of her effortless Parisian chic look (not washing too often and minimal makeup is the key – FYI). Thus with so many other proverbial irons in the fire, it’s difficult to view In Wonder as anything more than a vanity project for Ms de la Baume. An indulgent venture it may be, but it’s certainly not an unlikeable one.

In Wonder is perky collection of minimal pop that stays true to the upbeat and mischievous traditions of the Yé-yé genre. Chunky piano riffs, skipping rhythms and wispy vocals make up the majority of Singtank’s compositions which is often a winning combination that allows them to achieve their presumed goal of Franz Ferdinand-style artsy edginess. There are plenty of spritely moments to enjoy, from ‘Never Love Again’ to ‘Superstar,’ but Singtank unquestionably thrive on the slower ballads of ‘Sirens,’ ‘Jupiter’ and ‘Blue’ as their uncanny harmonies are given adequate breathing space.

As with anyone speaking, or in this case, singing in their second language, translation comes into play and syllables are often stretched or squashed in order to fit time signatures which is, at times, charming – and at other points, borders on indecipherable. A further double-edged sword to Singtank’s lyrics is their simplicity. On occasion they get away with tawdry sentiments by dressing them up with sexy bows; when Joséphine and Alexandre purr that, “There’s a party going on, somewhere between fantasy and the skirt that you’ve got on,” it’s surely just a slightly slicker invitation to a pants party. The lyrics on ‘Give It To Me,’ a track made to please the fashion masses and designed to soundtrack a perfume advert if ever there was one, contains the most stale line of the entire album in the form of “I want sunshine in winter so I can keep my hair colour.” Whilst ‘Nuit Nuit,’ an ominous nursery rhyme in a similar vein to Lily Allen’s ‘Alfie,’ is centred around its tongue-in-cheek lyrics of “I want to get with your dad, make an ugly child.”

Despite In Wonder being an album that will probably be most appreciated by those enraptured by Joséphine de la Baume and her strawberry blonde fabulousness, there’s a knowing humour to Singtank that should win them a few fans in their own right.


-Kate Allen


Written for NOTION 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

DIGITAL WORDS / IDOL’S TOP 5: MUSIC TRACKS

Find the original blog post HERE

1) Deap Vally – Gonna Make My Own Money


From the suburbs of Southern Califorina comes the roaring blues rock duo Deap Vally. Vocalist and guitarist Lindsey Troy and drummer Julie Edwards combine their heavily White Stripe indebted sound with the mentality of Thelma and Louise and the denim cut-offs of Daisy Duke. Catch their raucous live sets at Reading and Leeds, and 1234 over the summer.

2) Kindness – That’s Alright



Adam Bainbridge remains hidden for the majority of the video for his new single ‘That’s Alright’ as he instead invites Washington funk band Trouble Funk to perform the track to make his love of 80s new jack swing and the go-go scene clear for anyone who has failed to notice thus far.

 3) Chewlips – Hurricane


Electro pop outfit Chew Lips have unveiled the video for their forthcoming single ‘Hurricane’, featuring classy vocals from front woman Tigs, crop tops and confetti.  

 4) Two Wounded Birds – To Be Young


I'm recommending Two Wounded Birds once again and I'm going to keep ramming them down everyone's throats until you're all as enamoured with them as I am. In my last top five blog post I could barely contain my love for their previous single 'If Only We Remain' and their latest single is hitting the spot too. The video is just as cool as one would expect of the rock n roll quartet; footage of the band was filmed on location at the 100 year old Carlton Cinema in their hometown of Margate and is interspersed with vintage cartoons.

5) Sensual Harassment – Disco Heart


Todd Thomas and Mike Sherburn of Brooklyn disco duo Sensual Harassment’s new video features the adventures of an alien, drug dealing air stewardess. The happy pill merchant is played by notorious blogger Karley ‘Slutever’ Sciortino who also features in the next print issue of IDOL.

Words: Kate Allen

Written for IDOL 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

PRINTED WORDS / Nicki Minaj @ Hammersmith Apollo

Pick up the August issue of The Fly to read my review of Nicki Minaj live at Hammersmith Apollo. 

Or read it online HERE (page 71)


NICKI MINAJ
London, Hammersmith Apollo
24/06/2012

Three hours before Nicki Minaj is due onstage, there are miles of fans queuing outside the Apollo. Many have camped out overnight, sleeping in bin bags, just to get an inch closer to the rap phenomenon. The sheer excitement of the audience is hysterical before she even enters the stage.

Minaj starts strong, firing through a medley of ‘Roman’s Revenge,’ ‘Did It On ‘Em,’ and ‘I Am Your Leader,’ her thrillingly aggressive lyrics echoed by her fans as she hands over her crystal encrusted microphone to various crowd members, even pulling a group of them on stage to dance and sing with her to ‘Bedrock.’ Her celebrated rear is packed into a pair of fluorescent hot pants for tonight’s show, with her hair a swathe of pastel pink and blonde silk, a style that is later changed to a curled bouffant in one of three costume changes. Her return to the stage in a white bondage prom dress with a machine gun that pumps out smoke introduces a slightly drawn out dance enthused portion of the set however; ‘Starships’ and ‘Whip It’ are frivolously fun, but a further four electro-synth drenched songs later and the crowd are gasping for more of her rap venom.

Following a brief interlude, Minaj announces that the next section of the show is dedicated to anyone who’s “ever been hurt,” standing centre stage to sing slow jams ‘Save Me’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe’ until the mood’s suddenly broken by the frantic bile of ‘Come On A Cone’ and ‘HOV Lane.’ Although slick and magnetising, she only performs select verses and the flow becomes frustratingly choppy – ‘Itty Bitty Piggy’ in its entirety could have seriously stolen the show. But it’s hard to leave the venue anything less than euphoric with ‘Super Bass’ as her grand finale.

If she can sustain her unmatchable energy and presence, gets together a live band and stops truncating her best material, her arena tour later this year might just propel her to a whole new level of superstardom.

KATE ALLEN

Friday, 3 August 2012

DIGITAL WORDS / Luv Luv Luv @ Birthdays (Violet, Tashaki Miyaki and Splashh)

Find the original blog post HERE


Last week saw the launch of a new monthly club night at Dalston’s latest music venue, Birthdays, showcasing the best fresh talent on the roster of London label supreme Luv Luv Luv.

Amongst a crowd seemingly made up by a noticeable number of band front men (Theo Hutchcraft, Fred Macpherson, Matthew Murphy and Joe Lean – minus his Jing, Jang and Jong) were Queens of Noize, with label head Mairead Nash front of the audience cheering on each of her newly championed acts.


First onstage was Violet who are fronted by the daughter of Sir Bob, sister of Peaches; Pixie Geldof. Despite Geldof’s socialite status, Violet legitimately found their record label home earlier this year through playing showcases and small gigs, rather than via showbiz connections. In a relaxed fashion they languorously played their debut double A side numbers ‘Y.O.U.’ and ‘I Come Undone’ amongst a handful of new material, including a downcast audio love letter titled ‘Cherry Pie.’ Violet’s set was one of introverted moody grunge and confidently lead by Pixie who treds the line between sulky and sultry well, all the while having to deal with a dress that refused to stop riding up.

Staying in line with the mellow mood were LA duo Tashaki Miyaki who were accompanied by a guest bassist for the evening, which helped to buff up their drone and reverb laden zoned-out rock sound. The driving force, literally, of the band is drummer and vocalist Lucy whose voice is of a constant dreamy elegance and who was polite and sweet enough to thank “Everyone in London for being so nice,” before leaving the stage.

The mood changed as 11pm neared and the band everyone was truly there to see were due to play. Whilst on record Splashh convey slack pop, when they unleash the likes of ‘Lemonade’ and ‘Need It’ live they shed the shoegaze suggestions and instead perform with an unbridled youthful energy. Their vigour does not falter throughout their seven song set and is so zealous that it makes even the coolest of East London audiences sweat, mosh and crowd surf without reserve.

Words: Kate Allen
Photos: Zoe Allen 
Written for IDOL