Friday, 28 August 2009
Jessica Walsh is a designer living and Working in New York with an amazing portfolio of work who is currently working for Pentagram. She has produced work for ID magazine and AIGA and her work is really passionate with a passion for typography, photography and illustration.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Awesome T Shirt designers 'Graniph' run an annual design award attracting over 10,000 entries.
The winning designs have been shown at the KK Outlet for the last month or so.
The exhibition finishes tomorrow so get down there to check out some awesome designs.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
With a lineup as strong as this, it was always going to be a pretty historic gig, the headline act Deerhunter have made quite a name for themselves over the last couple of years as have Health, Crystal Antlers still have a little way to go with building reputations but if tonight's performance was anything to go by they won't be far behind.
In fact Crystal Antlers really stood out and caught me more than Health which was really unexpected. In fact Crystal Antlers live show is really something to behold, taking full advantage of the larger stage with huge, trippy projections and a live sound that was aggressive yet also melodic and a percussionist who was absolutely mental from start to finish, Crystal Antlers have a lot of potential and hopefully next time they are around they'll be higher up the bill.
If you haven't checked out their latest album Tentacles yet you probably should.
Health were a little disappointing, maybe it's the fact that it was quite clear they had been on the back of an extensive tour (which shouldn't really be an excuse for a poor show) or maybe it was the fact that the sound just wasn't as bone shatteringly loud and sharp as last time I saw them but either way they weren't up to scratch.
By the time Deerhunter entered the stage Koko was heaving. So much so there was no way I was ever going to push my way through to the front, it is great to see such an original band start to reap the rewards. Playing a host of the great tracks from Microcastle and their latest e.p. 'Rainwater Cassette Exchange' opening with the title track from 'Cryptograms' which although heavy on record, eased the crowd into a much less intense start than we had from Crystal Antlers or Health which was pretty relentless noise throughout. Things really kicked off for Deerhunter with the brilliant 'Nothing Ever Happened' in which they jammed out the end of the song into a haze of noise, they did this for a few numbers and it was really refreshing, reminding you just what a reputation Deerhunter have built up with their live performances.
This was a big gig for Deerhunter, their biggest in London so far and apart from the bass guitar breaking forcing lead singer Bradford Cox to josh with the crowd for a few minutes things went off without a hitch and certainly wowed the packed venue.
Across the mountains and over the hills, there is a band that is now experienced beyond their youthful looking years, as they boast a back catalogue of layered minimalist electro pop. Days gone past have proved the fiery female foursome to be a little ‘left of centre’ from your average pop outfit.
’Armonico Hewa’ Is the new record from Japanese Alt rockers OOIOO and it is certainly an album to bend your ears around. With their latest effort they have managed to create a bold experiential pop album packed full of hidden repetitions and natural progressions. Uncovering an undiscovered side of electro that’s being boldly explored, whilst countlessly veering off to create not just their own sub genre, but a journey of the girls travel through the alternative music spectrum. They are indeed a band that that must be heard to be understood as the quirky and unique blend of Japanese pop culture and intense rhythmic beats creates a wild storybook journey for the lucid listener.
Opening track 'SOL' possesses the ceaseless drone of machinery ridden samples and drums of death. Booming effortlessly with a sense of 'seek and destroy' into the superb guitar progressions on 'UDA HAH'.
Track 6 'POLACCA' has a real anthemic groove, very familiar to the new wave Indie blast to hit our radio waves, reminiscent of The Ting Tings' with a healthy dose of delay and chorus.
Stand out song 'NIN NA YAMA' is a fast paced odyssey, braking only for the scenic balcony of the ‘sing along’ chorus and an incredibly soulful vocal harmony, hypnotizing the outer reaches of your brain, before exploding into the similarly structured but more vocally appealing 'HEWA HEWA'. Heading for the finishing post with ’HONKI PONKI’ a nursery rhyme style pop song with a real sense of psychedelic purpose.
’Armonico Hewa’ contains moments of clarity and self realisation, but don't be fooled as the record unfolds “oh-oh-eye-oh-oh” will unravel an artichoke chocked full of chord formations, time changes and a uniquely youthful spirit. Another fine effort from the outfit headed by founding member Yoshmi P-we. A tightly coiled package of percussive polyrhythm's and a musical attitude that’ll keep the cult band a big part of the underground music scene for years to come…
The Big Pink already have a lot of hype residing around their upcoming debut 'A Brief History Of Love' and it's no surprise, the duo Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell have been creating a stir in the industry for quite some time.
Cordell runs the label Merok which is responsible for launching Klaxons and Crystal Castles among others and Furze has played for people such as Industrial legend Alec Empire and Panic DHH.
This is most certainly not the only reason why the duo have received so much press of late, 'A Brief History Of Love' is a really great album full of synth laden, atmospheric, droney classics that all are aimed to give off a personable message of Love. Songs such as opener 'Crystal Visions' and 'At War With The Sun' optimise what the Big Pink are all about, 'Armageddon Love Songs.'
Their sound feels like it couldn't have come from anywhere else but London right now, it is certainly an album that fits 2009 very well with their knack for making intense, droney dance tunes sound totally accessible.
There are a few stand out track, 'Dominos' and Velvet' both of which I have had in my head for ages.
Found Songs is an ingenious idea by the talented Ólafur Arnalds.
The idea behind Found Songs is that the man himself, Ólafur Arnalds created and produced a song a day for a week with each track becoming an exclusive download straight from label 'Erased Tapes' website.
The material on Found Songs mainly comprises of minimalist classical piano and strings.
It's great to see such a hark back to classical music but with a completely modern spin on how the music has been made available.
Although some of the tracks can be a little hard work you have to think to be written and produced in such a short timeframe to this quality is very rare and there are some real gems such as the last song 'Ljósið' which is stunning.
Club filler Deadmau5 collaborates with top Canadian electro house label 'Play Records' number one, Melleefresh to create the techno heavy single 'Attention Whore.'
This is most certainly a floor filler and certainly feels like a refreshing change of pace from the from the usually much more darker dance legend Deadmau5 and some of the remixes, more specifically the Zoltan Kontes and Jerome Robins Bootylicious mix add even more depth by creating a more house vibe.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
I stumbled across the awesome site of Australian designer Rob Morris today and was really impressed with his work. Morris who works under the moniker of Digital Mash and now lives in Japan has an awesome style and has worked for some pretty top clients including Nike, Converse and Jay Z.
When a Band this incendiary are in town, you simply can't miss the show. The Israeli three piece noise-collective that sound like a cross between The Stooges and The 13th floor Elevators with the riffage of Mudhoney and early Monster Magnet. Visually though, the three of them look like the "118" guys would look if instead of running around streets and the Woods , they'd just stayed in, had a smoke and listened to Zappa. The venues a pretty small sweat pit with a P.A that sounds like the bands pre-recorded the set on a 8-track and had to have it played through the speakers of a '96 Mondeo.
But this doesn't matter when the 'tonix set up the Drum kit in the middle of the crowd and the singer crowd surfs to the centre before they've even started playing, you know you're in for a great night.The three of them seem a bit nuts, but its the live-wire frontman, constantly, in, on or above the crowd, carrying the Bass drum along with him to the Bar where him and the Guitarist start playing with their backs against the ceiling, creating a truly riotous atmosphere of good feeling and despite all the carnage as the crowd surge around the Drummer and Guitarist they still sound, and are electric. At one point, the singer herds people, too many people, into the corridor and into the toilet passing the Bass drum over everyone and clambering into the toilet for a quick drum solo from inside the Toilets. He rides over the crowd inside the bands empty booze Rider, steals drinks and throws them at you, uses the ceiling fan as a makeshift cymbal. Brilliant.
If you ever find yourself about bored of sterile bands doing the same things, check these guys giving Rock a life affirming shot in the arm. One of the best live experiences i've had. Cheers then Monotonix!
San Francisco duo Tartufi have an album that is truly original. Mixing polyrhythms with crazy high pitched vocal harmonies this is an absolute pleasure to listen to.
Starting off with the epic 'Fear Of Tall Giraffes, Fear Of Some Birds' which is six and a half minutes of stop start atmospheric riffs and crazy drums with a break somewhere in the middle for a glockenspiel solo before the songs turns completely in another direction. I wondered if this would be the case of a band with a brilliant opener and nothing more to offer but this was certainly not the case.
Once you break through the seal and give it a thorough listen you find that Tartufi have so much to offer, with an album that sways from the hectic riffs and scary vocals of 'Church Of Hanging Leaders' to the ambient, intricate guitar work of tracks such as 'System Folds' and the first few minutes of the stunning 'Fleet Week (The Corruption Of Incredible Inv????)'
Producer Tim Green, who has worked with the likes of anyone from the Melvins to Joanna Newsom spent four months recording and mixing 'Nests Of Waves And Wire,' an album which refreshingly pushes boundaries and takes the 'two piece' band to another limit.
Monday, 24 August 2009
Thanks to Eurostar and their Little Break Big Difference campaign myself and a whole host of other bloggers, designers and writers were invited for an all expenses trip to Brussels.
The good times included a trip to the Margritte Museum, a BBQ on the beach, a huge tour around the city and local Beer and food tatsing.
I was amazed at the stunning architecture, brilliant murals dotted around the city and the crazy things we found on our travels, such as a party just off the centre of town where local proprietors were giving out free food and beer, the beer, in fact was dubbed as the best beer in the world and when the bartender was asked he replied 'because it's free!'
The whole trip and the people I met proved very inspirational
Thanks to Sarah and everyone at We Are Social,
for an awesome time.
There are lots more photos and videos here.
Friday, 21 August 2009
For the amazing gig at Koko on Monday featuring Deerhunter, Health and Crystal Antlers, Middle Boop have created one of our limited edition digital prints to highlight what looks set to be a brilliant show.
Not only that but Rough Trade are showcasing and selling the first ten signed and numbered copies on their website and at the Rough Trade East store and 4AD have also showcased it on their site.
Now, first things first. Over the last couple of years the alternative music scene has seen the formation of band names that have included the trendy ‘vv’ (double V) in the title. Following the likes of groups such as Lovvers and Wavves to name only two, another band to jump on the ‘vv’ bandwagon are Nebraska’s very own UUVVWWZ. Pronounced double U, double V double W, Z. Personal opinions on the name aside, I think the ‘vv’ presence has been given too much significance across other UUVVWWZ articles I’ve read, so I’ll just let their music do the talking.
Released on the brilliant Saddle Creek Records, this debut LP sees obvious comparisons to female led bands such as Deerhoof, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and to a lesser extent, the Fiery Furnaces and PJ Harvey. However there is something charming and joyous about front woman Teal Gardner’s voice that sets UUVVWWZ apart from these artists.
Just looking at the track lengths though, you can already tell which songs will be the more slow and epic anthems (see ‘Berry Can’, ‘Neolano’, and ‘Hum Jam’) and which are the chirpier punk-y numbers (‘Jap dad’, ‘Green Starred Sleeve’, and ‘Trapezeus’). Opener ‘Berry Can’ begins with Gardner’s haunting voice alongside a quiet drone before kicking into a heavy guitar noise, showcasing a range of dynamics throughout the track. A key feature on the whole release as well. ‘Jap dad’ is definitely the most poppy and accessible track on the record with guitarist Jim Schroeder’s brilliant sharp riffs and the quirkiness of Gardner’s lyrics gives the track definite single material. The centrepiece of the album though has to be ‘Castle’, where it does indeed land slap bang in the middle of this 9 track recording. Gardner presents their most ambitious track with a dreamy, dynamic, and to me a dignified piece, with a chorus that can possibly go anywhere but instead it basically goes back to the lush guitar strum and soft jazzy beat it begins with.
Penultimate track ‘The Sun’, and finale ‘Hum Jam’ close the album in a similar vein in which it begins, with a couple of epic numbers which excites the listener on what may come next on UUVVWWZ’s next release.
So where can they follow on from this? The potential is definitely there on this recording but I feel they would have to create something a little different if the media was to keep a heavy interest in the band, post this ‘self titled’ release. We can only wait and find out but on this basis they are definitely doing a very good job so far.
Mew - No more stories Are told today I'm sorry They washed away No more stories The world is grey I'm tired Let's wash away
The Danish space rockers Mew release their fifth album on the 27th of August and if nothing else have got to be contenders for the longest album title ever.
As it happens Mew have an album here that is full of beautifully layerd, expertly crafted dreamy pop that not only stands up well against anything they have done before, 'No More Stories' could actually be their best album to date.
With the album taking more of an upbeat electro feel than earlier music but still managing to retain a very 'Mew' feel. In fact it feels like a real progression in their sound, with songs like 'Repeaterbeater' featuring strange time signatures and jangly guitars mixed into a haze of synth and catchy vocals and 'Introducing Palace Players' starting off lightly with a funky little riff and ending very epically with chaotic drums seemingly coming out of nowhere.
In fact Mew have found a great way of writing a track that starts off with the feel of a cheery electro number and building up into epic choruses with a sort of Sigur Ros feel.
Mew seem to have taken a real mature attitude towards the writing of this album and with producer Rich Costey of Muse and Interpol fame at the helm Mew have really expanded on an already brilliant sound taking it to new levels.
Amy Adele Seymour is an illustrator from Southend, UK and creates stories and drawings of her everyday experiences. She captures real charm and magic in her illustrations which often consist of images of old people and owls, 2 of her favorite things. See her tales and drawings on her new site.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Warp’s producer extraordinaire Hudson Mohawke is releasing his debut full-length Butter in October. The new tracks sound simply sublime this is a must for any music enthusiast check him out at Warp 20 event in Sheffield 19th September
LISTEN NOW: http://www.myspace.com/hudsonmo
Fancy getting your hands on a book by one of the most sought after designers of recent years?
Award winning designer Brand Nu has sent Middle Boop five copies of his coveted 'New Book of Colours' featuring a whole host of stunning work.
All you have to do to win one is tell me what
piece did Middle Boop collaborate
with Brand Nu on earlier this year?
mail me at
Dan Deacon dance off between Bradford Cox of Deerhunter & Randy Randall in which Randall of No Age ends badly
In a round robin tour featuring Dan Deacon, Deerhunter and No Age in America Deacon started one of his infamous dance offs in which Randy Randall of No Age slipped and dislocated his shoulder. Fun times.
Joel Evey is a young designer from CA, USA and has not long been featured in the upcoming zine which is The Wizards Hat. Like my work Joel uses geometric shapes and space as inspiration to create posters, zines and even clothing. Joel was also featured in Computer Arts earlier in the year with a poster featuring the typographic work of Ed Fella.
Two Dancers, the second album to be released from Leeds four piece Wild Beasts and after such a strong debut last year was always going to be tough to follow up but I feel 'Two Dancers' stands on its own very well.
Each track on this album could be released as a single, with each featuring the distinct falsetto vocals of lead singer Hayden Thorpe which swoops and swirls in and out of Wild Beasts angsty, hideously catchy indie pop 'erotic, downbeat music.'
I use the term 'Indie Pop' extremely lightly as they bear no similarities to anything that is in the charts, for a start these guys have an abundance of talent and With songs such as the infectious lead single 'Hooting and Howling' characterizing a band that are bound for great things Two Dancers feels like an album very much of 2009.
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
I'm In Love is the second single to be released from Dub Pistol's highly acclaimed recent album 'Rum & Coke,' featuring Lindy Layton and Rodney P on vocals they have combined to create a laid back, groovy proper Reggae/ Dub track that fits well with the decent weather we've been having.
This is a proper party track and Dub Pistols who are touring extensively throughout the festival season are sure to become a must see over the summer.
At Proud galleries tonight one of the best British comedies of all time has been adapted by Anne Chmelewsky into an opera all in aid of Comic Relief.
This is a really interesting idea and I literally couldn't stop laughing whilst watching the clips. Above are clips from the production, an interview with Chmelewsky and a Comic Relief clip from earlier in the year.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Alex Ostrowski is a designer having spent lots of time working with design companies, recently finishing an years intern with YCN. His been featured in Design Week and Creative review so is a young designer worth keeping your eyes on in the future. His work is very much ideas based with a combination of photography, typography and illustration with is merged together beautifully in his work.
Sunday, 16 August 2009
These days Simian Mobile Disco are pretty firmly rooted as one of the biggest Electro bands around with the duo receiving huge applause from their last album 'Attack Decay Sustain Release' and with their new album Temporary Pleasure, they look to set to raise their game even higher.
Temporary Pleasure, which is out today sees SMD collaborating with a host of reasonably fashionable indie stars including Gruff Rhys, Beth Ditto, Telepathe and Jamie Lidell who all add their own style to the album.
Getting so many stars to collaborate on one album is always a bit of a high risk venture but in this case each person really adds something a little different their track which makes for an album full of surprises as you just don't know which way it will go next, whether its the heavy beats and crazy electro noise of track nine Ambulance, the three minute catchy pop of 'Cruel Intentions' featuring Beth Ditto or the relentless of 'Off The Map' featuring Jamie Lidell.
Despite the variety of different vocalists it still feels very much like an SMD album, with their hectic range of dancefloor friendly electro beats and actually the stand out tracks are ones that feature no special guest. Tracks like '1000 Horses Can't Be Wrong' and 'Ambulance' showcase a much more heavy electro sound with build ups and big basslines which feels more what they are about.
The follow up to such a successful album was always going to be tricky but I feel that Simian Mobile Disco have an album that stands out as well as the last.
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Here is the video of The Big Pink's latest single 'Dominos,' a song which has been stuck in my head for the last week or so (in a good way.)
The video is amazingly shot and directed by Tim Saccenti who has also worked with the likes of Battles and Animal Collective.
With a title like 'The Most Powerful E.P In The Universe' you've got to expect something pretty damned good.
It's nothing ground breaking but Leeds based three piece Dinosaur Pile-Up's debut e.p. is full of catchy, nostalgic pop rock which, especially on a sunnny day you can't help but nod your head to.
The five songs on this e.p. Display the sort of song writing capability bands like Weezer wish they still had. Their sound is a hark back to that late 90's early 00's rock that you don't hear too much of these days so it is great to hear a band still making songs as good as this. Tracks like The Brotherhood's Gone and 'This Season' feature beefy, fun riffs all the way through with big names such as Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens, and Steve Lemacq already expressing their love for the band, slots on the Radio 1 Tent at Reading and Leeds and sell out shows Dinosaur Pile-Up could well be on the road to success.
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Punk Spirit is another fine single from an album that grows
on you with every listen.
This charming little song is a little off key from what is expected of a band usually expected to create something more 'electro' whereas Punk Spirit resembles more of an Eels track than anything electro, with the jangly guitars and a bouncy beat and although I prefer it when they delve into the more electric side of their sound with tracks like 'I Go I Go I Go and 'The Line' this is still a great track from an album that stands out from the masses of electro indie pop around at the moment.
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
‘Rated O’, the second instalment in the ‘Thank Your Parents’ trilogy by one of Brooklyn’s finest, Oneida, is the follow up to 2008’s epic 3 track jam ‘Preteen Weaponry’. This ambitious 3 disc release certainly does not disappoint where other bands have. The first CD sees Oneida experiment from the traditional sounds of their other 9 LP back catalogue. Instead the band opt for programmed drum machines, electronic synthesisers and arpeggiators. The disc sees a heavy electronica influence, with dancehall rhythms and Ragga style vocals in opening track ‘Brownout in Lagos’. The aptly titled second track ‘Whats Up Jackel?’ showcases more Dub-like vocal sequences, along with Techno-like sounds. Track Three, ‘10:30 at the Oasis’, goes back to the 12 minute epic jam that Oneida fans are more familiar with on their previous releases, but still maintains the electronica vibe the project attempts to produce.
Part Two of ‘Rated O’ sees Oneida return to the more familiar guitar-based energy that they are used to, however this 7 track outing shows no evidence of a track over seven minutes long. This stands in stark contrast to the other 2 discs on this release. Furthermore, Oneida present us with heavier riffs and a more structured vocal attempt. Tracks like ‘I Will Haunt You’ and ‘Saturday’ reminds us of their unique, ’doomy’, Stoner-Rock racket that we all know and appreciate. The seventh track entitled ‘Luxury Travel’ demonstrates a slow tempo, sixties psychedelic noise that is again, in contrast to what we hear on the first disc.
The third disc carries on with their epic jams as showcased in earlier works including ‘Preteen…’ and 2002’s ‘Each One, Teach One’. With only the 3 tracks this time, featuring the less than 4 minute drone ‘End of Time’, sandwiched in between the 13 minute ‘O’ and 20 minute ‘Folk Wisdom’ respectively. It concludes the triple release in the way Oneida are best remembered for. What’s special about Rated O is that it won’t bore the listener in the same way that many triple albums do, due to the fact that each part is unique and varied in terms of both music and structure.
The Lexington is quickly becoming a legendary venue in London. Having only been open a year or so it has already played host to some brilliant up and coming gigs, recently the likes of Women and Au have both played outstanding sets. Tonight was Twilight Sad's turn, playing a one off gig in London before jetting off for an extensive tour of America, the country where they initially made their name.
Despite a limit on the sound which could be a problem for a band like Twilight Sad who are known for creating huge walls of sound but it didn't seem to matter as they exploded into opener 'Reflections Of The Television' with pounding drums and atmospheric guitars and a catchy chorus sang in James Graham's heavy Glaswegian accent which built up to an epic, distorted guitar finish sucking the crowd in straight away and not letting up until they had finished.
The material from their hotly anticipated new album sounded great among the classics such as 'Walking For Two Hours' and 'And She Would Darken The Memory' and displayed a sense of refinement in their already amazing sound without losing any of their initial spark and if anything sounding a damned site louder, with songs such as 'I Became A Prostitute' already seeming to be fan favourites and the guys seem really happy with what they have achieved and taken aback by the kudos they have been given.
This intense performance was a triumphant return to London and on the back of this I can't wait to hear their new album or see them when they come back later on in the year to play bigger venues.
Kasms debut album Spayed is an album that seems to fit in well with the scene that seems to be appearing in London at the moment, that dark and spooky, post punk noise that has seen bands such as Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump start to gain recognition.
Formed with ex members of the once promising Test Icicles and other not so well known garage punk bands, Kasms have produced an album of unsettling Riot Grrrl esq songs that sound as if they are crying out to be played loud.
Already famed for their enthralling live shows, Kasms are starting to create quite a stir about them and with the backing of a debut album full of great songs such as the frantic 'Taxidermy' and opener 'Male Bonding' they could well end up getting quite big.
Monday, 10 August 2009
With the release of their first five singles over the last few weeks now comes the big one.
The re release of The Stone Roses debut album, often quoted as one of or the best album of all time.
Since the release of this monumental album twenty years ago, musicians all over the world have been inspired, trends have been set and foundations formed for some of the4 most important movements in contemporary music.
The album itself, re mastered by original producer John Leckie and Ian Brown comes in the collectors edition, which will feature a full dvd of their legendary Blackpool Empress Ballroom show (twenty years ago today) and all sorts of rarities and B sides and a 48 page booklet featuring unseen photos and interviews with the likes of Noel Gallagher and Peter Hook. There is also a 1CD edition featuring the full 9:53 version of Fools Gold.
The re mastered version just brings back to life what an absolute classic this really is with each song sounding as good as ever. A true showcase of late Eighties – early Nineties Manchester and it still feels as relevant today as it did when first released.
Another sterling lineup to the Too Pure Singles Club, The Vivians who are divided between London and Edinburgh play that sort of infectious high energy rock that will surely pull in a decent crowd.
Their first single 'Just Two Girls' is 3.50 minutes of catchy punk influenced indie that would rival anything in the charts at the moment.
The Vivians are in good hands on the Too Pure Sinlges club, having already put out singles by the likes of Three Trapped Tigers, Friendship and Pulled Apart By Horses this year. Haven't heard of them yet? Chances are you will.