Friday, 27 May 2011

Niki & the Dove live at Electrowerkz, Islington


Niki & the Dove's Malin Dahlstrom and Gustaf Karlof were just super brilliant at their opening gig for the UK.

Visually mesmerising and sounding perfect with shades of purple lighting, dancers with ribbons and a tribal pulse to the whole get up, the only disappointment was a lack of encore and it all being over far too quickly. There was mediocre support from I Am Camera and a slightly more interesting Seams but it was clear who everyone was there for as Malin entered stage and many woops went up from the crowd.

For a mid week slot, the venue was comfortably full of a passionate and diverse audience that obviously love and know the band as much as I do. Kicking off with 'The Fox', which sounded better and possibly arranged a little differently to the single mix, started off the soundscape of Scandinavian tribal electronica; the room pulsating under Malin's spell, fantastic vocals, live percussion and crisp keyboards.

'Under The Bridges' sounded phenomenal in a condensed live version while 'Mother Protect' just filled up the crowd with beats and percussion. 'DJ Ease My Mind' is my absolute favourite so far and the atmosphere was collectively amazing as the crowd were singing along.

The new tracks sounded instant and to the same standard of their known tracks, a very promising build up for more releases in the future. The performance was tight and Malin and her dancers did have that Kate Bush style theatre in their dance moves creating what can only be a menagerie of earthy electro, danceable music that tingles in every sense.

The club DJ playing Austra, my other love, was an added bonus and had to be a good omen for the night, talking of which, that is our next live stop, can't wait! Big thanks to 'Eat Your Own Ears' for putting on such a great band. Intoxicatingly good and highly recommend seeing them live to fully appreciate this new Nordic talent.

Related links:

Niki & The Dove @ Soundcloud
Niki & The Dove official Myspace page

(Images: Niki & The Dove live at Electrowerkz © The Line of Best Fit )

Meet Visions of Trees...

Visions of Trees are a unique electronic duo fronted by the dreamy vocals of Sara Atalar and buzzing synths of Joni Juden

A fusion of hypnotic, ambient and  progressive sounds are created alongside some animated stage performance from the pair. Sara with a classical background in music and dance contrasts to the more 'street' Joni and their performance in a very muddy tent at Bestival last year was definitely one of my favourites.

Visually contrasting, Joni in the uniform 'hoodie' and Sara 'glittered up' with feathers in her hair, the mix of urban and primitive sounds collide and gel together with her whimsical voice; all very difficult to define, a fix of fusion on many levels. Throw a bit of Natasha Khan, Bjork and a lad off the street who can push some buttons in a clever way in the mixing pot, make some videos in a dreary council estate and give yourself a hippy band name, surprisingly it works.

Noisey made these short videos that include live clips from The Macbeth in London, intimate chats with the pair and a few quite amusing (clearly drunk on the music) crowd members.  Having seen these newbies live myself, future gigs are worth keeping an eye out for.

Jump here for videos 2-5 with more live tracks and chat...

Related Post:

Visions of Trees: Sometimes It Kills

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Doctor Who: The Doctor’s Wife (spoilers)

Behind Every Great Man, there stands a Bitey Mad Lady…

What an improvement on last week’s fluff; pirates are always great for the kids but it seems Doctor Who can’t get the two tier audience balance right every time. In contrast, ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ under the expertise of Neil Gaiman, had something for everyone; the old fans jumping for ‘spacey wasey’ joy at seeing more of the interior of the Tardis and the older control rooms. All that traditional running down corridors and confusion in time, the episode was full of humour, warmth, horror and brilliant observation of the relationship between the Doctor and his oldest companion.

All starting with a door knocking in deep space, and the Doctor’s teasing ‘come here you scrumptious little beauty’, so apt as this episode was led by the ladies.

Lots of interesting ideas pouring forth from Neil Gaiman’s free reign with an episode that’s icing was the vanishing soul of the Tardis entering a woman. The chemistry between Matt Smith and Suranne Jones ( Idris) was affectionate and intriguing and served as a reminder of the lack between Matt and Karen but...

Amy did have some great, observational lines, particularly when she points out the doctor’s need for forgiveness and her motherly concern;

Don’t get emotional, that’s when you make mistakes’ Later repeated by Idris.

There seemed to be many interesting gender related dialogue, a little tussle of who is really at the helm as she quips back at the Doctor’s claim My Tardis with ‘My Doctor’, her insistence ‘she stole him’ and his childish retorts about her unreliability with the final word being;

‘No but I always took you where you needed to go’.

 The Tardis personified by all female facets, she’s Sexy’, she’s Old Girl’.

A brilliant idea and  all wrapped up in some sexual innuendo with the banter of  ‘The first time you touched my console to Amy’s Did you wish really hard?’ when he reveals the Tardis’ new but short lived identity.

It was a ball game of emotional responses between the Tardis and the Doctor, as if they both had a lot to get off their chest. Regarding the Tardis Junk Yard, Idris sadly points out;

‘I’m thinking all of my sisters are dead and I’m looking at their corpses’

The Doctor can only see the opportunity to make a patchwork Tardis, which reminds me, patchwork people, what a gloriously Frankenstein creepy concept, good one Gaiman.

And on the chilling stakes, the ‘Kill Amy’ graffiti added more spice to the little hint of Amy’s significance in all this when Auntie grabs her face with a rather yucky arm of long expired Time Lord The Corsair and says ‘House loves you.

Don’t shoot me ‘experts’ but I’m sure the Doctor points out The Corsair regenerated as a lady ‘woohoo, she was a bad girl’, wouldn’t that be equally fun and cause a big old row for the next regeneration?

Idris had some of my favourite lines this week, the one about the Doctor ‘pushing’ her doors, not reading instructions, nicknaming Rory ‘the pretty one’ and Amy ‘the orangey girl’, their ‘marriage’ confirmed by his inability to start his junk yard Tardis with her blowing him a kiss with vroopy light and saying;

‘Oh my beautiful idiot, you have what you’ve always had, you’ve got me’ revealing that actually Time Travel needs its yin and yang, they are dependent on each other, the Tardis is the lover, mother, sister and ultimate companion to the Doctor’s dithering genius.

The teasing line ‘The only water in the forest is the River’ must hint at the return of another super lady character River Song in coming episodes.

The emotion of the Doctor is evident in the last scenes as he realises his Tardis will no longer converse with the death of Idris, the human shell,  and this is peppered with his realisation that House should now feel the fear of a wronged woman;

You took her from her home, and now she’s back in her box again, and she’s free. Finish him off girl’.

More please from Gaiman…this was the best stand alone episode so far and 'Run' mmm what a lovely voice you have House thanks to Michael Sheen.

 Related Links:

Watch on iplayer here...

Biggup to Orac who grabbed these images for me x x

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Creep 'New' feat. Nina Sky

Yay finally there's a follow up to Creep's debut feat Romy Madley Croft. The current release is a collaboration with the very beautiful Nina Sky and shows the Creep girls know how to pick their guest vocalists..super lovely with an edge.

They are twins with that, dare I say, 'R&B' thing going on, oh oh oh oh ohhhhhhhhh,  but the difference is that,  Flax and Dillard of Creep, have produced and spooked it up beautifully. (I would like to make jokes about them both being called Lauren and tag them 'The Laurens' but fear it will end in a stake through my heart) The video is gorgeousness in stylish black and white, directed by Thalia Mavros and of course, these twins have been put in corridors in a horror 'The Shining' way.

Identical and evident in mere flashes, shot with weird gloopy supernatural bleurgh dripping from their hands (or perhaps just good old fashioned blood),  it makes for an interesting concoction for Creep's musical cauldron of spooky beeps and pop mainstream potion. There's a bit too much ohhhhh in places but after a few listens you only hear the quite lovely intertwining of vocals from the sisters against some 'creeped up' electronica. The icing on the cake for any slightly gothish girleeeee, some spooktacular hair, make up and body art action. Thanks creepy girls, when you fall in love with the debut as much as I did, the follow up is a bit 'everything crossed' but I lovelovelove it. So listenlistenlisten while admiring the eye make up to die for...

CREEP - You (feat Nina Sky) from OFFICIAL CREEP on Vimeo.

Related Posts:

Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This Before...More Creep 
Austra, Creep and some Witchery Dubskip

Related Links: 


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Lykke Li, PJ Harvey and Austra

Sadness Is A Blessing...

What better way to celebrate my 50th music post than to biggup my  favourite girls this year...

Good timing Lykke with a new video, again directed by Tarek Saleh who also did a great job with 'I Follow Rivers'. The video starts with a serene but slightly mental look in her eye Lykke downing shorts from a waiter whilst eyeballing her apparent aging lover; no wonder she's sad.

Erratic behaviour and crazy dancing ensues under the watchful eye of polite society and her tearful lover looks on, all ending with the sort of embrace you give a child to keep them still. Pretty much the flavour of the album really; foot stamping, tantrum throwing, despairing and wounded... Lykke love it. Her wounded rhymes are no longer silent cries clearly.

Since her performance on Later with Jools, her album has sold a few more, it should be heard so go buy it now, jump here for the magic of 'I Follow Rivers' performed live.

The Words That Maketh Murder...

And now for Polly, my love for this  lady has been a rollercoaster of  'I love you loads' and 'Oh what was that?' I sometimes crave the old days of 'Sheela-na-gig' and 'Man size', a bit of mellow 'Down by the Water' but Let England Shake has been growing and growing since this little live taster on Jools (why do I always forget to watch it beeb?). There's a little too much military going on in some of the tracks but that's my own little phobia.

Check out this performance of  'The Words that Maketh Murder', gorgeous dress, head gear and extraordinary autoharp thing...lovelovelove. Coming from an unearthly place, how could you not? Fearless and bonkers brilliance, she's not protesting, she's being human.

Darken Her Horse...

And lastly, my most recent love affair has been with Katie Stelmanis of Austra, having bagged a promo in my parallel existence as 'Babooshka', this album is just super dark electro loveliness and a naughty youtuber has leaked some more tracks. 'Darken Her Horse' is one of my favourites, although really there are too many to choose from.

The track builds slowly with a beguiling ritualistic edge, all enchanting and pulling you in with musical 'Spellwork'. The album is concerned with dark aesthetics, otherworldliness, esoteric knowledge, melodrama and romance. Have a listen below and make sure you pre-order the album as it's a close contender in my 2011 albums of this year, trust me, it's exciting times and we're not even half way yet.

Austra Feel It Break Album Review

Lykke Li Wounded Rhymes Album Review

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Day of the Moon: Doctor Who Review (spoilers)

"This little girl, it's all about her. Who is she?"

Overall this episode was engaging and well directed, even 'The Pond', who up until now I've had very little sympathy for and Rory, thankfully,  has moved on from bumbling fool to a more intriguing character with some hidden depth.

River continues to fascinate while The Doctor was just fabulous as always. The fatal flaw with this finale was that it just didn't live up to its name and was structurally incoherent, yes we all know it's about time and how dull it would be if it was perfectly linear, but this was 'death by flashback'. Leave the cliffhanger hanging for too long and we will all have an attack of The Silence as we forget what was hanging in the first place.

Confusing? Yes a bit  but not because the viewers are 'stupid faces' but more that structurally, it just didn't work.

 Moffat set up the beginnings of intrigue and impressive creepiness to follow it up with another part of the same but with the added frustration of no real resolution; too many questions left unanswered piled up with more questions and very annoyingly yet more 'not quite as they seem' death scenes.

Has Moffat ever read 'The boy Who Cried Wolf', when someone finally does push up the daisies, we will be grimacing in our armchairs not really giving a damn and wondering what the twist is to bring them back...yawn. And why had Amy, Rory and River been separated and why was Canton pretending to chase them. Too many 'Whys?' Moffat, we need some 'ahhh yes' too.

Not to say it wasn't packed of fantastic shots of  The Silence, particularly as they hung from the ceiling of the orphanage above the Amy's head, the epic ( for beeb) panoramic views of The Valley of The Gods and the wonderfully directed shoot out starring River.

I have to say my favourite scenes were in the old creepy orphanage, nothing beats dollies and rocking horses for me in the spook factor, plus the strange little man Doctor Renfrew.  And the teasing photograph of Amy holding a baby, does she have a baby or not? Is the baby the little girl she almost shot, doesn't sound like even the Doctor is interested to know as he suggests at the end  'going off for some more adventures'...

So in all the confusion, let's speculate the obvious, the not so, and the weird and be as patient as possible that Moffat does resolve some of this.

The little girl can regenerate so she could be the child of Amy and the Doctor, sounds too cheesy but a rivalry/love triangle thing has been over heavily hinted at between Amy and her two male companions. The child could also be Amy's and some of the Doctor's DNA that The Silence had got hold of  hence why they took her baby from her womb. Failing that, going back a bit, River Song did say she had killed 'a very good man'.  Perhaps River is a Timelady? Amy believes the little girl shot the Doctor and  River says in this episode 'Your future is my past' so that little girl could be River Song?

That could make River Amy's daughter?  And even River the daughter of  the Doctor ( no that's too much for family viewing, no girl kisses her daddy like that) sooo enough speculating as I'm sure it will all end up happily ever after.

 In all that muddle, the only thing I think is definite is that Amy is still pregnant in some way or another. To put all these criticisms to one side for a moment, this series has already far outweighed Matt's debut and with everyone bleating 'What, Who and Why?', it is enthralling if a little irksome in places.

The strengths of this episode were the development of key characters especially the weaker ones of Amy and Rory with the use of the ' nano recorders' and the historical references along with the humour around 'Tricky Dicky' Nixon.

All part  packaged  in classic 'it's not all over yet' Doctor lines re  The Silence;

'As long as there's been something in the corner of your eye, creaking in your house, or breathing under your bed or voices through a wall...'

Seems The Silence will be back, let's hope they don't have to draw the ridiculous marks all over themselves next time and realise the nano recorders and camera phone were enough ( plus putting the marks on your face where you can't see them unless you happen to be in front of a mirror is rather silly)

Some niggles at zealous timey wimey over doing it admittedly ... but  next week pirates, you can't go wrong...surely?

If you missed, watch here on iplayer.