Lily J London

“Fashion fades while style lasts forever”.

Lily J is a London-based clothing brand that sells beautiful clothing at affordable prices.  Launched in 2010, Lily J started as a single store, and has now expanded to four; three in Camden and one in Notting Hill.

Their product offering is extensive, with dresses, tops, cardigans, skirts and coats, although there’s a particular emphasis on their beautiful dresses.  The main focus is lace, which is evident throughout pretty much all of their clothing, whether on ruffles, trims or the whole outfit.  Lily J is a paradise for any lover of girly, beautiful clothes with a kind of Alice in Wonderland feel to them.

Their outfits have been constructed very thoughtfully – they can be dressed down with tights and flats in the day, but equally, teamed with a pair of heels and sparkly jewellery, they would look great for a night out sipping cocktails at a sophisticated bar.

To have a look at some of their pretty clothes on offer, have a look at their Facebook page (although unfortunately, they’re quite inactive) or website, where you can shop online.

Kagoule

I’ve had a definite soft spot for Kagoule’s swirly churning since seeing them a few times a couple of years ago in Nottingham and more recently in London with Drenge. These guys are seriously exciting, sickeningly young and overwhelmingly talented.

Cai’s gloomy-cool and Lucy’s urgent throbbing on bass makes me want to wear my clumpiest school shoes again. Sometimes calm… often brooding…and all round achingly nostalgic, I can’t do them justice by cobbling adjectives together.

Maybe a mood-board demonstration, consisting of tattered velcro-fastened coin purses, after-rain walks home, braces and biro battered lined papers would be more apt but it would only go some of the way. Listen, Kagoule are anything but clumsy!

Kagoule just released a single called ‘Adjust the Way’ on Hate Hate Hate Records along with their first (suitably dark and fuzzing) video. Watch it online here, maybe make an afternoon of it.

Of course you can find Kagoule on Facebook and they are setting out on their first tour in December, playing all over the UK with Cold Crows Dead so you must keep a look (or ear) out!

Suitably dreamy photos by  Angela Chan.

Intimates Index

I was sort of surprised to be messaged online by a girl asking me to send her my knickers but i’d seen Charlotte Cullen’s work online and it transpired she was creating an exciting exhibition and  index of artists via their pants. The catalogue would be a direct reference to the conventions of documenting and selling art and a comment on the exchange value of objects and labour involved, the provenance of the artwork (the artist) drastically increasing the selling value of otherwise indistinguishable objects. A Banksy becomes almost unrecognizable from a reproduction yet the value skyrockets when it holds his name creating a similarly ‘capitalist commodity’. Charlotte looks at other artifacts that the ‘artist’ produces and questions their value like an artwork and fluctuating status from bi-product to commodity.

The net sets this economy on an accessible stage and Charlotte asks how our virtual culture relates physical and online interactions and how this ‘material construct’ functions as a ‘material becoming’.

As Gal wrote in the press release ‘A pair of used panties in need of a wash is in its material sense useless. With the same perspective you could argue that when the painting is dry, the plaster is rock hard or the film exposed, it is no longer usable and should therefore have the purchase value less than its raw materials put together.’

I saw the show come into its own physical being at Arvida Bystrom and Hanna Antonsson’s aptly named and pink-floored gallery- ‘Gal’ in East London. I hung around (on top of a ladder) to help set up the show which opened in the evening…in pink light, vacuum-packed underwear hanging delicately from the ceiling, anchored down by rocks from outside. A large print by Hannah Regel was included along with small, intimate photographs by Arvida herself (pictures), and others like Vanessa Omoregie as well as two film pieces by Maija Elizabeth Ekey.
See more of the Intimates Index and check out Charlotte Cullen’s practice online here.
Photographs copyright to Arvida Bystrom of Gal.

I have to admit that I don’t often go to gigs, and when I do, it is usually because someone is dragging me there to see their favourite band; so when my friend invited me to see MØ (whom I had never heard of) perform at XOYO in London, I was quite skeptical, although excited – there is something deeply satisfying about someone wanting to show you something.

(Karen Marie Ørsted), a Danish singer whose tracks are synth-heavy electro-pop pieces of heaven, made a dynamic and energetic entrance that was hard to disregard, especially given the loud ovation she received from her fans. I have to admit I was extremely baffled at the maturity and texture of MØ’s tracks, which work on a staggeringly deep effect within you. Reminiscent of Grimes and Portishead, her songs have a kind of sonic texture that blend in perfectly with the sultry Lana del Rey-like vocals, only more seductive and vibrant.

The songs that stood out the most for me were ‘Pilgrim’, where the melody and pace was slower and reminiscient of mid-80s pop disco, as well as ‘Glass’ and ‘Waste of Time’, where MØ successfully shows us that the Scandinavians do, in fact, do it better than us in terms of new synth electro-pop. The videoclips for the aforementioned songs are artfully produced and made especially acute by the unflinching sharpness of MØ’s vocals.

On another note, someone has to give the Danish girl a few extra points for her stirring performance at the gig, where she went from jumping to dancing to walking into the crowd, all while delivering her tracks with her bandmates. I, for one, also give her extra points because she was cute, polite and genuinely seemed to enjoy what she was doing.

https://www.facebook.com/MOMOMOYOUTH

https://soundcloud.com/momomoyouth

George Ezra

Hailing from Bristol, this singer-songwriter has just hit number 5 on the BBCs ‘Sound of 2014’ list. And he’s only 19.

According to his page on the BBC, he was first spotted in 2012 by BBC Bristol who were “championing his bluesy, acoustic ballads”. Since then, he’s had a slot on the Glastonbury Introducing Stage as well as recording sessions at Maida Vale (the BBC recording studios in London for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term).

Zane Lowe recently described him as “One of the most compelling and powerful new vocalists around”, and I would have to agree. George’s vocals are far beyond his years, and his bluesy style is reminiscent of the greats like Bob Dylan and his hero Woody Guthrie. He fits very nicely into the emerging style in the industry, creating a beautiful vintage sound and merging it beautifully with modern accoustic tracks.

In spite of his recognition from London, George stays true to his roots, playing a lot of gigs in Bristol and sticking around his hometown. According to him, the town is exciting and “things are happening”.

To hear more of George’s songs or to see where you can see him live, visit his website: www.georgeezra.com

VIRGIL HOWE DJ

With his dark eyes, long hair and thick moustache and goatee, Virgil Howe is unmistakably the son of renowned guitarist Steve Howe (from Yes) and a child of the world of progressive rock. Immersed in his father’s world from a young age, it is only logical that he would start improvising some music notes on his Moog Synth at the age of 4. Today, after successively drumming for The Killer Meters, Little Barrie and Dirty Feel, Howe is based in London and is focusing on producing and releasing singles and mixtapes on Scenario Records – a major label in UK underground hip-hop music.

Browsing his Soundcloud, it is evident that his style has considerably changed in two years.  His latest work is more mature and it seems that he is gradually defining himself in a unique musical style.  His mixes are refreshingly new in a world where electro music essentially consists of adding a repetitive melody to vaguely sophisticated beats. The influence of different styles is very strong in his recent mixes, ranging from disco to electronic, through “bootyshakin” and “spacefunk”. He excels in taking songs that belong to a very specific genre of music and twisting them around to produce an entirely different sound. For example, Snoop Dogg’s, Drop It Like It’s Hot becomes Kiss It Like It’s Hot, as it is tastefully brightened up with lazy lounge beats and slow soul notes.

Virgil Howe has character and his music is reflective of that. His unusual focus on disco-funk and his massive use of unknown vocalists seem like bold moves in the ultra-competitive sphere of London music, but by giving personality to his songs certainly pays off. Ease Back Mama, Stolen Moments, Afroway: Howe is certainly successful in imposing rhythmic afro beats as his trademark and he says himself that he stands as “as spokesperson for the outer worlds”. Certainly his family background encouraged him to find a place in the world of music, but his increasing popularity can only be explained by the fact that his style is one step ahead.

To know more about him, you can check out his Soundcloud, follow him on Twitter or like his Facebook page!

Maiko Takeda

London-based artist Maiko Takeda’s work focuses on fashion jewelry, where she explores themes such as logic, geometry and space form eerie, enchanting pieces. Takeda grew up in Tokyo, where her fascination with timeless products emerged. Growing in a post-boom Japan, her inspirations are diverse and she learnt to cultivate her senses outside of fashion and pop culture, finding values in the smallest and most random of things. After moving to London, she studies a BA(hons) in Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

One of her recent projects ‘Atmospheric Reentry’ was completed within the Royal College of Art London, where she is currently studying a Masters in Millinery. The head pieces are gorgeous installations made of clear film, perspex and silver, whereby she arranges them in sharp, colourful accessories. In Takeda’s work, simple things such as headbands and shapes become complex structure that marry the human body perfectly in an open, minimalistic form. The experience of wonder and bewilderment is rendered especially acute with the juxtaposition of various elements such as precision,  and rigid shapes that turn soft and malleable. Takeda’s work heavily focuses on environmental influences such as shadows, wind and gravity, inviting the audience to re-think its expectations when it comes to jewelry design.

The head pieces from ‘Atmospheric Reentry’ are light yet sharp, reminiscent of a protection helmet. Although seemingly malleable by the elements, their embedment within the human body gives them a new life. Her project is a rare piece of art that combines aesthetics and form.

http://www.maikotakeda.com/

 

The White Building

Hover over the black capital letters of THE WHITE BUILDING on their website and it transforms into a conquettish HI THERE. Such playful, whimsical use of coding/CSS is, perhaps, inevitable of the Hackney Wick building that is known, particularly in glitch-kitsch enthusiast circles, as “London’s centre for art, technology and sustainability.” Run by SPACE Studios, the building runs a unique residential program involving artists from the famed James Bridle, who instigated the movement of the New Aesthetic, to Jesse Darling, John Rafman and the duo Kyoung Kim and Daniel Rourke who run the fantastic GLTI.CH Karaoke project.

It’s inspiring and refreshing to know that London still has innovative artistic hubs: more than a simple gallery or exhibition space, The White Building is a carefully curated space for cultural phenomena. From residency studios to event spaces and CRATE Brewery & Pizzeria, The White Building combines everything us humans need from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – food, drink and a roof over our heads – and turns it into a post-internet sanctuary where anything and everything can happen.

The building itself was born as a section of the Clarnico Sweet factory and ended its lease of life as a print works. David Kohn Architects has rebirthed the location as a “space for creativity, built by and for local people, resonating with its historical context” even as the work that goes on within often strives towards the technology of the future. They’ve hosted seminars, talks on bio-aesthetics, eco-futurism and dystopia, discussed the untangling of the digital future and advanced awareness of Paranormal Activity – an introduction to anomalistic psychology. It’s undeniably a pavilion of art, education and the future of big ideas.

What does the future hold? Temporary Sculptures by Klas Eriksson, an art installation and collective performance spanning geographical locations around the world will be ushered in on the 22nd of February, and James Bridle will be giving a lecture On the Rainbow Plane on the 26th of February, “investigating the relationships between the public understanding of technology and networks, and the classification of people and things performed by technologies. He will explore the embdedded politics, from the technological gaze to data shadows, immigration, deportation, and rendition.” Definitely a talk not to be missed.

Even more excitingly, curator and writer Omar Kholeif has edited a new book entitled You Are Here: Art After the Internet, published by Cornerhouse, which arose out of a year-long residency at The White Building and claims to be the “first major publication to critically explore both the effects and affects that the Internet has had on contemporary artistic practices… Responding to an era that has increasingly chosen to dub itself as ‘post-internet’, this collective text traces a potted narrative exploring the relationship of the Internet to art practices from the early millennium to the present day.” If you’re interested, The Creator’s Project has written an in-depth interview with Kholeif in regards to the book and our post-internet relationship with the aesthetics of today.

To keep up to date with The White Building’s activities, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

LUNA SILVA

School musicals. If you are one of my kind, they will evoke painful memories of endless rehearsals for two-line parts and overpriced tickets that the entire family insisted on getting to watch your timid and sole appearance on stage. For Luna Silva, on the other hand, the school play was a time of excitement, of frenetic activity, and probably of massive stress. Yes, Luna was ALWAYS in charge of the music for what was possibly the greatest event of the year at my school – and as we all saw her handle the extremely important responsibilities that this implied, we all knew that she was made for music. A few years later, our predictions seem to be confirmed: she has not let go of her ukulele, and, with a bindi on her forehead and a smile on her face, she composes and performs pieces of world music that accompany her through her various travels.

Despite her young age, Luna has clearly already found and worked on her musical style, which harmoniously mingles pop-folk notes with melodies that are specific to a particular culture. In “Rain”, for example, she sings in three different languages – French, English and Spanish –, simply sitting on the beach in Málaga with her inevitable ukulele and a red flower in her hair. Add to her very feminine and soothing voice, and I assure you: you will feel Spain (I swear). No need for autotune or synth (those probably make her blood boil): it is in a simple, authentic way that Luna’s work takes us on a journey.

Today, Luna is a student at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, where she participates in a variety of shows and events, all of which can be found on her Facebook page. She is currently recording an album and making new videos that should be released soon. In the meantime, if you’re feeling blue, you can check out her Youtube channel – instant inner peace guaranteed.

Tori Stewart

You have to be blind to have missed the massive increase in colourful hair walking down both our high streets and catwalks recently. The pioneering salon at the root of this new craze is Bleach. Based in Dalston (east London), with a second salon in the basement of Topshop’s Oxford Street Store they’ve been blessing the nation with dip-dyes and crazy colours galore.

I took the opportunity to interview one of their newest techni-colour Bleach babes Tori Stewart…

So, bluntly, why hair? and why the love of coloured hair?

Honestly, when i was younger I wanted to be a car mechanic ahaha, its hard to believe really, but a family friend ended up getting me an internship at a salon and i loved it. I worked through the apprenticeships at a few salons but was craving something a bit different so I quite my job, moved to London and did a Foundation in Art. I think thats where i found my creative streak.

And now your working at Bleach, how’s that going?

Yea great! As soon as I saw the salon I knew I needed to work there! And there are so many inspirational people who work there, but yet they’re all just so relaxed.

Yea, you’ve got some great people working there.

I mean Tina Outen, she works at Bleach, and does some awesome editorial work, which is something I’d love to get into more.

Bleach, are involved in a lot of editorial and fashion work. Why is it you think that, excuse the fashion talk, hair has become the latest accessory? 

Ahaha yea. I mean your hair frames your face, even in the 90s people were using colour. Its just come back around stronger and a bit more fashion focused. Not just with grunge though, its really cross trend. I love that hair’s become something more that just stuff that grows out your head, people are paying more attention to it and becoming more experimental with it rather that being prim and proper.

So, if you could do anyone’s hair over who would you pick? 

Oh, I’ve no idea… Jesus?? ahahaha

What like the technicolour dream coat?

Ahahaha, wasn’t that Joseph?

I don’t think he’d much fancy a virgin bleach with blue & purple flashes though ahahaha. Failing that I’d turn a horse into a unicorn with 90s glitter hair extensions and ride it through the centre of london.

Ahahaha, fab. So, 2014’s just begun, what are you hoping to do this year?

Work wise, I really want to extend on my experimentation when it comes to hair and bring in my foundation work more, and take on some more editorial photoshoots.

Great! Happy New Year then.

Tori’s Blog

Bleach’s Website

Tina Outen’s Info

 

 

THE HICS

I belong to that category of people who get absolutely irascible when someone puts on music when they need to focus; little did I know that this major personality aspect would be changed forever when I stumbled upon The Hics’ SoundCloud. And so, it is gently lulled by the soothing voice of Roxana Dayette that I am currently writing a review about this very promising sextet that is bursting with talent and that is just starting to be recognized among the British underground scene.

Sam Paul Evans (vocals), Jacob Welsh (drums), Geordon Reid-Campbell (guitar), Matt Knox (bass), David Turay (saxophone) and Roxana Dayette (vocals), aged 17 to 24, almost all met at Pimlico School in London, where the band was formed and named after hickory (the wood drumsticks are made of). The Hics was at first a two-piece band and as it gradually grew into a six-piece, it was successful in imposing a rare and unique style that is not easy to define. Instrumentation-wise, their work is light and aerial, with gentle beats that subtly enhance the suavity of their slow melodies. To a sophisticated bass backdrop, Turay’s saxophone does the trick and sets the jazzy tone that is the trademark for the band. The Hics define their style as “electronic swing” but clearly their music is shaped by a variety of influences and rather goes into different styles, ranging from indie to jazz, with a touch of soul and even mild dubstep.

But what probably makes The Hics so distinctive is their vocals: Sam’s deep, masculine voice mingles with Roxana’s slightly melancholic but very sensual voice, which provides some gorgeous harmonies that fit in perfectly in the musical pieces. Lyrics follow on in the same vein as well, with a strong emphasis on fading and dissolution in Tangle, or a lament about a non-reciprocal love in Cold Air. One word to describe their work? It would probably be smooth.

The Hics therefore fit exactly in contemporary musical trends and their work is becoming increasingly popular. They released their first album last August, which you can download on Itunes and featured on the soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto 5. For more info, you can visit their official website, or follow them on Twitter or SoundCloud.

Stephen Eyre

Glittering, charismatic and ever affable: aspiring singer-songwriter and producer Stephen Eyre springs from the buzzing London suburbia as a shining vision of our contemporary English zeitgeist. Much like his own multicultural background, the Essex-born musician dips his fingers in eclectic genres, from pop to Kraftwerk-esque electro to ethnic.

Eyre is, however, more than just a simple musician: currently studying BA Fine Art at UAL, he brings a vivacious body of performance work to the table that accompanies alternating soft and jazzy synths. Subtle exotic notes throb in the backdrop of his tracks like the faint after-note of a perfume – what Stephen calls an “oriental kind of sound”, acquired through the frequent use of pentatonic scales.

In his most accomplished track to date, Electric Girl, muffled drumbeats accompany a twirling, fluted melody that melts around Eyre’s deep, throbbing vocals. We are transported to a more romantic era and yet, simultaneously, a techno-futuristic dimension. The track is a juxtaposition, an oxymoron, a beautiful contradiction and portmanteau of universal sounds.

Something old, something new, something borrowed. The lingering feeling one receives is one of an upbeat, tender nostalgia, like hazy disco lights pulsing in a small jazz club located somewhere in a grungy basement (where all the cool art kids go at night).

Sitting in our art studio, Stephen answers a few of my questions about his influences and ambitions for the future:

 1.    How would you describe your music?

Oooh, that’s difficult! I focus on the instruments. I’d describe my music as alternative but with a pop sensibility – a pop structure, blending different sounds into a pastiche of different styles and hopefully creating my own genre. Basically an eclectic mix of styles blended into a hodgepodge of lush instrumentation with big synth influences.

2.    Name three of your favourite musicians.

Kate Bush, David Bowie, MGMT.

3.    What kind of music are you working on right now?

I’m really getting into live work at the moment. Last month I had my first gig, my second gig is coming up very soon. And I’m currently collaborating on a project with Michael Oliviere AKA Bubbles, songwriter for Jennifer Lopez, Eminem and Gwen Stefani. But I can’t say too much about that yet!

 4.    Do you think you bring your art degree/education into your music?

I think my study of art definitely affects the visual presentation of my music, but not the music itself. Contemporary art can tend to be quite intellectual and about ideas, whereas the music I make tends to be intuitive and emotional. I do think that music has a lot of unconscious cultural connotations, however.

5.    If you could give any advice to someone starting out writing and producing their own music, what would you say? 

Hmm, I think it is important to find creative ways around a problem or something that’s holding you back. I think you have to take a look at yourself as an artist and ask yourself if this is an artist you would really like to listen to or see!

Intrigued? Follow and hear more of Stephen’s lush music on his soundcloud, or treat yourself to a live performance at his next gig this Friday at White Rabbit.