the wave pictures

the wave pictures catch surreal moments and disappointments with silly lines and sad hooks. they like words and amateurism, designed all but one of their album covers themselves, and in their music videos, they’ve been known to walk on glasses, eat spaghetti while singing and play polaroids.

we met david tattersall, franic rozycki, jonny “huddersfield” helm and their friend david beauchamp for an interview before their daylight music gig at the union chapel. they told us about a birthday tradition, apologising to hull and an unsuccessful joke; debated whether or not they are grown-ups, and shared a couple of daydreams.

they also played us two songs from their upcoming album and a grateful dead cover for stockholm clouds (lookee here) and drew us a baffled cat! much love from us to the wave pictures for all these saturday morning adventures ♥

drawing-this-one

stockholm clouds | the wave pictures

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before their daylight music gig at the union chapel, we traded david tattersall, franic rozycki and jonny “huddersfield” helm of the wave pictures three bananas (with their names on, as in their song “canary wharf“) for an interview and three songs for stockholm clouds. together with their friend david beauchamp, they played “remains” & “a letter from hull (dom’s song)” off their upcoming vinyl-only album a season in hull (out tomorrow!) and “friend of the devil” by grateful dead.

“remains”

“a letter from hull (dom’s song)”

“friend of the devil”

billie the vision & the dancers: the key to my magic world

key

at the beginning of december, lars lindquist, maria thenor, sofia janninge and silvio arismendi of billie the vision & the dancers released their ep the key to my magic world. a world in which, i think, trees and human beings grow freewheelingly; which is lit up by music like by fairylights and campfires; which is magic because it is loved.

spanning over ten years and six brilliant albums with glow-in-the-dark titles, the band’s history is full of that kind of magic. they called their record label love will pay the bills; they turned a carpenter’s workshop in a forest near bräkne-hoby, sweden, into a home, a studio and an excellent cultural venue for the local community; their song with hello saferide and the covers that musical friends such as the pipettes, maia hirasawa, little marbles and seasick steve made of their favourite billie songs sound like love letters; they have an admirable habit of making strangers into friends and their songs are like conversations about personal ghosts under beds, political nightmares walking the streets in broad daylight, not fitting in and, at the same time, delighting in human beings. their songs throw glitter at hate and are met with declarations of love (look at their youtube and facebook pages!). i think i first fell for this one and, of course, that one.

the key to my magic world is no less scintillating. i think it also gave us billie the vision & the dancer’s first official music video.

the ep is about making up your mind, letting in spring air and tomorrows, dangling from the captain’s hook and needing to give up on someone. with giddy chord progressions and exhilerating syllable hooks, it invites human beings to sing and be heard (especially poignant considering the heartfelt welcome to refugees in the last seconds of the video), offers music as both a healing drug and a religion and makes idiosyncratic troubles oddly relatable (and so catchy that, even as you recognise yourself, you feel better immediately). with lines like “if i could keep from crying, if my words would get through, i would call you up instantly and try to explain again“, the lyrics, as usual, look like conversation transcripts rather than songs but, oh, they sound like watercolour groove.

if you know billie the vision & the dancers already, i daresay you’ll be pleased to add this key to your collection, if you don’t, then, wheeee, pick it up and come on in! also, if at all possible, be good to yourself and dance with them on their it’s my drug it’s my religion tour 2016.

concert: frazey ford

1---musician, artist, mama, beekeeper, human. that’s how frazey ford describes herself. her music is as excellent and wide-hearted as that sounds. we’ve been slow to catch up: we’ve missed four the be good tanyas records and two frazey ford albums. the first we heard and saw of her was the video for “done”, a life-buoyant, calmly fierce sea change song accompanied by a laid-back pavement-dance riot (and featuring deadly clothes, giggles, a dinosaur, a hula hoop and an otis redding vinyl). it made us want to dance with frazey. library, backyard, newsagent’s, parking lot – anywhere she wants, anywhere. our first dance turned out to be in a church. sitting down. it was exhilerating.*

13th october 2015, the union chapel in london, candles and hot chocolates. frazey ford in a black jumpsuit, sparkling with wisdom and healing. her lovely band. songs like “september fields”, “bird of paradise”,”the gospel song”, “you’re not free”, “natural law” and “blue streak mama”. “one more cup of coffee” for bob dylan and radiant “the happy song” dum-dums for otis. frazey talking about how her brother is like a “firecracker”. about recording with al green’s band. about how a forty-year-old argument was forgotten over “weather patterns“. i’m terribly grateful to them for playing that song. it helps me breathe. i am also glad my dungarees have lots of pockets to keep all these songs in. i have “weather patterns”, “done” and “if you gonna go” right here in the top pocket. and oh, “ootischenia” (a the be good tanyas song about frazey’s parents running from the vietnam war to communes in canada), how chuffed i am to have made your acquaintance. as i am sitting here remembering how “indian ocean” washed over the wooden benches of the union chapel, i am still wearing my dungarees like a hug, every pocket full of beekeper soul

* apart from the support act david ward, during whose set i felt both ill and ill-tempered. maybe i just didn’t get it. how you can “cobble together” (his words) a dead friend’s poems into a song, how his song “mother” could possibly be about “instinctive human kindness” (his words). how he, by playing his own version of them, managed to prick holes into both bryan adams’s “heaven” (a perfectly good song) and bob dylan’s “i was young when i left home” (which means an awful lot to me and is itself a respectfully inventive and sincerely heartfelt reinterpretation of the traditional “900 miles“/”900 miles from home“, both referenced here in woody guthrie’s version). 

small feet: from far enough away everything sounds like the ocean

small-feet-album-review3
small feet are wrestling ghosts and whistling worries till they shoot like meteors across the sky. here’s a cheer for every defiant line and every camomile note. this debut album has been a long time coming and now that it’s here it is as
excellent as its title promised it would be.

yes, we have heard this ocean coming from far away. some of this post-windmill spider pop we discussed beside golden walls, some of these songs we heard in a cloudy gallery, some of them we caught there and brought here. and some of these songs are new friends we’re only just making.

 almost casually, small feet lead us down crevasses of disappointment, with hope bent out of shape but glowing. here, someone kills unicorns for fun, plans need water to grow, the television set trades in lives, an army of heathens may well save you and in the trenches before the palm trees lies a diary of sadness.

 and, somehow, simon stålhamre, jacob snavely and christopher cantillo make this feel like inhaling extra air, it’s heart-growing music, with a curious buoyancy from weird fruit, reverb harmonies and oh ohs. quietly magnificent. like ane brun’s vocals on “bend towards the light” and raffaele malanga’s photographs of horses and the odd human disappearing in snowscapes and of aurora trees. an all-around brilliant piece of art, made by lovely human beings.

one of whom eats apples while shooting music videos ♥

festival: camp wildfire

wildfire01ever since the first rumours that julia lowe of keston cobblers club and lee denny of leefest were planning a festival, part album launch, part childhood adventure, i have been ready, my yellow backpack packed with pens, bubbles and a glow-in-the-dark frisbee, waiting for the train to come in.

half a year later, 19th – 22nd june 2015, camp wildfire turned a secret bit of forest in kent into a 1950s-style scout camp with felt bunting, fairy lights, an on-site radio station hut broadcasting banter, announcements and vinyl treats, an upright piano next to a campfire, a fabric-roofed stage with a painted landscape backdrop, a bar with a library of chess sets and cards, scrumptious food and an alphabet of meeting points for an insane range of activities from treasure hunts to swashbuckling workshops to swing dancing (including rock-paper-scissors moves) to mask-making and ukuleleing. the evenings belonged to secret bands, djs fond of “go your own way” and, of course, keston cobblers club who celebrated the launch of their album wildfire.

“wildfire is the colour of sound as it darts through forests, setting shadows ablaze.”
this line from the wildfire booklet is an excellent description of both a) the radiant new songs about sea leg refuges, days riddled with holes, matchstick hearts, madness, loss and loyalty with their infectious oo-oh-oh-oohs, but ohs, wolves howling and wildfire-crackling and b) the excitingly friendly, inclusive, encouraging and cheerful atmosphere at camp wildfire.

upon arrival, i chose the squirrels out of the four forest animal patrols (stealthy squirrel, bantham badgers, fearless foxes and howling hawks), was given a wildfire necklace (and squirrels had a yellow stripe on their necklaces, hooray!) which also served to collect tokens for outstanding deeds as well as the adventurer’s handbook (including semaphore and morse code, a butterfly spotter’s guide, the camp code and, yes, the camp anthem, no less!). i went by myself but was constantly making friends – in the cab from the train station to the forest, in the queue to enrol for activities, requesting songs by a campfire, dancing ceilidh, swing and helter-skelter, trying to start a fire in a survival workshop, challenging foxes and badgers to games of chess, asking people to play and share their glitter, striking up conversations about anything from children’s literature to portable loo ghosts, unicorn names and childhood traumas. and even on the train back to london victoria.

being an analogue festival, digital technology was thankfully discouraged. that’s where the pens came in handy.

01-4jumping about to mariachi el pinche grin go

02-2euphoria beans led to more dancing, this time with the ceilidh liberation front


02-03swaying with gaps


03-01nighttime campfire singalong & a chat about children’s literature

03-03-----------------

heartening “everyone can sing”-wild choir with tinuke

03-04 tea in a squirrel-yellow wildfire mug, re-learning how to skip (it was more difficult than i remembered but failing was less embarrassing than i remembered), talking a fox patrol leader into giving me a peg and then talking a fellow peg-stealing squirrel into returning said peg to me

04-01bunting, umbrellas and impromptu lunch jams

04escapegetting lost during forest hide-and-seek

04-riot-jazztrusting strangers not to steal my things and not to laugh at my chaotic dance moves during the riot jazz brass band whose encores included a fierce “take on me” and “living on a prayer”

04-02wildfirekeston cobblers’ club lovely wide-eyed madness album launch gig♥

04-05

ukuleleling with matthew and tom of the cobblers. discovering “riptide“, sharing rainbow facepaint and not being able to put down the ukulele (thus, half-learning “i want to be like you” with matthew while they were packing up).

and so on and on and on. camp wildfire was serious fun. from the very beginning it felt like a community – i kept bumping into newly familiar faces, stories spread like wildfire (for example the one about how two german girls drove all the way from cologne just to go to the festival), there was a group picture taken, followed by a huge group hug, and, instead of audience-artist divides, you could skip about with the cobblers as fellow adventurers.

and i daresay i aced camp code #1 (challenge yourself), #2 (adventure like a child), #3 (say yes), #7 (love like your heart’s exploding), #9 (say hello to new people) and #10 (have immeasurable amounts of fun). i learned new things all the time, re-discovered old skills, explored new music, refused to be embarrassed about dancing helter-skelter and wearing a hawk mask, said hello to everyone even if they were in the middle of a game of chess (which they kindly let me join), was given one token for committed singing and one for being nice and scored glitter and hula hoop lessons from perfect strangers. curiosity rules, awoo!

03-02move

thanks a million, julia lowe, for making what lee denny called your “fantasy weekend” happen!

postscript 27 august 2015
more proof of the wildfire loveliness (both the song and the festival) up now:

stockholm clouds | friska viljor

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friska viljor excavate sad moments, life-changing decisions and the extraordinary everyday with a mandolin, a melodica, exuberance and a friendship based on a childhood mud fight.

one sunny saturday in june, we ambushed daniel johansson and joakim sveningsson with caramel candy in hornstull. they refused the candy but agreed to sing their song “dreams” about unanswered questions and childhood friends. the sea was as intrigued as we were and came a bit closer to listen properly, resulting in a few wet feet and mid-song smiles ♥

“dreams” is on their latest album my name is friska viljor which is out today, awoo!