Review: Paper Aeroplanes at Bush Hall, London UK

DSC_0176Paper Aeroplanes with Farrow and Joseinne Clark at Bush Hall,
Shepherds Bush, London UK
22 May, 2013

Living in London, you’re a bit spoiled for choice for good music and venues, but it also means you’re flat out trying to fit it all in. The Paper Aeroplanes zoomed on to my radar and I managed to make it to their London gig as part of their Little Letters album launch tour.

I had been to Bush Hall the previous weekend for a different event, but the elegant surrounds of such a period room managed to be large enough to host a good crowd, yet intimate enough to experience a show and see the musicians well with a raised stage bedecked in red velvet playing their host. The luxury of space and ability to cleverly use lighting created instant atmosphere which could shift mood with the music.

In Sydney, you’d be forgiven, if not expected to arrive late to a gig. Unforeseen circumstances meant I arrived in Farrowthe middle of the second support act, Farrow, and found the venue was already packed with an enthusiastic audience. Seems these Londoners take door times seriously. The night had started with Josienne Clarke (who incidentally just dropped an EP with Ben Walker today), who I briefly listened to online before the event and who piqued me interest. I bought her earlier EP and have listened to it so much that I’m now desperate to get my hands on her new collaborative effort.

I did catch the last few songs from Farrow, a duo of two hipster chic gals who delivered a united sultry soliloquy of harmony. While they didn’t rock my boat, they did create a tranquil vibe and were a good set up for the main act.

Paper Aeroplanes took the stage as a 4 piece complete with bassist and drummer As an addition to their usual duo. The beauty of this set up is that the support musicians do appear on the new album and fill out the live sound to create an honest reproduction of their recorded sound on stage.

The Welsh duo only too two of their earlier songs to warm crowd up and capture our attention, then they had the audience hooked as they had us all Singing to Elvis, an up beat number creating a noticeable tendency for the crowd to sway and/or jig along. I might have been guilty and I definitely learned the chorus quickly too.

DSC_0164As the ploughed straight in to their next track, it occurred to me they their sound had the hallmarks of Ella Hooper and sounded like what I had hoped the Verses would have produced if they had taken the more Folk direction rather than pop. There’s something about the sound of her voice and the layering of vocals and chords that made me want to claim the Paper Aeroplanes as home grown Aussie, they’re from Wales, maybe we can tempt the to New South Wales…

Amazingly, there was a One direction moment, but not in a bad pop kind of way. while introducing their next song, they explained that it was THE most downloaded song of theirs from iTunes, it wasn’t a single or anything, which confused them. It turns out that One Direction also have a song called Same Mistake. We all enjoyed imagining throngs if 12 year olds being comforted by folk stories of love, life and experience.Paper Aeroplanes and drum

Album title song, Little Letters, lifted the room and carried everyone along on strength and potency of the piece. It was the song that left the gig with me and has the ability to recreate the space and feeling for me every time I listen.

In an effort to keep the energy created by Little Letters, Red Rover was a really powerful, enigmatic piece that seemed to channel a Florence + The Machine moment with lead singer Sarah playing side drum instead of her usual guitar and passionately smashing out the staccato beat.

When we’d arrived, we were surprised there was a grand piano in front of the stage, and towards the end of the set, Paper Aeroplanes invited a close friend to accompany them for a couple of songs. since the piano was set on the floor, Sarah stepped down on to a chair to be closer to both the piano and the crowd. The next few songs were incredibly intimate with a particular stand out, Best I Can Be, the most heartfelt ballad I have heard in a long time. Paper Aeroplanes and pianoSo stunning and so beautiful, the audience was absolutely silent, engaged, entranced and hung on every word of the lyrics. Intensely personal and obviously emotionally raw, Sarah took a private moment to steady herself having been overcome with tears clearly moved by the truth and meaning within the song, the audience only cheered louder. A truly beautiful moment of honesty.

Approaching the end of their set, they introduced At the Altar with a story that had perplexed them. A couple had contacted them asking to have it at their wedding, seemed an odd choice because the song is not about happy marriage, but they thought “stuff it, have it at a wedding, why not” and proceeded to play it for us too.

The night ended with a rousing rendition of Circus, but the crowd were demanding and an encore was almost immediate. Their encore was a couple of older songs, complete with audience sing along and helping out with the oohhs of the chorus “so winter won’t come”.

After this gig, Paper Aeroplanes became a regular feature of my daily playlist. Their album Little Letters is a more folk deviation from their indie pop past which they delivery honestly and convincingly. Such a brilliant introduction to their musical world really promises big things from Paper Aeroplanes. They are exactly the kind if act I would expect to see gracing Australian shores for some of our most esteemed Folk Festival. I’ll be crossing my fingers for a visit from them soon.

Guide to Summer Festivals Part 2: Look the Part

Photo courtesy of Bon Iver

Ok, ok, secretly, I’ve been dying to do a folky fashion story, and what better time than in preparation to hit up the festivals? It all started because of Timber and Steel’s own Evan Hughes who is rarely seen at any folk influenced festival or gig without a vest on. Wandering the roads of Woodford last year, I noticed some particular elements that identified musically like minded people. So let’s go top to toe on how to look your folky best during the festival season.

Bob Dylan Lanie Lane

I’ve spent the last few days looking at photos of some of our favorite Timber and Steel artists to really pin down the look, and to be honest, most of it is about choosing a base and accessorising. Obviously there is always going to be an element of your own tastes and flair or style that will determine your overall look, but here’s a few simpler pieces you can pull together possibly from your Christmas haul and Boxing Day sales if you want to get in the folky spirit of it.

John Butler and Mama Kin

For they guys, the base is easy, jeans and a t-shirt are staples with the shirt usually being plain, though wearing your favorite band shirt will always be acceptable. For the ladies, unsurprisingly the base has followed the recent retro/ vintage fashion trend and more often than not either a floating vintage style dress or a modern floral dress inspired by the retro look. Whack a pair of opaque stockings on underneath and you’re set. That or a high waisted skirts or shorts with a plain top would provide a perfectly suitable base too.

Kate Miller-Heidke at Bluesfest Skipping Girl Vinegar at Snowy Mountains Of Music Festival April Maze Snowy Mountains Of Music Festival

Then it’s time to accessorise. Let’s start at the top.

Hats are great, they protect you from the sun and the rain, keep your head warm at night and can cap off your look, excuse the pun. Broad brim hats are an easy choice for guys or girls, just take a look at Matt Corby and Florence Welsch of Florence and the Machine or even Jack Thompson in his Akubra for inspiration.
  Jack Thompson at Bluesfest

For guys, there’s a broad range of hat style to try until you find the one that suits you, Panama, Trilby and Fedora styles mainly differ in the brim size and shape. The ever popular Flat Cap has a cousin, the Ascot Cap of a very similar style, but rounder and more stiff. Or in a similar but roomier style, there’s always your classic variations of the Gatsby/ newsboy/ train driver cap which work for both guys and girls.

Eric Bibb at Bluesfest  Jeff Lang

For the girls, while you could pick any of the styles I’ve noted for guys, the more vintage looks are far more fun. For a very feminine look, try a cloche like Lisa Mitchell, a 50s style do-rag like Lanie Lane, or just a simple headband as Julia Stone often wears.

Lisa Mitchell Lanie Lane Julia Stone

Elvis Costello at Bluesfest If guys are after a very vintage addition, there’s always bowler and top hats, but it takes a bit of confidence and dedication to carry it off well. A bit zany, but a great look if you own it. And if you are going to own it, you can even go the whole hog with a three piece suit, but that’s not really convenient for Australian summers nor festivals.

CW StonekingWorking down for top to toe, the next item is mainly for the guys. If you’re going for an old style, the a bow tie is a fantastic edition, especially if you can tie a real one yourself rather than the clip on ones. Though I have it on good authority, they’re not terribly comfortable to start with. Not really practical for camping and festivals, it’s a good one to wear out for a night on the town, or as a feature of your look, much like CW Stoneking’s red and white check bow tie on his signature white ensemble.

If ties are not your style, then your options include the quintessential vest, in almost any material, but I know Evan Hughes likes his leather and suede options. Vest have been turning up across genres for years and are a feature for musos and punters both young and old.

Josh Pyke  Cat Empire at Bluesfest Snowdroppers at Bluesfest

If a vest is too warm or not quite your thing, try out the old school suspenders as Johnny Wishbone, lead singer of The Snowdroppers, is frequently seen wearing. Our modern ladies of folk have a true eye for style throwing cardigans and sweaters in to the mix, or using leather belts to create a classic cinched or high waist look.

Snowdroppers at Bluesfest Florence Welsch Secret Sisters at Bluesfest

Boy and BearWhile vintage is a strong theme, the folk style transcends conventional fashion rules, and borrows often from cousins in country genre. Take a leaf out of Henry Wagons’ book and style up every day with country flair. If you think I’m cheating by using alt-country as a folk example, instead take a good look at Boy & Bear who have had multiple members sport checkered shirts, plus a few other folkies teaming a checked shirt with a vest or other accessory. And it’s not just for guys, take a look at how Lisa Mitchell and Jen Cloher carry off bold checks for a country, folky feel.

Henry Wagons at Rhythms Magazine Q&A at Bluesfest Lisa Mitchell Jen Cloher

So, once you’ve got your base, found the accessories that work for you, all that’s left is to throw on some sunnies (Rayban style is a staple) and for the ladies, grab a leather or leather/ animal print look small handbag to sling across your body, slap on some sunscreen and you’re set for a folkin’ good time.

Bob Dylan Florence Welsch Julia and Angus Stone

Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can start to mix and match pieces, create layers and get a group of friends together and take the scene by storm. Maybe some time down the track you’ll even turn up in a future folky fashion post right here!

Mumford and Sons at Laneway Festival SydneyMumford and Sons at Laneway Festival – I love the Panama hat, t-shirt, vest and overalls as shorts combination!

The Good Ship at WoodfordOh the combinations from The Good Ship! Loving the Fedora, bowtie and vest, plus a small gatsby and one out there shirt!

The Gum Ball 2011These two from the crowd at The Gum Ball look great!

TinPan Orange

TinPan Orange combined managed almost the entire shebang, get that group some hats!

Florence and the Machine Touring Aus in May 2012

Image courtesy of Florence and the Machine

The news everyone’s been waiting for is here. UK’s Florence and the Machine will be continuing their love affair with Australia with an extensive tour in May 2012. Since releasing their fantastic sophomore album Ceremonials, Australia hasn’t had much of a chance to see the new tracks live, but with this just released headline tour, only NT and TAS will have to do without. Tickets go on sale on December 7th. Dates are as listed below;

Thursday 17th May – Burswood Dome, Perth, WA
Sunday 20th May – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 22nd May – Entertainment Centre, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 24th May – Entertainment Centre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 26th May – Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 28th May – Vector Arena, Auckland, NZ

New Florence and the Machine Video “No Light, No Light”

Florence and the Machine

Florence and the Machine slipped in and out of the country recently for a “secret” show and bunch of promotional appearances. By all accounts the show was apparently pretty special leaving fans hoping they’ll return before too long. In the meantime we do have the brand new video for Florence and the Machine’s single “No Light, No Light” which you can check out below:

New Florence and the Machine Video “Shake It Out”

Florence and the Machine
Image Courtesy of Florence and the Machine

With the new album Ceremonials due at the end of this month the news from the Florence and the Machine camp has been coming thick and fast for quite a number of weeks now. The latest is the video for the new single “Shake It Out”. The video features Flo and co running around a masquerade party and is a pretty fun watch. Check it out below:

Listen to Florence and the Machine’s New Single “Shake it Out”

Florence and the Machine
Image Courtesy of Florence and the Machine

When we gave you details on the new Florence and the Machine album Ceremonials yesterday we left one important piece of information out – the first official single “Shake It Out” was due to debut on UK radio last night. Well now that that debut has been and gone we can share with you the audio thanks to the wonders of the internet:

The “Shake It Out” single will be released on the 2nd October. Ceremonials hits shelves on the 31st October.

Details on the New Florence and the Machine Album

Florence and the Machine
Image Courtesy of Florence and the Machine

Following on from the announcement last month of a brand new Florence and the Machine album this year (and the first single “What the Water Gave Me”) we finally have some more details to share. The album will be titled Ceremonials (that’s the artwork above) and the release date has actually been moved forward a week to the 31st October.

The full track listing for Ceremonials and a replay of the “What The Water Gave Me” clip are below:

1. Only If for Night
2. Shake It Out
3. What the Water Gave Me
4. Never Let Me Go
5. Breaking Down
6. Lover to Lover
7. No Light, No Light
8. Seven Devils
9. Heartlines
10. Spectrum
11. All This and Heaven Too
12. Leave My Body

Florence and the Machine Announces New Album and New Single

Florence and the Machine
Image Courtesy of Florence and the Machine

If you’ve read any other music blog this morning you’re probably all over this already but just in case we’re your first stop we thought we’d let you know – Florence and the Machine have announced the follow up to last years Lungs to be realeased on the 7th November this year.

The as yet untitled album will be produced by Paul Epworth who produced a handful of the tracks from the first album. Front woman Florence Welch is promising a more cohesive, mystic-pop charged album this time around.

And with the announcement of the album also comes the first track from it, the gospel infused “What the Water Gave Me”. We’ve embedded the video below but because it’s on Vevo it probably won’t play so you’ll have to head here to watch it. We’ll bring you more Florence and the Machine news as it comes to hand.

“Rave On” Buddy Holly Tribute Album

Rave On

This has been covered to death elsewhere and originally we weren’t going to run with it because a) its not folk and b) most of the artists involved are not Timber and Steel friendly. But we’ve just had a listen to the tracks off Rave On, the upcoming Buddy Holly tribute album, that do fall under the T&S auspice and we have to say we’re very impressed.

Rave On, due for release on the 28th June, features the likes of Florence and the Machine, She & Him, Justin Townes Earle, Lou Reed, Graham Nash, Paul McCartney and more taking on the Holly’s classics.

The whole album is currently available to stream here. We’ve cherry picked the most Timber and Steel friendly tracks and embedded them below. Also, if you want to watch the official video of Justin Townes Earle’s “Maybe Baby” head over to Spinner for the exclusive.

“Not Fade Away” – Florence and the Machine

“Oh Boy” – She & Him

“Maybe Baby” – Justin Townes Earle

“Raining in My Heart” – Graham Nash

Winners, Grinners and Public Cringers

Image courtesy of Calgary Herald

There have been a lot of music awards announced in the last month or so and I have to say I am quite disappointed in the public negativity surrounding the sometimes ‘surprise’ winners. In a time where music piracy is high, CD sales are down, online purchasing and sharing are the new black, it’s become the norm for every man and his internet connection to bag out musicians that they don’t like or haven’t even heard just because their precious favourite didn’t win. In short, our online society have become a bunch of whingers.

However, here at Timber and Steel,  we don’t subscribe to that norm, in fact we go out of our way not to say a negative word about anyone who gives their craft a red hot go. We aim to Spotlight new artists and let you know all the latest news from the folk, indie and trad (among other genres) world. So sure, we’re not going to be writing about the latest pop hit, but we do still recognise the excellence of musicians not from our chosen genres. And if we don’t know an artist, we google them!

So what am I on about today? Well two instances come to mind, Angus & Julia Stone winning the Triple J Hottest 100 and Arcade Fire‘s wins at the Grammy‘s and Brit awards. I noticed the day after Australia Day my facebook feed was full of people commenting on the hottest 100 being lame this year and many not agreeing that ‘Big Jet Plane’ should have won. And I’m sure many of you have now seen the amusing compilation of online backlash about the Grammy Awards.

Angus & Julia Stone won many accolades in 2010 and their song ‘Big Jet Plane’ came in at Number 1 in the Triple J Hottest 100. Amid the online whining that it was not the ‘hottest’ or ‘best’ song of the year, I could only think that the top spot can’t be that far off as Angus & Julia Stone won both Album of the Year and Single of the Year for ‘Big Jet Plane’ at the 2010 ARIA awards out a total 6 nominations. The ARIA’s are voted for by the industry with a mix of artists, manager, media, record companies and a variety of industry members having their say. The hottest 100 this year received a record number of votes from the public, over 1.2 million if I remember rightly. I am sure a number of people vote in the hottest 100 who are not avid Triple J listeners. Yet both the ARIAs and the hottest 100 yielded the same result.

And Pluck Your Strings blogged their thoughts on the problems with the current way the hottest 100 is carried out. While I agree partially with some points and I’m sure there are a number of other opinions out there in cyberland about who should have won, the point is that Angus & Julia Stone had the most people include ‘Big Jet Plane’ in their personal top 10 songs of the year through which they voted it in to the top spot of the count down. There was some backlash last year when Mumford & Sons took out the coveted spot with ‘Little Lion Man’ saying that people only voted because it had the F word in it. I have to admit I voted for it without having really ever heard it, I just knew the hype around it and the way people spoke about it meant the song was deserving for such a title. But that is the point, the award is for the song that impacted the most people – through whatever means. Heck, Cee Lo Green’s ever poppy ‘F you’ came in at number 7 arguably for the same reason, but it doesn’t mean people did not enjoy the entire song surrounding that word. And Mumford & Sons are still largely popular selling out concerts throughout the past year.

Arcade Fire are a group that admittedly I have not heard much of, though I have heard of them. For their album The Suburbs to beat out some of the industries biggest heavyweight (Lady Gaga and Eminem being the main contenders) is a huge nod to the independent Canadian group, especially as the Grammy’s are also peer-voted awards for the industry to recognise talent. To back that up with two Brit awards for Best International Group and Best International Album is surely a sign that they are doing something right musically. The Grammy win seems to have spurned a huge negative reaction in cyberspace, a hateful display of bad losers really. The only good things to come out of such negativity is this amusing youtube creation (for those who haven’t yet seen it)

So I guess my point is that I’d like to see all those online negative nellies to suck it up – your favourite act will never win every award, so learn to deal with it like a big kid. Congratulate the winners and if you don’t know who they are, google them and have a listen – you might even discover why they’ve been recognised. And if you’re still not happy you can sulk, but don’t take it out on the internet – there’s enough bad news and negativity out there already. Why not be constructive and write something positive about your favourite act and why you believe people should check them out or why they should win awards.

Celebrate the positive things in life, even if it’s not your favourite act getting a gong. The negative comments only serve to make us cringe.

So, in the spirit of celebrating winners and because I’m a great big Gleek (Glee fan for those not in the know) imagine my delight when, to celebrate winning Sectionals, the Glee characters chose to cover Florence & the Machine’s ‘Dog Days Are Over’. In the spirit of sharing the love, I thought I’d pop this short footage for you all to check out.

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