Month: February 2016

School of Seven Bells – “SVIIB”

Album, Music, Reviews February 25, 2016

Originally published and still available at The Girls Are (23/02/16).

Each of us have experienced the merits of what a healthy relationship can provide, be it romantic, familial, or that of nurture and support, however it is one of a rare nature that seemingly transcends these virtues into the realms of spirituality. School of Seven Bells was built around this very supposition. Originally hailing from New York as a three piece comprised of the remnants of two bands, Alejandra Deheza (On! Air! Library!) and Benjamin Curtis (Secret Machines) struck an instant and intangible connection that would tie their lives and visions together for almost a decade. Now, it is time for their circle to close with their fourth and final album, SVIIB.

Deheza described the summer of 2012 as ‘one of the most inspired summers of [their] lives’, but in a swift and tragic turn of events Curtis was diagnosed with a rare form of T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma just months later, and died in little more than a year following his diagnosis at the age of 35. Recouping through the devastation at the loss of her best friend and writing partner, Deheza relocated to Los Angeles to work with Justin Meldal-Johnsen, her aim being to finish the last project she and Curtis had started together in his memory, using as much of his contributions as possible.

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Sunflower Bean – Human Ceremony

Album, Music, Reviews February 13, 2016

Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (05/02/16).

Pause a little to reminisce upon your teenage hopes and dreams. Found them? Did you dream of being unfeasibly cool with the aesthetic of Debbie Harry, talent of Johnny Marr with a healthy dose of lyrical sentimentality to boot (or was that just me)? Transitioning from bedrooms to stages was of course, an inevitability (in your mind), yet if you were so inclined to research a little on East Coast export Sunflower Bean, you would find that their conception reads much like a screenplay of a romanticised, Americanised, coming-of-age drama (albeit, one of a akin to an indie daydream).

Hailing from New York, guitarist Nick Kivlen and drummer Jacob Farber met Julia Cummings when their previous bands Turnip King and Supercute! played a show together. As it transpires the stars did align, as fast-forwarding three years to the present day they are about to unveil their debut album Human Ceremony.

Garnering press with lucidly energetic pop, the trio make good on the promise of more of its ilk, alternating seamlessly between dreamy psychedlia and fuzz infused anthems. The dark, surfy tones of old favourite ‘2013’ sound just as good now they have been suitably weathered in, with the falsetto turn of recent offering ‘Easier Said’ recalling a fabled melancholy summer. Even in their scattier and more energetic moments, the trio deliver their songs in an unerringly accomplished manner; ‘Wall Watcher’ has a deft swagger tucked under its big, grooving bassline whilst the wriggling riffs and deadpan vocal of ‘This Kinda Feeling’ hint at a lurking aggression. Similarly, the delicate ‘Creation Myth’ descends into the remnants of short-lived metal phase before recouping once again.

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Watch The Throne: Game Of Thrones – “Burning Man” (Season 5 Episode 1)

Blog Posts, Film & TV, Latest Reviews, Watch The Throne February 13, 2016

Originally published in April 2015 on my former blog (now Kayleigh Watson Illustration) and still available to read in full

In the past three years, the annual return of Game Of Thrones has become somewhat of an institutionalised event, if ever the hype had died down at all. Marketing campaigns are beginning ever earlier and are becoming more grand – if you were not getting Twitter DM’s from the Three Eyed Crow, then “Hello!”, where the hell were you? It didn’t get more impressive than the social media hype of ‘Catch Drogon’, a game whereby the collective followers of Game Of Thrones TwitterInstagram and Facebook accounts were invited to catch Daenerys’ biggest (and missing) beast. Luring Drogon – via photos, posts and GIFs and the power of the #hashtag – and re-tweeting or commenting before GIF Drogon “flew off” resulted in the lucky addict winning GoT prizes; whoever came up with this marketing campaign must’ve got a big fat HBO-sized bonus, no doubt.


Or my personal fave…


Such grand nature fully epitomises how the show has exploded in the five years since its première; it is a bonafide cash cow, but one that fully manages to back up its hype by growing better with each season.

Now, I’m not one for spoilers, but I think its apt to presume that – if you’re reading this – then you were one of the horde that have already benchmarked your place on the sofa and hummed the theme as the title sequence commenced. Or alternately torrented the 4+ episodes that leaked over the weekend. This is Christmas. If you are the type that likes to read summaries prior to watching however, you are dicing with death. You’ve been warned.

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Catch up on Season 6!

Why girls need Hayley Williams’ Kiss Off ♥

Blog Posts, Opinion February 13, 2016

Originally published in April 2015 on my former blog (now Kayleigh Watson Illustration) and still available to read in full.

So finally, it’s happened.

At the end of last month, Hayley Williams – of Paramore fame – debuted a new beauty show called KISS OFF (cue the eye rolls of many). The first episode of the vlog aired on POPULAR TV, the latest outing of former NYLON founding editor, Marvin Scott Jarrett. You’d be forgiven for not having heard of the site as it only launched at the beginning of March, but if you were – at some point – a NYLON disciple, then there is much for you to enjoy there.

You can watch the first episode of Kiss Off here.

Taking stock from cult classics, Williams and long-time collaborator Brian O’Connor create a look influenced by Diane Lane’s character Corinne Burns in the 1982 film Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous StainsThis is, perhaps, one of the most encouraging aspects of this series; these days, youth are so obsessed with the fickle nature of social media and voyeurism in the present moment that any incentive that sparks the desire to delve deeper into the culture of yesteryear can only be considered a good thing. What starts with The Fabulous Stains may lead to other cult films like The Breakfast ClubHeathersCluelessThis Is Spinal TapGhost World or even Rocky Horror – all nostalgic, all a bit satirical, and all raising questions about identity.

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LIVE: Warpaint – The Institute, Birmingham (20/03/15)

Live, Music, Reviews February 11, 2016

photo © J. Brewster used with permission.

Originally published in March 2015 on my former blog (now Kayleigh Watson Illustration) and still available in full.

Many would claim that to be a great band, you must be able to replicate your recorded sound perfectly in a live setting. Immediately, if that were perquisite, a great many bands would be left in the rubble; for many, it is nigh on impossible once their recordings have been layered over and over and mixed to within an inch of its life. There are other bands though, that are best relished in person. Warpaint is one of those bands. Whilst their albums are lucidly exquisite, comprehending it in person is an wholly different experience.

The four-piece delve into their accomplished yet criminally small (2 albums, 1 EP) back-catalogue with aplomb; this is not merely a case of cherry-picking, with songs from both their first album The Fool and 2013’s self-titled effort being aired in equal measure. Fan favourites ‘Undertow’ and ‘Keep It Healthy’ captivate the crowd, whilst tracks such as The Knife-esque ‘Disco//very’ and the rattle and stomp frenzy of ‘Elephants’ whip onlookers into a frolic, so much so that the free-spirited cavorting of a group at the front sparks singers and guitarists Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal to mimic their dancing as the show progresses.

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Sophia Amoruso -‘#GIRLBOSS’

Blog Posts, Books February 11, 2016

Originally published in March 2015 on my former blog (now Kayleigh Watson Illustration) and still available to read in full.

The first time I read this book, I didn’t need it; I had succumbed to my lot and was in the middle of a post-uni, quarter-life crisis transitional period, but felt as though I was on my way.

The second time I read this book, I really needed it; looking back, I was in the middle of a dark spell, miserable in what my routine had become and was very stagnant within.

Prior to the second time, I had always been very cynical in receiving advice, especially one which wasn’t pre-tailored to my needs and one of which I’d have to interprate for myself. After reading #GIRLBOSS front to back however (the first time I frittered around chapters as they took my privy), I left – not with anwers – but with the seeds I needed to begin tangible change in my life.

#GIRLBOSS is the story of Sophia Amoruso. You may not have heard of her, but if you have the you would know that she is the founder and CEO of NASTY GAL, and for that she deserves your attention.

Having spent her teenage years being home-schooled (she hated school) and flitting from one retail job to the next, Amoruso began an eBay store in her early twenties selling vintage clothes (though the first item that she actually flogged online was a stolen book..). Her unpretentious and diligent, yet obvious, business aesthetic – stocking more of the pieces her customers clamoured for and doing away with what they did not – quickly saw her store, NASTY GAL vintage flourish. She relished taking photographs of models in her choice picks, was honest about the condition of her items, and delivered a rapid and personable customer service that would make many bigger businesses weep. But it paid off: her customers would return and – better yet – spread the word.

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On bullies, doppelgängers and intellectual property: The Natalia Kills & Willy Moon Debacle.

Blog Posts, Opinion February 11, 2016

Originally published in March 2015 on my former blog (now Kayleigh Watson Illustration) and still available to read in full.

Odds are, prior to last weekend, that you had ever heard of Natalia Kills or Willy Moon. Perhaps you are even breaking that abstinence with this very article. Unfortunately, now you will, and I say ‘unfortunately’ because – quite frankly – shit sticks, and it would be exceedingly surprising if either of the pair managed to salvage what is left of their music careers after their performance last weekend on New Zealand’s edition of The X Factor.

If you can, firstly, escape the horror of the thought of The X Factor affliction having rooted itself into the southern hemisphere, then take a second to watch the video below, whereby following a performance by contestant Joe Irvine, Kills and Moon offer their “constructive criticism”.

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Vlogger expansion (and why it’s wrong to tear down Zoella)..

Blog Posts, Opinion February 11, 2016

The full post was originally published in December 2014 on my former blog (now Kayleigh Watson Illustration) and is still available to read in full.

It is December 2014, and if you hadn’t encountered vlogger phenomenon at the beginning of the year, then you have most likely stumbled upon it by now, whether you realise it or not. 2014 has seen the YouTuber troupe move from niche conventions and PR events to infiltrating radio, TV and even red carpets. Ever heard Dan and Phil on Radio 1? They used to be known as Danisnotonfire and Amazing Phil, and hail more than 6.3million YouTube channel subscribers between them. The likes of Tanya Burr have released capsule collections of cosmetics, Lauren Luke of Pixiwoo has launched brushes, whilst others such as Alfie Deyes have released books.

At the forefront of everything though, is YouTube queen Zoella. Real name Zoe Sugg, Zoella has been active on YouTube since 2009 and has spent the past 5 years building up an audience of approximately 6.8 million between her channel and her blog, which – in anyone’s opinion – is pretty crazy. Children and teenagers all know her face thanks to laptops and iPads, and events which she attends holler with cries of her name. It is everything a budding X-Factor contestant could ever wish for, but how has Zoella ever managed to garner such? The answer is deceivingly simple. All she ever did, was be herself.

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