jeudi 17 février 2011

Thomas Tantrum,The Birdsong EP

*originally posted on thegirlsare

A surprise shift in direction makes for a welcome return. Thomas Tantrum are back and there's not a hissy fit in sight....

Chances are you will have already heard of Thomas Tantrum. The band, who list Lily Allen as one of their dazzling celeb fans, originally released their first EP in 2008 and made households everywhere sing along to the bands bratty whine of “I wanna talk”, like some kind of teen, well…tantrum. Three years on from their hazy days splashed over the pages of Artrocker and NME, where are they now, you might ask?

New release, Birdsong is the bands latest offering and, as the group bounce back with Cure like guitar jangle, it’s clear a lot has changed for this Southampton four piece in the time they’ve been missing from the spotlight. Gone are the tired rhymes and almost-cringe worthy-rap spats of former tracks like ‘What, What, What’, with its almost Kate Nash accented narrative. Instead, the bands front woman, Megan Thomas’ graceful vocals saunter through the whirling soundscapes with the same shining brilliance as Juanita Stein. Title track, ‘Face the Music’, shows that the band have done just that and seemed to have grown up, not only lyrically but musically too. Now, rather than sounding like some frat party hissy fit, they have the rhythmic swagger and reverb delicacies of bands like The Howling Bells and NME darlings, Warpaint.

The EP’s closer is an epic and empowering piano led ballad and something one could never have guessed would be the product of these former Talk Talk mobile starlets. As the ethereal guitar lines kick in, the track soars into a colossal chorus ofyou’ve been caught” and Thomas Tantrum truly have, in all their new (and improved) glory. Original demands of ”a drum roll when they step outside” may have appeared obnoxious before but, following this EP, only seems just.

Thomas Tantrum‘s new album is set for release this year.

L'Orient des Femmes, vu par Christian Lacroix @ Musée Quai Branley

I am having somewhat of a cultural cluster of blogs [it's not all just about sweaty gigs and concert halls in the city of light, you know!?] and with a plethora of fantastic exhibitions currently on in Paris, it seems only fitting for une blogueusee, comme moi, to expose them.

Christian Lacroix is another fashion house name that you will, no doubt, have heard of. He has boutiques all over the world from Paris to London to Japan and is famed for his Haute Couture which celebrated 20 years on the catwalk just a few years ago. More importantly, he designed a possible gown for the ultimate wedding [no, not the Royals] but Ms Carrie Bradshaw who idly posed in one designer dream after the other for a Vogue style fashion shoot in Sex and The City, The Movie...

Saucy TV series tangents aside and to a more inteellectual reference ...I have been reading a fantastic book over the festive period [no doubt, every Expats survival guide – Almost French by the most talented Sarah Turnball] which actually shed some light on Lacroix for me and, in fact, bears a whole chapter dedicated to a meeting with said designer. In the book, Lacroix talks about the French and how 'elegance française' has been lost. He goes on to add that 'in the past the French had innate taste, refined and personal. Now style is much more petit bourgeois, with the petty rules and silly rivalry of this class'.

As the artistic director of this exhibition, Christian Lacroix's 'L'Orient des Femmes' has certainly broken free of these so-called rules and, instead, harks back to the ancient traditions of some of the most talented seamstresses in the East and skills that are ultimately, being forgotten. Over 150 outfits and sets from the Near-East are assembled inside the contemporary, quay side building of the Musée Quai Branley conveying a strong sense of tradition and ancestral savoir faire.

Christian Lacroix, who dreamed of being a curator in his youth, pays homage to these oriental women and to an art that has been long standing for many years and should be celebrated for its meticulous and opulent designs featured in this exhibiton. You might not see these threads on Ab Fab but Lacroix has certainly done it again showcasing his talent for textiles but also, his hidden aspirations as a curator in his own right.

'L'Orient des Femmes', vu par Christian Lacroix runs until 15/05/2011.

Betty and The Werewolves @ L’International, 29.01.11

*originally posted on thegirlsare

When pondering werewolves, I’d like to think we all hark back to the sketchy (but admittedly, brilliant) hirsute figure of Michael J. Fox in ‘Teen Wolf’. Just like the final scene in the 80′s cult classic where Michael triumphs in the basketball match sans transformation, it is with the same feeling of elation and enthusiasm that one should watch this band. Hailing from London, Betty and The Werewolves are a sparkly and sprightly mix of pop-panache and even boast an inspired track about the wonders of plastic. Despite their lack of eco friendly ethics, one can’t help but love this quirky bunch.

Gay-fully performing to a packed out crowd at L’International tonight, just off Paris’ bustling and vibrant Rue Obkerkampf, the band skip into former single, ‘Euston Station’, which, lead singer Laura proclaims in perfect French, is their “preferred stop on the London Underground”. Betty and The Werewolves have the upbeat tenacity of Letters to Cleo and the sweet vocals of the (frankly, underrated) Lush, particularly on moody track ‘The Party’, with drum-stomp and haunting backing harmonies. Latest single, ‘Paper Thin’ is met with whoops from the Parisians (a rarity, I tell thee), as the band saunter into warm, reverb-drenched tones, reminiscent of hazy days by the seaside as a child eating 99′s on the pier.

Ultimately, Betty and The Werewolves are like a timeless edition of Bunty: with soft spots for both David Cassidy and brightly coloured plastics, and a lyrical honesty that is both endearing and refreshing: “You ask me about The Libertines, who the fuck are they? I only know what happened in the sixties”.
Photograph courtesy of Michela Cuccagna @ Sound of Violence.

'Voyage En Capital', Louis Vuitton & Paris @ Musée Carnavalet

You will probably recognise his work from all the iconic luggage, trunks and trinkets often adorned with the trademark monogram of symbols across their leather fronts. He is one of the leading international fashion houses, has commissioned numerous luxury pieces for everyone from Miss France to The Darjeeling Limited and is one of the most counterfeited brands in the world [he even managed to have a spat with pop princess Britney Spears after one of his so-called-designs popped up in her video...]

Louis Vuitton brings his historical collection of works to Musée Carnavalet this February. Nestled in the bustling quartier of the Marais, Musée Carnavalet is comprised of long standing Hôtel de Carnavalet which is famed for housing Madame de Sévigné and where the Marquise herself penned her famous letters.

The area inside the ornate building has been transformed by the curators of the exhibition in order to bring the Vuitton history to life in both its layout and its pieces. The old street sign from the shop has been perfectly preserved in all its bottle green, glass glory. A charming wallpaper of an illustrative picture of Paris and the Vuittons various workshops and locations serves as both an informative, as well as a novel, approach to showcasing the companies history. An enormous club shape has been carved into the wall at the very beginning of the exhibition that visiters are invited to step through, in an almost Alice in Wonderland down-the-rabbit-hole scenario as we are plunged further into world of Mr Vuitton and his elaborate array of chic travel goods.

On leaving the expo, one is faced with many questions. Who knew, that during the 1930s, one lucky girl could house four Barbie dolls and all their delightful accessories in a specially accommodated Louis Vuitton bag? Did that bed really come out of that trunk? I can fit over thirty two pairs of shoes in this one...does it come in red? Louis Vuitton's Voyage en Capital is certainly a journey. From the Belle Epoque of the 19th Century to his more novel creations for the Red Cross, Louis Vuitton's acclaimed travel accessories are still rife, not only in the capital but all over the world.

Just don't go buying any counterfeits of the stuff, or you'll have Louis to answer to...

Louis Vuittons 'Voyage en Capital' runs until the end of this month.