Thursday, 30 May 2013

Today's Soundtrack: Dinosaur Pile-Up – Hey Man

Today's Soundtrack is Hey Man by Dinosaur Pile-Up in celebration of their impending UK shows and new album, Nature Nurture, due out on the 17th June. Exciting times!

Formed in 2007, Dinosaur Pile-Up are frequently compared with the best of Seattle's 90s grunge scene and have previously cited a range of influences including Weezer, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, The Beatles and Slayer. This is a fairly accurate representation of their sound and although the comparisons to some of the 90s finest is justified, it by no means implies a lack of originality.

Hey Man is off 2010's Growing Pains, an album well worth checking out if you haven't already, and they will be playing shows across the UK in July.


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Biba Experience

The Biba Experience is one of the books I have reviewed for this month's My Creative Diva magazine. I felt it was well worth sharing as Biba was such an iconic part of London's fashion and music scene in the 60s and 70s, and this book really brings it to life.

If I could invent a sartorial time machine, my first destination would probably be Biba – a mecca for the young and fashionable in the late 60s and early 70s and a favourite with the likes of Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful. It was so much more than just a clothes store, with its iconic black and gold logo, and looked like the coolest place to be.

The first store opened in 1964 and ten years later its third incarnation was the first department store to open in London since WWII. Once described as 'the most beautiful store in the world' by The Sunday Times, it sold not only clothes but food, decor, furniture and so much more.

In the weeks leading up to the store's closure in 1975 even the furniture was ransacked (apparently shop lifting had always been part of the Biba experience), a heart breaking sight for founder Barbara Hulanicki who had been forcibly divorced by her board of directors months earlier. She was the life and soul of Biba, and it was destined for destruction without her.

Biba 'fulfilled the rock & roll promise to live fast, die young and leave a beutiful corpse', and this fabulous book tells Barbara and Biba's story, with beautiful photos that capture the glamour, personality, clothes and culture of this relatively short lived but much loved establishment.

The Biba Experience by Alwyn W Turner, £22
Published by Antique Collectors Club
ISBN 9871851495412

The Biba brand is alive today at House of Fraser, who are putting that classic logo to good use. Many items are currently on sale so if you fancy a little piece of a cult brand head over to

Biba Jet Rock Collar, currently £36 (was £45)

Biba Feather Clutch Bag, currently £53.63 (was £149)


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Today's Soundtrack: Silverstein – Still Dreaming

Today’s Soundtrack is Still Dreaming by Silverstein, for one reason and one reason only… they’re finally coming back to the UK! That’s right people, get the date in your diary, because on November 28th Silverstein will be playing at The Underworld in Camden.

After their performance at Download in 2011 they declared pretty angrily that they were never coming back to England again (I never did find out why but apparently it had something to do with dolphins...). However it appears they've changed their minds and I for one am thrilled about it!

So sit back, relax, and listen to the sweet sounds of Still Dreaming. Perfect song for a rather gloomy Tuesday morning.

See you in November!


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Senses Fail at The House of Blues, Anaheim, LA

This gig might prove a little tricky to review, because thanks to the consumption of alcohol and the subsequent passing of time, my memory is a little bit foggy in places. This is becoming a nasty habit I know, but I’m going to give it a go all the same!

Senses Fail played at The House of Blues in Anaheim, LA, last month, and being right on Disneyland’s doorstep it would have been rude not to pay a visit to Walt’s original park while we were in the vicinity. So visit we did, and after a day of fun, sunshine and generally being big kids, we thought we’d indulge in a little (read a lot) of the local wine.

High on Disney and California’s finest Sauvignon Blanc we rocked up to the House of Blues, argued with security about the video camera in my handbag, (Them: You can’t take it in. Me: It doesn’t work. You are stupid), and made our way inside just in time for the band to arrive on stage.

Formed in 2002, Senses Fail are a post hardcore band from New Jersey who have undergone several line up changes over the last decade but are still going strong. Admittedly their most recent albums have somehow escaped my radar, but I have a real soft spot for the early years (From the Depths of Dreams, Let It Enfold You, etc.).

They opened the show with Renacer, the title track of their latest album released in March, and live in the confines of a rather cramped venue it was a bit more screamo than my usual taste. But they soon moved onto older material, and highlights such as One Eight Seven, Buried a Lie, Can't Be Saved and Bite To Break Skin.

My moment of the night? Rum is for Drinking Not Burning. Definitely. It’s that song you wait for at every gig that is worth the ticket price alone (take note Dropkick Murphys, give the people what they want!). Comedy moment of the night however, has to go to the chick standing in front of us who repeatedly tried to engage her female friend in a threeway with her and her boyfriend whilst they were making out! Hilarious.

Hazy or not, I thoroughly enjoyed my night with Senses Fail. The boy, however, did not. Actually, that isn’t strictly true, he very much enjoyed the evening. But his mind was still in the Magic Kingdom, and he was far more entertained by his own swing renditions of Disney classics than with the band’s performance! Oh well.

Senses Fail are now in the UK and hopefully I will make it to see them again. I don’t think I did them justice and I’d very much like another opportunity to see them when I am on my best behaviour. Next time I want to remember it in HD, not the fuzzy analogue of a film you know you once watched but can’t quite remember in detail. But seeing as that requires sobriety, I wouldn’t hold your breath!

(Edit: On 30 May I saw Senses Fail at The Underworld, Camden. I was well behaved, they were awesome and best songs of the night were Choke On This, Lifeboats and Mi Amor!)

Anyway, huge thanks to Senses Fail for a great night, and here's a little taste for those who aren’t familiar…


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Halloween all year round at Monster-A-GoGo!

Today’s post is dedicated to a little shop I discovered on Melrose Avenue in LA called Monster-A-GoGo – or more specifically the necklace purchased there that I am now smitten with!

My jewellery choices have been somewhat toned down lately, which is surprising seeing as an employment history involving an accessory shop and a jewellery magazine mean that I’ve typically leant towards the excessive in the past. But I think this baby might be the cure for my minimalism.

Tongue Tied Necklace, £22

Romantic huh?! Monster-A-GoGo is full of the kind of clothes and accessories that will give you a Halloween fix all year round and is well worth a look for any horror fans, or for people who, like me, just find Halloween that much more appealing than Christmas! (Sorry Santa.)

Zombie brain rings? Cleaver clutch bags? Coffin compact mirrors? A dead fingers belt buckle?! Oh yeah, this shit is hot. And for those of you that aren’t near LA, good news my friends… they even have an online shop – 

Here are a few more beauties that caught my eye...

Skeleton Bone Hand Necklace, £15

Vamp Necklace, £15.50

Dead Fingers Belt Buckle, £22.96

Monster-a-gogo: 7361 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA. Tel: +1 323-655-7337

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Dropkick Murphys at Club Nokia, LA

To be honest I wasn’t sure whether Boston boys, Dropkick Murphys, would play their gig at Club Nokia in LA last month, as it was almost immediately after the terrible events that occurred at the city’s marathon. But play they did, so you have to give them credit for that.

Club Nokia is in the same complex as the Staples Center and is a nice size with good acoustics (about 2,300 capacity) and pretty good views from wherever you stand.

My review of the gig is a bit mixed, but then so is my view of the band. I’m not familiar with much of their back catalogue and can’t claim to be their biggest fan, but I do love Shipping up to Boston and any songs in that vein – the combination of traditional Celtic sound and angry punk is a winner in my book, and I was sure it would translate amazingly live.

The band do have another side to their style which is a tad cheesey for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just that some songs are not to my personal taste. Unfortunately the cheesey side seemed to be reflected in the audience – a crowd aptly described by my better half as ‘Dads let out for the night’. There were indeed a lot of middle aged men performing knee bends and enthusiastically pointing at the stage (‘Dad dancing’ was given a name for a reason people.)

Dropkick Murphys are talented musicians and let’s be honest, bagpipes are always going to make you smile. As predicted I liked the songs I expected to (ditto for the ones I didn’t), but really and truly I was there for one song…. Shipping up to Boston. So when the first notes finally filled the venue at the end of the night I was a happy lady. This is what I’d been waiting for. The music played, the crowd sung, and… the band didn’t. They let the crowd sing. The whole bloody song.

By now I was hoping I could claim to have seen a truly classic song played live. Instead, all I can claim is that I have heard Shipping up to Boston live, but I travelled 5,500 miles to hear it sung not by the band, but by a room full of knee-bending Dads. Marvelous.

I’ll leave you with a little video of a live performance where the band did sing...

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Home Sweet Home...

I’ve been back in sunny (that’s not even sarcastic!) England for just over a week now and I am finally getting back into the swing of things. It’s amazing how that extra three hours of time difference on the west coast can affect you! Or at least that’s my explanation for why I’ve been sleeping in lately. There’s also the small matter of post-holiday blues to contend with – real life is always a tricky adjustment after 16 days of prioritising having fun above all else.

The view from Brooklyn Bridge

So first I want to say a HUGE thank you to the beautiful Sarah for taking over the blog while I was away, she did an amazing job. I read her Alice Cooper post in the Hard Rock Café in New York and her summary of our comical student escapades made me laugh out loud!

A big thank to the equally beautiful Kay too, for her beauty post – entertaining and informative, you can see why I rarely make a beauty purchase without asking her opinion these days. It proved a popular post with you guys too so hopefully I can persuade her to share some more in the future.

And as for our holiday... before normal blogging resumes, I would like to give a shout out to the following in no particular order, for making it such an amazing and unforgettable trip:

New York: The New York Knicks (Pablo Prigioni, I love you!), Maarit for showing us the ‘secret burger place’, the unexpected heat wave, Brooklyn for the best Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to, Benito One in Little Italy, the epic beer selection at our 'local' Fast Eddies, my favourite Victoria’s Secret store in the world, Magnolia Bakery, the Pick A Bagel on 8th, the guy who rides his tricycle around Central Park blaring out Beat It, every sports bar that changed the channel especially for us, and the mystery bar near the Paul's Boutique corner that was too darn cool to have a name (or maybe we were too darn drunk to remember it...)

Los Angeles: Our good friend Skyler (and his good friends Amber and Claire), Loaded Bar for reminding me that tequila isn’t the devil, The Cheesecake Factory for never, ever disappointing, Santa Monica Pier, the Viper Room, the insane Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, the 'additional water effects' on the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios (not!), every guy who rapped out loud on the subway, the phenomenal views from Griffith Park, Senses Fail, Blake Griffin, Megatron, Dropkick Murphys and the awesome shops on Melrose.

And last but not least thank you to James, for being my partner in crime for what can only be described as an epic adventure! Right, now that the thank yous are done, normal blogging will resume. I have a few gigs to review, lots of fashion discoveries to share and a new website in the works… so stay tuned!

I wasn't kidding about Prigioni...
The view from Griffith Park
Santa Monica beach
The best cheesecake on earth!

© Rock & Runway

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