The artist as art - Mr Brainwash comes to New Oxford Street

Mr Brainwash
The Old Sorting Office, New Oxford Street, London.W1
Until August 29th

LA-based street artist, Thierry Guetta, aka Mr Brainwash, has risen to international eminence over the last decade. He featured in Banksy’s Exit Through the Giftshop and also designed the cover for Madonna’s Celebration album in 2009.

In his first UK solo show, Thierry has taken over the gigantic vault-like Old Sorting Office, transforming the former Post Office property into a wonderland of brash large-scale installations.

Several life-sized horses, washed with primary paint overlook popular icons, depicted in collage and vinyl.

The crowds can’t seem to take enough photos of the work on display which is a spectacular and tangible narrative about the process and defiance of performance art. The artist has clearly had as much fun creating a giant gorilla out of tires, as more intricate iconic portraits and tableaus.

Brainwash also clearly loves paint, which is dripped, splashed and drenched over otherwise perfect Conran chairs and tables, using the empty paint cans to then assemble new sculptures.

Attendees are generously lavished with posters and postcards as they leave.

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Snipe Likes: Kody Nielson

How great is this – fuzzy, superbly paced pop-psychedelia courtesy of New Zealander Kody Nielson (brother of Unknown Mortal Orchestra head boy, Ruban). Debut album Electric Hawaii is out now on the ever-reliable Fire Records and you can catch Nielson, plus band, at the Shacklewell Arms, October 29 and 30.

Sebastian Gainsborough aka Vessel

The intro to this, a thrilling taster from Sebastian Gainsborough, aka Vessel’s, debut long-player Order of Noise, sounds a little like an overweight middle-aged man playing ping-pong in a faceless roadside hotel. Order of Noise is out September 24 via Tri Angle Records.

Spend your weekend at Maltby Street and Spa Terminus

Turn off Tower Bridge road onto Maltby Street, on a Saturday or Sunday morning, between 9am and 2pm and you’ll encounter a medium-sized throng of locals, foodies and their children enjoying the gastronomic delights of Maltby Street and Spa Terminus.

Hailed as the laid-back and less crowded alternative to Borough Market – although it is emphatically presented as a collection of rented trading spaces – the area has become home to a selection of independent food and drink retailers over the last few years.

The arches which house these businesses can be accessed from surrounding streets, funneling people to explore an otherwise unassuming and modest Southwark neighbourhood.

Highlights include:

  1. custard doughnuts from St Johns Bakery on Druid Street;
  2. pale Indian ales from Kernels Brewery on Rope Walk;
  3. toasted cheese sourdough bread sandwiches from Kappacasein, off Spa road;
  4. bresaola from the Ham and Cheese Company on Rope Walk;
  5. peach and tarragon ice cream from La Grotta Ices, outside Monmouth Coffee on Maltby Street;
  6. Smoked sausages, from Topolski Polish Foods, Druid Street.

Whilst most of the arches are closed to the public during the week, Gergovie Wines, at 40 Maltby Street is now open on two evenings of the week, when it is transformed into a bar, serving artisan wines from Italy, France and Slovenia with plates of food.

The edible supplies on offer have also attracted the curious to the tardis-like and probably haunted, Tower Bridge Antiques warehouse, an essential destination for people seeking character furnishings, spanning the last two centuries.

For those ready for more browsing, the adjacent warehouse space is also home to a regular bric-a-brac and curios stall and a Dutch bicycle vendor.

Maltby Street and Spa Terminus

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Photo by Robert Brook

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St Lucia at CAMP

Following a successful eighteen month stint in NYC, Popshop takes the leap across the Atlantic to putt on some shows in London and Paris this month. 17th May finds them at CAMP, with their very own synth poppers St Lucia as headliners. The Black Cab Sessions will chip in their ten cents, showcasing the primal pop of Hannah Yadi, followed by Savoir Adore and Foxes. Priced at £7, it’s a steal. Pop along!

9th: Fanzine / Step Panther @ The Waiting Room

Marking their signing to the newly launched Best Fit Recordings, spawning from popular music website The Line Of Best Fit, London grunge-pop fourpiece Fanzine have recently released their brilliant sun-kissed and nostalgia-tinged single ‘LA’. The scuzzy guitar group will celebrate the 7”, which comes with an accompanying video set – yep, you guess it – in Los Angeles itself, with a special single launch at Stoke Newington’s The Waiting Room. Get down there and make sure you nab a copy of their physical release too.

What to see (and what to avoid) at the first Sundance London Film Festival

The first ever Sundance London Film and Music Festival kicks off later this week, from 26-29th April, with indie-Jesus Robert Redford sticking his boots into everyone’s favourite little indoor town (the O2 Arena in Greenwich, if it wasn’t already your favourite little indoor town).

A mixed bag of new films – mostly award winners from the American Sundance – will be making their UK premieres before theatrical release, 14 to be precise.

There will be good. There will be bad. There will be painful. Here’s our list of what to see, and what not to see, with full reviews to follow.

Liberal Arts
Woody Allen-lite to start with, before going on to actually say something

Safety Not Guaranteed
Parks and Recreation combines with The League for some comedy shenanigans

The Queen of Versailles

The House I Live In
War on Drugs Sundance Jury Prize winning documentary from Eugene Jarecki

Chasing Ice
Climate change documentary about National Geographic photojournalist James Balog as he trains revolutionary time lapse cameras on melting glaciers

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
A short film stretched to excruciating lengths. Better to just sleep
Filly Brown
‘8 Mile’ meets Immortal Technique and has a crap film baby
2 Days in New York
Unless you liked the irritant-as-film ’2 Days in Paris’ then you might be prepared for ‘Julie Delpy Guesses Who’s Coming for Dinner’
Nobody Walks
Beyond navel-gazing film about the self-pitying Hollywood bourgeoisie

Finding North
Facile and condescending documentary about food insecurity and poverty in the USA, yet certainly a worthy subject
For Ellen
Wannabe rockstar Paul Dano wants to meet his daughter. Takes ages.
LCD Soundsystem’s last gig, filmed in Madison Square Garden. If you like them then you will like this, probably.
Baltimore-set reunion for a good few members of ‘The Wire’, a good first half an hour, then becomes every cliché in the ‘umma-gainsta’ movie handbook
River’s Edge
Chance to see Keanu Reeves and Crispin Glover in the 1986 crime drama on the big screen. Can watch it at home though can’t you?

Seriously, No:
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
Nobody Walks

Echo Of Love by The Shutes

Is this the best (only) band to emerge from the lush, green pastures of the Isle of Wight since The Bees? On the basis of Echo of Love, the title track of their new EP out April 2nd on Cross Keys Recordings, the answer is a resounding yes. Catch their delicate, note-bending, pastoral guitar-pop at the George Tavern, April 4th.

Tall Stories @ The Barfly

Things have gone pretty spectacularly well lately for Tall Stories. Their first demo, the hyper-catchy “Things Are Strained”, was an instant hit with Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Xfm’s John Kennedy, it’s fizzing new-wave pop sound gatecrashing the airwaves already in 2012. The live show is heavier than that track might suggest, with Scott Vining’s pummeling rhythms and Stu Maxwell pulverising synth bass underscoring the nervy yelp of Rob McCabe’s lead local. Playing in the pit of a Friday night at one of Camden’s most notorious party bars, this early-hours show will get messy – don’t miss out. Indie stars of the future.

Brendan Cleaves photo

The Malpractice, Snake & Jet's Amazing Bullit Band (Crunchy Club) @ The Wheelbarrow

If SVIIB isn’t your thing, or gets sold out, here’s a worthy (and free!) alternative. Danish label Crunchy Frog were responsible for launching bands as diverse as Junior Senior, The Raveonettes and Jon Spencer’s Heavy Trash, and with this monthly residency they showcase the newest additions to their roster. This second edition sees The Malpractice (aka Johannes Gammelby) present his punishing, serpentine industrial-electronic-rock sound, with Snake & Jet’s Amazing Bullitt Band providing rock ‘n’ roll thrills. DJs Project Fresh Socks (new Nordic indie and pop) and Hells Belles (garage rock ‘n’ soul classics) provide the perfect soundtrack for pre-and-post gig drinks.

Simon Højbo Hansen photo