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Friday, November 4, 2016

Features: Mahogany, Astrobrite, Infinity Girl, Hellbirds, Lost Kingdoms, Vivienne Eastwood, Forth Wanderers, Navy Gangs

With a choice selection of compelling live shows to attend and recently-released music for review, the early autumn months covered both familiar and new in noticeably equal measure.


Catching another live performance from the enigmatic Mahogany was undoubtedly long overdue, making Sunday night October 9th at The Mercury Lounge a welcome reconnect.

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Headlining a night that also featured genre pioneers Astrobrite and relative newcomers Infinity Girl, Mahogany took full command with a technical tour-de-force of sonic density and stimulating visuals.


The sheer volume of visible plugs and wires connecting mysterious looking electronic boxes perched on improvised tables (fashioned out of road-worn guitar cases) evoked images of 1970's era Brian Eno.


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The sound these artists make is such wonderfully odd hybrid of electronic music.   At times percussion heavy like the motorific Kraftwerk approximations of trains moving forward.


Other elements reflect classical music training, with organic instruments like real cellos embedded into the mix.

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A rudimentary web search turns up much on concept creator Andrew Prinz and his now two decade affair with this art form.


The addition of performance artist Jaclyn Slimm to the current incarnation, and working as a duo over the last few years has enhanced the overall creative direction. 


Trained as a ballet dancer (who's work as both dancer and video director can be seen here in the 2013 single release for "Phase Break"), Jaclyn provides wonderful vocals (some sung in French) and atmospheric guitar.

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Along with the multitude of keyboard textures (both extended note pads and delicate twinkling melodies), guitars frequently layer on walls of sound.

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A truly mesmerizing live performance that made the most of Mercury Lounge's always great sound and roomy stage (especially for a venue of this size).

Mahogany continues to promise a new music release at some point, but until then listen to (and view) their wonderful short film featuring Pinkshinyultrablast "Holy Forest (Waldeinsamkeit Remix)" Produced by Andrew Prinz Directed by Jaclyn Slimm



"The North Remembers"

Mahogany will once again appear at The SXSW Music Fest in March 2017

Previous features on this site about Mahogany can be found here:


and


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An additional level of excitement surrounded this show as influential guitar-gaze pioneers Astrobrite would be making their long-awaited New York City debut.


The Chicago-based project created by lovesliescrushing's Scott Cortez had surprisingly never played a New York show.


Conceived and begun synonymously with the more recognized loveliescrushing in the mid 90's, the band went through a number of personal changes which now includes guitarist/vocalist Sophie LeighN.


Presented here on this night was a blissful wave of warm guitar distortion coupled with angelic vocals.


Cortez gave a nod to fellow guitar contortion practitioners Ringo Deathstarr with his t-shirt while unleashing his own six string overdrive.


The combined forces and alternating lead vocals of the duo provided a necessary balance throughout the set.


While Scott dominated the early lead vocal turns, Sophie came on in the later stages, delivering atmospheric qualities with a near reverential tone.


Perhaps best known for their “Loveless” inspired 2005 release “pinkshinyultrablast” (which is so revered in some circles, that record in turn inspired a new generation of dreamgazers to name their band after it) a majority of the material on those tracks were actually recorded in the mid-90’s.


Initial awareness of Scott's creative work came via his mid-90's  loveliescrushing  release "bloweyelashwish"


Ordering the cassette release at that time from mail order label Projekt records, this idiosyncratic blend of compressed feedback noise and fragmented female vocals created a soundtrack frequently returned to repeatedly for the better part of two decades.


A wonderful howl of alarming beauty, even the names printed on the inner sleeve created additional layers of mystery.

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Layers of shimmer in a cathedral of sound



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Opening the evening's festivities were recent familiar review material artists Infinity Girl


Having released their second full length album “Harm” this past summer, the Brooklyn quartet have been spending most of their time hard at work on their third record.


Although no release date has been announced as of yet, the band occasionally step away from the studio long enough to play select live shows, such as this one.


While “Harm” shifted away from than their previous noisier work, elements of the C86 jangle pop sound emerged.


Recently re-featured track “Dirty Sun” underscores exactly what was (and still is) so appealing about this timeless sound.


A blissful joy is felt within the convergence of rapidly strummed guitar over melody driven bass and tom-tom heavy drums.


The vocals provide the emotional release through a harmonic beauty evoking feelings of both nostalgia and present day comradery


While waiting for new music to be released “Harm” is available on Top Shelf Records in a variety of popular formats.



Check out the video for "Dirty Sun" here

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Previous features on this site about Infinity Girl can be found here:


and here:



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Earlier that very day innovative music curators Noise Love presented an early afternoon show at Our Wicked Lady



Arriving just in time to catch the always entertaining Hellbirds, a collection of newer songs were showcased.



Never content to simply rely on familiar, previously established material, a steady flow of freshly created tunes are heard at each subsequent show attended.


A really catchy one that surely must be titled "What's Up?" is a recent addition to the set that has immediate appeal.


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A dynamic pop group in the classic power trio mode, the evolution of their sound is quite noticeable from earlier output.

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While guitars pulsate between extended tremolo note figures and power chords, space is provided for the backbeat, sophisticated basslines and always those compelling vocals.


Fun with Hellbirds


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Previous features about this band can be found here:

Live + On Record: The Veevees, Hellbirds, Cosmicide, The Vandelles, Heaven

Hellbirds-Pet Peppers, Baby Acid + Live and Record Reviews

Live + On Record: Holiday Mountain, Hellbirds, Evolfo, Blue+Gold

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Lost Kingdoms played next and proceeded to deliver a thoroughly impressive show.


Having met front-man Terry earlier this year, a level of curiosity had already been established via the bands recorded tracks.


However, this live show far surpassed what can be heard there through  more complex rhythmic structures and overall instrumental virtuosity .


90's power pop in the Seattle grunge style is certainly a starting point for what they do. Structurally the songs are more complex, placing them closer to Soundgarden than the simpler constructions of Nirvana.




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Modifying the brand name of an iconic British fashion designer largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream, Vivienne Eastwood appear more focused on sound than image.


Recently released new material “Messy” explores slow-motion ambient landscapes that ebb and flow without any percussive beats. With densely layered fuzzed-out guitars leading the way, the influence of Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine and much of Slowdive’s catalog immediately come to mind.


Like those classic gazey bands, the track reveals more nuance with repeated listens. There is a driving bass line embedded within, along with silvery jingling around the sonic edges. Vocals come in backward masking waves, swirling up in the mix as if taking in a huge breath of air. The entire combined effect is both enchanting and mesmerizing.





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There’s a loose, easy going vibe in the ramshackle rock of Montclair, New Jersey quintet Forth Wanderers two track, EP “Slop.” A twangy two guitar groove on the opening title track sets an unhurried pace evoking Neil Young’s finer electric-country moments.



Vocalist Ava Trilling shifts the focus with the lines “I know I’m slow – I’ve been told – things change, I’m still young” and “I’ll breathe through your lungs.” As the track evolves into a straight ahead chugger, Trillings oddly poetic lyrics and vocal delivery fluctuate between resignation and hope.


“Know Better” moves at a quicker pace, enhanced by clicking stick percussion and Americana Folk vocal stylings. “I hope one day you’ll see, just what you done to me” leaves little doubt someone has been wronged. “I can be this naïve anymore” becomes the self-help mantra over double-time snare drum hits and coiling guitar figures. “I need to grow up, I need to be tough” is the ultimate realization as driving bass guitar accelerates to the end. The band play their EP show Friday November 11 at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn.



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Having created an early buzz via their raucous live show, New York City’s Navy Gangs self-titled debut EP captures a similar raw appeal. Piercing extended vibrato guitar melody lines and sludgy bass-drums accompaniment create a feel comparable to Dinosaur Jr.’s early days.


While “Special Glands” may exhibit requisite “slacker rock” attitude, its central hook depicts a surprisingly direct vocal refrain. “Instant Play” bounces along in that J. Masic covering The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” way where it straddles the line between serious and ironic. A guest female vocalist provides tandem vocals, smoothing out the rough edges.



“Mondays” stomps with Americana inflected group chorus vocals while their instruments capture The Replacements ragged attitude. EP closer “That Party Sucked” alternates between Mascis-level burning guitar figures and softly sung verses, creating a heavy-light atmosphere enhancing the impact of both.



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It is a rare occurrence when multiple artist features come full circle within a single posting on this site.  However, that is exactly what happens here as another Mahogany show was attended on October 29 at the above mentioned Shea Stadium.


After inquiring about certain pieces of stage equipment, the band reveal how their performances are rarely played the same way twice.


"Keystone Sonata"


"Commutator"


"In White Rooms"


"A Third Prism"


"Phase Caress"


"Express Clean Power"


Voyage par jour — retourné a la present Doucément combiné — l'amour pour la luxur


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14 comments:

William said...

What a blog! I went to hell recently and there were definitely birds there - they swooped down and pecked my eyes out leaving my pupil dangling in the wind like a feather on a spiders web on Saturday afternoon. So once I recovered from my PTSD I very much enjoyed the music of them and also your friends in Mahogany who appear to have stolen a 1950's phone operators switchboard to make music with as they reignite the war between Mod(ular Synth)s and Rockers

DaveCromwell said...

Ha, ha. A typically madcap story sprinkled with amusingly accurate observations from you, William. Although your imagination is on full display with that Hellbirds tome (and I couldn't help but think of Hitchcock's classic film "The Birds" when reading it) - you DO capture the spirit of Mahogany's intricately wonderful stage set up.

I remember seeing an artists drawing of Brian Eno where he was part cyborg with wires coming out of him and into his mysterious keyboards and mixers. The Mahogany set up immediately brought that to mind!

Mirror said...

A.O.T Tweeted:

Mahogany and their mesmerizing show #dreamy #beats #mahogany #dreamgaze #guitars #synths #moog… https://www.instagram.com/p/BLXv8qVDh3E/

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Indogen Tweeted:

hellbirds bring the magic #hellbirds #davecromwellwrites #noiselove #rockshow #ourwickedlady… https://www.instagram.com/p/BLXPp-8jK8L/

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Andrew Prinz added a photo and commented in Mahogany, Astrobrite, Infinity Girl at Mercury Lounge:

dual offsets, check. Vox, Fender, Ampeg wattage, check. Astrobrite jet roar in full fx mode

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Nicholas Soto Tweeted:

#Hellbirds played an event curated by @noiselovenyc at @ourwickedlady and @DaveCromwell wrote about it. Thanks,Dave! http://davecromwellwrites.blogspot.com/2016/11/features-mahogany-astrobrite-infinity.html …

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Dan Therriault Retweeted a Tweet you were mentioned in
1h: #Hellbirds played an event curated by @noiselovenyc at @ourwickedlady and @DaveCromwell wrote about it. Thanks,Dave! http://davecromwellwrites.blogspot.com/2016/11/features-mahogany-astrobrite-infinity.html …
Dan Therriault

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Morissa Schwartz added DaveCromwellWrites to list MorissaSchwartz/writers-to-read-now

Nicholas Soto Retweeted:

@nEkoSoto @noiselovenyc @ourwickedlady You @Jasnoswarez and The Hellbirds continue to impress with each show, Nicholas. Well done as always!

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Jasno Swarez wrote:

Great review man! Thank you <3

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DaveCromwell said...

It’s always a pleasant surprise discovering how the wonderfully random nature of the internet and social media generates unexpected sharing of things. Seeing the bands themselves responding is repeatedly welcome and appreciated, but not all that uncommon. However, those you were previously unaware of sharing one’s work or adding them to “writers” lists provide a whole other level of inspiration.

Perpetually happy to see recognition from both the customary and unforeseen areas.

The Grim Reefer said...

Hello Dave, long time no see. As always, a great read and some interesting bands to investigate. I'm the Grim Reefer but my friends call me Deadmandeadman
Later Gator

DaveCromwell said...

The respected former MOG music analyst and all around delightfully eccentric Deadman/Grim Reefer/”Deadsy” needs no re-introduction. Your comments here over the years have been some of the very best.

Good to know you want to look into the bands presented here, as that would be well worth your time. The river keeps on flowing and there’s always something you may not have heard before that resonates with you personally.

I’d like to think there are more than a few artists like that, consistently presented here on this site.

The Grim Reefer said...

For any who may read these comments, when Dave says..."delightfully eccentric Deadman"
what he means is full-blown looney tunes

Mirror said...

Jaclyn Slimm wrote:

Great Autumn scene report w/ the inimitable Dave Cromwell.
The feature is brilliant, so very clear and the writing is spot-on.
You definitely nailed it!

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Andrew Prinz wrote:

Great times Dave! More to come.

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Stellarscope shared DaveCromwellWrites Feature

Excellent recap of our friends Mahogany’s recent show.

Great feature Dave Cromwell!!! Congrats Andrew Prinz and Jaclyn Slimm!!! You guys rock!

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Sophie Leigh wrote:

Love this recent show in NYC recap with Astrobrite. Kind words and pics by The Deli Magazine writer Dave Cromwell.

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Rem Rem Villamor wrote:

Wow Sophie, nice guitar!

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Joan Dare also commented on Sophie Leigh's photo.

Beautiful image, Sophie

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Scott Cortez wrote:

Bloweyelashwish made me. I was just there to record it back in 92.

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DaveCromwell said...

While some might think you "looney" Deadsy - you certainly know your Tunes!

Being referred to as "inimitable" by Jaclyn Slimm is praise most high.

Also pleased to see Astrobrite's Scott and Sophie (and their followers) enjoying the feature on them. It's these connections that inspire further endeavors.

Mirror said...

Noise Love shared and wrote:

Great review of our Rock n' Shop showcase at Our Wicked Lady by DaveCromwellWrites! Glad you captured the essence of Hellbirds and Lost Kingdoms, thanks Dave! Good to see you at shows, as always.

Noise Love @noiselovenyc Posted on Twitter:

In reply to Nicholas Soto
@DaveCromwell
@nEkoSoto @noiselovenyc @ourwickedlady You @Jasnoswarez and The Hellbirds continue to impress with each show, Nicholas. Well done as always!

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Lost Kingdoms wrote:

Intrepid live music chronicler DaveCromwellWrites caught ours and Hellbirds' sets at Our Wicked Lady a few weeks ago and had some nice things to say! Thanks to Dave for the writeup and Noise Love for putting together a great show!

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Mirror said...

Ray Kimura wrote:

Mahogany: Wow, everything about them is super cool and exactly my taste :) I immediately went and 'liked' their fb page after reading this.

Astrobrite and Infinity Girl: These bands are also pretty good, though, I prefer Mahogany, hehe.

Vivienne Eastwood: Nice sound, though, they sound too much MVB, right?

Navy Gangs: Their sound is cool, though, a bit too much "Dinosaur Jr.-esque" I guess

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Ray Kimura posted later:

Today's good night tune is this song by Mahogany, the symphonic dreampop band from NY. Both of their music and image...so cool and lovely. I wanna draw them in the near future :)

Mahogany - Phase Break (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
Mahogany "Phase Break" digital single. released March 12 2013 on Renovo, catalog Novo 1. Jaclyn Slimm, singing, 12-string guitar & percussion.…
YOUTUBE.COM

This band:

https://www.facebook.com/MahoganyInternational/

Mahogany
künstlerpaar im gesamtkunstwerk
SPOTIFY

Thanks for your kind recommendation as always Dave x

Jaclyn Slimm wrote:

Thank you Ray Kimura + Dave Cromwell xox

Ray Kimura wrote:

Jaclyn, Dave kindly recommended me your lovely sound :) Immediately my heart was grabbed by your dreamy world. I'd love to draw you and Andrew in the near future x

Andrew Prinz wrote:

fantastic work Ray — we're honored!!

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Ray Kimura wrote:

Thanks for your kind comment Andrew :)

I'm happy to dig out your lovely songs thanks to Dave x

(His recommendation is always right!)

DaveCromwell said...

You are most welcome, Ray. I can see how Mahogany’s Andrew and Jaclyn not only appreciate your newfound love of their music, but also your own creative artwork as well. I had a feeling you would take to their sound and image. Happy to play the matchmaker here!

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Noise Love - you always puts on the coolest shows Our Wicked Lady. This isn't the first #DaveCromwellWrites coverage of that tandem,

See here for evidence of this:
https://davecromwellwrites.blogspot.com/2015/11/caught-live-ringo-deathstarr-dle-acid.html

and I doubt it will be the last. Great to be able to catch and report on an old fave (Hellbirds) and a now a new one too.

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Speaking of Lost Kingdoms - glad you like the feature! You guys played a very impressive set. I was already familiar with a number of the recorded tracks, but the live show took all that to another level! Well done.

Mirror said...

popgun presents (@popgunpresents) posted on Twitter:

@DaveCromwell
@navygangs @hindsband @popgunpresents @WarsawConcerts show preview + review! tinyurl.com/jk7h79c #davecromwellwrites #thedelimagazine pic.twitter.com/WooXOsvAaS

By popgun presents @popgunpresents

brooklyn's original stage for new sounds. subscribe to our events calendar! (link in bio) + follow us on ig bit.ly/1QpDhaa

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Forth Wanderers wrote:

Woo! Thanks a bunch Dave Cromwell! For these nice words about our recent single. We appreciate the write up!

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SHE Posted on Twitter:

@TheDeliMagazine #davecromwellwrites feature on @forth_wanderers linkto here: http://tinyurl.com/zxbbnhb @lorde approved ;-) @sheastadiumbk

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Quentin Harrison Posted on Twitter:

Music Feature w/ @astrobriter @SophieLeighN here tinyurl.com/jqxzyn4
#Astrobrite #astrobriteband #guitar #bass #synths #dreamy #review
By Quentin Harrison @TheQHBlend

I write about music | I collect comic books | Sailor Moonatic | Author of #RecordReduxSpiceGirls, OUT NOW! | #RecordReduxCarlySimon, out April 2017

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astrobrite (@astrobriter) Posted on Twitter:

@DaveCromwell
Music Feature w/ @astrobriter @SophieLeighN here tinyurl.com/jqxzyn4
#Astrobrite #astrobriteband #guitar #bass #synths #dreamy #review
astrobrite @astrobriter
pop melodies over jet-engine roar astrobriter@gmail.com

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Jaclyn Slimm ‏@Jac_Slimm Brooklyn, NY Posted:

cable family @sheastadiumbk @ Brooklyn, New York https://www.instagram.com/p/BM6jLi3DSD_/

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Matthews Hill also commented on Jaclyn Slimm's photo.

i happen to luv all the wires

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Infinity Girl posted on Twitter:

In reply to Jeff Conn
@DaveCromwell
Thanks for including my feature @jeffMconn on @MahoganyIntl @Jac_Slimm @Jasnoswarez @nEkoSoto @infinitygirl___ etc in your Daily Paper here!
Retweeted by Infinity Girl @infinitygirl___
To 4750 followers.

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New Music Releases and The Britanys Posted on Twitter:

#NewMusicFriday @thebritanys + @navygangs at @RoughTradeNYC #davecromwellwrites Navy Gangs #review here: http://tinyurl.com/jqxzyn4
New Music Releases The Britanys

@FindNewMusicNow
Retweeting and supporting new music releases. Use the #NewMusic or #NewMusicFriday

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11/19/16
Jeff Conn
@jeffMconn

The latest The Jeff Conn Daily! paper.li/jeffMconn/1346… Thanks to @chriskompst @MarquisCabrera @DaveCromwell #cybersecurity #writetip
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Bailey Fallon Posted on Twitter:

Thanks Jeff Conn Daily @jeffMconn for picking up my feature http://paper.li/jeffMconn/1346332163?edition_id=f4dff860-ae59-11e6-a463-0cc47a0d1609 … with @MahoganyIntl @Jac_Slimm @astrobriter @SophieLeighN pic.twitter.com/0LeFMpIueK
Bailey Fallon

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Jaclyn Slimm posted on Twitter:

In reply to Jeff Conn
@DaveCromwell
Thanks for including my feature @jeffMconn on @MahoganyIntl @Jac_Slimm @Jasnoswarez @nEkoSoto @infinitygirl___ etc in your Daily Paper here!

Jaclyn Slimm @Jac_Slimm
wizard girl // multimedia artist

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Mahogany posted on Twitter:

In reply to Jeff Conn
@DaveCromwell
Thanks for including my feature @jeffMconn on @MahoganyIntl @Jac_Slimm @Jasnoswarez @nEkoSoto @infinitygirl___ etc in your Daily Paper here!

Mahogany @MahoganyIntl
mahogany.nu hello@mahogany.nu

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