August 2014 Playlist

Spotify Playlist here416788b

To say I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit lately is something of an understatement. It’s been nearly a year since I last wrote anything here, and I have to confess, I haven’t felt any sort of need to do it. I stopped blogging because I no longer believed I had anything interesting to share. Why should I just be scribbling endless ‘lifestyle’ posts out without any sort of reasoning behind them? With ‘lifestyle’ blogging (yes, I’m keeping the inverted commas for full ridiculousness) you eventually become aware that all bloggers are writing the same sort of thing, with the same kind of carefully neutral commentary. 

In short, I stopped writing because I was shouting into the void, writing for the sake of it. I moved up to London in the Spring, and I’m now aware of the sort of thing I want to write. There are so many amazing things to do in the city, and I’m going to try and write about some of them, purely because they interest me, and not because I’ve been asked to write about them or paid for my services. I started my blog as a way of recording things that made me happy, no matter how small or silly, and I’m keen to find that passion again. 

For today though, I’ve got a different sort of post. I thought I’d share some of the tracks I’ve been listening to this month, along with a handy Spotify playlist for easy listening. I’m a big sbtrkt fan, and I’ve enjoyed the collaborative work Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig has been doing (e.g. with Major Lazer), so this song has been on repeat for me. I love the imagery of the ‘flags flapping in Manhattan, gargoyles gargling oil’. Chet Faker’s No Diggity cover is an oozy, enjoyable trek of an interpretation, and professional saddo Lana Del Rey benefits from a bit of a speed up by Cedric Gervais. 

The War on Drugs seem to be steadily creeping into public awareness, and Under the Pressure is a glorious 9 minute showcase of their latest album that has soundtracked my Summer. I’ve also popped in a bit of the ever-rousing Is Tropical, which never fails to perk me up. Glass Animals are a new discovery, an addition to my adored coterie of indie exports from Oxford (see also Foals & Trophy Wife). They’re a bit of a revelation, like having thick treacle course through you aurally – full of expansive vowel sounds and languid vocals. Finally, Juce are an exceptionally promising trio who recall girlbands of both the 60s and the 90s. Their band logo is even written in the same font as the film Clueless, and they’re a gorgeously fun slice of pop for the final remnants of Summer. 

Event Alert: ZOOFEST 29th June

I don’t usually do pre-event write ups, but I’m making an exception for what’s going to be an absolutely fantastic day this Saturday.

My friend Flo, being the insanely talented & hugely creative young whippersnapper that she is, is putting on a festival this weekend in Surrey. It’s to launch her brand new company, The Human Zoo Theatre Company, which if she’s anything to go by, will be a hotbed of new talent…

So if you’re Surrey-based and not going to Glasto this weekend, why not come along and support the arts while also having an amazing time? There ain’t no party like a Surrey party.

 

That’s an overview of what’ll be going down in a Surrey field on Saturday, but the team are constantly announcing new acts and fun things over on their Facebook page and also on Twitter.

I’ve just heard that tickets are flying out of the window, so you need to be QUICK and book your tickets now! Bring your friends, bring your whole family, bring your onesie that looks like a pig, but ultimately COME ALONG!

Adam & Albert

 

 

I’m currently writing this post from a wonderfully sunny St Ives in Cornwall, but before I go on to boast about the glorious weather, I’m going to rewind to last week, and a cold and faintly snowy London.

 

Last Thursday, India and I headed up to South Ken to see the event we’d been anticipating for months on end: Foals at the Albert Hall. We last saw them in the grubby, chilly, small Concorde 2 in Brighton, and were fascinated as to how they’d translate to such a different venue. If you’ve never seen the band live, I urge you to get tickets for whatever you can lay your hands on. Foals are phenomenal live, and I say that without the slightest bit of exaggeration.

 

After a rather pleasing support slot from Efterklang, the laser lighting kicked in, the smoke machine pumped up to full volume, and the band made their way on stage. Most of the set came from their new album, Holy Fire, interspersed with crowd-pleasers such as Total Life Forever and Spanish Sahara. When Foals play, something almost transcendental happens to the audience. I looked around the crowd, seeing people transported by the music, these huge guitar riffs and echoing vocals punching the walls of the Albert Hall.

 

After about half an hour, India and I grew frustrated at being in a seated area, and our attempts at chair dancing weren’t really cutting it, so we clambered down to the front of the tiered section in a haze of dance-driven urgency. We spent the rest of the gig waving about like idiots, watching the mosh pit from on high, and feeling the waves of sound on our faces. Due to our (over)enthusiasm, we got pulled aside at the end of the gig to give a short interview about Foals for the Albert Hall. After hoarsely repeating the word ‘epic’ several times, we were on our way to Soho.

 

In Soho, we picked up Frankie, who took us to a new discovery: The Soho Social Club. I almost don’t want to talk about it, because it was so ace that I don’t want anyone else to know it’s there, but what the heck. It’s essentially one room on the corner of a dark, tucked away Soho street, and contains a few small tables and one long banqueting table. The walls are stacked with books and framed black and white photos with a heavy S&M emphasis. The cocktail menu is brief but carefully curated, and the staff charming.

 

When we got there, Frankie was greeted heartily by an old dear in a fur hat and large earrings who perched, regally, at the very end of the long table. ‘Oh hello love’, she said, ‘it’s been ages since I saw you, hasn’t it?’ They chattered away for a little while, before Frankie turned to us and said she’d never seen the woman before in her life…But I’ve overlooked the very best part of TSSC: the dogs. Yes, dogs. Four squiggly balls of fluff scattered around the room, enjoying the attention of the delighted customers, and I took quite a shine to a sweet French bulldog called Modesty.

 

From there, we dashed to The Diner for stacked burgers, baskets of fries and Cherry Cokes before crossing the river to the BFI, just in time for my beloved Adam Buxton and the start of BUG. If you’ve never been, BUG is a bi-monthly (last time I checked) showcase for new and interesting music videos, which Adam hosts. Not only is it a fantastic way of discovering new bands, but Adam also reads out YouTube comments on the videos, and gives his own commentary, which is hugely entertaining.

 

Bit of a skim through Thursday, but I’ll be back soon with posts about Cornwall, and showing off about the sunshine. Ta ra for now.

Adam and Albert 001 Adam and Albert 005 Adam and Albert 006 Adam and Albert 008 Adam and Albert 009 Adam and Albert 010 Adam and Albert 012 Adam and Albert 015 Adam and Albert 014 Adam and Albert 027 Adam and Albert 017 Adam and Albert 019 Adam and Albert 021 Adam and Albert 023 Adam and Albert 025

Bellowhead & Oxford in the snow

Some places in the world have a particular draw, and you find yourself instantly feeling at home as your feet touch the tarmac. There’s something about Oxford that wraps me up and makes me feel…right. I got on the Oxford tube at Victoria and bagged myself a spectacular seat at the front of the bus, mainly because there were only about two other people on the thing. It was a bit like having a giant red double decker taxi to myself. After a dozy journey listening to Joni Mitchell (a huge gap in my musical knowledge that I’ve decided to remedy).

I arrived at 2pm to find a slate-skied Oxford, chilly and snowy. I’d intended to have a wander and find some new places, but it was just too cold. After some determined trudging, I decided to cut my losses and parked myself in Turl Street Kitchen for most of the afternoon. A cup of black vanilla tea and a sublime vanilla cupcake later, I was feeling much more human – the James Brown on the Turl Street playlist helped too. Around 5, I met my friend Lucy and headed to The Big Bang in the Castle Quarter for ginormous plates of bangers and mash, water in teapots and a very deadpan waiter. I mentioned before I was into British food at the moment, and I’d strongly recommend this place for any veggies looking for a decent savoury meal. For once, I felt like just as much thought had gone into the veggie options than on the meat, and I opted for one stilton & walnut and one vine tomato & basil sausage on grain mustard mash with red wine gravy. I followed it with an apple crumble, which was a bit on the ‘smooshy’ side and needed a little crisping up. But for the savoury part, it couldn’t be faulted.

After supper and some lethal Cotswolds cider, we practically had to stagger up to the New Theatre for Bellowhead. I first started listening to Bellowhead when they played Latitude in 2011, and I’ve been a firm fan ever since. Some bands sound identical to their recordings when playing live, and then there are other bands who bring something phenomenal to their live shows. I like feeling that the performers are creating something that only this particular audience will see, something that can’t be recaptured even with YouTube. Bellowhead do this, as do Foals, who I’m seeing (again!) next month.

I’m not going to go into too much detail and review the performance or their new album, Broadside, as there are many more eloquent reviews out there. All I’ll say is, give them a go even if you don’t think you like folk. It’s an outrageously brilliant, stomping, barnstorming album full of intriguing instruments and catchy melodies. For the live show, the band ran at it with full energy, jumping up and down while playing, hopping around, battling with each other. It was a frenetic show but unforgettable. Not an especially coherent post from me today as I’m pretty exhausted, and very aware of needing an early night prior to London Fashion Week tomorrow and St Andrews over the weekend…until then x Oxford 004Oxford 010Oxford 014Oxford 017Oxford 019Oxford 020Oxford 022Oxford 024Oxford 025Oxford 027Oxford 029Oxford 037 Oxford 032 Oxford 036

Workout Music for Hipsters

Well, maybe not ‘hipsters’. But workout music for people who really don’t want to have an autotune drawling in their headphones ‘I wanna make you sweat’. Thing is, all of that empty, rubbish, stupid music is actually rather good for working out, thanks to the BPM. Ratbags. What to do? What’s left for you if you’re a gym bunny, and yet you’d rather wear high tops than trainers, and your workout wardrobe is 90% American Apparel? First of all, you need to step away from the post-ironic ‘Physical’ by Olivia Newton John. I say this because it’s on every workout playlist I’ve ever made, even though it isn’t actually that conducive to working out. But I love ONJ more than lychee macaroons. Ok, maybe don’t step away from her.

But here, have a few songs that’ll get you moving. I’ve thought a lot about this. Essentially, I’ve been back at the gym long enough for the initial glowing, sweaty, happy thrill of the whole thing to wear off, and I’m BORED. Music is sometimes the only thing that pulls me through a workout. So I’ve compiled a few tracks that will make you work just that little bit harder. There are so many tracks I could choose, but I’ve just gone with my current playlist. Enjoy – and please feel free to give me any suggestions you might have, I’ll get bored of this lot very shortly!

1. Vlad the Impaler – Kasabian

Oh hell yes. Something about the machiney, metallic fizzing noise of the intro makes me move like some kind of workout robot. I strongly recommend this for the cross trainer, because holding the bars in your hands makes you feel like Vlad, running about with spears in your hand. I get all ‘into character’ on this and do a really fierce face. Way too much fun, definitely try this.

p.s. Yep, that’s Noel Fielding in the vid.

2. Walk Idiot Walk – The Hives

YOU can be that idiot! Good for treadmills or rowing machines, this one. It’s a little slower paced, but still aces.

3. Oh Really – Goldheart Assembly

Just amazing. Big, grinding song with an extremely catchy chorus. One for the treadmill.

4. Intergalactic – Beastie Boys

Not sure about fitting this in with the hipster definition, but this is AMAZING. The fact that they shout the final word of every line gives you a bit of a push to keep going, and the repetitive churning of the beat will keep you working at it.

5. Sing a Simple Song – Sly & The Family Stone

This definitely pushes the brief of a workout song, but it’s just so insistent and amazing that you can’t help but enjoy it. And if you can help but enjoy it, then I feel sorry for you. Try a little do, re, me, fa, so, la, ti, do…

6. Sleepyhead – Passion Pit

Just so weird and beautiful, and actually makes you feel strangely elated while working out. What more could you ask for?

7. Something is Squeezing My Skull – Morrissey

Come on, man. It was never going to be an indie playlist without a bit of the daffodil-waving one. Surprisingly great to accompany a workout.

8. Over and Over – Hot Chip

This is a workout classic. It achieves this weird sensation where you almost drift out of yourself and into somewhere a little bit above your right ear. Perfectly for when you need to just mindlessly work out for a bit and not think about what you’re doing.

9. Lisztomania – Phoenix (Alex Metric Remix)

It MUST be the remix for full effect. Pretty slowish at first, so maybe good for resistance machines or weights. When the ‘watch yourself!’ bit kicks in, you’ll be feeling like a superhero.

And two that aren’t remotely indie but make me work hard:

10. Hung Up – Madonna

I should probably be ashamed of this, but I’m not.

11. Run The World – Beyonce

The military style beat will work wonders if you suddenly start to flag.

Tuesday Tunes

I’ve been a bad, bad girl about posting lately. I just haven’t really had much to say. I took myself off social media for a day on the 29th, and then didn’t really come back properly. That’s all it took – the best part of a day away from it, and the spell was broken. And my rule with blogging is, try to only do it when you’ve got something of interest to say. I actually don’t really have anything interesting to say today (just going to put that out there right away) so I thought I’d swerve it by giving you all a list of some of my favourite ‘choons’ at the moment. I’ve included vids, so all you need to do is just press play. Happy Tuesday!

1. ‘Like this? Then try this’ by Euros Childs Wow. I heard this on Adam & Joe (as is the case with many of the things I find important) and I got sort of obsessed by it. It’s just a big slice of mental. But enjoyable mentalosity – not the awkward kind. The lyrics are amazing: ‘Hear that dog barking through the night?/Getting on my wick too/Put it in a car/And drive to a lay by/Dump it, pick out something new’. Listen out for the end, where he descends into a weird frenzy of different things he likes. Oh, and his accent is gorgeous. AND, he offered the album for free, but I think it deserves to be paid for: http://www.euroschilds.com/son-of-euro-child/

2. ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ by David Bowie. I’d never heard this until a couple of days ago. I’ve got absolutely no idea how. I’d call myself a pretty big Bowie fan. I suppose I like to discover phases of his music in an organic way (worra load of old WANK!) and hadn’t happened across this yet. Well, I have now. The song just gets me really excited, like it’s leading up to something incredible. It’s all the ascending wibbly bits (come on brain!) I can’t BELIEVE this was written in 1970. To my ears, it sounds so fresh. Enjoy.

3. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ by Gotye. Waaaah. I wish everyone didn’t love Gotye. I want Gotye ALL TO MYSELF. I kind of thought Gotye had popped up overnight, but was intrigued to see he/they/it has been around for ages. I actually realised I’d heard ‘Learnalilgivinanlovin’ on the Whip It soundtrack years ago. I’m intrigued. He, Mr Gotye, has the voice of Sting. But if you listen to ‘Thank You For Your Time’, I’m going to put it out there that I’m reminded massively of Har Mar Superstar; which is always a good thing.

I’d encourage you all to discover the album ‘Like Drawing Blood’, but I’ve chosen something newer as I like almost every song from ‘Making Mirrors’. It feels like Mr Gotye (I must find out his actual name. I’m going to call him Gordon Gotye for now) has drawn from exactly the pool of music that I love, so there are these weird slices of, say, The Eagles, and jungle drums, or cheery swooping guitars. ‘State of the Art’ is probably my other fave, but ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ won out because it’s so moody. Listen to it it while wandering the streets in a long black coat with your collar turned up, scowling at people. Gordon Gotye really excelled himself on this. 

4. ‘Lucretia MacEvil/Spinning Wheel’ by Blood Sweat and Tears Oh man, I love these guys. That’s top of the line music criticism right there, that is! You’d be hard pressed to find much better in NME than ‘Oh man, I love these guys’. Seriously, though. If I’m having a bad day, I like to pop this on and go for a walk. Watch what your legs do. You walk in a certain way to this kind of thing. ‘Lucretia MacEvil’ has long since been my bestie of theirs, but after watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, I fell back in love with ‘Spinning Wheel’. This video is not great quality by any means, but I’ve put it in because I love their dance moves so, so much.

5. ‘Too Much to Dream’ by The Electric Prunes Mmm, garage-y goodness. I heard this when I was a teenager, and it was the first time music really started meaning something to me. It’s such a sweaty, pulsing, furious bit of music. While my friends were listening to Justin Timberlake or 50 Pence, or Cent, or whatever, I got into my original garage and a lot of 70s punk. Anyways, enjoy.

6. ‘If You Want Me To Stay’ by Sly and the Family Stone This is smoooooth. Again, I’m plumbing the depths of my musical collection for your benefit, and I HOPE YOU APPRECIATE IT. I really have nothing more to say about this than simply that you need it in your ears, right this minute.

7. ‘Do You Wanna Hold Me?’ by Bow Wow Wow Look, this has been pretty heavily weighted towards artists of the male variety. I felt obligated to include something by a woman. And what better woman to include than the luminous Anabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow? God, I love this song. The lyrics, the music, the energy…I really believe that Bow Wow Wow were a phenomenal band, managing to satirise the very pop culture that they were part of – ‘Children I wanna warn ya/Cos I’ve been to California/Where Mickey Mouse is such a demon/Where Mickey Mouse is as big as a house’!

 

Time Won’t Let Me Go/Believe

A Bravery double bill!

Just a quick one, because I’m shortly heading off to my new job role (eek!) and am trying to adjust to being up and actually having to put proper clothes on, etc. I woke up with the first song in my head, without really knowing why. There’s something so sad about this song, despite the fact that it’s actually fairly upbeat. I remember listening to it years ago, stretched out on the grass in the garden in blinding sunlight, and waiting for my own life to ‘start’ properly. The song really struck a chord (sorry!) with me, this feeling of not really having experienced life, just having ‘watched it all on TV’. Of course, that all changed at uni, but listening to the song again I can still feel that twinge inside of me telling me to get up, get out and do something.

The second song is ‘Believe’. I’m absolutely crap at listening to proper ‘unhappy songs’. I get terrified if something is slow and wail-y and just has a guitar. I don’t like cathartic music and am generally wont to listen to some very upbeat stuff at times of emotional crisis. ‘Dry Your Eyes (Mate)’ is about as far as I’ll go into break up music. Nope, it’s time to sweep it all under the carpet and move on. The Bravery combine some very bleak lyrics with catchy, upbeat tuneage, which suits me perfectly. Believe is a fantastic song, and you should definitely acquaint yourself with it.

So, a happy Tuesday to everyone, have a good day back at work, and good luck battling the wind and rain!

Amelia xx