Review: Jack Savoretti @ O2 Academy, Bristol


"I played a Caffè Nero here in Bristol once, but I doubt any of you were there so long ago," Jack announces to the crowd of Bristol whilst musing over his memories over the city. Having previously had a not so good Caffè Nero encounter involving a trainee barista, some squirty cream and a dead fly floating in Beth's mocha just hours earlier in Bristol's Cabot Circus the story seemed even funnier to us. But as the crowd shouted back their encounters with Jack we eagerly awaited to hear his highly anticipated fifth album live on stage for the first time.

Having sat on the cold pavement outside Bristol's O2 for a measly hour and a half, our position at the front of the queue was demolished when we learnt that practically the whole of Bristol owned phones on the O2 network. We watched in dismay as rows of priority bobble hats and scarves were escorted inside the venue before the rope separating our line from the door had even been removed. Making a beeline for the front of the room, we chucked our tickets at the doormen and zigzagged through far too many old ladies, all there to wolf whistle at all the right moments, claiming ourselves a position to the far right of the stage. Jack’s classic tapestry style rug lay in it’s usual spot stage centre.

Support came in the elegant form of female singer-songwriter JONES, a picture in a pair of flowing black trousers and a gold halter neck that was complemented by the moving of the spotlights. With songs imbued with a sense of calm, the signature of her soulful tunes seemed to be entangled with themes of love. Tracks Hoops and Walk My Way were received with a keen reaction from the crowd, shouts emerging from both the floor and the numerous layers of balcony that the O2 provides.

Review: The Sunshine Kid | Harry Baker at Appledore Book Festival




When five random French strangers judge your poem as the winner in an international competition, you'd think there wasn't much more you could do in life after winning the so-called poetry world cup. But it quickly became clear that Harry Baker, writer of the best poem in the world, isn't taking his rhymes anywhere anytime soon.

I have to admit I don't spend every Friday night as a 17 year old giving my best shot at learning German tongue twisters and singing along to a dessert remix of Ed Sheeran's A Team but that seemed to be on Septembers agenda as Harry Baker slammed us with some poetry as part of his show The Sunshine Kid.

After playing numerous worldwide stages, including the UK's very own Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the comparison of performing to a such an intimately small crowd as part of the 10th year of the Appledore Book Festival must've seemed as easy as talking to the family round the table at Christmastime. Combining a love of maths (which I found ironic due to my old maths teacher coincidentally being among the other audience members), effortlessly clever wordplay and an ability to spit out words quicker than I can listen to them, Baker spent the night like a true raconteur sharing various stories from his life accompanied with a collection of his poems along the way.

About Ian Snow: how it began in India, as told by India... | Q&A

Hi India, thanks for talking to me. How are you?
I am wicked thank you.

Before we jump right in, how would you describe Ian Snow – both the person and the products – to anyone who hadn’t heard the name before?
Ian is a younger day hippy turned latter day eccentric. His two passions in life are India (the country) and running. He has been a vegetarian since the age of 18 and a vegan since his mid-20s, which is something he feels very strongly about. Ian Snow the brand - handmade, fairtrade, bohemian. Handmade because we source only products that are hand crafted and aren’t mass produced by machines in factories. Fair-trade because we abide by the 10 principles of fair-trade and are a registered member of BAFTS (British association of fair-trade shops) and bohemian because we refuse to conform, and we offer unusual products.

So can you tell us a bit about what Ian’s life was like before the business came about?
The young Ian was a photography student college dropout, he was unable to hold down a job (he was sacked from his job as a librarian as he refused to wear shoes) so he hitchhiked to India at 18. It all began on that initial trip to India where he brought products back to sell to finance his next trip etc. etc. ad infinitum.

How did Ian go from traveling India and the world to starting his own business?
As above, he opened his first shop in Liverpool selling whole foods, bric a brac and the stuff he brought back from India. Then, after one of his Indian trips, he decided to up sticks to wales to live in the middle of nowhere and started selling on markets in mid wales. Then he opened a shop in mid wales. And then another. And then another. He also used to trade at music festivals such as Glastonbury where there was only himself and one other trader, oh how things have changed!  Eventually, due to the quantities of goods he was now importing he had to start wholesaling to other shops.

Song Review: Glass In The Park - Alex Turner

me in a park..... there wasn't any glass though
It's been some time since I shared anything here due to taking time to focus on college work and exams. It's all finally over and, after three more weeks of A2 transition, summer will be upon me. This meaning that I'd like to steadily begin sharing a little more every so often when I find myself with something to say. Life seems both busy but awfully fun at the moment and I guess I'm just relishing that for now without having my head stuck inside my laptop screen for every unforgivable hour of the day that could've been spent more wisely.

Today I thought I'd just post a little piece I wrote in lesson time where we were asked to write a review of a song of our choice, using a similar technique to most song reviewers, in the most extremely over the top manner that we could possibly exude from us. To make it a little more interesting I decided to shuffle my music library and challenge myself to reviewing the first song to play through my headphones. I was blessed with an absolute gem, this gem being Alex Turner's Glass In The Park, which couldn't have more to it to analyse and write about. So here goes.

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The third of six songs in soundtrack to coming of age film Submarine, Alex Turner's Glass In The Park sounds as soft as the benevolent whispers of two young lovers in the balmy days of a late summer. Turner's woozy lyrics are in full form for the entirety of the four minute track and give it's audience a balance between the inner feelings of an inconspicuous romance before slapping you back to the reality of life itself. Swollen in the emotions of a first love, Turners words on the opposing elements to a chaotic adolescence are bound to be left lingering in the heads of those with a similar story to tell.

"I'm your man on the moon," slurs Alex in his penultimate verse in an attempt to make the impossible a reality when reinvigorating a romance. The real dilemma when opening your ears to Submarine's six song soundtrack is making the decision to either allow your mind to run free with the assortment of imagery provided or whether you should attempt to unravel the meaning behind the knotted heap of lyrics that are complemented by the lingering strum of Alex's acoustic guitar.

Turner takes on Glass In The Park and the five other soundtrack additions as the raconteur that he is. Well known for sharing a narrative lyric or two, he embellishes on each tale and, with the odd harmony making an appearance, he manages to manifest the glow of the first love style story he sings of. It's reminiscent tone seems to intertwine with both the story of the films key character and the story of us young listeners as we grow up filling the role of the key characters in our own lives.

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So yeah, as you can see I tried to branch into the 'fancy word' section of my vocabulary that, really, tells you very little about the song whatsoever. But as that was the point I guess I was fairly successful. Winning.




TBC.

Review: Jack Savoretti @ The Forum, Bath

"What happens in Bath, stays in Bath," shouts Jack Savoretti to a middle aged man who had deemed half way through Jack's set list a good enough time as any to confess his love to the singer by bellowing his admiration over the quiet murmur protruding from the crowd. It was that time again. Beth and I were stood in a different venue but the same familiar faces of Jack and his band mates stood above us on the stage ahead. Rather than use the approach of separating crowd and artist by a barrier The Forum in Bath had nothing, not even a single human, separating me from the stage. I had my elbows resting against it as I looked up and embraced the sights from the front row.

Three hours previous to this moment I was sat in a car pulling into Bath. We had our cameras stuck out of the windows trying to capture the sun setting over the city as it gave Bath's beige buildings their own golden tint. Every house, cafe and post office looked identical in colour and as we drove through they all blurred into one beige smudge on a canvas. The queue for the bus stop was over twice the length as the queue outside the venue and I was shocked at the excess of people that were waiting to catch a bus home on a cold Saturday evening. The queue for Jack looked measly in comparison but I had faith that people would flood to the venue in no time. Emerged in deep life chats, which happen to be the only thing to ease the wait of gig queueing, my attention was fully elsewhere until I turned around at 6.15pm that I noticed the queue had not only grown but that it had twisted it's way around the side of the building.

After being let inside we were met by some of the most beautiful architecture I have seen to date. The inside of the auditorium resembled an old fashioned theatre and patterns lined the walls in shades of blue. The ceiling was a sight to behold and I often found myself so distracted by it's chandelier appearance that I almost fell unaware as the house lights went down. Support act Earl had travelled from Alaska and emerged from the stage door with a collection of pearls around her neck. She took her place at a keyboard looking as if she had walked straight from the screen of an old fashioned, silent film. However, any images of silent movies were shattered as soon as she opened her mouth. Despite her strong vocals filling the entire room it appeared as if she was was conveying this emotion to just one of us rather than the assemblage of hundreds of peering eyes. She had so much energy surging through her that the connection she had with the crowd caused silence rather than the usual chatter of voices that fill the time between the main act. In between songs she launched numerous copies of her EP's and a T Shirt into the crowd for lucky receivers to squabble over. By the end of her performance she announced that she wished to pick up the entire audience and place us in her pocket so that, whenever she happened to feel down, she could open it and we could shout cheers of encouragement in the same way that we did to each song that she performed.

At 9, everyone was in place other than Jack himself. His band members had taken position behind their instrument of choice. The Spanish/Italian style interlude of Written in Scars that marks the start of the eponymous track from his new album as it begins to play. The room, packed full of members of Jack's close-knit fan base, allow cheers to be reciprocated right up to the rafters.

Across the hours Jack sailed through a charismatic set complemented by his raspy voice, a selection of guitars and the added accessory of a tambourine at his disposal. Each of his songs showcase some of the belters of his four albums, the majority being from the most recent of the two. As with every show of his I've encountered to date, he was left to conquer the stage solo part way through in order to share an anecdote about song Nobody 'Cept You and how he insists it was the song to save his life. "I wasn't standing on the edge of a cliff or anything," he announced. "But emotionally- I was pretty screwed up. This song sort of put me in place." As he went on to sing those listening tended to react in one of two ways. It was the perfect mixture of those chorusing the lyrics back at him and those who were left silent in both admiration and apprehension. They allowed the words to effect them in the same way that they had effected Jack as he first encountered them all those years ago. He smiled coyly at those in front of him and seemed unable to get his head around the concept that he had managed to fill the room with people that were there to see him perform.

Other favourites were Not Worthy and Knock Knock from penultimate album Before The Storm and tracks The Other Side Of Love and Sweet Hurt were met with a roar of complete and utter approval. Tie Me Down was greeted with laughter as Jack insisted that, despite the opinions of foreign journalists, the song was not based of Fifty Shades of Grey. With each song the prestige each audience member had for the Italian-Englisher grew and time and time again he found himself greeted with what can only be described as rapturous applause. A reception he was clearly chuffed with.

Jacks success will continue to grow off the back of his new album and I left the building with his setlist in hand feeling reassured that my third encounter with Jack will not be the last.

EARL
JACK

Review: The Crookes @ The Globe, Cardiff

an action shot to beat all action shots
An album called Chasing After Ghosts was an album that helped me to my feet both literally and mentally. I came across The Crookes three years ago on an unfortunate sick day from school where, with a mound of both duvets and discarded tissues, I stumbled upon their spotify page. Now, when I say a sick day I mean I felt as if I had been physically glued to my bed and that my limbs were incapable of anything other than remaining static. Yet, as I clicked the shuffle button on their first ever album and the beating of a drum replaced the bleak silence I had been sat in I felt almost revitalised. A song called Chorus of Fools filled the empty air and it was the kind of song that it seemed a crime not to dance to; so that is exactly what I did. I twirled around until the feeling of dizziness overcame any illness within and I went on to loop that same song for the remainder of the day. So that is why seeing it live this month was, for me, on a whole new level of cool.

I can honestly say as I stood in a small venue in Cardiff and heard those opening drum beats to Chorus of Fools I was whisked right back to that one moment. The fairy lights that lined the walls around me and the blur of people all took little priority as I enjoyed that one moment of invisibility. That one moment that allowed me to travel back in time and remember discovering a band that have never failed to get me up on my feet.

On February 18th, indie rock band The Crookes were met with what I would have described as an extraordinarily small crowd. I've had my fair share of small gigs but the inhabitants of this venue consisted of barely enough people to fill a school assembly hall. Throughout support act Misty Miller nobody seemed to want to be the one to make the first move and step towards the stage. Fortunately, Misty filled the uncomfortable gap at the front of the room with incredible vocals. After notifying us that her band were stuck in traffic she took to the stage alone and shocked us all with a voice that was enough to cause anyone to choke on their drink - including my brother. She had such power and control that, despite being a penniless girl out to see some live music on a windy Thursday evening, even I couldn't refrain from handing her my five pound note in return for her latest EP. I had to go without a drink for the rest of the night but it was a small, worthwhile sacrifice that now means each morning can be filled with her songs once more.

At 9.30pm the four Sheffield lads that make up The Crookes took to the stage. Opening up with track 'Where Did Our Love Go' from their album Hold Fast there was very little I could do to prevent myself from singing and dancing along in time (but not quite in tune). They followed this with songs 'Maybe In The Dark' and 'Sofie', each of which start to receive more of an enthusiastic reaction from those in the room. It quickly became clear that The Crookes are a band that are not only consistently releasing an extensive amount of good music but a band that can kill a live show. I still question why they are yet to receive any widespread acclaim for taking on the music industry with their instruments in hand and giving it one hell of a a kick up the backside.

The rest of the setlist consisted of a selection of songs across all of their various albums. This included old favourites like Backstreet Lovers and a large chunk of their newly released album Lucky Ones. 'When You're Fragile' and 'Play Dumb' representing album Soapbox were both punchy and bursting with life. Misty Miller also returned to the stage partway through the sixteen part setlist to assist performing beautifully written B-side 'Ex-Lovers'. Band frontman, George Waite, claimed the stage as his own and I often watched in wonder as his long blonde mop featured as much action as a television hair commercial. George, alongside Dan, Tom and Croftsy, were not afraid to let lose as is clearly demonstrated in the action shot above. Each of them could plainly feel a connection with what they were playing and sweet serendipity meant this could be shared with every single one of us.

If you ever find yourself with the chance to experience The Crookes both live or through your computer screen I urge you to grasp it with both hands. I will continue to long for people to listen until this four-piece are playing sold out shows in the large venues that they deserve. Even if that means that, as I did in Cardiff, I won't be able to have a casual chat with them at the merch stand following the show I will still long for people to open there ears to what is a truly infectious sound complemented with song writing that would put us all to shame. In saying that, if they continue to play these intimate shows there is nothing that will stop me coming back again and again for more.

As The Crookes say in their track 'Outsiders', "everyone you love will leave you in the end". But not good music. Good music stays with us forever.

an A to Z of musical favourites

I used to think you could tell an awful lot about a person by the type of music that they listen to. I believed that a massive part of who I was would depend on what variations and genres I had sitting happily in my music library. Yet now, as I scroll through it, it's clear that not even the smartest of beings could decipher just what I'm like by scrolling through the the artists and albums on my phone. On Monday I might fancy listening to a couple of tracks by the Arctic Monkeys, on Tuesday I might shuffle my playlist of favourite tracks from The Crookes and on Wednesday I might even crave a listen to the Mamma Mia soundtrack for all I know. The code is just impossible to crack. I love music that really does stretch right across the board but if there is one thing I love just as much as I love music it's writing lists. So today I decided to combine the two in the hope that maybe you can give your best shot and shine a bit of light on what type of a person I really am based on the songs that I enjoy a good listen to.

A


Adult Diversion - Alvvays
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZHPCcFmEjc

Alloway Grove - Paolo Nutini
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_v1k1NcWSE

B


Big Jet Plane - Angus & Julia Stone
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFTvbcNhEgc

Bide Your Time - The Courteeners
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn56gcM0lCA


C


Come on Eileen - Dexys Midnight Runners
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc-P8oDuS0Q

Change Your Mind For Me - Max Jury
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZaWwRzIczY


D


Don't Look Back In Anger - Oasis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8OipmKFDeM

Drumming Song - Florence + The Machine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boo2Zm69fhY


E


Echolalia - The Crookes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNgb4QVNvlM

Everybody Needs Somebody To Love (cover) - The Rolling Stones
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svyDreZxQgI


F


Fluorescent Adolescent - Arctic Monkeys
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma9I9VBKPiw

Friday I'm In Love - The Cure
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGgMZpGYiy8


G


Grow - Rae Morris ft. Tom Odell
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjHCMhUH8PI

Godless Girl - The Crookes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlsxt6nLzO0


H


Here Comes Your Man - Pixies
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPgf_btTFlc

Hold Me - Tom Odell
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejdOAvl5by0


I


It's Hard To Get Around The Wind - Alex Turner
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOZZomkMZLk

In The Heat Of The Morning - The Last Shadow Puppets (David Bowie cover)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCK09PwOQMc


J


Just A Game - Birdy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBcQjTKAOQI

Jane B - Jane Birkin
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkqIp9zPKL4


K


Knock Knock - Jack Savoretti
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2nRLeEQhYo

Kiss With A Fist - Florence + The Machine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SmxVCM39j4


L


Live Forever - Oasis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_2mWhfOhGU

Love Spreads - The Stone Roses
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ct-qa6SjRZo


M


Mardy Bum - Arctic Monkeys
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMRnlCpTWI4

Marcy - The Crookes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1maBB6oRdqE


N


Nobody Cept You - Jack Savoretti
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NI7MI03I5g

Not Nineteen Forever - The Courteeners
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YC8FET-EGVM


O


O Children - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtrKPsUlM0E

Old Hearts - Benjamin Booker
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dSAnCZKDR0


P


Panic - The Smiths
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMykYSQaG_c

Piledriver Waltz - Arctic Monkeys
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrUqC6zZk94


Q


Queen Of Peace - Florence + The Machine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7mXXqfVeGc


R


Riverman - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuubqoEb4jE

Roll With It - Oasis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrARl0dzd-0


S


Slide - Jake Bugg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWOGwSeVQR8

Sirens - Tom Odell
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VstyN3ww3_4


T


To The Sea - Jack Johnson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23iQIe1SsQQ

Two Doors Down - Mystery Jets
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2Dl3VQ2K2U


U


Unloveable - The Smiths
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xldmXca0kvg

Under The Shadows - Rae Morris
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYgXSoA5njA


V


Vagabond - Jack Savoretti
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gmS7zpT_QQ

Van Der Graaff - The Courteeners

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIExorobwCU


W


Where Is My Mind? - Pixies
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33ytJpODUUs

Wings - Birdy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJTXDCh2YiA


X


Ex-Lovers - The Crookes ft. Misty Miller (close enough!!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWyOpesR-Z8


Y


You're Just Like Christmas - The Crookes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAgG_4v6tR0

You've Got To Hide Your Love Away - Oasis (The Beatles Cover)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTsDs4K5Kkk


Z


Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXq5VvYAI1Q


A winter weekend and a winter playlist

Bethan
Everyone is fully aware of the fact that January and February well and truly suck. The days are short and miserable and Christmas is no longer there to provide us with even a bit of cheer. I can no longer stuff my face with mince pie after mince pie under the safety of my fairy lights and I actually have to think about doing some work. I often wake up and feel as if the only thing that I am truly capable of doing is cocooning myself further into my duvet and attempting to stay in hibernation until Spring comes around. I often feel that life would've been so much easier if I had been born a bear. The idea of getting a seven month hibernation break each year sounds like the exact remedy to my winter fatigue.

All of these January blues often lead me to spend my weekends in bed with the company of Sims 4 and a packet of dried fruit. What a life I lead. However, this past weekend I found my usual schedule of emerging, blank faced and bed headed, from my slumber at midday was scrapped. I was downstairs, weary eyed but ready to face the day, at as early as eight AM last Saturday. I still can't quite believe it myself.

After having spent these past months doing very little, it was odd to find that last weekend I spent not just one but two days at the beach. Despite the fact that it's not exactly the weather for it, the wind didn't even stop me kicking off my shoes and socks and going for a bit of a dip. I had Paolo Nutini playing out from my phone in my coat pocket and Mollie and I spent a good fifteen minutes running in and out with the tide. We emerged numb footed with sodden jeans but the best part of it was in those fifteen minutes life completely passed me by. It sounds strange, but it was almost as if I had forgotten everything other than the feeling of the water beneath me. Sometimes, a bit of good music and the company of friends is more that enough to make you forget any worries or woes (the deluxe banana milkshake and chocolate orange brownie that Bethan and I completely demolished also helped)!

I'm going to do something that I haven't done in almost a year and share a link to my Spotify playlist again today. The following songs have been getting me through both my aforementioned January blues and also endless college breaks when I find myself struck down by boredom. Looking back at old playlists is something that I used to find funny due to my apparent inability to understand what good music actually was. The songs I would listen to would be so random and all over the place meaning that there was no calling as to what I would be into next. However, across the last few years, I've really found some super artists that really do it for me and now my music taste actually rarely falters. These are just a few of my favourites.


Candy - Paolo Nutini
To The Sea - Jack Johnson
The World Is Waiting - The Crookes
Heart Beats Slow - Angus & Julia Stone
From Eden - Hozier
I Think It's Going To Rain Today - Tom Odell
Great American Novel - Max Jury
Drumming Song - Florence + The Machine
Loving You - Paolo Nutini
Live Forever - Oasis
Soapbox - The Crookes
Not Nineteen Forever (Live at Castlefield Bowl) - The Courteeners

You may have heard of them, but have you really listened?

Max Jury live in Swansea - OCTOBER 2015 - Photo by Bethan Challice (my best pal)
The music industry is a weird and wonderful place that is constantly expanding with so many new creators that I often wonder if there is possibly room for anymore. However, the fact that the world is full of people wanting to make it to the top means, in the same way as it does in any industry, people get left behind on the way up. You would think that in a world full of 7 billion people there must be enough ears to go round but unfortunately many budding musicians are stuck singing in the streets outside stadiums and often these artists can be even better than the ones playing inside them.

At any social gathering I attend, I know my place. I stay well away from the aux cord purely because I know that my music library will be greeted with blank stares and an awkward shifting of feet. I’m happy to admit that I’m a massive fan of the smaller, lesser known musicians around nowadays. There is something a lot more intimate with listening to someone that your peers are yet to discover. There’s a weird feeling that comes alongside it; as if your ears are the first to hear this music preceding their explosion into the top 100. The biggest perk of this for sure is the concerts you get to attend, in arenas so small that you can practically strum a band member’s guitar for yourself.


I’m going to share with you a selection of underrated musicians that I believe deserve more publicity. As much as I have loved the intimate stage keeping their songs to myself, there is only so long that this can go on for. It’s the same as keeping a secret, you can only go a certain amount of time before blurting it out to someone.


Max Jury.
After seeing singer Jack Savoretti live last October, I was struck by support act Max Jury. It’s not often that a support act really attracts my attention yet the words and keyboard skills of Max had enough magic carried through them to capture both my head and my heart. He is still yet to release a full length album so I find myself in a position where I have played the five or six songs on his Spotify inside out and it has left me longing for more. Everything about his voice is hypnotic and subsequently leaves you in a sort of trance for quite some time after. Not only does he have some great songs to his name, but he also happens to be a genuinely awesome person. After discovering that his gig in Bristol that I hoped to attend was an 18+, he personally messaged me after spotting my distressed tweet on Twitter and promised that he would contact his management in the hope that I could attend. Unfortunately, the venue he was playing at was strictly 18 and over, but in commiserations Max offered to play a free show for me and ten friends in a local coffee shop in the day before the show! I was devastated at the fact that I was unable to do this due to having college to attend and it being exam month so I couldn't confirm whether or not I happened to have an exam, but the whole thing ended in him following me on both Twitter and Instagram. I already loved the fact that he has crafted some truly enchanting tunes but the fact that he is such a top guy on top of that just makes me enjoy his music even more than I thought was possible.



TOP TRACKS

  1. Change Your Mind For Me
  2. Black Metal
  3. Great American Novel
  4. Home


The Last Shadow Puppets.
After being introduced to the Arctic Monkeys thanks to hearing  older, much cooler, family members talk about them I soon became captivated by their world of sunglasses, leather jackets and cigarettes despite only ever owning the first of the three. I would sit on the bus drumming along to my favourite Arctic Monkey’s songs that were pulsating rhythmically from my headphones at such a volume that they could be heard by anyone around me with ease. In a sense I was just providing a soundtrack for everyone who had chosen to take the same mode of transport. I soon discovered that Alex Turner, Arctic Monkeys front man and vocalist, had another band to his name. The Last Shadow Puppets. Here he paired up with Miles Kane to create music that was even grittier than the Arctic Monkeys.  The Last Shadow Puppets are definitely the most popular of the bands I’m covering due to having more well-known members than the rest, however I still believe they deserve even more recognition than they have. It pains me to say that only two of my friends know of their existence. After coming across the band, an instant click of a button found their first ever CD on my doorstep in a matter of days. Despite the CD having been released in 2008, it only appeared on my radar by 2012 and it’s still played regularly now. Following the birth of some monkey babies, the Arctic Monkeys disappeared off scene slightly and nothing was heard from The Last Shadow Puppets until the back end of 2015. Before anyone had time to digest what was going on, they were back with a new album in the works as a gift to start of the New Year. Cue many more hours of drum time on my bus journeys.


TOP TRACKS

  1. In The Heat Of The Morning
  2. Meeting Place
  3. Standing Next To Me 
  4. Calm Like You



The Crookes.
The Crookes are another band that have sat happily in just my music library for far too long. I won’t lie, I did expect them to blow up. Everyone loves a good indie rock band but seemingly the only other person aware of them is my brother due to my persistent raving about them since the very beginning of 2013. The best thing about The Crookes is that, unlike many bands, I feel that they literally don't have a single bad or even weak song. This means that the fact that I don't own a premium account on Spotify is not a problem because there is not one song that I would skip. They have such a distinct sound but no two songs are the same and I absolutely love that. I know now that when I go on to pick my four top tracks it'll probably end up exceeding the number because picking a favourite is one of the hardest decisions ever. They all have the potential to be crowned and claim the top spot. Despite having listened to them for three years, I am only now getting to see them live this February; with my brother in tow. They are another example of how a small band means only one thing- intimate gigs. Googling the venue in Cardiff, the main thing that struck me was that it was not much bigger than my bedroom. Now, granted, I do have a big bedroom as bedrooms go, but as gig venues go this is quite possibly the smallest I’ve seen to date. I am honestly so excited but really we all know that over-excited should have been my middle name.



TOP TRACKS
  1. Marcy
  2. Backstreet Lovers
  3. Maybe In The Dark
  4. By The Seine
  5. Sofie
  6. I Remember Moonlight
  7. Play Dumb
(I thought narrowing it down to four would be a problem. Turns out narrowing it down to seven was just as hard.)


Slow Club.

Finally, the duo that call themselves Slow Club are the magic behind one of the first CD’s I ever bought with my own money. Probably the most anomalous of my selection, Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor create so many weird and wonderful sounds that will tease me for as long as I shall live. With music stretching from indie pop to folk rock and everything in between, they are definitely a band that can only be described as a lucky dip. You can’t possibly predict what they are going to bring out next and that is purely the fun of it. For me, Slow Club songs are the biggest trigger of memories. I've had so many good times that happened to coincide with playing their music and as soon as one of their songs comes on shuffle I am almost automatically whisked back to a time where I felt superior. Due to them both being
multi-instrumentalists, there is no stopping Slow Club when it comes to pushing the boundaries. They also win my award for being the first band to produce a song for me to set as my alarm in the mornings without me growing to hate the song. Waking up at 6am and still feeling like you want to get up and twirl around the room isn’t something to be taken for granted.


TOP TRACKS
  1. Giving Up On Love
  2. Half Drunk
  3. Beginners
  4. The Pieces
  5. Our Most Brilliant Friends
  6. Tears Of Joy
(The only thing you've probably learnt from this post is that I suck at making decisions. Especially when it comes to music.)

two years on

A photograph taken by my Grandad in 1973
January 19th, two days from now, marks the day that I made the decision two years ago to publish my first ever post here. Two years seems like an awfully long time to be consecutively stringing together the same twenty six letters in various formations for more my own entertainment than anyone else's. I started this wanting to get somewhere from it but now, I don't really feel like this  anymore. I don't want it to take me anywhere because, ultimately, I'm more than happy with where I am now. When it comes down to it, that's really what this has been about.

The idea of having my own portfolio of work was cool. I wanted somewhere to share what I hoped I had to offer. But now I feel like this is more than that. Sometimes I feel like I rely on this way of conveying my life experiences and feelings as another way to keep me sane. More than anything, I also use it to relive the moments where I felt both invincible and happy. Really happy. It's somewhere that I can bundle my happiness, sadness, love and disappointments into one place and understand why I feel like it at the same time.

I really like to question myself on just how much I have changed in the last year. When I muse at this exact moment twelve months ago I can't really be sure of the exact thoughts that had entered my head as I went about thanking everyone for the last three hundred and sixty five days. On the other hand, all I can seem to think about now is just how weird the concept of measuring time actually is. I've been pulling sentences together for seven hundred and thirty days. When it actually comes down to it I've been writing here for the same amount of time as it takes for the earth to fully orbit the sun twice; which is an odd way to think about it I'm sure. But whether or not I am on day one or day one thousand the point I'm trying to make is that I'm still yet to give it all up. I might feel different to how I was last year but the truth is I've not changed as much as I seem to think. I still worship Tom Odell's voice as if it was it's own religion, I still love spending every living moment surrounded by friends and I still drink enough of Lipton's Ice Tea to quench the thirst of a family of ten. On top of all this, I still write. Whether it's here, in a journal, in the notes section of my phone or on the back of a receipt I am still using my words and that is really the most important thing about being here for two years. I've found my voice.

The main reason I love to do this is for my Grandad in the hope that he would be proud of me if he was still here to read this. I adore the fact that he documented his life through the means of endless photographs and this is exactly why I like to do the same. I just like to share my words alongside my pictures as a way of capturing and bottling up my years of living into a small space like this. One day I look forward to looking back over years of, well, life. But for now, I have a lot more living to do.