Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Loving 2013

 1) CHRIS MARTIN - CHEATERS PRAYER. 

When it is warm, you cannot beat some reggae beats. This is just a fact of life. So let me introduce you to Chris Martin. No, not the guy from Coldplay. I first heard this song in my Dad's car and it made me laugh so much! I still love it now. Other songs to listen out for would be "Paper Loving" and "Beautiful."



2) LORDE - ROYALS.

I know I always say I have songs on repeat but this one was ridiculous I had it on a continuous loop for over two weeks and I am still not bored of it. It's one of those songs that are perfect for a journey on public transport. All you need to know about Lorde: she is from New Zealand, only a teenager and a brilliant song writer. 



3) ASAF AVIDAN - ONE DAY. 

I prefer the non-remixed version of this song but for Summer this Wankelmut Remix is a lot better. Lyrically, simple. Musically, intelligent. He is a great live performer and really captures the sentiment of each song he writes. I don't know why he reminds me so much of Daryl Palumbo of Head Automatica/ Glassjaw. 


4) BEIRUT - POSTCARDS FROM ITALY. 

I accidentally clicked shuffle on my phone and was greeted by this old favourite of mine. Since that day, I have been listening to this album far too much. So it seems Balkan folk music is most certainly my thing. This is the song I am going to set our California 2013 trip video footage to. So excited. If you have never listened to Beirut please start by listening to their first album from which this song comes from. 



5) YOUTH LAGOON - DAYDREAM.

A band I knew little or nothing about but, having gone to one of thier gigs at Gorilla in Manchester a few days ago, I am a convert. The style is almost dream-pop like? Do you know what I mean? Ambient and mystical. Definitely worth giving them a listen whilst reading a book and sipping on a diet coke! 


Well there are plenty more I could add to this list but I don't want to bore you! I will be writing an exclusive I got from a certain MR DJ DEREK in my next post. So please keep your eyes peeled. And apologies for not posting for so long!! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Blues Revival...

JACKSON C. FRANK. 

It's probably not the kind of music you should start your year listening to but most of you know I have a strong appreciation for musical storytelling, especially when there is a sad story to tell. The story of Mr Frank is quite an extraordinary one.... 


His life was as tragic as any bluesman, his songs laced with melancholy and simplistic honesty. Whilst researching him I found that there had been many dark turns of fate which brought to life his lyrical genius.  Through his misfortune his talent was born, he learnt how to play the guitar after being badly burned in a school fire. Following a substantial compensation settlement he left America in 1965, for less sunnier climes here in the UK. 

He arrived in the midst of the British folk revival where he influenced, and was influenced by an impressive list of musicians including Paul Simon (who produced Mr Frank's first and only album.) Upon trying to record his second album he developed writer's block, with money running low he returned to the USA. Along this journey he married a former fashion model and lost his son to cystic fibrosis. 

What followed was a rapid downwards spiral - childhood scars burned, disappointment and mourning wept, a shot to the eye left him blind, homelessness on the cold streets of New York ensued and all roads led to mental illness.

In the early 90's - Jim Abbott- an admirer of Frank's work tried to help him record a new album but the songs they cut were not the glorious return to form either of them had expected. His life experiences had wore thin the voice that made him special. Jackson C. Frank died in March 1999 from pneumonia and a heart attack.  

A special album including the 'newer' material he recorded is what I am now in possession of. My favourite 'newer' Frank song would have to be "Halloween Is Black as Night." It has a brilliant despondency and sounds remarkably like a Leonard Cohen song, only much darker and more desperate than Cohen has ever been.   

My favourite songs with a 3 word review: 
    1. MARLENE - blissful folk lovesong
    2. HERE COME THE BLUES - traditional raw blues
    3. PRIMA DONNA OF SWANS - beautiful lyrical imagery

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Reggae and Clarks Connection.

We all did it; stood on a wooden block feeling all disgruntled while a “nice lady” measured our feet. She’d run off to the back to get three boxes of exactly the same patent black shoes with a little buckle to the side. They were reliable, durable and perfect for anyone under the age of five, well of course they were; they were Clarks.

 At that age you wished they didn’t fit or that your parents were cooler so you could have the awesome shoes, you know the ones… with the red lights that flashed as you walked. Those weren’t just any school shoes they were the super cool, super amazing, wow your friends and strut a little school shoes. But nope, your evil parents would insist on the sensible ones that they thought were cute, they’d aww and talk about how quickly you were growing up and if you mentioned those light up beauties you’d be told they were for boys, like that would stop me wanting them. Please! 

If only at that age I had realised that in Jamaica not only would I have been at the height of fashion with my Clarks kicks on but I might even have gotten into some bother with the Police. Yes, you read that right. Okay, maybe not at five years old but add 20 years and make me a man and there might have been a problem.....

So what is Jamaica’s love affair with traditional Clarks shoes? Well mostly a love of UK goods. In the late 50’s and early 60’s there was a massive wave of immigration from the Caribbean and Clarks became a shoe of choice for people when they arrived. Going home in them was a revelation and a pair of shoes became the perfect gift from loved ones residing in the UK.

Clarks opened up a store in Kingston when they cottoned on to this new untapped market and things got crazy. It was the boots that the Jamaican boys were after, they were expensive but if they were going to have them they would have to be Clarks. The shop sold 400 pairs in 5 days which meant they sold out!

But the people who were buying them weren’t just boys they were Rude Boys. I guess you could liken their reputation to that of a Chav. The shoes had become a status symbol amongst them, like Zoot Suits for Italians in America. As the shoes became an important part of the Rude Boy uniform they also became a method of establishing “troublemakers” by the police. In a bid to crack down on fights and bad behaviour most clubs in Jamaica wouldn’t allow anyone wearing them in!

A ban on imports made them more desirable as they were harder to get a hold of which meant trips to the UK to bring them back began again and even now they are still the footwear of choice for anyone whose anyone!

In the modern day, it’s not much of a surprise to see an elderly Jamaican man wearing a pair of Clarks shoes but if you ask him about his life and his dress sense over the years,  I’m sure he’d have a few interesting stories to tell.  

Here’s Vybz Kartell showing his appreciation of the brand we rejected aged 5: 


Inspired by a Newsnight news package.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Forgive me, for I am only human...


I have been threatened by my trustee followers that they will no longer follow this blog unless I actually post something. So let me start by apologising for my absence, times have been busy, stressful, exciting and ever changing but these are not excuses.

Instead of reflecting on what I have been listening to, watching and craving from the fashion weeks that seem so long ago, I will give you a slice of three things I love.


INTRODUCING …. KYLA LA GRANGE.

 

Her debut album “Ashes” was thrown into my life by chance and I was not disappointed. Florence and the Machine worshippers may tune their ears to Kyla’s vocals and rejoice in a folkier/goth version of the Welch master!  

The album itself is quite a mixed bag. One thing I think it lacks is continuity – even the vocals sound different on each track – but I think that makes for a charming listen. You move from the anthemic vibes of “Been Better” to the grass roots folk (similar to Frazey Ford) on “Woke up Dead” to the quirks of Americana on “The River.” It’s a bit of a rollercoaster but give the girl a break, it’s her first album! For me, it has been the perfect accompaniment to these dark nights – be that on the tram ride home from work or a night in, in the pod. For anybody who appreciates a bit of drama and darkness, this is your album.
Above is my favourite. 

INTRODUCING…  THE WINTER LBD ENLACED.


For the past few months I have been pawing my way through magazines and eyeing up beautiful black lace dresses. Lace is such a difficult thing to wear – you can end up looking like your dressed for Halloween, as a widow, a Goth or just really cheap and tacky. But there is something about the fabric that is both elegant and sexy. It’s been worn by many a celebrity this winter already and was a big hit for Dolce and Gobanna on the runways in Milan this year. So I finally did it, I purchased myself a full sleeved lace dress with a high neckline. I’ll be honest, it did look more Goth than hot but I liked it anyway. For once in my life I decided to go for a trend I wasn't sure would suit me and I didn't die or anything, so maybe I’ll take a fashion risk again at some time!   

INTRODUCING… THE NEWSROOM.

I am obsessed. For anyone who works in a newsroom this is a must. I felt so pained waiting for the weekly episodes to be aired that I waited until they were all recorded on sky plus and watched them in one sitting. Then I watched them all again the following week! Characters, plotline and scriptwriting was all impeccable. I laughed at least once in every episode. The thing I loved most was that I realised just how exciting my job was and that I could liken the characters to people I know. The programme blurred the line between tv drama and reality by using real life events and showed how newsrooms in America might have dealt with them. One of my trusty friends also revealed that one of the characters “Mackenzie” was based on a BBC Newsnight producer, which explained why the fictional programme had the same name!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer loving with a sprinkle of rain...

.... here is a soundtrack to the past few months: I'll add the words later!


















Friday, March 30, 2012

The comeback kids....

You have to love those artists that just leave you hanging for a few years and then come back with some incredible material. Okay, we don't get many of them... but this year it looks like it's about to change....

REGINA SPEKTOR - ROWBOATS

It has been three years since her last album and I am so glad to find that she hasn't lost her sense of self in her new material, like so many others do.I am actually really loving the fusion of old and new! If anything I'd say her sound has developed and with maturity the impact and impression she leaves lasts a hell of a lot longer. I really love this new song and if you haven't listened to any of her other stuff please do....


THE SHINS - SIMPLE SONG

First of all let me say what an amazing video this is! I really did love The Shins back when I was in college and I think it has been close to five years since they last released anything! Times may have changed since the original band were on the scene but now with a few new members the quality of this track just speaks for itself and I'm sure it'll have a place on most people's playlists! You can't deny yourself a sexy power-pop riff!

LET IT BE KNOWN...

Bonjourno, I think it's time you got under my skin... don't pretend like you don't have songs that fall under all of these headings! Maybe it should be a bloggerooo trend... you all post the songs that fit! That's not going to happen is it? Didn't think so....
Anyway, the artists/tracks are all pretty new so please... enjoy!

MUSIC TO DANCE IN THE STREET TO: 
---- NIKI AND THE DOVE - THE DRUMMER


It isn't the kind of music I listen to on the regular but there is just something about Niki and The Dove that makes me want to listen. I had a similar feeling when it came to Miss Kitten and the Hacker a gazzillion years ago. Even though I feel pretentious listening to these tracks in public - I love them and they do make me want to break out in dance... of course I always refrain and act like everyone else... not... haha! 

MUSIC TO HAVE A CASUAL STROLL TO:
----MILES KANE - FIRST OF MY KIND


Miles Kane on this song really really reminds me of Echo and The Bunnymen and no, it's not the way  he sings"moon" there is just something there...  The pace and tempo of this song is actually quite useful as it means you can get to work on time and still look casual and cool whilst doing it. Or is it just me that walks in time to the music?

MUSIC THAT MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR IN A MUSIC VIDEO:
----JAMES N COMMON - DEVIL IN ME


If only he was attractive but he isn't and I don't think that'll change anytime soon, but I still love him. He sounds like a whiskey drinking, smoker that you'd find in the corner of an American bar. The kind who doesn't speak to anyone - doesn't actually like humans and wishes you were dead. Basically the kind of guy every stupid girl like myself... loves! haha

MUSIC FOR WHEN YOU'RE ABOUT TO FIGHT:
----DOT ROTTEN - ARE YOU NOT ENOUGH?


I think it is fair to say that Dot Rotten is possibly the only/first viable answer the United Kingdom has had to Eminem. Now, as much of a surprise as it may be... I was quite a big Marshall Mathers fan back in the day, as was my mom (because she is from the ghetto's like me) so yes... I think I may like Dot Rotten although every now and then I say Dot Cotton like the woman from Eastenders. Not good!

MUSIC THAT MAKES YOU THINK OF SUMMER:
----VARIOUS CRUELTIES - NEON TRUTH


There is nothing like a traditionally English sounding band with all the trimmings that make for a super summer sound. If anything I feel a little bit of an old school Mystery Jet's vibe from this song but that may just be because I have had a recent resurgence of love for them. Either way, I adore this track and based on that reason alone I feel it may play the soundtrack to Summer 2012. 

MUSIC YOU ROCK YOUR HEAD/THROW YOUR ARMS TO: 
----YOUNG GUNS - BONES


After Cheesy played me his package that was mixed to Papa Roach, it brought back a wave of emotion and reminded me of my old taste in music. It seems as though times have changed but the Young Guns seem to be keeping that whole genre alive and well. Maybe I need a "taste of chaos" in my life again? That is if they are still happening? Oh my god, how old am I? 

MUSIC YOU CAN FALL ASLEEP TO: 
----JASON MRAZ - I WON'T GIVE UP 


It's just standard Mraz isn't it? He always knows how to make music that makes you feel tired... in a good way of course! It's just super relaxing, a little sad and at the right volume it can be perfect. I'm really looking forward to hearing the new album... if this single is anything to go by it should be amazing. 

MUSIC THAT MAKES YOU WANT TO SPIN AROUND ON A SUNNY DAY:
----WARPAINT - UNDERTOW


I had been listening to this song on repeat for the past few weeks. Not like, all the time... just a lot of the time. Then my friend Chelsea posted it to me as it came on her ipod and she wanted to share the love of one of her favourite bands... coincidence? As incubus wisely said - there's no such thing! But either way, this is a lovely song and it is one of those that makes me wish I had a floaty white dress, daisy chains and a field with a single pony in it - to frolic with! 

AND EVERY GOOD POST SHOULD END WITH SOMETHING LOVELY... 
.....SO HERE IS WHAT REAL LOVE LOOKS LIKE
IN THE FORM OF CHUCK AND BLAIR FROM GOSSIP GIRL!