Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dexter Season 8 Finale.

After 8 long seasons Dexter has finally finished. It's been a bumpy journey with season highs and season lows, some having people wanting more and sending imaginations wild whilst other leaving viewers thinking "well, that season was a bit awful wasn't it?" (Spoilers)
This season has been one of Dexter's better seasons for me, but not its best. I found the return of Hannah McKay really annoying, after not being able to get rid of his dark passenger when around her in the previous season that she was in, it seemed ridiculous to me that McKay suddenly stopped him wanting to be that person any more. 

The season finale showed after deb getting shot, her going into hospital with Quinn, having an emotional talk about how she's done bad things and would have to save "a bus full of nuns" to make up for it, for him to reassure her that she's a good person. After this we see Harrison and Dexter looking for McKay at the airport, who has hid in the bathroom due to Elway looking for her, to help her escape, Dexter plants a bag and tells airport staff he just saw Elway walk away from it suspiciously, thus making people leave the airport. (Do airport security not have camera's?) but also delaying their own flight.

Dexter tells Hannah to get on the bus with Harrison, catch the flight to Argentina and he'll meet them out there after finding out Saxon has hurt Deb he wants nothing more than a final kill. (FINALLY) Seeing a blood covered Saxon walking towards Debs room (who just before had cut out the tongue of the man that stitched up his arm as a distraction to get into the hospital) Dexter grabs a hospital fork as a weapon and walks towards Saxon before he is caught by Lt. Batista holding a gun to his head, arresting him and taking him off. Dexter walks into Debs room to find it empty. 

Debs condition has worsened as he finds out from Quinn and going to her room they found out she suffered a blood clot, meaning that she will no longer be able to do anything but breathe on her own. This, hurting Dexter seeing his sister that's life has been ruined by him goes to the cell in which Saxon is staying and provokes him to stab Dexter with a pen knowing there's a camera in the room. After Saxon stabs him, he pulls the pen out and stabs Saxon in the neck, killing him before pressing the emergency button and quivering because Saxon tried to kill him. Batista and Quinn interview Dexter as to why he went into the room. Dexter says because of the state Deb was in he wanted to make sure everything was done properly. Quinn says "I only wish I could of done it myself" after Batista agree's he killed Saxon in self defence. 

I did enjoy the scene where Saxon got caught, I really wanted to see him get shot but I hated that Deb was suffering in a vegetated state. I wanted her to get better and to cuddle Harrison and to give her many Fucks and Shits at the fact Saxon came back. 

But this part annoyed me, the way Dexter was on security camera yet no one came to the room when he was stabbed until he pressed a button? Plus the footage of him reaching over to stab Saxon, watching him fall to the floor and standing there in glory over seeing him dead for everything he's done, he slowly pushes the button in a completely straight posture before he quivers in fear. That was frustrating, surely they should force someone into being in the room with someone who's been filmed enjoying murdering a bunch of people, left a mental hospital and had just tried to kill again. I would expect full security.

Then the scene in which Hannah and Harrison are on the bus ready to catch a flight before revealing Elway is sat next to them and that he's getting off on their stop, taking Hannah with him and giving Harrison across to child protection services. Hannah near a stop takes out a flask and offers Elway tea, to which he looks at her as if to say he's stupid. She's hiding one of Dexter's needles behind this small flask cup and stabs Elway in the leg, telling him he's going to sleep for around 8 hours. Hannah wakes Harrison and flees the bus.

But seriously? No one else on the bus overheard Hannah saying she just gave him a shot of tranquillizer and that he's going to be unconscious? Or the fact that Elway was about to arrest her? Plus the fact no one saw this huge needle including Elway that was hidden behind a flask? Not suspicious at all. 

Dexter takes his boat to the hospital which is evacuating getting ready for the storm, dressed in his green shirt and gloves, he visits Deb and rings Harrison, telling him he loves him and to remember that every day until he next sees him. He takes Deb off the life support, not shedding a tear and takes her out the hospital, once outside, he lifts Debra's body through a crowd of people with nothing but a sheet over her and takes her to his boat placing her along the seat and drives off.

By now I was exhausted with the gaps and getaways Dexter was publicly making. I know there was an evacuation going on? But did him switching off everything that was helping Deb live not alert one member of staff? Not one person saw him wheel out a woman fully covered with a sheet over her head, pick up this body and walk off? No one saw or was alarmed/alerted? WHAT?

Dexter drives off into the sea picking Deb up and dumps her body in the sea. I thought this was the most awful part about it, despite loving the ocean, this is the place he comes to dumb bodies that he considers bad people, I was actually expecting and sort of hoping Dexter would jump into the sea holding Deb, die with her in his arms. But he dumps her and drives into the eye of Hurricane Laura. We then see Hannah and Harrison, Hannah finds out about Dexter not coming by seeing online that the remains of his boat were found, but he was gone, concluding that he had been killed, walking off hand in hand with Harrison to get ice cream. 

The series ends with a bearded Dexter getting out of a truck carrying lumber, he then walks into a building sits and stares directly into the Camera, so us the viewer. Now alone, protecting the people he loves from himself.

This was the most annoying ending possible for me, there was things that could of turned out much better and the fact that Dexter drives his boat into the eye of hurricane Laura (Notice the name of his mother?) and manages to somehow survive? Debra dying in the most horrible way possible. No final views from Quinn after Debs body disappearing, or Batista? No finding out about LaGuerta? Or any other kills? No views from Jamie about who took Harrison and was looking after him? Plus the fact Vince Masuka and his daughters storyline seemed a bit pointless and didn't feel like it progressed much at all. 

The one thing that made this season finale even slightly watchable for me, was the flashback of Deb and Dexter seeing Harrison for the first time. Discussing how they was a dad or an aunt, and Debra telling Dexter how he could look after Harrison easily, because he looked after her, staying with her as a child when the lights went off and she thought there was monsters in the room. I enjoyed that the final episode was named after this scene 'Remember the Monsters?'

Overall a poor season ending. I wish it would of been different and Dexter has certainly had better days. Although a really good show when it wants to be, I was thoroughly disappointed.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Grand Theft Auto 5

As a kid I was a huge fan of GTA Vice City and San Andreas. I played countless hours on those games as a kid. Since its PS2 days I haven't played any other GTA game so this overall review is jumping everything in between. (Spoilers)

The general advertisement for this game was incredible, I haven't heard so much about a new game coming out since Black Ops. I'm not someone who buys a lot of games, but I knew so many people who were pre ordering and despite not seeing any previews I got it the day of its release, 17th September 2013.

I must admit, I'm one of those people who is such a fidget during games, it takes a lot for me to sit still for countless hours fixated on one thing, however this game had me staring at my screen for around 32 hours to complete it. I also must admit my first mission fail wasn't even 20 seconds into playing, I wanted to find out the buttons straight away, I hate tutorials I just like reminders, so pointing a gun at a hostage before shooting him in the head was possibly the funniest "Oh" when playing a game I've had in a long while.

The game is based around the beginning tutorial level, focusing on the plot line of a heist that went wrong when character Trevor escaped leaving his partners Brad and Michael who had been shot. We then see it forwarded 10 years to character Franklin, who works as a repo man with his friend Lamar. Franklin meets Michael (living with a new identity, his wife and two kids) by repossessing his sons car and smashing it into the dealership they end up friends after 'sorting it out'. After Michael catches his wife in bed with someone, out of anger he pulls down the house of a Mexican drug lord and has to find the money to pay for its rebuild with the help of Franklin.

Michael and Franklin take on their first heist together, Trevor (believing Michael to be dead and Brad in prison) hear's about the heist and knows its Michael, and sets off to find his friend who he grieved for believing him to be dead for the past 10 years and after finding him is without a doubt, a little bit pissed off at him. (Naturally) Before they end up pulling off a few heists together themselves. 

The game in general took me a while to get into in terms of its controls, playing it on the xbox I found it difficult getting a grasp of the different controls depending on whereabouts whichever character you was playing was, whether driving, in combat or flying. Flying was the worst for me, especially when after a mission it required you to land a plane in a certain spot and if you was right next to it you had to fly off and do it all over again which got me heavily frustrated at times!

I loved that the characters had a phone each, being able to be updated with what new weapons you'd unlocked was really helpful, plus the storyline was always ongoing in between missions when people would ring you mid drive or text and you'd get to reply. I also enjoyed the fact the characters were able to take selfies. The general change in characters was really good too, you'd switch between characters if they were a fair distance away from each other by zooming out overlooking the map and zooming back into the next characters location where a cinematic clip would potentially play just before you got to move about which I really enjoyed.

Faults? Although I liked the large map, there was so many roads which didn't always make it easy getting around places quickly. A 20 minute drive from the bottom of the map to the top seemed a bit ridiculous and I couldn't do it considering mission areas were in such different places so I ended up getting a cab pretty much everywhere unless it was part of a heist or it was a short journey. Also I'm a pretty crappy driver, ended up flying through my car window and doing accidental stunt flips on more than one occasion. I get a temper when I crash into other cars from reckless driving in games, this was a major pain in the arse for me. Although I loved being able to get a taxi because if I didn't mind the wait I could go make a cup of tea on a taxi journey time. Excellent!

The game features one scene or rather mission however which made me feel slightly uncomfortable as well as other players in which you have to torture someone, pick what to torture them with and proceed with doing it. Its a bit of a shock and made me feel really on edge proceeding with the mission and I know its sparked a lot of hate from game reviewers. I think the only way this mission or rather scene is redeemed is after torturer Trevor gets ordered to kill off the guy he's been finding out information from (even when willing to give information continuing with the torture) he in fact lets him live, giving a speech about how when torturing people they can get information easily, just from a few simple threats, however "Torture's for the torturer, or the guy giving the orders to the torturer. You torture for the good times! We should all admit that. It's useless as a means of getting information".

My favourite part about this game was its detail. I was playing as Franklin and had to do a triathlon against some crazy angry woman and I walked into the water, seems simple? but the detail of the fact the characters shorts changed colour from the water gradually depending on how far I went in really amazed me, or how after getting out of the water the characters clothes would still look wet rather than instantly looking dry is such a simple yet really amazing detail and I loved that the creators really thought about the detail.

This game comes with many easy side quest missions too, which actually help you with building the skills of each character specifically shown depending on colours on the map. 

The voices of each character was great and fitted their characters perfectly, although seemingly stereotypical, they suited them so well although I can't recall a single cinematic scene, or any game play in fact which didn't involve at least one throw of cuss words and racial slur or the odd talk about incest and seeing a fair share of very detailed boobs so, that was certainly...interesting.

Overall I did really enjoy this game. I'm obviously gutted it only took me four days to complete, unlike San Andreas I can't see me playing it in general just to mess about considering its done although the ending (depending on which option you pick) didn't feel like it was over for me. 

Online game play doesn't start until October 1st though, I have no idea why? But I have a feeling it might be to do with wanting to get a lot of sales in its first week (which it did, 1 billion in the first three days if I'm right?) and ensuring people play the game before jumping straight online, which will make that interesting considering people who have got it before the online opening will have a fair bit of experience, so I guess that's an advantage?

I highly recommend buying this game! It was a lot of fun and the storyline was gripping and exciting, it does make you want to play continuously and I think that's the best part about a game, no matter how long it takes you to finish. Really enjoyable, plenty to do and a variety of missions. Brilliant.

GTAV - 5/5

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball

Miley Cyrus' actions have been questioned a lot lately, and whilst I've never been a fan of her music but can appreciate her voice I've sort of ended up keeping up to date with Cyrus' change due to social media and to be fair slight disgust from her being a major influence to a younger generation.

I'm not entirely sure what happened, but the 'We Can't Stop' video was let loose in June 2013 and got a lot of public attention. It's not surprising considering Cyrus is wearing barely anything and 'twerking' throughout whilst rolling around on a bed thrusting the air before slapping half the people in the video's derrières, sticking her tongue out every possible way throughout the entirety of the music video.

Then in August the VMA's happened which caused even more of an uproar when 20 year old Cyrus 'gave her all' during the Can't Stop performance and seeing a lot more twerking which frankly by now had got quite tiresome before she ripped off a teddy bear bodysuit to reveal a tight skin coloured two piece and receiving a foam pointing glove which she uses throughout her performance with Robin Thicke to inappropriately touch her body and grind or rather 'shake' her arse in front of Thickes junk, disturbing a lot of well known celebrities such as Rihanna and the Smith family.

I hadn't heard about Wrecking Ball until the music video came out and I saw it trending on social media site Twitter, I looked it up and was quite shocked at the results, the song was actually really good? Something I would probably listen to on the odd now and then, it was very emotional and about how love is very destructive. 

The video gave me controversial views however, Cyrus' begins the video with a close up of her face whilst singing as a single tear rolls down her face before it cutting to her back in the white underwear and tight top surrounded by brick walls and holding a sledgehammer, giving us the idea she would be taking out these walls herself, however I was wrong as a genuine wrecking ball crashes through the wall whilst Cyrus walks towards the camera.

The video then shows her swinging back and forth on this ball and she starts licking the sledgehammer and dragging her lips and tongue across it. Just over a 1 minute in revealing herself to now be in the nude on this wrecking ball swinging around with nothing but the chain and her arms covering her from being strip naked other than a pair of boots leaving very little to the imagination and images of her laying in the wreck of what the ball has caused.

I could slightly understand where the video was coming from if it's aim was to show that people do feel bare and vulnerable during a stage of a relationship which is or has ended, but after her previous behaviour I just don't understand if that's what she is really trying to show, I would be more convinced if she wasn't licking this sledgehammer which in this case had no part in the video, it was just Cyrus being Cyrus.

A lot of people feel the change is because "Miley is growing up" and the singer is of course wanting people to see her in a different light instead of being "That girl from the Disney channel."

But I feel there could of been better ways to show this, I agree her music ability has highly improved and that she is more herself than ever, but she has so many fans who are of a young age who will watch these videos and go "Well Miley did it, why can't I?" and in all honesty if my child was looking up to Cyrus who seems to be currently unable to stop licking and spanking people AND objects, I would be complaining and making sure Miley knew what impact she has on the younger mind.

Overall, Wrecking Ball is decent and I did enjoy it, the video is different but people are enjoying Thicke and Timberlake's songs which include nude women, so why can't Miley be nude for her more emotional and heartache feeling song? I just hope Cyrus' is aware of the impact she has, and decides to tone down her tongue wagging.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Brand New - Deja Entendu

Forgive my lack of posting the past few days, I've been ill and exhausted.

Brand New were introduced to me more by force than by choice, a friend of mine was like "You've listened to Brand New haven't you? You haven't?! What is wrong with you?!" and then pretty much linked me to every song Brand New had ever made back in 2011. Although it only took listening to less than half an album worth of songs for me to go "Hey, these guys are really good...I understand why you like them so much" and then listening to albums on repeat.

Deja Entendu (2003) is an album certified gold in the US and was written by lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Jesse Lacey. Deja Entendu is French for 'Already Heard'.

This album has some incredible reviews and I can see why. Its alternative rock style genre and development from previous album 'Your Favourite Weapon' in just 2 years is highly impressive and shows a more mature side to the musicians and was probably due to the fact music was produced by Steven Haigler rather than Mike Sapone (other than Play Crack The Sky) in this album. 

Interestingly, this album's song names are based on a lot of films and film quotes, but unless you knew where they came from before researching in the first place they probably seem like an underground Fall Out Boy from their lengthy & unusual song title choices.

Unlike 'Your Favourite Weapon', I feel this album focuses more heavily on its music and how it ties together with Lacey's voice and is 100x more upbeat with a much bigger sound than what's described as it's more 'emo' days. Although Brand New are known for their lyrics touching the hearts of those who aren't exactly having the best of days, this album change made a big impact on listeners (even ones who didn't discover them until late like myself) and from what I've seen, Brand New fan tattoo's are mainly coming from this album, whether lyrics or album cover, this album is inspiring, has helped a lot of people and is continuing to do so.

Although this entire album is incredible my favourite song off Deja would potentially be 'Jaws Theme Swimming' it's one of the albums slower songs, but never does it make me feel miserable. You can hear every instrument involved and whilst chords seem easier in this compared to others, it doesn't distract me from Lacey's voice with lead guitarist Vincent Accardi and bassist Garrett Tierney helping whenever the song reaches its heavier tone.

Every album has to have one song that doesn't appeal as much as the others do and for me it would be 'Guernica'. Although its not awful just its my least favourite, the actual start of the song reminds me of something Angels & Airwaves would play.

Something that really fascinated me about this album I've already mentioned, but its the song titles. "Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Dont" comes from a fake film 'Angels With Filthy Souls' that our favourite Kevin McCallister from Home Alone is watching. This is a quote from a film that gets our favourite troublemaker out of trouble. This is another unforgettably amazing song, I'm not sure if the lyrics for any referenced song links to their quoted titles, but even if they don't, they're still out of this world with how good they can make you feel.

'The Devil & God Are Raging Inside Me' is my second favourite album as 'Daisy' could never compete with either for me, if anyone was looking into Brand New, Deja Entendu is the album I would suggest they go listen to, providing you like a mix of an alternative punk and rock feel, its a refreshing sound to hear compared to a lot of music these days which usually sounds similar to every other rock album out there, maybe that's why Deja Entendu is named what it is? You haven't heard it before but you may have heard something like it? Either way they haven't changed to please others? 

This is easily my favourite Brand New album to date and they're one of them bands who you'll definitely list when someone asks you what kind of music you listen to. Every album previously has had a 2-3 year gap before the next, since the last album Daisy came out in 2009 (Not counting the deluxe edition of Your Favourite Weapon) I think we have waited out for a new album long enough, so lets hope that the next album release (hopefully in 2014) is just as good as Deja if not better! 

As a side note, Brand New have the most amazing merchandise I've seen come out of a band since blink182, there's so many options I doubt you'd see anyone wearing the same shirt as you unless you went to a concert of course, there's been a lot of thought and artistic flair gone into every item so those should definitely be checked out if you are or become a fan! 5 star album, easily!

Buy Brand New - Deja Entendu - Click here

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Alex Clare - The Lateness of the Hour

Its without a doubt hearing Too Close was hell of a catchy song even in its small snippet from the Internet Explorer advert. Alex Clare's music was then soon found by a large variety of people including myself online after everyone searched 'song on internet advert' via Youtube. This then lead to huge interest in Clare's other singles and the album overall.

 The Lateness of the Hour (2011) was British musician and singer/songwriter Alex Clare's first album release reaching no.17 on the UK album charts, certified gold. Initially, the album didn't do so great leading to Clare's label to drop him as an artist, before he was approached to use 'Too Close' in an advert, where sales started to peak after people were hearing his music.

The lateness of the Hour is a drum and bass/electronic kind of album with a soulful set of vocals to accompany tracks written by Clare and produced with Diplo and Switch.

This album is focused on enticing bass-lines and guitar riffs as well as background piano pieces to keep us wanting more during the slower parts of each song. The fact that a soul voice fits in so nicely against dub/electro tracks is fascinating and you simply cant forget how incredible this album is.

My favourite song on this album is probably 'Sanctuary', Clare's ability to add a choir to start off a slowed down drum and bass track is astonishing and features no less than you'd expect, a big voice accompanied by sweet piano and high raspy notes before a dubstep like backing track kicks in and is perfect altogether. Sanctuary is what I would consider one of the most challenging out of the album to sing from the variety of different notes Clare's voice can belt out and I've heard nothing like it, the lyrics to this song are well written not to mention the instrumental/vocal mix gives listeners a little bit of everything in a single song. Amazing.

Another great factor about this album is Alex Clare's own cover of Prince's 'When Doves Cry'. Prince is an incredible musician and when I found out Clare did his own version of this song I honestly thought it was going to be terrible, how many actually decent covers and 'own versions' of Prince's songs are there out there really? Other than Quindon Tarver's version, featured in Romeo & Juliet, I've heard barely any. So hearing Clare's version really blew me away, it was outstanding and so different, his own version of the song yet still putting the same kind of passion in that Prince would give.

I'm not particularly a big fan of 'Hands Are Clever' it's probably the most pop genre song out of the entire album plus the fact I'd much rather hear the entire song sung by Alex Clare himself rather than an episode of people who don't quite fit in with Clare's voice, the start of this song feels very jumbled and rushed to put together, adding a little too much when it doesn't need it, it sounds like there's people talking in the background of some of the instrumental parts as well which I didn't like and felt made the song seem way too messy when finalised.

I think Clare has found a nice spot for himself within music but I would like to hear a variety of other genres, maybe some folk thrown in the next album which I really hope he announces another sometime soon! I'd also really love to hear some more collaborations from Clare which would be incredible to see what he and that other musician could come up with for us listeners as there's so many things a guy like himself could do with almost any genre of music.

I did enjoy this album and it helped me focus during many hours of paperwork. I listen to it all the time and rate it 4/5 stars. I think it goes to say Alex Clare is incredibly talented as you can see yourself by hearing his acoustic renditions of his own music which really show off the ranges of his voice as well as his feature in Rudimentals 'Not Giving In' also featuring pop singer songwriter John Newman. I'm looking forward to hearing what else Clare does in the future.

Buy Alex Clare - Lateness of the Hour - Click here

Monday, 9 September 2013

City and Colour - The Hurry and The Harm

Dallas Green was introduced to me around 3 years back by a close friend of mine who adored the sweet rustic tones of Dallas' voice. After hearing 'The Girl' as well as his fantastic Myspace Transmissions, it wasn't long before Dallas' was regularly singing me to sleep, getting me through the most stressful days and making long train rides easier to get through. 

His latest album 'The Hurry and the Harm' (2013) was released June 2013 and follow his 3 previous successful and highly rated albums 'Sometimes', 'Bring Me Your Love' and 'Little Hell'.

This albums genre was put under 'Alternative Rock' which is entirely different from the previous 3 albums which were classified as a more Acoustic/Folk sound. I was really looking forward to this album and in all honesty I probably put my expectations incredibly high. Considering one of my main loves is acoustic music and that twangy folk kind of sound, I was personally a little disappointed. 

However this isn't because the album was bad, not at all. The album was certified gold within 21 days in Canada and was number no.1 on the Canadian albums chart selling 23,000 copies in its first week.

 I just much preferred his previous albums and felt like they were more personal to Dallas and that the lyrics were much more meaningful despite the slight sound of sorrow and hurt, there was also a variety of love songs and songs about hope that would get you through any kind of day, I didn't feel the same with The Hurry and The Harm.

Of Space and Time is by far my most favourite song off this album, it has that classic acoustic feeling that I adore and reaching that perfect little melodic tone that makes me close my eyes and smile at the perfection that is and always has been Dallas Green.

I didn't and still don't like listening to 'Deaths Song', maybe because the lyrics do make me feel ever so emotional and play on my heart strings (making me a sobbing weepy mess) and its just a song I find a bit too much for me in the sense that I'd only want to listen to it if I was going through heavy depression which is kind of sad in my eyes that I feel so uncomfortable listening to Dallas' kind of talk about when people stop listening to his music. I just wasn't over keen.

Thirst is another song that I really loved and I was incredibly happy that Dallas had made, it really lifted the mood of the album for me. I was a little disappointed seeing its original video as it didn't seem very Dallas-like at all and I didn't enjoy watching it, it was a bit too psychedelic/dark for me until a month later he released the Alternative video and I was so overjoyed to see the video had got a lot calmer and didn't feature the women (who I felt seemed irrelevant in the original video, although very beautiful!).

The alternative video was so well made and I enjoyed watching it 100 times more for the close ups and it being focused on no one but Dallas directed in an artistic way. Apparently I wasn't alone! A lot of comments on both Youtube videos show people much preferred the alternative video.

I honestly don't know, this album does have a few great tracks but the 'meh' out-weighed the good. I felt like this album was very dark, compared to previous albums and it had lost its sense of happiness even in the sadder songs. I do like this album but I LOVED Sometimes (2005) and Bring Me Your Love (2008) they were modulated and complete for me, there was more emotion and care.

City and Colours music is kind of on the lines of whatever you find first, you'll love more than the rest, because you'll probably relate to that album and that song at that particular time in your life. So this is probably one of the reasons I'm less keen on The Hurry and the Harm.

The Hurry and the Harm didn't do it for me like the other albums. What Makes A Man gets me through some really damn painfully long train rides home after goodbyes, and as I sit alone trying to hide sadness from strangers, it will always help me get my 'sitting on a train staring out a window' movie scene moment, for that I am forever grateful to have music from Dallas in my life and will continue to support whatever he does.

Buy City and Colour - The Hurry and the Harm, and other albums - Click Here

Friday, 6 September 2013

The 1975 - Self Titled Album

The 1975 are described as an alternative/indie rock band formed in Manchester, who haven't been in the music industry for long, but with four previous EP's in the past two years, have recently shone to light from their first and incredible self titled studio album 'The 1975'.

I first heard of The 1975 when hearing one of the hit singles 'Chocolate' on the radio. I'd never heard a vocalist quite like it and could instantly tell the lead singer was from somewhere in Manchester, from his heavy Mancunian accent which is probably one of the most highly noticeable things when first listening to the band. 

Chocolate was upbeat and instantly made my head sway from side to side. The song has been described as 'The most British song ever' which doesn't surprise me considering the accent is so strong you know its not from anywhere else, a stronger Manc accent than any Mancunians I've ever met have anyway. Chocolate was originally released previously 6 months before on EP 'Music For Cars'. 

But the most wonderful thing about this song to me was the video's ending quoting 'Poetry is in the streets in full living colour' Which kind of made me think about a lot of things and really appreciate the song more than I ever did before.

The 1975 was released 2nd September 2013 to which it caused an uproar with fans across my Twitter feed stating how amazing it was, after only hearing Chocolate and other single 'Sex' (originally released in 2012 on EP 'Sex'), I thought why not give the album a listen myself?

Without a doubt, the best decision I made. The 1975 self titled album is full of upbeat songs made from sheer raw talent. Every song so upbeat and happy even when lyrics are more heartfelt. The album is one of them all rounder albums which you can listen to throughout every season knowing its appropriate and be able to enjoy it. Its my kind of walking music.

My favourite song from the album is 'Settle Down'. The guitar has an almost funk riff to it and oddly slightly reminds me of a slowed down Daft Punk song, it also had that kind of 90's vibe from old songs that I really miss hearing so it was a pleasure listening to something so relaxing. Another great song from the album is 'Menswear', the start of this track is mainly heavily focused on bass and a fair bit of synthesizing which in all fairness a lot of the album has some really ace bass lines however, half way through the song the vocals start and the song when put together with added percussion gives the listener such a happy peaceful feeling.

Trying to see a least favourite part of the album is difficult. I honestly can't criticise any of this album's songs because every track has an incredible mix of instrumental lines that tie together like braids for each individual song and the vocals tie it at the very end with a little bow, making it so hard to pick and chose. 

The only fault I could possibly give is that I don't feel like I can connect to the songs and I wish I could, however that doesn't affect my view on the album as others may be able to. Its a feel good album and one I can see myself listening to as well as looking forward to The 1975's next album considering this one has been so successful.

The most surprising part about the album overall was in fact the Deluxe edition album includes all four of The 1975's previous EP's, which I've never seen any musician do before and is quite interesting as usually people would leave them as EP's to make more sales to get a full collection, instead of buying the one album, I however think this was an excellent way to get fans to buy their album considering it features the previous EP's 'Facedown, Sex, Music for Cars & IV'.

In an interview with Last.fm sessions, lead singer Matthew Healey said that the band initially never felt the need to put out music, they just enjoyed playing, but after people started showing an interest they decided to put a record out and since then people have been embracing the music. So not only are we lucky to have the 1975, but to have their album. As I said previously, I highly recommend this album. Its fun with a funky twist, make of it what you want, but easily worth its current price £10.99. 

I'm pretty gutted I'm not seeing them on any of their tour dates after hearing the album, but if you are then hey, enjoy yourselves it'll be amazing!

Buy The 1975 - 2013 Self Titled Album - Click here

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Ellie Goulding - Halcyon Days

Ellie Goulding was introduced to me by music channels when she released first single 'Under The Sheets' from first album Lights. However, my general interest in Gouldings music came from hit single Starry Eyed after hearing her live lounge version and her cover of Elton John's 'Your Song'.

Lights (2010) was an album which I personally enjoyed and highly appreciated, but wasn't entirely my cup of tea. Whilst I enjoyed some of the songs off the album not every song was one I could connect with, to my taste. YouTube research and finds of her singing without album production and heavy remixing showed her natural talent and proved to a lot of critics who had only just heard of Goulding who then claimed her vocals seemed to come "more from the throat than the lungs" were actually genuine natural vocals.

Halcyon (2012) was a different story entirely. The whole album was astonishing and blew me away in surprise at how different it felt, Gouldings vocals were more powerful and beautiful than ever before and I could relate to every song.

When listening to an online interview of her describing the new album, Goulding explained that the album was focused on her rather than having vocals from a variety of other artists, despite wanting to collaborate with many people, due to fans waiting two years for Halcyon and not wanting to cover it with features. Fans gave the album a thumbs up and critics gave positive feedback, the album was hands down a success, showing more of a dance and pop genre compared to previous album Lights and its indie folk/pop feel. 

Halcyon was re-released in 2013 with 'Halcyon Days' including more songs and a few features from other artists, as well as her first UK number 1 single 'Burn' which sold 116,857 copies in its first week.

One thing that particularly stood out to me was that Halcyon not only had changed to a more electronic dance genre but that a lot of the songs produced had lyrics that needed a lot more feeling and personal experience to not only write up but to sing for. This is shown in songs such as 'I Know You Care' and 'Hearts Without Chains'.

The album has so many great songs I can't possibly choose a favourite, however one of my most played 5/5 stars is 'You, My Everything' the song is upbeat and gives off a club like vibe, although the majority of the album could be played and enjoyed throughout dancing environment, this particular songs has that kind of drop that you know you'd adore whether sober or not, as well as it being very tame with its lyrics and still making Gouldings fans scream into their best friends ears "You, my everything" whilst trying not to spill that standard Saturday night Vodka redbull down themselves. (Speaking from experience)

My personal least favourite is 'Goodness Gracious'. Given a chance and repeatedly listening to the song, I can easily get used to it, but from Halcyon Days, it doesn't give me the 'wow' factor like every other song. I feel like Gouldings vocals have been played with a little too much and are too quiet on the track making it my least favourite overall, however its a real feel good song!

There is no one I could pair Ellie Goulding with for a 'perfect song'. Her voice alone is enough for for me. Goulding puts on a fantastic performance for fans during her tours and her friend Bruno Mars who she's currently been supporting on tour. Her performances show off her skills with not only her vocals but instruments handed to her (known for percussion, strings and keys live) and still managing to look completely gorgeous. Goulding ensures fans are having a great time and that they're enjoying her set. 

Overall, Halcyon Days is an incredible 5/5 album with a tempo perfectly suiting Gouldings voice. An incredible set of lyrics and a natural yet different from every other musician voice that shows Gouldings ability to both improve and impress, she's an excellent role model to fans and I think a lot more musicians in the world should put as much effort into their work as she does. 

Nice one Ellie. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

SeaNanners (Adam Montoya) Youtube

This review is going to be somewhat difficult for me to be critical on due to being a completely huge fan of SeaNanners.

SeaNanners was introduced to me around a year back, his quirky attitude and the amount of laughter he brings made me subscribe after watching a single video and I've not regretted it since. Whether a video with friends or solo there was so much joy brought to the screen for just a few minutes and it made me happy watching, since then there's not a video I've missed.

Adam Montoya got his Youtube name from Xbox after trying to use the live gamertag name 'Nanners' (slang term for Bananas) but it already being taken, xbox then suggested the name 'SeaNanners' instead, thus the creation of the man himself. He started commentating on game-play when he first joined Youtube, signing up March 3rd 2009, before posting his first video the 23rd August 2009 mainly focusing on Call of Duty commentary.

Slowly gaining more friends online and in the popular Youtube gaming business, it wasn't long before our friend Nanners was gaining popularity and got more confident commentating on games and eventually showed his face with a minute long thank you video.

A large aspect of why SeaNanners is popular is not just because of his varied game choices and silly videos with friends (usually including the most incredibly hilarious thumbnails you've ever seen) but rather for the single videos he does on his own introducing us not only to new games but updating us with what's going on in his life, how he is doing in general and informing us almost as friends about everything he's been busy with, even describing what he's going to have for tea makes us feel like part of a family, almost like he's the older brother giving motivational speeches to get us through the week.

SeaNanners posts videos daily, his dolphin laugh is one you could never forget and from popular played game Trouble In Terrorist Town (TTT) he's gained the phrase 'Never Trust Nanners' from friends and fans. He is also known to wear the same shirt throughout every video and there is a running joke along Adam's wardrobe consisting of nothing but brown shirts (Despite this not being true due to photos on SeaNanners' facebook page)

Videos last around 2-4 minutes, whilst this has some newer fans whining for more on a daily basis, we understand that Nanners edits his videos to include only the funniest parts as well as his 'derp' faces to entertain us throughout the whole duration of the video, rather than watching minutes of him sat being inactive from gameplay. This is also due to the fact other Youtubers such as ChilledChaos 'CriousGamers' and HUTCH 'Shaun0728' who also upload game videos and play alongside with Nanners tend to post longer videos which will include everything SeaNanners posted, so all it requires is a little bit of searching and the person can watch a longer version anyway.

Before Youtube, Adam gained a degree in Television, Film and Media production but found it difficult finding a job, thus leading him to start Youtube after seeing a few people doing game commentary. What initially started out as a bit of fun ended up becoming a career, and 100,000 subscribers later found himself working for Machinima on the directors program.

SeaNanners has 3 types of videos on his channel:
  1. Video's of him playing games with friends, general game talk "I'm coming for you".
  2. Commentary on upcoming games, talking about life in general. "I just really love cashews"
  3. Games with Cathy, his adorable girlfriend who tends to hurt everyone's ears when screaming (It's okay Cathy we still love you)

Adam has recently spoke about a making a documentary which is an idea that fans have been very interested in and want to push Adam into making, wanting to find out more about him. His cat Youtube photo logo gave him the opportunity to use as a general logo for himself for his Merchandise (CLICK HERE) and has been very successful.

Currently, Montoya has over 3,073,301 subscribers in which he has shown he is incredibly grateful for and there's not a doubt in my mind that he will continue to make the world love him simply from talking and making us laugh everyday and us looking forward to hearing our favourite sentence "Hello everyone, my name is SeaNanners". 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Lights - Siberia Acoustic

I feel the only way to start off a general blog of reviewing many a things should be with Music, considering I've done 'heavy' studying on it for four years. 

Lights Bokan (Otherwise known as Lights Poxleitner, born Valerie Anne Poxleitner) was introduced to me aged 16 by a friend of mine who showed me her featured in Silverstein's 'The End'.

Siberia (2011) Was such a pleasure to listen to, knowing it was released on my Birthday made it that extra bit exciting. I spent many hours listening to Cactus in the Valley and admiring how incredibly beautiful Lights was in the music video for 'Toes' (Sort of a girl crush, guy friends fancied her too. Can't really blame any of us Lights fans, she's a corker). I somehow managed to relate to every song which made the album all the more fantastic. 

Being a big fan of acoustic stuff; searching for acoustic versions of pretty much everything? My heart filled with joy when I found out Lights was bringing out an acoustic album for Siberia, knowing it was going to have an un-identical twin album, in which my happy head danced around like "Yay two versions of each song to pick from!" Plus the fact that she continued Husband Beau Bokans & band Blessthefall's '40 Days' with '...And Counting' using the same chorus, therefore making the acoustic version a complete heart-melt to chicks such as myself with an "ALL THE FEELS" kind of attitude.

Overall the album is very gentle, showing Light's lighter tones and beautiful harmonies between her and Max Kerman for 'Siberia' as well as the appearance from Owl City in 'Cactus In The Valley', which really does lift the mark of sadness from any face. (See what I did there). I never would of thought about putting Lights & Owl City together, but they're a perfect match vocals wise.

I think one of the most surprising parts for me about this album was the acoustic version of 'Peace Sign', featuring Canadian singer Beatrice Martin otherwise known as Coeur de pirate who sings alongside Lights in French, giving a completely different side to the song that I can only describe as beautiful.

Trying my hardest not to be biased and find a critical side within me, I'd have to say I much prefer 'Timing Is Everything' On Siberia. Probably due to the fact I don't feel the song has that catchy 'feel good' affect on acoustic compared to its upbeat and electronic brother.

If I could pair Lights with anyone to do a duet, it would almost definitely be Patrick Stump.

BEFORE YOU THINK I'M CRAZY, his solo album 'Soul Punk' will help you see where I'm coming from, I honestly feel like the two of them paired for a song together would create one of the most popular pieces of electronic/synthpop music to those who can appreciated a higher note or two.

Overall the album is a 5 stars in my eyes. Satisfying lyrics and an album which I could listen to over and over again, which I usually do as it helps sooth an over thinking mind to a calm and relaxed state so I can actually focus and sleep. To anyone who hasn't heard of Lights or her music, start at her first album 'The Listening' and see her development over time from that to Siberia to really understand and appreciate her as a musician.

(Oh I'm also all about Lights' blonde hair. Digging it.) 

(Update: 5 Minutes after posting I checked Instagram, Lights went back to brown hair. Still digging it)

Listen to Lights - Siberia Acoustic - Click Here.