Archive of ‘music’ category

Album of the Week 003 ~ Love and Hate by Michael Kiwanuka

image1-1

Album : Love & Hate by Michael Kiwanuka

Release Date : July 2016

Singles : Black Man in a White World, Love & Hate, One More Night

My Favourite Tracks : Black Man in a White World, Cold Little Heart, The Final Frame

Album Notes
This album has popped up on so many ‘Best of 2016’ lists that I thought it was about time I had a listen. I know he is critically revered, but aside from the odd song on the radio, he isn’t someone I’ve listened to an awful lot.

This is a great album, as everyone is saying. Even for someone like me, who just listens to music but doesn’t necessarily understand it all that well, I can hear just how great this album is. The first track, lasting ten minutes, and going for five minutes before we even get any vocals from Kiwanuka, is stunning, and sets the tone for the rest of the album.

This is exactly the type of album that I started this challenge for, to push myself out of my comfort zone slightly, and listen to things that I wouldn’t usually reach for on Spotify.

Album of the Week 002 ~ A Very Kacey Christmas by Kacey Musgraves

image2

Album : A Very Kacey Christmas by Kacey Musgraves

Release Date : October 2016

My Favourite Tracks : Present Without a Bow, Ribbons and Bows, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Album Notes

A Very Kacey Christmas is actually the album that gave me the idea for doing this album a week blog post – I saw that she was releasing it and I saved it for the last week in November to listen to it!

It’s an excellent addition to the plethora of Christmas albums that have come before it. From the seasonal standards like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Let It Snow and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, to the original songs written by Kacey herself. These are some of my favourites on the album – I love the classics but the new songs are great. Present Without a Bow features Leon Bridges, a gospel and soul singer whose voice is just a delight (I’ll be exploring his albums throughout the year, I’m sure). A Willie Nice Christmas is a fun track featuring Willie Nelson, while Christmas Makes Me Cry is a more melancholy look at the festive season. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is the earworm from the album, and it’s a lot of fun!

Kacey Musgraves is a country singer, but to me, this isn’t a country Christmas album per se. It seems to be just be a collection of songs that Kacey loves, along with those she has written for the album. It’s helping to get me in the festive spirit, and I know that some of these tracks will be upgraded to my regular Christmas playlist for many years to come.

Album of the Week 001 – FMA by Grace

As part of my 35 Before 35 challenge, I am listening to a new album a week, and blogging about each one. 

image1

 

Album : FMA by Grace

Release Date : July 2016

Singles : You Don’t Own Me, Boyfriend Jeans, Hell of a Girl

My Favourite Tracks : You Don’t Own Me, Boyfriend Jeans, Church on Sunday, New Orleans

Album Notes
I chose to listen to FMA for the simple reason that I really love You Don’t Own Me, as featured in the House of Fraser advert last Christmas. I had no idea that it wasn’t an original song, though I’ve since learnt that Lesley Gore recorded it in the 1960s.

This is an album that seems to cover many different musical genres, with the first half of the album veering more to towards the poppier sides of things, and the later tracks feeling a lot more soulful. But the jazzy tones pervade throughout, and there’s no denying that Grace’s voice bears a striking similarity to the late great Amy Winehouse. However, where Amy’s voice betrayed the pain and turmoil of her private life, while Grace has a beautiful voice, it lacks that same authenticity.

That’s not to say, however, that this isn’t an enjoyable album. The songs are catchy and fun, and it only took a couple of listens for some of them to become real earworms for me!

Mix CD swap

Mix CD swap

I’m like most bloggers; I love getting post, and I love a blog swap. Ages and ages ago, I joined in with a Mix CD swap through a US blog that I can’t remember the name of, and it was such fun, that I did it a couple of times subsequently with a lovely blogger from Texas. This is my attempt to set up something similar, and see how many people are interested in joining in!

I don’t know how many people actually make mix CDs any more, but I love the idea of making someone a CD with songs on it that I think they might like. Obviously the tradition goes back to mix tapes, and there’s something quite touching about someone taking the time to make something like that!

The basic idea of the swap would be thus; you sign up by leaving a comment with your name and a brief outline of your musical tastes. I pair you up with someone, and then you make a CD filled with songs you think they will like!

I’m thinking that it would be good to have a theme, so I’m going with autumn. Of course, as a theme it’s quite broad, and there are probably hundreds of songs that could work for it.

So, if you are interested, please leave a comment with the following information:

  • Your name and email address (if you’d prefer not to make your email address public, just email me isthatyoudarling@hotmail.co.uk)
  • Where in the world you are, and if you would prefer to swap with someone in the same country (I’m not sure how international this is going to be, but just in case!)
  • Your favourite genres of music
  • Your favourite all-time song

If I get enough interest, I’ll email everyone with their partners the week beginning 28th September. Please spread the word; if you know anyone who might be interested in joining in, please let them know!

 

Homegrown Tour ~ The Shires and Ward Thomas

I’m a big fan of the current crop of UK country acts, and top of the ever-growing pile are Ward Thomas and The Shires. These are two bands that have got a lot of airplay on Radio 2 recently, and I was lucky enough to see The Shires earlier this year at The Water Rats in London, and then I saw Ward Thomas in Hyde Park in September. When I found out that they were touring together, I was desperate to go, and I was lucky enough to get some tickets. I went with Hannah, Jen and Anna; Hannah came with me to The Shires in July, and Anna saw Ward Thomas in September, but Jen didn’t really know much about either band. As it was, everyone had a fabulous time, and we even got to meet the bands!

We tried a lot to get a decent selfie of the four of us, and it wasn’t easy! I think this was the best of a bad bunch, so I made it black and white to give us a helping hand! Now that I have a selfie stick, bad selfies are a thing of the past!

My gig photos aren’t great, because my camera isn’t great, but I managed to take a few this time, so I wanted to include them! The support band we saw were Taylor and Marie, a folk/country duo who have a really lovely sound. They started with a rendition of Bad Moon Rising, which is one of my favourite songs, so it was great to hear a new spin on it. They also played a song called I Got Moved, which I loved! It’s a shame it’s not their EP, Tilt the Moon, because I want to listen to it again!

Ward Thomas came on next, and they are just the cutest girls ever. They are so fun to watch; aside from their fantastic music, they just look as though they are having so much fun on stage, and they really engage the crowd. Their album, From Where I Stand, is just fantastic, and I have barely stopped listening to it this week! They released the single, Push for the Stride, earlier in the year, and it’s a really stompy, fun, country tune, but the album is full of so much more; catchy songs you can dance to, and really beautiful songs that showcase the sisters’ fabulous harmonies. They did a really full set, even including a cover of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, during which they warned us that they would attempt the rap (and they weren’t half bad!). One of my absolute favourite songs off the album is Way Back When, their latest single, and when they finished it off by mashing it up with Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson, I was amazed – it was so good!

The Shires finished the night, with a set that seemed a bit short by my standards! Maybe I was just spoilt by having heard them sing a lot of songs at their gig in July, but I wanted more! They are really lovely, and they just sound so good together! I am still waiting patiently for their album (January, apparently), but they were selling copies of their new EP, The Green Note, so I bought that (and got it signed!), and that will just have to do for now. They sang their two singles, Nashville Grey Skies and Tonight, both of which I adore, and they also sang their cover that they recorded for the Radio 2 Sounds of the 80s song, Islands in the Stream. I had been waiting for ages to actually hear it played on the radio, and then I finally heard it a couple of weeks ago, but hearing it live was amazing of course.

The two bands came out at the end to duet on Leaving Without Your Love, a cover of the Striking Matches song. It’s not a song I’m that familiar with, but I watched the video they recorded of them singing it a few weeks ago, so I knew it would be the one that they’d sing together, and it’s a great song. They are all just amazing, and to be honest, I’m gutted that the gig is over. I want to go again!

As I mentioned, we got to meet the bands afterwards, and I got my Shires EP signed. I already have the Ward Thomas album, and obviously I didn’t have it with me, so I couldn’t get that signed, but I did get a photo with them, and I had a little chat with Catherine, and told her how much I had loved the Way Back When/Man in the Mirror mash up. I also mentioned to Ben and Crissie from The Shires that I am a bit of a Twitter stalker fan, and he asked what my Twitter name was, and his face suggested that he recognised it when I told him! Argh!

I really did have a fabulous evening, and because it was the night before my birthday, it was a lovely pre-birthday treat!

#fangirl

* Two of the tickets that we used for the Homegrown Tour gig were provided free of charge for review purposes. All reviews on Is That You Darling are fair and unbiased.

1 2 3 4 5 7