To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

 

My rating: 4.7/5.0

This book is an absolute classic, and a completely unmissable read. I read it before for my GCSE English Literature class, but being fourteen at the time I returned to it now, suspecting that it might mean slightly more to me six years later. And it did.

It’s heartbreaking, thought-provoking and totally page turning. I think I read it in the space of two days. The characters have such depth to them, and through the eyes of seven/eight year old Scout Finch (Jean Louise if we’re being formal!), they all come majestically to life. One thing that struck me is that I was still a little scared of Scout’s initial impression of Boo Radley! I guess the idea of an unseen phantom that one can’t put a face to is infinitely more terrifying than something you can quantify, hence the extensive imaginations of children.

Moving through the book and seeing the trial of Tom Robinson from Scout’s perspective makes it seem even more abhorrent. The innocence she has, which her brother Jem loses, becomes all the more precious in light of the outcome. One almost begins to detest the machinations of adults, purely because of the effect it has on children.

I cannot begin to this book justice here, but suffice to say that if you have no read it you must; and if you have read it, return to it, I almost guarantee you it will provide you with something new.

B

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Album Review: Lost At Seventeen – Emily’s Army

Rating: 3.75/5

The average age of the members in Emily’s Army is roughly eighteen years old. “Lost At Seventeen” is their second album to date, the first being 2011’s “Don’t Be A D*ck”. It’s always an interesting feeling when people younger than you are doing stuff like this, part of you feels old, another part wonder’s why you don’t think of it first, and the last part makes you feel a teeny bit proud. I suspect this might happen a lot more as I get older.

As to this release it’s great slice of punk-rock (occasionally bordering on pop-punk). It makes me want to get up and dance and there are a few stellar tracks on the record. The lead single ‘Avenue’ is a brilliant track, giving the listener a taste of what is to come with the rest of the album. It generally has a slightly heavier, and more mature sound than 2011’s debut album, I feel, although the fast-than-lightening, rip-through-the-room punk sound first established on the debut is still very much present.

Other stand out tracks for me are ‘Gübermensch’ (not-so subtle play on Nietzsche’s idea of the übermensch), ‘If Our Music Plays Again’ and title track ‘Lost at 17’ which closes up the album. There are only two downsides to this album; one is that some of the tracks bleed into each other if you’re not listening very closely because they have a similar sound to them; the second downside is that, due to the way my “Recently Added” playlist is as the moment on my iTunes, this album is followed directly by Green Day. The similarities are impossible to miss, and whilst this can hardly be called a bad thing (or a surprise), it might detract sometimes from their own personal identity. I fear that the band is always going to be linked to Green Day for personal reasons etc. and I hope they can escape this with their own sound.

All in all it’s a very decent offering, making me want to see the band live (I missed their tour this time around) and I am very excited to see where they head in the future. They are clearly very talented and if they keep grounded (which I’m sure they will), look like they could have a massive future in front of them.

Until next time,

B

XO

The Playlist Files

Okay, it’s been a while since I did one of these. I’ve recently just discovered Spotify Web Player so I’ve been eyeball deep in all sorts of music – new and old. But that aside, what five tracks have been blowing my mind recently?

 

1. Dr Feelgood – Motley Crüe

2. Panic Cord – Gabrielle Aplin

3. Don’t Blink – Relient K

4. Brutal Love – Green Day

5. Everybody Talks – Neon Trees

There are so many more as well, but I’ll save them for another Playlist Files.

Okay well…

1 – Most people and their uncle will know this track. The questions is though, as voiced by Bowling For Soup in their hit ‘1985’… “When did Motley Crüe become Classic Rock?” I love this track, because even though it’s heavy rock you can still dance to it. It’s just sodding awesome, and it makes me want to look like Kat Von D.

Find it: ‘Dr Feelgood’ – Motley Crüe (1989)

2 – Couldn’t be further from the first track if it tried. This is a song by an English singer-songwriter who first came to public attention by gathering quite a large YouTube following. I first heard of her through a friend at my radio station (87.7 Bailrigg FM) who really liked her. This is my favourite song by her so far and is definitely worth a listen – yes it is pop, but it’s got a little spark of something special about it too.

Find it: ‘English Rain’ – Gabrielle Aplin (2013)

3 – Kind of like Imagine Dragons but a bit more rocky. In the grey area somewhere between pop and punk. A very summery track that makes me think of cider and barbecues, with singalongs with your friends. Definitely should be on summer playlists everywhere. Helped by the fact that the lyric video (posted below) is of people riding bikes in a sun filled park…

Find it: Collapsible Lung – Relient K (2013 (out on July 2nd))

4 – Okay, well this track is on the playlist because of my experience on Saturday. This song is bringing me close to tears every time I listen to it at the moment. It’s a heartfelt ballad depicting the ups and downs of love, and to hear 60,000 people singing along, lighters aloft, I don’t think that’s a moment I’ll ever forget.

Find it: Tré! – Green Day (2012)

5 – This on there because I’m revising at the moment I need something to keep my spirits up. Neon Trees appears to be doing this with their chipper brand of more-pop-than-rock. If you want a dance, be reminded that you’re actually nearly 20 and not 16 anymore (whoops!), and also put a smile on your face then this is the track for you.

Find it: Picture Show – Neon Trees (2012)

And this week’s track:

Until next time,

B

XO

The Playlist Files

    

 

My tracks of the week (fortnight?!):

 

 

1) Diane Young – Vampire Weekend

2) Beggars – Mallory Knox

3) Get Lucky – Daft Punk

4) Dreary Town – Nadine Shah

5) Conquistador – 30 Seconds To Mars

 

 

Number One is the new single by Vampire Weekend, it’s absolutely stellar and I cannot stop listening to it. Definitely a hit of the summer and I imagine that you’re hearing it everywhere at the moment, I certainly am.

Number Two is a track I stumbled across due to friends down at my radio station. It’s a single by this (fairly) new British band who are up for ‘Best British Newcomer’ at the Kerrang! awards. Solid punk-rock track if that’s your sort of vibe.

Number Three – if you haven’t heard this track yet, please climb out from the rock you’ve been living under and go check it out. It’s Daft Punk’s first UK number one and it is an absolutely stellar techno/dance song. Love.

Number Four is a track from a relatively unknown artist, but I get the feeling she’s going to be huge. Her voice is really soulful and awesome and her version of ‘Cry Me A River’ is incredible. I strongly suggest you check her out.

And last but not least, Number Five is the new single from 30 Seconds To Mars. As far as I’m aware we haven’t heard any solid information on a new album but it’s clear something very exciting is going on. This track is straight forward rock and roll, but it sounds like classic 30stm, so if that’s what you’re into; definitely a track for you.

 

So there you have it, quite a diverse mix once again – indie-rock, punk-rock, techno/dance, soul(ish) and rock ‘n’ roll.

Youtube video of my Number One this week:

 

See you soon,

B

XO

 

 

 

The Kingmaker’s Daughter – Philippa Gregory

Enjoyment/Story Rating: 3.0/5.0

Style/Language Rating: 2.8/5.0

 

Okay, well this another classic Philippa Gregory story, telling the tale of Anne Neville; daughter of the Earl of Warwick, the “kingmaker” of the late Plantagenet era. It’s a good tale if all you want is a simple story of a vaguely historical nature, but that is all it seems to provide. I was expected something a bit more, because I’d been told that it was better than her other recent novels, but I found it sitting quite comfortable alongside them in terms of mediocrity.

Now don’t get me wrong, Philippa Gregory has written some really great books, I loved her Tudor Series, but the things she’s written lately seem to just have been the same story and all she’s done is edited the names before sending the book to the publishers – it seems one dimensional and fairly flat with little new to offer regular Gregory readers. I found myself skipping pages as I got bored with the repetitive nature of the style, diving back in again when I stumbled across something that it felt like I hadn’t read before.

I would recommend this if you like comfortable historical novels and just want a light and easy read. Otherwise, if you want better historical fiction, go for Gregory’s earlier novels, in my opinion they are far superior to her later works.

 

B

XO

The Playlist Files – 29th April 2013

Okay so I changed the name, I think it fits better.

 

What’s been absolutely dominating my iPod this week then I hear you cry…

 

1) Beauty of the Dark – Mads Langer

2) White on White – FIDLAR

3) Control – Garbage

4) Dancing With Myself – The Donnas

5) The Phoenix – Fall Out Boy

 

 

Track one is an absolutely gorgeous track by this Danish singer-songwriter. I’m not even entirely sure how I discovered the song but I think it’s awesome, very mellow but very epic sounding at the same time.

Track two is a song by an upcoming LA Punk band. It’s a song I’ve been using to workout to a lot this week, and it’s just the right mix of punk and rock (meaning that it’s not too angsty for those who prefer something a little more palatable). They’ve got an album coming out very soon and I’m excited to see what they’re going to produced.

Track three; I can’t believe I’ve never discovered Garbage before – what have I been doing with my life?! Anyway, I did, and I love this song. The female vocals mixed with the grunginess of the track provide for an awesome audio experience.

Track four is there just because it’s an epic song, covered in an epic way. Also because if I’m running at 9.2 kph on the treadmill then the beat exactly matches my footsteps, pretty awesome feeling when you’re running.

And last, but certainly not least, Track five is the latest single of Fall Out Boy’s new album ‘Save Rock and Roll’ and it’s a very epic song. If you have not checked it out yet, please do, you won’t regret it!

 

One of the things that I think is so exciting, is that I keep discovering new music (partly because I do student radio) but also because there’s just so much out there that is epicly awesome sounding. Go out there and give yourself an eargasm!

 

Love

B
XO

Weekly Playlist – 15th April

 

Okay, I’m still calling this a weekly playlist, even if it’s been two weeks since I did the last one! I might just start calling The Playlist Files, or something like that.

So what’s been rocking me this week?

1. Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

2. Good & Gone – Frank Turner

3. Kiss You To Death – Alkaline Trio

4. Radio – The Blackout

5. Love Story – Taylor Swift

 

Okay, there’s only five this week because I’ve kind of being MIA recently.

I am loving the first track, and just to sound really hipster it annoys me that everyone else is loving it as well.

Track 2 was a free download offered by Frank Turner, coming off his upcoming album Tape, Deck, Heart which I am very excited about; I don’t like this track as much as I did Recovery (the first single), but in classic Frank style it’s still bloody good.

Track number 3 is from Alkaline Trio’s latest effort My Shame Is True, again solid pop-punky nugget, more punky than pop if you’re used to putting All Time Low in that bracket as well, I’m hoping this one ends up as the next single.

Radio by The Blackout is just awesome. These guys are one of my favourite bands, a welsh sextet who are just out for a laugh, and hopefully make a living along the way. The video for this single centres around them messing about in front of a piece of green screen. That’s about it really. I’ve seen these guys live eight times; definitely worth it because they’re fairly damn awesome!

And what the hell is track 5 doing there? Well, it’s there because this week I partially learnt it on guitar, so I’ve had it stuck in my head.

 

Also, just to clear something up, I will be writing some book reviews in the near future, but since it’s been my easter holidays I’ve almost been in hibernation. Hope to get back to posting more regularly soon!

B

XO