Jurassic Park In Concert

A couple of weeks ago Gary and I went to The Royal Albert Hall to see Jurassic Park In Concert.

As huge fans of the film it was great to go to this venue and see John Williams’ score performed by a live orchestra.

We’d been to a few similar events previously (Back to the Future, Pixar, Brief Encounter) so knew what to expect, but I’d forgotten we’d got box tickets which was a nice surprise.

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At events like this it’s easy to forget the orchestra are playing alongside the film, and I really think that’s a compliment to the orchestra, since you totally forget that something unusual is happening and that the music is coming from people actually playing in front of you.

The music to Jurassic Park is so classic and impactful that it was really nice to sit and watch them play. Lovely to focus on parts of the music I like in particular and see the different sections making the sounds I’m so familiar with!

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I love seeing musical performances at RAH and always love having a good look at the discs on the ceiling, which I like to call smarties. They’re to aid the acoustics but I think they just look so pretty! I actually performed at the Royal Albert Hall in a choir singing Carmina Burana, as a child, so it has a special place in my heart!

It was a really lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and I managed to get some wear out of my Jurassic Park t-shirt from Universal Studios 😀

Electric Daisy Carnival UK, 2016

Not so many Saturdays ago, I did something very uncharacteristic for me, and went to a dance festival.

It’s not that I’m not a festival person – quite the contrary, in fact it was at a festival that G Man and I met many many years ago. However dance music has never been my thing, though over the last few years I’ve grown a large soft spot for drum and bass.

EDC (or Electric Daisy Carnival) is a large festival, originating from Las Vegas, and for some reason for the last 3 years they’ve decided that Milton Keynes is a good place to hold the UK version. Since Gary was out of town that weekend and two of my friends had already bought tickets it seemed rude not to tag along.

So first things first I bought my ticket. Next I had to work out what to wear. Well, since it’s all ravey and neon I cracked open my Urban Decay Electric Palette and went to town. With a little inspiration from Pinterest I came up with this:

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and for the nails, my speciality, unicorn nails!:

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Clothes were the obligatory denim shorts and a nice bright yellow vest. The day was so humid that nothing but loose clothing would do.

Once we’d arrived and our tickets had been checked, we had a mooch around to look at the various stages and tent. The main stage was amazing. The eyes in the owl which made up the centre of the stage were little screens so it looked like it was looking around – the stage even had a full blown waterfall on one side. Insane!

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We worked out who and when we wanted to see people in the line up and then had a look around the tents. We stayed for quite a bit of Goldie’s set in one of the tents and I had a good dance, and really enjoyed myself.

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We also saw Sigma’s DJ set quite early on and they were excellent too.

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On the main stage we saw a couple of DJs I hadn’t heard of but they played some stuff I recognised, so that was good. It was great seeing people on the fairground rides, whilst the music was being played, right in the middle of the crowds!

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I have to say I met some really nice people at this festival. Obviously some of these people were a little ‘out of it’ but I never at any point felt unsafe. Everyone’s very connected by the music and it felt like a little acid crazed family.

By the time the sun had gone down, it had gotten a little chilly, so we stayed put to watch Avicii who closed the show, and then there was a 5 minute ceremony to say goodnight complete with fireworks!

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All in all it was a great day, and I’d love to go again with G Man – I think he’d have a lot of fun! The only negative I’d say is that once it was over it wasn’t clear where the exits were and the only obvious exit was closed off and guarded by security so that the acts to leave that way in their vehicles.

I’d say to you have to go to EDC with an open mind. There will be drinking and drug taking and the portaloos aren’t fit for a queen, but then this is a festival. If you can get on with the music and are willing to get into the swing of things, it’s well worth the cost of the ticket.

Music You Don’t Know, For the Warmer Months

As the weather picks up, my taste in music changes. I don’t know whether other people experience the same change. I have specific albums I can’t listen to unless it’s sunny… maybe that’s strange? (And apparently, today I’m writing in rhyme)

Strange or not, here are a few albums I have been or will be listening to more as the weather brightens and the temperature soars:

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Static and Silence by The Sundays

This album screams of hot summer nights to me. Totally 90s, light and wonderful. I love this album so much I sometimes can’t bring myself to listen to it. Does that make any sense? It’s my favourite of all The Sundays’ albums and none of their others quite seemed to hit the same mark. It’s perfect from start to end.

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Pocketknife by Mr Little Jeans

I first listened to this album a couple of years ago, on the train from Bletchley to Euston on the way to cheer on at the London Marathon. Ever since it’s had that kind of bright motivation in my mind, and a few of the songs even featured in my running playlist when I was heavily training for my half marathon. The music is electronic pop with song-writer skill and enough twinkly notes to keep you interested. She never tours in the UK but I’m hoping she might one day… though I kind of like the feeling that, at least in this country, she’s my little secret.

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Eveningland by Hem

This New York based, folk-type band, dominated my summers for a few years around 12/13 years ago. Their music isn’t taxing, and could be described as perfect for the balmy/lazy summer’s day we all hope to experience. It evokes thoughts of dry dusty grass and hoping for cool breezes. That being said, this music is nowhere near thoughtless or empty. Full of deep and thought-provoking lyrics, you end this album with a calm, satisfied yet emotion-pregnant sigh.

Lastly, an album that you *will* know

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Days Are Gone by Haim

I don’t need to describe this album to you, because you know all about it, I’m sure. But I really love it – the whole thing. And it reminds me of when I accidentally saw them play at The Bowl in Milton Keynes when I accidentally went to see Kings of Leon there. And they were all kinds of awesome. They’re releasing a new album this summer apparently, and I can’t wait to hear it!

What do you like to fill your ears with as the weather gets warmer? Are you a fan of any of the above? I’d love to know!

 

A List of Good Things (so far!) 2016

This year has started off awesome, with tons of things planned and a good feeling about the year ahead.

With a few things already booked for this year, at the end of last, we’ve topped those off with a few more. No doubt more will happen as we go along, but here’s what I’m excited about so far!:

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  • My awesome friend Sarah is getting married in a couple of months, and I’m lucky enough to be one of her bridesmaids! I’m so excited about the lead up to it, the day and also the week after as most of us will be staying around the area for a little holiday!
  • A couple of weeks later Gary’s cousin gets married, so I get a second wedding to go to, this time as a guest.

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  • Secret Cinema presents Dirty Dancing in July. After going to their Back to The Future screening we knew we wanted to go to another one, and Dirty Dancing seemed like an amazing choice. Great music, great atmosphere and great movie. We can’t wait!
  • In September Gary and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, and to celebrate this in style we’re heading to Orlando for two weeks of sun, Disney and rollercoasters! I’ve never been, but as a mahooosive Disney and Harry Potter fan I’m beside myself with excitement over the parks. Plus we’ll be extending our summer by visiting at the end of September. And no doubt when we come home British winter will be in full swing…..
  • Speaking of Harry Potter:

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We landed some tickets to this Harry Potter play and managed to get them for THIS YEAR. Getting tickets was crazy hard for some unknown reason….. *eyeroll* So in October we’ll be heading off to London for two plays in one day…. intriguing!

  • Also in October, my Mum and Dad celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary and there’s a party to be had!
  • Guy Fawkes night is extra special this year because earlier in the day we will have visited London for Jurassic Park in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. We went to a Pixar show at the Royal Albert Hall and also Back to The Future in Concert last year and really enjoyed them both. Gary loves musical score, and we both love the score from Jurassic Park so it’ll be a treat to see it live! We’re hoping that as we’ll be in London anyway there might be a good local fireworks display to visit afterwards!

And that’s it for the year so far. We’d hoped to Hot Dub Time Machine it again, but the only local-ish gig is whilst we’re in Florida, and we wanted to go to V Festival but the line-up is a bit rubbish. Still I reckon we’ve got a good year to come! And who knows what else will pop up along the way 🙂

Busy Doing Nothing & Hot 8 Brass Band

It’s been a little while since I’ve written, and that’s partially because not a huge amount has happened, and partially because I’ve been busy not being busy.

G-Man and I both came down with a cold that didn’t want to go away, so we’ve spent a lot of time catching up on TV, watching movies and having some much-needed down time. After such a busy summer it’s been great therapy.

Autumn is in full swing, the clocks have changed, the weather is getting more crisp – though as I write this it’s glorious sun and warm outside. Halloween is notoriously warm, and it usually gets really cold between then and Guy Fawkes Night. This year, however, our local firework display is tonight (the day after Halloween) and so it’s going to be a lovely mild one. It’s going to be nice not having to wrap up too warm to go and watch the display.

Traditionally Halloween is a night that I either avoid being in the house, or buy loads of sweets for Trick or Treaters who never show up. Last year I broke this tradition by going to see Lena Dunham speak after the release of her book. This year Gary and I travelled to Brighton for a gig.

New Year’s Eve 2014  I took a trip with my Mum to my Grandma’s and on the journey we listened to Radio 2. Craig Charles was playing his show, and during this he played a cover of Sexual Healing by the Hot 8 Brass Band. Look them up if you don’t know them, they’re really good. We found out a few months ago that they were playing a tour to celebrate 20 years of the band, and we grabbed tickets right away.

If you have a spare 5 minutes have a watch – it’s worth it.

We arrived in Brighton just in time to watch the sunset and then had a wander through the zombie-filled streets (it was Halloween after all), grabbed a bite to eat and then headed to Coalition, the venue for the gig.

imageThe band was amazing, so tight. It was so much fun and we danced the night away.

The drive home was really foggy but that added to the Halloween atmosphere. We woke this morning achy, tired and my ears were still muffled and ringing….. But it felt worth it. If you get the chance to listen to Hot 8 then do. You’ll not be able to sit still!

Singing In St Albans

I had a pretty busy (and extra long) bank holiday weekend. On Friday I performed with Rock Choir at a special event in St Albans Abbey. Rock Choir were performing alongside Rockabellas, Peter Howarth, Simon Wallfisch, Benjamin Holden and Pam Rhodes for an evening of music, singing and entertainment to raise money for Rennie Grove Hospice Care.

I woke on Friday morning and had an awesome breakfast:11324245_764731740291502_653132046_nBlimey that was a gorgeous breakfast. And then I had some Italian song lyrics and sign language to brush up on before I had to leave for soundcheck.

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Mum and I went for a yummy early dinner at Wagamamas and then headed to the Abbey for soundcheck. It was an intense few hours getting seated and having a little run through. Then we had to wait backstage in the Lady Chapel whilst the guests came in. Gary had bought some last minute tickets for him and his parents to come and watch so it was even more exciting.

11168081_640094909423359_4850439590504263411_nI’m in there somewhere! It was a really fun experience and as much as it’s hard work it’s really rewarding when you hear the sound you’re making as a choir.

I was shattered by the time I got home, and slept really well that night! Saturday was a day of getting stuff done. I had a physio appointment and I managed to sneak in a little nap so that I wasn’t too tired as I knew it would be another late night.

My Mum had a ticket to see Paul McCartney at the London 02 so Gary and I accompanied her and went out for a meal whilst she was in the gig. We went to the Big Easy which we normally love, but unfortunately the food wasn’t t,hat great this time around.

Another very late night, and we had a really chilled out day in preparation for the next day. Monday was the London Bupa 10,000, so stay tuned for my race recap!

V Festival, Hylands Park

Last weekend Gary and I packed our bags and headed off to Essex for V Festival. It was my 3rd V Fest, Gary’s 5th. It was also his first festival in 11 years and my first in 4 years. Things have changed a bit in a decade, mainly the acceptable festival fashions. I think I need to clean my eye balls for the amount of teeny tiny denim shorts on people who should know better. And everyone looks soooo young…… Also, at risk of sounding super old, fashions have come full circle since apparently everyone is wearing 90s clothing again…. and most of the people wearing it are too young to remember it the first time. Round sunglasses and dungarees anyone? Before you know it everyone will be wearing scrunchies (and yes, bum bags are back already!)

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Anyway, I’m getting off subject. We arrived, parked and headed into the festival. As we’re old now we’d booked a hotel for the overnight stay instead of camping. I like my luxuries! It was very windy and a bit sunny but warm. I loved the fun fair rides dotted around the park and we had fun looking at the market stalls. We headed to the Arena Stage (actually a tent) because I wanted to see All Saints. I loved them the first time around and since then they’ve had two, not very successful come backs. I love their set. They danced the original dance moves and looked amazing, so cool and they all have amazing hair!

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We then headed off to the MTV Stage and watched George Ezra before heading back to the Arena Stage. We caught the end of Keisza who was performing her hit ‘Hideaway’. She was singing an incredibly difficult vocal AND dancing hard. Very impressive! We’d come to this stage to watch Foxes. I enjoyed her set but she does seem to love herself quite a lot – a compelling artist to watch though and she has very good stage presence – and an amazing voice!

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Back to the MTV stage we watched the end of John Newman’s set and then got onto our feet to watch The Wailers. This stage was running late so we weren’t able to see the whole of their set before having to head off to the Arena Stage to watch The Human League. Their performance was great and had the whole tent singing at the top of their lungs.

We went off to grab some food at the main stage whilst Example was playing. He’s not my cup of tea so I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention before Ed Sheeran came on. That boy can sing! He played a solo acoustic set with a loop pedal and it was technically and musically brilliant. I must buy some more of his music.

The headliner that night was Justin Timberlake. The sun had gone down and we were all very cold but waited for JT to come out. Unfortunately his set was very jazzy and cabaret – he seemed to linger on less known songs broken down ad nauseam and skip through the popular songs. We headed out before the end of his set to miss traffic and I don’t think we missed much.

Off to the hotel for a shower and bed. And what a comfy bed it was. I was out like a light before my head hit the pillow and woke with a start to Gary’s alarm. We had a leisurely breakfast. I never get used to festivals where the main area is closed until 11/12 and you can’t just roam around where you like.

Back at the festival and to the Arena Stage where we caught the end of Neon Jungle. We were there to watch Jess Glynn and while we were waiting the heavens opened up. I thanked my stars we were under a tent! Jess Glynn was great and had everyone singing and dancing, and by the time we left the tent the rain had stopped and the sun was coming out. We headed to the MTV stage, grabbed some noodles and took a seat in the shade to watch Aloe Blacc and then Sam Smith. During Sam Smith’s set he brought Nile Rogers out to play on one of the songs.

And then for the main event – we’d been waiting over a year for the chance to see Chic somewhere. Our efforts had been fruitless but when we heard they were playing V we knew we had to go. We got 10 rows from the front of the main stage and sang and danced through the whole set. It was baking in the sun but we didn’t care.

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After Chic we went back to the MTV Stage to watch Katy B who sang and danced with loads of energy. She was great to watch. Rizzle Kicks followed and continued the energetic momentum. Then we went back to the main stage where the rest of the people we wanted to see were playing. We grabbed some dinner and watched Lily Allen – I love her!

 

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She was great, tongue in cheek, and sang wonderfully to her strange and absurd songs. Great fun and truly herself on stage. She was followed by Paolo Nutini. He has such an amazing voice and his songs are full of soul. He really seemed to enjoy himself.

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By this point we were both knackered and starting to get cold again. We’d already decided we wouldn’t stay for Sunday’s headliners, The Killers. Having been stuck in the car park out of the festival for 5 hours (no lie) before we didn’t want that to happen again so we headed out and were home by 10:30 – time for a warm bath and clean clothes and ready. Yes, I sound old but I like to do a festival my way 🙂

It was an amazing weekend, and we definitely want to go back. I’m gagging to go back to Glastonbury one year but until then V will do just fine.

Best. Party. Ever.

On Saturday night Gary, his sister and brother Nicky and Paul, and I headed off to London for what claimed to be the best party ever. Happening at the Southbank’s annual Wonderground Festival, Hot Dub Time Machine was making its second stint of shows and we’d bought tickets.

It’s hard to describe what Hot Dub Time Machine is, so here’s a video:

So you see how it looks AMAZING! We were super excited. It having been so hot we were wearing as little clothing as decently possible and ready for an excellent night. On entering the ‘tent’ Nicky made a bee-line for the front and side seeing that there was an empty table with our name on it. We claimed this booth for the whole night and were able to dance in front of and on the steps next to this table whilst keeping a good stock of cups filled with water.

It got hot very quickly and within half an hour we were all dripping, but we didn’t stop dancing. The music and atmosphere were excellent. The DJ was involved and energetic. We dance for 3.5 hours non stop (well I stopped for one song, but I still refuse to sing or dance to Oasis!) He played I Wanna Dance with Somebody (my all time favourite song) and even managed to get Let It Go from Frozen in there. I wasn’t disappointed.

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There were balloons, confetti canons, strobe lights, glow sticks (given to us by the DJ), an MJ impersonator and the whole thing ended with a rousing chorus of Hey Jude, at which point DJ Tim Loud went right into the crowd and let off more confetti whilst singing along with the crowd.

It was an amazing night. I can honestly say I have never sweated as much as I did that night – not even in any races I’ve run. I can’t wait for him to come back so that I can experience it again. It was definitely the Best. Party. Ever.

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Sweaty messes!

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So, You Wanna Play with Magic?

On Friday Gary and I headed to London to the o2 to see Katy Perry.

We bought the tickets way way back, before her new album came out, and when it did I was a little disappointed. Not because the music was bad, but just that it was obviously less ‘fun’ and a little more grown up than Teenage Dream. I’d really loved the look of her previous tour with all it’s colours, fun and apparent tomfoolery.

But I went with an open mind and was resolved to enjoy myself anyway. We had dinner at Armadillo, which I’d really enjoyed the previous time I’d eaten there. Unfortunately our waiter obviously didn’t want to be there, didn’t pay any attention to his customers and it was a good 15 mins before we got the drinks we’d ordered (this was after we’d finished our appetisers) even though we’d seen them being made within minutes of us ordering them and other waiters kept checking to see if they were for their table. We waited for ages for him to take our plates after we’d eaten and then forget to bring us our bill, saw him speak as if in panic to about 5 other waiters, give other table’s their bill before they’d even asked and pretty much remove all chance of him getting a tip. Any other waiter there would have been welcomed. The food wasn’t nice either. Such a shame!

Anyway, after that we headed into the Arena and found our seats. The doors opened at 6:30 so we guessed the support act, Icona Pop, would start at 7:30. They came on at 8pm and played a very energetic set. Since I only know two of their songs, I didn’t feel very involved in the Euro Pop, and parts of it were so strange that Icona Pop have made it onto my weird list of gigs (they’re right up there with Coil). But they seemed to have a lot of fun and so did the standing crowd.

Then at 9pm Katy came on. The whole gig was colourful, bright and engaging.

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In the middle picture above, you can see Katy at the front in a LED dress skipping a skipping rope, in heels, and then she stopped and carried on singing. The girl’s got some stamina! The pace slowed somewhat towards the middle with a ballad section and then picked up again for a fantastic 90’s section, with a medley of old 90s dance tracks, the back up girls singing Finally by CeCe Peniston and then into Walking On Air.

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Birthday was sung to a guy in the crowd who got to sit on a throne on the stage whilst Katy sat on his lap, and then she flew over the audience attached to a bunch of balloons. Huge nets of balloons fell over the crowds at the end and confetti shot out of canons over the stage.

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The encore was Firework – sang by Katy on her own on the stage wearing a big dress. It was a little lacking the big finale finish you’d expect but it was great to see it performed.

So all in all a great night. Katy is very down to earth and obviously loves England, performing and had a great sense of humour. One of the interim videos that played was of her in a white padded room wearing a straight jacket – it was an amazing video, and I’m hoping it appears on YouTube at some point so I can share it. If you haven’t listened to her album yet, I recommend it. There’s some belters on there – just feel free to skip through any singles the radio has played ad nauseam!

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Turn It Up Loud

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I’ve been wanting to share some new music with you guys for a while, but really had no way to do so other than posting a load of youtube videos up, which isn’t ideal for a blog post. But I recently discovered Bop.fm (via Beckie) and it’s perfect for sharing tunes with you guys. WordPress.com doesn’t allow embedding of my bop.fm playlist, but if you click on this sentence you will be transported to playlist heaven. Please please listen. You won’t regret it.

So if you’re not in a place you can listen to music, or on a device which will play it, go ahead and mark this post as unread until you are somewhere you can give it the attention it deserves. Thanks!

Music is a massive part of my life, but until a year ago I hadn’t listened to anything new in ages. I didn’t listen to the radio, pay attention to the charts or actively search for anything new. When I changed jobs and had the opportunity to listen to the radio all this changed. When I started running and wanted to listen to something stimulating when I worked out all this changed. When I started to pay attention to what people recommended to me online all this changed. I’m going to share a few of my current favourites with you and tell you what they mean to me, and hopefully you’ll listen and end up loving them as much as I do. Here goes!:

Afterglow – Wilkinson

So apparently I like drum and bass. This is the song that when it comes on the radio, my headphones, my running playlist, makes me go ‘Ah’ It’s my tune. It makes me feel happy, stimulated, excited and it drives me on. I can listen to it when relaxing, dreaming, running, partying. It just speaks to me. Plus the video is really cool, so watch it if you can. This song is my ‘power song’ when I’m doing a particularly hard run. It’s gotten me through hill training, came on at a pivotal time during my half marathon and never fails to motivate me. It might not speak to you in the same way as it does to me, but listen to the words. Who hasn’t been out, had an amazing time and not wanted the night to end?

Nerve – Half Moon Run

This is a fairly new song to me, but I’m still in the stage with it that it delights my ear drums. I seem to be attracted to music with syncopated notes – it interests me. This song is a wonderful mix of syncopation, pretty twinkly notes and a harrowing hook.

Youth – Daughter

This is a kinda weird one, because I’m listening to this song for the first time right now. I finished playing Nerve, above, and this played afterwards (on bop.fm – and no I’m not being paid to advertise bop, I just really think it’s great!) Anyway, I think I might have fallen deeply in love with this song at first listen. So I felt compelled to add it here!

From Eden – Hozier

From Eden is another of those wonderfully syncopated songs that I find myself singing at random times of the day. I first heard Hozier courtesy of Fern Cotton on radio 1 (much to my chagrin, seeing as she would claim to have boosted Jesus’ follower’s on twitter if she’d had the chance – she’s the queen of the humble brag) Anyway, this guy has released 2 eps, no albums and has still sold out a US tour. I recommend you listen to this song, and then listen to it again. And then get his eps and listen to those. And then have an iced tea on the porch.

Mercy – Mr Little Jeans

I really struggled to choose a track from Mr Little Jean’s album Pocketknife, to share with you. I’ve chosen this one but I really think you should listen to the whole thing. This artist was recommended by Beckie (she’s got great taste in music) on her blog and I’m pretty sure it was this song I heard first. I love this album – it’s great to run on the treadmill to, it’s great to drive to, it’s great just to sit and listen to!

I Got U – Duke Dumont

This tune is a perfect summer hottie. It’s reminiscent of sun bathing and long dry road trips. The video’s pretty cool too. The female vocalist is so talented, her voice echoing Whitney Houston, and the song does actually sample Whitney’s voice and parts of her song My Love is Your Love. It’s a fabulous summer tune that I think will see us through the next few months of weird British heat waves.

Let Go For Tonight – Foxes

Just one of Foxes brilliant singles, this one’s a right belter. It’s a great mix of fun pop song and dance tune, with a great chorus that will no doubt run through your mind for a while after you’ve heard it.

You & I – One Direction

Despite my shame, and their apparent bad use of grammar – I really like this song. Enough, in fact to add it to this list. It’s a perfect specimen of an angsty boy band song. I do, however, still have trouble listening to 1D without whispering Shadow Pico….

And that’s it my friends. To listen to the playlist click HERE!  I’d love to hear what you think of these tunes and if you have anything to recommend, then go ahead!

Happy listening!

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