Hiatus announcement

Evening all.  Unfortunately I have had to put my blog on hiatus for the foreseeable future – my Grandad passed away on Friday night, so I will be spending the next couple of weeks with my family and won’t have as much time to blog.

I hope to have everything up and running again really soon.  See you when I get back!


Review: 5: The Gray Chapter

Now, I think I can speak for all Slipknot fans when I say I was extremely excited when the band announced a fifth album, following the death of previous bassist Paul Gray which made the Iowa band’s future extremely uncertain.

Since August of this year we’ve been teased with songs and music videos for The Negative One and The Devil in I – the video for which accidentally revealed the identity of Slipknot’s replacement bassist, Alessandro Venturella, due to his unique hand tattoos.

The band have since created a website where their entire fifth album, entitled 5: The Gray Chapter, is available to stream for free, and on first impressions I can safely say that Slipknot are back on top form and better than ever before.

As always, Slipknot are still combining thundering percussion, heavy riffs, electronic elements and vocalist Corey Taylor’s unique voice to create something uniquely Slipknot, as is evident starting from the first full-length track Sarcastrophe and continuing throughout the rest of the album.

The pace is fast and unrelenting – this is certainly not an album to relax to, but one where, if you close your eyes, you could imagine being surrounded by metal heads in the moshpit at a show or festival.  Listening to this album at full blast, I could practically feel my heart beating in time to the bass pedal.

Whilst the tracks fit together well as a package, even on first listen it’s easy to distinguish between individual songs which demonstrates the time and hard work which has gone into The Gray Chapter.

Slipknot’s latest offering combines music stylised similarly to their earlier albums Iowa and Volume 3: The Subliminal Verses with vocals more closely related to those from All Hope Is Gone – this creates an album which, whilst clearly penned from the same hands, is not quite like any of their previous albums.

In case you hadn’t worked it out already, I absolutely love this album, and in my humble opinion, Slipknot can do no wrong.  Let’s hope I can get tickets to their Prepare For Hell tour next year!

Highlights: AOV, Killpop, Nomadic, If Rain Is What You Want

Review: Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair Bournemouth

First of all, I’d like to point out that in order to get to the vintage fair on time, I set my alarm clock for nine a.m. on a Sunday morning.  NINE A.M.!! I think I deserve a round of applause for that.

Anyway, I rocked up to Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair, held in the lovely Bournemouth Pavilion, and entering the gorgeous 1950s interior I think my heart skipped a beat at the sight of practically endless rails of vintage and reclaimed clothing.

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The atmosphere was great, and I absolutely loved the performance by Lauren Hillier which went on throughout most of the morning – it really set the scene and made me feel like I had been transported back to the 50s.

So, without further ado, check out my haul!

Jumper: Mabel’s Customised & Vintage Clothing, £15
Scarf: The Vintage Room, £3
Belt: £8
Necklace: Little Treasures, £10
The Vintage Room, £2.50

I’m really happy with everything I bought, and can’t wait to start wearing everything out and about!  If Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair is coming to a town near you soon, I’d definitely recommend going along and seeing the wares for yourself.

Currently listening to: Something From NothingFoo Fighters

Review: Vulture Song

Take a look at my latest review over at Scene Better Days, this time of Bear VS Rhino’s most recent EP.

Scene Better Days

Listening to Bear VS Rhino’s latest EP, Vulture Song, was a really interesting audio experience – the record demonstrates a maturity and development from their earlier EPs. However, I am having trouble in working out what the band are trying to say.

‘Beck up, Back up’ is a punchy introduction to the record. I especially like Markus’s guitar playing here, and the instrumental which runs from around three minutes in until the end of the track. I could see myself jamming to that instrumental in the basement of a sweaty bar.

However, the vocals sound warped and distorted, and while the overall results are pretty unique and interesting, I found it difficult to actually understand the lyrics – a theme which carries on throughout the entire EP.

After three tracks I eventually gave up trying to understand the lyrics. Whilst I realise that these kinds of vocals comes part…

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Why purchasing music legally ISN’T a rip-off

Today’s post is a little different to what I’d normally write here, but last week I heard something which inspired me.

During a lecture, my lecturer asked for a show of hands of everyone who had never illegally downloaded music.  As one of those people, I put my hand up, along with about three others in a group of around 100.  I then heard someone from my course mutter, “You’re being ripped off” under their breath.  I don’t know who that person was, and chances are they’ll never read my blog, but this post is dedicated to you, whoever you are.

I think taking part in illegally downloading music is a massive double standard.  I expect the vast majority of people who illegally download music would never dream of shoplifting, or stealing a car, or mugging someone for their wallet.  However, because music (and other forms of media, such as TV shows and films) can be stolen at the click of a button over the internet, I expect it doesn’t feel as if it’s really stealing.  But it is.

Whilst I don’t want to speak for everybody, since illegally downloading media became common practice it feels like consumers have developed a sense of entitlement which, quite frankly, shouldn’t exist.  Instead of saving up your pocket money to buy Fall Out Boy’s latest CD like I used to in my teenage years, as soon as an album is released fans want to have it in their iTunes RIGHT NOW, even if that means getting it by illegal means.  Fans seem to think that they deserve music for free, but that simply isn’t the case.

Artists spend literally months of their time putting albums together, and there are a lot of hidden costs that most audiences probably don’t even consider, such as:

  • Purchasing instruments, or if you’re a solo artist, hiring musicians;
  • Hours of writing and rehearsal time outside of the studio;
  • Hiring a studio to record the separate instrument and vocal tracks (this process could take weeks);
  • Hiring a producer to produce the album, or spending time producing the album yourself;
  • Paying record label and iTunes fees;
  • Designing and printing album artwork;
  • Hours of time spent promoting the album and social networking;
  • And probably a whole host of other steps which I am unaware of.

When you consider how much time and money goes into putting an album together, how could anyone think spending money on music is a rip-off?  More and more artists are struggling to live off their musical careers because sales are plummeting year after year.  Illegally downloading music would be the same, in my eyes, as taking an painter’s canvas down from the wall of a gallery and expecting to walk out with it for free.

When album and single sales flop, artists have no choice but to go on long tours, hoping to make up for money lost and pay their fees and resulting in months away from home and their loved ones.  As much as we all love going to live gigs, touring just to pay the rent can’t be fun for anyone involved.

Although I hate to admit it, the music industry is dying.  Even though I’m only one person, I will continue to legally purchase music because it gives me the satisfaction of knowing that I’m supporting my favourite artists – hopefully allowing them to go on to make more albums and go on more tours. I can listen to every song on my iPod guilt free, and I hope everyone reading this post can too.

Currently listening to: So Far AwayAvenged Sevenfold

Enter Shikari: the latest tour dates, album title and more

Much to my great joy, as I was scrolling down my Twitter feed in bed with a slice of toast this morning, as you do, I was reminded that today at midday, the tickets for Enter Shikari‘s Jan/Feb 2015 tour went on sale.

Unfortunately I had to rush off to a lecture so I was unable to get tickets at midday, but thankfully I was able to pick up a ticket (and a pre-order of their next album) for their date at Portsmouth Pyramids.  Excited is an understatement!

After seeing Enter Shikari at Leeds Festival earlier this year (you can check out my review of their performance here) and really enjoying their performance, I am so happy to be able to see them perform for a second time.

As well as that, the Essex lads revealed that their upcoming fourth album, The Mindsweep, will be released in the UK on January 19 of next year.

I, for one, cannot wait for their next album, especially after hearing a new song from the album, The Anaesthetistplayed live at Leeds Festival.

If you’re interested in picking up tickets for Enter Shikari’s The Mindsweep tour, the dates can be found here.  Also, if you’re interested in picking up their next album you can pre-order it, as well as other exclusive goodies, on their website.

Currently listening to: WarriorsImagine Dragons

Student Lock-ins: awesome deals for a fresher’s budget

This evening I’ll be off to Castlepoint Shopping Park in Bournemouth for their annual Student lock-in event.  If you’ve never been to a lock-in before, basically all you have to do is turn up at your shopping centre of choice, and you’ll be locked in to shop ’til you drop with the incentives of freebies and exclusive discounts.

These events aren’t just good for clothes shopping – although most clothing stores involved will offer between 15-25% discount during the lock-in – you could also get discounts and freebies for restaurants, phone stores, health and beauty and technology stores.

Plus, some stores also give out freebies to the first people who enter the shop, so it pays to get there early!  For example, at the Castlepoint lock-in tonight Boots are giving a free goody bag to the first 100 customers, plus free entry to a prize draw to win £50 worth of cosmetics.  There will be a lot of entrants to these kind of competitions, of course, but you have to be in it to win it!

If you’re planning on heading to a lock-in near you, here are some handy hints to make the most out of your time:

P R I O R I T I S E V I S I T I N G Y O U R F A V O U R I T E S T O R E S F I R S T – the first customers will be the ones who get the freebies and the best choice of items to buy, so don’t waste time in shops you don’t care about.

P R E P A R E A S H O P P I N G L I S T – it’s easy to go overboard and spend too much at these kind of events, so make sure you have a mental list of what you actually need to buy on the night.

S I G N U P T O L O Y A L T Y C A R D S – if you don’t already have loyalty cards at the shops you visit, make sure to sign up on the night to make sure you hear about future discounts, offers and events before everyone else.

Are you planning on going to a lock-in soon?  What top tips do you think I missed?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Currently listening to: The CaptainBiffy Clyro

Review: Lewis-Manning A/W 2014 Fashion Show

On Thursday night I had the privilege to be invited to a fashion show, hosted by Magna Mazda Poole and organised by the Lewis-Manning Hospice.  The goal of the fashion show was to demonstrate that it is possible to follow the latest trends by purchasing items second hand from charity shops.

Unfortunately I was unable to take photographs on the night, however if you are interested in seeing the outfits from Thursday night, keep an eye on the event’s Facebook page for an update.

The first catwalk looked at colours and prints, and most of the outfits focussed on solid primary colours or bright floral prints, teamed with more earthy-coloured accessories, thick coats and chunky boots to make it clear that autumn has arrived.

As well as casual and office wear, many outfits in the first catwalk hinted at the return of cocktail party and office Christmas dos with some gorgeous cocktail dresses – one in particular was a gorgeous deep blue colour, but unfortunately somebody else got to it first when it came to shopping.  Boo.

Some of the jewellery, provided by a local Stella & Dot stylist, was absolutely gorgeous, and whilst fairly expensive the accessories are truly one of a kind.

Entertainment during the interval was covered by GJ Cabarets, an excellent dance cabaret troupe who performed to a wide range of songs, from Michael Jackson’s Thriller to Paolo Nutini’s Pencil Full Of Lead and Marilyn Monroe’s Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.

The second catwalk was based around fabrics and shapes, and it demonstrated how easy it is to find statement pieces for your autumn/winter wardrobe on a budget from charity shops.  Some of the looks teamed sheer, soft and silky materials with thick winter coats, parkas and fake fur detailing to add opulence to the outfits.

They also focused on fashionable silhouettes for the season – outfits with a fitted top had looser, less fitted bottoms, and vice versa.  Using a belt to draw attention to a cinched waistline was also an awesome feature.

The night ended with entertainment from Richard Knight, an opera singer, who got the entire crowd dancing to a Queen medley, ABBA’s greatest hits and more.

I had a really interesting night, and it definitely encouraged me to take more time rummaging the racks at my local charity shops to look for bargains which are also bang on trend.

Many thanks to Louise Croft, the organiser, for sending me the invitation in the first place!

Currently listening to: CarapherneliaPierce The Veil featuring Jeremy Mckinnon