Archive for June, 2013

Yes, I can admit that I have been incredibly lazy of late – again.
But there is hope on the horizon! I have just finished another book and have three reviews in the works, plus an album review for something a little different, so keep an eye out for those!

Thanks again to everyone who stops by!

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New Found Glory are a pop-punk band from Florida, USA. The band has been going strong for 16 years and are showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. They have released seven original studio albums as well as three covers albums, two video albums, two EPs and a Christmas album. The guys are currently working on their next album, due out later this year.

This is the first New Found Glory song I ever heard and it started a love affair that has lasted nearly ten years so far. It’s called Hit Or Miss. Check it out!

 

I haven’t really enjoyed anything The Killers have done since their first album Hot Fuss (2004) but they’re worth a song of the week post anyway.

I got into The Killers after their music was featured in teen drama The OC. The OC had a pretty big impact on my life, which sounds silly because it’s a tv show, but I was a teenager and we all have our little vices.

This song is called Mr Brightside and it’s still one of my favourites after all these years!

I went through my rap, hip-hop and R&B phase in early high school. I’m not sure if everyone has one of these phases, or if it was brought on by the people I was hanging around with at the time, but it happened. I was in love with Nelly and Usher and would rap into my hairbrush in front of the mirror like I was far from the whitest girl I knew, even though I absolutely was.

The phase passed, just as my Spice Girls obsession had years earlier, and other than the odd bit of Eminem I never really listened to that sort of music again because I no longer had any interest in it.

Well…that was until Jay-Z, Kanye West and Niggas in Paris happened. Damn this song for being so addictive that I just can’t stop listening to it!

*language warning*

Happy Monday!

I made the mistake of letting myself fall very behind in my book reviews, but I am finally starting to catch back up again. Today I flash back to a book I read in early March called Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2007).

Thirteen Reasons Why cover

Thirteen Reasons Why tells the story of Hannah Baker through an unwitting narrator, our protagonist: Clay Jensen. Clay arrives home from school one afternoon to find a shoe-box containing seven cassette tapes outside his front door. He discovers that these tapes were recorded by Hannah Baker, a classmate who has passed away. The story follows Clay around his small town as he listens through these tapes, learning things about Hannah – and himself – that will change his life forever.

The story had a solid start. I remember being taught in my creative writing classes at university to always start a story with a hook – a question or a statement that would compel the reader to keep on reading – and Asher absolutely nailed it. In only four pages he raised a number of very important questions that I just had to find out the answers to. These include, among others:

–          Who sent the package?

–          Who is Jenny?

–          Who, exactly, is Hannah and what happened to her?

–          What is on the tapes?

–          What is the list? Who else is on it?

From the next chapter these questions start being answered, but at the same time more are being raised. Asher took that initial hook of raising questions that you just have to find out the answers to, and continued it throughout the story. This resulted in an entire novel that is a constant stream of questions and answers that doesn’t conclude until the very last page. I think this played a huge part it what makes the book so addictive.

The whole concept of the book – the story itself, as well as how it has been set out and told – is quite brilliant. Even though it features incredibly heavy content to read and absorb, you feel compelled to keep going. You absolutely have to know what and who comes next, and how that person contributed to what happened. From person to person the suspense builds as you come closer and closer to seeing where Clay fits into Hannah’s story.

Throughout Thirteen Reasons Why I found myself feeling more and more for Clay as the story went along. He gets to be so emotional and he feels so horrible even before he finds out where he fits into Hannah’s story. I can understand that his experience would have been one hell of an emotional roller-coaster ride and the way Asher wrote Clay; the way the character internalises everything and doesn’t hold anything back; really makes you feel what he is feeling. Even though it is truly painful to read at times, I don’t think you would want it any other way.

I won’t say too much about Hannah, because I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read Thirteen Reasons Why, but I was fascinated by her story. What happened was awful and it really should never have come to that, but the way she goes through the stories of everyone who impacted her in some way, right down to the end where she is so at peace with it all and completely rationalises her decision, was a very interesting read. I said it once already, but this novel is truly a brilliant piece of writing.

From a technical standpoint, the story does jump around a little bit in a few places. It’s something that I noticed, but it doesn’t affect the story too much. I also didn’t particularly like the ending, but I do understand why it ended the way it did. I’m sure every reader has their own opinion on that!

 

Hello everyone!

I have spent the last few weeks trying to motivate myself to get back to blogging and I think I finally have my mojo back. Thank goodness for that!

This song of the week is by a pretty awesome up-and-coming Australian band from Sydney called Strangers who recently played at SXSW – if you don’t know what that is, I suggest you check it out here – and did a little tour around America before heading home to start work on their second album. They couldn’t lock themselves away to write and record without a tour of home first, which is how I came to see them at Brisbane’s Crowbar on May 16.

But before I go on about that: the song!

It’s called Bred For Breeding and while it isn’t my favourite song from Strangers’ debut album Persona Non Grata (that you absolutely have to find and listen to) it’s still a damn good song.

Strangers just wrapped up their ‘Closer to Nowhere’ tour (their new single from the album which happens to be one of my favourites) and as I mentioned, I was lucky enough to catch them in Brisbane. It was the third time I have seen the band live and they have consistently put on a fantastic show. They’re a very tight live band who you know will at least reach, if not exceed your expectations every time. They give the same amount of time and effort to their performances whether they have a crowd of 500 or 50 – the latter of which would best describe the attendance on this particular night – which I think is an admirable quality. Many bands reach a point in their career where they believe it is beneath them to perform to a small crowd. but I don’t think Strangers will never be one of those bands. After the show the guys are always happy to have a chat to everyone and show their appreciation for those who have taken the time to come and watch them play.

I took a few photos on the night – iPhone only – and here is my favourite of lead singer Ben Britton:

Ben Britton. Brisbane, May 16, 2013.

Ben Britton. Brisbane, May 16, 2013.

I also got a set list, yay!

strangers set list

 

If you ever get the chance to catch a gig, do it. Even if you don’t leave as a new Strangers fan, I can promise that you will have witnessed one hell of a rock show. Oh and please check them out on Facebook, I’m sure they’d appreciate it.