Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lissie Live in Vancouver

On a whim, I bought tickets to see Lissie tonight at the Biltmore Cabaret and I am so glad I did! I first noticed her at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton this past May. She did the most splendid performance of Everywhere I Go with Ellie Goulding. You can check out the video on a previous blog here.

Lissie played to a sold-out crowd along with her guitarist Eric Sullivan and drummer/bassist/backing vocalist extraordinaire Lewis Keller. There's something to be said about being able to play percussion and bass while singing at the same time! The standout for me was Everywhere You Go because of its rawness and simplicity. This is Lissie, take it or leave it. The girl knows how to rock out too and does an amazing cover of Kid Cudi's Pursuit of Happiness which the crowd eagerly requested.

She also told the story behind Cuckoo. It talks about the time growing up in Illinois when she felt sure of who she was but was looked down upon as naive. Her advice? Stick to your guns and wait it out. In the end, everything gets better despite a few peaks and troughs.

New! I've just added Lissie performing Pursuit of Happiness

For now, here is the set-list and a smattering of photos. I have a few videos uploading at the moment :) 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Lies - January 22, 2011 (Seattle)

In the next few days, I hope to do a track-by-track review of the White Lie's new album Ritual due to come out in January.

I'm pretty stoked as I'm all booked to do a mini-roadtrip to catch the guys in Seattle at Neumos :)

Favourite track: Bigger Than Us
Honourable mention: Come Down

(But it changes every week)


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Top 5 Albums of 2010

Inspired by my friend Rob's blog, and his collection of Top 5 Albums of 2010, I'm going to put my 2 cents in! Now some of you may go, "what the heck was she thinking?" but I have to go by what I've been listening to the most on my iPod and not be influenced by what the music publications have fed me this year. I am a fairly open person when it comes to music and as a result, you will see my choices span the genres of Rock, Indie, Pop and Folk. 

Here goes!

My Top 5 Albums of 2010

1. Foals - Total Life Forever

Their first album 'Antidotes' paved the way for the so-called 'math-rock' movement with its upbeat, syncopated songs. One look at them and you'd think they were the ultimate scenesters. The addictive beats reappear on Total Life Forever, but the melodies are more developed soundscapes.

Standout Track: Miami - it takes the sometimes over-the-top beats of their first album and gives it the space it deserves.

2. Jonsi - Go

While the rest of Sigur Rós are on hiatus having babies, Jónsi Birgisson embarks on his first solo English record. What was intended as an acoustic album somehow evolved into this dreamy festival for the ears when Jónsi met another Icelandic great, Nico Muhly. Jonsi still sounds like he's singing in Icelandic/Hopelandic but bless him, he's more about emotion than words anyway!

Standout Track: Tornado - Despite the bare lyrics, Jónsi develops the sound into a climax and then exhales. Breathtaking  glockenspiel (in the live version only) and fantastic drums, thanks to Samuli Kosinien of another Icelanic experimental group múm.

3. Ellie Goulding - Bright Lights

This is a re-issue of Lights, released in March 2010 with 6 new tracks. BBC named Goulding as the artist to watch going into 2010 and she was even crowned Best New Artist at the Brit awards. The songs are equal parts folk, pop, electronic and 100% infectious. I give the girl extra credit for having written the songs with just her guitar and recorded a lot of this album in an East London home studio.

Standout Track: Your Song - an Elton John cover, it's just Goulding's raw voice, a piano and strings. Honourable mention goes to 'Wish I Stayed' as it's gutsy put the first song you've ever written on a debut album.

4. The Pretty Reckless - Light Me Up

Forget about Taylor Momsen or Jenny or Gossip Girl. The mistake most people make is to dismiss this album based on these three things before they even give it a good listen. Remember the days of Veruca Salt, Courtney Love and Garbage? Momsen is today's version of the power rock chick, albeit with a lot more black goth-liner and a lot less clothes :S 

Standout Track: Tonight - husky yet demanding, this little vixen breathes sexy whispers and then rocks out with the rest of her man-band in the chorus! I've heard her in some BBC Live Lounge sessions and no, this girl is not a product of good studio editing.

5. The Drums - The Drums

Nothing groundbreaking here and my choice is heavily influenced by a live gig I attended in London earlier this year. If you are looking for an album that evokes the sounds and feel of summer, this one's for you. These Brooklyn lads were much talked about going into 2010 and their young sound re-ignited my belief in the importance of a good live show as well as a strong album. 

Standout Track: Down by the Water - understated surfer cool. Honourable mention goes to Best Friend which is more typical of their sound as a band.


I've been a to whole slew of gigs this year ranging from She & Him to Hole. It's hard to pinpoint just one memorable gig so here's my top 3 :)

1. Jónsi (03.26.10) at 3 Mills Studio in London - We were told we were extras for his 2nd single so we all showed up dressed as animals. Little did we know, it ended up being a recorded final dress rehearsal before they went on their first ever tour! That show is now part of the Go Live DVD/CD set.

2. One Republic (04.20.10) at Shepherds Bush Empire, London - One of the most underrated bands ever. These lads now spend more time in the UK than America and it has done their music wonders. They are tight and best of all, they are all multi-instrumentalists.

3. The Temper Trap (June & December, 2010) at The Commodore, Vancouver - The best singalong show this year by far! Can't wait to hear their second album ... and from what my inside source says, it's going to be worth the wait!

Overall Honourable Mentions:
School of Seven Bells - Disconnect from Desire
Broken Bells - Broken Bells
Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gentle Fawn Giveaway via hearted girl

I'm guilty ... I find myself reading so many blogs that sometimes I neglect my own.
I love keeping my ear to the ground by reading opinions on everything but mainly on music and fashion based out of London or Vancouver.

One new blog I've recently stumbled upon is hearted girl
Based in Vancouver, Lynn blogs about a myriad of things but I love the visuals most of all. Her blog is great for scanning the images until I see something I fancy after which I will delve deeper if I have the time :)

As a way of giving back, hearted girl is currently hosting a Gentle Fawn giveaway:

Click here to enter and check out the blog :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Matt Cardle wins X Factor UK 2010

I never thought the day would come when I blogged about X Factor, but here it is! The show has always been my guilty pleasure and I try my best to pull others in. (Best way I have found is with beer, tea and/or a combination of both with fresh baked goods!). Last year, we had friends around on Sunday nights to watch X Factor. As it is most Brits' guilty pleasure, we gathered everyone around under the pretense of a "catch-up session" but everyone knew it was for the Sunday night vote-off!

My favourite performance by far this year was Matt Cardle's duet with Rihanna. I most often vote for the underdog; even better if the underdog is cute, plays a guitar and sings! Watch the video below and if you don't squeal like an excited teenage girl at the sound of the words "Justin Beiber", then I don't know if you appreciate how truly awesome this duet was!

Although Travis was the first to popularize the "manly" version of Britney Spears' Hit Me Baby One More Time, it is Matt Cardle who does it better justice. OK, maybe I'm a bit biased because A) I'm a Britney fan and B) I love Matt Cardle.

Hopefully the same time next year, Matt Cardle will still be around and making great music. I didn't have the same well wishes for last year's winner Joe McElderry so you all know I'm serious this time!

Best of luck to him xx

Sunday, December 05, 2010

My Revived Obsession - Lissie

This past June, there was a lot of buzz in the UK of Lissie, a blonde American folk singer. I fell in love with her album Catching a Tiger but was too preoccupied with another blonde singer (Ellie Goulding) and therefore didn't give her album nearly as many listens. I also wrongly assumed she was Jewel version 2.0 but realized there could never be another Jewel!

With her latest single Everywhere I Go, my obession for Lissie has been revived and all in good time as she is playing a gig at the Biltmore Cabaret on December 29, 2010. Her music provides the space many overproduced pop songs of today stifles. I am not saying one genre is better than another (although most people I know could argue about this for hours).

In my current headspace, and in this chaotic Christmas season, Lissie's Catching a Tiger is a melodic escape from the over-excited songs infiltrating our everday lives. Take for example the predictable Christmas classic remixes at the shopping mall. Or the annual charge for commercial hits to take the Christmas #1 single title. (Not since Girls Aloud with their amazing Sound of the Underground have I paid even an ounce of attention to such a race ... Joe McElderry anyone?).

I'm getting sidetracked because now I'm getting excited about Girls Aloud again!

Here is the undeniable hit machine with Sound of the Underground recorded during their Out of Control tour at the O2 Arena in London. And yes, I was present when they filmed this! Who wants to buy this DVD for me for Christmas (I have meant to buy it for ages; this one and the one from their Tangled Up tour.)

And let's not forget the woman of the hour, Lissie:

Thursday, December 02, 2010

White Lies return with 'Ritual' and lead single BIGGER THAN US

If the world has any justice at all, this new single from the White Lies will propel them to being an international household name. Their first album, To Lose My Life was thoughtful and dark but most importantly poignant.

Ritual, to be released in January is a follow-up album every band dreams to be able to create. The 10 songs on it shows incredible growth yet it does not alienate their pre-existing fanbase. If the lead single 'Bigger Than Us' is any indicator, White Lies are destined to do the arena circuit.

When I first heard this song, I thought 'Streetlights' should have been their first single instead. After giving it a few more listens, I felt similar to when I first heard 'Death' (lead track from To Lose My Life). Both these tracks are intelligent and emotionally powerful; I didn't quite get them from listening to each once. Watch and listen for yourself.

On October 28th, White Lies played a special show at the Shoreditch Town Hall in London. Needless to say, the boys rocked my socks off! Especially Tommy ;)

White Lies at Shoreditch Town Hall

With Rachel and Frances

Set List:




These songs are off 'Ritual'.
Where was 'Turn the Bells'? :(