Friday, March 30, 2012

Little Gems VI

Since it's super sunny I am going to cut to the chase and just give you some songs rather than rambling on. These are a bunch of songs I have been enjoying in this sunny weather and I hope you do too :)
Free Fallin' - John Mayer

Mree - Atmosphere

Rosi Golan ft. Will Fitzsimmons - Hazy

Five Mile Town - Saturated

The Weekend - Wicked Games

Gypsy and the Cat - Sight of a tear

River song - Ally Rhodes

1234 - Feist

Scott Matthews - Is This Love (cover)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Little Gems V

My friend Amy introduced me to Deer Tick, well they were playing on her laptop when I first heard them. Apparently this song is in the Inbetweeners movie but I haven'e seen it so I can't tell you what bit of teenage revelry it accompanies, but I imagine it is the walking home the morning after the night before kind of thing trying to piece together everything that happened.

This is another find from my MySpace days for Priscilla Ahn is in the same circle as Joshua Radin and Ingrid Michaelson. This is my favourites, my favourite bit is near the end as the song builds up to a catchy-folky  crescendo, well as  much of a crescendo that you can get in a acoustic song.

Lisa Hannigan is one of Ireland's many talented singer songwriters and is mainly known in the UK for  appearing on many of Damien Rice's songs. However in 2008 she launched her on solo career and has  gained high acclaim in Ireland and the USA.

Gabrielle Aplin has appeared on here but I thought I would put up this song from when I saw her live in Glasgow at the beginning of the month. This is a new song based she wrote after watching 500 Days Of Summer and its beautiful and a studio version is on it's way!

Jo Hamilton has an amazing background rooted from a nomadic family in Kenya and Jamaica but she gre up in the middle of the Scottish highlands. Her music is reminiscent of Sigor Ros, the kind of music you can fall asleep to, in a good way. She is also the first person to produce an album with an Airpiano; which is a "hands free" instrument for the 21st century. I am still not 100% sure how it works but you techno-music geeks could have a field day with this one.

Here is one of my favourite wee upbeat songs by Passion Pit from America. I discovered them through swapping playlists on spotify with my ex, it's a really good way to find some new bands and songs. Unfortunately with the recent changes to Spotify I have completely stopped using it, which is a shame as it was good fun!

I haven't been listening to British radio much as of late so I am not really sure if this guy has made a name for himself over here but he is big in Norway. Jarle Bernhoft is a Norwegian singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist marvel who uses a ridiculous combination of instruments at once to produce a unique sound. Definitely one to see live.

English singer-songwriter Kate Rusby has a wonderful vibrato quality to her voice that is beautifully haunting and can silence a room until you can hear a pin drop. She is one of the biggest female folk vocalists in the UK and one of the few folk singers to be nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize/

Usually I only have 8 songs on here but I had to throw this last one in, it's a collaboration with five talented girls who have found fame through youtube: Orla Gartland, Ebony Day, Kate McGill, Ally Rhodes and Lauren Aqilina. This is a beautiful cover and I am hoping to hear more collab's from Engage TV :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Little Gems IV

Welsh singer-songwriter Kate McGill is another of my youtube finds and although she is 22 years old, her voice seems like that of someone 5 years younger, although strange it has a haunting quality. This song has some nice concepts in it when you listen to the lyrics and I am always a big fan of nice lyrics :)

Any fan of Mumford and Suns will like these two, or think they sound far too like them. Depends if you are pedantic like that or not. Husdon Taylor  or Harry and Alfie, I am not entirely sure which name they are going with right now, is made up of Alfie Hudson and Harry Taylor (see what they did there..) who will be sure to have all the folk-acoustic girls attention for years to come...

Liz Lawrence gives us a nice little song with a Ukelele, it's hard to believe her influences come from Punk Rock but it works! This should put a spring in your step just in time for the sun coming out :)

This girl sounds like she has time travelled from the 70's to give us a drop of husky voiced rock in these dark ages of electronic and RnB. Alice Gold sounds just like one of the people I would love to be, she has a lust for life; she bought a one way ticket to America and won a 1978 Winnebago in a poker game and spent the next six months carrying out the dream American road trip.

The Pierces reminds me of America's answer to First Aid Kit (from my first Little Gems) and it's hard to believe that these two sisters are in their mid thirties! They look amazing! Their 70's influence not only comes out of this video but also in their music with echoes of Joni Mitchell and Simon and Garfunkel.

I discovered this song after my last break-up and it was pretty fitting and led me to discover more from Daughter.  London based Elena Tonra, the voice of the band, produces wonderfully haunting lyrics to accompany a voice that silences a room.

I have been listening to a lot of Norwegian Radio lately to hlep practice with listening comprehension but serendipidously I have also come across some good wee songs, including White Foxes by Susanne Sundfør.

For the past while I have been wishing I grew up in the 70's with the relaxed atmosphere, cool clothes and fantastic music scene, especially as the busy qualms of modern daily life wear us down. I am sure people will say it was the same back then but I don't want to believe them. Rumours by Fleetwood Mac came out 35 years ago this year and I would do anything to have grown up in that era, suppose we have to make the kids think the same in 35 years time…

Rose's Day Out In Perth

After waking up every hour from 6am until 11am my alarm finally went off and I allowed myself to get up, I didn't want to be tired today as I was going to be put behind the hands of one of man's most impressive feats of engineering.

I was finally getting to fly a plane, something I have wanted to do since I first looked up into the sky. I was getting a half-hour "lesson" with Leading Edge Aviation which have a base in Scone, just outside Perth. After realising both my pilot's jacket and pilot's hat was going to be a little bit over zealous , I buttoned up my jacket and headed to the station.

It was a perfect day for flying, there was barely a cloud in the sky and no noticeable wind. I was so eager that I arrived at the station a good half-an-hour early so to past the time I talked to the pigeons, they were extra photogenic today; posing with breadcrumbs the kids where throwing. After getting strange looks from mothers as they edged their children away from the crazy lady, I got onto the train.
The Poser Pigeon

The train from Perth to Dundee is a mere 20 minutes and the walk from the train station to South Street (where I was catching my bus) was expected to take the same amount of time, in retrospect I should really remember that GoogleEarth is probably overcompensating. With plenty of time to spare I waited for my bus to Scone and I realised I should probably google how to pronounce Scone, turns out it's Scoon. Saved myself from looking like an ignorant tourist there.

Perth takes you by surprise, it has a group of grand buildings making up it's centre that you would expect to find in Paris and Vienna, not central Scotland. The silvery Tay splits the city in two, mimicing the blue Danube in Prague and Vienna, with a procession of bridges linking them together. Perth, although being around since the first stone circles were set down in the area in 4000BC, has just regained it's title as a city to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Perth's Grand Museum and Art Gallery

Examples of Perth's Waterfront

To go with the rest of the day and my keen spirit I arrived in Scone a whole hour early, mainly because the bus service was determined not to let me arrive at the airport for 3pm. I  decided to use this extra time to my advantage and go and explore Scone. Unfortunately you can easily walk the length of Scone and pick up a sandwich from Tesco in under half-an-hour. In the Taxi up to the airport I realised the airport was just around the corner from where the bus had left me off, and the driver made sure I did realise this. However the actual complex was a bit of a maze and I would have got lost in a field and before I knew it I would be on the runway, but unintentionally. However, even the taxi driver sent me to the wrong building.
Perth Airport

Just as I entered the building I was essentially just whisked off onto the runway. My instructor reminded me somewhat of the lead singer of Keane and some Cambridge rich kid, so essentially the same thing, however surprisingly lacking in arrogance. It felt like my first driving lesson all over again and I fumbled about with the seatbelt, shutting it in the door several times and was all scared not quite sure what to do. There were numerous pre-flight checks both inside and outside the plane and then there was the initial gibberish between the plane and the traffic control tower and then before I knew it we were off.

I know I was in a measly Cessna 152 but taking off was well, easy. Open the throttle full, get up to 60mph and then start to point the nose upward and you barely even feel it! I am sure I didn't notice something but it was amazing how simple and effortless it seemed. Even though I was only up for half-an-hour and there is not much you can do, I still got solo control of a plane which was a dream come true. I got to steer pretty much up until landing and my instructor said that if there wasn't such a strong tail wind he would be tempted to let me land! I wasn't nearly going to trust myself though... Flying a plane, superficially, was a lot easier than made out; it's just a series of small adjustments as if you were driving a car, except you are well off the ground! The half-hour went far too quickly but it gave me a taster of something I will be addicted to, as unhappy as my bank balance will be about it, well my parent's bank balance.

Some photos mid-spin to make my Mother's stomach turn.

After the lesson and thanking my instructor, especially as he said I seemed like a natural, I walked back to Scone with a huge smile on my face like a child who just found out they were going to Disneyland. The bus back to Perth was late but I didn't mind, it was sunny and I had a good book. The bus wound through Scone and I noticed there were some parks to explore, just off the main road. By the time I got back to Perth there was only 5 minutes until my train home and I don't think I could beat GoogleEarth, especially as the bus dropped me somewhere different... Everytime I go into Perth I miss someform of connecting transport and I began to wonder if this was some kind of ploy by the Perth and Kinross council to make you explore more of the city. There was a good hour and forty-five minutes before the next train north but the sun was still shining, my camera was fully charged and I hadn't finished my book. As I wandered along the waterfront I eyed up several nooks and crannies but I noticed a certain little garden on the other side of the river which I decided would be my base for the next hour at least. I perched on a staircase and sat and read in the sun as jet-ski's flew past on the river. It was the most relaxed I had felt in such a long time, sitting in the sun and making an everyday feel like a holiday.

My Spot

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bonnie Scotland

I often overlook the natural beauty of Scotland, the place I am actually living in: you get used to it. It's usually shadowed by the new exciting place I am going. Too be fair the grey clouds and rain don't do it much justice but today I am travelling through Tayside on a beautiful sunny day and my god, she looks stunning.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Little Gems III

This is Orla Gartland from Ireland with her song "The Ground" to do with moving on to somewhere new and trying to work out where you fit in, which is something all young people can relate too. Orla sounds like a lovely girl of the same cloth of Gabrielle Aplin with sweet songs about the trials of growing up, which isn't as moany and emo and it sounds.

Anna Shields was the first at on supporting Gabrielle Aplin and she was just as stunning, especially at only 15. There is a wave of really talented teenagers appearing and wiping the floor with the Disney Channel mush that has been clogging the radio.

I had heard of Josh Kumra a bitbut hadn't really looked into him properly yet, then I saw him live. Seeing him properly live was definately a great choice as it was totally raw and you got the full effect of the soulful tone in his voice. You  may recoginise him as the vocals in Wretch 32's "Don't Go".

I heard this song at the end of the latest episode of New Girl (my new favourite programme since Scrubs went away) and thought is sounded right up my street. Beach House mix french je ne sais pas and American indie, relaxing and perfect for listening to in a, well, Beach House.

Passenger has just announced a new UK tour in the Summer and I was just looking up he support acts as they have proved to be great additions to my ipod in the past. I am more than excited to hear more from Robin Adams as well as seeing him perform live.

German speaking nations have always brought me great things; I am a great fan of their language and people. Now Switzerland have sent me BOY an acoustic duo made of Sonja and Valeska. They are still pretty under the radar so enjoy them to yourselves before they get big over here :)

Dry The River are already making a name for themselves in the UK being played on Radio 1 several times and they are also playing a multitude of festivals this summer, and so they should be. I was introduced to them through a friends whose boy friend is friends with them (Dian is doing her job of publicising them) and this was the first song of theirs I heard. It's nice to see some actual rock bands around to mix up with the singer-songwriter wave, not that I am complaining at all!

Time for a real oldie form 1963 by Sam Cooke showing the real Rythm and Blues unlike some of the hogwash we get today. It's still relevant to people today without a mention on pimpin' my bitches and hoes.

Simple Serendipity

When I went to Norway two years ago on and expedition with BSES I shared a tent with two girls, Natasha and Gabby, for four weeks and in that kind of situation you are either going to get on each other's nerves or form an intense friendship that will last a lifetime. Luckily for me I got the later and since the expedition we have tried our hardest to meet up at least once a year. What is now, last year we decided to go see Gabriella - who is studying Psychology at Bath university - mainly because I got a cheap rail deal and miraculously we were all free.

 I love trains as it is, but this trip was going to be on another level as I had my very first experience of first class and it was all the way from Edinburgh to London. However, I started off from Dundee to Edinburgh where I had to travel with first class scotrail which, to be honest, wasn't that much different to normal except there was that awkward silence where you knew the few people in the carriage didn't think you were meant to be there. I sat around in Waverley for an hour or so until my platform was called. As I was waiting at the platform a girl came and asked me if it was the right platfrom, she as the friendliest girl I have met in a while; not the kind of person you struggle to hold a conversation with. When the train pulled up it turned out we were the furthest away from the carriages we needed as possible but unfortunately she wasn't in first class, as well she was a normal student. After swapping names and vowed to add each other on facebook we headed to our separate carriages. My encounter with Blanche (fantastic name) reminded me of one of my favourite parts of travelling; meeting really nice strangers on the way, it totally makes the actual getting there so much better!

 The first class coaches seemed to be miles away, considering the train stretches from A-O it probably was a mile away from where I started, and as I got a glimpse of the cream leather seats, coffee cups and menus I got excited. Of course I didn't want to look excited, I already stood out like a sore thumb. Although I was pretty sure I booked a window seat, I didn't have one so I waited to see if I had someone next to me. I was planning on doing some revision as I had free wifi so I sorted my piles of books and folders, there was surprisingly little room for them all, while I waited to see who was going be next too me. A young blond girl came and sat next to me, she might have been in the same position as me where first class was exciting but she looked less studenty than me and then she whapped out her Ipad so I began to think otherwise. A man followed and he did not look out of place at all, as he put his took out his iphone charger from his briefcase. Initial conversation was very typical business class; comparing apple products but soon moved onto more interesting topics and my inital judgements of my first class companions was initially wrong.

Alicia was a graduate of Employment Law from Aberdeen who was recently engaged, she was a very pretty young woman who initially didn't come from much money but she has done well for herself, and this was also her first time in first class. Keith was a very interesting man from South Africa who was initially a lawyer but he now did career guidance, he seemed like the kind of guy I would have loved as a guidence teacher. He had been everywhere and had great stories from each of those places. As the trip went on the topics continued on and it was great, free crayfish and wine were flowing all round. We spoke about university and Keith and Alicia made me feel good about myself and my choices, and the lack of a descision, and convinced me it won't be all doom and gloom when I graduate. They also thought I was selling myself short, which was in a way, nice to hear. Keith lived in London, well he had a base there anyway, and I have learnt to know my way around the Kings Cross/st. pancras complex but Alicia was only out in London for the weekend so we promised to help her find her way once we got to the station. When we did I was quite sad to leave them as I'll probably never see them again, but again I remembered how a boost it can be to serendipitously meet some interesting people. That is the great thing about travel,you meet many new friends and will miss them when you leave, but it is much better than not meeting them at all.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Jedi Studies

Who said students were a waste of space?

We realised toy lightsabers and slow shutter speed photography = endless fun.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Little Gems Playlist II

 I am going to start by promoting some home-grown talent from Orkney! Being down at Uni I have kind of missed out on all the hype on Emily Bourn who has released her own CD filled with songs she wrote herself and most disgustingly she is only 14. I'd kill to have a voice like this let alone the talent to write songs. Again it is a lot girlier than my usual stuff but considering her age, it's all very very impressive and no denying she can sing :)  Her CD is called "Fate" and is available from Amazon, there aren't many videos on youtube but here is her song "Respect Everyday" from when she supported Matt Cardle on his recent tour.

Alex Clare is part of the recent soul revolution we have seen in the music industry over the past few years, as well as part of the ginger revolution too. His song "Too Close" mixes acoustic guitar, dupstep and soul but here I am giving you an example of one of his amazing covers.  This is a fantastic rendition of a song by rapper "Gyptian" called "Hold You" it is amazing when you get the chance to hear the lyrics properly and realise it is actually quite a well written song. I also highly reccomend "Damn Your Eyes", an Etta James cover which is wonderfully haunting.

This guy, Alan McKim was a warm up act for Passenger when I saw him back in October and this song had me mesmerised, I had to get him to email me the demo so I could listen again... It will remind any islander of home with it's all-to-familiar lyrics but it is a song to be experienced live as Alan performs each song with so much passion you can't help but get lost in them. There isn't a copy of "Stornoway" on youtube but it is available on myspace so that will have to do, enjoy.

Kyla La Grange's voice reminds me of Stevie Nicks: it's wonderfully husky. I was introduced to her by my friend Dian, we make each other CD's of songs we like 'cause we are so super sweet! Although British she reminds me of some of some of Scandinavia's recent musical exports such as Lykke li and First Aid Kit, which is by no means a bad thing! This is my favourite version of her song "Been Better" which she did in session for "Bands In Transit", which you may have noticed; I like, where they get bands to play out of a ford transit van around the country(see what they did there?). It's a great wee music channel on youtube, you should check it out! I also enjoy the appearance of geese in the background in this clip!

Ingrid Michaelson is a pretty household name in the acoustic/folky scene in the U.S. but she still hasn't got nearly enough credit in the UK that she deserves! Did you know she originally wrote that song about parachutes that Cheryl Cole R'n'B-ed up? Her songs have also been in Scrubs, Greys Anatomy and all the places Joshua Radin's have been. I have subscribed to her on facebook and she seems like a pretty sweet person too. This is her new single off her new album "Human Again" called Ghost which anyone who has had a relationship end too soon will relate to. I also highly reccomend her cover of Gotye's super popular "Somebody that I used to know"

This song has been around for years but, for being a sad sounding song, it is still one of my favourite pick-me-up songs. I link people this song if they have just been dumped to get a smile back on their face, well try to at least. If guys want to know what kind of things girls want to hear then this guy had hit the nail on the head with this one. Griffin House (apparently his actual name) is the classic sports guy turned guitar softie, saying that is was golf that was his sport. I think this was another Scrubs find but I can't actually remember, either way it has been in my music collection for years and will be to come.

The discovery of this song goes all the way back to myspace days! It was one of those slow days where you decide to search your name for everything and I chose to do song titles. Myspace sent me to Chris Holmes' (no, not the guitarist of heavy metal band W.A.S.P.) band page with this song, which is close enough to Rose. Turns out I really liked it, I was going through the height of my Joshua Radin phase and this guy had the same whispery voice. This track disappeared off his myspace page for years and I thought I would never find it again but a lovely person out on the interweb has uploaded it onto youtube!

For my classic this week, I am going cheesy with Erasure. Mainly because I got the full boxset of Scrubs this week, all 9 seasons and I have just finished season 1 after having it for 2 days. Scrubs was my Harry Potter, I grew up with it. The majority of my favourite artists have appeared in the series and it has had a huge effect on my humour, of which is Hil-arious. This is one of the stand out tracks from the 1st series which is ultimate cheese, but you love it. Turk doesn't. But I do.

Suggestions and theme suggestions are appreciated!


Thursday, March 01, 2012


1,000 views! Wows! I'll keep them coming when I have a free minute!  "Leap Day" has been great: I got offered a job at Wimbledon and the Olympics in the summer, I got a box set of ALL SEASONS of Scrubs in the post and now I have logged on to this! More of the same in 4 years please!

 So in the coming year I've got working at Wimbledon and the Olympics(hopefully, still have some finalising to do, like finding somewhere to live) as well as Kilimanjaro and even an exchange to Canada next year! Plenty of wandering to do! Plus I'll get another playlist up for this weekend :)

A fantastic end to February!

Tusen takk ;) (you scandinavians will get the pun... and I apologise for it...)