Monday, 17 April 2017

10 Albums That Everyone Must Hear

Apologies for not posting since September (!) but teaching has REALLY got in the way of life. I swear it's not just a career - it's a whole new lifestyle. I have greatly missed blogging but this is my attempt at getting back in to the swing of it. Let's see how it goes.

Today I wanted to write about music. In my daily life I feel like I frequently recommend a range albums to my friends and family, but they pay no attention to me! Just as a side note, this is how Bob probably feels about me - always recommending things to me but I never pay attention because I'm stuck in my own little music bubble. I promise I'll start listening to him. Anyway, seeing as the people I know in real life don't listen to me, maybe the one person who reads this blog will instead. Here are 10 albums that I think are so great, everyone must hear them.

1. Complete Surrender by Slow Club
If anyone REALLY knows me, they shouldn't be surprised that this is number one on the list. This is my favourite, favourite album and has been ever since I saw Slow Club at the Sugarmill in 2014. Slow Club are a male/female duo from Sheffield and so far have released four fantastic albums. I discovered them on Sunday Brunch one weekend and decided I needed to hear their albums. They're so fantastic, Richard Osman (the guy from Pointless) says they're his favourite band.

I love Complete Surrender so much because of the fantastic vocals: I can belt out Rebecca's songs at the top of my lungs or softly sing along to Charles' acoustic numbers. Every song is fantastic. It is the perfect blend of soul-meets-pop. The lyrics are beautiful and heart-breaking, the melodies are catchy and the horn sections just make me want to dance.

Favourite song: The Pieces

2. Trouble in Paradise by La Roux
Usually when I mention La Roux's latest album to anyone, they don't even realise she released a new one. People know her for singing 'Bulletproof' and 'In for the Kill' (and also having a quiffed hairstyle) but in 2014 she released her second album full of absolute pop bangers. Trouble in Paradise still has an 80s synth sound, but it's more funky and upbeat than her debut album. If you've seen the 'Absolutely Fabulous Movie' you might recognise some of the songs - La Roux actually had a cameo where she performed during the magazine launch scene. You know, the one where THAT happened to Kate Moss.

Favourite song: Sexotheque

3. I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now by Got A Girl
Got a Girl is a collaboration between Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim) and Dan 'The Automator' Nakamura (the guy who wrote the score for the film). They bonded over their love of French singers and as a result created an album that sounds very much like 60s French pop with hip-hop elements. I feel very sophisticated when I listen to this album and get the urge to style my hair in to a beehive, put on a shift dress and drink a martini. 'There's a Revolution' is very upbeat whereas 'Heavenly' is slower and more melodic.

Favourite song: There's a Revolution

4. We Slept at Last by Marika Hackman
I'm beginning to notice that all of these albums feature female vocals.. it's not intentional I swear. When I'm feeling moody I love to listen to Marika Hackman as I find it's the perfect music to listen to when you want to feel calm and relaxed. The album is subtle and understated; the lyrics are poetic and enchanting. She has a new album coming out later this year and I'm so excited to see what else she has to offer.

Favourite song: Animal Fear

5. Policy by Will Butler
Policy is the first solo album from Arcade Fire's Will Butler. I'm struggling to describe the album as a whole because each individual song has its own sound ranging from energetic rock songs to slow-paced piano ballads. 'Finish What I Started' and 'Sing to Me' are on the slower end of the spectrum whereas 'Son of God' and 'What I Want' make me want to dance around the room with an air guitar (and I do, regularly). If you're a fan of Arcade Fire, I'd really recommend giving this album a listen.

Favourite song: Son of God

6. Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance by Belle & Sebastian
This release has been around for a while, but my love for it is still as strong as that first time I listened. I'd always been aware of Belle & Sebastian because of 'The Boy With the Arab Strap' (yes, I've seen (500) Days of Summer) but I'd never actually sat and listened to any of their albums. This one was greatly recommended and hyped by numerous review sites so I had to see what the deal was. The opening track is 'Nobody's Empire' and it hooked me immediately. This album is just as sensitive and personal as their previous releases, but with added synthesizers and dance grooves. If you're looking for beautiful song lyrics to put on your Instagram, look no further. "If I had a camera, I'd snap you now 'cause there's beauty in every stumble."

Favourite song: Play For Today

7. Northern Powerhouse by Sandra's Wedding
Sandra's Wedding is a Yorkshire-based band whose music reflects modern life in northern Britain. Their brilliantly named album - Northern Powerhouse - has already been approved by the actual Minister for the Northern Powerhouse. I've been listening to this album for a few months now and am greatly enjoying the catchy melodies and witty, relatable lyrics. I'm always up for backing a new Yorkshire band, especially one that my good friend Jonny is in! He plays the guitar for the band and is an incredible musician. He's also a really, really good egg so I'm sure he'd appreciate it if you went and gave this album a listen!

Favourite song: No Wonder

8. Howlin' by Jagwar Ma
"I say 'Jagwar', you say 'Ma'." Bob and I went to see Jagwar Ma in Manchester some time last year. Wow, they are an energetic live band. They had the whole audience bopping side to side in unison at one point. It was such a fun gig. Jagwar Ma are an Australian band who have released two awesome albums. My favourite record of theirs is their first album, Howlin'. This record is a perfect fusion of dance and guitar music, and is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon of spring cleaning (which is what I was doing when I first heard this album in full). It has a retro, psychedelic sound which is also very modern and with its time. The repetitive lyrics mean these songs will be your next earworms.

Favourite song: Come Save Me

9. Zaba by Glass Animals
Not long after Bob and I saw Jagwar Ma, we also went to see Glass Animals. Their record Zaba is amazing and seeing them perform it live was incredible. The frontman, Dave, is so full of energy and crazy dancing that I find myself having to YouTube live performances so I can relive it! Zaba is a record full of synths, weird lyrics and percussion that just makes me want to move. I think the majority of these mini reviews mention me dancing at some point - but what would be the point in music if it didn't get you off your feet? I can honestly say that when I first heard Glass Animals I felt like I'd never heard anything like this before. It blew my mind. Their second record is great too and their single Life Itself has been my obsession for a few months now.

Favourite song: Gooey

10. Oh Wonder by Oh Wonder
This album has been a very recent addition to my Spotify library but it's one that I'm really excited I discovered. Oh Wonder are a boy-girl duo from London who write and sing catchy, alt-pop songs. They actually recorded and released one song per month to create their debut, self-titled album. Every song on this album is beautiful, up-beat and just so damn cool. They have a new album coming out later in 2017 and I'm already really excited for it!

Favourite song: Drive

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