Wednesday, 11 September 2013

New Music I'm Excited About

Franz Ferdinand
A few weeks ago, on the 26th of August, Scottish indie rockers Franz Ferdinand released their long awaited fourth album 'Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action', and I was lucky enough to watch them perform a few days later at their matinĂ©e album release show at New Slang in Kingston. I saw Franz Ferdinand headline Field Day last year, and they were absolutely amazing live, so I was really looking forward to seeing them play again, this time in a much more intimate setting! There were two shows as the evening one sold out in a matter of days, so Banquet added another earlier all ages show, and when I arrived at the gig there was massive queue stretching all the way down the road. I think it was safe to say I wasn't the only one ridiculously excited about their come back! The band opened with Right Action, and then proceeded to treat us to old favourites such as Take Me Out, Do You Want To and The Dark Of The MatinĂ©e (which was very fitting), as well as playing some new tracks off the album, obviously. There is something about Franz Ferdinand which just makes them work so well live, maybe it's their brilliantly catchy riffs, or Alex Kapranos pouting his way through the set with just the right amount of swagger, but they are just amazing to watch. As for their new album, Right Action, Love Illumination and Evil Eye are the stand-out tracks for me, harking back to the sound of their debut self-titled album, rich with sharp guitar and clever lyrics. Goodbye Lovers And Friends was also a new one which worked wonderfully live as their closing number. If you haven't got your hands on their new album, pick it up here from Banquet Records.

Franz Ferdinand at their album release show at New Slang 29.08.13

Arctic Monkeys
Now, possibly one of the highest profile album releases of this year, with a tremendous amount of hype to live up to. Yes of course, it was Arctic Monkey's highly anticipated fifth album 'AM', which was released on Monday the 9th of Sept. I mean look at the album cover, it doesn't even have their bloody name on it, they are just that cool! With the release of R U Mine?, which is by far my favourite track off the album, we were given a taste of the more rockier things to come. This album is a far cry from the tales of humdrum nights out in Sheffield courtesy of 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not', and there is this massive Rock n Rock vibe which comes through on 'AM'. Maybe because they are mostly based in LA now, which certainly adds a polished retro sound to the tracks, and also because well, they are massive rock stars now; Alex Turner is hardly going to be still singing about picking up girls at local discos, instead it's now all about drink-fuelled after-parties at mansions in downtown LA. Their sound has really evolved since the melancholy ballads of their last album, Suck It And See, although we here a little echo of that style in No. 1 Party Album, but again no track is safe from the Rock n Roll shake up and there is a definite John Lennon influence to it, especially the piano. Apart from the new addition of piano, there's been lots of talk of their new 'RnB' sound, and I was preparing myself for something along the lines of R Kelly's Bump n Grind, but actually it's proper 1960's Rhythm and Blues that can be heard through-out, with wonderfully high backing vocals on a lot of tracks, especially on Snap Out Of IT, which works really well. My only complaint with 'AM' is there is a distinct over-use of Hip-hop drum beats paired with creeping bass lines, and Do I Wanna Know?, Arabella and Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High? all sort of blend into one, which is a shame because all three are brilliant, catchy tracks. Overall I think the album is really good, and definitely one of their best for a while, with certain tracks such R U Mine? and I Want It All really making 'AM' for me. What do you think of the new album? If you haven't got it yet make sure you pick up a copy here!

Arctic Monkeys at The Roundhouse for The iTunes Festival 09.09.13

Arcade Fire
And finally, here's a sneaky new release to get all excited about! On the 9th day of the 9th month at 9pm, this special edition 12" was released under the name of 'The Reflectors'. But we sussed it out! It's Arcade Fire alright, but they've been transported in all their magical French-Canadian glory into a 1970s mirrored disco hall (that's obv why he keeps harping on about reflektors). There's also a piano. And glitter balls. Oh, and David Bowie is there too, it's brilliant. If none of this is making sense to you, just take a listen yourself:

Saturday, 7 September 2013

My A/W '13 Wishlist

A/W Wishlist
Topshop blue crop top, £32 / Topshop leather skirt, £51 / Zara boots, £64 / Zara handbag, £51 / Topshop eyeliner, £8.94 / Illamasqua nail polish

It's all gone a bit Prada '07 at the moment with mohair, leather, suede, fur, PVC and any other texture clash dominating everywhere from the magazines to the high street. And this outfit is my take on texture clash, which I've added my own 1960s twist to. The fluffy Topshop jumper comes in a range of pastel shades as well as black, and is somewhat of a staple for the coming months. I already included it in a previous wish list, and I still want it! It's so pretty, but the fluffy texture gives it an edge, and looks perfect paired with the leather skirt. It's all about A-Line skirts this season, and I've chosen a short version of the trend for my outfit. Leather is massive at the moment, and I really like how the pattern on the skirt sets it apart from the rest. It's also extremely wearable, which is the downside to the texture trend; how many people really look good in a knee-length PVC skirt? Not that many. The coat is a beautiful texture, and the light grey shade goes well with the pastel blue jumper. I like how it incorporates the boyfriend style coat with more of a jacket shape, and the leather trim matches the skirt. The suede boots from Zara are just so chic and classic, and will look great with a pair of black tights. They are just the right height too, with a lovely chunky heel. Carrying on with the texture trend, we have this furry bag from Zara which will not be to everyone's taste, but I love it so much! It's really fun, but quite chic at the same time, which is what Zara are great for. Final touches include this stone purple-grey shade nail polish from Illamasqua which is just such a nice colour, and definitely a cold colour perfect for colder weather. Lastly, lashings of eyeliner; nothing completes this outfit better than a strong feline flick.

A/W Wishlist

Zara navy blue jumper, £38 / Zara lapel coat, £100 / Warehouse mini skirt, £40 / Zara black booties, £82 / Zara leather messenger bag, £38 / Essie nail polish

This outfit is just Autumnal perfection for me! First of all, the black lapel coat from Zara is so nice! The dark camel shade is perfect to Autumn too, and would make any outfit look smart and sophisticated. What is more perfect for the cold weather than a navy cable knit jumper? And again, from Zara (nearly everything in this outfit is from Zara- I'm obsessed!) this jumper is classic and very versatile, it would go with almost anything! Next up is the gorgeous skirt from Warehouse, which again is a short version of the A-Line skirt and a very flattering shape. The pattern is so beautiful! It looks like a vintage wallpaper pattern, I love it! The boots are like a grown-up version of the chunky buckled, and often cut-out, trend we've seen over the summer. These leather boots, however are a more sophisticated shape, and the buckles are a lot more subtle. The leather bag is so nice, there is just nothing better than a leather satchel for the winter months and it reminds me loads of going to college in leafy Surrey and everyone wearing duffle coats, satchels and leather boots. Such a timeless look! Finally we have the last touch, glossy nails in a dark berry courtesy of Essie makes for the perfect Autumn outfit.