Magical Music

spotify

We both love listening to music – check out our song board if you don’t believe us! – so we’ve decided to set up a spotify account, to share our favourite tunes, or discover more! Spotify is a really cool music app; it lets you listen to music for free and you can make your own playlists.

You can set up an account for free too!

We’re going to start making some playlists. Check us out if you like! We already have one playlist up there, so let us know what you make of it (or stay tuned for more) ->

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The Riptide Movement and Amy Huberman

new3_1Ridley: Found another band that I really like the sound of, yes, I’ll keep sharing these posts until you demand I stop! And even then…. 🙂

The Riptide Movement are an Irish band, so I’m pretty impressed some more fantastic music is once again coming from our own.

They really seem to be out in force this year, they played a free gig at the Bray Summerfest last weekend, and they’ve supported both the Coronas and Neil Young and Crazy Horse this summer, and I’m sure there were others, but they’re the only two concerts I know of personally, as I was at one gig and had relatives at the other (who came back raving about how great The Riptide Movement were too I might add).

I actually tweeted about how much I liked their song, “All Works Out” and they favourited the tweet, so I was well chuffed with myself for the rest of the day, and I really liked that they took the time to acknowledge a fan too! They get major brownie points for that in my book!

I also love that there’s this video of them from about four years ago busking on Grafton Street in town.

 

So here’s hoping this band continue on their upward spiral to success!

So far I like a lot of their stuff, but my favourite really is ‘All Works Out’, and another reason for it is because of Amy Huberman’s acting in it.

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As an aside, for those who don’t know who Amy is, she’s an Irish actress, who has been in many shows, but in particular she’s in the hilarious Irish film, The Stag.

She is also married to former rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll. I don’t think I’ve met anyone, man or woman, who hasn’t had a nice word to say about her, I think she’s probably a bit of a national darling to be honest. But actually I’m only after recently going on to her twitter feed after seeing her in their music video, and I found out she’s hilarious too. Some of my favourites….

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I get a similar look with Bio-oil to be fair, though it doesn’t end up smelling any way near as good, I think I’ll jump ship to coconut glazing instead.

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Confucius was a wise, wise man. Actually, I love that Toblerone ad, you know the one with the song? And yes…I know the words by heart….

 

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Sometimes I think some seagulls sound like old banger cars with bad batteries trying to start.

If you get a chance, check out their brilliant music, and her fantastic acting, I’m pretty certain neither will disappoint you!

I’ll stop now…. 😀

Grouplove

grouplove_js_170913Ridley: I went to see this band a while ago in The Academy. I love going to concerts. Music is always fantastic live! They were really good! I’d like a range and mix of different types of music. From heavy metal to country, pop, rock, classical and everything in between! I can often be found singing Disney songs in my car too. Who doesn’t love a good old blast out of the Circle of Life from the Lion King? Is there anyone that doesn’t love that song?

So my favourite song from Grouplove, is Ways to Go. I think the video is just brilliant with the little kid in it.

Then we’ve a Coca Cola ad on the television, that has this song on it, so most people will recognise it, well here anyway!

Supposedly this type music is known as surfer rock.

Just some good tunes to relax and spend an evening listening to!

And of course, let’s end it on….

The Essentials

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This is from Stressed Jenny’s deviantart page (she’s amazing, click to visit it!!)

Latimer: On deviantart I’ve seen people do this really fun ‘tag’ where they draw the contents of their handbags. I thought it would be fun to do the written version of that.

Let’s start with the cruddy bag itself.

Okay, I don’t actually have a handbag per say – I have a Ouicksilver carry ‘parcel’, the size of a trade-paperback book. I have spent the better half of ten years with a backpack – I think I’ll always have one (my laptop will go with me to the grave basically!), and god it’s hard to wear a proper handbag when you’re lugging a backpack around! For me – unfortunately, because I kind of hate it – the Quicksilver bag just kind of works.

So in the handbag department, I am very unfashionable. But I need it, for the carrying of the essentials!

First – the kindle, it goes everywhere with me. I do a lot of commuting so I need stuff to read and the kindle is just so handy. When I got it first I was dubious, but god, it’s a great thing (and it hasn’t curbed my paperback buying!).

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Keys – well I have so many keys (for getting into secret places!) and swipe cards – have you noticed how many people have swipe cards these days? They make me feel all important and stuff (but not when I forget them and get locked out of the lab!).

Lip balms, several, because I have dry lips – yup! Burt’s Bees hand cream that smells like bake well tarts – really, really almond-y, it makes people around me sick or exclaim; ‘Oh what’s that lovely smell!’(It’s so powerful I’m afraid to use it on public transport!)

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My glasses, because I’m blind without them!

Train tickets and money for the bus – exact change because I can’t bear the thought of Dublin Bus getting any more money off me than they should! I’m really, really anal about this – I will hand in a fist of coppers with my head held high, staring down any would-be retorts (when they come, I glare like a mo-fo!)

Wallet and separate card case (you open it and it fans out all your cards) – I thought the card case would be a good buy, you know? That it would lessen the stress of taking cards out of my wallet (which is very annoying and hard sometimes) – but actually it just means I now have an extra wallet and my actual wallet is severely under used… STUPID Latimer!!

Phone – I check my bag non-stop before I leave my house to make sure I have my phone, but… the thing I would really HATE to leave without is…

My iPod!

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I love you iPodo!!!

This item – I have been surgically attached to this since I bought it, in Tokyo (hell yeah! Back when the euro was actual currency, boom, boom) in 2008 – it is an iTouch and 16G. It has done me proud all these years.

It has all my random playlists from down through the years (Disney, J-Pop/K-Pop/C/T-pop, anime playlist) and a ton of indie albums. And, hours and hours, worth of Ricky Gervais’ podcasts and old XFM radio shows; and Smodcast podcasts. I really LOVE listening to podcasts (if you are looking for cheeky laughs, I love Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier’s Smodcast!). Also a really interesting podcast that is SO worth a listen is Welcome to Night Vale (which I happened across on Tumblr!).

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Fan art of Cecil… of Night Vale – it’s such a good show!!

Because the iPod is my major essential item I thought I play this: iPod song game (you put your iPod on shuffle and answer these questions!)

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Playing the game!!

Will I get far in life?

Down to Earth – Wall-E… I think this is pretty positive? I think… yup.

What is the best thing about me?

Walking on a Dream – Empire of the Sun… I like this; ‘never looking down, I’m just in awe of what’s in front of me’ – not always the case, but yeah, I think that’s sometimes true!

How does the world see me?

Below my feet – Mumford and Sons… I love this song, but I don’t know – does this sound good?!

What is good advice?

My Pace – Sun Set Swish… okay, this is in Japanese, but I love this song so much… Okay I had to look this up, but this IS good advice!!

“Time passes, it’s left behind, you mustn’t forget my feelings of impatience, they say that reckless defiance is useless in the end, you mustn’t get up – Offense! Raise your voice in painful times, Offense! Go in the direction that you’re aiming for, I’m not afraid of the big wall, standing tall, I won’t lose my way in this life without answer, keep my pace!”

Where will I live?

Planet of the Apes… Oh no…. Well I already do, crumbs, it means I don’t get to go off world!! This is witchcraft!!

What will my dying words be?

The Pact (I’ll be your fever) – The Villagers… okay, so… is that a warning? ‘This fever that is killing me… it’s gonna get you, now goodbye – the pact, I’ll be your fever!’

Handbag essentials… they keep you sane during the day…. right :)?

(Aside: Ridley and I are currently working hard getting the follow up to Legend Unleashed, ready for send off to the editors! Can’t wait to show everyone!)

Bon Iver: Be Inspired

Bon Iver (this image is pretty blurry, we were far away and this is zoomed up as far as my sweet baby Mr. Sam Sung could go)

Latimer: I was at the Bon Iver concert in the O2 in Dublin this week. It was absolutely brilliant – they were electric.

As I sat and listened, I thought of what inspires me. There are times when some artists just catch me – absorb me into their songs. Music is an unending source of encouragement and motivation; songs can become the soundtrack for scenes I want to write, or characters Ridley and I have created. Songs can set the mood; just by listening to a certain tune I can get into the mind-set to write a particular moment.

I left Bon Iver feeling inspired, swept up in dreams of characters and moments.

As I walked out of the venue, I heard a girl say;

“That was amazingly deadly!”(deadly meaning ‘fantastic’ in Irish vernacular)

Couldn’t put it much better 🙂

Who, what or where, inspires you?   

Bastille Live

Wherein Latimer and Ridley attend a gig with the cool Indie kids!

Ridley: We went to a gig last Thursday night, the doors opened at 7pm and it was over at half ten. I’ve since realised I’m turning into an old fogie; I was happy that it was over early. It meant that while I had fun, I was still able to go home, potter round in my pjs and not have to go to bed too late as I had work the next morning. As I returned home, my feet aching from new boots I hadn’t bothered to break in (I never learn my lesson), I wondered what happened to my devil-may-care self, where did she disappear to? The Ridley who didn’t give a fig if I rocked in at 2am even when I was due to be up for 7am?

Latimer: Big mistake!! Always break in new shoes!

Ridley: To be honest though, devil-may-care me never really existed, that scenario only occurred a handful of times (and I always regretted them!). I’ve always been a tad too sensible for my own good and I hate early mornings as it is, so if I haven’t gotten my full night sleep, I’m like a kicked bear (very cranky I’d imagine)!

Anyway, we went to see the band, Bastille. I hadn’t heard about them before this, our excellent friend Orbie told us they are up and coming.

Ridley: I like being ‘in the known’, it feels like I’ve been let in on a secret only a few people are aware of. In a year or two when Bastille are playing on every radio channel, I’ll be able to sit back with a smug smile and say, ‘I went to see them long before they were famous.’ I’ll annoy everyone! Haha.

The gig was held in the Academy, a place I haven’t been in since it was only a grimy nightclub named Spirit (and that was seven or eight years ago).

The inner chamber… nah, just a stairwell, nice posters though!
Where are we the underground of a rail system!?
Nope… just Academy Level 2!!

Unsurprisingly, they’ve done it up-kind of. For the event, we were in a the basement (Academy Two), the ceiling was low, dark, with thick black metal columns supporting it (they were actually those industrial supports used when building work is being done, a tad worrying.), the walls were dark brick and the wooden stage was tiny, you could reach out and touch the band. It had an appealing hippy dishevelled look, though I’m certain I wouldn’t have been all that impressed if all of the lights had been turned on, showing every crack and dust pile.

There were two supporting acts to get the crowd going (there couldn’t have been more than about hundred people there). I found myself a nice pillar to lean against (helped me deal with my pinching boots! Oh, how my toes hate me.) Having found a perfect spot to see the stage, I noticed quite a tall man, with very large hair, in front of us, blocking the view of the stage.

Latimer was eyeing him too and leaned over to whisper, “I hope he’s not going to stand there all night, we won’t be able to see the band.”

Little did we know, he definitely wasn’t going to stay there, especially since when he turned around to leave, we realised it was the lead singer of Bastille; Dan Smith (who was born on Bastille Day, hence the band name! Louie, Orbie’s friend, told us this!)! We burst out laughing. Imagine complaining we wouldn’t be able to see the band, because their lead singer was standing in our way!

Though that wasn’t the last ‘interaction’ we had with him, well, that Latimer had with him anyway. 😀

They went through a fantastic repertoire of songs that had the room hopping and their speakers were so loud, my throat vibrated with the sound from them. At one point I was convinced I wasn’t able to breath properly!

Latimer: I love the atmosphere at these gigs when the band can play live and interact so well with the crowd, it’s incredible.Bastille are so talented. I love the sound of Dan Smith’s voice and their music is so lively.

They did a brilliant cover of Rhythm of the Night; a great song anyway, but they made it there own.

Ridley: During the second last song of the night, Dan put on a hoodie and descended into the crowd (Latimer hypotheses this is because he didn’t want people to touch his hair! His gorgeous gravity defying hair!), he sung with the microphone lead hanging over people’s heads. He ran around the sides and into the middle. People went mad, we were all like mini-paparazzi flashing camera at him and other people were patting him on the head. I was delighted, having only been half an arms distance from him, little did I know he actually tripped into Latimer who was in front of me somewhere! One day, it’ll be a story she tells her future children…maybe! She should freeze and preserve whatever part of her touched him (how sore!!), it could become very valuable! Haha.

Wonder what that would fetch on ebay?

Latimer: He came towards me, crouched low and I started backing away my mind screaming; ‘gaaaah, don’t come near me!’. I stumbled back into two girls, then as he twisted to bop along with the crowd, he fell into me, and I touched his back in a ‘gaah, get away’ kind of manner. Haha, is that how I’d react to all possibly famous and famous people?

If Ricky Gervais fell on top of me would I push him off screaming? Part of me hopes this won’t happen… the other, that it does! I laughed to Ridley afterwards, and said Dan falling on top of me was like two stars colliding. She stared.

“Well, you’re deluded.”

Probably!

We might catch up with Bastille again in March when they return to Dublin… will they play a bigger venue? How will life change for them… it’ll be interesting to see 🙂

Advertising Jungle

Below are just a few of the advertisements here in Tokyo. They can be found on the televisions, large screens on the buildings around the city, in shops and on the subways. It’s not hard to notice that no matter where you go, there is always something for sale or being pushed at you. So here are a few of them….

Ridley: I really don’t know what it is about this video, but it’s just so creepy. The guy playing the tiger is a brilliant dancer, I’ll give him that much. I don’t know why, it’s a combination of the music, the movements he makes and also the little tail movements. Cool, but creepy. And as with all the advertisements over here, we’ve finally worked out what they’re singing (after quite a bit of debate I might add), it’s ‘Ultra Ultra Ultra-book’. The dancer is also in an advertisement that shows in the cinema here (we went to MIB 3 here, for the experience!). The ad is for discouraging illegal filming of the movies. He also dances like this but with a giant camera on his head. That too is creepy. 

Latimer: This ad makes my skin crawl; the sound, the way he moves, the setting- yuck! I feel like my soul has been violated! (He’s a brilliant dancer though!)

Ridley: PonPon girl, as I call her, is everywhere here. There are advertisements in the subways, on little trucks that trundle passed playing her music, in magazines, on TV adverts for fizzy drinks and also on shopping bags carried around by people. I think she’s mad looking, a bit like an Asian Lady GaGa.

Latimer: She’s been following us from station to station and bookshop to bookshop. Leave us be, woman! The song is catchy; but MENTAL… The video is just plain crazy- if I had epilepsy it would give me seizures.

Ridley: I’ve really grown to like this song *rocks side to side with a smile*.

Latimer: No you haven’t, it makes you sick after awhile, that’s not normal.

Ridley: Perhaps….pon pon poooon…

Latimer: Why are the Moomin’s so popular in Japan? A strange Finnish cartoon from the 80’s. Apparently, they now sell Suzuki cars in Japan! Hyaku-pa-cento (100%). That’s all I get out of it. It’s catchy; periodically I will turn to Ridley and sing; “Hyaku-pah-cent-ooh”. It has amused us; the easily amused.

Ridley: I didn’t know what the crazy Moomin witch (and Latimer) were saying for ages. Since I’ve been here, I’ve never had so many words I don’t know spoken at me, I’ve perfected the art of the half smile and non-committed nod. It will get me in trouble one day.

Latimer: There’s a One Piece movie coming out soon and so, it is EVERYWHERE in Japan at the moment. They are in every 7 eleven shop. I don’t watch it, but I am half-thinking I should, but the likelihood is slim. I can’t commit to something that epic any more. I’m not as young as I used to be. 

Ridley: Those twenty-five year old bones of yours are creaking pretty badly these days, Lat! Mwhaa. For the record, I have no intention of being sucked in by the bombardment of all the One Piece advertising, I have no time for it, not when I’m barely getting round to seeing my Bleach and Naruto episodes!

The Book Soundtrack

Latimer: So I finished Mockingjay last Friday. The fire burned swift and fierce. I totally ate that book. I started reading at 8pm and finished by 1.30am (minus aimless wandering time and tea breaks, ‘can’t talk people, Katniss has a rebellion to finish, and I can only just spare enough time to make tea!’).

Orbie only started Mockingjay on Thursday this week; and she was hard pushed to even start. The fire died in her quickly; she was very, ‘neh’ about it after she had raced through Catching Fire. I thought about it as she asked, “Is it any good? Should I bother?”

Baffled I asked, “How can you not read it after you invested all the time? In fairness, don’t you want to know what happens in the relationship?”

She shrugged, “That’s probably all I care about now.” I nodded (it was pretty much all I cared about too).

Anyway, her reading it had me thinking back over it.

It was good, the series as a whole, of course I had enjoyed it. But wasn’t the ending very lacklustre? The relationship only really ended on, “we are both broken, let’s be broken together”. The big showdown never really happened. I feel like I wouldn’t be alone in thinking that as a reader I had been let down a bit.

There weren’t any significant relationship moments that left you clutching your chest, sobbing, “beautiful, perfect”.

The ending was very rushed in the sense that; they got together, in time they healed and then everything was as good as it could have been. But, did we not deserve more of an insight? It left me disappointed, not overly so but still, disappointed.

I wonder will the movies kindle more of a relationship-fire?

Moving from on from the books; I happened upon a soundtrack. Here enter-th my other great love, music (the stories with sounds!).

I just stumbled onto it (maybe you’ve heard it before) it’s called: The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond. It’s the official companion soundtrack to the movie with songs, from various bands, relating to the Hunger Games. Now I’m not 100% sure if they wrote them especially for the movie (but some of them must have done, because they talk about ‘daddy working in the mines’ and specifically ‘mockingjay’).

The thing that caught me was I really liked the people that sung/wrote for it: The Low Anthem, Arcade Fire, Birdy and The Civil Wars! Wow, I thought, I must give this a go! Sting also did a song “Deep in the Meadow”; that’s Katniss’ song right? Sting… my god. (I don’t like it, but hey, Sting, I am impressed!)

It got me thinking about how often I ascribe a song to a specific character (book, movie TV show etc). You know when you are listening away and you start thinking, ah that’s such and such singing about this, that and the other.

Did anyone come up with any songs for the Hunger Games? I had a go (I was listening to Lana Del Rey’s album a lot; so that’s why it’s two of her songs!)-

(Katniss singing about the Games and Peeta; it works, born to die)

(Katniss after the Games- I like the ‘sweet like cinnamon part, cos it’s like a baker, Haha…)

Back to the ‘actual’ soundtrack; Taylor Swift sings a song with The Civil Wars (Safe and Sound), which is beautiful. I have never heard a Taylor Swift song before (I know nothing about her, except the following: she’s young (-er than me!), American, blonde-?, Kanye West badmouthed her at an awards do once- I think).

Her voice works so well with the country tones of The Civil Wars. I feel like they add a lot of maturity to the song because the song she sings on her own is awful (Eyes Open), very teeny; it’s so false, it hasn’t got any sense of being ‘real’ or from the heart. It’s so over-produced. It’s actually grating; it has no place with the rest of the songs.  

The Civil Wars by the way are amazing; they are just a girl and guy with a guitar (if you ever have a chance to see them live, seriously go, they are excellent). They are so in sic with each other it’s amazing; they should be together (this is how it always goes, trying to pair people off), but they are actually happily to other people *sigh*! It’s like they are unromantic, musical soul-mates; perfect harmony. This song is very sweet and lovely; it does reflect Katniss and the Games very well. Also, the song The Civil Wars sing on their own is very beautiful too (Kingdom Come).

Glen Hansard also has a song on the album; he is an Irish singer/songwriter. Who won an Academy Award for his co-written song ‘Falling Slowly’ on the film Once (it’s beautiful): and he used to be in the Irish band The Frames. He’s actually really good, but my god, his song… Take the Heartland, which people think describes Cato; is terrible, it’s just terrible! It’s a sound so unlike his usual self.

‘Come away to the water’ by Maroon 5 (which in my head I just called Macaroon 5!); is another great song. It just conjures up the images of the grim, brutal districts and the oppressive Capitol.

Arcade Fire’s song ‘Abraham’s Daughter’ has an undertone, rift in it that sounds like it was in the movie. The initial rift sounds like the Hunger Games to me (like the theme for Harry Potter is Hedwig’s theme).

But my absolute FAVOURITE song on this lovely soundtrack is ‘Lover Is Childlike’ by The Low Anthem. Oh, I love them. It’s a heart wrenching song. The tone, his voice… it’s perfect.

Sometimes I think songs are like books; you find a great one and you think you’ll never see the like again. But time passes and new ones come.

Susanne Collins is very lucky; these bands actually did songs about her world! It’s amazing; it’s a brilliant idea. The book soundtrack; brilliant! Let me know what you think of the songs! Give them a go; well worth musing over who/what they might be singing about!