Song on Repeat: The Last Shadow Puppets

Earlier this year The Last Shadow Puppets dropped their second release. I have been a fan for years but on first listen ‘Everything That You’ve Come To Expect’ didn’t do a lot for me. It’s one of those slow burners that takes multiple listens and then one day it all just clicks and you suddenly can’t stop listening to it!

One track I’ve got on repeat at the moment is ‘Miracle Aligner’. It gets under your skin, you can be going about your day and suddenly you realise it’s been in your head for hours… and that’s not a bad thing! Oh and the film clip is ridiculous and hilarious.

Enjoy!

 

Song on Repeat: Ray Charles

This week’s repeater is an oldie but a goodie… Georgia on my Mind… this song just melts me like butter. If I’ve had a bad day, or I want to wind down.. this song is the key. Everything instantly relaxes and a smile appears on my face.

Ray’s voice is so clear, it could have been recorded yesterday. The string arrangement cradles his vocal so delicately, and of course the piano grounds the whole song.. it is perfection.

Enjoy!

Song on Repeat: The Kills

I’ve liked every song The Kills have ever released but I’ve never really delved into their albums or back catalogue.. until now. Their latest release ‘Ash & Ice’ is amazing. The whole album has been on repeat for me lately, but one track in particular sticks in my mind, Black Tar.

I love Alison’s voice, her vocal on this track has an echo to it that gives it an almost haunting quality. It grabs you and sticks with you.. the melody and guitar work is also great. It’s a lesson in taking it back to basics.. take a listen..

Scotland ‘Ooo aye’ Part 1

Throughout the last couple of years I have travelled a fair bit, and I want to share my adventures with you!

June saw me up in Scotland about to embark on a 6 day highland adventure, courtesy of MacBackpackers.

Their 6 day tour encompasses the east coast of Scotland, via the Highlands and up to Orkney Isles. It was amazing. Firstly, we were blessed with the best weather I have ever seen in Scotland, sunny clear skies all the way, the first day was actually the hottest day of the year, 27 degrees! We had singlets on and actually had a paddle down at Loch Morlich, it was just like a beach! Too bad I didn’t pack my bathers… who takes bathers to Scotland in June?!

Our first day took in the historical town of Pitlochry, Culloden Moore and then all the way up to Rogart. Here our accommodation for the night was converted train carriages. Amazing. Cosy little bunk beds in each compartment, and a bathroom at the end, and kitchen come sitting room in a spare compartment. Such a great concept for a hostel!

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The next day we made our way north up to Castle of Sinclair Girnigoe which sits on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean.

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Then it was to the port of John O’Groates where we got our ferry over to Orkney. It really feels like you’re on another planet when you’re all the way up in the Scottish Islands. You see the landscape change from humungous mountains and forests to a sparse island with no tress at all. Even the accent changes! There’s also a lot of Viking history in this region and a lot of ruins and standing stones. A truly fascinating place.

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Look at that sky! This is the kind of weather we were blessed with 80% of our time there. AMAZING.
And just as well, the winds out on the coast are fierce, I cannot imagine being up there in winter, I think the wind would just cut right through you.

Some of the places we visited only see sunshine about 10 days a year, so it really puts this weather into perspective!

 

 

 

 

Once we were on Orkney, we made our way to Kirkwell where we spent the two nights. On the way we were able to take in the view;

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The photos really don’t do it justice but you can see how flat and sparse the vegetation is on the island.

As I said there is a rich history out on these islands, and that means lots of ruins! We stopped in at some standing stones, I’m not sure where they were exactly, but I do know they are over 5,000 years old!
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And they’re huge.. it’s amazing to think they’ve been there for thousands of years..

 

 

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For some perspective… I’m tall and that thing is still towering over me!

 

 

 

Then it was onto Skara Brae, which is a Neolithic (3200 – 2200 BC) settlement, still intact on the cliffs. It attracts loads of tourists every year, it’s even been included on those ‘things to do before you die’ lists.. it’s quite amazing that something so old is still there and for the most part, intact!

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I tried to get a shot without a hundred tourists in the background. But this is essentially what their houses looked like. A hearth in the middle, an area for sleeping and an area for food storage. Reminds me a bit of Hobbiton with all the green grass growing around them.

Then it was up to the Kitchener Memorial where there are some of the prettiest cliffs I have ever seen.. we were on the hunt for Puffins.. they know how to hide from birdwatchers and tourists. We did eventually see some but it involved hiking out to an island you can only reach at low tide and waiting on a cliff edge. Totally worth it, they are the cutest little birds.. sadly I didn’t get a picture because it turns out an iPhone zoom is pretty useless in such instances. Oh well, the cliffs are pretty!

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Can you spot the puffins?

More spectacular coastal scenes could be found back on the mainland of Scotland up at Duncansby Head. These massive sea stacks sit in the ocean like giant witches hats. Truly an amazing sight to see up close…

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I have been to Scotland 5 times now, I love the place. Clearly. This tour was SO good, nice to see areas of the country that most tourist companies don’t go to. We definitely still went to the usual places, Loch Ness, Glen Coe, Culloden etc, but it is nice to see the roads less travelled. I loved this tour so much that I immediately booked to go on another one a day later, covering the west coast and islands out that way.. the joys of not having a set travel plan!

I’ll share that adventure with you next time.. but if you are thinking of going to Scotland and don’t know where to start, I highly highly recommend MacBackpackers. They make everything so easy, their guides are authentic Scottish locals who know their stuff, and they let you choose the itinerary. – They have a rough guide for the week but if you want to see something in particular and it’s not included, they can make it happen. Plus on the tours I did, there were no more than 12 people on the bus which ensured… hilarity, great friends that I hope to stay in touch with for a long time yet, and a real personal experience – you could actually forget you are part of a tour group because it just becomes travelling around on a bus with a bunch of mates.

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Song on Repeat: Warpaint

 

I’ve been a big fan of Warpaint’s for years now. Their latest album ‘Heads Up’ dropped in September and ever since I have barely stopped listening to it. Full of addictive melodies that float over your ears, it’s so easy to listen to, to chill out, to drive to, or to just listen to.

The opening track Whiteout has been on repeat for me lately, you can immediately hear a difference to their previous sounds. There’s a synth drum track and it’s a little bit more clipped and punchy than their last record. But what remains are those juicy bass lines and dreamy melodies. I’m in love.

 

Finding Joy in Reading

I’ve always loved reading, even from an early age I have always had a book on my bedside table. I can remember my parents always swapping books with their friends what seemed like every few weeks and marvelling at how fast they could read! I now find myself about to begin my 4th book for the month and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I know quite a few people who don’t like to read. They read for necessity, not for the pleasure of enjoying a story… they would rather watch a movie for that, it’s easier. They struggle to concentrate on the page, they get restless and impatient and they give up. Me on the other hand… give me a good book and I can be occupied for hours. I judge the quality of a book based on how lost in the story I get. Sometimes a story can be so intriguing that I will actually forget where I am.ย I especially find books a good escape when commuting on public transport.. combined with a good playlist you are able to block out any unsavoury characters, and if only for ten minutes of your day, forget that you are on your way to work.

While I was living overseas, I invested in a Kindle. Something I was reluctant to do at first, because I am such a lover of books, actual BOOKS with pages. But I have to admit, it changed my life. I was so strapped for space in my tiny bedroom, that I actually stopped reading for a time just to save space, I had to stop myself from wandering around bookstores (something I love doing) incase I bought a book that I would then have to find a space for.. so by having the Kindle, I was able to read tonnes of books and carry then around with me at all times. Perfect! Especially when I got onto the Outlander books, of which there are 8 and each book is about one thousand pages.. so we’re talking proper brick books! There is no way I would have even picked them up off the shelf just based on their size, but I was able to read them all over the city and even when I went up to Scotland where the series is based.

Upon coming home I have reverted back into my old ways, buying books when I see them, rifling through mum and dad’s collection and even going to our local library! Every time I go to the library I am amazed.. here is this resource full of amazing fiction, non-fiction, resource material, whatever you want! You can have up to 10 items and take them home for a whole three weeks, for FREE!! Why don’t people use libraries much anymore? Maybe they do but no one is talking about it, so if you want some advice, go to your library. It’s a great way to test out an author someone has recommended without potentially wasting your money and shelf space.

I have also rediscovered my favourite bookstores in Perth, Elizabeths Secondhand Bookshop. Their stores are packed to the rafters with books, all different types and their staff are super knowledgeable which I love. Something they have started doing is ‘Blind Date With A Book’, they have a stand of books wrapped in brown paper with a few dot points listed on the cover giving a quick snippet of what the book is about. I love this concept, it gives you a chance to read something you perhaps wouldn’t have picked up because of the cover. As it turns out the book I got was really good and I read it in 5 days! I will probably review on here at some stage because I enjoyed it so much and I can think of quite a few people who would enjoy it.

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But for now I just really wanted to share my love of reading with everyone. Living in such a technology heavy age it feels like something as simple as reading a good book is getting lost in the chaos. Life moves fast enough, sometimes it’s good to just stop and focus on a page and get lost in someone else’s story.

N

 

Ps – Anyone read a really good book lately? I’d love some recommendations๐Ÿ™‚

 

Song on Repeat: Stonefield

It’s been a while since I sat down and listen to Stonefield. Previous winners of Triple J’s Unearthed High (2010) the four sisters have a distinct sound that seems to have come straight out of the 1970’s. Their heavy guitar sound is reminiscent of bands such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

Their latest song ‘Love’ is covered in a layer of reverb giving it a chilled out vibe. Lead singer Amy’s voice is almost unrecognisable, a softer and more delicate vocal than their other tracks. I find this song really infectious, it’s super easy to listen to I’ve had it on repeat for the last few days!

Check it out;