SEVEN: Albums That Should Be On Your Christmas List

Great Records, Music, Rock

Looking for any new music to listen to in the new year? Get these guys on your letter to Santa! I must admit, I’m totally guilty of listening to the same records on repeat over and over again and even since getting Spotify I haven’t branched out too much, but these are my faves right now and they just sound so damn good.

1 // Brendan Benson – You Were Right | I’ve been toying with the idea of actually reviewing this in it’s own post here on my blog so I won’t say too much, but if you’re a Brendan fan this record feels like home. If you’re not – why not? You’ll love Brendan’s ability to find the beauty in the cliches and I’ll be damned if you can’t relate to his lyrics. His catchy riffs and upbeat melodies are sure to get stuck in your head.

2 // Alberta Cross – Broken Side of Time | This album is bursting with passion and heart tugging lyrics, particularly if you’re a bit of a dreamer like me ;) “I just want more is that a crime?” is one that I repeat to myself on almost a daily basis.

3 // The Greenhornes – **** | I always think that The Greenhornes are wildy underrated. They have such a classic sound that is reminiscent of The Kinks and early Rolling Stones. As much as they fit into the Garage rock genre with their raw sound, Four Star has a great polished and old timey feel.

4 // Dead Meadow – Old Growth | Described as Stoner Rock, I can honestly say you don’t need to be stoned to experience these highs. Their music just feels so damn good, especially live. Old Growth is a great introduction to their more ‘alternative’ rock.

5 // Young Hines – Give Me My Change | In my Year in Review 2012 I named this the soundtrack to my year. From delicate acoustic melodies to heavy bursting riffs, Young has something for everyone. Give Me My Change is sure to make you desperate to stomp along.

6 // Death Cab For Cutie – Codes & Keys | More of a ‘happy’ Death Cab offering (existing fans will know what I mean!) Codes & Keys has some gorgeous uplifting tracks that will make you want to dance around and get stuff done. Plus if you’re a fan, this is pretty much an ode to Zooey Deschanel from her now ex-husband (one assumes!).

7 // The Shins – Port of Morrow | Reminiscent of gorgeous Summer days, tracks like ‘No Way Down’ instantly warm me up in this bitterly cold weather and take me back to seeing them live at Leeds Festival last year (even though it bucketed down for their set!). Lyrics jump at you as words to live by.

What are your favourite albums?

Loves x xx

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Road Trip Diary: Brendan Benson, Manchester

Cocktails in Walrus, Manchester

A couple of weeks ago I shared my road trip diary from the London leg of a mini holiday I took with my girlfriends. From there we travelled to Manchester with a wee stop off at my house in Leeds to grab the car which we used from then on. It’s so good to get some ‘home time’ in between, however brief.

We arrived in Manchester in pretty good time, but completely got lost in the loop system trying to get into the Arndale Centre car park. You have to approach the shopping centre with it on your left to enter, but trying to get your car in the correct position on the correct road is an art in itself. We dined in Bella Italia which was tasty enough and then headed out to find somewhere to have a nice pre-gig drink.

On the way to the Norther Quarter (recommended by my lovely friend MaMagasin!) we ran into Brendan and the guys and he noticed the necklace that my friend Sarah was wearing. It’s a bit of a secret project at the moment, but I have designed a small range of jewellery pieces with a ‘Brendan Benson’ theme (I’d love to know if anyone would be interested in purchasing these when they’re ready). I had brought them along to show him, but didn’t expect to have the meeting in the street in the middle of Manchester, haha. Brendan immediately stole one of the pin badges and I attached it to his jacket before they went off to grab dinner. I put that one down as a win ;)

Walrus bar, Manchester

We had a drink in the Night & Day Cafe which is probably my favourite Manchester gig venue, despite being so teeny – tiny (the sound is awesome!) and then we headed to a bar called Walrus. It’s got a bit of a diner style feel inside, but much more upmarket and kooky. The bar man was super friendly and we ordered some great cocktails which were two for £10 as we’d hit just before the end of Happy Hour.

The gig was at The Ruby Lounge which is always a disappointment for me; The bar area is nice but the ceiling is so low in the venue area making the sound not great, especially the more grunge-y the band. Plus there are huge pillars – always a no-no in a venue!
It was even worse this time around when I got to the ticket desk and I hadn’t been put on the guest list. Granted, that wasn’t the door staff’s fault, but they were rude and unhelpful and made me go outside and contact my friend to sort it out. If you’re ever in that situation the door staff should actually have the promoter’s phone number on the list and they should call for you. Thankfully I have great friends and we got sorted eventually, but sadly missing Future Monarchs’ set due to the mix up :( This is why you go to more than one show!!

Cocktails, Warlus Manchester

The gig was a strange one… There were a couple of ‘Raconteurs’ fans shouting out the wrong song requests and wittering to each other about Jack White. People even thought it was acceptable to climb onto the stage. As a Northern girl I always find it odd that I never enjoy a gig as much in Manchester as I do in London, but I really wish bands would come to Leeds more. In the end, Brendan and the guys put on a great show and you just have to try and focus on that. It took me three Death Cab For Cutie gigs before I could really enjoy the actual show; Gig goers can be really inconsiderate so I recommend you get there early and be as close to the front as possible as that’s where the big fans hang out who are actually there to enjoy the music and not talk over it ;)

Loves x xx

(Follow my journey onto the Newcastle show by subscribing to my blog or follow me on Twitter – Other Road Trip Diaries can be found, here.)

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