2018: The Year in Music

As the end of 2018 draws ever nearer, I thought now was the perfect time to jump back in with this blog and talk about the year in music for me.

You can check out my 2018 playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/669t8h4HUI5ickXU69INEL

So, where to start! Well… There’s been some amazing tracks from Disclosure this year and the Sylvan Esso remix of Heart Attack by Tune-Yards is just utterly brilliant! The Alex Metric mix of Love Like Waves by Friendly Fires is honestly my favourite thing of the year and has definitely cemented itself as one of my all time favourite remixes.

There has also been some great music coming out of France this year, as my playlist suggests, with Christine and the Queens and Baloji just two of the French artists featuring heavily on my most played of 2018.

As usual, one of the biggest influences over the tracks featuring on this year’s playlist is the brilliant BBC 6music who never fail to give me some great new tracks and artists to listen to whilst also making me rediscover, or even discover for the first time, some classic tracks this year. 

This year, has also been about disco influences and Balearic sounds for me though which never fail to cheer me up and put a smile on my face whatever is going on in my life or the world in general (because let’s face it, we all need something to put a smile on our faces at the moment!)

With so much great music out there, I’m super excited to see what 2019 will bring and who the acts are that make a big impression on me over the next 12 months. One thing is for sure, music is still as much of an important part of my life as it always has been. 

Although I think you should check out my entire playlist, if I had to pick the absolute best tracks from the list, they would be (in no particular order):

  1. Love Like Waves – Friendly Fires (Alex Metric mix)
  2. Tunnels In The Air – Louis Cole and Thundercat
  3. Holding On – Julio Bashmore
  4. Heart Attach – Tune-Yards (Sylvan Esso mix)
  5. Funky Sensation – Disclosure feat. Gwen McCrae
  6. Beach – Petit Noir with Danny Brown and Nukubi Nukubi
  7. Girlfriend – Christine and the Queens feat. Dam Funk
  8. Four Out Of Five – Arctic Monkeys
  9. Spectrum – Erol Alkan
  10. Freelance – Toro Y Moi 
  11. Charcoal Baby – Blood Orange
  12. He’s Got His Mother’s Hips – John Grant

August 2018: Julio Bashmore

One of my aims for this year was to find some new music every single month to ensure I went back to focusing on the discovery of new music. So every month, I’ll post a quick update with the artist or tracks I’m loving/have discovered that month.

In August, I had one track on repeat and it was this brilliant one from Julio Bashmore ft. Sam Dew called ‘Holding On’. Honestly, this is one of my favourite songs to be released in such a long time.

It’s so fun and upbeat and it just makes you want to dance along to the uptempo melodies and funky beats. It has a retro feel laced throughout this one but it still feels fresh and current, completely different to a lot of other dance music which is around at the moment.

A firm favourite on my top played playlists this summer and I’m sure you’ll love it just as much too!

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Image from Goya Social Club

June & July 2018: Christine & The Queens

One of my aims for this year was to find some new music every single month to ensure I went back to focusing on the discovery of new music. So every month, I’ll post a quick update with the artist or tracks I’m loving/have discovered that month.

I may be a little late with my summer new music post but I guess it is better late than never! This post was a pretty easy one to put together really as this summer I’ve mostly been listening to one artist – Christine and The Queens – whose single ‘Girlfriend’ was the first to be released from the second album earlier this year and it is utterly wonderful!

The 80’s funk sound of this track is full of poppy hooks, dancefloor beats and hip hop influences running throughout, all held together with what can only be described as a truly ‘slinky’ sound.

The new album is due to come out in Sept and with the new album, there is a new look and a progression in the sound. I’m looking forward to hearing the new album as the debut ‘Chaleur Humaine’ was one of my favourites of 2014.

For me, some of the best new music at the moment is coming out of France, with Christine and The Queens and Baloji being two of my particular favourites, so if you haven’t already checked out some of the music coming out of France right now, then go and do it now!

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Five goals for the rest of 2018

Who knew that owning a house and having a full time job would take up so much of my time to the point that I’ve found it super difficult to make time for blogging? I certainly didn’t and I must admit I did go into this whole homeowner/full time worker thing quite naively thinking that I would be able to do absolutely everything with still only 24 hours in the day!

I’ve not blogged much this year and honestly I miss it! I spend each and every day writing, it’s my job to write and though I love my job (yes, I finally have found a job where I’m truly happy) after a whole day of writing, it can be difficult to muster of the energy and mental thought to string any form of coherent sentence together, written or spoken as my other half would attest to.

But I’m trying to get myself back on the blogging bandwagon, I have some posts in my drafts folder that I plan to work on over the coming weeks and I plan to make more time for myself to let those ideas finally leave my brain and end up on my small space on the internet. 

Beach huts near Wells Next The Sea

Somehow 2018 is edging towards its final third (!) and though I’ve achieved a lot, I want to make the most of the coming months. So here’s five things I plan to do with the remaining four and a half months of 2018.

  1. Keep learning and working hard – The last ten months have been a huge learning experience in my career. Since joining the company where I’m at now I’ve been able to learn new skills, find my voice and test out ideas as well as work on a number of projects and across a number of areas that I’d never had the chance to pursue before. I do want to push myself in my career and my understanding of writing and marketing so for the next four months, and beyond, I want to prove to myself more than anyone that I am good at what I do but also that I should always make the effort to learn where I can.
  2. Learn to relax – As someone that has to be permantently busy, I do find it difficult to relax. Earlier this year, I tried meditation which worked quite well but I soon stopped making time for it when other things started to take priority over my time. I want to make more time for that again but also I’m looking forward to September when I’ll be heading to Wells for the week. I love how calm and peaceful it is there and the opportunity to spend time walking and reading and getting away from daily life is truly wonderful! 
  3. Yoga and exercise – Following on from making time for me and relaxing, I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort recently to get back to the gym and make time for yoga. I want to make the time to practice yoga regularly so I’m going to be starting the 30 days yoga with Adriene YouTube series soon – I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who’s not done this with the amount of hype about it online! Exercise is super important for me, not just because I want to lose some weight but also because it gives me time to switch off and just focus on myself which is a luxury I rarely allo myself to have.
  4. Finish the main bedroom – This room was painted and had all the new furniture brought in at the end of last year, I’ve since had my wardrobe fitted but it’s still not finished. It’s only small things to sort but I really want to get this room finished now so we can move onto bigger jobs such as the attic room, the bathroom and the hallway.
  5. Complete my 2018 reading challenge – I set myself the challenge of reading 12 books this year, I’ve already read 10 and I’m nearly halfway through my 11th. I know I’ll pass it but now I want to see how many books I can read before the end of the year, not only a challenge but the opportunity to ensure I make time for myself to read.

I have a lot I want to focus on before this year is out and above is just a small taste of that. Obviously, another areas I want to focus on is this blog and as I mentioned above, I’m going to be making a much bigger effort to make more time which is dedicated solely to writing. But until next time, what are your 5 goals or areas of focus for the rest of 2018? 

May 2018: Beck, Drenge & Arctic Monkeys

One of my aims for this year was to find some new music every single month to ensure I went back to focusing on the discovery of new music. So every month, I’ll post a quick update with the artist or tracks I’m loving/have discovered that month.


 

Drenge – This Dance

This new track from Drenge is utterly brilliant, which to be fair based on everything else they have released to date I would have been surprised if it wasn’t. It’s haunting and heavy and scuzzy and an utterly brilliant rock track with bonus catchy hooks. After listening to their last album to death, it’s great to have some new music to put on repeat from these guys.

Beck – Colors

At the other end of the spectrum in many ways is the new track from Beck which is just utterly wonderful! It’s upbeat, happy and makes you wanna dance, the infectious beats, great build up’s and sing along vocals were made for the festival season and it will most definitely be an anthem of this festival season.

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino

Finally, the album of the moment and one of the most polarising albums I’ve spoken about and listened to in a long time. Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino is an utter triumph of an album, it’s intriguing and interesting and difficult but in a way that makes it utterly satisfying when you listen to the tracks and get what the band are trying to do here. Even if you don’t get it, the mystery and sheer brilliance of their musicality and songwriting on Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino are extremely impressive to behold. These guys have definitely grown into a truly brilliant band!

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April 2018: Friendly Fires & Tiga

One of my aims for this year was to find some new music every single month to ensure I went back to focusing on the discovery of new music. So every month, I’ll post a quick update with the artist or tracks I’m loving/have discovered that month.


Friendly Fires – Love Like Waves

If you’ve read my blog for a long time, it will not be surprising to you that the new Friendly Fires song is featuring on my blog in April’s music round up. My favourite band are back with a bang(er)* which is set to become a summer favourite on everyone’s stereo, most definitely mine of course.

I was at the Brixton gig in April (which was a great start to my birthday weekend btw) and it was just such a special night. Friendly Fires being back completely kickstarted my love for music and discovering new songs again which is something I’d fallen away from and forgotten about over the last couple of years.

Back to this track though and it’s great. I love it – it’s summery, it’s beautiful and like all good Friendly Fires tracks, it just makes you want to dance.

Friendly Fires – Love Like Waves (Alex Metric Remix)

For the remix fiends among you, here’s the Alex Metric remix of ‘Love Like Waves’ and if you haven’t already heard it, give it a listen as it is so bloody good!

Tiga – You’re So Special

Finally, the new track from Tiga is an atmospheric wonder with great beats and it really is just a great dubby house gem of a track. I first heard this on Lauren Laverne’s 6Music show and it really was one of those songs where you just stop what you are doing to take it all in and appreciate just how brilliant it is. This is another one which is straight on the summer playlist and will be getting a lot of listens from me this year.

*Sorry for my awful puns!

Food Review: Almost Famous, Leeds

“With burgers like these, it’s no wonder they are called Almost Famous”

Situated in the heart of Leeds city centre, Almost Famous is a burger restaurant which sells delightfully dirty burgers and satisfyingly filling sides.

Their menu is jam packed full of options and calories so we were more than spoilt for choice. As a result, we probably ordered too much food but it would have been rude not to try a few different options on the menu on our first visit.

My boyfriend opted for the ‘Everyone’s Got a Gun in Texas’ burger which included a double cheeseburger, bacon, waffle fries and pulled pork while I went for the ‘Alicia Silverstone’, one of the two veggie burger options on the menu.

veggie burger almost famous leeds mixtape couture

This one contained a portabello mushroom, halloumi, grilled red pepper, salad and shoestring onions and it was absolutely delicious and packed full of flavour. It’s one of the best veggie burgers I’ve had in a while and it is one that I would definitely order again next time I make the trip over to Leeds.

For sides, we split the Winning Fries, which is a mix of normal and sweet potato fries in a cajun spice mix, and the Mac Balls, which were some of the most deliciously gooey mac and cheese balls I’ve ever eaten and the smokiness of the cheese used to make these just took them to another level of tasty.

mac balls almost famous leeds mixtape couture

All in all, it was a truly great meal for a very reasonable price. Alcohol here is a little pricey, with it costing £5 for a Koppaberg, but otherwise the menu is well priced for the amount of food you get.

Such great tasting food means that I will definitely be heading back to Almost Famous next time I’m in Leeds and it’s easy to see why this place is just so damn popular.

To find out more about Almost Famous, visit their website or follow them on Twitter – @AlmostFamousLDS