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Monthly Round-Ups Music

Music Round-Up // July

You know the drill so let’s get straight into the music!!


Christina Grimmie “Shrug”

The Voice US alumni are killing it lately!! Following Melanie Martinez‘s Cry Baby on my list last month (here), season 6 finalist and YouTube sensation, Shrug is Christina Grimmie’s second official single since finishing third on the talent show.

The track is jam-packed with sass and swagger, showing off a refreshing side of Grimmie I’d never seen.

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Kacey Musgraves “Dime Store Cowgirl”

This July favourite of mine is personal. It’s an account of Kacey’s career so far but the way she’s put it into words makes it very relatable to me.

Indeed, even though I’ve been living in the UK for the past six years and will carry on so in the many foreseable years to come, I still call my hometown “home”. There is no question that I’m a huge fan of Country music. I love the sentiment and storytelling element, and Dime Store Cowgirl perfectly embodies everything I adore of the genre.

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MKTO “Bad Girls”

I’ve been aware of this track for over a month and half now but it hasn’t grown on me so much until the last couple weeks so I thought I would include it here just for your pleasure.

Plus, the namesake EP has just dropped more than a week ago so it sort of counts as a July release… I guess? Anyway, Bad Girls is a flawless summer track through and through, with catchy lyrics and infectious beats so enjoy!

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Havana Brown “Battle Cry (feat. Bebe Rexha & Savi)”

A multitalented export from Down Under, singer/dancer/DJ Havana Brown charted worldwide with We Run the Night back in 2012 and has been releasing some decent music that I think are severely underrated.

Teamed up with vocalist Bebe Rexha and Dance music producer Savi, Havana’s sophomore album promises to bring a whole new sound with Battle Cry, which creeped in at the tail end of July – and it’s already soaring on my iTunes play count!

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Gin Wigmore “Written in the Water”

The Auckland native’s last release in 2011, Gravel & Wine made a lasting impression on me… to this day, I still play Black Sheep and belt to it! Written in the Water comes just as the perfect follow-up to that.

Although much to my surprise, I first heard this song a couple of weeks ago on the radio, instantly I recognised and was hooked on the soulful yet playful vocal delivery Gin does so well!!


There you have my choices for July! Tell me if you like any of my picks! Don’t forget to let me know in the comment who you’ve been listening to in the past few weeks!


Love, Oliver

Monthly Round-Ups Music

Music Round-Up // June

It’s that time again – time to review the month of June in music. Last month was a crazy one, I had loads going on (all to be explained in my next outfit post) including London Collections: Men, so I must confess I completely lost track of my music… Nonetheless, I managed to find some gems in the little I heard so listen up as I unveil my top picks from June!


Selena Gomez (feat. A$AP Rocky) “Good for You”

It might come as a shock to some that I choose to start off the list with a former Disney child star… who is not known for impressive vocal performances but give this a try, it may surprise you:

Her first single to ever debut in the Billboard Top 10, this track marks a huge milestone in Gomez’s career since her Barney days (I used to love that show!!) to finally finding her sound with Good for You. I could quite happily do without the rapping but I shall deal because the rest of the track is brilliant.

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Phoebe Ryan “Homie” + “Mine”

Phoebe Ryan is an uber talented, jade-haired newcomer based in LA who has claimed many hearts her own with mash-up covers and debut single Mine earlier this year:

I know the track first came out months ago but the EP has just dropped in this past month so that’s got to qualify its presence on this list? No? Anyway, Ryan’s musical style is very much reminiscent of Chvrches whilst the breathy quality of her tone and soft crooning brings to my mind Lights and a greener (in every sense of the word!) Ellie Goulding – what a mix!!

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Melanie Martinez “Pity Party”

I will always know Melanie Martinez as the girl who played a tambourine with her feet whilst performing Toxic on The Voice, where week after week, she cleverly transformed well-known Pop tunes like Bulletproof and Too Close into her own…

And she just did it again with Pity Party, which samples Lesley Gore‘s 60’s classic It’s My Party that gives the song some seriously intense depression and desparation.

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Ryn Weaver “Pierre”

Pierre is rumoured to be the next single from Weaver’s fresh-out-the-oven album, The Fool, which I proud own a copy… I’d be a fool not to! I mean this Californian internet sensation writes some of the most beautiful lyrics. The album booklet reads more like a poetry book. Pair her with hitmaker Ryan Tedder, another favourite songwriter of mine, you have this dazzling track that tells a moving story:

This is not the first time Ryn Weaver appears on my blog. Last year, she had a song on my end of year music round-up with OctaHate, which I’m still addicted to btw! That’s why I went and preordered the album (full review to follow) and Pierre is hands down one of the best tracks.


So, those are my choices! What is yours? Let me know what you think about this list and tell me your favourite track from June 2015!!


Love, Oliver

Monthly Round-Ups Music

Music Round-Up // May

Just because I don’t write enough music posts and this interest of mine is what fuels my daily life, I have come up with a great idea to keep up with modern music on my blog… after all, it’s called Suede & Symphony.

may musicWords: Oliver @oliverinstead

Starting now, at the end of the month or the beginning of the following month, I will be making one special post to share my absolutely favourite releases in the last four weeks. These will be the tracks that are skyrocketing on my iTunes play count, the tracks I’ve kept on repeat all month long.

Please note that I will only consider those I have actually listened to so if there’s been a particularly popular song and I have somehow missed it, then it’s unlikely it’ll appear on my lists… but if you think it’s a track that I really need to know, please feel free to tweet me about it @oliverinstead or simply let me know in the comments below!


Tove Styrke “Number One”

Conveniently kicking off the list is Number One by the Swedish songtress:

It hasn’t been long since Tove appeared in a music post of mine with one of the previous singles, Borderline (read here) off her sophomore album, Kiddo – which will also serve as her first crack at the US market. With the addition of this glittery synth-led jam, the record is shaping up very nicely indeed.

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Pia Mia “Do It Again (feat. Chris Brown & Tyga)”

Teaming up with the dynamic duo, Pia Mia has the song of the summer:

I’ve been following Pia’s rise to superstardom fairly closely. It was her contribution to Divergent’s soundtrack that initially caught my attention but then she went on to produce some of the most solid EPs and now I’m just proud to see this budding popstarlet getting the recognition she deserves with this smash hit… but that’s not all, she’s also scored herself a Missguided campaign!

So if you don’t already know who Pia Mia is yet, better start getting used to this voice and face.

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Josef Salvat “Till I Found You”

Having seen him perform live (and boy, does he perform) and heard all of his official as well as some yet-to-release materials, I can safely say that Salvat’s upcoming debut is one of the most exciting this year.

As usual, he matches explosive beats with heartfelt lyrics that don’t simply paint pictures but take you places. Till I Found You is no less cinematic than any of his previous works and I’m seriously in love with it.

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Little Mix “Black Magic”

Probably the most mainstream track on my list this month.

I was skeptical at first when the X-Factor champs talked about its “unusualness” but having listened to it, I honestly have to say I’m really liking the new sound. Although the lyrics are merely passable and the singing isn’t bad for a Pop tune (I have heard way better performances from the girls, cue Turn Your Face), it’s the 80s beats that make this track what it is – a rhythmic nostalgic trip back in time. I mean, is this the new age Girls Just Wanna Have Fun or what?

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Adam Lambert “Underground”

From the current Queen frontman, Underground is perhaps my favourite song from an American Idol alum in the last five years.

Unlike most typical Lambert songs, this is a dark, almost haunting R&B ballad that is stripped off of all the extras and theatrics. What’s left here is pure emotion-filled vocal deliveries – Adam proves just why he’s so rightfully the Freddie Mercury of our time.

If you like this, then I strongly recommend you to check out Ghost Town, which is yet another eargasm of a track.


So what do you think of my picks? Do you have a favourtie? What songs have you been blasting in the past month? Let me know and stay tuned for my June selection!!


Love, Oliver

Album Reviews Music

Album Review // Kelly Clarkson “Piece By Piece”

It’s been a while since I reviewed an album (if you haven’t read it, it’s here), I reckon this is the perfect time to do a new one considering my blog has recently been given a fresh facelift and at hand, we have an album from my all time favourite artist.

piecebypieceWords & Picture: Oliver @oliverinstead

Piece By Piece is Kelly Clarkson‘s 7th studio album and her first in almost four years! Since releasing Stronger in 2011, she has got married, released a Christmas album and given birth to a gorgeous baby girl, River Rose. It was released earlier this month but my copy took a while to deliver as I pre-ordered the limited edition box set from the official website so it arrived at my doorstep all the way from the US. 😉


Before playing the CD, I read through the leaflet and straightaway the lack of writing credits from the American Idol champ herself caught my attention. In fact, ever since the fall out with her label back in the My December era, she’s been producing noticeably less and less of her own materials… Continue Reading

Music Tracks of the Week

Track of the Week // Jess Glynne “Hold My Hand”

If ever there was such thing as a “vocal crush“, mine would definitely have to be this British raven-haired siren. I’ve always been a huge sucker for raspy and raw-sounding singers so ever since the moment I first came across Rather Be on the radio, I’ve just fallen instantly in love with the grit in Jess Glynne‘s voice.


As a vocalist, Glynne is perhaps better known for the megahits she’s produced with fellow Brits like Clean Bandit and Route 94. Several #1 collaborations later, the London songtress is aiming to make 2015 her year to achieve solo success, and with this brand new, very infectious gem of a track… it’s looking promising.

Hold My Hand - Single 1

Hold My Hand follows Glynne’s Top 10 hit Right Here as the second single off her forthcoming debut album. It offers a very polished and pure Pop sound that we’ve yet to hear in Glynne’s previous Electronic-leaning materials and I absolutely love it! What I love even more is her smoky, soulful vocal performance – it’s genuinely the best of its kind. The way it flows along with the piano-driven rhythms is simply too slick!

Lyrics-wise, it paints a positive picture. This is a great mood-lifter with perfect sing-along words that will stick in your brain after a couple of plays… but it won’t stop there, as I predict the playcount’s about to skyrocket on my iTunes. What do you reckon? 😉


Love, Oliver

Don’t forget to tell me what you think of my choice this week!