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Chit-chats Foodie Friday

#BeeProud afternoon tea at Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester

afternoon tea-radisson blu 02
Words & Photos: @oliverinstead

Earlier this week, I was invited by Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester to go and have a taste of the new #BeeProud afternoon tea. Here’s a confession: I’m not the afternoon tea-type. The last time I had a full-on afternoon was 4 years ago, in a Best Western in Kuala Lumpur, but #Pride is a great cause – in fact, one that I care very much about so I didn’t waste a sec before accepting the offer! Continue Reading

Music

My summer 2017 playlist

summer playlist 01
Words & Photo: @oliverinstead

Of all the things on the face of this planet, none gives me more joy than the following : people who hold the door for me, people who thank me when I hold the door for them (common courtesy, people!) and listening to a new bop for the first time.
Today I’m sharing five songs I’ve discovered this summer and will continue to play on repeat throughout the season. Read on if you need some inspo for your own summer playlist!

 

one Don’t Take the Money – The Bleachers

Not everyone’s heard of the Bleachers but I bet almost everyone would’ve heard of the frontman’s music… case in point : That new Lorde song? No? Maybe Taylor Swift’s latest album? Ok, how about that fun. song that everyone jammed so hard to back in 2012? Yeah, the main man behind the Bleachers, Jack Antonoff is one-third of fun. and responsible for countless other artists’ hits.

If you’re not familiar with his music, I reckon Don’t Take the Money would be a good introduction. [ Listen ]

 

two Plot Twist – Sigrid

Sigrid is my new Scandi-obsession. This Norwegian newcomer’s songwriting is so youthful and so refreshing, coupled with her gritty and at times aggressive vocals : it’s love. Confessions : upon hearing Don’t Kill My Vibe (which I assume is how most people, myself included, have come to know her), I found her slightly hard to get into to begin with but then Plot Twist came along, and my mind was forever changed. [ Listen ]

 

three Glorious – Macklemore (feat. Skylar Grey)

Serving some good ol’ Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ Can’t Hold Us teas here… if you remember that song as well as I do. #goodtimes
If you haven’t heard Glorious yet, then (SPOILER ALERT!!) expect lots of Can’t Hold Us flashbacks – so much so that it almost sounds like they just laid new vocals over the Can’t Hold Us backing track, but I’m not complaining because this song is gold. I know for sure it’s going to be the first song I turn on whenever I need my spirits lifted. [ Listen ]

 

four Remember I Told You – Nick Jonas (feat. Anne Marie & Mike Posner)

This track is so underrated. #fact Personally, I think it’s one of Nick Jonas’ best songs to date, but it’s not even charted in the US… like, how?! It’s catchy, the lyrics are relevant, the vocals are solid, and it features a rapper… granted, Mike Posner isn’t the most sought-after rapper in the game these days – but still, this song pretty much has all the hallmarks of a summer smash.

(Also, much love for the styling in the video.) [ Listen ]

 

five Say My Name – Tove Styrke

Another one of my Scandi-obsession : this one goes all the way back to my teens and it’s been a real joy to witness Tove’s musical evolution. Say My Name is this Swedish pop princess’ latest offering, the lead single from her upcoming album, which I cannot wait to hear because Kiddo was such a masterpiece. [ Listen ]

 

What do you think about my selection? How many of them have you heard? Is there a summer track that you think I need to know? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Oliver ❤

Monthly Round-Ups

Music Round-Up // September

Due to various reasons, largely down to the unability to find more hour in a day, I have been absent from publishing any new materials for over a week. However, during this off period, I’ve done loads of planning, shooting, reshooting and editing for the upcoming collaborative projects… but in the meantime, let’s share some music and love around.

Cannot believe we’re almost a third into October!! Time does fly, even more so with good music. Speaking of flying, September marked the (re)start of my travelling season, in fact, I finished composing this post in Dublin Airport so here I present you the music that accompanied me throughout my Brussels tour last month.

 

Katharine McPhee “Appetite”

It seems almost compulsory these months for me to include at least one track from a reality talent show alum in these Round-Up posts and this is no exception – American Idol season 5 runner-up and the star of Smash and Scorpion, Katharine McPhee has, in her modest-sized discography, always maintained an impressive consistence in the quality of her music, which is exactly what Appetite delivers.

Mixing smooth with sultry vocals, intensified with a sprinkle of arousing moans, McPhee stirs up a tastefully dark sex jam with this track… Ahhhh! Just when I thought Adam Lambert had topped my Best Post-Idol Songs with Underground (read my May Round-Up), this just has got me rethinking the whole list!

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One Direction “Infinity”

Didn’t expect to see this name on here, did you? No. Nor did I.

I must admit, even though I would never label myself a Directioner, I had always been secretly holding out hopes that the heartthrobs will truly deliver and I’d been nothing but disappointed by their hugely juvenile sound. Unsurprisingly, as the boys have grown up, so has their music.

The appeal in Inifinity for me is the extended maturity that we previously had a taste of in Story of My Life. In terms of the vocals, the Harry-led chorus is definitely a good shout since he is in my opinion, the best vocalist of the newly reformed foursome that they are now… it’s a shame that this didn’t happen earlier in their career as a collective.

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Ryan Adams “Out of the Woods”

Have you heard? Ryan Adams has covered an entire Taylor Swift album…

Citing Nebraska as inspiration for his adaptation of this 2014 top-selling album, Adams executes the mellowness and melancholia with stylised vocals rivalling Bruce Springsteen. The acoustics substitution for the synths is indeed refreshing, but I can’t say the rest of the project is as successful as I would’ve liked. Still, I do genuinely believe that this particular track is a true improvement on the original.

What do you think? Springsteen-sounding Swift? Yay or nay? 😉

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Sara Bareilles “She Used to Be Mine”

In my heart, easily one of the greatest singer, songwriter, pianist, recording artist of our time, Bareilles pours every last drop of her heart and honesty into this beautiful masterpiece.

Vulnerable, haunting and by Bareilles’ own unapologetic admission, deliciously self-indulgent, the Grammy nominee serves up She Used to Be Mine in preparation for her upcoming album What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress to be followed by Waitress musical set to hit Broadway in April next year.

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Troye Sivan “EASE (feat. Broods)”

What happens when two of my favourite fresh, Australasian acts join forces… THIS.

Just one of the six super solid tracks in the South African-born Perth native’s sophomore EP, EASE is hands down the standout moment. Sivan’s effortless crooning laced with Georgia’s signature comforting backing vocals (listen out for her totally awesome bridge!), the heartfelt words are wrapped tight and neatly with a sense of longing – not an unfamiliar territory for Broods and their 2014 debut full-length release (check out my Evergreen review.)

By no means am I saying this is Happy Little Pill (click here for my 2014’s Best Tracks)… but then again, what is? It is, however, a real testament to Sivan’s song-writing skills and Pop potential, proving him to be more than just a YouTube sensation but also quite the rising star to watch… Hedi Slimane most certainly is, are you?

 

Love, Oliver

Don’t forget to comment and let me know your September favs!

Monthly Round-Ups Music

Music Round-Up // August

Another month has come and gone and this one has been full of good, quality music from some of my favourite musicians so sit back, relax and enjoy my picks from August 2015!

 

Jess Glynne “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”

Jess is no stranger to this blog. Not long ago, one of her earlier singles made my choice of the week and now she’s reappearing with an August fav of mine that needs no introduction since it’s already topped several charts around Europe:

In terms of vocals, Jess yet again delivers another flawless performance, which is no surprise there! But I love this track for more than what meets the ear – the uplifting message behind the encouraging lyrics makes it worthy of a spot on my list of staple feel-good anthems and that’s what I look for in music: the ability to move me, to project a certain emotion or element… be it joy, frustration, melancholia, or in this case, perseverance.

* * *

Loreen “I’m In It With You”

Loreen is a name many loyal Eurovision Song Contest fans are familiar with as the Swedish songtress was crowned champion in 2012 with a smashing entry regarded by most as one of the best to have ever graced the show… Not to mention she is also a regular to the competition having been invited back for a couple of performances since her victory.

Three years after Euphoria and a successful debut album, Loreen is readying her sophomore…

I’m In It With You embodies everything Loreen does best – theatrics. The magnificiently cinematic chorus manages to shoot chills through my bones every single time as Loreen somehow convinces me that she will stay by my side however dark and low life gets… F**k, if the rest of the album is as good as this, give it to me now!!

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Christopher “Tulips”

Sticking with the Scandinavian-Pop theme, I present a talented, singing and dancing Danish heartthrob who is pretty much the Timberlake slash Bieber of the unified kingdom:

I’ve been following Christopher’s career from the very beginning so you can take my words for it when I say this is by far his best vocal performance to date. Lyrically, lines like “girl, lean back, why don’t you relax?” and “you got me feeling so scandalous” suggest that the title is not so subtly used as a double entendre… at least I think so anyway. Maybe I just have a one track mind but it’s been a real pleasure witnessing Christopher’s progress from cheesy bumblegum to grown-up yet crude rhythmic Pop.

* * *

Gabrielle Aplin “What Did You Do?”

Probably most famous for her cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s The Power of Love in some Christmas advert in 2012, Gabrielle Aplin returns to prove just what she is truly capable of:

Whether or not this song was inspired by Gabrielle’s personal encounter, her conveyance of an unexpected fall for someone who will eventually take over your life is simply impeccable in every sense of fragility and hopelessness so eloquently emoted. In a time when every other song on the radio is electronified, it’s refreshing to still hear organic music that puts all focus on the vocals backed by a guitar, piano and some light percussions.

* * *

Carly Rae Jepsen “Gimmie Love”

Admit it, at some point in the past year you’ve hummed that Bieber-assisted viral song from three years ago at least once, maybe twice without even know it… Truth is not many know know that Carly first rose to fame on the Canadian adaptation of popular talent show Pop Idol. Since finishing third in her respective season, she’s produced three LPs with international hits like Call Me Maybe, Good Times and Tonight I’m Getting Over You popping up somewhere in between…

Back with a new album, she’s now giving us this catchy new tune among many others.

As much as I find E•MO•TION a completely solid project with more than decent to brilliant offerings, Gimmie Love for me is a definite clear standout. It’s a 80’s Dance throwback in the most contemporaty way possible. In fact, the old school influence can be heard throughout the album so if you’re into that, give Carly’s new album a try!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my choices! I want to know what you think of them so please don’t forget to comment below with your thoughts and maybe your own August favs!! :)

 

Love, Oliver