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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

A/W15 Fashion

LC:M A/W15 // SANKUANZ Presented by GQ China

So British Fashion Council has recently posted the very much anticipated dates and full schedule of London Collections: Men S/S16 (12 – 15 June), at which I fully intend to be present. Of all the plans I have lined up for the next couple of months, I have to say this is probably the one I’m most excited by.

 

As many of you may remember, I was invited to several shows last season and I have followed up my attendance with a few write-ups in January but to celebrate my upcoming second season at one of the most important events in the menswear calender, I have just one more show review I want to share with you guys… and what better day to do it than #throwbackthursday? So come with me and I’ll show you around the weird and wonderful world of SANKUANZ.

DSC_0245Words & Pictures: Oliver @oliverinstead

The majority of you are probably unfamiliar with the name SANKUANZ so here’s a little intro to the brand and the team behind the black eyes and bold colours: SANKUANZ is led by Xiamen-based Chinese designer Zhe Shangguan. Having enjoyed success domestically with his mainline womenswear, Shangguang has teamed up with local young creatives to go global. The project’s vision is centred all on youth – youth of today, youth of different cultures and backgrounds. Continue Reading

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!