Now Playing

I’ve been listening to a lot of old and new singles lately, and focusing less on spinning full albums at a time. They all differ in style and sound–from slow, dreary tunes, to loud, 80’s inspired tracks that are great to dance to–this month, I’ve compiled a playlist of quirky favorites I’ve been mixing and matching!

500x500“No Answers” by Amber Run

Amber Run has quickly become one of my favorite bands since I discovered them last year. With a sound similar to Bastille and Kodaline, their latest single, “No Answers” features a slow buildup of bass and deep, trembling drum accompanied by the band’s trademark chime-like guitar riffs. The band released this single at the beginning of this month in anticipation of their sophomore album “For A Moment, I Was Lost,” which you can listen to on February 10th of 2017!

sing-street-soundtrack“Up” by Sing Street (soundtrack)

This single is from the 2016 musical-comedy film “Sing Street,” which follows a young teenage boy in 80’s Ireland. Connor, the main character and lead singer of the band (Sing Street), forms a band in an attempt to impress a girl. He ends up finding himself as an artist, standing up to a few bullies, and forming a unique group of friends. The music in this movie is FANTASTIC. Way better than I expected it to be. The first song of the movie, “Riddle Of the Model,” is silly and anticipated (it’s the band’s first song), but you can’t help but sing along to it after a while. Following this scene, the band’s second song, “Up” blew me away. Sung by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, a 17-year-old Irish singer-songwriter, the song is so well-written and beautifully sung with a satisfying chorus that keeps you coming back for more. Honestly, I wish the song was longer. Check out the scene where the band performs “Up” here! (Seriously, click it.)

tumblr_md4628ckrm1qa7dyho1_1280“Undo” by The 1975

I love going back to old tracks by The 1975, my favorite band. This one, which was released on the band’s (deluxe) debut record back in 2013 as well as  their “Sex” EP, is simply hypnotizing. I recently watched the group’s full live performance at the London O2 presented by Vevo, and was reminded of how much I adore this single. (If you’ve got two hours to spare, check out the video of the band’s show here. Worth it.) This is a perfect song to simply space out to, absorb, and get lost in.

artworks-000148699541-wmccqy-t500x500“She Burns” by Foy Vance

I had the privilege of seeing and meeting singer Foy Vance for the second time this past summer, and as usual, he did not disappoint. Foy’s live shows are emotional and raw, and his dialogue in between songs with the crowd is funny, witty, and so beautifully Irish. This song, “She Burns” features a perfect array of vivid imagery which compliments Foy’s distinct vocals. My favorite part of the track is the bass that enters the song about halfway through–it adds such depth to the song, and sounds absolutely stunning through headphones.

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The Vinyl Revival

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“As CD and digital sales decline in the wake of streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, record sales are on the rise. In fact, the format has seen 260% growth since 2009. While CDs sit on shelves, vinyl supply is having a hard time keeping up with demand. It may not have seemed possible 10 years ago, but vinyl is back.” —Forbes Magazine, July 2015

record playerFor Christmas this year, I got a record player. I had wanted one for months but wasn’t expecting to get one, so my parents really surprised me. It’s a Third Man Records turntable designed by Jack White, and fortunately, NOT a Crosley. (Crosley turntables tend to break within a few weeks or ruin your records with their harsh needles.) Since I started working in a record store last year, I’ve become fascinated with vinyl and the culture surrounding it.

Since receiving my first turntable, I’ve been working on expanding my record collection. So far, I own Language and Perspective by Bad Suns, Talking Is Hard by Walk the Moon, Revolver by The Beatles, For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver (my favorite one to spin), 5 AM by Amber Run, Quadrophenia by The Who, Wanted On A Voyage by George Ezra, and a few of my dad’s old records. I brought my turntable with me to college after Christmas break, and it’s attracted quite a few people into my dorm room. Since most people my age listen to their favorite albums on Spotify, my turntable has become a fun, unique (and nostalgic) way to listen to music in our dorm.

I love the experience of listening to music on vinyl. The slight crackle of the needle hitting the grooves of the record before it begins is one of my favorite parts, and I absolutely love watching the record spin…especially if the record is a picture (or colored) disk, like George Ezra’s album I purchased from a Record Store Day sale. (See below.)11951563_430420080485911_916543637205630510_o

I have come to love vinyl simply because it encourages the purchase of physical, tactile music. I  believe that the act of holding your favorite record in your hands before listening to it results in a unique, and overall more meaningful connection with the music.

Over the past year or so, vinyl purchases have expedited due to the current generation of teenagers and young adults who now own their own turntables. Honestly, I think that this trend first arose due to the aesthetic, visual appeal that vinyl and turntables present…specifically for posting to social media outlets like Instagram. Many young teenagers seemed to utilize posting pictures of vinyl as a way to get likes, since not many people were listening to music that way. Although this may have been the initial case, I think that vinyl purchases among young adults has evolved into a genuine passion for music and appreciation for the physical representation of a favorite record.

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Getting lost in record stores is one of my favorite things to do. I could spend hours browsing through records and examining album covers. Now that I have my own record player, I can actually buy albums to play…which is so much fun. If you have any suggestions of records that sound great on vinyl, please feel free to tweet me!

 

Photos of me by Kendra Siebert

Soundtrack To My Summer 2015

Here’s what I’ve been listening to this summer!

Bleachers–Strange Desire

a18593e40fc82d3c71832d62ebf09336This is honestly one of the best albums I’ve ever listened to. Every time I put it on, I always find myself saying: “Oh my God, this is SO GOOD.” Jack Antonoff, former member of the band Fun, perfectly blends a nostalgic, seemingly old-school approach to music with modern, electronic bursts & guitar solos. The piano riffs, echoing, deep-voiced solos and intriguing lyrics make this album so unique, & definitely a must-listen for this summer. I have so many favorites on this album, but “Wake Me,” “Who I Want You To Love,” & “Shadow,” are amazing.

Amber Run–5 AM

24449This record came out just a few months ago as the band’s debut album, and since then, Amber Run has instantly become one of my favorites. There’s a perfect mix of slow songs about love & loss, mixed with fast-paced tunes about loving life. I’ve talked about how much I love Amber Run & their amazing harmonies in one of my previous blog posts, which you can check out here. If you’re waiting for Bastille’s new album, and need some similar stuff to listen to while you wait, 5 AM is perfect for you. Check out “Heaven” and “I Found!”

August Rush Soundtrack

500x500This is one of my old favorites that I dug out of my CD collection to listen to this summer. I recently watched the movie again, and it reminded me of how much I absolutely adore this soundtrack. After listening to it, I always have the urge to learn how to play guitar. There’s something for everyone on this album…rock to classical, classical to gospel, John Legend, Van Morrison & more. I recommend listening to it on a road trip or any other long car ride. It sounds amazing in the car for some reason…just make sure you watch the movie, too!

Alexi Murdoch–Time Without Consequence

e405_c353fff2cc908fb89ad7d9c293d1da9a_jpg-originalI love it when you can hear a singer’s accent in the way that they sing. Alexi Murdoch, a British singer-songwriter did an amazing job on this album, & you can definitely hear his cute British accent coming through in each song. The slow, meticulous guitar playing mixed with Alexi’s low, hypnotizing voice makes this a great album for pretty much any situation. A perfect soundtrack to a warm summer night spent outside, a train ride through the country, or just a good record to take a nap to. I’d  recommend this album for Hozier fans!

Walk The Moon–Talking Is Hard

TIHYou’ve probably heard Walk The Moon’s hit single, “Shut Up And Dance” playing on the radio quite a bit. Like Bleachers, WTM perfectly bands an old-school style of music with their own modern/ pop flair. This is such a summer album–every song makes you want to get up and dance. The drums, guitar, fast-paced beats, and unique vocals on each song makes this album SO fun. My two favorites are “Sidekick,” and “Avalanche.”

 

Mumford & Sons–Wilder Mind

mumford-sons-wilder-mindThis album marks a major turning point for Mumford & Sons, and I love it. You won’t hear any banjos on this album. (Although it sounded amazing on their last few!) With an alternative, fresh feel to this album, you may not even recognize that you’re listening to Mumford & Sons at first. When I listened to the intro to “Believe,” the single that debuted their new style,  I thought I was listening to The 1975. I think it’s great to see the band switching it up a bit! I love “Just Smoke” on the album.

Tweet me: (@SophersC) what are you listening to this summer?

LISTEN UP: Amber Run

Amber Run

19039153581_8401391d47_oI was stalking people on Instagram a few weeks ago (oh, please–you do it too, haha) when I stumbled across a few videos of a new-ish band called Amber Run, who formed in Nottingham, UK, back in 2012. After getting lost in their EPs on Spotify, I soon discovered that this is the kind of band that you can easily listen to on repeat for hours. (Photo by Paul Hudson.)

If you listen to Bastille, you’ll adore Amber Run…because they sound pretty similar. Like Bastille, each of Amber Run’s songs seems to tell a story. And whether the song is about falling in love, partying in the middle of the day, or wondering what the meaning of life is, each song drew me in as the band members’ amazing harmonies (seriously, they’re incredible) and killer guitar solos filled my headphones. (Photos below by MangakaMaiden Photography.)

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Amber Run is made up of Felix, Will, Joe, Tom & Henry, who, while all studying at University of Nottingham, decided to form a band. (Good choice, boys.) Since then, they’ve toured with some big names in music like Kodaline and Lewis Watson, released 3 EPs (Spark, Pilot & Noah), toured the U.K. a bit, and finished recording their debut album, which will be available on April 27th of this year. (Photo below by Paul Hudson.)

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Something I really love about this band: their diverse song style. Amber Run can go from singing a slow, sleepy and mysterious lullaby, to an upbeat, energetic, makes-you-want-to-sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs tune. My favorites they’ve released are Heaven, Thank You, Just My Soul Responding (the most Bastille-esque one) & I Found. I’ll admit it: I’ve definitely blasted a few of these in my kitchen when I was home alone, and sang every word at the top of my lungs.

Check out my all time favorite song of theirs below: Heaven. Something about the ending of this song gives me chills. Their harmonies are perfect, and it’s as if they are singing straight into your ears.

I’d love to see Amber Run live one day. (If you’re reading this guys, do a huge tour in America!) I’ve been browsing through some videos of their live performances on YouTube, and their energy on stage is awesome.

If you live in the U.K., Amber Run may be coming to an area near you. Check out their tour schedule below, and go for me! (And make sure you tweet me the entire experience start to finish.)

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Amber Run’s social media:

YouTube

Twitter

Facebook

Website