Sunday, 12 June 2011

Little Hell

'Little Hell' is the new album by City and Colour.

I'm rubbish at reviews, so please excuse this post. But I was so excited about the release of this, I couldn't not write about it. Plus, I'm a lazy blogger and it's a Sunday so I'm not particularly busy with anything else!   
Listening to the live versions of songs that were played before the release of this album, I was left a little confused on what to expect. It was pretty obvious that this album would definitely not be what City and Colour fans have grown to love and expect of Dallas Green.
Fair play. Who wants to write the same album three times over? What's the point in releasing something that is the same as the other things you've released over the years. 
Don't get me wrong, I am in LOVE with Dallas and his guitar. It's been a while since music has enabled me to feel so many things like I do when I listen to City and Colour. The way he plays acoustically just melts my heart, and his voice fills me with so much sadness...and somehow, warmth. 
So, when I heard the album I was a little uneasy, not quite sure on how to feel about it. I knew it was going to be more than Dallas and the guitar, there was going to be a band behind it and it was going to have more of a 'Rock n roll' element to it. I mean this in the traditional sense, not in the post hardcore sense. Alexisonfire is not leaking into City and Colour, they remain separate. 
If you don't like musicians who change their direction slightly, you won't like the new stuff from City and Colour. But for me, I love it. I haven't listened to it enough to know it as well as I do the other records, but essentially the heart and voice of Dallas still shines through. Those are things I love about City and Colour, and those elements are still dominant throughout the record. 

At the moment, my favourites from this album are 'Little Hell' and 'O Sister.'
Dallas played 'O Sister' when I last went to see him play a month or so ago, and I had seen other performances of it on Youtube, so I knew this was one song I was sure to love! 
As of yet, I am yet to experience the 'heartbreaking' effects of previous songs such as Day Old Hate and Happiness by the Kilowatt. But that doesn't take away the beauty of this new record. 

If you haven't listened to City and Colour before, erm, what the hell are you playing at?! Your life is empty without it. Just Sayin'

Have a listen: (my favourites may not be yours, so have a search on youtube for yourself. And lemme know what you think!)

Friday, 10 June 2011

The city that never sleeps.

Writing about my trip to New York is pretty hard. There's so much to say, yet at the same time there's no need to say anything. Everything is as you imagine it;
The buildings are huge and intimidating, there's a Starbucks on every corner, it's impossible to get anywhere quickly, everything is overwhelming. 
It's only in hindsight that I realise how much I loved it, and how much I am now missing it. Despite the overwhelming heat (and therefore sunburn,) the constant honking, being harassed as you walk down the street, not being able to eat properly and therefore compensating with loads of junk food, having to punch people (almost literally) to get anywhere... I miss it. I miss being away from here. I miss being one small insignificant person in a crowd of people. I miss the feeling that if you went for a walk at 3am, it would be interesting and somewhat safe. 

Central Park was strangely beautiful. I'm used to parks being peaceful, another part of the countryside. But as you sit in Central Park, you're surrounded by noise. A funfair, buskers, hot dog stands, children on school trips, hundreds of people gathered together. Hundreds of lives coinciding in one place. That is what fascinates me about cities. For some reason, all those people are there at that present time and yet we're all there under different circumstances. Then you look up, and buildings are towering over you and you're reminded of how much there is out there. 

I fell in love with Broadway. Or more specifically, Daniel Radcliffe. We previously purchased tickets to go see 'How to succeed in business without really trying,' and it was amazing. Full of laughter, an incredibly talented cast, a song about coffee and Daniel Radcliffe himself (proving that he can be far more than Harry Potter.) We loved it so much, we then decided to go see it again a couple of days later. Totally worth it, and our seats were even better that time. I can confirm that Dan Rad is so short, and charming. A true cheeky chap. A new crush has been established. 
We also went to see 'The Phantom Of the Opera' on our last night. Unlike the two previous shows, the crowd was far less enthusiastic and actually pretty annoying. But the show itself was pretty spectacular, the staging was dramatic and the music was generally beautiful and operatic. Just what you'd expect of Phantom of the Opera. 

I think we covered all of the touristy obligations. We visited The Museum of Modern Art, The Rockefeller Centre, Empire State Building, Ground Zero, 5th Avenue, and of course visiting the Statue of Liberty. The latter being my favourite, as I have repeatedly told people that 'I WANT TO WAVE AT LIBBY!' The ferry journey made me feel a little more connected with the rest of the world, and with nature for that matter. New York City gets a little claustrophobic. You never realise how big Libby is until you get up close, and typically the first thing I noticed was how big her feet are.

Also on the agenda was a visit to the Harry Potter Exhibit. Again, one of my favourite parts of the trip! It makes me proud to be British, and as soon as I heard the music I instantly felt at home. I got so excited. I sat in Hagrid's chair, saw a bunch of the costumes and props and got to play with Mandrakes ^_^ At the end of it, I wanted to buy pretty much everything from the gift shop. I settled for a Bellatrix Lestrange wand and postcard. 

We didn't really shop that much, however we did visit Macy's (where I spent $150 on Bobbi Brown make up,) Forever 21 (which slightly disappointed me) and a nice big H&M. The Toys 'r' Us was easily my favourite store, purely because of the Willy Wonka section! And a ferris wheel INSIDE the store just blew my mind. 

(I'd like to note at this point, none of this is in order and it's not brilliantly explained because I am still jet lagged!) 

After being advised to do so, we caught the Subway to Brooklyn to try and find a Flea Market. They don't make transportation easy, and it's no competition for the London Underground. Everything I wanted to buy from the Flea Market consisted of items far too large to bring back on a plane. Typical, really. Brooklyn is so...typically american. The apartments with people sat outside on the steps, the kind of people there, the views. Just everything. This made me realise how much of a comfort zone Manhattan had become for me. 

The entire trip would not have been complete without the constant banter between Vicky and I, consisting largely of quotes from the IT Crowd. It also would not have been half as enjoyable without a nice hotel room to relax in, and the daytime delights of iCarly, Victorious and Dr.Oz. We spent much of the trip getting excited over Irish/Scottish pubs and our English accent radar was on full power. 
I'm also kind of missing the stereotypes of NY. Apparently the black guys out there have a thing for pale girls with red hair, I don't understand this but oh well, I'll take it. 

This entry does not pay justice to New York, but then I don't think anything could.
I'm still completely mind-blown by the fact that I've been on American soil, as lame as that sounds. I'd love to go back at winter time, to save myself from burning again. I couldn't live in NY, that's for sure. But the idea of living in America has grown stronger in my mind. I'm determined to see more of it, all sides of American life; because I know New York is just a tiny fraction of the mammoth country. 

Thank you to Vicky for putting up with me for 9 days. I struggle to put up with myself, no idea how you managed it! 
For a more detailed account of our trip, visit her blog: 

And Vicky, one last thing,