Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Artist Of The Week: Kodaline

Hello all!
Following the absence of this feature last week, due to the fact that it was a strange week, full of introductions to lots of different artists, but not really focussing in any of them. As such, I decided to forego for a week in order to focus my attentions on one artist at a time. Thus, I introduce to you, Kodaline!
   Formed in 2011 (after changing their name from 21 Demands), Kodaline is an Irish band with four members. Despite being classiffied as alternative rock, I would argue that they have more of a folky sound. They've only released one studio album but it is truly amazing.
   They're one of those bands that almost every song relates to me on some deeper personal level. From the album cover, which reminded me of the film Summer Storm (which hit me on a surprisingly deep level and was key to a significant revelation about myself) to the lyrics themselves, they just seem to know me. 'All Comes Down' was the first song I discovered, but I'll discuss that in detail later. After this, was 'All I Want', a truly beautiful, but sad song that sometime how manages to be uplifiting at the same time. The line If you loved me, why'd you leave me, kills me every time. It's also got a wonderful video that I adore and I must admit it almost, but not completely brought me tears.
   No, that honour goes to 'High Hopes'. This song is again that sort of melancholic hope, with some killer lyrics. This song's music video is also another thing of absolute emotional angst, with the guy who plays Ser Davos in Game Of Thrones and an ending that had me in tears. Literally, I didn't know that such a short video could move me so much, but this managed it. It's amazing.
   After this, I got a copy of the whole album, which introduced me to yet more Kodaline wonderfulness. The first track, 'One Day' is another of my favourites, because it again hit me on that personal level. It feels as though they're speaking to me, which is both painful and wonderful. Damn, I love that song.
   Anyway, on a less personal level is 'Talk' which is a sort of melancholy sadness about the end of a relationship, which looked perfect but failed. No, wait, that does speak to me, on so many different levels. I swear, listening to this album, it's life reading a biography. The album concludes on the marvellously uplifting 'Way Back When' which should be a graduation song. It's that sort of brillaince.
   And then, we're here, the one Kodaline song above all others is 'All Comes Down'. It was the first song of theirs I listened to and it spoke to me in a way that no other song had really done before. The line Why do I geel so odd, when I'm still so young, should be my catchphrase. I adore this song, because it both hurts and comforts me, like all good music should do.
Anyway, there's Kodaline. The band that hit me on a personal level, in a week filled with revelations and personal pain. There's something rather fitting in that, I think.
Thanks,
James

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Artist Of The Week: Amy Macdonald

Hello!
Despite the fact that the vast majority of this week has seen me cultivate my 80s obsession, thanks in no small part to the fact that I went to an 80s themed dance party. Disappointingly, they only played 12 songs from the period which for a six hour event is a little slack. Still, it was aimed at an age group under 18 (who probably think that the time was ridiculous and silly, which is what makes it so special) so I wasn't expecting much.
   Anyway, you are given a week's reprieve from my 80s obsession as today is the 4th of July, American Independence Day! To celebrate, I have chosen one of my favourite artists, the wonderful Amy Macdonald. Oddly, the first female artist (and single performer) to feature her, she is just legendary to me. Born in 1987, she is a Scottish artist with a wonderfully deep, expressive voice. At this point, you may be wondering why I have chosen her to celebrate Independence Day, but trust me, there is a reason.
   I first discovered her through a music blog which I followed and they were saying how awesome her latest album was. I listened to her and quite simply it became one of my favourite albums of the year. Entitled Life In A Beautiful Light, it features some truly beautiful songs, including some that have proved to be immensely inspirational for my novel.
   One of these is the deeply moving Left That Body Long Ago about having moved on from the past, someone coming back and ruining it all for you, and all the emotions that come out of this pain. It's quite a sad song, but an inspirational one. In fact, many of her songs are quite uplifting. I adore Life In A Beautiful Light because it just makes me feel so, so much better when I'm down. It's full of optimism and truly wonderful. The last song of the album, In The End, is another of my favourites, catchy and easy to dance to.
   Naturally, when you discover an artist that you absolutely love, you instantly download the rest of their discography. While I haven't heard enough of her first album (This Is The Life released in 2007), the middle album is just as wonderful, featuring the inspirational Spark, the very sad My Only One (the link is to an orchestral version with a great intro, it's heartbreaking but still she makes it perfect) and Your Time Will Come which I like to imagine is a parent singing to their child to inspire them as they leave home. It's another song of hers that I simply love and it never fails to inspire me and fill me with joy and optimism.
   So, here, we are, almost at the end. So, what is the link between today and Amy? Well, the song linked below, of course! Inspired by a family trip to New York when she was younger, the song is wonderful, making the night feel immensely, awesomely fun and just for once, while I was listening to this, I was desperate to go to America on the 4th of July just to see all the wonderful fireworks. It's patriotic in the way that only a song by a non-American can be. Simply brillaint!
So, let's celebrate Amy Macdonald, the one person to make me care about Independence Day!
Thanks,
James