Silversun Pickups: Not what the name suggests!

When you look back on your previous music tastes, it’s sometimes comes as a surprise to remember the styles you used to like. However, even when your favourite genre changes though, every so often you hear a song that you knew you would have loved a year, or maybe even five years ago. This was my reaction when listening to Silversun Pickup’s – Carnavas.

Let’s just say I’m glad I’ve moved out of my early moody teen years. Continue reading

How to get Lost in Space without leaving home! (Music Review!)

We started with Jack White’s lyric heavy album, we then moved to the slightly lyrical EDM of Mat Zo, now finally this week, we make the move to an entirely lyric-less album:

Lost in Space – Pyramid

Released in 2011 as the French producer’s debut album, Lost in Space is an interesting to say the least. From the initial listen through, one can’t help but feel that this album would be at home as the sound track to a sci-fi game straight out of the eighties. Each song blends well with their electronic beats, however, still remain distinct enough to not feel repetitive. So let’s jump into a couple of the stand out songs from the record:

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5 Reasons Mat Zo should be on all your playlists!

Released In 2013, Damage Control was the debut album of British producer, Mat Zo. And my god, what a debut! Broadly looking, Damage Control appears to be an electronic dance album, however, when you look a little deeper, it’s clear that it really is a synthesis of many genres. Covering styles such as trance, progressive house and even including Middle Eastern undertones to a number of the tracks, Mat Zo has pushed the bounds of what should be expected from EDM as a genre.

Two years on, this album is still consistently making its way onto my playlists, but why is it such a memorable and enjoyable record? Let me take you on a journey through a couple of the standout songs, and hopefully you’ll be able to answer that question yourself.

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Why You Should Be Listening to Jack White: Blunderbuss Right Now!

During my early adolescence, The White Stripes were one of my favourite bands; and whilst most people know them for their big hits like “Seven Nation Army” and “The Hardest Button to Button”, my favourites were “Hotel Yorba” and “Blue Orchid”.

Sadly, Jack and Meg have disbanded since then. However, to my joy, Jack White has continued to pursue his solo music career leading us to the Album of the Week: Blunderbuss – Jack White

Released in 2012, Blunderbuss has a distinct blues/indie/folk rock sound. It’s this style that I find sets it apart from many other modern rock albums, especially with its genre diversity. There are some amazing pieces to be found in this 13 track record, however, I did find a few to be quite lacking.

So here are my views on a select number of songs from this worthy album:

(And don’t forget, if you have any other album recommendations for reviewing, post them in a comment at the end!)

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The Best Music Reviewed Weekly!

Now reviewing albums weekly!

I was at work the other day and was wanting to listen to a particular song I’ve been liking. But for the life of me, I just couldn’t remember the name of the track or the artist.

I knew I had featured it as the “song of the week” here, but that’s when I realised I only keep the list of songs I’ve previously chosen at home, and don’t have the archive listed here.

Solution?

I’ve now decided that each week, not only will I list what my current favourite song is over in the sidebar (sorry if you’re on mobile and can’t see that), but I will also dedicate my Tuesday/Wednesday post to reviewing the album or EP it has come from!

That way, you’ll be able to quickly scroll back and see a record (pun intended) of all the music I’ve been highlighting here.

So whilst I have a list of albums I’m already wanting to review, are there any favourites of yours that you want me to look up? Hit me up with them in the comments below!

May the Gods Ever Be in your Favour! (Game Review)

As made clear from one of my previous posts (which you can read here), I am a glut for ridiculously challenging games. With the Steam Summer Sale occurring a couple of weeks ago, even though it’s currently the middle of winter here, I decided to cross one particular game off my “must play” list:

Gods Will Be Watching.

Available for: Android, Microsoft Windows, iOS, GNU/Linux, Mac OS

Gods Will Be Watching

Time to start the pain.

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Inside Out: Pixar Turns up the Tears

Inside Out

Calling it now; animated movie of the year.

I can’t lie, I am a sucker for animated movies, and not many studios can produce higher quality animation than Pixar and Disney.

It’s been a number of years since these two animation powerhouses have joined forces to create a true spectacle, but the stars have aligned once more and we have been given “Inside Out”; a complex, compelling and most of all, entertaining film emotions and memories.

Inside Out literally puts you inside the head of the main character. Here it is Riley Anderson (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias), an 11 year old girl who has just moved house with her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) due to her father’s work.

The premise of the film is simple; the struggles of a young girl dealing with change, however, the way in which the film handles and portrays these concepts is what makes it truly special.

Whilst the story is about Riley, most of the action takes place inside of her mind. Here the embodiments of Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) determine how Riley reacts and the memories she creates.

Joy, the first emotion Riley ever witnesses, is determined to ensure that each and every day of Riley’s life is full of fun and happiness. Through working with the other emotions (and limiting Sadness’s influences), Joy handles this personal mission successfully, however, after moving from her quiet family life in Minnesota to the busy and glum San Francisco, everything starts to change.

The physical representation of Riley's core memories, which define who Riley is.

The physical representation of Riley’s core memories, which define who Riley is.

Through a series of events, both Joy and Sadness become separated from the main emotion control centre, taking with them Riley’s Core memories. These core memories are essentially what makes Riley, Riley and without them, Riley begins to lose all of her personality.

It is now Joy’s main task to return to the hub with these memories before Anger, Fear and Disgust make any poor decisions for Riley.

This movie is a perfect example of Pixar and Disney’s strengths. Although clearly marketed towards kids with the bright colours and brilliantly expressive voice acting, there are elements included which can be appreciated by all ages.

The humour is clever, with some jokes clear, while others are very subtle but no less amusing.

Train of Thought

There is a literal train of thought. Additionally, it gets lost some times. Let that sink in for a moment.

Another main stay of Pixar’s animation is the quality of the visuals. Although the character designs were not overly complicated, their presentation is beautiful. Close ups show that the emotions’ skin actually has a soft, fuzzy texture to it, and you can even see a couple of single messy hairs on their head!

The feels though.

So many feels.

As expected with a movie dealing with emotions, there are a few heart wrenching scenes and I was definitely not left dry eyed. Riley deals with loss and longing, and Joy also struggles to come to terms with Sadness.

Whilst this movie is nearly perfect, there are a few flaws. The pacing was a little bit off, and Joy and Sadness’ journey back to “Headquarters” felt a little long and fraught with too many setbacks.

Additionally, I couldn’t help but feel I’d seen a lot of similar tropes used in other Pixar movies before, such as Nemo and Toy Story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but made it feel slightly less original to me.

Overall, Disney and Pixar have created a beautiful and funny movie which also subtly looks into mental health. And understandably so, the movie took 5 ½  years to produce! The few downsides are definitely made up by the engaging overall plot, colourful cast and stunning visuals, leaving the audience tearful, yet happy.

If you haven’t seen “Inside Out” yet, what are you doing?! This is a near perfect movie and I strongly recommend seeing it whilst it’s still showing in cinemas.

4/54/5

Inside Out

3 Games with Breathtaking Visuals: No HD collisions required!

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They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I couldn’t agree more.

Whilst some people are drooling of HD, hyper realistic explosions in modern first person shooters, I find beauty in the simpler graphics of more artistic games. So here’s a quick list of three games which I find absolutely beautiful:

  1. Child of Light
How could you not love those backdrops?

How could you not love those backdrops?

Available on:

PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Wii U, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

Extending beyond the basics of turn based RPGs, Child of Light is a beautiful game which follows the adventures of Princess Aurora. The tale begins in 1895 Austria, with Aurora falling into a deep sleep, her skin turning ice cold. Those around her believed she has passed, however, she eventually awakens; no longer in Austria, but rather the mythical world of Lumeria. Here Lumeria learns that for her to return to her home, she must defeat the Black Queen who has stolen the sun, moon and stars from Lumeria.

This game is captivating on many levels. The entire dialogue is expressed through rhyming poetry, which contrary to my initial beliefs, did not get tiresome.

CoL05 Poetry

Additionally, the plat-forming world, cut scenes and battles are all created with breathtaking water colour paintings, making you want to explore and take in every nook and cranny to absorb all the crafted details.

Finally, the musical score throughout the game cannot be overstated. The depth to the soundtrack is achieved through the enlisting of an orchestra for the battle events, and the remaining music performed wonderfully by Cœur de Pirate on piano.

4/54/5

  1. Year Walk

Year Walk

Available on:

iOS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS

Year Walk is, at its roots, a point and click/ horror/ puzzle solver, however, unlike any I am sure you have played. You follow the story through the eyes of the protagonist who hopes to see a glimpse of the future by engaging in the Swedish tradition of “Årsgång”: Year Walk. What follows is a short but memorable adventure through snow covered forests, solving puzzles and uncovering morbid secrets of the woodlands.

Beautiful, yet ominous. The perfect blend of horror and charm.

Beautiful, yet ominous. The perfect blend of horror and charm.

This game is overflowing with atmosphere, whilst never coming off as cheesy or cliché. The visual world is comprised of parallax backgrounds, where movement is constrained to stepping left and right, only moving back and forwards at select locations.

Best played in the dark right before bed.

Best played in the dark right before bed.

Additionally, your view is constantly kept looking directly forwards, allowing for scenes to be perfectly framed. There is limited background music throughout the game, however, when music is present, it perfectly builds an eerie sense of suspense.

Finally, this game executes puzzle mechanics wonderfully. You will definitely need a pen and paper to scrawl information down, but this just adds to the investment in the game. Nevertheless, some puzzles do come off cheap and I only solved by clicking absolutely everything on screen before randomly hitting what I needed, but these are few and far between.

4/54/5

  1. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP
Those who have passed before you.

Those who have passed before you.

Available on:

iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS

Sword and Sworcery is an action-adventure come puzzle solver come point-and-click game. More than anything though, Sword and Sworcery is a work of art.

SS01

Labelled as an audio-visual experience, S&S follows the story of a Scythian warrior on her woeful journey to attain the mystical Megatome and rid the land of evil. Why this journey is particularly woeful isn’t fully clear from the start, but the longer you play and become invested, the more this little tale will reveal and pull on your heart strings.

Sword and Sworcery

Whilst the Scythian alone can only complete the burdensome task of ridding evil, she is supported by a wonderful cast. Whilst very little dialogue is expressed directly, their thoughts can be read in the Megatome, giving clues and supplying small amounts of humour.

As hinted by the name of this game, S&S is heavily influenced by music. The game itself is broken up into four short sessions, similar to that of a double EP, where the narrator of the game even advises to taking breaks between. Moreover, the world within the game is embedded with music, simply interacting with the environment (such as rustling trees or touching the saintly sylvan sprites) will even excite new sounds. Jim Guthrie’s score throughout is captivating and beautiful, and to this day, is the only sound track I have actively gone out and bought after playing a game.

And lastly, just for a moment, stop and appreciate the art style. This has to be the most breathtaking pixel art I have ever seen. The wildlife is equally stunning, with pixelated deer and rabbit toing and froing between bushes and paths.

5/55/5

5 Comics you should have picked up on Free Comic Book Day

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Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is by far one of the best annual events on the calendar, even possibly on par with Steam’s Summer Sale.

Held on the first Saturday of May and running internationally since 2002, FCBD is a way to introduce new readers to the wide world of comics, by doing exactly what is says in the title: giving away free comics on that day!

This year I was extremely excited to attend FCBD at my local comic shop and these are the great titles I picked up:

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Why Avengers: Age of Ultron Didn’t Deliver.

The newest Avengers film was released in Australia on Thursday last week, 23rd April, a whole 7 days before the North American release date (they call us “Lucky Country” for a reason!). Seeing as though Australia always lags behind on movie release dates (I’m looking at you “The Hobbit”…), I took this opportunity to go and view it in 3D as soon as possible, before the inevitable spoilers got around to me.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

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5 Games That Will get you Away From Staring at a Screen

5 Games That Will get you Away From a Screen

PC, PS4, Xbox One, all great consoles, but with one draw back: their reliance on staring at a monitor! So what do you do when you’ve been staring at a screen for hours/days/weeks on end and your eyes feel like they’re about to drop out of your head?

Sleep? Probably;

Play a game that doesn’t rely a screen? Definitely!

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3 Anime Series that will Make You Cringe (But love nonetheless)

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The first stage to overcoming an addiction is admitting to it.

So here it goes…

I’m an anime addict.

There, I said it! I just enjoy anime so much more than regular, live action TV shows. Anime can just be so much more dramatic and get away with things Western companies would never dare to do. That said, there are some series which push creative license a little, however, they are no less fun. So today I present to you 3 series that have made me cringe time and time over, but still had me gripped the whole way through: Continue reading