Thursday, January 28, 2016

On Every Planet || Little Earthquake



If you happened to have two brothers from Sydney who love indie pop and songs that bend our definition of genre, add in a producer who understood what they wanted to create, and you have Little Earthquake

The duo's latest track, Planets, is following in the tradition of being genre non-conforming. Instead Little Earthquake has offered up a feel good tune that bops its way through enough feels that it'll be welcome at any gathering. You aren't going to isolate many people with this song, but you sure as heck will get their toes tapping.

So I've got to ask about the name. How did Little Earthquake get christened?
It was actually as simple as someone on Facebook posting a status asking if everyone else felt the little earthquake and she wrote it just as 'little earthquake?' It just stuck with me instantly.

You've done a lot of touring over the last few years, what have you discovered makes the best show? Or does it depend on the audience?
It's all about the energy you put out. If you get bummed out about playing smaller shows, the audience knows you don't wanna be there so they don't really feel it and will either walk away or just talk to their friends [and] use their phone. If there [were] only two people in the room, you could still make them have the time of their life if you appreciate that they are there and want to be entertained. It's what it's all about really, isn't it?

What was the reception like for you guys when you were supporting Twenty One Pilots on their Aussie tour?
F*cking amazing! Josh and Tyler were the best dudes. [They were] super nice and their fans were just as welcoming! We made a lot of new friends on that tour.

You started back in the studio in October, when will we get to hear what you've been up to?
We are releasing the first single in late March and will have a tour to follow shortly after.

Can you give us any info about the upcoming album or is it still hush hush?
All I can say is that it's different to our EP but still [has] the same pop elements and positive lyrics! It's just a different sound. Mostly the production is very different.

And lastly, for any new ears out there, why should we have a listen to Little Earthquake?
That's always a [really] hard one to answer. I can't really give you a reason without sounding like an a**hole, haha, but if you check us out, I hope you become a fan. If it's not for you, then that's ok too. Music speaks to whom it needs to speak to.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

In Full BLOOM || RÜFÜS

"If you could make someone listen to one of your songs, which would it be?"

"Selfishly, it would probably be Innerbloom, just because it's the longest. We could lock them in a room with our music for nine minutes and make them listen to us."

RÜFÜS is one of the handful of groups that I had on my list of goal interviews. So when I got the opportunity to chat with lead singer and guitarist, Tyrone Lindqvist, I jumped at the chance. RÜFÜS has been winning awards for their music since the release of their debut full-length album, Atlas, in 2013 and making some killer tracks for even longer. In 2015, they walked away with their first ARIA gong for 'Best Dance Release' with You Were Right. Which, despite being friends with the category's other acts, Tyrone describes the trio as being "super, amazingly grateful" for. "It's lovely to get a nod from anyone".



Starting as three mates, singer/guitarist Tyrone, drummer James Hunt and keyboardist Jon George, who wanted to make music together, RÜFÜS (RÜFÜS DU SOL in America due to a name clash), the group is a bedroom band success story. "They're my best friends...we can communicate," says Tyrone. Although Tyrone admits that after wrapping Atlas the boys were definitely sick of each other, having such a close bond between the trio is why it all works. "You're literally living and breathing the same air," he explains.

Now, in the lead-up to the release of their third LP, Bloom, set to hit shelves on the 22nd of January, the lads are back to show off their prowess once again. "This time we gave ourselves the luxury of time writing [the album]," explains Tyrone. "It's not too rich to say [we wrote] twenty, thirty versions of some of the songs."

"We wrote some terrible songs; but we wrote some good ones, too."


And the first time they sat down to listen to the full Bloom album? "We listened to it together, actually. We were in America, driving between Detroit and Chicago. It was pouring snow outside. [We] just looked at each other and were like 'Fuck yeah!' It's that lame, but we were so proud," Tyrone admits.

Throughout the writing and recording process the band listens to each song over twenty times, but, Tyrone explains, "if you've listened to it that many times and still love the heart of the song, you know its a good one".



Bloom is on sale January 22nd

Tracklist:
1. Brighter
2. Like An Animal
3. Say A Prayer For Me
4. You Were Right
5. Be With You
6. Daylight
7. Hypnotised
8. Tell Me
9.Until The Sun Needs To Rise
10. Lose My Head
11. Innerbloom

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mercy Street || Book Review


Title: 
Mercy Street

Author: Tess Evans
Release Date: 1st January, 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Source: Proof copy for Review
Buy the book: Book Depository


Mercy Street tells the heartwarming story of curmudgeonly old widowed pensioner, George - who for the most part lives in a world of memories of his dead wife, Pen, and dreams of the family they could have had - and Rory, the very real 'grubby little brat' who is dumped on him, much to his displeasure, by her unreliable mother, Angie. In his own inept way, George valiantly tries to rise to the challenge of caring for the tear-sodden, sullen little girl, but it's only when his bossy sister Shirl, his old mate Redgum, and his neighbours, the Nguyens, get involved, that gradually, little by little, an accidental family of sorts takes shape.

But then, years later, Angie reappears, and wants her daughter back, George, determined not to lose Rory, hatches an audacious plan and they take to the road ... But is it too late? Does anything trump a mother's need? And is love enough to make a family?

Oh man, I wish I could read this for the first time again.

Tess Evans' latest release, Mercy Street, is a story that is as heartfelt as it is sweet. The most appropriate word for this book really is simply charming. It was just such a beautifully written story of an elderly man who takes on the father-role to a boisterous young girl. Tess has a really easy-to-read writing style; I never felt like things were over explained (which is one of my greatest pet peeves in a novel) but I was confident that I understood the characters and how they were living.

I have a massive soft spot for George. Maybe it's because I am so close to my own grandfather, but I really empathised with him. Having a five year old dumped on you can't be as easy as he often made it seem. George was more than happy to continue his own retirement, but his unconditional love for Rory was definitely the highlight of this book - even though it took a while for them to bond. Their story is one that will make you appreciate your grandparents all the more. And maybe crave some ice cream.

I have mixed feelings towards Rory's mum, Angie. On the one hand, she was obviously ill-equipped to be a mother at all and I absolutely wanted her to be a great one. However some of her decisions, especially leaving a relative stranger to care for her daughter, were mind boggling. I truly believe that she is a good person, but it was hard to like her when I spent the entire novel rooting for a happy ending for George. I feel like this is a character that everyone will have their own opinion on, but that, in my mind, is 100% a positive thing.

Mercy Street is just one of those feel good novels. One of those books that you could read again and again and still love just as much as the first time. George and Rory were the unlikely dynamic duo and I loved reading about their life together. Tess Evans' is now an author that is firmly on my radar and I can't wait for more.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Firsts - Laurie Elizabeth Flynn || Book Review


Title: Firsts
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Source: Review E-copy from the publisher
Purchase: Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time - the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy - so far. Her mother isn't home nearly enough to know about Mercedes' extracurricular activities, and her über-religious best friend, Angela, won't even say the word 'sex' until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn't bank on Angela's boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn - or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes' perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation - and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

If this book is already reminding you of Easy A, the 2010 movie by Sony Pictures, then you aren't that far off the mark. Firsts is a head-on look at slut-shaming, promiscuity and what it means to fit in during high school. Coupled with a large helping of friendship mishaps, broken hearts and a headstrong protagonist this is that I couldn't put down. It kept me up until 2am and it didn't make me regret the lack of sleep it caused.

Mercedes is a character that I simultaneously loved and hated. She was frustrating and, despite her less than innocent bedroom habits, almost naïve about the ramifications of her actions. But she also really tugged at my heartstrings; a major factor of this novel is why is she doing what she is? and when Mercedes' big secret was finally revealed, it was honestly very hard to read. I really wanted to give her a hug at that point. It didn't change my opinion that what she was doing, sleeping with other people's boyfriends, was wrong, but it did go a long way in explaining the reasoning behind it.

Of course, and anyone who has already read Firsts will understand, my least favourite character was Charlie. His actions were absolutely inexcusable and I wish they had been dealt with differently. Although he did get some comeuppance from his peers, I wanted there to have been some firmer action taken against him, after all, without giving too much away, his actions could have definitely been classed as criminal. This is one of my only real complaints about this book; but I would've loved to see him apologise.

This is such a quick read, but it covers so many issues that I have no doubt will resonate with many young people. It's a story of a lot of things, but ultimately I saw it as a story of second chances. And maybe also the definite perks of owning matching lingerie sets.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Body Lengths - Leisel Jones || Book Review


Title: Body Lengths
Author: Leisel Jones (with Felicity McLean)
Release Date: October 2015
Publisher: Nero
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Purchase: Book Depository

'From the moment I am born, I am like no one else around me. I am a fish out of water. Even in the pool.'

Leisel Jones is rightly regarded as one of the greatest breaststrokers ever. At just fifteen, she won two silver medals at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000; she went on to win gold at Athens and Beijing, and at London 2012 became the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympics.

For the first time, Leisel candidly describes what it's like to be thrust into the limelight so young. She reveals the constant pressure she was under - from coaches, from the media and from herself - to be perfect. Despite the highs of her swimming stardom, she suffered depression, and at one time planned to take her own life. In London, criticised in the media for her weight, and appalled by the bullying and dysfunction in the Australian swim team, Leisel nevertheless handled herself with great composure. She emerged with maturity and good humour, having finally learnt how to be herself and live with confidence.

Body Lengths is the inspiring story of and Australian sporting hero, told with humour, optimism and style.

Growing up, Leisel Jones was my biggest hero. She, along with the swimmers of the noughties, were my idols. I adored them, and so when the super lovely people at Nero Publishing sent me Leisel Jones' Body Lengths for review I read it in two days flat.

Despite my initial excitement, I was also slightly hesitant about reading a book written by a sportsperson. For as long as I can remember, listening to athletes speak has never been high on my list of favourite things to do. And authors write books for a reason, but Leisel really knows how to tell her story with gusto. I walked away from Body Lengths feeling like I wouldn't mind reading something else of hers either. I obviously don't know how much input Felicity McLean had as ghost-writer, but as athlete autobiographies go, this was definitely one of the best written.

The way I approach reading an autobiography is very different to reading fiction; especially with a protagonist as high profile as Leisel Jones. Generally, I knew what was going to happen and even the opening scene of Leisel's suicide attempt wasn't surrounded by the same suspense. However, my heart really ached for her the whole way through this book. Knowing who someone is through the media is one thing, but to know that persons' own perspective and feelings is something else entirely.

It is no secret that Leisel has, in more recent years, been torn apart by the media - for her weight and attitude towards swimming - but Body Lengths isn't a pity party. It's ultimately the triumph of succeeding despite great opposition. 

If you love swimming, or even if you just want an inside look into the life of one of Australia's most decorated swimming stars, then I would definitely recommend picking up Body Lengths. I really can't think of book that has shown such courage and grit as this. Seriously. Read it.