Favorite Song: Shamir “Running” – don’t lose yourself for other people

It’s been a while since I fell in love with a breezy pop song but here it is and it’s a beauty and it’s sad, like the best Robyn/SIA-dance bop, I love it!

Apart from being a gorgeous song to sway on the dancefloor, eyes half closed, arms stretched into the air, “Running” is also about all the compromises we make to be with and around others and how that can hurt us. According to newsbreak.com, Shamir wrote the song about a toxic group of friends and how it affected his mental health to be around cis-people who drained Shamir with the pressure of accommodating them (Shamir is non-binary but according to an older tweet prefers “he/him” over “they” which is why I use he/him in this review, I gladly change it, though, if Shamir has changed his preferences) .

I think even though we are moving further along when it comes to not just accepting but respecting people who are not conforming to our weird outdated societal rules and gender “norms” but it’s still incredibly difficult to navigate through daily life if you are not white, cis and heterosexual because micro-aggressions are a bitch and all those prejudices are so ingrained that even people who want to do better still manage to say and do hurtful things.

So this is a beautiful reminder how exhausting it can be, to feel like you have to conform even though it kills you inside.

By the way, while we’re at it, how amazing is Shamir’s song “Hell”? It’s like a gorgeous sad 80s garage romance trapped in a dream, I am in LOVE!

Favorite Song: Tunde Olaniran ‘Namesake’ is too powerful

With more than 10 years under its belt, this blog sometimes manages to surprise me with a “how the heck did I not write about this artist yet?” and discovering that I had missed Tunde Olaniran, even though their banger ‘Namesake’ blew me right out of the hemisphere when I first heard it years ago, was one of those cases. Damn, that’s a long sentence for saying: let’s right that wrong.

 

 

Ok, so first of all, ‘Namesake’ is the kind of self-acceptance hymn that takes autobiographical themes from the artist and spreads them out to the listeners reality, creating a way to relate and to let the song be bigger in its meaning than the initial interpretation suggests. Also, from its production to the vocals to the overall journey this song takes you on, this is a bop if I’ve ever seen one but the kind that pushes you from behind, makes you stand a little taller, feel a little bit cooler and move just a little smoother. It’s the kind of song that destroys the dancefloor.

 

Second, Olaniran is the kind of artist who does every genre and somewhat is beyond genre, the kind of joyful surprise of pop music that has a bite to it and likes to take turns. Their music is just a big bag full of fun surprises and honestly, I was thrown when I read that they come from Flint, Michigan because “Namesake” alone has such a strong British vibe (and that’s a compliment).

 

Also, Tunde’s most recent song “Jean Grey” is absolutely brilliant because it starts vocally like the most gorgeous ballad but also has the lyrics “Purely psionic bitch” and it’s a song about overcoming past wounds but it’s also a nerdy ode to one of the most controversial of X-People (I am not disrespecting Jean Grey by calling her an X-Men, what is this?). Look, if geeky pop music can be this cool all the time, please.  

 

Review and Lets Play: Maid of Sker – a Welsh Horror game mixed with Greek myths

My first short horror game combines many things I love (creepy music, gothic houses and a dog!) but also offers many things I am not really good at (being stealthy and smart, remembering where to go and reading maps). However, lets come along as we try to help composer Thomas who travels to the far corners of Wales to safe his beloved Elizabeth from the clutches of her apparently evil family that uses a mysterious song and creature to … well, to what? That’s really not clear to be honest. However, did I mention that there would be a dog?

Maid of Sker – Game Review

I figured, with a neat little game like that, I might just as well do a small review, in case anyone is interested in the game to play it themselves. The Lets Play episodes are below.

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Mree ‘Bloom’ – once upon a cloud

It’s like that scene in “Bioshock:Infinite”, when you’ve been through a hellride and suddenly walk out into this serene church building, warm light shining through the windows, etheral singing from somewhere and just the feeling that everything will be fine.

Ok, in the game, it won’t be, but Mree’s new EP is a beautiful respite from everything that’s harsh, sharp and overwhelming. Like a short moment of calm, to get lost in. Mree, aka Maria Hsiao, herself is a seasoned musician who started playing music with 14 and already has released three albums and two EPs, this being the third. There is an otherworldly, dream-like quality to Mree’s music that you only ever find in music and movies whenever a moment is deliberately framed as fleeting or too good to be true.

 

I am very much reminded of Joby Talbot or Michael Andrew’s lighter parts of the “Donnie Darko” soundtrack which were those soft, delicate piano pieces that felt like they would break in your hands. I also don’t fault anyone for thinking of Enya because I think it’s the same need for something beautiful without anything between the lines, no shadows, no edges, just something smooth and light to bathe in for a while. Why not.

Ondara ‘Folk n’ Roll Vol. 1: Tales of Isolation’ – it’s Pandemic folk, what a time to be alive

Ondara’s second album (and the first I heard) was released on my birthday amidst the pandemic and might be the singer/songwriter version of what “Host” is for the horror movie genre: an album that was recorded completely at home and actually deals with the pandemic (cheekily as well as in earnest).

 

It also has one of those opening songs that are like the best Bruce Springsteen songs, the kind of songs that tug at your heartstrings and evoke a deep yearning that you didn’t even knew you had. The song is about the blue collar workers that got stuck in their job during a pandemic.
The song has that late night melancholy that grips you and makes you feel so lonely yet deeply in tune with the universe. It’s the kind of song that I will put on repeat so often that it will invade my dreams. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

 

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Songs from the Inbox: Homesick Hotel, Girlwoman, Estranhos Românticos

I get quite a few mails in my inbox every week with smaller artists and bands and since I don’t even have the time to look at the mails from the bigger music publishers and labels, most of them – sadly – go unnoticed. One of the reasons is also that with the few reviews I do, I usually pick songs and bands that REALLY excite me and very often, suggested songs and albums are good but not so much that I would spend one of two articles each month writing about them.

However, I figured, I might start a new series, where I (try) to pick songs from my inbox suggestions (both indie and big labels as well as individual artists) and write a few sentences about them. We’ll see, how long I can keep that up but I feel like it’s a nice way to spend a bit time every month with new music, help some artists out and maybe discover some hidden gems.

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Horror movie list: Don’t play with occult things, honey!

Oh hey, look at that Ouija board/creepy doll/weirdly intricate old toy/old book with human leather binding, let’s totally fiddle with it, until really horrible not-good things are happening! < basically every character in the following movies.

Now, I will not add movies where people are deliberately using occult objects to seriously do occult stuff (like “Hellraiser”, for example) but only movies where people think it’s fun to play around with occult things.

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Let’s Play: The Last of Us Part 2 – let’s kill infected and be depressed!

As promised, I will publish one post for each play-through and since I waltzed through The Last of Us within a few weeks, I already reached the long-awaited and much discussed sequel. So, here we are.

The Last Of Us Part 2 plays four years after the events of the first game and features Ellie as a protagonist, along with some of her new friends from Jackson. I don’t want to spoil too much but we’re going to meet a few people and even have a change of scenery. Of course, the world is still super dangerous, hostile and full with infected or people that want to kill you for one reason or the other. Fun!

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Horror Movie List: Bad Things Happen at the Beach

Frying in the sun with a thousand people, getting hit with a volley ball by nearby attractive young people and spending the following week finding sand everywhere – beaches are the worst. Now imagine how bad they are whenever monsters, supernatural events or whatnot are involved – yikes.

However, watching the horror unfold in movies is a lot more fun than immediately getting sunburnt, so enjoy this playlist.

Jaws (1975)

This little-known indie gem is about a lovely beach town plagued by a killer shark. However, since tourist season is coming up, it’s up to a rag tag crew (played by a bunch of actors who hated each other’s guts) to fight not only the shark but also capitalism.

Family lore tells the story of my grandpa watching this one with the family and casually excusing himself because he thought the movie was ‘dumb’ just before it got really ugly. Rumor has it, that he didn’t actually think that the movie was dumb but was indeed trying to hide the fact that he was scared of that fin-tastic big boi.

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