Musical reDiscovery: Two Cinema Club

One of the great things about being a volunteer for a community radio station is how you are constantly surrounded by music and fellow music lovers. Whilst working on last week’s show, I rediscovered the great band that is Two Door Cinema Club – and so they are this week’s Musical reDiscovery.

This is the Life:

Upon listening to this song again, I thought I recognised it and it turns out it is from an old Debenhams advert. Admittedly, I was surprised when the track changes from whiny guitar riffs to mumbling vocals and electronic melody (even if very briefly) in its verses. However, despite this, the pronounced drum rhythm and simple lyrics in the chorus make This is the Life a chant-like anthem to remind you of perfect summer days.

Something Good Can Work:

When Something Good Can Work starts with a light guitar melody, I was unsure whether I was listening to a Two Door Cinema Club track at first. But over time, drums, synth, bass and guitar are added to make a complete song. In terms of the verses, the rushed feel works great with the jumpy rhythm.

What You Know:

I’ve certainly found that each song by this band has a distinct instrumental melody. In What You Know, it’s the tune played by the guitar which really stands out. When this combines with other instruments, it sounds loud – but that’s just what it’s meant to be. What You Know is the perfect song to dance to at parties. I’ve certainly got the impression that most of the band’s music belongs on a party playlist, that’s for sure.

Undercover Martyn:

With off-beat, bouncy guitar riffs, Undercover Martyn is fast-paced and exciting. Like with the band’s other songs, there is something distinctive with each track. In this case, it is a fluttering guitar melody. On top of that, a frantic drum beat also adds to the craziness of this track. This is another track which really supports the idea that Two Door Cinema Club are a feel-good Summer band.

I may have rediscovered them in January, but that doesn’t mean that this bright, euphoric band can’t be listened to throughout the year.

What do you think of Two Door Cinema Club? Which is your favourite track? Comment below!

Liam

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Weekly Update: Decisions, Decisions…

With university life being very hectic indeed, I’ve often been in a state where I have to expect the unexpected each day, and prepare for future assignments, tasks and so forth. Now, I’m getting used to the everyday routine of a first year journalism student, but most of all I need to look ahead and decide what I’m doing next year.

On Wednesday this week, we were told to start considering our options for level two of our journalism course. For me, choice or options in education are always great, as they – of course – allow me to concentrate on subjects I’m good at or enjoy. Very much like how the journey from GCSEs to a degree leads to the teaching being more specific to your career, these second year options provide a similar freedom and hones in on what I want to do in the future.

So, I have to choose between three subjects for my ‘theory’ topic. These include reporting diversity, ethics and ‘The Origins of Modern Britain’. At the moment, I think I will probably study ethics, but diversity is a very close second.

Then I have to consider two ‘production’ topics, which would be either radio, TV, online or newspaper and magazines. Straight away, I decided that I often found TV difficult and didn’t enjoy it, whilst I thoroughly enjoyed radio. As it stands, radio is my first choice, but I am still unsure about the other option.

Regardless of being undecided still, I’m looking forward to studying my options next year. I shall keep you posted and will let you know when I’ve decided.

Listen to the latest episode of Brunchtime:

How was your week? Comment below!

Liam

Review: ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ by Oliver Sacks

Psychology has always been a big interest of mine, but not to the extent that I want to study it academically. Within the category of psychology, I have constantly found unique and complex neurological conditions fascinating – and that’s where The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks comes in.

With the book’s structure involving Sacks’ meetings with some of his patients, the conditions covered in the book are diverse and interesting. At first, his writing style when describing his patients was very descriptive and it felt like I was reading a work of fiction.

However, whilst the high levels of description helped me to understand the neurological conditions to begin with, it then started to become quite heavy with specific terminology halfway through the book. For example, the term agnosia is mentioned repeatedly, but is only properly towards the end. Therefore, it may be a difficult read for someone who learns psychology for fun (like me).

Whilst I found I difficult to understand at parts, some stories were enjoyable. ‘The Twins’, for instance, details two brothers with autistic, savant-like abilities. Personally, I’ve always found autism and savant syndrome intriguing, so it was an interesting read.

Despite finding it hard to enjoy the book at times, I do have other books by Oliver Sacks – on the psychology of music and hallucinations – which I am very much looking forward to reading.

On the whole, it’s an intriguing book, but may be of more interest to a psychology student than a hobbyist.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Liam 

Deafinitely Challenging: Cut the Chit-Chat of Background Noise

You’d be wrong to think that a hearing aid can ‘cure’ deafness. This idea is often applied to cochlear implants as well and it’s wrong in both cases – they are nothing more than ‘aids’. In my case, it can help me hear, but not all the time. Today, I wanted to talk about background noise and public events.

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Photo: Michael Dornbierer on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode.

So whilst I can hear most things thanks to my HAs, hearing what people say in pubs, bars, restaurants and concerts is a constant struggle. I’ve often said to people that the best way for me to hear someone is when I’m facing them, and they are the only person speaking. As soon as there’s music in the background – or somebody else is speaking – then it becomes a difficult game of deciphering which voice belongs to the person I am speaking to.

If not that, then I have to rely on lipreading. If you’ve not heard of lipreading before, it is when you can decipher what someone is saying by looking at lip patterns (and relying on an awful lot of guesswork). I’ve often been asked if I can lipread and I say that I don’t – at least not consciously. Instead, it may be that I am lipreading subconsciously. But either way, in a loud and noisy environment, concentration fatigue can kick in if I have to listen closely to what somebody is saying.

So how do I deal with that problem? Well, I have always believed that text is a universal way in which to talk to people. When I was first learning British Sign Language to communicate with friends, I first used my phone to talk to them before I was able to sign. The same principle applies to talking to friends at bars, pubs and concerts. Whilst a language can be quite specific, text is accessible for everyone.

On the topic of sign language, using simple gestures to communicate with friends is another strategy I am using. In my case, teaching my friends the signs for drink, food and toilet all help if you want to know where your friends are wandering off to. With regards to both methods, they are definitely something I’m getting used to.

How easy is it for you to hear at events, pubs and restaurants? How do you communicate with your friends in these scenarios? Comment below!

Liam

Musical Discovery: ‘The Sound’ by The 1975

A few weeks ago, I played this track on my radio show on Siren FM. I remember liking it but I didn’t review it for a Musical Discovery. It was only after a friend suggested it to me that I decided to review it this week.

Admittedly, I’m not so keen on The 1975’s style, but The Sound is the closest to their original style. It begins with a chant-like opening, and throughout there are driving piano stabs (which, if you’ve been reading these posts for a while, you’ll know I love those in a song). Once again, Matt’s whining vocals make the song euphoric and uplifting. The verse style fits perfectly with the instruments to create a poppy anthem.

Finally, I have to admire the instrumental solo towards the end of the track. Once again, the piano stabs remain, but screeching guitar riffs play alongside them and make it a perfect track to dance along to. Whilst I don’t like their new style, this is a song I’ll definitely be listening to again.

What do you think of The Sound? Comment below!

Liam

Weekly Update: Reading and Deadpool

I should probably be honest and say that not much happened this week. University life is going well, as is my radio show and other things.

The two things I should probably talk about are my reading, and seeing Deadpool yesterday.

First off, I actually found time to read this week. I’m currently reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks. It’s certainly intriguing, but when I have an exciting book to read after this book, I’m eager to finish it regardless.

Then there was me seeing Deadpool yesterday. When it comes to the cinema, I’ve never really been a fan of seeing films. In order for me to see a movie, it has to have a great actor/actress, great special effects, be critically acclaimed and/or be massively overrated. Thankfully, Deadpool has received amazing reviews and so I had to see it.

I won’t spoil the movie for anyone that hasn’t seen it, but Deadpool was simply brilliant. The humour was immature (with the odd references thrown in), and the violence was so slapstick that I couldn’t help but grin and smile. This is probably the first film I will buy on DVD.

Listen the latest episode of Brunchtime:

How was your week? Have you seen Deadpool? What are you currently reading? Comment below!

Liam

First few Glastonbury acts revealed | The Friday Article

Jeff Lynne’s ELO, PJ Harvey and Coldplay are the first three acts to play at Glastonbury – it has been announced.

However, some are unhappy with Chris Martin’s band closing the festival, and lifestyle blogger Liam O’Dell does not know why.

He said: “I have always been a fan of Coldplay. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with their musical style, or their live performances from what I’ve seen.

“Granted, Ghost Stories was a bit disappointing, but A Head Full of Dreams is full of great songs.

Adventure of A Lifetime is my favourite of them all, but Everglow, Army of One and Up&Up are also great.”

As well as looking forward to Coldplay’s performance, Liam can’t wait for Jeff Lynne’s ELO playing the Sunday legends slot.

He said: “Mr Blue Sky is a feel-good classic. I just hope the weather is good for it!”

This year’s Glastonbury will be taking place from the 23rd to the 26th June at Worthy Farm, in Somerset.

What do you think of the line-up so far? Are you glad that Coldplay are headlining on the Sunday? Comment below!

Liam