2015 – a new musical adventure

I know that you’re all eagerly waiting to know what I voted for in triple J’s hottest 100 (baited breath right!)

Well without any further ado – here are my top 10 songs from last year. And it was really REALLY tough to narrow down. I think I had a 30 song shortlist that eventually culled into 10 songs.

Wolf Alice – Moaning Lisa Smile

Thelma Plum – How Much Does Your Love Cost?

Spoon – Do You

Silversun Pickups – Cannibal

The Decemberists – Make You Better

Cold War Kids – Drive Desperate

Cold War Kids – All This Could Be Yours

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Coming Down {Ft. Matt Berninger}

Blood Red Shoes – An Animal

Blood Red Shoes – The Perfect Mess

As always I’ve restricted my voting to the options that triple J give me, which explains the lack of Editors in this list.
Even though I loved the latest Editors album, it wasn’t all that well received.

To see all my highlights from last year my 2014 playlist can be found here.

And there is a 2015 one on the way!

Stay tuned.
(ha – I’m so punny)

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Curse the things that have made me sad for so long

Curse the things that made me sad for so long
Yeah it hurts to think that they can still go on
I’m happy now
Are you happy now?
Spoke out the things that you‘ve worked out to be wrong
You got two hands to take all you can, but don’t take too long
To be happy somehow
Are you happy now?
Figured out I’m good
Turn me down like I knew I should
Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck happy happy
Don’t chicken out, it’s all good
You’re allowed to be what you could.
Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck happy happy
Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck happy happy
Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck happy happy
Figured out I’m good
Turn me down like I knew I should
Happy now
Don’t chicken out, it’s all good
You’re allowed to be what you could.
I feel good
I feel good
I feel good
I feel good
Curse the things that made me sad for so long
Yeah it hurts to think that they can still go on
I’m happy now
Are you happy now?

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Media spotting!

I’ve been excited about this for some time and somehow managed to keep it a secret until it was released.
I’m featured on the latest episode of Hollis Jay’s podcast ‘Myriads of Thought‘!

Hollis is a supercool lady who talks about her life, geekery, and things that are generally interesting and awesome.

She also finds cool people who make cool things and interviews them (thats where I come in).

I must admit that I hadn’t listened to an episode before she contacted me, but I’ve listened to every episode since and quite a bit of the back catalogue.

Check my interview out from the 1:22 mark, or just listen to the whole thing. I am among some awesome company this week.

Seriously I am still chuffed that people like what I make enough to buy it let alone interview me about it! Thanks Hollis for having my words on your show. Its strange to hear something I wrote not in my voice and Australian accent.

Listen to it here or I’ve put a transcript below.

1. Introduce yourself.
Hi! I’m Bek. I live in Perth Australia in a 100 year old cottage where I’m lucky enough to have a crafty room all to myself where I can make as much mess as I want. I taught myself how to knit 3 years ago and that opened my eyes to the crafty underbelly of the internet. I met a whole heap of awesome knitters and multi-crafters and realised that making something I could touch and see is a really great feeling, particularly as my day job involves sitting at a computer.

2. Tell us about your shop.
I sell metal stamped cuffs and rings as well as hand made earrings and stitch markers. I have some pre-made cuffs but mostly people like to personalise and send me a phrase which means something to them. I also have a custom order option so if you like something that you’ve seen on my blog like embroidered cushions or a pair of earrings that I don’t have in my etsy shop, you can request them and we can work something out.

3. Can you go in the making of one of your pieces from beginning to end?
For a custom cuff the first thing I need is what’s going on it. I take that and write it on a piece of paper to get a feeling for the length and also as a reference for spelling. I’ll also google it, if it’s not a reference I’m familiar with because I’m curious like that.
From there I visualise how it will look, particularly if it’s over two lines or is front and back.
Depending on the size of the cuff requested, and the length of the phrase I pick out the right size stamp set. Then I tape the cuff to my anvil and figure out where to start. Then I hit each letter with a hammer. It’s quite noisy and deliciously satisfying. Once I’ve finished the stamping I use a sharpie to colour in the letters. I let that dry and then wipe off the excess with rubbing alcohol and give it a bit of a shine.
I then bend it using a bracelet bender which creates a nice shape. Then I resist the urge to keep it for myself!

4. Do you have a favorite piece in your shop? What is it, and why?
I have a soft spot for the cat earrings as they were my first ever sale.
I really love a ring that I made for myself that has mine and my partners anniversary date on the inside and a heart on the outside. That’s really special and even more so because I made it. I think that’s the wonderful thing about custom pieces. The personal touch makes them unique and meaningful. I’m also currently working on an embroidery with the firefly theme song. It’s going to be epicly awesome.

5. Is there a particular genre that inspires your pieces, and if so what is it and why?
Definitely pop-culture references! I keep a notebook with me at all times and anything that makes me cackle or think hmm this would be good on a bracelet goes straight into the notebook. This happens a lot whilst watching television or listening to music.
I also have a tumblr, thingstoembroideroncushions.tumblr.com which collects all sorts of random quotes and phrases from around the internet.

6. What scares you?
Birds. I am one of those people who ducks down in their car if a bird flies at them. Don’t ask me for custom bird earrings please!!

7. Who or what motivates you and/or inspires you to create?
Words are still a major part of how we communicate. There are so many writers out there who can say things much better than I ever could. I take the bits that mean something to me and transplant them into a different context such as a cushion, bracelet or a ring.
Once they’re out of context they can take on a new meaning and a new significance. Some of my favourite nights are me and my best friend getting home from a night out, watching Black Books and quoting it back and forth. Now that she lives further away, we do the same thing over twitter! I have forged friendships through a shared love of the same tv show. I know I’m not alone in this. I’m taking something that people already love and connect over and making it visible and wearable.

8. Are you more spontaneous within your work or more precise?
I should be more precise because as soon as I make a spelling mistake or mix up the direction of a stamp I have to start all over again. But I’m pretty disorganised and spend half the time picking up letters and trying to figure out what they are. I’m definitely spontaneous with earring making and stitch markers. I put everything out in front of me and just experiment.

9. Who are your favorite artists, writers, and musicians? What are your favorite books, films, television shows, etc?

There’s a website where you put in tv shows, how many seasons you watch and it calculates how long it would take to watch every episode. I got to 100+ days before I stopped and backed away slowly. Needless to say I love the medium of television and it’s detailed storytelling capability. I tend to reference Black Books, Coupling, 30 Rock, Doctor Who, Buffy, Angel, Community, Parks and Rec, Bobs Burgers, Firefly, and Arrested Development the most. I recently marathoned Leverage on Netflix which had so many ‘blink and you’ll miss them’ pop culture references. I like that in a television show.

Editors and Blood Red Shoes both released albums this year which I cannot stop listening to (or scribbling down lyrics in my notebook). I also love Cold War Kids, Silversun Pickups, Haim, Bombay Bicycle Club, Sugar Army, The Shins, Wolf & Cub, Phantogram and The Decemberists.
I once started to write the lyrics to Neutral Milk Hotels – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea on my bathroom wall, but only got about half way through.
Total Eclipse of the Heart is me and my best friend’s karaoke song (and so I made her a cushion with the lyrics on it).
If I’m having a bad day then the Once More With Feeling soundtrack never fails to brighten my day.

Growing up my parents could never get my nose out of a book. My current house has an epic, all the way to the ceiling, bookshelf which I will eventually fill!
I have a whole section of bookcase dedicated to Jane Austen and associated books (Jane Austen Book Club is one). When I moved out of home I took the whole Anne of Green Gables series with me which I still regularly re-read. I like Sophie Kinsella, Maggie Alderson, and Lauren Weisberger for instant girly gratification. I enjoy Philippa Gregory and in particular The Cousins War series. I’m a sucker for a narrative style where the same story is told from different perspectives.
I just finished the Duncan Lay series Empire of Bones which I really enjoyed. And I’m anxiously awaiting the third novel in the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothsfuss.

I think Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two of the funniest and awesomest people around. They’re the type of people that inspire me, as well as the everyday people that I’ve met through the internet that are doing all kinds of cool stuff.

10. Promote yourself. Shamelessly. :)…:)
You should visit my shop because I guarantee you’ll find something you like. Or if you don’t I’ll try and make it anyway. Who doesn’t like one of a kind-custom stuff!

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I am also still updating my song of the week playlist so check that out in you’re in need of some new tunes!

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#SOTW – Veruca Salt

There’s been so much nostalgia this week once I heard Veruca Salt are reforming and touring in September!!!!

Even though I really only ever loved one song, its such a kickarse song that its been on repeat this week.

However they’re playing the day after the AFL grand final so I’m not planning on buying tickets just yet!

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#SOTW – Blood Red Shoes

My signed Blood Red Shoes album arrived this week – YAY!!!

These guys are absolutely top of my most played bands that I’ve never seen live. Seriously I was bored recently and made a list. Well not actually wrote a list, but printed a list of my top 500 played bands and highlighted the ones that I had seen.
I’ve been scrobbling music to Last.FM for nearly 4 years now, and when I joined it sucked in my iTunes play counts so it probably has at least 8 years of my music listening history. If you want to music stalk me I am here.

It will tell you that I’ve listened to Blood Red Shoes 60 times in the last 7 days and have 1.145 total plays. So yeah I like all their music, and really like their new album enough to get a signed copy shipped directly from the UK.

So go, listen to the lovely grungy punky awesome music.

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SOTW – Lily of Laguna

It’s Australian sportsball time again!!!!

Which means all my non-Australian twitter followers get really confused and probably ignore me while I swear profusely and talk about things like marks, free kicks & holding the ball, use hashtags like #weareportadelaide and #shutupBT, and overuse exclamation points, with the end result being something like “Woooo! Cmon Westy!!!! What a goal!!!!! #weareportadelaide #4inaquarter”.

So my Teal, Black & White team (Port Adelaide) won their first game on Saturday (WOOOOOO!!!!!) against Carlton denying them the chance to sing their club song.

Naturally I’ve been singing it instead. But not the Carlton version, the Bing Crosby version which fortunately is the less racially offensive version.

For those who are utterly confused about why a group of grown men in short shorts are singing shouting Bing Crosby, please see this post from last year about a group of grown men in short shorts singing Ziegfeld Follies

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SOTW – Cold War Kids

I participated in the rite of passage which is learning piano.
Sometimes I hated practicing. Other times it was the only way I could think.

Lately I’ve been wondering if I could still play.
Of course I would need to find an in tune piano somewhere that no one else could hear me.
And as I can’t think of where that place might be, I have to be content with daydreaming.

This is the song that started my wondering. If I could find my magical piano of solitude this is what I would try to play.

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i want to be a haim sister

And am irrationally angry that this video came out after I saw them live because I would have been that ultra cool person who knew the whole dance in the crowd.

And as I couldn’t add this song again, here’s two other tracks which have been on high rotation, along with Editors – The Weight of Your Love (with the commentary which is seriously doing a number on my playcounts.)

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SOTW – Bombay Bicycle Club

Usually after seeing a couple of bands on the weekend the first thing I do is play them on repeat, download all my photos, and try and re-live the experience.

Instead after the weekend I’ve slipped hard into the latest Bombay Bicycle Club like it’s a happy place. I haven’t even downloaded the photos yet.

Maybe I went into seeing the National with such high expectations I was only going to be disappointed. But if I had high expectations it’s because they set them the last time I saw them.
I wanted them to make the Belvoir a magical place full of quiet awe, using all the variation and subtleties that their music delivers.
Instead they played a lacklustre rock show.

DJ Shadow I was hoping to be like Cut Chemist was last year. The good vibes of Perth Festival with a style of music that I don’t really listen to but a performance which I enjoyed anyway.

Sampology was great. It was a different set to the one he played at Southbound but it was still a good time.

Then DJ Shadow came on. And went off twice because of sound issues. The festival gardens was absolutely packed with people standing on the stairs. For 2 years now we’ve snagged a couch and had the best view in the house. Instead of having a view there were people on the stairs and no security to tell them to move along.

At one point there was a line to get out of the stage area to get to the line to the toilets.
Needless to say it wasn’t exactly enjoyable. Even Hewhofishes who has seen DJ Shadow x times before said that he didn’t enjoy it.

Still Bombay Bicycle Club haven’t disappointed me this week.
Happy place.

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