Tuesday 10 Playlist: I Have To Do Dull Things But I Don’t Want To

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Click the tape to see the playlist, including Pulses by Karmin and Dirty Laundry by Bitter:Sweet.

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New Release Review: Sirens EP by Florrie

I’ve been listening to Florrie since about 2010-11 when she first released her music to the wider world, and I’ve always had a lot of respect for her as an artist. Her first ventures were flops, and she ended up releasing her poppy tracks for free on her website. I only recently rediscovered Call of the Wild in the depths of my ipod a few weeks ago, and forgot how much I liked her. She’s one of those artists who always kind of lingers in the upper lower class of my last.fm charts, well-liked, but never quite a favourite. Her tracks were punchy, with solid hooks and playfully clever lyrics and have gotten stuck in my head on more than one occasion, so when I found out about her new EP, Sirens, released last week, I was expecting more of the same and rather looking forward to it.

Sirens consists of five tracks- three originals, and two remixes. Overall, it’s a very different feel from her past three EPs. She’s gone from mainstream to underground, from fresh and crisp to messy and funky. Sound appealing? Maybe not as much as you’d think.

Seashells – 3.5/5 || This is definitely my favourite out of all the tracks on this EP, and it’s definitely the one that sounds the most like the Florrie I remember. Its strong Bollywood flavour took me by surprise (does anyone remember Hilary Duff’s Stranger?), but it doesn’t overpower the song, and the melodies and vocals are appealing. My first impressions were that I liked it, but that it wasn’t anything special. It doesn’t make me want to move, or sing along, or pay attention. The more I listen to it, the more it grows on me; I feel as if there’s a core of really good ideas at the centre of this song, but the execution just doesn’t realize its full potential. Upon listening to the rest of the album, it also strikes me that it’s a strange track to select to set the tone, since it’s so different from the rest of the EP.

Free Falling and Wanna Control Myself – 2/5 || These songs are where the “funky” comes into the album. While that might sound attractive, and might suit other’s tastes in music, this particular brand of funk was not mine. Both of these were utterly forgettable, with unhooky hooks. They reminded me a lot of Katy B’s work, in the way that the vocal melody line contrasted the beat and synths, only Florrie didn’t pull off that trick nearly as successfully as Katy.

Little White Lies (Shadow Club Remix) – 1/5 || In my notes of my first impressions that I took while listening, I have the word ICK written just like that under this song. After about 30 seconds, the sharp hammering of the piano began to grate on me and by the two minute mark, I was just praying for it to end. It was harsh- basically an instrumental, with a bland and annoying chord progression and hits on the drums that would give you a headache after long enough. Awful. At about 2:45, there was a vocal bridge that held promise though. I think if that’s any indication, Little White Lies itself has the potential to be a decent song. Shadow Club just decided to unforgivably mangle it.

Seashells (Preditah Remix) – 3/5 || I didn’t fall in love with this, but it is charming. It fits in more thematically with the rest of the EP than the original song does, but at the same time, is still likeable. It’s light, and tinkly, and reminds me of Home by Foxes and Lights by Ellie Goulding.

Final Rating: 2. Overall, I really wanted to like this EP, and I really really wanted a reason to love Florrie. Still do. This EP just ended up like a boring date with a gorgeous guy- you want it to go well, and he’s not all bad. He pays the cheque, laughs at your jokes, compliments you. At the end of the day though, there was no chemistry, no scintillating conversation to be had, and as you sit in your pyjamas on your couch watching reality tv afterwards, you have to admit that he’s not for you. This EP wasn’t for me. On the bright side though, there are hints here that there might be good things to come when the full length album hits (probably later this summer, if I had to guess). Still, that album won’t be my favourite and my expectations are officially lowered.

Have a listen to the Seashells remix here, and tell me what you think!

 

The Curse of the Chronic Sore Throat

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If there’s one thing I should be an expert in by now, it’s sore throats. I’ve gotten them on a regular basis for about as long as I can remember, and I’ve tried just about everything out there to try and fix it. The sore throat I’m suffering from now is courtesy of my boyfriend who oh-so-kindly gave me his cold. Thanks, babe. Generosity in a partner is not always a good thing, ladies.

The fact that I’d planned to do a buttload of recording this week just seems ironic now.  9 out of 10 imaginary vocal teachers agree that singing with a sore throat is a massively bad idea, no matter how pretty you might still manage to sound despite it. While I love having an excuse to sit on my couch and watch Netflix instead of doing work, I’ve been lazy enough lately. I’ve declared full-on war with this sore throat and its accompanying cold, and I thought I’d share my sore throat experience with you.

Obligatory disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional, just an annoyed 20-something with an arts degree. This is only what’s worked for me, it may or may not help you.

What didn’t work:

Cold meds. Now, my mother will argue with me on this one. Whenever I have a bad cold, she insists that I stay drugged up in order to keep the symptoms at bay. When it comes to sore throats though, I haven’t found that any medicine really gets rid of that symptom- at least nothing you can get off of a drug store shelf.

Lozenges. Some brands are more useful than others, but I haven’t found that any of them are particularily useful. The effects last for about 2.5 seconds after the lozenge dissolves, and then you’re back to square one again and stuck sucking candies all day like you’re 85.

Drinking more water. While this is rarely a bad idea, I never found that it helped with this particular ailment. If your sore throat is caused by dehydration, then this will patch you up nicely- but my sore throats have a tendancy to be more complicated than that. Water doesn’t coat your throat, or deliver any extra ingredients to help with the pain and scratchiness. I always opted for ice cold smoothies, with yoghurt, rather than water, since the yoghurt coated my throat and felt smoother going down- though in the end, milk products just increase mucus production, which only prolonged things for me.

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What did work: Tea with licorice root.

I discovered this last year, when I was doing a lot of practice and recording and my throat just kept getting in the way of my schedule. It wasn’t sore necessarily, but it wasn’t clear either, despite the fact that I didn’t have a cold or any other symptoms. I stumbled on the cure for it when I went on a tea shopping binge. I’m not always a tea person. I go through phases of drinking a lot, and then I forget about tea for months. I think my current stash is probably the way it is for the same reason that I have 34 lipglosses in my bathroom drawer, some of them not even unwrapped yet: marketing hype. I need to have all of the flavours because one or two or five is not enough.

Anyway. My shopping habits are a whole other post. I came home with, among other things, a licorice root tea, mixed with chamomile and peppermint. It looks very pretty with the chamomile buds and berries, but the licorice aftertaste? Well, it’s not something I’d drink if I wasn’t sick. It’s not gross, and some people even like it, but it’s more practical than it is delicious.

I’ve found that the tea clears my throat, makes it silky smooth, and that feeling lasts longer than the cup of tea itself. It still doesn’t cure me, per se, but it means I can sing for a few hours and my throat doesn’t seem to suffer for it. I’m pretty sure it’s the licorice in it, since regular chamomile teas don’t give the same effect. Now, I tend to drink it any time I’m going to be singing for awhile, just to clear and coat my throat, and it hasn’t disappointed me yet. The exact brand I use is David’s Tea Bravissimo, (click for reviews on Steepster!), but I’m pretty sure any regular grocery store licorice tea would do- and be a little easier on your wallet.

Are there any other chronic sore throat sufferers out there? Feel free to add your tips in the comments!