EQUIPPED WITH MUSIC I’VE BEEN LOVING THIS YEAR AND SUNGLASSES

Hey, hey! 

It’s the end of July, it’s basically Halloween to me, which also means we’re a very decent amount into the year. Crazy right? This year has weirdly blown by me like a passing breath. One moment it was January and I was changing into a different University major years into my degree, and now I’m here with an abundant list of music I’ve been listening to all year. 

HALESTORM’S BACK FROM THE DEAD [ THE ALBUM] 

I actually wrote down my first thoughts to each song when this album dropped with the intent of a review, however the days and months went on and I was still too burnt out, too tired, and too sad to write a thing. Yet, in saying that, I listened to this album constantly during that time. See, Back From The Dead is aggressively feminine with a soccer punch of personal growth, age, and worth. It is quite literally everything I wanted and definitely needed. Enriched with kickass women-hood and acceptance of self delivered in a metal music love letter. The album just straight bangs. I mean, I’ve only heard the term “bombshell” in regards to women from the mouth of a man with eyes of sexualation. While I wouldn’t say reclaimed is the right word here, I want to still make a point of it. I think that’s kinda something important to unpack, as well as being a testament to what this whole project is doing. 

Notable favourite song recommendations from said album: Wicked Ways, Strange Girl, My Redemption, and Psycho Crazy. 

POPROPICASLUTZ! 

This might get kind of “fangirl” of me, but really that’s a good sign. I have not gone a single day since January of this year where I have not listened to these guys. That’s not even an exaggeration, my Spotify “On Repeat” is cursed now. January 2022 met us with that iconic release of WW3, and I have been basically drugged musically since. I am an addict. I want my Poptropicaslutz fix all the time. I don’t even know how to describe this stuff to you, me who writes poetry, is at a near constant loss for words. My only attempt would be if you take the Neon Pop Punk era, Myspace Scene sound of I Set My Friends On Fire/Brockencyde, 2010’s emo rap (though not necessarily “Sad Boi”), and throw it in something more intense than a blender. I don’t know how it works. I don’t know why it does. I do not know anything other than everything – and by God do I mean everything – is straight heat. I literally be giggling and kicking my legs when they randomly tweet out “new song tonight”. 

Notable favourite song recommendations: romeo & juliet, I MISS 2007, user not found, eccentric hats & motley patterns, and Hysteria is impossible without an audience. 

HOT MULLIGAN 

Do not bother making “this is a red flag” comment. Do not bother asking “are you okay?” because I do not have an answer for you. What I do have is Spotify history of the year where Hot Mulligan is very, very present, and truthfully I’m not mad about it. Well, they’re pro Milk, so maybe a little mad about it. God I hope someone gets that joke, otherwise I’m gonna look so stupid. Back to the point, I have been religiously listening to Hot Mulligan all year. I mean I will always love and be emotionally attached to this beautifully mastered genre of Pop Punk. They’re one of the few I think is making the 2010’s styles translate magically well into that of current. I also just think they’re funny. They make me laugh and feel warm and poetically sad. Of course I’ve been listening to them so much. 

Notable favourite song recommendations: Feal Like Crab, Drink Milk and Run, Featuring Mark Hoppus, and Dary. 

SCARLXRD 

This is a little switch up to the previous two, but if you know me I am always listening to Scarlxrd. I tend to keep my playlists pretty organised, yet he is there in pretty much all of them. Scarlxrd is perfect for any mood at any time. Sad? Scarlxrd. Angery? Scarlxrd. Feeling your inner God complex? Scarlxrd. His discography is fairly large, so if you’re into this intense, trap, metal, rap, aggressive bass, there is bound to be something you vibe with. I love him. I love his music. He’s up there incredibly high on my top artists of all time and has been for ages. 

Notable favourite song recommendations: {Flex’}, Rxbxt Slut!, I WANT TX SEE YXU BLEED, Bible Black, and Gin Shxt. 

MAGNOLIA PARK 

This is not the first time I’m talking about them and it sure as hell will not be the last. I think around this time last year I wrote this piece about artists you should be paying attention to in the scene with them as the forefront. So I guess I’m incredibly happy to say not only are they still some of my top played artists but also their incredible growth. I’m kind of emotional about it. Proud don’t begin to cover it. Mag Park have put out numerous tracks since then, and I’ve loved every single one. They are the epitome of what Pop Punk is in this modern wave, and everything that we needed to further progress. Constantly challenging the privileged white attitude/opinions (you know the ones ugh) that has always been plaguing the scene and doing it with some of the best music I’ve heard in forever. There really isn’t a question as to why I’m always listening to them. They’re too cool, too vibrant, too outstanding to not be. 

Notable favourite song recommendations: Don’t Be Racist, Outside, Kids Like Us, Liar, Serious, and Back Home. 

AISLINN DAVIS 

Again, a little bit of a switch up here, but if there is anything to know about me is that my music taste is truly everything in existence pretty much. With that being said, I, like many others, became obsessed with Aislinn’s music via TikTok, and really it’s been living rent free around my head for a while. Her voice is truly prettier than heaven knowns and I could honestly listen to her sing about anything. I can’t really explain what her music makes me feel but I know it’s something I want to never stop feeling. I don’t know guys, but there’s something about the gentle sea-breeze of my town, soft setting sun, open windows, and her music that makes me believe I am living the best human experience available. 

Notable favourite song recommendations:  poltergeist, Devil Boy, think about u, death wish, and Gwen. 

HONOURABLE SONG MENTIONS

  • Dove Beach – Baby Queen
  • SELF-SABOTAGE – Waterparks 
  • Chaos Castle – Xavier Wulf 
  • Just Sign the Papers – Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties 
  • Blender – 5 Seconds of Summer
  • Clearest Blue – CHVRCHES
  • What I Would Give – Angelmaker 
  • Kiss – Lil Peep
  • Loser – Sueco
  • Two Week Notice – Leanna Firestone
  • life’s such a trip – Softheart 

Soak Me In Bleach (Or Well Alcohol Actually)

Hey, hey! 

As promised, a music related blog post, one that I have been trying to bring to you for over a year. In early 2021 or late 2020, I purchased tickets to go see some live music — however, as we’re very aware here in Australia, it’s only been the last maybe four to six months where live shows have been back in action and that gig was postponed not once, but twice. Now, there’s no ill will here or anything, I feel for the impacts the pandemic and lockdowns had on the music scene, but if anything it made the arrival of the set date more exciting. 

Usually I wait a couple of months or just under a year for the dates of shows to roll around. That’s for the bigger ones, not the local joints I like to hit up when I can. Maybe I should write something about those types of trips? But this time it was basically a year and half, which if I’m honest, built up enthusiasm for it and, in turn, the crowd was rowdy and insane. Put a bunch of Aussie metalheads in an 18+ alcohol filled gig for Aussie bands after that long of a wait and it makes sense the chaos that erupted. I loved every second of it, even the weird or negative parts, because now I get to tell this story to you. 

THE ACTS

The main act, infamous The Amity Affliction, who are known for being very aquatic in tone. (No really, I can’t look at the ocean and not go “ah, like the amity songs”). They’re also known for being intense crowd wise, I’ve never heard of them not having at least one wall of death much like the multiple we had at second Sydney show, located at The Roundhouse. 

Although I initially brought tickets for the main act, I was just as excited for the openers Nerve Damage and Waax. Nerve Damage started it all off with an Acknowledgement to Country, which if you’re not Australian, is the acknowledgment for the indigenous peoples who’s land we’re on. I’m sad to say that it is the first time ever that’s ever happened at a concert, and I’ve been a frequent attendee since I was 13 years old. Their set was like the best taster for the night, loud, in your face, and overall politically charged. I am proud to say that I was centre barricade for this show, partly because I travelled out to the venue and always account for traffic issues and such, which left friends and myself there a tad early. However, it meant I had a fantastic view, and was blown away by each act. Especially by Nerve Damage.

Now, I love Waax. I’m not like a super/long term fan or anything (yet anyway) but I knew them, I liked them, and I was excited for them. My expectations? More than met, especially when the ever-so dashing vocalist grabbed my hand. Listen, I nearly shed a tear. The stage presence was lovely, and I am so happy to see women on stage. In fact I even managed to be handed – yes handed not snatched – a setlist. I’ve never managed a set list before. Guitar pics, drum sticks (I think? My memory sucks) even, yes, but never before a setlist. 

Okay, onto what you’re all here for, The Amity set. My loves, I don’t know how to tell you this, I think I just had one of the best show experiences of my life. There was fire! FUCKING FIRE! Honestly, I’m glad there was it turned up the temperature and being winter it was so cold that night. The energy was wild, like I said, all the built up time and restlessness made us all crazy. I lost my voice like three songs in, that’s how hard I was screaming. I think I nearly threw up from emotions, it was all so raw. Also there were mirrors? Fun house mirrors maybe? They lit up? I can’t recall exactly but it was cool. The setlist was top tier. Like you always have those conversations with people about songs you want an artist to play, what you hope or think would be cool to be heard, and that set was exactly that. I was a little sad when it was over. Part of me was exhausted and sore (more on that later), and the other part of me didn’t want it to end. I would pay for Amity to preform in my bedroom but they’d probably burn it down. 

THE EXPERIENCE 

I’ve told you how much I loved the acts, how good they were, but now for the fun part: the details! 

I mentioned centre barricade, which is a brilliant but cursed spot to have. It’s such a “stick it out as long as you can survive” position as you get an entire crowds worth of body weight pressing you into metal. Depending on the type of show of course, some aren’t that aggressive. There’s no shame in lasting one song or the whole act, but I’m excited to say I survived the whole thing without jumping out. Not without escaping some injuries. I am incredibly bruised and aching. One of my calves is black near the knee.

I had some brain cells to bandage up some body piercings before attending, and I’m so thankful for that sober-smart Taylorlani who did that because otherwise there would have been a hospital visit. I did lose an earring as it was jacked out and, to be fair, I don’t remember it happening which goes to show how much was happening at any given moment. It’s okay, I put a safety-pin in it for the time until I got home. God, the adrenaline. 

I did nearly have my medusa piercing torn out by a crowd surfers knee, but that’s okay because I did accidentally punch him in the groin trying to lift him up. I’m 5’2 guys, I’m the height of a 12 year old. I genuinely haven’t grown since that age. If you’re that guy, I’m so sorry, really I was trying to not get crushed. Speaking of crowd surfers though, one guy smelled like a metalhead stereotype, and another kicked me in the head. It’s okay, I’m okay, I’m sure they had the time of their lives. Especially the lad who stood on the crowd – yeah like on his legs – and then jumped directly on me. Iconic of them, I’m so weirdly happy I got that on camera too, otherwise I don’t know how to describe it. 

I was slammed into the barricade more times than I can count and believe me I know numbers, I can count to ten. Applaud me. It was so hype, it was so rewarding to be back at a live gig like that. But alas, there is always something that leans more negative on the night. 

A wonderful gal and lad were elbowing my side, my arm, my body all night really hard and more forceful than the crowd. At first I was like, c’mon you know? But during a quick break between songs they leaned over to apologise and say how they’re trying to stop this one large guy from groping me as he’d been trying all night. Now, I hate to say that this is something I’m used to but I am, and I knew someone had during Nerve Damage, but pushed it aside. I appreciate this couple so much. There’s this stereotype of how metalheads are terrible, big, and scary who will beat you up. But it’s a person thing, not a metalhead thing. Assholes aren’t dictated by genre. Yet, this is the type of attitude I do encounter a fair bit these days. This, like, protective community. Really, I’m so thankful for them, and I’m incredibly grateful that they even went out of their way to do so. 

Metal is full of this hand in hand, help each other out, mentality if you look deeper for it, and I’m proud to say I also live by it. I’m short, but there are plenty of girls who are shorter and smaller than me who attend. It’s not hard to help out when crowd surfers head directly for them. Not to say they’re weak, they’re at a crazy metal gig of course they’re not, but having a body thrown at you can be hell, and I do try my best to cover people when I can or it’s safe for me too.  

On a more higher note, there was insane pit action, there always is at Amity shows. There was multiple walls of death which even I at the barricade got the privilege to be crushed in. My friend got a guitar pic. We spent money on merch. I took a cup from the ground that was cool and sticky. I saw some limes floating in the air, on the floor. I got sprayed with beer and water, as well as spat on. I’m sorry to cleaners. 

It was the most fun I’ve had in ages. I don’t regret a single second of it. I chase the gig adrenaline more than anything in my whole life. It is pure erotica. I’ve been addicted since I was 13 and still wearing a scene mullet with fried bleached hair. I live for music, for live music, for the everything. I love writing about it, the whole thing. It’s more me than if I handed you a bone from a ribs. 

Wait for the Good Things 2022 blog post, since I am happy to announce I will be attending. God, I’m so (happily) broke. 

Movies That Left Core Memories So Bad That They’ve Replaced The Sad Ones

Hey, Hello, Hi, 

I want to simply brush over the fact that I haven’t written or posted anything since, I believe, February. There are many reasons, all of them dull and boring, but I think I’m back to possible frequent uploads. Thus, while a music piece is in the works, here is a list, in no particular order, of films that have left a lasting impact. 

I would be lying if I didn’t say this post wasn’t inspired by my lovely friend, Ty, who you should be reading from and posts way more than me too. Anyway, as they said, I’m no film degree nerd with any true stance to be able to comment like one, but alas I will. 

1. Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe 

2005, Director: Andrew Adamson

I feel like, for many of my generation, this one speaks for itself. However, while I loved fantasy films and novels like Eragon, C.S Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia truly never left my head. Like ever. So much so that I freak out when I realise how old this movie and I are. You’re telling me it’s nearly been 20 years and I still think about this all the time? I remember as a kid I was so upset that the wolves were always displayed as evil in these films, which I still stand by fully, however that scene of them in the ice castle when Edmund betrays his family? Rent Free. 

2. Whiplash

2014, Director: Damien Chazelle

This film makes me sound like an obnoxious film guy at university who doesn’t really understand the complexities of it, but I like to believe I’m not like them. Miles Teller is a chef’s kiss, and considering the most recent release of Top Gun: Maverick, this is the perfect time to talk about the absolutely brilliant performance from him and his co-star J.K Simmons, who truly made me fear potential mentors/teachers. Now, I’ve heard people say this movie is boring, which I highly disagree with. Nonetheless, I understand it is the type of thing you need an attention span for to really grasp it.  

3. The Spectacular Now

2013, Director: James Ponsoldt

I am a Miles Teller girlie, through and through, since this movie and the Divergent adaptations. I believe I even forced my last partner to watch this movie with me, and couldn’t shut up during it. It is so much more than a silly love story, and to be fair one of my favourite aspects is the real depiction of mental health through a teenage boy. Yeah, Perks of Being a Wallflower is there and should be on this list in a way, but The Spectacular Now is so vastly different to it and just as important. Relationships don’t cure mental issues as much as we want them to. 

4. Coraline

2009, Director: Henry Selick

This is usually what I say when people ask what my favourite movie is and that still highly stands. I adore Coraline so much, and I’m the kind of friend who bullies you for a) not having seen it or b) were scared of it as a child. I never was, yes it’s a flex, and I even analysed it this past semester for a monster media class. 

5. Pride and Prejudice

2005, Director: Joe Wright

Oh, the love, the adoration, I have for this movie. It is truly just so magical, so outstandingly beautiful. The score, the cinematography, the casting – I mean Kiera Knightly was one thousand percent part of my sexual awakening. This film is a core memory, the essence, the atmosphere, all of it holds weight in my heart. 

6. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

2013, Director: Harald Zwart

Did I at the time hate this adaptation? Yes. Was I super hopeful for the show version but then dramatically betrayed, and even see myself as a victim of that show? Yes. Now, despite all that I still had it as a guilty pleasure film. Little Taylorlani would stay up late reading with it on in the background and would first try to dabble in realism portraiture trying to draw Jamie’s Jace. It was horrible, I was like 11. 

7. The Hunger Games

2012, Director: Gary Ross

Is there a running theme of 2000s novel adaptations on this list? Of course, I am nothing but a little book nerd. City of Bones is a guilty pleasure, but with The Hunger Games, there is not a single ounce of guilt. I could write essays upon essays about the book and the movie. I rewatch the whole series at least three times at minimum a year and own multiple copies of the books. I am convinced anyone who never liked it, or was team Gale, just never understood. 

8. The Crow

1994, Director: Alex Proyas

Ugh, this movie. I heard there might be a remake? I don’t want it and I don’t think anyone should. Brendon Lee’s depiction of Eric is unmatched, it is beautiful, and it is tragic the way his life ended from it. I was raised on this movie, my dad owns this doll-sized figurine of Eric and as a kid, I threw fits because he would not let me play with it. If you haven’t seen this at least once in your life, please do. 

9. Scream

1996, Director: Wes Craven

Okay, so this is not a surprise. This is deeply loved, and I am another one of those lovers. I arguably watched it way too young and was actually scared of Ghost Face when I was little, though that has done a complete switch up now. This movie was important to a loved one who passed away, which is a sad, but beautiful way of keeping their spirit alive. 

10. Love, Rosie

2014, Director: Christian Ditter

Lily Collins is another common feature on this list, and truly I do love her. This movie encapsulates the mundane, the normalities, and the complexities of human relationships, ageing, and love. It is rich and warm in emotion. Comfort movie, and living in my head. Oh, for that love.

11. X-Men: First Class

2011, Director: Matthew Vaughn

I am completely a comic girlie at heart, although I am not an MCU one to be fair. I don’t hate it, it’s really not that deep, I just view comic adaptations the same as book ones and a lot of them leave me disappointed. First Class though? Adore it. Yeah, Wolverine isn’t in it (besides that small cameo), but that’s kind of why I love it so much.  

12. Man of Steel

2013, Director: Zack Snyder

Again, comics, my heart, although yet again I am not really a DCEU girlie. The same reason as above, but I do read more DC comics. Man of Steel was one of the first comic films I fell in love with, outside of my Spider-man obsession. To be fair, I can’t tell you why besides the atmosphere, the depth, and the way it actually made me cry. Man of Steel set up something that sadly couldn’t be topped by the follow-ups for that era. In my opinion anyway.

13. Into the Spiderverse

2018, Directors: Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti, Rodney Rothman

I mentioned the Spider-man obsession, it’s intense. My father would tell you he hates Spider-man because of me, for every time I was around when I was young I would be binge-watching them. I saw Toby’s third movie in the cinema, yes it was 2007, and yes I was 5 years old. Now, as someone who is biracial, Into the Spiderverse and just Miles as a comic character, is something I am emotionally attached to. I will always feel more in tune with him than Peter, but I am typing this as I have a Peter Spider-man blanket on my bed. Yes, I am 20. 

14. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

2012, Director: Peter Jackson

I remember when I was in year seven we had to read The Hobbit, at that time I didn’t want to, not because I hated it but because I was deep in my YA fantasy/dystopia 2010’s era and my interests laid elsewhere. Because of this, I watched the film, however, it was at that moment I fell in love with the movie and also realised that the book was being broken into different parts and had to read it for class anyway. 

15. Fantastic Mr Fox

2009, Director: Wes Anderson

Finishing off this list with an animation masterpiece, though there are plenty of more movies I can mention. I wholeheartedly cherish this movie. It’s pretty, it’s coloured like my soul, and so comforting that many of the scenes are core memories. It just makes me happy, which is something I can say for everything on this list which is ultimately the most important thing to me. 

The Grief Of February

Hey, hey!

This year I wanted to start being a little bit more personal on here, like sharing life updates and just different aspects of myself that aren’t strictly “here’s a book!” or “hey look at this band!” 

February is a month that comes around every year, and every year it pulls me under a blanket of shade and shuddering breath. When I was younger I lost an incredibly important person to me very suddenly, it shook up my life and myself to the core. February was his birthday month, and so every time the calendars flip it’s a reminder of time. 

I could talk for days about how grief and death has affected my life as I grew, how it impacts my life years down the track but I don’t really want to. I feel like I live in this loop of life that snaps like a rubber band and I never really leave it behind. 

Thus, here I am to talk about my February so far and things I do to take care of myself. That’s an important part of this whole thing is remembering you’re alive and you need care. 

FRIENDS

I try to be as social as I possibly can be – and manage – in February. I’m usually on a university break around this time just before it goes back for the year and I try my best to compact as much in person social interactions as I can in the weeks. 

It’s important when mourning to remember those around you who are still here, to not let moments slip between your fingers that you might regret if anything were to happen. I do try to not think of things “happening” to my loved ones but the paranoia is there for sure. This month I’ve traveled a lot, catching train after train to different parts of the South Coast of NSW to see friends. Later this month I’ll be travelling out of state for the first time since I was 17 and in high school to see family. 

Friends are also important in taking care of yourself because, as hard as it can be to accept, they’re there for you to lean on when you need it! Especially if they’re offering, it’s okay to need that. Some of my closest friends, Tyneesha, Alana, and Bonnie are truly the most talented and beautiful people I have ever met so I want to use this moment to shout them out.

LOVE

I was gonna title this hobbies but I know that’s clique, so instead it’s love because just do things you love. For you not for anyone else! This can be a bit difficult because sometimes I can get wrapped up in the “they’ll never get to see me grow into this” thoughts which are heartbreaking at best. But this is why I say for you, do it for you. 

For myself I’ve written a bit, two blog posts, a book review that is up on my bookstagram, this post here counts because it’s healthy to talk about your feelings positively! I’ve been messing around with my poetry again and my novel which has sat there untouched for a shamefully long time.

I’ve been making art separate from writing. Filling up my sketch book like it’s a dairy (it is) and messing around with all different unfinished pieces on my iPad. Art isn’t therapeutic for me to be fair, it’s stressful and time consuming and half the time I can’t work out why the hell this nose bump isn’t translating correctly. But it’s fantastic to channel feelings into, taking it all from within and throwing it up.

I’ve been reading, though slower to last month, and just taking my time with things. I’ve started posting TikTok’s! This is because I’m just trying to, romanticise if you will, my life and the aspect of being alive. I like appreciating existence, and taking the time to film little things has helped me mentally get back into this idea of actually living.

TAKING TIME

I won’t ever recommend just ignoring your grief, pushing it back or trying to forget. I find it does more harm than any kind of good and, personally, I like to know I still have the ability to feel those things and bring his memory alive. Taking time, taking things slowly or whatever pace is best for you and still having those moments to breathe. I fear the forgetting that comes naturally with time, so this is a really big part of February for me. 

I became obsessed with the moon and the stars because of him all those years ago, which is something really cute when you think of how I practice witchcraft and study those things now. I usually will find time to sit with them and remember, I find this an important part of this month. It’s recognising another year gone and it’s sitting with it. The weight, the tears, the love, the shaking laughter as I recall all our memories and how I live parts of my life with their influence daily. 

Grief is an ugly, unforgivable thing that you never really lose. When I was younger I hated that but now I welcome it, I welcome knowing his story will live through me and I feel these things because he lived. It takes time to get here, it takes time to get through the month of February annually but I’m okay with that.