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April in Review

Happy Friday everyone! Can you believe it - it's May already?! That means we're almost half way into 2O17 and that's terrifying. April was a pretty good month for me as I got a lot done and feel like I've been making a few positive changes in my life which I'm looking forward to talking about a little bit more as the months go on.

The Personal
April was a bit of a busy month and it was a welcomed kind of busy. Work has been going really well so that's been great, but the best bit about April was the fact that I got to spend some down time with family. I went to Cirencester for the Easter weekend and was treated to fair bit of chocolate which - of course - was glorious. I bought three new books whilst we were there and ploughed my way through them at lightning speed so expect a review post coming your way pretty soon. After that weekend away I came home, had a training event at work, then I was off to Newcastle to see my family for a few days. It was so nice to go back to the north east. I always miss it and I have to be straight up honest here. When I get off the plane at Newcastle airport and trudge my way down to the metro to set off home to my mam's house, I get this overwhelming feeling of just sheer content and it makes me almost want to cry? Don't ask because I don't know why it happens, but of course it happened this time again like clockwork. I spent a lot of time with family rather than friends during this visit because it was needed. My grandad is really ill at the moment and seeing old age catch up to a man who's always been pretty invincible in my eyes was quite heartbreaking for lack of a better word. I needed that family time and that time to just chill out alone so I'm pleased I got to do that for a wee while.

Shall I keep this short and sweet? Believe it or not, much like March, I royally sucked on the film watching front. I can only recall watching one film and I think it's because I've been reading a lot more in my free time (which is totally not a bad thing in fact, I'm super pleased about it... makes for shitty review posts though am I right?). So the one movie I watched was The Avengers: Age of Ultron and please don't ask me how, but this somehow slipped right by me until April. I knew it had came out, I can remember wanting to go and see it at the cinema, but it just never happened. Luckily it has recently been added to Netflix so one night Matt & I stuck it on with some pizza. I really enjoyed it and I think I enjoyed it more than the other Avengers film. I felt like Age of Ultron was a much darker film that the predecessor and for that reason it sucked me in more. I love that we see a development in Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner's relationship and the fact that Hawkeye is focused on more in this movie because come on, give that guy some screen time! Close to the ending, I did not expect what happened and I genuinely felt upset so that was all the confirmation I needed that this film is worth the watch.

April seems to have been the month for stand up comedy on my TV and I've watched some good and some not so goods. So first up, one of my main men, Louis C.K.. His latest Netflix Original stand up performance, Louis C.K. 2O17, was honestly? Meh. It was meh and I feel so gross saying that about one of my favourite comedians but it just wasn't as great as his other shows. Compared to his Live at the Comedy Store and Hilarious shows (both on Netflix too) I just didn't laugh like I do watching those two and I've watched them both multiple times and still I laugh more than his latest show made me. It just seemed like it wasn't his usual material and weirdly, I found it just a bit to clean and not as "adult" so maybe that's why I didn't enjoy it? Who knows what that says about me - moving on! Now for two great stand ups I really enjoyed. First off can we talk about Vir Das? He's a Bollywood star and super proud Dehli-born and bred comedian who is great. I have never watched his stand up but his show Abroad Understanding was fab. He's not shy to take the piss out of his own culture and others and did a clever mash of a small intimate show in New York with a huge sell out show in India. He is definitely on my radar for future comedy shows and I can't lie, he's not too bad on the eyes either. My last Netflix Original comedy shout out has to go to Hannibal Buress' Comedy Camisado which was pretty darn good too. I find Hannibal Buress just funny in general - he's the kind of guy I could sit in a pub with all evening and love every minute of it. If just genuine, down to earth, real life comedy is your jam, check out Hannibal.

Ahh, my love for music feels like it has been reignited over the last couple of months. I mean sure, I *always* love music, but both during March and April, I feel like I've really found some gems and enjoyed listening to a whole range of old and new stuff. Although Twenty One Pilots are still getting regular airplay (can't stop won't stop), I have jigged around to so many new album drops this month that I need to tell you all all about.

So first of all - do you like Lana Del Rey? Yes? Do you listen to Alexandra Savior then? No? What on earth are you doing with your life?! She's new to my ears too but her album, Belladonna of Sadness, instantly grabbed my attention before I even listened to it because Belladonna of Sadness is one of my favourite animated movies (1973 Japanese handdrawn beautifull-ness). If an artist calls their album that, my interest is peaked. Within seconds into the first track, I was in love. Imagine Lana Del Rey has a moody little sister who is as sassy as Kate Nash and you get the idea. Mix that all with a little bit of The Horrors-style instrumentals and you've got this dreamy record. I'm really enjoying it and I'm excited to see what Savior drops next already. If you read my favourite music post a while ago then you will know all about my love for angry/melodramatic female singers so let me suggest another new but already wonderful female singer April introduced me to. Annie Hardy's album Rules has been a favourite of mine this month and she's another lady who I'm excited to watch her career develop. Hardy's sound reminds me a lot of a more gloomy version of Fleetwood Mac or a tame, non-goth version of Chelsea Wolfe so y'all know that's right up my alley.

An album that dropped from a firm favourite of mine was Future Island's The Far Field. Earlier in the year, they released the tracks Ran and Cave as teasers and I was kind of excited. But now that I've listened to the whole thing? I feel a bit indifferent about it. It's by no means a bad album, it's pretty good, I just still prefer their album before it, Singles. I find the majority of the tracks on The Far Field extremely similar to some of those on Singles to the point where I sometimes think it's going to be *that* song instead of this new one. Another band I love that kind of disappointed me this month was Incubus with their '8' album. After listening to the first track I was excited because it sounded like old old Incubus - punky weirdly almost psychedelic Incubus - but after each track played, it just got more and more "meh". Again, it's not a bad album by any means, but I'm just a bit underwhelmed by it. A good album this month from a good band though? Check out Ulver's latest, The Assassination of Julius Caesar, for all you synth, contemporary world's answer to Joy Division needs. Ulver have been a favourite of mine for years but this new album is *so* different to their usual, much darker/instrumental stuff but I love it regardless.

Some more "new to my ears" music now: Vancouver Sleep Clinic's Revival album is super good. If you like any kind of electro music, this is the band for you. They've been a round for a few years it seems but this is the first I've listened to them and Revival is an all-round good album. Andrew Combs - Canyons of My Mind is a great acoustic album by a very talented guy. It's a lovely easy listening album that kind of makes me think of Autumn for some reason and little touches of it make it a little gem of a find. I'm talking about the little touches like the fact that a lot of the songs seem to be written about various different women and that somehow makes it more real and personal? I really like it! And my last album recommendation from April is Sean Rowe's New Lore. I started listening to this acoustic album thinking "oh yeah I'm going to like this" but then the guy started singing and my god. Shook. I was shook. He's got such a unique almost old deep mo-town James Brown-esque voice but with lovely twinkling soft acoustic tunes. Such a great album I need to listen to more and more during May.

Okay - last little mention! Paramore dropped a new single and holy shit, the world seemed to go wild. Their single, HarD TiMEs, is so 8Os I instantly fell in love. It seems that loads of bands I loved for their emo tunes back in the day are coming back with a slight 8Os sound and I'm embracing it. I'm excited to see what else they drop and although I was never a mega-fan of Paramore, maybe I will be after this new gen of themselves (also I've never fancied Hayley Williams more than I do now with her slightly Debbie Harry haircut, wowzas).

Video Games
I've almost taken a step back into my recent old ways of not playing a lot of video games but I have been playing Mass Effect Andromeda a tonne. I'm still really enjoying it and I'm pleased to see they've ironed out some awful things (like the horrendous facial graphics) but the more I've played it, the more I've realised how many little niggling problems there are with it. I'm still very much enjoying it though and plan to get back into playing it every chance I get during May because I've missed being glued to the controller!

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