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August in Review

I always start my review posts by saying how surprised I am at how quickly the month flew by and how far we are into 2O17, yet August was a very slow burn for me but was jam-packed with fun stuff. I did a lot, a lot happened, and let's just say I'm mega excited to see what the rest of this year brings my way.

The Personal
So first off, August sees in my little brother's birthday and despite the 1O year age gap, we have an extremely strong bond and his birthday is always a cause to celebrate in my world. I went home to the glorious north east for a whole week to see in his 16th (I know, I feel ancient) birthday and to also see my much-missed family and friends. Living down south is my life now and I do love it but I also miss the north east and closeness of my family and the fact that I don't always get to be a part of it due to distance more and more each year. This time around my trip was very oriented and was spent eating a lot of junk and homely foods with my mama and brother and also my lovely grandparents and wider family. The bowling, the cinema and just simple visits to family homes were experienced and it made me feel so thankful for the supportive family I have.

I also got to see one of my good friends whilst I was home and do some cool horror photography with him in the process. Dave is like a horror and gore film guru so I'm so happy to see he's started to do some great horror photography in his spare time. It was hilarious to prance around the woods as some sort of creepy, innocent, yet bloody rabbit girl *thing* and I can't wait to do some more shoots with him in the future (check out his great work here).

Okay so whilst everyone else was at the cinema watching Dunkirk, I stupidly opted against it and went to see Annabelle: Creation instead. Annabelle the haunted/possessed doll is a bit of a cult classic in the horror movie world so of course a film about its origins seemed like a great watch. It's set in the 194O/5Os and shows a sweet family with a doll-making husband who goes to church every Sunday with his wife and young daughter who all live in a small quaint "typically American" town. The daughter ends up in an accident and dies and then the whole story fast forwards to 12 years later when the mother is bed bound at home and the father has agreed to let a group of young orphan girls come and stay at his home with their Sister carer as long as they help out around the family home and land. Of course, it doesn't stay all sweet and quaint and before you know it, there's drama drama dram around every corner and a whole lot of jump scares. I have to admit - it wasn't an awful movie as the jump scares were regular enough and good but its as if the director thought "what kind of horror genres and *things* do we have? Great! Let's put them all in this one film!". I did enjoy it but it's not a horror I need to write home about.

A film I watched this month that I did actually really love was Swiss Army Man. I had been meaning to watch this movie for months and months but after it was finally added to Amazon Prime, I got settled in to watch it with some snacks. This indie film starring Daniel Radcliffe as a corpse really blew everything else out of the water at film festivals upon its release and the story seemed too good to pass up. So - you read right - Daniel Radcliffe plays a corpse that washes up on an island beach just as a man is about to hang himself due to being stranded there alone. Just like Tom Hanks in Castaway, he decides to make a pal except this pal is decomposing, letting his bowels empty, and getting random boners as the body goes through rigor mortis. Despite that basic description of the plot, the film is really funny and quite deep in places and well worth a watch if you like films that are a little different or have humour like The Office or Arrested Development.

Guys, if you haven't been watching Game of Thrones, have you really been existing? Season 7 is over but it certainly was a good one. Although overall the season wasn't as *wow* as some previous seasons have been, there were a couple of standout episodes and I'm also so hyped for the next season as there's been so many story developments. I won't say anything else because I know we all hate spoilers (especially over this show), but now that this season has finished I'd recommend going right back to season 1 and giving it a watch from the start. A new show that I somehow overlooked for a little while but I now love is Rick and Morty. Originally, I just couldn't deal with Morty's voice but after blitzing through 2 seasons and then eagerly awaiting each week for a new episode, I think it's fair to say I got over that hurdle. If you haven't watched Ricky and Morty, it is essentially like someone mushed together the adult humour from Family Guy with the craziness in Adventure Time then occasionally set the whole thing in space. It's got a sly nod to Back to the Future's Doc and Marty but it's even funnier.

Another show that I never really gave a chance the first time around was Penny Dreadful. Penny Dreadful is any old classic horror novel guy's fantasy as it's set in the Victorian period and incorporates Dr Frankenstein, his Monster, witches, werewolves, and the paranormal. Oh, and you've also got Dorian Gray thrown in there too for a bit more variety. It's actually a really good show and somehow the first time I watched it, I just didn't get *that* into in but by the last season this time around I was hooked. As Halloween is around the corner, I'd highly recommend giving this show a binge watch as it has some fantastic actors and actresses in it - not to mention Eva Green is absolutely amazing in it. On a complete flip, I've rewatched Modern Family from the very beginning and it's still as funny as I remember it. As a fan of Arrested Development, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia etc., I always enjoy those clever witty Amercian comedy shows so naturally, I've always been a fan of Modern Family. The show follows one large family but focuses in on each household - the grandad and his second hot young wife and her oddball overly romantic son, the classic 2.3 mother, father, and three kids family, and then the "contemporary" son, his boyfriend, and their adopted baby. If you like comedy shows that you can drift in and out of but also hook you when you do drift in then definitely give this one a try if you haven't already.

If you thought I was going to talk about any album other than Brand New's latest and last one first here, you were sorely mistaken. Brand New have been one of my all-time favourite bands (I feel like I say "all-time" a hell of a lot in this section each month but just bear with me,) since I was a young teen and a couple of years ago when they seemingly announced their future split via a merch tee that said "2OOo - 2O18" and it broke my heart. Fast forward to this August and they dropped Science Fiction - their last album and it was everything I hoped it would be. Unlike a lot of fans, my favourite Brand New abum is The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me not Deja Entendu and I think that's because I like some of the more slow and certainly more emo songs (1Oo% no shame). So when I started listening to Science Fiction and it had a similar vibe, I was pretty damn ecstatic. They're the original emo band for me but they're emo in the best sort of non-cheesy way. Some of my fave tracks from the album are Could Never Be Heaven, Desert, and 451.

Another firm favourite - Iron & Wine - released another indie folksy acoustic lovely jubbly album called Beast Epic this month too. Iron & Wine is such easy listening that makes you want to sing along but also fall asleep to it in the best possible sense. Beast Epic is without a doubt my favourite to date from him even though I've only given the album one listen thus far, I've already fallen head over heels with is very autumnal sound. A band that were new to me this August are Girl Ray and their album Earl Grey. They're a very indie band but their sound is very 7Os to me and they also sound like their tracks would be used for Wes Anderson films or films like Submarine. Another nice easy listening album and it's nice to see it's an all-girl piece.

Going back to favourites, Soccer Mommy - Collection dropped and again, it's more easy listening that just makes me think of lazy days sitting out in the sun or driving in a car when its hot with the windows rolled down. Soccer Mommy is a one-piece musical talent in the form of Sophie Allison who is a singer songwriter. Her whole sound is quite indie but acoustic and meaningful and I think she's got a simply gorgeous voice. This album is already growing on me and I can't wait to give it a little more of a listen. She's yet another musician who produces tracks that sound film soundtrack worthy and tracks such as Try and Benadryl Dreams are so damn catchy. Speaking of great voices, PVRIS released All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell and it's taken over my life. I've been super eager for PVRIS to release some new music and this new album has not disappointed. Although PVRIS are always described as a rock band, they always remind me of some sort of mash up between CHVRCHES and a band like Issues and I have absolutely no issues (ha) with that. This latest release is definitely the best they've produced so far and I would recommend this album to anyone who has never given these guys a listen.

The last lady I need to give a mention to is Amy O. I first listened to Amy O last year when she released her album Arrow and fell in love. If you like ladies who are Alanis Morrisette-level sassy but with a more modern indie twist, you will like Amy O. She's got a similar vibe to Soccer Mommy and Palehound - both of which I really like - but with a bit more variety in her tracks in a lot of ways. She has been an artist for over a decade but recently became a full band and some of her songs throw me back to Postal Service vibes due to the male/female duet pieces and calm sounds but the whole album keeps the indie flame burning brightly.

Video Games
After that whopping long music section, you might be pleased that this bit will be short and sweet as a I honestly haven't played a thing this month! Between going home, working, blogging, and worrying about house stuff, I haven't had the time to just sit and lose myself in a game. A game I am actually interested in trying out though is Mad Max after watching Matt plug quite a few unexpected hours into it. It's very much an open world, free-roaming RPG but rather than your usual mage/rogue/warrior sort of scenario typical of those style of games, this one is of course loaded with cars, mechanics, and weird post-apocalyptic vibes.

Also, would it be an August review without talking about the one game everyone and their gran seems to be excited for? Destiny 2's general release drops in September and I have to admit, the gazillion chatty videos with it's designers and the umpteen videos of early gameplay make it look pretty great. I tried playing Destiny a while after the initial hype died down because again, Matt had plugged so many hours into it I just needed to see what it was all about, but I liked the storyline of it more than the whole playing as a multi-player team with crucible matches etc. so I stopped playing. One thing I loved about the original game however was how smooth the gameplay was in terms of shooting - being a Mass Effect fan girl, I was used to controls being clunky and difficult to manoeuvre, but Destiny made my realise a game *can* actually be enjoyable to play with good controls. No doubt I'll end up giving Destiny 2 a go, but I'm just wish the whole game included that Mass Effect 3 "do you want to shoot stuff or do you kind of just wanna do the story?" option a little more.

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