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Posts Tagged ‘Noah and the Whale’

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Hey guys, check out the interview I did with Noah & the Whale for Baeble Music:

With the onslaught of great bands coming out of the UK in the past few years, it safe to say that Noah & the Whale has made their mark as one of the best. On their debut album, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down we got a first taste of their emotion driven rock, fronted by the deep vocals of lead singer Charlie Fink and backed by a great band of young musicians, including Tom Hobden, Urby Whale and Doug Fink. We recently had a chance to hop on the phone with the band’s drummer, Doug, to discuss the band’s future prospects, including an interesting upcoming tour along with a sophomore album nearing completion. We also talked a little bit about the amazingly talented Laura Marling and the band’s benevolent charity work. Take a look. -Greg Lozoff

Baeble: Firstly, your band name is quite unique. I’ve heard that it has something to do with the film The Squid and the Whale. could you tell me a little bit about your band name came to be?

Doug Fink: Yeah, It does indeed. Originally, it was the Squid and the Whale by Noah Baumbach. Take the full name of the director and the tail end of the film and then you have it. It’s also a reference to the fact that cinema is a source of influence for us.

Baeble: Your upcoming tour is called Club Silencio. I’ve heard that it’s going to be a different sort of tour. Could you tell me the concept behind it?

Doug: Yeah, well I guess it’s not totally original. I think people have been re-imagining live gigs for so long now, but the idea is to basically combine cinema with the music. So you get the kind of theme of Mullholland Drive’s Club Silencio, which pretentiously [laughs] is somewhere to deal with reality and illusion and whether something is actually happening or whether you’re basically imagining it. So the idea is that the whole evening will run as a complete program, sort of in an old fashioned way. There will literally be a program. There will also be a compare; a virtual compare, that will be projected on an enormous screen at the back of the stage. And the idea is basically that we show some short films that we’ve selected. There will be footage that we’ve made ourselves and then there’s the support act, and there will be some footage while he plays, and then there will be some more material and then we come on, and then again there’s some more material there. Yeah I guess it’s not really totally ground breaking but we put some thought into it and we’re quite excited to see how it turns out.

Baeble: Well it sounds really interesting. Are you going to be playing mostly songs off of your first album Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down, or will you be playing new songs specifically for the tour?

Doug: It’s definitely going to be a good balance of things. I mean, I don’t really know where this is leading towards. I mean we played in Brooklyn last week and we kind of made the decision to play more or less all new material. We were in New York to mix the second record. So yeah, I think the set is quite exciting. Well obviously it’s developing so it’s hard to know what works live without actually playing it live. And added to that is the need to combine it with the visuals. We think we’ve got the set well worked out so it’s going to be a nice balance between the two I think.

Baeble: I hear you are playing Italy this summer

Doug: [cutting in] The rumors are true.

Baeble: [laughs] Is this going to be your first time playing there?

Doug: Yeah, first time in Italy. We basically got offered to do this string of four dates. And as far as we can gather, if you do those four dates you’ve done the length of Italy [laughs]. So that was the plan. I mean we like Europe a lot. Italy being one of our favorite places so it’s a great excuse to go have a few days there, but yeah it should be good fun.

Baeble: Are you at all nervous or are you more excited to find out how the Italian audiences will react to your music?

Doug: Oh it’s exciting! I think as long as you entice people to express an opinion, either way it’s exciting. I think the bottom line is you have to feel like your doing a good show. And usually between the four of us we can agree that the set is going to work and then afterwards we’re happy with our performances and then you know, it’s all good really. It’s just exciting to play to new people. It’s one of the great thrills actuallyof live music.

Baeble: You guys seem to be a big fan of the cover. When I saw you play in New York City not too long ago you did a cover of the Smiths’ Girlfriend in a Coma, and I just saw the other day that you have a cover of Daniel Johnston’s Devil Town on your Myspace page. Are there any covers that the band is working on for the upcoming tour?

Doug: That’s a good question. Actually no [laughs]. Not at this point. No cover material actually due for the tour. Like I said we’re being slightly more prescriptive with our set than we would normally be. By the nature of the multimedia aspects you have to know what you’re going to do, for the ease of the whole engineering of it. So no, not for this tour. But it’s always great to do cover versions, like just explore songs and kind ofwell you know it’s nice to play the music that’s influenced you.

Baeble: So you told me you’re working on a new album, could you tell me about it? Is it going to be along the same lines as Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down or will this album go in different direction?

Doug: For three weeks in January we recorded it. We mixed it last week in New York with a fine gentleman called Henry Dobbins, who’s the producer and engineer on it. And yeah we’re really excited about it. I mean, it’s definitely still us, and it hasn’t really changed enormously, but it’s definitely more electric than the first record. Just really I guess a tip of the hat to some of the music that we’ve been listening to since we’ve recorded the first record. And maybe it’s slightly more experimental certainly with sounds anyway, and it’s slightly less precious. Like before we went to the studio we had time to really think about the sounds we wanted. And, you know, Charlie’s lyrics are recognizably Charlie’s lyrics. We’d never call it a concept album. It just doesn’t feel like that at all but the way the story runs kind of, well it is a narrative I suppose, or a thread that connects all the songs and I think that’s basically about the disillusion of a relationship. And then the other big plan for the record is Charlie’s making a film for it. So there’ll be a…well I guess you could call it a feature length music video that will run for the whole length of the album, so the album is effectively the soundtrack for the movie. So that’s exciting too, and that’s going to be filmed in April.

Baeble: Did you choose a title for that yet?

Doug: At the moment it’s probably going to be called First Days of Spring. Even though it’s coming out in, well summer here and probably September in the US. So it might be a bit incongruous, but yeah First Days of Spring it looks like.

Baeble: We here at Baeble are big fans of Laura Marling. Will she be again providing backup vocals on the new record?

Doug: No. I think Charlie made the decision basically to have no female vocals on it really, no backing vocals. It’s kind of just where the sound is. I mean I wouldn’t necessarily rule out future collaborations, but they’re both young songwriters so you know, Charlie produced her first record, and Laura sings on every track on our first record so I think it makes sense then to kind of move apart, in terms of recording. But she is actually in the process of sort of demoing her new stuff and it sounds pretty cool.

Baeble: Is it true that Charlie is also designing a T-shirt for the Yellow Bird Project?

Doug: [laughs] Yeah, I mean we all are. It’s a bit of a group effort. Yeah it’s going to happen. We keep coming up with an idea and then someone says no I don’t like that idea, so we haven’t settled on something final yet. But it’s a really great idea.

Baeble: How important is it for you guys to be involved in charity organizations like Yellow Bird?

Doug: I think it’s really important. We would give charity as individuals regardless of being in a band, but I think whatever walk of life you come from there is social responsibility. I think if you can exercise that purely through your bank account that’s fine, but if you can use yourwhatever credibility (you may have) as well I think that counts. I mean, we definitely don’t do as much as we’d like to do. But I mean, over Christmas we were doing demos for our first record and then we got some extra time so over the course of about 24 hours we did another album. We were just having some fun, and we call it our punk album [laughs]. It’s really just us doing some covers and some of our originals and we just called it the A-Sides. And then with Young and Lost Club (Records) we put that out over Christmas and did a gig, and all the profits from that went to a charity called Age Concern in the UK, which is basically for the elderly and disadvantaged people. So yeah I think it is important to have social responsibility wherever you come from really.

Baeble: We’ll that’s nice to hear that you guys did that.

Doug: Yeah you should check out the A-Sides, it’s good fun. There’s some tracks on the Myspace page.

Baeble: I definitely will. As a big Noah & the Whale fan I’d like to hear anything you guys put out. Finally, do you have any plans to play at any of the big Summer Festivals this year?

Doug: We are indeed. In the US we’re doing Coachella, which is going to be really great. And then we’re doing our tour off the back of that, that’s in April, so it isn’t really Summer, but it will feel like Summer for us. And then I think we’re due to do Lollapalooza as well in the US, but I don’t know if that’s been all confirmed yet. And in the UK and Europe we’ll do the usual round of festivals which should be good fun, it’s always good fun.

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Noah and the Whale on Myspace

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Written for The Yellow Bird Project:
December 26th, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner

Seasons Greetings My Merry Music Lovers,

The time is here, for my albums of the year. Sorry, Christmas makes me feel like rhyming. Anyways, I have finished my schooling and can once again indulge in the things I love (music, books other than textbooks etc). After much deliberation I have come up with a list of my top albums of the year. Like my list of my favourite songs of the year, the list is simply all my listens added up to see what I listened to the most throughout the year. I’m not saying these are the “best” albums, just my favourite. I think it’s pretty obvious what my album of the year is judging by my previous two lists (EPs and songs) and the picture at the top of this post which depicts a pretty fleet looking fox, but if you haven’t already figured it out, take a look:

20. Noah & The Whale – Peaceful The World Lays Me Down

To start us off is the debut album by a talented little group of music makers from England, Noah & The Whale. I love pretty much every song on the album, and Laura Marling’s beautiful voice sparkles here and there throughout the album, making it shine ever brighter. A promising start for these guys and I hope to hear a lot more from them in the future. I had the privilege of seeing them play live in New York City and wow what a show.

19. Tyler Ramsey – A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea

Next is an album that I listen to every time I have had the need to just take a step back and calm down a little while. It is by guitar extraordinaire Tyler Ramsey. Ramsey also serves as one of Band of Horses’ guitarist. A truly talented musician and a great debut album by him.

18. Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim

If you don’t know who Laura Marling is by now you must be living under a rock. Her debut album is just pure beauty, and she is only 18 years old. I can’t wait to see what she will have for us next. In her spare time she has been making guest appearances on the albums of some pretty awesome bands. Mystery Jets, Noah & The Whale and Mumford & Sons have all collaborated with Marling and it seems as if everything she touches turns to gold.

17. Plants & Animals – Parc Avenue

This one is the debut album from my fellow Montrealers, Plants & Animals. I fell in love with this album over the summer while I was interning in New York City. I remember strolling down 3rd avenue on bright sunny days listening to Parc Avenue. Good times. Ok I’ll stop being cheesy now. Seriously, this album is pretty incredible and if you haven’t already, you should give it a listen.

Plants & Animals – Feedback In The Field

16. Department of Eagles – In Ear Park

Number 16 on my list is by a band called Department of Eagles. If you are a fan of Grizzly Bear, then Department of Eagles is right up your alley. You see, the bands share the same lead singer, Daniel Rossen, and because of this have a similar sound. There are obviously differences between the two bands but I was really impressed with this album. “No One Does It Like You” is among my absolute favourite songs of the year.

Department of Eagles – No One Does It Like You

15. Horse Feathers – House With No Home

Number 15 is just a beautiful album that I listened to to death this year by a band called Horse Feathers.

Horse Feathers – This is What

14. Vampire Weekend – Self Titled

Vampire Weekend was another one of my bands of the summer. It’s funny, when I first listened to this album I wasn’t that impressed. Maybe I just felt like it didn’t live up to the hype. Then one day I just got it and it quickly became one of my favourites of the year.

13. The Dears – Missiles

The Dears are back and better than ever on their newest LP, MISSILES. The band has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, while keeping the foundation of Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak and adding an array of talented musicians from all different places. What we are left with is a group of seriously talented musicians who have created a really great album. This may in fact be my favourite Dears record to date.

12. Ratatat – LP3

I waited for this album to come out for so long that when it did come out I was so excited that I listened to it non-stop for weeks. That being said, it is quite the album. I don’t know how it ranks among the other two Ratatat albums but it is definately a fresh new sound for them that makes this album stand apart from the other two.

11. Blitzen Trapper – Furr

This was an album that I was reluctant to listen to at first, because I wasn’t crazy about Blitzen Trapper’s first release. But after hearing a couple of songs on satellite radio I decided to give it a try. I was happy I did because this album is pretty amazing. I had the chance to see them play when I went to see Fleet Foxes opening for them awhile ago, but I left after Fleet Foxes’ performance. Looks like that was a bad decision on my part.

Blitzen Trapper – Furr

10. Dr. Dog – Fate

Number 10 on my list is Dr. Dog’s album Fate. This is just an amazing album from start to finish. The highlights on it for me would have to be “The Old Days” and “The Breeze”, but every song on this album is worth a listen. Just an all around solid album.

9. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

You won’t find too many top album lists without this album on it. Bon Iver exploded onto the scene this year. Songs like “Flume” and “Skinny Love” have been permanently on my mind as I often find myself singing or humming them to myself. You can see how much bigger they got within the year. The first time I saw them play was at a small venue in Montreal called The Cabaret. A few weeks ago I saw them play in New York City at the prestigious City Hall, one of two sold out back to back shows at the same venue. By the way, have you seen the awesome design they did for YBP?

8. The Dodos – Visiter

Even though The Dodos album cover looks like it was created by a child, the album itself is as far from childish as it gets. These songs are rife with emotion, lead by the incredible guitar playing of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber’s tribal drumming. And as good as they sound on the album, you have to see them live to fully appreciate them. I was lucky enough to do so and all I have to say is…”The Season”.

7. Born Ruffians – Red, Yellow & Blue

I’m not sure how popular this album was because I don’t know that many people who listen to Born Ruffians but I was in love with this album the second I heard it and I am still in love with it today. “Little Garcon” is probably my favourite, but the rest of the album is great as well.

Born Ruffians – Barnacle Goose

5. Man Man – Rabbit Habits

What could possibly be bad about a new Man Man album? It seems as if these guys just get better and better with time. Their first album was okay, their second was great and their newest album, Rabbit Habits is stellar. What I love about Man Man is that they always keep you guessing. For example, who expected that amazing xylaphone action in “The ballad of Butterbeans”? This is another example of a band that is great on the album and even more amazing live. If you have a chance to see these guys live you must do so.

Man Man – The Ballad of Butter Beans

4. Pinback – Autumn of the Seraphs

This was arguably my most anticipated albums of the year. Pinback has been one of my all-time favourite bands for a long time now and the idea of a new Pinback album just gets my hyped. I don’t know if this album will go down as one of my favourite Pinback albums, but it is definitely worth a whole bunch of listens.

Pinback – Bouquet

3. Pete & The Pirates – Little Death

Number 3 on my list is a wonderful little album by some awesome Brits that go by the name of Pete & The Pirates. I really became obsessed with the album for a good while this year. I’m not sure what makes these guys so likable. Their music is just exciting. They might be my favourite British band of the year. They also have two new songs on their myspace page called “Blood Gets Thin” and “Jenny” that are worth a listen, check it out.

2. The Hush Sound – Goodbye Blues

The Hush Sound at number 2. Who would have thought. Their first two albums reminded me too much of Panic at the Disco, but on their newest album, Goodbye Blues, lead singer Greta Salpeter takes the reins and is featured much more prominently then the band’s other male singer. They may be too poppy for some, but I love it and think they are well deserving of my number 2 slot.

The Hush Sound – Break The Sky

1. Fleet Foxes – Self Titled

Fleet Who? Ya right. This has been the year of the Foxes. Throughout the year we have been treated to one of the best EPs of the year, in the Sun Giant EP, as well as an amazing debut self-titled LP by Fleet Foxes. Songs like “Mykonos”, “White Winter Hymnal”, “Your Protector” and “Oliver James” have been on continuous repeat throughout the year and I was lucky enough to see them play live twice in Montreal. I’m so excited about this band and what will come from them in the future.

Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal

Fleet Foxes – He Doesn’t Know Why

So there you have it. Fleet Foxes sweep the series. They have produced my favourite EP, LP and song of the year. I’m so happy for these guys. Now I would like to pay tribute to a few more albums that either just missed the top 20 or were released too soon to be a part of this year’s list. Here are some albums that deserve honorable mention…

Yeasayer – All Hour Symbols

Girl Talk – Feed The Animals

Santogold – Santogold

The Tallest Man on Earth – Shallow Graves

Alaska in Winter – Holidays

The Welcome Wagon – Welcome to the Welcome Wagon

Tv On The Radio – Dear Science

Radiohead – In Rainbows

Now that you know pretty much everything that I listened to throughout the year it’s your turn! What are your top albums of the year? I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve forgotten.

Until next week…

The Middle Distance Runner

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This weekend just keeps getting better. I saw Noah and the Whale Thursday night, and last night I saw one of my favourite Canadian singer/songwriters, Basia Bulat. The venue itself was kind of crappy. Table seating, 10 dollar minimum per person for food or beverages. If you didn’t want to eat or drink you had to stand at the bar at the back of the venue. Not to mention the waitress asking you mid-song if you would like anything else. But I guess they don’t care about the show, they just want to make money. Besides the venue’s unpleasantness, the show itself was excellent. The sound was great and Basia was incredible! There was no opener planned for the show, so Basia’s sound guy came out and played 4 or 5 songs to get the night started, and was actually really good. Then after waiting for about 20 minutes to a half an hour (probably the venue’s idea to get people to buy more food and drinks) Basia took the stage with her band, comprised of a keyboardist, a violinist, a flutist and a drummer, who was in fact Basia’s brother. They played pretty much every song off of her excellent debut album, Oh, My Darling, Basia switching effortlessly between her acoustic guitar, autoharp and even ukelele when playing the song “Before I Knew”. She even played a couple of her songs that I have never heard before along with an excellent cover of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”. What I loved most about Basia’s performance was how appreciative she was of the fans in attendance. She didn’t stop thanking the crowd who cheered rapturously after every song. She just seemed genuinely happy to be there and happy to be playing in front of all of those in attendance. I chatted with Basia for a few minutes after the show, and she told me that she was headed to Montreal to do some recording. Hopefully this means a new album is in the works! I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait to hear it, whatever it is.

And finally I would like to wish Basia luck in winning the 2008 Polaris Music Prize. She has made it to the top 10 finalists, and I really hope she gets it…I’m rooting for ya Basia!

Here are some pics from the show:

And some videos:

“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” (Bob Dylan Cover):

“Little Waltz” (sorry about the guy who keeps coughing):

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I just saw Noah & The Whale play at Sidewalk Cafe in New York City. Wow what a show! This was my first time at Sidewalk Cafe, and I must say it was quite the interesting place. The show area was really tiny and the stage could barely contain the 6 members of NATW. But the myriad of instruments covering the walls set the tone for what was to be a great night of music. The opener was Canadian singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega. I had never heard of her up until tonight but I was really impressed by her performance. She has a little bit of a country feel to her, and her voice is amazing. I definitely suggest you check her out. And if you are planning to see Noah & The Whale at any of their next 9 gigs Lindi will be opening. And she is Canadian, enough said.

Only a few minutes after Lindi finished her set and the tip jar was passed around to collect donations, Noah & The Whale took the stage. It’s a good thing they weren’t joined on stage by Laura Marling, who sings beautifully all over their debut album, Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down, because that stage was SMALL! Anyways, what first surprised me about the band was how young they appeared. They just sound so mature on the album that I figured they would be older. But this was not the case. They are a band of fresh faced young britts, who make some of the catchiest music I have heard in a long time. I wasn’t sure how big of a following they have on this side of the world but it seems that word travels fast, because the place was packed. And there were even people singing along and loving every minute of it, as I was. They played most of my favourite songs including “2 Atoms in a Molecule”, “5 Years Time” and “Give A Little Love”. They also played a couple of new songs, including one from their side project punk band the A-Sides. In the encore they gave the fans the choice of either hearing their song “Mary” or a Smiths cover. Since the audience was split between the two they decided to play both, starting with a revamped version of “Mary” and finished with an awesome cover of the Smiths’ “Girlfriend in a Coma”. It was all in all a great show and I can’t wait to see them again.

The show was free (with a suggested donation of $5.00 per person), and it was the first of NATW’s 3 shows in NYC this weekend. Tomorrow (Saturday), they are playing at the Virgin Megastore in Union Square during the day and then at night they are playing at Mercury Lounge. And Monday night they are playing at Les Saints in Montreal so I’m hoping to check that show out as well. After that they have a slew of upcoming dates if you would like to check them out (which I strongly suggest you do). here they are:

Sep 19 2008 12:30P
Virgin Union Square (Instore) New York
Sep 19 2008 8:00P
Mercury Lounge New York, NY
Sep 20 2008 2:00P
Newbury Comics Boston/Norwood, Massachusetts
Sep 20 2008 8:00P
Toad (FREE SHOW) Boston, MA
Sep 22 2008 8:00P
The Saint (FREE SHOW) Montreal, Que
Sep 23 2008 8:00P
Horseshoe Tavern (FREE SHOW) Toronto, ONT
Sep 25 2008 9:00P
Av-Aerie (ALL AGES) Chicago, IL
Sep 26 2008 6:00P
Reckless Records (Instore) Chicago, Illinois
Sep 26 2008 8:00P
Empty Bottle Chicago, IL
Sep 29 2008 8:00P
Chop Suey (FREE SHOW) Seattle, WA
Sep 30 2008 8:00P
Doug Fir (FREE SHOW) Portland, OR
Oct 2 2008 6:00P
Amoeba Music (Instore) San Francisco, California
Oct 2 2008 8:00P
Pop Scene at 330 Ritch San Francisco, CA
Oct 4 2008 8:00P
Detour Festival Los Angeles, CA
Oct 6 2008 8:00P
Spaceland (FREE SHOW) Los Angeles, CA
Oct 11 2008 8:00P
Barfly – GONZO ON TOUR Birmingham
Oct 19 2008 8:00P
Students Union Loughborough
Oct 20 2008 12:00A
*****NOAH AND THE WHALE HEADLINE TOUR***** UK
Oct 20 2008 8:00P
Zodiac Oxford
Oct 21 2008 8:00P
The Duchess York
Oct 22 2008 8:00P
The Cockpit Leeds
Oct 24 2008 8:00P
Fat Sams Dundee
Oct 25 2008 8:00P
The Arches Glasgow
Oct 26 2008 8:00P
Liquid Rooms Edinburgh
Oct 27 2008 8:00P
Academy 3 *SOLD OUT* Manchester
Oct 28 2008 8:00P
Whelans Dublin
Oct 29 2008 8:00P
The Limelight Belfast
Oct 31 2008 8:00P
MTV Liverpool Music Week @ Bumper Liverpool
Nov 1 2008 8:00P
Recue Rooms Nottingham
Nov 2 2008 8:00P
Phoenix Exeter
Nov 3 2008 8:00P
Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth
Nov 4 2008 8:00P
Waterfront Norwich
Nov 6 2008 8:00P
Koko *SOLD OUT* London
Nov 7 2008 8:00P
Concorde 2 Brighton
Nov 8 2008 8:00P
Kasbah Coventry
Nov 9 2008 8:00P
Thekla *SOLD OUT* Bristol
Nov 10 2008 8:00P
Junction Cambridge
Nov 11 2008 8:00P
Glee Club Birmingham
Nov 12 2008 8:00P
Leadmill Sheffield
Nov 13 2008 8:00P
The Old Fire Station Bournemouth

Here are some pics from the show:

And finally, here is a video of them performing a new song that I don’t know the name of:

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Well hello there!

I have finally recovered from my jet lag and have come across my good friend Casey’s lap top, so I can finally give you a little update. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to post a song of the week for last week, but this week when I get home friday I will post one. It will almost definately be Radiohead. But I will commit to nothing.

So in between my seeing of sights, I managed to go to a really cool record store called Rough Trade Records. That store made almost every record store that I’ve ever been to look like shit! Seriously, this store was chalk full of the absolute best music. Not only that, but they have live concerts at the store pretty much every day! Coming up in the store are performances by Johnny Flynn, Noah and the Whale, Dengue Fever the Hold Steady, and many others. In short, it’s an amazing record shop.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to a lot of Radiohead, MGMT and Mum. And I’m seeing Holly Throsby in concert on Wednesday, so I’m really excited about that!

Hopefully, I will be able to update again before I get home on Friday. But who knows! All i know for sure is I’m going in Buckinham Palace and to Abbey Road.

Bye!

P.S.

Have you seen this video yet?

That song is on Holly’s new album, entitled “A Loud Call”. It came out just a few days ago so go pick yourself up a copy!

Ta!

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