If I had to pick my favourite product from any category of skincare, it would probably go to cleanser. There's nothing like starting the day with a refreshing cleanse to wash the tiredness away and in the evenings when I come home, I can't relax properly until my face is rid of every trace of makeup. Even on the laziest of nights when all I want to do is curl up in bed, it's something I'm still very diligent about, so much so, that when my friend slept over a couple of weeks ago, I was horrified when she crashed into bed, no hesitation! Just recently, my best friend even texted to tell me she had been washing her face every night and how proud I'd be!Read More
Every year seems to flash right before my very eyes and here we are coming towards the end of the first month of 2017. Can you believe it? I definitely didn't mean to go this long without blogging, but between work, my social life and waiting for good lighting to take photos, blogging had to take a bit of a backseat this month. I'm really excited to get back into it all again though! While everyone turns over a new leaf and strives to do better with their New Year's resolutions, I wanted to shift that focus onto the things I have accomplished. The feeling of beating oneself up for the things we didn't achieve is all too familiar and after a not-so-great 2016, I needed to bring in some positivity. It's so easy to get caught up in our failures, but as I began to look more closely, I realised that there were some small victories I accomplished that to me, are still worth celebrating.Read More
Well, we've finally made it to the end of 2016 and I'm very much looking forward to the fresh start a new year brings. It goes without saying that it's been a rough year and my heart feels heavy, not just for my own personal loss, but for those around me and even the ones who aren't. The whole world suffered and experienced some sort of tragedy this year and though I feel a little cynical as to how 2017 is going to pan out, I'm still trying my best to be hopeful that it'll bring about better days.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas last week! It was my first time spending the festive season away from my family (due to work commitments), but I still had a lovely time celebrating Friendmas with one of my workmates. We cooked way too much food and it's been nice vegging out on leftovers for the past week, not having to cook or buy groceries! We chilled out at my place watching Christmas movies all day long, but I have to admit, by the end of it, I did feel a little sad and alone. I'm okay now, but I'm glad the holidays are over. I'm definitely not the "OMG Christmas!!!" type.
While many people take time off during this time of year, it's my busiest (yay, retail!) and it's been manic trying to get this month's blog posts up on time. From waking up early to take photos, coming home after to work to take more (thank you, Daylight Savings) and staying up late typing away, blogging almost feels like a whole other job sometimes! But in the best way possible, of course. I don't mind pushing myself every now and then. I'm still disappointed I didn't post all that I wanted to in December and even overall this year, I published only 49 posts in 2016, which doesn't seem like a lot at all (I didn't even watch as many movies as I usually do, but I then remembered I spent a good portion of the year binge-watching Frasier and Orange is the New Black, to which I have no regrets). Having said that, I worked my butt off this month and even if I didn't get as many blog posts up as I'd have liked to this year, I think the overall quality of them really picked up. My numbers still barely grew across my social media channels, but I've never felt more content with my voice here and if I'm proud of what I do, who cares about the rest, right? I think my writing improved this year and as I began taking more photos for each blog post and experimenting with vertical images, I think my photography did too. It's been a challenging year and a tiring month, so I'll probably take a week or two off from blogging in January, but don't fret. I've got some pretty fun posts planned for 2017 and I'm very much looking forward to my sixth year of blogging.
I saw Chairlift live earlier in the month and they were absolutely incredible! Not only was Caroline Polachek's voice as beautiful as ever, but she had some great dance moves too. Touring Australia for the release of their latest album, Moth, the gig made me fall in love with the record even more and I just love when live music has that effect. I was shocked and devastated, however, to read just a couple of days later that they had broken up and that Moth would be their last. Chairlift have made some of the most fun and uplifting indie pop music and though I'm sad to say goodbye to one of my favourite bands, I'm glad that I got to see them live for one final hurrah and that they went out on top.
In new releases, I listened to Sleigh Bells' album, Jessica Rabbit, as well as Childish Gambino's, Awaken, My Love!, both of which were a little disappointing, to be honest. I was so looking forward to the new Childish Gambino record, but I don't know, I guess the album took on a whole different sound, which wasn't really to my tastes. I feel like so many of my favourite bands and artists evolved musically this year, yet I don't think it was for the better! Kate Tempest's new album, Let Them Eat Chaos, was one I really enjoyed, however. Being a poet, she has such a way with words and I love the way she speaks up about important global social issues.
I finally gave into the hype and listened to Frank Ocean this month. Although electronic music is mostly my jam, I'm slowly returning to my early 2000s roots of R&B and hip hop. The general consensus seems to be that his first album, channel ORANGE, is this otherworldly, god-like creation, but for me, I actually prefer this year's release, Blonde. I think Blonde has more of an electronic sound, which obviously makes it more my thing. I finally see why he's so loved now.
At the beginning of the month, I made my summer playlist on Spotify and I'm in love with the way it turned out. There are so many bangers on it and being my favourite season, this music totally lifts my spirits and has me dreaming of the sun. There's chilled out, lazy summer day tunes, as well as some upbeat, dancey numbers, so whatever your preference is, I hope you find something you like if you give it a listen. Making playlists is so much fun for me; I love gathering together all my favourite tunes and ordering them in a way that's harmonious and sounds good all together.
Film and television
I finished watching Absolutely Fabulous this month and though this isn't usually the way with TV shows, I think I enjoyed the later seasons more than the earlier ones. I can't say it's the most laugh-out-loud funny programme I've watched; it was a bit too over-the-top for me at times, but it's nevertheless a classic and I can't wait to watch the movie soon.
Apart from Christmas films, the only other movie I watched was Me Before You, which was just your standard romance and there was nothing particularly spectacular about it. How fun are Christmas movies though? Every year without fail, I'll always watch Home Alone, which is my favourite; both this and the sequel are just timeless and such '90s classics. I also watched Elf, which I hadn't seen in forever and I can't believe I ever forgot how good it is! I couldn't stop laughing. Having said that, I did fall asleep towards the end of the movie, but if you don't take a nap post-Christmas feed, then you're doing the holidays wrong.
Around the web
- Sali Hughes' article, Getting Ready to Go Out En Masse is the Ultimate Female Bonding Ritual, was such a lovely read. I felt reminiscent of my clubbing days in my late teens to early twenties and though I love YouTube 'Get Ready with Me' videos, nothing compares to the real life version.
- Jennifer Aniston guest starred on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update alongside Vanessa Bayer's intimation of Rachel Green and it's the best thing ever. Love her.
- CHVRCHES performed their song, Bury It, for Pitchfork.tv and it's so much fun! I love Lauren Mayberry so much.
- A lawsuit has been filed against St. Ives for the damaging effects of their classic Apricot Scrub. Let's forget that time when I was 17 and used it as my everyday cleanser!
To end my last post of 2016, I just want to take a moment to thank you all for reading and commenting on my blog throughout the year. It means the world to have you guys support this hobby of mine I love so dearly and this little community really does bring me so much joy. Tonight, I'm going out for dinner and drinks, and to watch fireworks with friends, and however you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve, have fun and stay safe! See you all in 2017! Let’s hope it’s a good one.
It was another great year in beauty for me across skincare and haircare. As I really focused on using things up, my skincare routine went through a bit of an overhaul and I welcomed many new products into my beauty stash. There were first forays into brands I had been eager to try for quite some time (I'm mostly talking about Glossier here) and I even felt like I started listening to my skin more, while less on the opinions of others. I'm well and truly aware that I can be a sucker for blogger hype, but I think I've also learnt where to draw the line. I'm going to continue this approach to beauty in 2017 and to wrap up yearly favourites posts, here are my skincare and haircare highlights of 2016.
I think it goes without saying that the standout skincare brand of 2016 goes to Glossier. As soon as they released their Milky Jelly Cleanser last year, I was all over them and mid-year, I used a US mail forwarding service to finally get my hands on some of their dreamy products. Milky Jelly Cleanser is wonderfully gentle on the skin and whilst still removing every trace of makeup, it has a mild rose scent, which makes my heart sing as one of my favourite scents ever. Moisturising Moon Mask and Mega Greens Galaxy Pack are the two face masks within the Glossier skincare lineup; the former being a cooling and hydrating one, while the latter working to detox and clarify the skin. I bought these in replacement of other masks I had used up (the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask and REN Clarimatte Invisible Pores Detox Mask) and the Glossier offerings are by far superior. The Glossier Balm Dot Com became my go-to lip balm of 2016 and as I mentioned in my An Introduction to Glossier post, to me, are the Lip Smackers for the millennial. I have the unscented Balm Dot Com, as well as the Coconut Balm Dot Com and I can't wait to try the Rose one next. Contained in the cutest pink packaging, Glossier is fuss-free, effortless beauty, which is what I really appreciate about the brand.
Along with the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, I introduced another two cleansers into my skincare routine (it's probably my favourite skincare product to try); the NUDE Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly and the REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk. The NUDE Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly is more or less the same as Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel, only it's contained within a squeeze tube and smells different, though equally as pleasant. Needless to say, I adore this stuff and I would definitely repurchase it. Milky cleansers are my favourite for the second step in my double cleanse and the REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk is perfect for just that. I love that this doesn't feel at all stripping on the skin and when it comes to cleansing, I much prefer to keep things simple and gentle.
During the harsh, cold winter halfway through the year, I went through a troublesome phase with my skin where I kept breaking out, but luckily, the Avéne TriAcnéal EXPERT* came to the rescue. It's specifically formulated to deal with adult acne and even with a lightweight texture, I found it moisturising enough in the cold weather. I'll be keeping this around just in case those pesky blemishes make a return! After I used up my Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF 30+, I bought the To Save Face Superscreen SPF 50+ to replace it. In Australia where the sun is at its harshest, a good SPF is vital and I've been using the Mecca Cosmetica offerings for years. Apart from the SPF factor, there's no real difference between the two except for the colour (the Superscreen looks like a tinted moisturiser, though doesn't actually contain any pigment). It's non-greasy, non-whitening and I appreciate that it also contains wonderful ingredients like hyaluronic acid, pomegranate extract and vitamin E for an extra skincare treat.
The Oskia Renaissance Mask* was a product that came into my possession last year, but as I was using up my REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, I only began using it this year. It looks and smells like their cult Renaissance Cleansing Gel, and works to resurface and brighten the skin for a more radiant complexion. Whenever my skin is looking dull or lacklustre, I know I can rely on this mask to turn things around. After I used up my Nuxe Contour des Yeux Prodigieux, I bought the Hylamide SubQ Eyes, which while I initially loved at first, ended up being too harsh for my skin and making my eyelids really dry and patchy. It was awful and something I'd never experienced before. I've since passed it onto Jess and I now use the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream, which has a beautiful silk-like texture and is really gentle. I haven't had it for too long, but it's already helped repair my sore eyelids and though it's quite pricey, you only need the tiniest amount of product, so it'll last you a fair while.
In body skincare bits, I tried out two shower products; the Philosophy Coconut Frosting Shower Gel and the Lush The Comforter Shower Cream. I choose my shower products purely based on scent and they're both absolutely delicious, while lathering up really nicely too. I also enjoy the thicker consistency to the Lush Shower Cream as it makes it something a little more luxurious.
I'm not usually one to try out lots of different haircare products, but I somehow ended up introducing a fair few new items into my routine this year. The first 2016 haircare highlight goes to the Davines LOVE Smoothing Shampoo* and Conditioner*, which is formulated for frizzy and dry hair types, and really helps to nourish and soften my tresses. The cute minimalistic packaging is something I really love too.
After I used up my Ojon Rare Blend Protecting Treatment, I decided to try the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Primer after hearing so many rave reviews. This is by far the best hair protectant I've ever used, not to mention it smells incredible and definitely lives up to the hype. In other haircare treatments, I also really loved the Sachajuan Hair Repair and Philip Kingsley Scalp Toner. As I mentioned, my hair is frizzy and dry, as well as really thick, and the Sachajuan Hair Repair works to hydrate it and restore shine. It's pretty intensive stuff, so I don't use it all the time, but when I do, my hair loves it. My scalp is a little on the sensitive side, so whenever it gets a bit itchy or flakey, I have the Philip Kingsley Scalp Toner to soothe and refresh it. Providing a pleasant tingly sensation, it even promotes hair growth, which is always an added bonus, especially for someone like me whose hair grows super slow.
What were your favourite skincare and haircare products in 2016?
I think 2016 was the year I truly found my personal style with beauty. As I developed a better understanding of the brands I love, the type of products I enjoy using and what works well for me, the past 366 days really brought about some standout additions to my collection and I probably even decluttered and used up a whole lot more. While everyone seems to do their yearly favourites posts differently, I limit mine to the products that were new to me, otherwise I'd just be repeating myself every single year! (If you want to see my holy grail products, you can take a look at my Favourites page). I've featured almost every single product that I bought throughout the year in this post just because it's very rare that I buy things I'm not impressed with (if I'm going to part with my money, I'm going to make damn sure it's worth it!), so while 2016 was mostly a sombre year, at least there was beauty to spark a little joy. Across makeup, nails and fragrance, here is what I considered the best in 2016.
Starting off with base, there was only one product new to me this year; the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer. I think it even surpassed my love for the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, which is really saying something. It's creamy, perfect for both under the eyes and blemishes, and feels really nourishing on my dehydrated skin. There were no other base products that I tried in 2016 as I'm really happy with the ones I already own, I didn't feel the need to go out and buy anything else, but who knows what 2017 will bring!
Moving onto cheeks, my mum bought me the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light for Christmas last year, and though it was too late in the year for it to make it into 2015's makeup favourites, I've loved it all throughout 2016. As I have yellow-toned skin, I just adore the warmth and glow this brings to my complexion. Bronzer had always been a product that intimidated me, but since falling in love with this Hourglass offering, I've now come to appreciate a good bronzer, so much so, I bought the Tom Ford Small Bronzing Powder in Terra in the middle of the year. If you prefer something subtle like I do, this comes highly recommended from me. 2016 was the year I finally got into contouring too. I'm really not a fan of that super sharp, chiseled out cheeks look, but I just couldn't resist the rave reviews on the Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium any longer. I use it sparingly for a more natural contour and it looks so effortless, yet put together all at the same time.
Two blushes came into my possession in 2016; the Too Faced Love Flush Blush in Baby Love and Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blusher in First Love. Both slightly shimmering nudes, I'm now really satisfied with my blush collection and have no desire to obtain anymore in the New Year. In highlighters, there were another two products I bought this year too; the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal and Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight. I bought the full size BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl last year, so I decided I only needed the mini of Opal and I just adore the warm tones in this one. I mostly wear the Shimmering Skin Perfectors underneath or mixed in with my foundation, and adding such luminosity to the complexion, they make dreamy highlighters too. If you appreciate a subtle highlight, you'll love The Celestial Powder in Candlelight. It's not going to give you super glowy cheekbones, but it's enough for a natural-looking radiance.
Along with bronzer and contour, I also got into warm-toned eyeshadows in 2016. My lovely friend Jess picked up a few MAC eyeshadows for me during her trip to the US at the end of last year and they came into my possession at the beginning of this year. I simply love Soft Brown and Brown Script (I don't think this shade is available in Australia, as I could only find it on the MAC US website) and the cooler shades, Era and Mystery are really beautiful too. Here's hoping 2017 will be the year I finally complete my MAC palettes! Apart from the first two Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palettes, pre-made palettes have never been something to grab my attention, but it was pretty much love at first sight when I spotted the Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Palette in Sephora. Though it was the cool-toned eyeshadows that initially lured me in, the warm-tones are really something too and you get the best of both worlds with this one. It's very rare to find a palette where you'd use every single shade. I really don't care about the new Naked Palettes Urban Decay keep releasing, though I did fall for an older one; the Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette. It's travel-friendly and with a variety of transition, crease and liner shades, it's the perfect accompaniment for any shimmery eyeshadow. Another Urban Decay eyeshadow that was a favourite of mine this year is their Moondust Eyeshadow in Diamond Dog. Although it only recently came into my possession, I'm already absolutely in love. It's the most stunning glittery brown-taupe that glistens and sparkles so beautifully and is so perfect for the festive season.
2016 was all about the nude lips, though I do want to get back into wearing reds and vampy shades more next year. I miss them! MAC's Lipstick in Spirit is another product Jess picked up for me from the US (MAC is way too expensive to buy full-priced in Australia) and it's my perfect '90s brown nude. After falling head over heels with Charlotte Tilbury lip products last year, another two were added to my collection this year; the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Iconic Nude and Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria. Together or on their own, they're the most beautiful brown-nude shades and really flatter my medium skin tone. Two NARS standouts of the year were the Pure Matte Lipstick in Tonkin and Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, which are both really easy and effortless everyday lip colours for work. I've got the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Walkyrie and Satin Lip Pencil in Bansar on next year's wishlist! I finally splurged on a Tom Ford lipstick this year, adding the Ultra-Rich Lip Colour in Revolve Around Me to my collection. A satiny pink-nude, it's hydrating and comfortable on the lips and can we take a moment to appreciate that packaging? I die.
Like lips, nails in 2016 were all about the nudes too. I picked up Essie's Nail Colour in Lady Like during one of Priceline's 40% off sales earlier in the year and described as "an elegant soft mauve", it's super flattering against my skin tone. OPI's Nail Lacquer in Barefoot in Barcelona is a deeper, more sultry nude and one that I think looks utterly sophisticated and elegant. The Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Mink Brulee was a super sweet and generous birthday present from my friend Jennifer, and is by far, the star nail polish of 2016. It's more or less the same colour as Barefoot in Barcelona, only a touch warmer and lighter, and the quality is simply outstanding. A friend of mine thought I'd had Shellac done when I wore it out to dinner!
There was however, one colourful nail polish highlight of the year, which goes to the Essie Nail Colour in Go Ginza. I picked this up when I got Lady Like and described as a "soft cherry blossom pink" (though I think it veers more on the lavender side), it's super fun and playful. I love soft, pastel colours on the nails.
Fragrance in 2016 was an absolute winner. I mean, does it really get any better than Byredo, Tom Ford and Diptyque? I sure spoiled myself this year! I'd been wanting a Byredo fragrance for the longest time, partly for the exquisite minimalist style bottle, part because their scents are truly something unique and niche. I chose their Bal d'Afrique EDP and I'm utterly, utterly in love. Said to be inspired by "the decadence, euphoria and romance of late 1920s Paris" (as if a perfume could be any dreamier!), it reveals notes of heavy cedar and vetiver, and to me, is perfect all-year round.
Like you would expect from anything created by Tom Ford, his Black Orchid EDP is sexy, sultry and sweet. It contains notes of black truffle, black orchid, black plum, noir gourmand accord and patchouli, evoking the utmost sophistication and glamour. Every time I smell this, a part of me dies and goes to Heaven and I can't believe something so beautiful exists in the world.
Diptyque's Philosykos EDT was a beautiful birthday present from my mum. "A true celebration of the magnificent fig tree on a summers day in Greece", Philosykos is crisp and fresh-smelling, which makes it perfect for this time of year. I've been wearing it non-stop since I received it and it's truly been this year's go-to spring/summer scent.
What were your favourite makeup products, nail polishes and fragrances of 2016?
As the year draws nearer to a close, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's happy to say goodbye to the shitstorm that was 2016. Both personally and on a global scale, 2016 brought about some dark times and to tell you the truth, I don't think things were any better musically either. I began my yearly Top 10 Albums just last year as I was really excited by the music of 2015, but this year, I found it a little harder to compile my favourites as I was mostly let down by my most highly anticipated albums; the new releases from Radiohead, Glass Animals, M83, Jagwar Ma and Banks just didn't deliver like I'd hoped. In the spirit of keeping positive, however, there were definitely still some musical highlights from 2016 and it was putting this post together that in fact, actually made me appreciate this year's album releases even more so. There's a reoccurring theme in this year's top ten albums; it's entirely comprised of '80s-inspired synth and dream pop music, but what can I say, that's the best kind of music. With my beauty favourites of the year to follow suit soon, here's the best music that 2016 had to offer.
10. Tycho - Epoch
I'm not going to lie, I was quite disappointed when I first listened to Epoch, but upon giving it a chance with a couple more listens, Tycho's third full-length album grew on me, so much so, it sneakily made its way into my top 10. Epoch just doesn't have those same hazy, dreamy vibes found in in his previous two albums, Dive and Awake; it veers more on the indie rock side at times (Slack reminds me a lot of Tame Impala) and though I do enjoy the genre, it's the downtempo and ambient sounds that made me fall in love with Tycho all those years ago. Nevertheless, it's still a solid effort comprised of easy going tunes that are perfect for chilling out to.
9. Memoryhouse - Soft Hate
I'd seen the name Memoryhouse floating around on my favourite music blogs for quite some time and I finally decided to give them a listen at the end of last year. I was immediately impressed when I first heard Dream Shake, the lead single off what was then their upcoming LP, Soft Hate, and upon listening to the rest of the sophomore album when it was released earlier in the year, I really fell in love with the Canadian dream pop duo. To me, Denise Nouvion's vocals are very similar to that of Zooey Deschanel's and while their previous album, The Slideshow Effect, was a little more chilled out (it's been compared to Beach House, who are one of my favourite bands), I much prefer the upbeat, new wave sounds of Soft Hate. It's also got some shoegaze elements to it too, which I just love as it's another one of my favourite music genres.
8. Nite Jewel - Liquid Cool
There's something a little moodier and more eerie in Nite Jewel's third album, Liquid Cool. The poppy, more upbeat style of the second album, One Second of Love, can be attributed to the unfair demands of her record label, who wanted to take her music in a different direction, but in this release, Nite Jewel, alias of Ramona Gonzalez, really stands her ground and I'm a much bigger fan of this record. Delivering us the goods with those '80s-style shimmering synths that I just adore, I wasn't expecting to love Liquid Cool as much as I do, but as it's ethereal and a little bit ghostly in sound, those hypnotic vibes make it something so delicious and a little bit different to the usual synthpop music I gravitate towards.
7. Postiljonen - Reverie
Similarly with Epoch by Tycho, I wasn't really feeling Reverie upon my initial listen of the album, but this one eventually grew on me too. I think because I consume so much music, an album has to immediately grab my attention for it to be good, but I've now realised that not all good music works that way. I also consider their debut album, Skyer, to be one of my all-time favourites, so I naturally went in with such high expectations for Reverie, which sadly, weren't quite lived up to. The sophomore album lacks the intensity and grandeur of their stellar first release, but Postiljonen still return in Reverie with those ethereal, atmospheric vibes and cheesy '80s saxophone sounds (I bloody love me some sax!) that made me fall in love with Swedish trio to begin with. The combination of chilled out tunes with upbeat, dancey numbers means I get the best of both worlds in this record too.
6. Wild Nothing - Life of Pause
I got into Wild Nothing a few years ago when my sister recommended them to me and she was absolutely spot on when she said she thought I'd like their music. What started off as a one-man "bedroom" project by Jack Tatum (the first record, 2010's Gemini, was recorded in his dorm room), Wild Nothing is now a full-blown band with studio records behind their name, and although Life of Pause doesn't quite do it for me the way the debut and sophomore release, Nocturne did, the third record is still nevertheless full of those catchy dream pop sounds that I just adore. With Wild Nothing's lush, synthy soundscapes, the album draws heavily on '80s new wave (think The Cure and Cocteau Twins), yet Life of Pause is still something a little bit different to me.
5. Shura - Nothing's Real
It's only been a couple of weeks since I first discovered Shura, yet she's already made it to my top ten and become one of my favourite artists of the year. I was browsing around Topshop when What's It Gonna Be? came on and I immediately had to whip out my phone for Shazam and find out what incredible song was playing. It's now my new summer jam for 2016; it's catchy dance pop at its best and just completely lifts my spirits. My love for '80s-inspired synthpop is well documented throughout my blog and Shura's debut album, Nothing's Real, fits the bill perfectly. The whole record feels like a throwback to old school Madonna ('80s Madonna is the best Madonna) with those fun, upbeat and highly infectious beats, though even the slower, more chilled out songs like Kidz 'N' Stuff and 2Shy are still absolute bangers.
4. Still Corners - Dead Blue
Still Corners have been around for a few years now, though I only discovered them this year through one of my favourite music blogs, Gorilla vs. Bear. While their past albums, 2011's Creatures of an Hour and 2013's Strange Pleasures, were more on the upbeat side, the London-based synthpop duo take on a darker, more ominous approach in their third record, Dead Blue. I'm usually disappointed when my favourite bands and artists develop a new sound, but I have to say, the dark wave genre really fits Still Corners and I've really been digging these haunting and mysterious '80s-like tunes. Said to be inspired by sci-fi soundtracks, I get some Stranger Things vibes from Dead Blue (particularly in the track, Lost Boys, which could also be inspired by the '80s film of the same name) and I think this is Still Corners' best work yet.
3. Chairlift - Moth
Chairlift's previous release, 2012's Something, is one of my favourite albums of all time, so I was pretty excited when the news of a new record being released this year broke. Like Something, Moth is sugary sweet synthpop and although it slightly misses the mark and doesn't quite live up to their last record for me, it's still nevertheless a really solid effort that I think shows off Caroline Polachek's vocal range so much more (she's trained in opera) and really encompasses her true talent as a singer. Moth is fun, poppy and playful, and if this album doesn't make you want to get up and dance, I don't know what will! It's also sadly Chairlift's last as just a few days ago, the two members, Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly announced their split to focus on their separate careers. Check out Caroline's Polachek's The Top Shelf on Into the Gloss too. It doesn't get any better than music and makeup.
2. DIIV - Is the Is Are
When I think of DIIV (pronounced dive), I'm instantly taken back to last summer when I saw them live twice in February, both at their St. Jerome's Laneway Festival set and sideshow. There's something so fun and carefree about their music, which makes me nostalgic for the sun and although I've loved listening to Is the Is Are all-year round, Under the Sun and Dopamine are the best summer jams to turn up during this time of year. The long-awaited follow up to their debut album, Oshin, it felt like Is the Is Are would never make it out into the world, but it was absolutely worth the wait when it was finally released. With those hazy, grungy lo-fi hooks, there's something so '90s-sounding about DIIV and the sophomore album does deal with the pretty dark subject matter of drug addiction, which is speculated to be the reason why the band sadly had to cancel their European tour earlier in the year. Naturally, the album gets pretty moody at times, but I love the range of emotions Is the Is Are evokes.
1. Yumi Zouma - Yoncalla
I discovered Yumi Zouma back in 2014 (again, through Gorilla vs. Bear) when I decided to give them a listen simply because I liked the album art to their first EP. I don't really know what I was expecting, but needless to say, I fell absolutely in love and I now call them one of my favourite bands of all time. The Kiwi quartet released a second EP last year (both of which I've had on constant repeat) and came back just as strong this year with their debut full-length, Yoncalla. Christie Simpson's soft, feminine vocals complement those atmospheric chilled out vibes and dreamy synthpop tunes so beautifully; the whole album making the perfect accompaniment to any lazy Sunday afternoon. Dream pop never sounded better.
Non-LP releases I enjoyed from 2016
1. Cut Copy - January Tape 2. Lastlings - Unreality EP 3. Kllo - Well Worn EP 4. HAERTS - Power / Land EP 5. Future Unlimited - Calm Down EP 6. Stranger Things Soundtrack 7. Foals - Rain / Daffodils 7" 8. Day Wave - Hard to Read EP
What was your favourite music from 2016?