International Music Spotlight: Bring Me the Horizon (UK)

Hello again!

In highlighting different music artists from around the world, I also wanted to take a minute to talk about Bring Me the Horizon. Though they are definitely more well-known than some of the other acts I’ve featured, their influence on the rock scene is too great not to make note of.

Bring Me the Horizon is a rock band originally formed in Sheffield, UK in 2004, and their current lineup consists of vocalist Oliver Sykes, guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls, and keyboard/synth player Jordan Fish. While they have undergone many stylistic changes throughout their career, with earlier records having a metalcore vibe (in other words, lots of crunching guitars and screaming vocals), they started to veer into more commercial hard-rock territory on 2013’s Sempiternal, which was my introduction to the band since that was around the time I started listening to that type of music. They have since taken on somewhat of a more alternative/pop-leaning sound on some of their tracks, but they’ve managed to put hard rock jams and poppier tunes on the same album and made it work, even if not everyone loves every single song. But that willingness to go out of the box and refuse to keep making the same album over and over again is one of the reasons why I like them: they do their thing and don’t seem to give much of a fuck about what anyone else thinks.

Lead vocalist Oli has also opened a vegan bar and arcade in Sheffield, called Church: Temple of Fun, that I think would be interesting to visit if I can make it up that way during my travels.

I actually had the pleasure of finally seeing BMTH

live a couple of months ago on their “Threesome Tour” with Sleeping with Sirens and Poppy, and their set was very energetic and enjoyable despite the fact that Oli was definitely using a backing track, though he was singing over it so it wasn’t completely phoned-in, plus I had to leave early because too many people were vaping inside (yet another issue for another time). Overall, though, it was a very enjoyable performance.

Listen to their song “sugar, honey, ice and tea” below, off of their most recent album amo, which has been nominated for “Best Rock Album” at the 2020 Grammy Awards.

Until next time,



A “Brit” about Brexit

Hello again!

Since I am going to the UK, I wanted to write a little bit about one of the biggest news topics from the area in recent years: Brexit. For those who don’t know, Brexit – short for “British Exit” – is the ongoing attempt of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. The initial vote to Leave was in 2016, though as of writing this post, the exit still has not officially happened. (2016 was just an interesting year for global politics now wasn’t it?). The exit was originally supposed to happen in March of this year, then it got pushed twice eventually sitting at October 31. That deadline was missed again, though, and the current leave date is sitting at January 31, 2020, so only time will tell if the exit will actually happen then. Much like the 2016 election in the US, the Brexit vote did and has continued to cause disagreement among UK citizens, as many didn’t think that Leave would actually win. Then again, many US people didn’t think Trump would win in the US, but here we are… Anyway, there are still a lot of unknowns regarding how the exit will impact life in and around the UK, and only time will tell what will happen in the future. Personally, I think it will be interesting if the official exit happens while I’m over there to see if anything changes right away, and to see how things change from the perspective of a visitor to the area, if much even changes at all during those first few months.

Until next time,




International Music Spotlight: Counterfeit (UK)

In honor of my upcoming travels, I wanted to take a couple of posts to highlight some of my favorite artists from the area. First off is Counterfeit, based in London. Counterfeit was formed in 2015 and features Jamie Campbell Bower as the lead vocalist and guitarist, as well as Tristan Marmont and Sam Bower on guitars, Roland Johnson on bass, and James Craig on drums. If the name Jamie Campbell Bower sounds at all familiar, you may recognize him from past acting roles as Jace Wayland in 2013’s Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, as Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd, or as a young Gellert Grindelwald in a couple of Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts films. This project is not about that, however.

Counterfeit’s music is what I would consider to be a fusion of punk, rock, and grunge, with plenty of heavy, distorted guitars and interesting drum patterns. What really stands out to me, though, is Bower’s vocals, which range from fast-paced spoken sections, to some screams (though not the rough deathcore-type), and some more melodic verses as well. My favorite song of theirs (and, admittedly, the only one I know well so far thanks to hearing it on Sirius XM Octane a couple of years ago), is the single “Enough” from their debut album Together We Are Stronger, featuring most of the musical traits described above.

I also wanted to highlight Counterfeit since they will be appearing on the UK dates of Palaye Royale’s upcoming “The Bastards World Tour”, which I will be seeing when it comes through London, and I’m very eagerly looking forward to it. I will likely post a review of the show afterward, as I know it will be an unforgettable experience.

The video for “Enough” can be watched below, and Counterfeit’s upcoming tour dates are available on their website,

Until next time,



A Trip Across the Pond: Study Abroad Plan Update


I just wanted to take a minute to give an international travel update: I’m going to the UK! I’ve been accepted by the University of Hertfordshire to spend the next semester taking some classes there in the spring. I’m both nervous and excited, as I’ve never been away from home for that long, especially in a different time zone, but it will also be an opportunity for new experiences, new sights, and potential new friendships! Knowing that my sister survived her experience there last spring also makes me feel better about going, and I’m eagerly awaiting whatever this experience has in store for me. I am definitely looking forward to exploring London and the surrounding areas, especially in February when I venture into the big city to see Palaye Royale on their UK headlining run. I’ve seen them before here, but it was in a support slot rather than a headliner, so I know it will be an entirely different experience. I also hope to be able to do some travelling to other areas of Europe during breaks; I definitely want to see parts of France and Germany if I’m able, and I wouldn’t mind visiting Italy again. I am a little anxious, and that will probably get worse as my departure approaches, but I’m trying to remain optimistic that this experience will help me become a stronger person.

Until next time,


Another OU Cousins Thanksgiving

Hi again! This post is definitely later than intended considering it’s almost Christmas now; I blame finals week for draining all of my energy. For this semester, I once again tried to get involved with OU Cousins because I love what they do to make our international students feel more welcome during their time here. As I was once again faced with the all-too-common message of not being matched because of there being more OU students signed up than international students to be matched with, I elected to at least go to their annual Thanksgiving dinner as an opportunity to socialize.

The evening started out as it has in the past, with a brief introduction and a video about the history of the holiday that acknowledged the not-so-pleasant origins of the day. The celebration of Thanksgiving has been a point of debate in recent years as more people are realizing that the “happy stories” of pilgrims and Native Americans many of us heard as children are not true, and I do think it is important to acknowledge these things, but at the same time I also feel like the holiday has evolved to become just a day to be with family, whether it be a biological family or a chosen family of supportive friends, and be grateful, even if many of us then rush off to go shopping (which is a tangent for another time).

The food provided was a “traditional” Thanksgiving meal, with turkey and ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pecan and pumpkin pie, and it was fine enough, though I am biased towards my dad’s Thanksgiving cooking so most foods will pale in comparison.

One of my favorite things, though, was relatively simple but it reminded me of simpler times of youth: the construction of a hand turkey. For those unaware, a common tradition around this holiday for children is to trace the outline of one’s hand on a piece of paper and decorate it to look like a turkey, with the thumb resembling a head and the other fingers looking like feathers. At the dinner, we were instructed to make hand turkeys if we chose, and to write things we are grateful for on each of the “feathers”, then they were all glued onto a large banner.

Overall, it was a very pleasant evening, and I look forward to participating in more events with OU Cousins in the future.

Bye for now,


British Elections

Last week, the United Kingdom held its Parliament elections. While I don’t following British politics closely, I was surprised and not surprised that the Conservative party won majority in Parliament. After the outcry with Brexit, I assumed that the UK would return to a more liberal Labour party similar to what happened in the United States in the midterm elections with Trump. During the midterms, the Democrats won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives. I guess the UK did not follow that trend. It will be an interesting few years now that the Conservative party has majority and the PM is Boris Johnson.

International Bazaar

On October 31st (Happy Halloween!), the International Advisory Committee organized the International Bazaar where different international student organizations were able to showcase their culture through food and jewelry that the students made themselves. It was great to see all several different cultures showcased next to each other to notice their similarities and differences. I had originally gone to help a friend run the SGA booth to promote implicit bias. While we were there, we decided to try some of the sweets that were being sold and appreciate the craftswork of some of the cultures being represented there. I had a great time there and was glad I had spontaneously decided to attend the event.

Confucius Institute Day

A unique aspect of OU is its Confucius Institute in partnership with Beijing Normal University. In addition to providing educational resources and opportunities, it also hosts several cultural events on campus to promote Chinese culture. On September 25th, the Confucius Institute hosted the 13th annual Global Confucius Institute Day Celebration. A 4-hour program, it was filled with many different cultural and musical performances, crafts, calligraphy, and a food tasting. Unfortunately, due to prior commitments, I was unable to stay for the entire celebration. I was very impressed that they were able to organize such a large event on the South Campus so smoothly and promote different aspects of Chinese culture to the many students who passed by and stopped to watch a performance or a craft station.

Hong Kong Protests

One of the biggest international events that has been occurring this semester is the protests happening in Hong Kong. It started when an extradition bill was introduced, allowing criminals to be tried in China. This led to a public concern of the loss of Hong Kong’s autonomy and democratic values from China. The people of Hong Kong started to mass protest in the streets. What started as a peaceful protest, has now, after several months, led to violence from both the police and military and the protesters and even some deaths. China’s response was interesting, claiming that the protests were caused by foreign influences. On the other hand, the United States, a supporter of Hong Kong, was hesitant to declare a position despite public outcry from many political leaders. I was taking the course Understanding the Global Community during this semester and we would often refer back to current events such as this one when discussing the state and the existence of a global community. Only time will tell if these protests will lead to long-lasting change.