Tag Archives: The Van T’s

The Van T’s, Shredd, Pleasure Heads at Stereo, 16/2/18

Pleasure Heads (PLSR HDS) from Falkirk describe themselves as fuzzy pop, however on this showing they are a rock solid indie rock/pop outfit with a hankering back to 1980’s post punk.

The night sees the release of their latest single ‘Middle Men’, which forms part of their guitar led set.

Strong choruses, husky vocals and tight guitar work warm the audience for what is to follow.

Shredd is a young band in their infancy who give the impression of having been about for a while, yet they have achieved a lot in their just over a year.

Regulars on the Glasgow live scene this three-piece garage punk outfit seem to be going from strength to strength.

There is no doubt that Shredd give 110% in their set full of power and energy; driving guitars, crashing drums and infectious vocals these guys put their equipment through a fair workout.

Shredd are excellent live and I didn’t think it possible, but they seem to be getting better with every gig.

Glasgow four-piece The Van T’s deliver surf pop/grunge which could be straight out of the 90s.

Their riffs and harmonies exhibit influences from the best of American grunge pop referencing The Breeders, Veruca Salt, The Pixies etc.

In a band with twin sisters, Chloe and Hannah, it is understandable that they are so tight but their connection and interaction with the rest of the band would have you believe that they are all family.

A cacophony of distortion, reverberation, crashing drums and vocal harmonies cause a bit of a frenzy particularly during the instantly recognisable ‘Bittersweet’ and ‘Laguna Babe’.

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Words: Derek McCutcheon
Photos: Jake Gordon

The Van T‘s – Bitter Sweet [LAB]

Glaswegian surf-rock band The Van T‘s bless us with new catchy single ‘Bitter Sweet’; the second single the four-piece have released in 2017, a follow up to the energetic and loud ‘Fresh Meat’.

In comparison to ‘Fresh Meat’, their latest release is calmer, but the band still remain loyal to their harmonies and guitar heavy instrumentals.

The track begins with a fuzzy guitar riff, however after the first ten seconds the listener is up for a pleasant surprise, as the rhythm undergoes a sudden change.

It doesn‘t take a lot of replays to get into the song and the chorus is quite addictive, making you sing along with the twins Chloe and Hannah Van Thompson.

‘Bitter Sweet’ is another sweet (but not bitter) addition to The Van T‘s catalogue and it sure must be a fun track to be heard played live, especially by a band with as good live chops as these guys.

Words: Goda Bujaviciute

The Van T’s – ‘Fresh Meat’ [LAB]

Quite easily one of the hottest properties in the country right now, The Van T’s, fronted by twins Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson, have exploded from a clustered scene of bland poseurs with a genuinely exciting blend of grunge, shoegaze and scuzz-fuelled riffs.

New single ‘Fresh Meat’, their first since signing to LAB Records, completely justifies the evergrowing hype surrounding them.

From the opening gritty, distorted riff, the track is an uncompromising aural assault.

Hannah Van Thompson purrs “it feels so good to be bad”, as stratospheric guitars wail on top of drums being pounded so ferociously, that drummer Shaun Hood should be charged for battery.

‘Fresh Meat’ is bold, it’s brash, it’s in your face, and is everything a rock and roll record should be.

With massive expectation now burdened upon them following their early successes, The Van T’s have still managed to kick it up several gears.

On ‘Fresh Meat’, the four-piece have managed to fuse the distortion-drenched surf rock of their earlier material, with a new darker depth which suits them perfectly.

Words: Graham McCusker

New Year’s Revolution with The Van T’s at Tut’s, 13/1/17

One of the most highly anticipated nights of this year’s New Year’s Revolution is The Van T’s headliner, and it’s safe to say they deliver exactly what the crowd are after.

The show is sold out and everyone in the tightly packed Tut’s seems in high spirits, and it is in the 15-minutes before The Van T’s set begins that the excitement really ramps up.

As the crowd grab their last drinks before the main event and Catholic Action continue their DJ set, the stage is being strewn with fairy lights and mini confetti cannons handed out to the front row.

The four-piece kick off with ‘No Man’s Money’, from their second EP A Coming of Age, and seem genuinely surprised by the huge reaction they received.

The warm welcome gives them a boost for ‘35mm’, during which it is clear to see how much the whole band are enjoying themselves, then the excellent ‘Growler’ is met with some of the loudest singing along of the night.

There is a hint of nervousness from the band, probably because of the high expectations of them, but they play through it and seem completely comfortable by the end of the set.

‘Laguna Babe’, the title track from their first EP, is a definite highlight of the night and a perfect example of their signature sound which mixes grunge with surf rock and bags of attitude.

They unexpectedly treat the crowd to new track ‘Bittersweet’, which is met with just as much enthusiasm as the well-known songs and is performed with the same confidence.

Having a set of twins in a band means there’s automatic chemistry and the Van Thompsons work so well together on stage.

The reverb-drenched ‘Blood Orange’, with its slick bassline, has less sweetness than some other tracks, but the darker feel suits the band well and it’s just made to be played live.

The Van Ts, Lucia Headline King Tut's In Glasgow

Latest single ‘Fun Garçon’ ends the night on a high and sees the whole band throwing themselves into the party atmosphere and reveling in the triumph of the set.

Last year, The Van T’s were the bar band after one of the main NYR shows, so to be headlining this time around is impressive, and is proof of the name they’re making for themselves.

There’s no news of the band’s next release yet, but judging by the crowd they pull in tonight, an album would go down a treat so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a full-length in 2017.

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Words: Shannon McGarrity
Photos: Tim Gray

The Van T’s – Fun Garçon [Bloc]

The fuzzy opening riff that crashes into squealing guitars on The Van T’s latest track tells you everything you need to know about what’s to come.

This is a band who mix grunge, post-punk and surf rock seamlessly to create one of the coolest Scottish sounds of the year.

‘Fun Garçon’ is about keeping the feelings out of a fling with a no-good guy who has that irresistible charm, and the lyrics are chock-full of the band’s signature sass.

The Van Thompson twins’ dual vocals switch from low and sultry to confident snarls, and harmonise perfectly.

Bassist Joanne Forbes and drummer Shaun Hood keep the energy high, especially when they play this fan favourite live, which is a must-see.

‘Fun Garcon’ is the song that’s helped elevate the band to a new level, being played by Fearne Cotton on Radio 1 as well as a few TV shows.

The Van T’s have been going from strength to strength since they formed in 2013 and we can’t wait to see what they get up to in the New Year.

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Words: Shannon McGarrity

Top picks for Tenement Trail

This Saturday sees the return of Tenement TV’s all day multi venue festival Tenement Trail so we had a wee peek at the line up to give you our picks of the line up:

Sweaty Palms at Broadcast (5.00)

“Refusing to bow down to the crowd-pleasing generics of what it takes to “make it” the four-piece let their music do the speaking merging a loud, dirty reverb drenched garage sound with anxiety-ridden psych goth flourishes, a touch of joviality and Robbie Houston’s snarled, personal lyrics to create an unnervingly powerful experience.”

THE NINTH WAVE at Broadcast (6.00)

“The band’s melodic guitars and synths refreshingly come off a lot more raucous live than they do on record, as clattering, yet groove infected instrumentals are given a pop edge by Hadyn Park’s distinctive pop rock vocals, which give in to some dream pop tinged harmonies courtesy of Elina Lin.”

TeenCanteen at The Art School (6.30)

“Covered in glitter and dressed like they’ve just come from a fairy themed-fancy dress party, It’s hard to watch these girls without a smile on your face; yes, Carla Easton’s distinctive vocals could be considered somewhat of an acquired taste, but accompanied by three part harmonies they’re addictive and powerful”

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Be Charlotte at The Art School (7.30)

Charlotte is an artist it’s difficult not to pay attention to, her performance and set is so engaging and diverse that it’s hard not to be impressed as she switches from gob smacking vocals to cutting edge spoken word to triple percussion assaults that simply silence the crowd and create an awe filled atmosphere.

The Bellybuttons at The Priory (8.15)

“A well-organised, masterful group of musicians delivering poignant lyrics in flawless fashion as they flaunt their raw prowess and leap-board from their own musical influences to create something pretty magical.”

Breakfast Muff at Broadcast (9.00)

“Their one line description on Facebook sums them up brilliantly: “like Hole but funnier” and their set all seems a riotous disarray, but it’s infectious and charming; Breakfast Muff are fun, funny, engaging and effortlessly likeable, go see them.”

Pronto Mama at The Art School (9.30)

“Pronto Mama impressively walk a slippery path with a sound that could so easily fall into the pitfalls of becoming like so many bland Scottish folk acts or go the other way turn into unabashed naff ska, instead they come out with something truly infectious and original”

The Vegan Leather at The Priory (10.15)

“Possessing both the sincerity and conviction necessary to remind any listener than pop can be more than just clean synths and solid marketing. The Vegan Leather are a vibrant and exciting lesson in punchy, hook-laden art pop.”

The Spook School at Broadcast (11.00)

“Covering topics such as sexuality, love, gender issues and standing up for yourself mixed together into a cocktail of indie hits with catchy melodies and lyrics that make you open your mind, The Spook School are the perfect band to channel your kempt up angst and rebellion.”

The Van T’s at Flat 0/1 (12.00)

“The band, we have been championing since very early on, have continuously shown just why they’re getting all the attention, with a full on rock show filled with surfy goodness and the ever impressive harmonies of the Van Thompson twins.”

Sunflower Bean, The Van T’s at Broadcast, 7/9/16

Raised on a diet of 90s grunge, classic rock, psychedelia and indie dream-pop, Sunflower Bean have carved out not one but several musical niches for themselves, moving effortlessly between genres in each of their tracks.

Their lyrical tone is often melancholy and contemplative, but there is a punk fury that carries many of their songs and melodies.

Broadcast is therefore perfect for their Glasgow debut: a dark and sweaty space where loud sound translates to good strong audience vibrations.

Talking of strong vibrations, there is a witchy, almost Pagan current that runs through much of the band’s artwork and even down to the album name, Human Ceremony.

There is indeed something quite enchanting about the power of having just three band members, as if it were the perfect formula for a punk group, the compound which produces a certain necessary energy.

Down to their deliciously assonant names, Julia Cummings (singer/bass), Nick Kivlin (singer/guitar) and Jacob Faber (drums), Sunflower Bean have really tapped something mystical from a neglected genre, giving classic rock its respectful due by mining its core ingredients and throwing a whole load of contemporary innovation into the mix.

Support from Communions was unfortunately pulled but The Van T’s more than satisfy the warm-up crowd with their brand of grungy garage rock, which is loud enough to leave my ears ringing till the next morning.

The witchy theme keeps its consistency here as the band are fronted by twins Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson and the sharp dynamics of their shared vocal delivery create an enchanting performance, enriched by the evident influence of goth, metal (there are some excellent hair flips), riot grrrl and the new romantics.

You can see the similarities to contemporary 90s revivalists Wolf Alice, both in style and music, but there’s something refreshingly unique about the combined vocals, the fuzzy, reverb-heavy guitars and fearlessly nonchalant delivery.

Apart from a brief (barely noticeable) sound problem with one of the guitars, which was handled effortlessly with casual chat to the audience, the performance is impressively tight, culminating in the slightly cleaner and more melodic new single, ‘Blood Orange’.

When Sunflower Bean takes the stage, the crowd is more than ready for them.

Cummings has this lovely ethereality about her, which she seems to take great pleasure in shattering once the music kicks in and she can play the hell out of that bass.

Combining the gamine good looks of say, Agyness Deyn, with the punk attitude of her 90s female predecessors, Cummings enchants from start to finish in a tailor-made tartan dress, unafraid to show her enthusiasm by rocking out on stage and savouring the sweet novelty of those echoing vocal “WOAHS!”, which punctuate the performance.

What looks like a relatively short set on paper is fleshed out with extended solos and jams which display the band’s seamless onstage dynamic, perfected by their constant circuit of live shows, both home and away.

Standout songs include the penultimate sweet and catchy ‘Easier Said’, ‘Rock and Roll Heathen’, showcasing Kivlen’s intricate solo work on guitar and grunge-hazed vocals, and the definitive, jangly opener, ‘Human Ceremony’.

The interplay of vocal styles, between Kivlen’s more garage/shoegazey vocals (may I make a tenuous comparison to Faris Badwan, formerly of the Horrors and now Cat’s Eyes?) and Cummings’ seductively sugar-sweet and sometimes falsetto delivery (especially in, for example, ‘Space Exploration Disaster’), is what makes Sunflower Bean a standout act amongst their musical contemporaries, the likes of Los Angeles surf-poppers Best Coast and fellow Brooklynites, DIIV.

Every track delivers a whole lot of energy, from the lively, fast-paced drumbeats to the extended, playful but never indulgent guitar solos.

Down the front, folk in the crowd aren’t just moshing but practically pogoing, a testament it seems to the band’s punk credit.

Indeed, Sunflower Bean seem really appreciative of their crowd, admitting it is their first time in Glasgow and by the end of the set expressing their excitement at the prospect of returning.

For a band who really shine live, who like a touch of punk rock mixed in with their pretty, dreamy indie, Glasgow seems the perfect fit; here’s hoping they’ll be back soon.

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Words: Maria Sledmere

Electric Fields 2016, Day Two, 27/7/16

Day two starts on a fragile note as midday proves a touch too early to drag myself down for Bella and the Bella, so my day starts lulled next to the sound desk at the Main Stage sipping orange juice from the carton in the sunshine, with the somewhat depleted Palms boys, who still seem more in shape than I am, as The Van T’s deliver another fun filled set crammed with 60s surf vibes and glittery girl gang attitude.

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We’ve covered The Van T’s so much in the last year that it’s difficult to come up with new words to describe their set, regardless they never cease to be enjoyable and today’s set takes on a very special significance when you consider the four-piece nearly didn’t play.

As mentioned in day one’s coverage the passing of The Lapelles frontman, Gary Watson, has hit the Scottish music scene pretty hard and for The Van T’s it not only meant the loss of an individual with tremendous potential and talent, but also the loss of a very a close friend, and it’s fitting that the band request that the festival crowd “go fucking mental” today as that is what their friend would have wanted before closing on a cover of The Lapelles’ ‘Seventeen’.

Over at the Stewart Cruickshank Stage there’s another act that we have seen so many times in the past year but never tire of, truth is we love what Be Charlotte is doing, and have been championing her potential to go very far since first seeing her over a year ago.

It seems ever time they play the live set steps up a level, the music, accompanied by Charlotte Brimner’s voice, has always had the ability to silence a crowd with acapella beauty, get them moving with chart heading hits or engulf them with experimental brilliance, but Brimner’s presence and all round stage confidence just seems to grow.

Upcoming single ‘Machines That Breathe’ encapsulates the pop tilting side of Be Charlotte’s sound perfectly; it’s a bouncing bassy joy, with a hooky vocal, showcasing Brimner’s pop chops and unique, addictive vocal.

Next up are THE NINTH WAVE, who seem to have added an extra shimmer to their sound and in the reasonably busy tent there’s a glossy swagger to them.

Haydn Park-Patterson’s vocals sound more up front complimenting their bouncing electronic indie rock sound; each track seems to pack a punch above what they’ve managed before and another tribute is paid to Gary Watson in the form of a “Gary fucking Watson” chant.

C Duncan has the fortune of the sun baked Main Stage and their sound is perfect for a seat on the grass as calm soothing, hypnotic harmonies drift over the field and set a real harmonious vibe across the site before the more riotous bands take the stage later on.

The lush sounds of Christopher Duncan’s debut album Architect has drawn praise from all corners, including a Mercury Award nomination, and this may well be the perfect setting to witness it in.

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Up next is Glasgow folk rock behemoths Admiral Fallow and it’s pretty much the same chilled sunshine perfection, their deep, folk tinged rock is maybe not as settling as C Duncan, but the vocal dynamic of frontman Louis Abbott and Sarah Hayes is delightful and at times soaring.

The set is interesting, intricate and expansive, calling on the impressive talents of all six musicians on stage, as Abbott adds his strong lyrical content to a tone that’s just right side of catchy for a sun kissed afternoon set.

There’s the tendency for Admiral Fallow to be written off as your typical miserable indie rock band, but they shouldn’t be and they prove this here with tracks that easily get people moving and demonstrating why they are as popular and acclaimed as they are.

Much like Elara Caluna yesterday this is my first time catching West Princes in a live setting, and once again I have no idea why.

Their set is a beautiful sunshine filled ride, it’s jaunty indie pop, with impressive vocal interchanges just one of plenty extras that set them apart. The sound in the Tim Peaks tent suffers a bit towards the lower end, but the band still manage to get your feet tapping with funk filled licks and smooth guitar lines that expand to something with real groove.

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Up next is one of the highlights of last weekend’s Doune the Rabbit Hole, TeenCanteen, and their shimmering indie pop sound is yet again a delight in the Tim Peaks Tent as every track drips with sweetness and pure infectious sensibilities.

It’s hard to watch these girls without a smile on your face; yes, Carla Easton’s distinctive vocals could be considered somewhat of an acquired taste, but accompanied by three part harmonies they’re addictive and powerful, and as the glittered up girls debut tracks from their upcoming album, Say It With A Kiss, you’re left with an inkling of something special to come.

Back at the Stewart Cruickshank Stage Fat White Family get the evening going in proper fashion with a powerful punk set that gives all the impressions of not being slick without ever sounding it.

It takes a couple of songs before Lias Kaci Saoudi has gone topless and his sneer, ranging from pure evil to proper fuck you snarl, fag in hand and all, is encapsulating.

The crowd is at the rowdiest I’ve seen all weekend as flailing arms and pits break loose fuelled from the powerful performance onstage.

Following up that riot is The Go! Team, who’re a completely different prospect bringing a vibe of disco scratching indie rock crossed with Rocky theme song to get people moving in a new way.

Ninja’s lead vocals seem to get a bit lost, but it’s the euphoria inducing samples that make this band’s sound special; at points they go full on folk tinged indie pop, but there’s something very fun about their The Go! Team presence that makes them the perfect act for this time in the festival.

After popping away for a glimpse of Primal Scream then a wee dance to Eclair Fifi I end my weekend with easily the most fun band on the bill; Songhoy Blues.

You have to fight yourself not to dance to these guys and the enthusiasm from on stage just transmits to the crowd with minimal effort.

It’s a joy to see a band having this much fun, the bluesy pop sound of the Mali based four-piece oozes tradition, but also positive vibes and the inhibition to dance; the perfect end to the festival.

Then just as the bell rings on the last act of the evening and everyone is heading back to their tents the heavens open, it’s as if the festival made a deal somewhere, but whatever happened we’re not complaining as it’s been great,

Electric Fields is fast becoming one of the highlights of the summer.

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Warrick Beyers / Martin Bone

Ones to look out for at Electric Fields 2016

Electric Fields might well be the most exciting festival north of the border this year, with a line up that draws huge talent from both the local pool and further afield and without compromising in talent have drawn together the most attractive line up we’ve seen in a while.

Last year Electric Fields was a real up and comer with a punch, drawing mainly, although not solely, on Scottish acts the festival saw real promise in a glorious location with my only real criticisms of last year’s festival coming in the form of travel arrangements and food, the latter seems to have been sorted with a mouth-watering list of options displayed, but whether it lives up to billing we’ll wait and see.

This year they’ve taken investment on board and expanded considerably, moving to a two day festival with huge headliners in Primal Scream and The Charlatans, while acts like Wild Beasts, Fat White Family and Field Music add to a strong bill that will pull punters from the whole of the UK.

Add to that a strong Scottish contingent, featuring not only headliner Primal Scream, but also SAY award shortlisted Steve Mason and Emma Pollock, the undeniably talented folk rock chops of Admiral Fallow and the irresistible Tuff Love, among others, you’ve got a festival that’s come a long way.

With that in mind we’ve chosen to take our picks for the festival from those that might not quite have caught the wider public eye… yet.

Be-Charlotte

BE CHARLOTTE

This little songstress had the potential to be massive, and slightly more than a year on from the first time we covered her she’s progressing nicely. Her live set is slick and breath-taking, drawing on vocalist Charlotte Brimner’s immaculate vocal talents with section that go from rap to beautifully sang acapella sections, from experimental drum assaults to shimmering pop glory. Get ready to be drawn in and left bewitched.

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BELLA AND THE BEAR

Ultra talented duo Bella and Bear merge cutting edge spoken word sections with intricate, lush folk meanderings. Lauren Gilmour’s voice oozes character and will add a resounding beauty to a buoyant line up.

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ELARA CALUNA

elara caluna are a band that we have shamefully yet to cover, so Electric Fields should deliver the perfect opportunity, on record their sound merges gothic, baroque and folk influences with electronically generated atmosphere, that we’re excited to finally catch in a live setting.

Sweaty Palms Promo Shot Lo-Res

SWEATY PALMS

There’s not many better live bands in Scotland right now than Sweaty Palms, the Glasgow boys deliver a riotous set that has tore many a basement a new one with their loud and dirty, reverb drenched post punk sound. Electric Fields just might not know what hit it when they take to the Tim Peaks stage early in the day on Friday.

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TEENCANTEEN

TeenCanteen deliver sticky cherry-cola kissed three part harmonies backed by talking toms and stomping beats in a new Wall of Sound, and with their debut album due just weeks after Electric Fields we’re excited to see what they have in store.

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THE VAN T’S

It appears The Van T’s very nearly were not playing this year’s Electric Fields after the very sad news of the passing The Lapelles frontman and their very good friend Gary Watson, however it now appears their 60s vibing garage rock will rear its shimmering head and we’re more than sure they’ll pull out all the stops to honour Gary’s memory.

We’re also excited to catch Northern Irish drone pop merchants Documenta and the dreamy guitar pop of Manchester’s Horsebeach for the first time.

The Van T’s – A Coming of Age [Bloc+]

I recently came to the conclusion that they just don’t make things like they did in the 90s.

While I appreciate that this is, in some cases, is not a bad thing (think Irish girl band fiasco B*witched) there does appear to be a fair amount of nostalgia for good 90s’ indie.

Happily, the breach has been filled by West of Scotland four-piece The Van T’s, who build on the success of their 2015 debut EP Laguna Beach with the release of power-packed follow up A Coming of Age.

Twins Chloe and Hannah Van Thompson, joined by drummer Shaun Hood and Joanne Forbes on bass, offer up a bright new take on an unmistakably 90s’ sound.

‘35mm’ kicks things off with the band’s now trademark dual vocals courtesy of the Van Thompson sisters.

If you cloned the mighty Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell, and had both versions of her sing at the same time, I’d imagine it would sound something like this.

Interlaced with discordant guitar and thrashing percussion, the opening track firmly sets the tone for a record that merges dreamy surf-pop with rough around the edges alt-rock.

Guitar heavy lead single ‘Blood Orange’ vibrates and tremors with shrieking reverb and ear-piercing feedback, all set against bittersweet, near childlike vocal harmonies.

Offering contrast and a lighter hue, ‘No Man’s Money’ is built around a sunny earworm of a guitar hook, while closer ‘Dandy’ provides yet more reverb, and layer upon layer of well-crafted guitar interplay.

The band’s scuzzy surf-pop will no doubt delight fans and new listeners alike as they embark on a hectic schedule of live shows.

And with any luck there won’t be any double denim in sight.

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Words: Kat McNicol