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I'm still in the process of adding old film reviews to the Blog, just not very quickly, must try harder...

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Film (70) Music (12) Photography (6) Television (1) Writing (3)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Film That Rocked




There are some excellent music-themed movies out there and this latest effort from the ever reliable Working Title and Richard Curtis is another. Based on the 'adventures' of Radio Caroline in the 1960's this is great fun, with typically effortless performances from Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Rhys Ifans and the masterful PSH. Kenneth Branagh (or kenNETH, braNAGH as the Good Doctor would have it) is a standout for me as the evil minister - Senator Palpatine meets Sir Humphrey if you will - and Jack Davenport reprises his Norrington roll in Pirates of the Caribbean as the self-serving lackey, only 300 years later. Also, our laconic and likable hero Carl (Tom Sturridge) is a ringer for Trent Reznor I think! (you decide).


Okay it doesn't scale the heights of 'This Is Spinal Tap' or 'The Commitments', but it's a good movie that recreates the feel of the free-loving 60's with affection (or so I hear, I was only born in '66). The soundtrack is every bit as good as you would expect of a film set in that time of musical revolution and written by Mr. Curtis. Whether you see it at the cinema or rent it it is definitely worth seeing. There are some very funny scenes, not a little excitement at the end, spotting the music is always entertaining and there is 'homage' to a certain Jimi Hendrix album cover...

Thursday, 23 April 2009

File under 'Criminal Neglect'...

While Nirvana were blazing an ultimately self destructive trail across the West Coast sky, and Mudhoney were out-garaging Arnold Clark (automotive retail monopolist in the West of Scotland); Pearl Jam were making music with a soulful and spiritual ease that belied the immense legacy they were creating. Okay, perhaps 'ease' is not the right word, as their distinct discomfort at the close attention of the industry machine was marked and appears to remain today, but to me that only gives their music a greater authenticity, an aura of truth that is rare in today's packaged and categorised world of media-ocrity.

It is utterly pointless for me to recommend a place to start with Pearl Jam, a route into their aural cornucopia. The depth, breadth and height, the variety and the consistency of their back catalog is truly staggering. The good news is that it is unnecessary for me to try, because you can start anywhere from 1992's debut 'Ten' to the last studio release 'Pearl Jam' in 2006, and anywhere in between, and I believe that you will be as enthralled, energised, enraptured as I have always been. But if you really do have the attention span of a mayfly with ADD here is my suggestion for the mother load (in no order but date).

Even Flow (from 'Ten' 1992)
Daughter (from 'Vs.' 1993)
rearviewmirror (from 'Vs.' 1993)
Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town (from 'Vs.' 1993)
Spin The Black Circle (from 'Vitalogy' 1994)
Better Man (from 'Vitalogy' 1994)

Who You Are (from 'No Code' 1996)
Low Light (from 'Yield' 1998)
Light Years (from 'Binaural' 2000)

Cropduster (from 'Riot Act' 2002)
Bushleager (from 'Riot Act' 2002)
Unemployable (from 'Pearl Jam' 2006)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Frank Turner

I first became aware of Frank Turner as a quarter of Million Dead who released 2 albums ('A Song To Ruin', 2003 and 'Harmony, No Harmony', 2005) before divorcing due to 'irreconcilable differences'. MD were a superb band, their songs both fierce and intricate, barbed wire frames for Frank's aggressively intelligent socialist-hued lyrics. For all that I did not share his leanings, I found the songs entirely compelling, infused with energy, anger and humour, and a rare accuracy and insight in the picture of modern life that they painted (e.g. 'To Whom It May Concern'). http://www.myspace.com/amilliondeaddead

Frank's solo offerings are no less intelligent, no less compelling and not without humour. I have seen them pigeon-holed as 'Folk' but for me that is not an adequate description. Frank's voice is highly individual, the songs new friends that are at once familiar. Knowing what has gone before in the shape of MD just adds to the pleasure that I take from Frank's work. See 'Sleep Is For The Week' (2007) and 'Love Ire & Song' (2008). When was the last time you heard a song featuring a line about finding a charger for your phone? www.myspace.com/frankturner

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Sky Architects

Have a listen to this Danish band. I'm not recommending them just because drummer Steffen is a friend of mine and drummed for my former band Taunt (twice - not for two spells, I mean twice). I think they have a very fresh sound. Steffen is a bit of a metal-head, so this was a surprise to me. It's not perfectly polished and that makes it more accessible, more vibrant. You can hear influences in there, or perhaps they are echoes, for me a touch of Hell Is For Heroes and perhaps Khoma - both good things! Find them here, www.myspace.com/skyarchitects


Monday, 20 April 2009

By way of introduction...

The title of this blog is a song by Nine Inch Nails, from the 2005 album 'With Teeth' on Interscope. You can expect to hear a lot about NIN in here for the simple reason that Trent Reznor is one of my great sources of inspiration. If you don't know NIN you will find it a love/hate thing I expect (strong reaction one way or the other), but I think it is impossible to deny the unique voice that Mr. Reznor has, evinced by the broad range of artists that he influences, from the usual metal/industrial suspects, to country greats, for it was he who created 'Hurt' which Johnny Cash covered so movingly. See them at T in the Park this year, at the MEN or the O2. http://www.nin.com/

...and I suppose I should apologise for my photo. Please do not mistake it for a homage to south-central gangstas, twas take just before taking the stage with Taunt at Moorings Bar in Aberdeen - people do funny things before playing music in front of a room 'full' of people. Alas poor Taunt, more of which later, but if you just can't wait there's http://www.taunt.co.uk/