Tuesday, March 30

Revamp Of Rome

So remember last week when I pointed out that a good stack of my posts so far this year have proceeded from watching HBO/movies? Welllllllll... the times they not a-changin', I'm afraid. Only I'm not afraid 'cause I may not have chanced upon Devendra Banhart's remix of Phoenix's 'Rome' (best track on 'Wolfgang') without watching the latest How To Make It In America, which I gotta say is just hooking me in ep after ep.

Devendra, who I've never really fallen for tbh, loosens the track up but keeps its handsome heart all the same. How To Make A Great Song Equally As Great But Still Changing, Like, Quite A Bit... catchy, eh?

Phoenix 'Rome (Devendra Banhart remix)'

Sunday, March 28

Say "Astronaut" #1

For no other reason apart from the fact that it is the greatest television series in the history of the world, here's a picture from a scene in Seinfeld. Now I'm not making any promises, but there's a strong chance this'll turn into an every-other-week feature, hence the "#1" in the title. So, you get a lovely iconic picture, a reminder of which episode the picture is from and a 'somewhat' relatable DL. Yo yo ma!

From 'The Busboy' (S2E12)

R.E.M. 'Star Me Kitten'

Thursday, March 25


If their official website can host this, then so can I! The album, as if you needed reminding, is out May 10. So probably mid-April for those true fans who will feel absolutely zero guilt for DLing it unlawfully as they'll buy the actual CD anyway! Yes, me included.
The National 'Bloodbuzz Ohio'

Wednesday, March 24

I Swear I Knew It All Along

And yet further proof that this horrid green and gold campaign is on a hiding to absolutely zilch. Fuckin' A.
Related posts:
Love United, Don't Mind Glazer (16/3/10)
We're In This Together (26/1/10)

Dashboard Confessional 'Vindicated'

Tuesday, March 23

Not Really A Shout-Out

Judging by a good junk of my 2010 posts thus far, you'd have blessing to think that original HBO series and Oscar-nominated movies are my main source of musical semen. And I guess you'd be right. 'Cause for my next trick all was stemmed from watching HBO's How To Make It In America.

... Actually, that's not technically true. Sweden's Shout Out Louds I first came across via MTV2's (RIP) Brand Spanking New (RIP) section of 2005. So, being the loyal follower I was, I only wrote them off until after their second album came out - the follow-up to a mightily strong first. However, it appears I may have neglected one particular few minutes of greatness.

These were the same few minutes of greatness I heard during the latest HTMIIA, which to angle off a little, is growing on me ep by ep. I'm not willing to jump back on the SOL horse quite yet, but this sure brought a smile to my wilful face. Mind. Whatever.

Shout Out Louds 'Normandie'

Friday, March 19

That's Not His Name

Watching latest Bobby De Niro flick Everybody's Fine (the movie most certainly was not) a couple nights back, I came across a charming lil' acoustic number sweeping away in the background. After some research, I was pretty surprised to learn that that bald bloke who made a song called 'Dice' and once supported Robbie Williams or somin' had managed to blow my mind in such a way. After some more research, however, it turned out Finley Quaye and Brit-born-but-NYC-based Findlay Brown are not the same person.

The latter is actually quite good, see. Yes, his was that which soundtracked a pre-recession MasterCard ad. But it just sounded so fresh accompanying a grey-haired Travis Bickle do all he could to reconnect with his Drew Barrymore daughter along the Vegas strip. Like I said, do all you can to avoid this movie, but at least give Findlay a try...

Findlay Brown 'Come Home'

Tuesday, March 16

Love United, Don't Mind Glazer

Hi my name's Adam, I'm a Man United fan and I don't hate the Glazers...

This green and gold campaign has become so prominent in and around Old Trafford, I actually feel like I'm now in the minority in my indifference to my beloved team's owners. See, I accept that before May 2005 Manchester United was a public limited company, open to whoever the heck desired to snap us up by whichever means they could. Of course I'd have preferred that whoever not to have pinned us hundreds of millions in the red in the process (thus increasing the price of my season ticket by 10% every year), but I accept that that is business and that this debt has not affected Fergie's running of the team one scrap.

I fully believe David Gill that Fergie has money to spend if he sees fit and I know that Manchester United is one of the best run businesses in the West - and will skilfully refinance the £509m debt by way of this bond issue and its annual interest. Not to mention there's 300 million more of me and something called the iPhone! I don't need my team's owners to 'love the club' and come to every game. Romance is sweet and all but it's the year 2010 and football is the biggest business going. No-one will ever heist my 18-year love-in with the red and white away from me either.

Until this fat outstanding payment influences Fergie's decision-making in the transfer market, I for one won't be hopping on board the green and gold bandwagon like so many of my fellow disciples are, chanting sick little songs about the death of a brainy Florida tycoon who ain't shaking a fist 'til at least 2017. Not when we're on our way to our fourth consecutive Prem and five games away from a third-in-a-row UCL final anyway...

Flight of the Conchords 'Business Time'

Saturday, March 13

Marching Gals Of Manhattan

For years I snubbed it as some grrrl-only blah parade which had about as much in common with me as a Keith Lemon buff. But how I was wrong, So, so mistaken. Sex and the City, I've discovered over six seasons and a near-three-hour movie, is first-class schmaltz.

What I really enjoyed about it was that the principal performers weren't always loveable. Carrie two-timing on Aidan with Big in season two; Miranda's often judgemental standpoints getting the better of her; Charlotte and her niggling goody attitude by way of an as-galling smile; and Samantha's inability to actually feel anything deep... you know what I mean!

However, as trying as those facets were to bear, you just can't help but love them all the same. And only the very best TV can work their characters in such make-up. Seriously though, either get on the SatC carriage today or persist in life unschooled...

Kings of Leon 'Manhattan'

Tuesday, March 9

Time For Heroes

I've been reading up about Peter Gabriel's whole back-scratching record cover thing for a few months. Finally it was released last month. And finally today I heard my first glimpse of it. His take on David Bowie's 'Heroes' played out over the last instalment of Big Love's fourth season. So yeah, I didn't exactly search out for it...

Nonetheless, it's pretty good. More than pretty good, actually. It's really good. I'm not sure if I'm prepared to hear Gabby tackle 'My Body Is A Cage' and, worse, 'Street Spirit (Fade Out)', but his 'Heroes'll certainly do for a few minutes of empowerment.

DLEr, iTunes has it. S&T did have it however, but DRM people took it away. So yeah, buy it from iTunes.

Thursday, March 4

My Movie Script Endings 2010

The Golden Globes. The SAGs. The BAFTAs. What are these? That's right, award shows. But what aren't they? That's right, the Oscars.

See, much like my 'If it ain't on HBO, I ain't on to it' TV rule, I undertake a similar ideal for the Academy Awards - 'If it ain't nominated for an Oscar...' So, dweeby elitism outta the way, here is my annual prognosis for the only movie prize-giving that matters...

Best Picture

Nominees: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air
What should win? Up in the Air
It's not only that this year's category, despite its size, offers little competition, but Jason Reitman's Up in the Air truly is the most deserving of an Academy Award. It's a pretty offbeat tale of an unattached man's desire to reach his goal of becoming one of the world's fewest American Airlines loyalty card-holders (or something). But see, that something stands for mankind's lust to assign itself to materialism, as opposed to the touch of an actual human being. It's a cast-back to the tech-crazed West we reside in - and not least because George Clooney's Ryan Bingham also fires people for a living, further typifying today's monetary tantrums. And when he does get a glimpse at real human love, Vera Farmiga's Alex beats him down like an East Coast snowstorm. It hurts, but that's people. For me, Up in the Air is honest, contemporary and, well, depressingly feel-good.
What will win? Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
You can't help but think some of these have been nominated only for the sake of it. I mean, to think that something alright-yet-inane like District 9 could knock out Up in the Air is alarming, to put it mildly. Precious, I can probably just about live with - and that's what I figure will take it on the night. A close-call with Jimmy C's Avatar and Jimmy C's ex's The Hurt Locker, Lee Daniels' Harlem drama has the wisdom, authenticity and fortitude to flabbergast those Oscar judges dandy. The plot itself is at points disturbingly dark (one scene in particular sees Gabourey Sidibe's Precious exchange blows with her vulgar, welfare-reliant mother Mary, played by Mo'Nique. Precious has her baby - born after a second impregnation by her abusive father - in her hands and all goes even farther than too far as Precious attempts to escape). Really, this awards thing is about as foreseen as a lengthy Jedward existence. But watching Precious, I just got that Oscar whiff.

Best Director

Nominees: James Cameron (Avatar), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Lee Daniels (Precious), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air)
Who should win? Quentin Tarantino
QT, QT, QT. Never have I come away from a movie so satisfied that a bunch of pitiless baddies got bumped off. 'Course, said pitiless baddies were a load of Nazis going about their, er, Nazi ways, but still, Tarantino's tense-charged cinema explosion near the ending was masterful to gawk at and rewarding to know had gone down. And the beginning? Oh, the beginning. Christoph Waltz's SS Colonel Hans Landa sniff of Jews hiding under a farm house's floorboards is downright suspenseful, knife-edging the audience within minutes of the opening credits. Inglourious Basterds is typical Tarantino in that so much, often erratic, shit ensues, yet somehow blends in via comic opera and farcical action along the way. Heck, more war movies should play out like this.
Who will win? Kathryn Bigelow
Talking of war movies, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is most certainly not Inglourious Basterds, but without doubt is a more classical H'Wood conflict drama. Fact is, regardless of its political justification, we've a War On Terror transpiring, and this movie - no, this picture - paints its sequences so real you truly are left somewhat shaking. Its 'war = drug' thrust and total believability are what I think will lure the panellists, just nudging past James Cameron's way more trivial Avatar. It could be argued that The Hurt Locker is so bothered about convincing its audience of reality that the plot sorta drags behind - and Jeremy Renner's superb performance is noteworthier than the story, too. Bigelow's helming isn't as engrossing as Tarantino's for me, but could well be for the jury.

Best Actor

Nominees: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up in the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
Who should win? Colin Firth
So, Freeman's Mandela was a tad underwhelming; Clooney, although first-class, pretty much played himself (again); Bridges did good tugging along a weak text; and Renner, well, he'll probably win. But for I, Colin Firth in A Single Man (which itself should have been nom'd for Best Picture) was outstanding. Not commonly the lead, the Hampshirien performer took to his George Falconer role like a duck to a pond. His portrayal of the suffering gay college professor (whose longtime partner had died in a car crash) was both compelling and intriguing. I so believed in his hardship that any doubts of Firth's leading abilities went way out the window in the first few minutes. Please Oscar judges, hand it to Colin!
Who will win? Jeremy Renner
Sure, it would be nice to think that Firth has a chance at the glory, but I've an inkling that if any movie is to dominate the night, The Hurt Locker will. And to be fair, Renner's depiction of Sergeant First Class William James was nothing short of brilliant. A daring, unshakeable character, there were points at the start in which I simply wanted to bop the guy for all his obnoxious deeds - notably when James brushes aside Anthony Mackie's Sergeant JT Sanborn's authority while attempting to discharge a potential car bomb. Yet that's what in part made Renner so endearing to watch. For all the role's oddities, you couldn't help but approve of him. I think it really takes something to win over an audience with an offensive character - and this actor is sure to be rewarded for doing it so well.

Best Actress

Nominees: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
Who should win? Helen Mirren
This category is seemingly tighter than its Actor counterpart. Sandra Bullock was about the best thing in The Blind Side; Carey Mulligan was too the standout in her role, though at least the picture was strong to boot; Gabourey Sidibe will absolutely deserve it if the prize goes her way; and Meryl Streep, albeit in a god-awful film, was her usual dazzling self. That leaves Helen Mirren, who via Michael Hoffman's pleasing ol' rom-dram The Last Station will hopefully pick up that winner's trophy. Similar to Firth, it was curious to see her in such a dominant part, yet she grabbed Sophia Tolstoy's begrudging identity with both hands and nailed it. Mirren looked to excel in maturing Sophia's personality, too. After setting out a sweet, tender image, she was later seen a woman on the edge, her jealousy over her husband Leo getting the better of her. This gave Mirren the platform to seriously amplify Sophia - and what a job she did.
Who will win? Helen Mirren
You never know. The panel might actually get something right.

Monday, March 1

Album Of Last Month

Chew Lips 'Unicorn' (Family)

Each and every annum coughs up a good few albums whose constructors never really dazzle as much as their work suggests they should. Chew Lips, that Saf Landan dance-pop trio I limelit about a year back, are sadly to be one of those bands. Well, probably. Their inaugural attempt, titled 'Unicorn', is assuredly bonny and sleek in all the right places, yet where's the accompanying hullabaloo it so deserves? Really, this is just excuseless.
'Eight', also track one, comes off darn well teasing the laser tagging La Roux-muscled yada that follows over the course of the next nine hits. Which, Ms Marina and Mr Lightspeed, is the perfect amount. And 'Slick' is where 'Unicorn' truly swipes its stride, all slow-build keys and smooth cookie dough disco.
"Everybody thinks of you with secrecy, where you running to selfishly?" trills singer Tigs (I know, the name's a downside) on board a sorta 'Silent Alarm'-era 'lectro mattress and Russell Lissack-like g-picking. Mmm, yum yum.
The chief few minutes, though, belong to 'Gold Key'. This time the girl's got metaphors ("Your hands were tied, the storm had come, midnight eyes, we played with guns") and the glacé synth milieu of before is now at its most lustrous.
See, it's pretty obvious that the Korg tools and whatnot ain't done running round the block, so isn't it best we delight in the good stuff? 'Unicorn' is far and near better than most of what's out there this instant. To put it frankly, Chew Lips warrant more acknowledgement. If not their own Super Bowl commercial.

Best Track
Gold Key