Author Archive

Mastodon-“Once More ‘Round The Sun” Review

The masterful Mastodon (image courtesy gunshyassassin.com)

The masterful Mastodon (image courtesy gunshyassassin.com)

 

One of the most acclaimed bands, not just in their field, but modern music in general, Mastodon have always seemed to be on the cusp of a major breakthrough. This is despite their stock in trade being complex, progressive and conceptually bonkers heavy metal. But with two Grammy nominations, a top ten US album under they’re belts and ringing endorsements from the likes of Metallica, could Mastodon be about to conquer the mainstream? Continue reading

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Metallica, And Other Festival “Mis-Bookings”

Daphne and Celeste getting battered,  not in a good way. (Image courtesy nme.com)

Daphne and Celeste getting battered, not in a good way. (Image courtesy nme.com)

 

With Glastonbury finally upon us, we are once again faced with the two usual talking points: One: the weather, and two: controversy and skepticism regarding one of the headliners. This year, the announcement of heavy metal titans Metallica as the festival’s third headliner raised more than a few eyebrows. Would metal and a Mumford type crowd mix? Continue reading

Beck – Morning Phase

beckBeck has finally got around to releasing his long-awaited new album, his first since 2008’s Modern Guilt, following a long period where it seemed that he was determined to make anything other than a “proper” album. This scattered list of projects included a handful of unmemorable stand-alone singles, producing albums for countless other artists, soundtrack work, and a collection of original sheet music, “Song Reader”. Although these projects were likeably diverting, many of his fans had one consistent thought in the back of there minds: “Can we have an album please?” and he has lost many of his fairweathers. After a near six year wait, that day has finally arrived.

 

The title Morning Phase is an interesting one. Beck arrives to this album as his first as an elder statesman. As an artist he no longer resembles the one who recorded early angsty hits such as “Loser” and he is no longer the excitable sampler that produced Odelay. Since 2002’s Sea Change, Beck has gradually approached middle age with a grace, dignity and restlessness that few could have predicted. Will his latest phase be as fruitful as those that preceded it? Continue reading

Bombay Bicycle Club-So Long, See You Tomorrow

bombay

London’s’ Bombay Bicycle Club have gradually risen from the smallest font of festival line-ups to this, their first UK number one album. Their slow, hard-earned success is a comforting reminder of not only the importance of hard work and patience, but reminds us that innovation and challenging yourself can reap big rewards. Thus far, each of Bombay’s albums has been their best yet and the group have developed so much that they truly sound like a different band today on their fourth album than the one who released the so-so debut “I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose”. “So Long, See You Tomorrow” is Bombay’s first album as contenders and they admirably continue to push themselves throughout. Continue reading

Film Review: Her

her

The lonely, recently heart-broken Theodore Twombly falls in love with an intelligent operating system with a female voice and a frighteningly developed personality. Reading that premise, two possibilities come to mind: a dark, brooding experimental art-house also ran, directed by a David Lynch wannabe, or an annoyingly soft, Pitchfork soundtracked Indie, with it’s quirkiness painted by numbers. However, director Spike Jonze manages to find a sweet spot between the two, and here his film thrives and becomes one of the best of the year.

The nebbish Theodore is played by Joaquin Phoenix in one of his best performances thus far. His story takes place in the not too distant future, where OS software is so developed it has an eerily human voice and personality of it’s own, designed as a sort of “in-ear, invisible personal assistant”. Theodore’s OS “Samantha” (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) immediately charms Theodore and comforts him as he finishes divorce proceedings with his wife (Rooney Mara). The two soon fall in love in a way that is not only convincing, but compelling. The lively Samantha is the perfect foil for the shy and lonely Theodore, and the film chooses to draw humour from the inherent difficultly of relationships, rather than aiming for cheap laughs at the expense of Theodore’s questionable romance. Continue reading