Author Archive

HMV Closing – January Blues

hmvMy beloved HMV store closed after the UK branches went into administration on Monday last. Gift vouchers were refused (but later accepted as food vouchers at The Grafton Lounge in Dublin, which, wasn’t too bad of a deal in my opinion…).

Although, in Limerick, the HMV staff are continuing a sit-in following uproar by themselves, customers and their store manager, Chris Keena, who stated “We’re taking this stand, because we feel, fundamentally that our shop, like the rest of the Irish operation should be kept open”.

I agree. Although, it’s been a matter of fact that music stores are outdated now due to online downloading (looking at you iTunes and other slightly less legal sites…), meaning that these stores are no longer needed and will obviously go out of business since no-one buys in store anymore.

But that’s not really the point. You can’t beat the warm fuzzy vibe of walking around your local HMV store browsing your favourite tune warblers. Downloading doesn’t quite fulfil that actual novelty of having your very own packaged album with it’s cute picture book on the inside.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much to blame for the closing of music stores as every other serial downloader. Even if it renders my laptop’s speed non-existent. Music is important to us. It seems like a necessity to live, right up there with food and shelter… Having my laptop robbed earlier in the semester, I found myself more peeved over having to re-download ALL of my music again, rather than mourning the loss of my long suffering laptop.

But, on the scale of crap that’s happened as a result of this recession/internet downloading take-over, or whatever you want to blame it on, HMV closing; rates pretty high.

Halycon – Ellie Goulding Album Review

egEllie Goulding’s much anticipated second studio album has taken almost two years to be released to her eager fanbase, (myself included!) in both Europe and, quite admirably, the States. Her first single ‘Lights’ introduced her first album, by the same name. The single took off in America as well. Her songs then became subject to several dubstep remixes and later, garnered interest with the dubstep king, Skrillex, who has brought us the infamous ‘Bangarang’ and ‘Summit’ featuring Ellie herself. Finally releasing her second album with ‘Anything Could happen’ following with the powerful ‘Figure 8’ and ‘Hanging on’ which emulate her cool yet powerful vibe. ‘Halycon’ is described by Goulding as a breakup album. However she avoids any of the name dropping, we’re looking at you Taylor Swift. ‘Only you’ and ‘My Blood’ experiment with a touch of fellow songstress Adele’s heart-stopping presence. Throughout the album Ellie continues to hypnotise with her ghostly warbling, hauntingly so in ‘Don’t say a word’ and ‘Dead in the Water’. She’s amazing. Nuff said. And if that hasn’t immediately convinced you, this might; Calvin Harris makes an appearance too..

Tomkat Reach Divorce Settlement

It’s old news now that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have decided to part ways, with Katie intending sole custody of their only daughter, six year old, Suri. Who’d blame her? With the poor child destined for a Scientology bootcamp.

Katie’s attorney slipped this snippet today; “The case has been settled and the agreement has been signed. We are thrilled for Katie and her family and are excited to watch as she embarks on the next chapter of her life. We thank Tom’s counsel for their professionalism and diligence that helped bring about this speedy resolution.” No details of the actual settlement have been released though.

I guess Tom’s used to this lark at this stage, this is divorce number three. And of course there’s the odd coincidences regarding his previous wives ages (all being 33 when they reached their end-of marriage)…

Reports have also stated that Katie was not being followed by Scientology spies, although this has prompted her to fire her security team blaming their ties with her now ex-husband.

Both Tom and Katie released a joint statement ensuring the world that they are “committed to working together as parents to accomplish what is in our daughter Suri’s best interests…” But of course they are.

BBC Olympic Coverage Goes Digital

The BBC are ensuring the Olympic games are covered from all angles this summer. With social media assuming a digital hand you won’t miss a second of the action as Gary Lineker commentates with the help of 600,000 followers extending their thoughts on Twitter… without the public run in’s with Joey Barton and co…

Fellow broadcaster Clare Balding has also been running with the Twitter torch; ‘it builds excitement and interest, Twitter also gives us a clearer picture of how people are interacting’. These new gadgets and gizmos will add to the heavily invested free to air coverage already in place. 3D and high definition will creep in throughout the games, making us feel like we’re practically there.

The BBC dares you to miss a second as they prepare to broadcast 2,500 hours to the world across BBC One, BBC Three, BBC One HD and BBC HD, as well as 24 online streams including video playback. So, to be honest, we won’t get very far away from the spectacle. The BBC is also adding a new station; Radio 5 Live Olympics dedicated to capturing the shenanigans.

Huw Edwards will open and close the Olympian ceremonies on BBC One. Bill Turnbull, Hazel Irvine, Sian Williams and Chris Hollins will join us for breakfast, followed by Mishal Husain then Balding for the swimming, Jonathan Edwards following the athletics and John Inverdale narrating for the rowing. Leading to Sue Barker and Gabby Logan directing us through to the evening games.

‘As the nation’s broadcaster we are committed to ensuring that viewers get the most from their Olympic experience and our comprehensive coverage will deliver on that promise’ – BBC Director Roger Mosey lays it down.
And of course, all you Apple and Android users can access the live streams and spotlight clips of the day’s boss action. Happy Olympics 🙂

Coachella 2012

Three words: Hologram. TUPAC. EPIC.
By far, the highlight of Coachella. Blowing out even Flo, The Beatles cover band and Pink Floyd. And that aint an easy feat. Having not actually been there, I had to resort to the trending youtube uploads. However the general jist was had though. Holograms have to be the Next big crowd pleaser. Can you imagine Michael Jackson or Freddie Mercury…or even Marilyn Monroe sauntering the main stage at Oxegen. Well, I suppose Marilyn at Oxegen would be a tad random…she’d get her own show.

Coachella executed the digital wonder brilliantly, opening suggestions of more. Although, a whole show based on a Hologram probably is a little unlikely. ‘Part of what made that effective was that it was a surprise, coupled with authentic living, breathing superstars in Dre and Snoop and not over-relying on it’ – Danny Goldberg. And he knows what he’s talking about, having worked with Nirvana, Led Zeppelin and the Hives, he was there to see the ‘amazing moment’.

Brit band Pulp performed winner ‘Common People’, whilst Mazzy Star arrived, crooning ‘Fade into you’ their first performance in 16 years. Madness offered a slice of the early eighties with ‘House Of Fun’ as L.A’s Thundercat, doning a gold leather attire, brought the crowd a 70’s slash modern foot tapping expose. With other acts including Radiohead, Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre AND EMINEM entertaining the most memorable moments of Coachella. I Wish I was there.

Coachella is everything a festival should be. Blinding Lights, Shooting Lasers, reverberating sound, deafening emotion, glitter, mud, rain, wind and hail and most importantly powerful Acts and their cult following. Next One, THERE.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games, initially a novel written by American writer Suzanne Collins was first published in 2008. The Movie, released March 23rd of this year is co-produced by Collins herself, and voiced through sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) from District 12.
Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem in North America. The Capitol, an extravagant abyss of horrendous fashion and titanic architecture, holds absolute power over twelve surrounding districts. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which a boy and a girl aged between twelve and eighteen are selected at random to compete to the death. The games are televised, Big Brother style.
Collins took her inspiration from hopping channels on TV, observing competitive reality TV shows and the Iraq invasion, imagining it as it ‘began to blur in this very unsettling way’.
The reviews have been nothing short of glittering. The New York Times’ John Greene thought it was ‘brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced’. Stephen King for Entertainment Weekly compared it to ‘shoot-it-if-it-moves videogames…you know it’s not real’. Not surprising then that since opening it has gathered a rather tasty $152.5 million already in the States.
The movie is sad, horrific, happy, shocking…an all-rounder really.
It’s the cast that finishes off the rather horrifying experience of The Hunger Games, Stanley Tucci adds the comedic splash whilst Elizabeth Banks ensures that we’re creeped out just enough throughout.
N.B. You most likely will find yourself in tears at least once throughout this film…

Festival Fever Fast Approaching

SPRING IS HERE! (Is it?) Well, if it isn’t, as with summer, it’ll grace us with its presence soon. We hope. Anyway, festival fever is starting to creep upon us. Since Oxegen and Glastonbury have annoyingly decided to skip a year, other smaller festivals have stepped up with a more quirky Electric Picnic style event in mind, rather than just a couple amazing acts and a funfair composed in the corner of the field. When did we get so fussy?

The first one I heard of was ‘LIFE’ held from 25th- 27th May, A Mullingar based festival. In Mullingar…leading to the acknowledgement that there must be more following suit.
So I delved a little further into the world of random towns hosting fun-sized Picnics. For March head to these little offerings;
The Fingal Film Festival 21st – 23rd
Fresh Film Festival (Limerick) 26th – 30th
Ballydehob Traditional Music Festival (Cork) 30th – 1st

Go to the latter for the name alone. For something a little more…sporty, head to Dublin on the 30th March for ‘The Wee Adventure Film Festival’ which celebrates adventure and extreme sports.
APRIL hosts a new music festival, ‘WE:SESSION’. Intriguing. The festival is aimed at students (shocking. Aren’t they all?) it offers a taste of Irish and International entertainment and takes place over just one day. Based in Co.Clare, and at 4000 students, it will hit capacity. Not too shabby.

Kerry hosts The Shindig Festival from 20th – 22nd April. Indulging in the best of set dancing and traditional diddley-idle. You may see your parents there.
Ballydehob strikes again in MAY, this time with a Jazz Festival 4th – 7th May
Ireland’s oldest funday, ‘The Festival of the Fires’ ignites on 5th May in Westmeath with Bressie, Ryan Sheridan, The Hothouse Flowers and Kìla. Well, if they didn’t have you sold with Ryan Sheridan, I’m sure Bressie swayed you.

Forbidden Fruit is already a popular multi-arts event held at the site of The Irish Museum of Modern Art from the 2nd – 4th June. June spreads the festival bug to July and August promising a cultural summer for all tastes. So now having gotten over the shock of no Oxegen this year, gather yourself, dig out your straw hat, studded wellingtons and red rimmed spectacles and scope out the shenanigans near you on http://entertainment.ie/festival/

Project X

British-Iranian Director Nima Nourizadeh debuts with one of the most hyped feature lengths of 2012, Project X. The ‘home video’ style film follows three high schoolers, Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper) and J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown) who plan to gain popularity by hosting a notorious gaf party. Of course, as word gets round of their shenanigans, it all gets a little out of hand…
Rated 18 and produced by ‘The Hangover’s’ Todd Phillips, the film took five weeks, shot in L.A and California with a €12 million budget, topped off with a rather refreshing cast of relatively unknowns. The latter after a nationwide open casting to find people who had no acting experience.
The Feature hit U.S and U.K Cinemas March 2nd. As of March 18, 2012, the film has grossed $48,131,000 in the United States and Canada. That’s not even counting Europe.
The soundtrack echoes the ultimate foot tapping anthems. J-Kwon, Pusha T, Machine Gun Kelly, The Far East Movement and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s set it up for a party. Proper.
So, what do the real critics think?
Todd McCarthy of ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ criticizes the movie as ‘’grimly depressing, glumly unfunny teensploitation’’. Well, I just learned a new word. Similarly, ‘USA Today’s’ Claudia Puig labels it a ‘’heinous, misogynistic movie filled with faceless crowds…’’. However, not everyone is so butchering; Owen Gleiberman of ‘Entertainment Weekly’ praised the film for updating the 70’s & 80’s clichés of teenage films like ‘Animal House’ and ‘Risky Business’ ‘’so that they look just dangerous enough to make nostalgia feel naughty’’. Pete Travers of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine praised the film as ‘’gut-bustingly funny’’. Sold.
As it brings in the big bucks, Warner Bros has surprisingly announced that a sequel is imminent. Shock horror. As with all things Hollywood, Project X is fantastically American, slightly far-fetched but ultimately epic.

NME’s

Pretentious. Fabulous

The NME awards are awesome, in a word.

From the festival like décor, the red and blue circus tent, spherical dimmed lights, flags and perched ribbons.

To the arty youthful elite

Their uninterested poses, slouched eyelids, silent smirks and composed rock & roll

To the preppy host from Fresh Meat,

We love the music

We love the slightly more than PG gong

What was life before The Macabees or The Vaccines?

Who ever gave Pitbull a deal?

Kasabian Rocks, Noel Gallagher is over rated

Scratch that, but he’s not a god like ‘genius’, someone needs to nip that delusion in the bud

On the Radio;

Why don’t The Horrors get played over Kanye West?

Back to the Awards;

Those nonchalantly, ‘thrown on’ outfits have taken hours to create.

Rooster haircuts, flicked eye-liners, pale skin and red lip tints.

It makes you want to be one of them

The high strung, closed eyes, dads dancing to heart break lyrics

The penetrating notes and mercurial tones.

The hypnotising sounds, trepid guitars and ghostly drum beats

The XX

PULP = EPIC

But has Sex, drugs and rock & roll given these poor kids a bad name? Yes. But isn’t that part of it? Being a rockstar, or at least an ‘up for it’ member of a band quietly requires you to behave accordingly. See: Pete Doherty. Drugs, Drink, guitars and Kate Moss. It’s wasn’t a bad life. Who wants to be boring? These Kids don’t. They’re living for now, not their future. To be admired. But then they’re hammered in the press for giving us normal Joe’s and Josephine’s something to listen to/watch/aspire to/be inspired by.  All of this role model crap is exactly that. Who cares about being a role model for a bunch of sappy kids you will never have the infortune to meet? So what if Doherty went off the rails, He’s there for our entertainment, and he gets acclaim and free skinny jeans. And now he’s coming back, Proper. He’s got himself back on the horse, Let’s see how far it takes him. Maybe he’ll head the NME’s 2013?

This year, Flo and The Machine, Horrors, Arctic Monkeys all left victorious. Thank god

Music hasn’t gone completely bad amidst the techno/dubstep hell.

Minus Madonna, c’mon she’s lasted through how many generations now? Respect.

After thought: Is Pete Doherty really writing a hip hop album?