Friday, March 31, 2006


I've been to the cinema a few times these last couple of weeks. Each film has been interesting and thought-provoking but each in their different way.


Having not seen Traffic, I was unsure what to expect from this Stephen Gandry film, and to be honest i got what i expected. It wasn't so much a film as an informative documentary on the oil industry in the Middle East and how much America wants to control it, with a bit of a plot thrown in for good measure. It was extremely well shot, some of the scenes were spectacular, and the cast was great, George Clooney and Chris Cooper we
re superb, but it asked alot of questions and didn't answer any of them, which was confusin, and they even thought the addition of a suicide bomber was a good idea. hmmmmm!!!!!

V For Vendetta

I'd read the graphinc novel a few month before in excitment at what i thought would be an engaging, thoughtful and informative movie. Oh I was disappointed!!! From what had be an underground, inspiration, anarchistic novel came a visually spectacular, action packed but dull and watered down film. I wish Hollywood hadn't got its hands on it. I can see why Alan Moore, the graphic novel's original writer, demanded his name be struck off the credits as the movie stays as close to the novel as I do to someone whos just shat themselves. There were
some bits I appreciated, like Stephen Rea's Inspector Finch, Stephen Fry's Deitrich, the blowing up of Parliament and the line " People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people."
And also Natalie Portman looked amazing the whole way through the film, even with shaved head.
The plot and ideals of the film get mixed up at points and the whole direction of the film is a bit wayward but it still is quite entertaining.

Good Night, And Good Luck

Another Clooney film and another political lecture but this time about American television and its courage of news. The film is set in the 1950s, in the news broadcasting department of the television network, CBS. The central character is Edward R. Murrow, played brilliantly by David Straithairn, who publicly opposes the views of the senator of Winconsin, Joesph McCarthy, who believes that Communists have infiltrated the government and the media. Backed by his team, Murrow stands up and brings down the Senator, exposing him as a fear monger. The film is expertly shot, even using the same type of lens as were used to the 50s to give a image lacking in depth but focusing perfectly on the character in shot. The cast was superb, in particular Straithairn's Murrow, who got his mannerisms down perfectly, Clooney's Friendly and Downey Jr.'s Wershba. It really highlighted the amount of fear-mongering that goes on in today's society, be it in the government or in the media, and i'm pretty sure it happens more often across the pond than over here.

I'd also like to comment on the new film by Donnie Darko director, Richard Kelly. I was a huge fan of DD and got very excited last night when reading about his next feature Southland Tales. Everyone involved is keeping it hush hush so the plot's quite a mystery but tit already has four official websites to its name(here, here,here and here), which haven't got much on them at the moment but will expand in the near future, and three graphic novels, out in around May-time, to lead us up to the plot of the film. I love how much detail Mr. Kelly goes into for each film, its amazing.

To accompany this blog, here's a few tunes about movies:
Cursive - After The Movies

Actually couldn't find anymore in my collection about films so heres some from soundtracks:
Chuck Berry - Johnny B Goode
Damien Rice - The Blower's Daughter
The Shins - New Slang
Weezer - You Gave Your Love To Me Softly
Aretha Franklin - I Say A Little Prayer

Little quiz, who can name the films each of those songs are in? Who knows i might even give a prize to the winner. I'll make it clear, its the films i'm thinking of, not random films with those songs in.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

And Its Over

I was a bit late on the uptake but i've just finished reading Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy and, jeez louise, was it good!!! I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read them so i'll only say that it's amazing and the ending is heart-wretchingly, tear-evokingly, wish you could help in any way possible-ly sad, so you should read it.
So haven't finished such a literary masterpiece, it got me thinking about the endings of albums so here are a few of my favourite closing songs, as you can see i like them epic. I'd be gald to hear any suggestions or critism on my choices.

Weezer - Only In Dreams
Fugazi - The Argument
Oasis - Champagne Supernova
Jimi Hendrix Experience - Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Portishead - Glory Box
The Beatles - A Day In The Life
Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies - ...Spooks The Horse
Radiohead - Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Don't be greedy bastards and buy these:
Weezer - Weezer (The Blue Album)
Fugazi - The Argument
Oasis - Whats The Story (Morning Glory)
Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
Portishead - Dummy
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies - Hurrah Another Year....
Radiohead - The Bends

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Its Summertime...

Well not exactly but the last few days have been so sunny compared to the previous two weeks that being able to take my coat off outside has become a special event. It was so nice today, people were walk round the lake on campus, others were having drinks on the grass outside the union bar, i was even tempted with having an ice cream (99 flake if you were wondering). I was stuck inside today, having to do my last lab experiment of the year, YAYYY!!!! so i thought i'd treat myself and you guys with a bit of a pre-emptive summer mix, a bunch of songs that remind me of summers past.

Hate It Or Love It - The Game feat. 50 Cent. It was on the radio all the time at the place i worked last summer

1 Thing - Amerie. Summer term at Uni last year.

Don't Falter - Mint Royale feat. Lauren Laverne. The endless amount of times they played this on Xfm over the summer holidays a few years back. Its just so "summery"

Kickin' Back - Beachbuggy
Hard To Explain - The Strokes These two remind me of an awful summer on a German exchange but singing these with my mate kept me sane, Cheers Olly

In The Garage - Weezer. Had a big Weez obsession when i was 14/15 over the long summer of '02

And I Was A Boy From School - Hot Chip. I can already tell this song and album will fill those long hot days of the coming summer with fun, laughter and good tunes

These silver discs will light up your day and put a huge smile on your face:

The Game - The Documentary

Amerie - Touch
Mint Royale - On The Ropes
Beachbuggy - Sport Fury
The Strokes - Is This It
Weezer - Weezer (The Blue Album)
Hot Chip - The Warning

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Just returned from an evening of excellent live music. I've been looking forward to this Boysetsfire gig for a good few weeks now, having last seen them at Reading '03 (i think) and being blown away by their music and also by the "pit". It was immense. Tonight was no different. They played in probably my favourite Nottingham venue, the Basement in the Rock City, and the intimacy really seemed to suit their music. They seemed to play alot off their new album, The Misery Index; Notes From The Plague Years, which i haven't had the chance to get my grubby hands on but after tonight my ears are eagerly awaiting a listen. They pack alot into their set, including favourites, After The Eulogy, Release The Dogs, Rookie and My Life In The Knife Trade and i can happily say i got battered for most of them. It was a great performance.

I'd also like to mention the support act, Tribute To Nothing, for putting on a grand performance and rightly getting a worthy applause at the end of their set and also for correcting some heckler's english, was very humorous.

Check out thes tunes coz they're awesome:

Boysetsfire - After The Eulogy

Boysetsfire - My Life In The Knife Trade

Buy these shiny things, they'll make you happy:

Boysetsfire -
The Misery Index; Notes From The Plague Years

Boysetsfire - After The Eulogy

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Music

Ok its not very new music but i've really got back into Bullet Union after a good few months absence from my stereo. To be honest, i think the cd needed a break from having been played to death but its back from its rest as exciting and energetic as ever. The same can be said of the band, who toured Britian extensively after the release of the debut album, Ruins Domino, last year, playing everywhere from people's bedrooms to abandoned pubs. But after a few month's break things look back on track with news of a European and UK tour and a whole bunch of new songs.

Their sound takes alot from early Dischord bands, early Sonic Youth, Drive Like Jehu and The Stooges but their take on jagged, discordant punk has a modern edge as well. The record was produced on a tight budget but is as intense and passionate as anything i've laid ears on and live they play loud, very loud and everytime i've seen them they seemed to have progressed further in their musical evolution, which can only lead to brighter, better things.

I could have put every song from the album here as a taster as they're all so good but here's a few that i think captured the band essence:

Bullet Union - Yak Yak Yak You're Fired
Bullet Union - Vikings

Check on ther website for a couple more tracks and buy their album, gwan you know you wanna:

Bullet Union - Ruins Domino

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ivor Cutler (1923 - 2006)

I only heard of Mr Cutler for the first time about a year ago, after watching a BBC documentary on him. Since then I've seen the programme about 3 or 4 times and each time I'm capativated by his songs/poems and personality. He used his witty, dry humour to make surreal comments and in just a fifty second piece you could tell some much about him. I was shocked and upset when i heard he'd died last friday at the age of 83. My thoughts go out to his friends and family
Here's a few of his musing and Locust St. has also blogged about Mr Cutler's passing
Ivor Cutler - Great Races Of The World - 80 Metre Race
Ivor Cutler - A Mouse Asks A Rat
Ivor Cutler - Good Morning How Are You Shut Up
There's a load more mp3s, where i got these ones here

(editted 09/03/06) check out Little Hits, they have one of my favourite Ivor songs

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

F-IRE Collective

British jazz is having a bit of a popularity rise at the moment, due mainly to London's the F-IRE collective. They are group of "musicians, dancers and visual artists commited to developing and sustaining creativity"(taken from their website) are and damn hot.
The main protagonists in the collective, well the ones who have had the most success, are two bands, who feature mainly the same members, Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear.

Acoustic Ladyland consist of a saxophonist (Pete Wareham), bass player (Tom Herbert), keyboardist (Tom Cawley) and drummer (Seb Roachford) and play, hmmmm punk jazz seems the best way to describe. Its so energetic and powerful but full of fun at the same time. Taking inspiration from Coltrane, Hendrix (you can guess that from the band's name) and punk, the music hits you in the face but its still has time to for expression and freedom. I caught them at the Metro Club in London last year and was very impressed. And the drummer has amazing hair.

If Acoustic Ladyland are your teenage sibling, who wears Cons, studded leather jackets, safety pins, swear and spit alot, get drunk in the park on cheap cider and listen to The Ramones, then Polar Bear are same sibling, who's now at uni, got into electronic music and taken a few too many drugs. Comprising of three member of Acoustic Ladyland, drummer, saxophonist and bassist, another saxophonist (Mark Lockheart) and an eletronic guy (Leafcutter John) are added to the mix. They are alot more experimental than Acoustic Ladyland, with alot more room for improvisation but still keeping the simple chorus-like melodies. The two saxophonists have quite different styles, Wareham's sound is thinner but man can he blow, whereas Lockheart's sound was fuller and richer but he doesn't seem to go off on one as well. The addition of Leafcutter John's electronics are a bit hit and miss, sometimes complimenting the music and sometimes detracting from it. I caught them in Derby last week, as part of the Derby Jazz season, and thought they were excellent even though they lacked the energy of Acoustic Ladyland, the band really is about their talent

Here's a few tracks for your listening pleasure:

Acoustic Ladyland - Iggy

Acoustic Ladyland - Om Konz

Polar Bear - To Touch The Red Brick

Buy these and free the musical notes:

Acoustic Ladyland - Last Chance Disco

Polar Bear - Held On The Tips Of Fingers