Friday, December 22, 2006

Albums of 2006

My blogs a year old today…ok, ok its not really that big of a thing but its lovely that my blog is still around, at least for me. It’s like a mangy old dog really.


here is my favourite albums of the year though I didn’t get enough time to write as much as I had hoped to do. This follows my previous post which was on films.

1. The Strokes- First Impressions of Earth

I am a huge Strokes fan I admit and so it was an obvious choice really.

This album had a lot to live up to since the Strokes debut, Is this it changed my outlook on music, and is one of my favourite, if not, favourite albums of all time. Room on Fire is an underappreciated album and one that is easily up there with the first.

With their third album the band expanded their sound palette with songs like Juicebox and Ask Me Anything while keeping to their roots with You Only Live Once and the ridiculously catchy Razorblade. But none of the songs on First Impressions would fit on either of the first two records which is when you start to notice how different this album is.

However it is far from perfect. In fact it is their weakest album so far despite how I felt when it was first released. It is 20 minutes too long with a few filler songs that really should have been B-sides.

Those criticisms fade away though with the first half of the album in which it shows that the Strokes still have the passion, the grittiness, the charm and the damn right catchy ness that they have always had and as long as they keep that they will always be one of my favourite bands of the 21st century.

2. Thom Yorke- The Eraser

The Eraser is, as expected from the genius that is Thom Yorke of Radiohead, a moody affair. It’s a haunting record and has Thom at his most emotional bare and it lingers in your mind much after listening to it which is a sign of a great record.

The record feels like it the beginning of the end with a cloud of undeniable sense of doom that runs throughout the tracks like blood in the veins. Track 3- The Clock even has the lyrics, ‘Time is running out for us’. This is a sure sign of the end of the world, surely? Brought on by the musicians awareness of global warming maybe?

The tracks are much like Radiohead’s recent output; Jazz flavoured at times, electronica with guitars but with great melody and personality with depth that a lot of music today lacks.

Thom Yorke is still the anti-hero, a seemingly tortured soul despite being in one of the greatest bands of all time. By the end of the Eraser it does make you wonder if Thom will one day leave electronica behind and start in a new direction. Despite how great this album is, I can’t help but wonder what is the future for Radiohead?

3. Cat Power- The Greatest

This album was a pleasant surprise; I mean I hadn’t heard anything by Chan Marshall before until her appearance on Jools Holland earlier this year. So this album kind of blew me away. It was her voice, that captivating, heartbreaking voice.

There is warmth to this album and it is possibly the key to why I have liked this album so much. It’s created mostly by the brilliant Memphis session guys who must be credited alongside Chan for their excellent contribution on the making of this album.

The imagery is strong with this album, of smokey bars and a broken down girl, loneliness but with hope. It’s that swelling emotion, that voice, that atmosphere, that love and that hate. That’s what makes this album so special; most albums this year haven’t come close.

4. Belle and Sebastian- the Life Pursuit

5. The Flaming Lips- At War with the Mystics

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Films of 2006:

1. UNITED 93- Flawless performances, documentary style directing with suffocating tension makes Paul Greengrass’s film about the hijacking of flight 93 on 9/11 into a masterpiece of cinema. United 93 is a thought-provoking film that features one of the most inspiring iconic moments of heroism.

2. BRICK- Made on a budget of under USD 500,000, Brick successfuly merges high school students with a hardboiled detective narrative. The risk pays off and while the dialogue is at times confusing, the acting and production is fantastic. This demands to be re-watched again and again. A true indie film that will be a cult classic in years to come.

3. THE DEPARTED- The film is now Martin Scorsese’s most successful film at the box office and it deserves to be. While it never reaches the heights of his earlier films such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull it is easily his best film since Goodfellas. This is possibly because Scorsese has been delving into period dramas of late while the Departed is back to his roots. It features some great acting from the evolving DiCaprio who is growing as a fine actor in every film he is in, but also boasts a return of Jack Nicholson as an evil mob boss. Also Mark Wahlberg is great in this, honest.

4. BORAT- Overrated? Controversial? Don’t believe the former. This is one of the funniest films of recent memory and exposes to the world the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen. It also has naked wrestling, one of the best comedy moments of all time.

5. PAN’S LABYRINTH- I’m going to guess that you missed Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy film, right? If you did then you missed out on one of the most darkly beautiful and enchanting films ever made. Del Toro shows great human empathy as well as visual flair.

Friday, December 01, 2006

the Beatles 'LOVE' or Shut up everyone is bored of the myth surrounding them

I finaly got my hands on the Beatles 'new' album, Love, which sees the Beatles catalogue being reworked by Sir George Martin and his son Giles. It's also the soundtrack to the Cirque du Soleil/Beatles production.

I liked the album which is not really a surprise but i wasn't expecting too as i didn't see the point of it, it's unnecessary. But despite that, it still makes for a great listen. They have made a puzzle for beatle fans. For example, the album begins with the sound of birds from Across the Universe which then proceeds into the harmonies of Because. This is then followed by the guitar stum of A Hard Day's Night which goes straight into The End which seamlessly leads into Get Back. It's like a trip through the Beatles history. Thats just the first two tracks of 26!

I love the more stripped down version of While my guitar gently weeps and the Sgt Pepper tracks which are either more psychedlic or less so, showing the tracks as they could have been without all the production trickery.

Also this is the best the Beatles have ever sounded on CD. The Beatles really need remastering....NOW!

I need more money so i can actualy fly to Las Vegas and watch the damn show!!!