What to make of the return of Josh Homme and the ever changing Queens of The Stone Age ensemble he’s brought with him this time? …Like Clockwork, their first album after a six year hiatus, is at once perhaps the definitive QOTSA album and a strange departure from the norm. More consistent and cohesive than its predecessors, it throws together elements of their output over the last decade into a record that, while less immediate and certainly softer, may top them all as the sum of its parts. Continue reading
Has there ever been a series as indebted to its past as JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot? It’s just an endless cycle of winks, nudges and nods. The fact that it’s such a feature of Abrams work doesn’t instil me with the greatest faith in his upcoming reboot of that other fallen giant of sci-fi. Fortunately he has a solid body of work to counter that claim, and Star Trek Into Darkness is yet another score for the well-oiled Abrams machine. This is a machine that’s made to thrill rather than enlighten, and, though Into Darkness is largely unoriginal and not massively impressive in any way, it once again gets the job done with another fun romp through the infinite vastness of space – though, that said, most of it happens inside a ship interior or in the distant locales of ‘London’ and ‘San Francisco’. Continue reading
It’s that time again, Yeezy season, where everyone talks about how much they hate Kanye West and how stupid he is and then inevitably buy his latest piece of brilliance. As always it’s a season that starts off in controversial, divisive style – this time on last week’s SNL, which he made clear was not a laughing matter(even though, as a comedy show, it actually is). He debuted two songs from his upcoming album, supposedly called Yeezus, an objectively ridiculous name, and held nothing back as he basically just screamed into the microphone against an all black backdrop whilst the words ‘NOT FOR SALE’ flashed epileptically in the background. Continue reading
Zeroes, the follow up to Oakland based post-punk band The Soft Moon’s brilliant debut, was a pretty disappointing re-tread of what made their first album so unique and incredible. It was so similar that you could barely even call it a new album, instead just half an hour of songs that sounded pretty much the exact same as what came before. Ironically, this is perhaps best seen on the song ‘Remember the Future’, which I swear is literally the exact same in every way as a song from their first album.
Want is one of the few tracks that sounds even remotely different; and therefore one of the few worth listening to. I guess Luis Vasquez and co. were going for a darker, grimier feel for their trademark dystopian sounding style, and Wants is one of the few places where this direction, or any willingness to mix things up, comes through. It’s propulsive, moody, atmospheric and utterly infectious in its looping, spiralling simplicity. The fact that this simplicity and deliberately looping structure is integral to their sound just makes the re-tread on the rest of the album all the more blatant, and intolerable.
Still, Want demonstrates what this band are really capable of – though they seem to have forgotten to add an ending to it – and reinforces my belief that this band need to soundtrack something apocalyptic/80s and horrible. Now I’m gonna go listen to their debut again and tap my foot so damn furiously for the next half an hour, possibly whilst enigmatically staring into the distance and imagining that I’m Ryan Gosling getting ready to destroy some faces under neon lights.
The Great Gatsby is the Great American Novel and perhaps the most widely loved and respected book of the twentieth century. Adapting a classic like that requires care, bravery and, most of all, respect. So that makes Baz Luhrmann, the man who turned Romeo and Juliet into a laughably overblown episode of Jersey Shore, the perfect man for the job. Wait, no, I meant that makes him literally the worst person for the job. When adapting Nick Carraway’s timeless tale of lost love, wait, what? Nick Carraway, the protagonist of the book, wrote the book? From inside a sanatorium? Oh goddamnit Baz, you’ve done it again. Continue reading
It takes a brave man to signal a stylistic shift by throwing you in at the deep end on the first track. On the opening title track of Pale Green Ghosts John Grant does just that, ditching the soft-rock sentiment of his acclaimed debut Queen of Denmark for dark, pulsing synths and an atmosphere of latent menace. I’m not sure if Grant has done that because he’s brave, or because he just doesn’t give a shit. Based on the rest of the album I think it might be the latter; this is a man who just does not care what you think anymore. Continue reading
It took a while but, finally, I managed to churn out a Top 10 Albums list. It’s replete with pictures, over-long descriptions and opinions so wildly subjective that they throw any attempt at credibility out the window. It’s also, for a list constructed almost entirely on impulse, totally predictable. Like, just ridiculously so. I look at it and I think ‘Wow, this list could not have been more obvious’. I also got so carried away typing up stuff about each album that it became clear that doing something similar for 100 Albums or Songs would just be stupid. It would also probably result in the single longest webpage in the history of the world, and no one wants that. So, instead, here’s a Spotify playlist of my Top 500 songs. You cannot possibly imagine how difficult it was to cull those down to 100. The key? Try and make a Top 50 and you’ll inevitably pick way too many and end up with only like 10 slots to round out. Anyway, enjoy judging my music taste further. Continue reading