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Assorted Albums Almanac//August 2017

Last night my dreams involved a combination of a free-scoring Wayne Rooney returning to the England team, and Pennywise the Dancing Clown. It was surreal and confusing but not unenjoyable.

The featured artists this month (let’s pretend this is a monthly feature and not some totally irregular, basically biennial splurge of words) don’t sleep so easy. Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo sees nightmares of global gloom and knows war is coming (if you want it); James Murphy returns with LCD Soundsystem to ask us how do you sleep; and Nadine Shah, Tyneside born singer-songwriter of Iranian descent, is plagued by the plight of refugees in an intolerant, ungenerous world. EMA’s nightmares may not be veiled by sleep, but the world of a 33 year old nihilistic woman in 2017 is laid bare in her dreamy, angsty new record.

But first some quick ones – some choice singles from the past month or so and some sub-A albums.

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Game of Thrones: Season 7 Recap

DRAGONSTONE

We begin.

In an offscreen moment, Arya Stark kills Walder Frey. She then, maybe, cuts off his face and…wears it? Continue reading

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Assorted Albums Almanac//Spring 17

There have been many months of music, film and anything else noted and not uploaded here. But when you unload those thoughts and experiences, surely best to start from the present rather than the past? Here are a selection of albums that caught the ear – or, more often in the process of discovery, the eye – over the past month or so.

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Best of 2016: A Subjective Ranking

Look past the losses of 2016 and what you’re left with is an otherwise stellar year for music.  It speaks volumes, however, that so many of the year’s finest albums predicate on darker themes. But across albums that tackle topics as diverse as racism, sexism, age, death, tragedy, loneliness, what proves profoundly striking is the shared sense of fire, grit and perseverance that resonates through each. It has been a year in which so much of our music has dealt with despair and yet managed to deal out hope. Acceptance is perhaps the other big theme; self-acceptance, mainly. Whether it’s Angel Olsen’s defiant Woman, Chance’s celebratory Blessings, Bowie’s terminally beguiling Lazarus, or Solange’s soul-searching Cranes in the Sky. The mutual catharsis of this year’s best music seems to have given artists an urgency and vitality, a striking sense of relevance, that has allowed 2016 to become a year of music in which a Kanye West release can seem like only an afterthought.

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds // Skeleton Tree Review

Nick Cave is often at his most pretentious, and his most farcically overblown, when he indulges his demonic preacher alter-ego. As his croon has deepened and mellowed in his later years, he has developed a voice that is almost excessively rich in drama. His lyrics, which already walk a fine line between the poetic and the ponderously cliché, can seem exaggerated into melodramatic farce.  

This, however, is a rare record where Cave truly sounds sincere. I have no doubt that his previous works have been performed with unshakeable sincerity and conviction – his passion and presence is undeniable – but here it for once sounds less like an act, a character, a stylisation. It is almost painfully real. Continue reading

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How Fifa Is Wrong

Fifa is the worst yearly franchise in gaming.  As an iterative series – one that should pioneer refinement over revolution – it is a near total failure. That’s not to say the games are bad, they’re usually decent, but they are so much worse than they should be after two decades in the business. Looking at the failures of the franchise, I’ll take each aspect of the most recent game in turn and discuss how EA’s series has managed to be completely stagnant but ever-changing. Continue reading

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A Message To The People Snoring In My Room

It is 5 am and I cannot sleep. I’m in an Italian hostel in Napoli and from the corner of the dorm where I fight to sleep, a choir of snores emanate from slack-jawed maws of absolute despair. Each harmonises with the other to create a perfect, relentless tide of spirit-crushing hell. It is a living nightmare.

To the person in the furthermost corner, I apologise for including you amidst this bunch but, then again, you do snore too and it is fucking annoying. It’s unpleasant on my ears but I suppose it’s largely bearable. It pales in comparison to the pure psychological torment of your companions.

To the pair right of the corner, fuck you. I hate you. I hate you with all the hate I have to give in my lifetime. Continue reading

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