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July 16, 2008

Heroes & a bit of Dr. Who 2008 review

Filed under: Uncategorized, reviews, PhoeniX Phil, art — pxpl @ 4:38 pm

 

I happened to have enjoyed the second season of Heroes a lot better than i expected to after all the backlash in the States. A lot of Uk fans also dropped it from their viewing schedules. I’m still not sure why it alienated so many previous fans. Sure it had it’s faults (the odd plodding storyline, some characters not getting enough screen time, corny dialog) but these faults were also shared by the popular first series. One of the common complaints about the second season was that it’s pace was too slow… if anything each episode whizzed by like a speedball. But then again after watching four brilliant series of the slow burning yet almighty “The Wire” going back to speedy Heroes for me is a bit like listening to the entire Radiohead back catalogue and then sticking on the Ramones “It’s Alive”Anyhow a cracking finale to Heroes 2 I thought. Although the cliffhanger of Nathan being shot isn’t much of a cliff hanger seeing as he has “the healing blood” in his body now. And having said that, Nathan will survive “healing blood” or not after all didn’t DL and Matt get shot up at the end of series 1. But I enjoyed the final episode possibly because the overall season stories of the virus and the twins of death didn’t interest me on a whole. So I was glad to see it all wrapped up in a fast action, fun packed way. If I had to witness anymore whinging and bad acting from “Tears of Death girl” I would have snapped. Plus the subtle Popeye gag when Sylar got his powers back in the alley was a class touch 

  

Now with season 3, they can start again and build it up from scratch… Sylars back, “the twins of death” storyline is over, Hiro is back with Ando in the present day, Nathan and Peter are re-united with Matt (and thus Mohinder and that little girl who’s name escapes me) giving us a band of “Heroes”, Elle being a bit of emotional head case who often does wrong by trying to do right can implemented as and how the plot dictates. 

  If I was allowed help build back from scratch here’s what I’d recommend for season 3….* Seeing as half the cast now have “healing blood” PLEASE can a virus or defect or for the effects to be temporary to be written into the series for characters who get the blood second hand. Otherwise we’ll soon have a cast of characters who are immortal. I know there’s the highlander esque “you have to shot them in the head” to kill them but that can only go so far tension wise. For example if it is permanent, surely it’d now be expected by Claire and Peter’s friends and family that they get given a quick transfusion “just in case”. And those people then would do the same for their nearest and dearest and so and so.. in the end everyone would be immortal. 

  

I’d make transfused “Healing blood” either temporary (which would contradict the already slightly scientifically dubious “Sylar getting powers by eating brains thus incorporating their dna coding into his”) OR give the the healing blood a side effect if it’s transfused resulting in it’s use being reduced for emergencies. 

* More “Elle Bishop” please! She really sparked some life into the last few episodes (no pun intended). The brief clash between her and Sylar was electrifying (again no pun intended). I’d like to see a fierce rivalry between her and Sylar develop in series 3.* Much more Sylar. Heroes IS Sylar’s show. Keep him evil, keep him alone (please no sidekicks or minions) and keep him a threat. His predatory stalking of the Heroes gives the show it’s edge. In series 2 he was stuck with the sucky “Tears Of Death” twins. Speaking of which….

* Axe Little Miss “Tears Of Death”. Oh how I cheered when firstly she got told her brother was dead and then I cheered even more when Sylar shot her dead. Typically Mohinder brought back to life with “the healing blood” like the idiot do-gooder that he is. I know the makers of Heroes love her but she’s fakking rubbish and annoying. Please kill her.. full on properly leave no room for a comeback. Let her annoy Alejandro in TV Hell.

* Either kill of Nikki in the explosion or make her kick ass again in season 3. She did a whole lot of nothing in season 2. I always figured that her and Nathan would get together down the line and form some sort of power couple.

* Cut out the stoopid “as if” bits like how the corporation (which is supposed to be all powerful and all knowing) put powerful threats Peter and Adam in cells next to each other and let them chat freely through the wall. And also last night Peter takes out Hiro, and Adam who’s vowed revenge against Hiro for 400 years just leaves him unconscious surely he’d kill him while he could… or at least tie him up of something.

* Oh less Claire Bear please. I know FHM readers like her but either turn her into a cheerleader uniform wearing kick ass hero or reduce her role. Her make up / break up sessions with her “daddy” are getting boring now. 

  


I may be the only but I see good things in store for Heroes. F*ck the critics.. it’s still a billion times better than anything else on telly this month…. 

  Well apart from Dr.Who season 4 that started off sh!te but got back up to speed about two thirds in. The “Midnight” episode was one of my favourites. A tale of physiological terror and paranoia, David Tennant was brilliant as the Doctor who for once was a bit out of his league while a mysterious life-force attacked a shuttle train. And the final story arc that carried over the final three episodes was a Saturday night TV heaven….  a tiny bit rushed plus Catherine Tate was ultra annoying but great stuff none the less. It was good see all the seasons and spin off’s cross over …I even gushed like an 8 year old when K-9 scooted out to save the day. Plus Martha Jones is an excellent sidekick and should be in it more often in my opinion.I do wonder what was up with Billie Piper’s mouth / speech. It sounded like she had some bad ass mouth ulcer or something. Plus I do feel that the Billy and the clone Dr. ending could’ve been more romantic …but I suppose it’s hard to be all “sunsets and smooching” if you have to settle for a mad clone of the man you love.

Still, tons of action, a mega weepy bit when the TARDIS was being destroyed, Davros telling off the Dr for being a hypocrite at the end plus a downer ending…. as the man himself would say, “Brilliant”. 

  

I look forward to seeing what David Tennant and the writers do next with Dr.Who. I’m hoping that the scolding he got from Davros has effected him bringing a more sombre tone to the series. Roll on the Christmas special. 

 

 

January 30, 2008

The PhoeniX 50 : 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized, music, reviews, PhoeniX Phil — pxpl @ 5:37 pm

Better late than never! This was started back in December but I moved house, then got ill, then there was plague of locusts, my dog ate the homework etc. etc.
So here it is the legendary PhoeniX 50. A semi-favourite songs of the year affair where I
 
a)       Wax lyrical about the glories of a good pop single like a simple dog excited about a bone
b)       Inevitably get a load of e-mails saying “actually that was out two years ago…”
c)       Promote my love for songs and / or bands that I may well regret giving early support to over the course of the next 12 months (oh how easy it is to get “swerved” by an early single)
 
The following rules apply
 
a)       Only one song per band
b)       In order to escape charges of nepotism (I don’t work for NME after all) I haven’t included any songs that may have released via PopArt or any songs by people who have seen me in my pants
 
 
Are you ready? Well yes down and here we go…
 
The PhoeniX 50 2007
 
 
 

50
This Is Pop (Live XFM Session)
Charlotte Hatherley

A spiffing cover version of the XTC tune by the ex-Ash guitar maiden. Not big nor clever but always fun during an “i-shuffle”
 
 
 
 

49
Just a Song About Ping Pong
Operator Please

Yeah yeah.. It’s a novelty single by a bunch of (possibly stage school) Australian kids but hey! atleast it’s a silly speedball head rush of a novelty single by Australian school kids. In at number 49 for the “CHEATER! LIAR!” bit alone. 
 
 
 

48
Painting New York On My Shoes
Poppy & The Jezebels

Sounding like the X-Ray Spex’s Poly Styrene recounting a misty dream over some almost self-taught piano this song charmed me in the early parts of 2007.
 
 

47
A Ghost In The Arcade
Idlewild

They may have disappeared into post-peak mediocrity but this blistering little tune was still a treat.
 

46
Disconnect the Dots
Of Montreal

Half of me thinks this is too smug by half “Oh look we’ve got 80’s synths” U.S. indie-smindie tedium, the half of me is quite charmed by the fact it sounds like Ken Stringfellow “doing a Postal Service”. Oh the conflict! … Still, I keep listening to it so it’s in at 46. Poppet.
 

45
The Last Parade On Ann St.
Chris Bathgate

Singer-songwriter-sometimes SLGTM bassist Chris Bathgate is in at number 45. with this song that seems lost in a whisper until the final reverb drenched guitar outro that sounds like heaven crying.
 

44
Legs ‘N’ Show
Glasvegas

Admittedly “Daddy’s Gone” was funnier (in a sing along doing your own comical impression of singer James Allan’s vocals) but this fuzzed up JAMC go doop wop blast was the track that gets me excited. If the CBP (Chavy British Public) take Glasvegas to their heart in 2008 there could be pub sing longs of such scale it would be as if The Proclaimers and Oasis had produced a distorted spawn. Frightening… yet also strangely exciting.
 

43
Click, Click, Click, Click
Bishop Allen

Yeah yeah… it’s generic U.S. radio friendly indie rock but I’m sucker for an instant almost jingle-esque chorus and this chorus delivers in spades plus I admire their mercenary business savvy in them fully going for the “indie girls who take photos” demographic. How do I sleep at night? I pretend this is by the Eels or someother band that’s “allowed”.
 

42
Mansard Roof
Vampire Weekend

This sounds like the classic ”Concrete & Clay” re-imagined by a band forced to play on a Polynesian cruise ship. More power to them, I say.
 

41
Strangers
The Sailplanes

A fine unleashing of pounding bass, wirey guitars and joy dividing synth from this London band.
 

40
I Am John
Loney, Dear

Yet another “Swedish indie-pop” charmer of a song, the difference this time is that at the end it all goes falsetto crazy and sounds a bit like Barry Gibb gatecrashing a Hidden Cameras’ recording session. Fantastic.
 

39
Delivery
Babyshambles

He’ll never release a brilliant album (and he’ll never top those classic Libertines singles) BUT dear old “Cheeky Pete” can still knock out great tunes like this.
 

38
Golden Skans
Klaxons

Being more manufactured than McFly, even sillier than SFA and fuelled by Bill Drummoned pop philosophies should make Klaxons a hell of a lot more entertaining than the “alright I suppose… if you’re in the mood for that sort of thing” product that they actually are. Still, this is classic “Indie goes Top Ten” crossover hit that will be used on Question Of Sport as backing music to sports clips from 2007 for years to come. Hooray! 
 

37
Australia
The Shins

After loving “Chutes Too Narrow”, I found The Shins’ follow up album “Wincing The Night Away” something of a disappointment but in the handful of tunes that got repeated plays this year was “Australia”… a charming little funbundle of a song if ever there was one.
 

36
Western Meadowlark
Brown Recluse Sings

Chortle. The 8 year old in me find’s this bands name hilarious, it instantly brings to mind someone who is advertising a new brand of constipation relief leaping off the toilet with a fist in the air proudly declaring “FINALLY… Brown Recluse Sings!” followed by some notes on a tuba. “But what of the music?” I hear you ask. Well, this is a little charmer, a bit like the bass and drum track of U2’s “With Or Without You” over dubbed with some splendid fey U.S. indie.
 

35
What’s a Girl to Do?
Bat for Lashes

Semi-spooky bit of cinematic harpy wailing entwined with spokenword over harpsichord notes entwined over a Spector beat. Essentially it’s just Black Box Recorder for ATP types but still I declare this great stuff.
 

34
Super Trouper
Camera Obscura

Traceyanne Campbell and company drag out every inch of sadness out of the Abba classic with this slowed down softly strummed cover version.
 
 

33
I’m A Soldier
The Afghan Whigs

A new track from their 2007 best of (”Unbreakable: A Retrospective”) “I’m A Soldier” showed that Greg Dulli and the boys still could deliver soul tinged-90’s alt rock with gusto.
 

32
The One U Wanna C
Prince

“His Royal Badness” was reunited with Wendy & Lisa for this ace power popping track.
 

31
Heinrich Maneuver
Interpol

Yet another brooding anthem to stroll around mysteriously to while wearing a duffle coat from everyone’s favourite gloom rockers.
 

30
Dashboard
Modest Mouse

A cracking piece of modern alternative from the band that also won the “Most Successful Guitarist Wanted Advert” award this year.
 

29
Sirens of Titan
Zan Pan

Ridiculous and sublime in equal measures, “Sirens of Titan” sounded like Marc Bolan and Sparks surfing on a punkoid rainbow generated from Rush’s amplifiers. Wins the award for “most outrageous single of the year” hands down.
 

28
You! Me! Dancing!
Los Campesinos!

Depending on my mood, I find the music of Los Campesinos! either extremely irritating or extremely exhilarating. For my money this was their bestest offering of the year, starting with slowly and soft strums on a guitar the intro builds into a cacophony of noise before the driving riff kicks in. The listener is then plunged headfirst into a dizzying rush of guitars, glockenspiels and indie boy / indie girl vocals with the song stopping and starting at all the right places just like a pop rollercoaster.
 

27
I Want You Back
The School

Admittedly this was just the demo on their Myspace page BUT what a tune it is. Sounding a bit like The Concretes with a greater spring in their step this song is one of the highlights of the live sets. Hopefully 2008 will see the release of the actual version.
 

26
I Wish That I Could See You Soon
Herman Düne

Actually out in 2006 (I believe) but the song and the video only seemed to get wider appreciation this year. This is a great little ditty about keeping calm when your loved one is far from you by the using the advice of angels in the role of backing singers. Or something.
 

25
Bluebells
Patrick Wolf

Ah the use of fireworks as percussion. Ah the crooning vocals. Ah the glam-boho romance of it all.
 

24
Nag Nag Nag Nag
Art Brut

“Older? Wiser? This song’s the decider,” sang Eddie Argos on this spiffing good comeback single. Dealing with the classic “Mid - Late 20’s crises” has never been relayed in songform better than this.
 

23
Baby’s Coming Back
McFly

In a move akin to as if Oasis released a cover of “Get It On”, McFly decided to cover a song of which they had already stolen the intro from (for “Obviously”). Still mustn’t grumble it gave the lads yet another Number One Pop Hit plus it finally took the legacy of cult power popper’s Jellyfish into the bedrooms of teenage girls. It’s a shame that McFly’s only other single of the year “The Heart Never Lies” was utter shyte.
 

22
    Clever Girls Like Clever Boys Much More Than Clever Boys Like Clever Girls
Pelle Carlberg

Charming piece of Indiepop from (guess where… yes it’s) Sweden, CGLCBMMTCBLCG does everything you’d expect it to and then some.
 
 

21
Black Jacks
Girls Aloud

At the risk of sounding like one of those godawful websites that patronisingly bang on about how pop music (or anything that has pseudo-Goldfrapp electric synth blips in it) is sooooooo much better and artiscally futurist than the Kooksian Indie Rock, it does have to be said that Team GA (that’s the managers, producers, writers and the five semi-celebs that front the product) are one of the best groups of the decade. I wouldn’t dare suggest that any of their albums are classics but when it comes to the crunch the dizzying arrangements, occasionally cavalier song structures (”Biology”) and non-sensical lyrics of GA will leap the next generation gap far easier than the likes of the Foo Fighters. Anyhow, this album track from their new album “Tangled Up” shows Team GA at their best throwing together melodic verses that are bit like Blondie’s “Sunday Girl” over a backing track that evokes a futurist take on Mike Flowers Pops. Then the chorus explodes covered in a wall of crashing guitars before a shouty Le Tigre-esque cheerleader bit is thrown in as if just for fun. Splendid, if this isn’t a single in 2008 then their record label are a bunch of buffoons.
 
 
 

20
Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies
Biffy Clyro

Pounding drums, gruff vocals, crashing guitars that occasional riff n’ shred, strings and choirs flow through the song like angels slaying demons… yes it’s the world of HORMOAN RAWK. The album version of this is immense! If I was 16 this would have been my song of the year but alas I’m 30 so it peaks at number 20.
 
 

19
No Cars Go
The Arcade Fire

Yes The AF make a really good big slab of noise don’t they? It’s all a bit obvious and easy to say that they’re rather good. But I won’t punish them for it. Still this song wins the rare but prestigious “best saxophone solo of the year” award.
 
 

18
One Kiss Don’t Make A Summer
Lucky Soul

Dear old Lucky Soul, having seen them grow from seedlings in 2006 to a band getting 5 out of 5 in the Metro and doing proper tours in 2007 I felt a bit like a parent who had seen his child go off and make their way in the world. This summer indie hit is a heart bursting, strings exploding lesson in pop glory with a fabulous day brightening outro to boot.
 
 
 

17
Profit In Your Poetry
Butcher Boy

What is in the Butcher Boy’s pop sausages? I hear you ask. Well the ‘niX tastes a little bit of Love, a little bit of The Smiths and dare I say it some Moody Blues-esque seasoning. A tasty bite if you’re feeling cinematically wronged on rainy walk to work.
 

16
Better as a Girl
The Stricken City

Hands down winner of “Bass Riff of The Year”, London’s The Stricken City are kinda like Life Without Buildings for Echobelly / Brit-Pop fans. Nothing wrong with that I say and I love the kickass indie-in-a-garage guitar solo on this where you can hear the plectrum hitting the scratch plate.
 
 

15
Tears Dry On Their Own
Amy Winehouse

Amy Whinehouse is at number 16? Yes… what of it? A tune’s a tune and this 60’s soul pastiche delivers in spades. Plus the title is very true which is odd as I heard someone say at a bus top that Amy hasn’t known what “dry” is for years. I paid no attention… I’m not one for gossip.
 
 

14
I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
Black Kids

If this would have been out a few months earlier it would have been higher in the PX50 (I’m already regretting it being so low), in 2008 expect Black Kids to get hyped in that annoying faux-low key “Interweb Blog! Interweb Blog! Oh aren’t we clever we’re making indiekids think they’ve discovered them” marketing approach (see also Arcade Fire, Artic Monkeys) that could mean that their popularity will peak in April before fading out into apathy by September (see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Hot Hot Heat). STILL, lets focus on NOW… this song is great. Yelpy Robert Smith vocals over a genre defying backing track with easily chant along / shout along bits and a chorus suitable for every sexually frustrated indieboy. According Dave Rees they ripped off a band called The Violet Pets… maybe but I think it’s unlikely that one of the ten people to experience the VP’s went on to be a member of Black Kids. Plus it’s far; far more accomplished than anything the VP’s achieved. Lament.
 
 

13
My Friend in a Comfortable Chair
Cats On Fire

I think this was actually released years ago but people only started banging on about them this year so who cares. Charming jangle-jangle indiepop from (guess where?… ha ha tricked you! Not from Sweden this time) Finland that wears its “Hatful of Hollow” influence on its sleeve.
 
 

12
On Call
Kings of Leon

This sounds like the big stadium rock hit that Urge Overkill shoulda produced in the mid 90’s but didn’t (produced by Gil Norton naturally). Some people love KoL. Some people loathe KoL… personally I can take them or leave them BUT this song hits all PXPL’s buttons. At moments, it’s eerie yet peaceful like staring out of a log cabin window at midnight and then at other moments it roars softly yet sternly like a protective lioness protecting her cubs. A lesson in comeback singles if ever there was one.
 

11
Umbrella
Rihanna (featuring Jay-Z)

The best thing about 2007 was the MP3 sales fuelled return of genuine pop hits. Whether you loved or hated the songs, artists and demographics that made up the 52 weeks worth of top tens you have to admit they way singles now climb, fall and climb again in the charts is so much better than the “straight into the top ten and then straight out of the charts with an anchor” culture that slowly ruined the concept of Pop Music and killed off Top Of The Pops over the past 8 years. All they need to do is being back ToTP on a Thursday night (WITHOUT pointless live performances of dance hits involving failed glamour models prancing around and without Fearne and Reggie please) and we’ll have weather that matches it’s season, a reduction in street crime and oh by golly terrestrial telly will stop bombarding us with rubbish cooking / ice skating / ”making chavs look decent” shows and start showing proper programs again like Wrestling, The Monkees and Blake’s 7. I remember when this was all fields etc.
 
Anyhow, the return of “proper” charts gave us a proper long, thick, sustainable “number one for the whole of summer” hit single for the first time in ages and what a belter it was. A nagging low burn of a chorus (with it’s instantly irritating yet unstoppable and enjoyable ”ELLA ELLA ELLA” hook) mixed with its thumping synth drums and blippy electro arrangement that does a truckload of work without the listener even realising. Heck even, the Jiggaman turns up and half raps / half mumbles all over the intro just because he can. Add to this a video where “slightly famous but not a household name yet” R&B star Rihanna was re-styled /re-invented as an urban Aeon-Flux pop superstar, and it just goes to show that Pop Music shouldn’t be written off just yet it just needs a bit of stardust, a bit of effort and a bit of belief in it’s importance.
 
 

10
Dead Sounds
The Raveonettes

Sometimes I just want to hear a song that sounds like 80’s goth vampires invading an episode of Happy Days only to come into conflict with a crucifix waving Tom Bosley. When I do get this urge I reach for this splendid fuzzed-up ramma-lamma ding-dong of a single by Sune and Sharin.
 
 

9
Flux
Bloc Party

 

I still find it hard to become a fan of this band HOWEVER songs such as this make it hard for me to fault them. “Flux” is a delicious headrush of Giorgio Moroder synth blips, epic wailing indie guitar heroics and misery guts vocals. PLUS the video has people dressed up as giant alien robots beating each other up. Superb.  
 

 

8
The Song Is The Single
BARR

BARR is a band built around some beat poet type. I can’t say I’m a massive fan of the band but the “Song Is The Single” is ace… kinda like Stephen Malkmus freeforming tales about disastrous lower league indie careering over a pounding Glitter-beat, some driving bass and some minimalist piano.
 

7
Those Dancing Days
Those Dancing Days

Just when I feel a bit too ”seen it all before” to like new bands I often hear something that puts a huge grin on my face and makes me think, “Heck! Yes there ARE still great new pop songs to be written and celebrated!” Hearing this song was one of those moments, it comes across as if Ace Of Base were re-invented as a lo-fi band with rattling drums and twangy 80’s indie guitar parts. Brilliant… this is like a Eurotrash version odf “Debaser”. Or something.
 

6
Our Velocity
Maxïmo Park

You’ve gotta love the Park. They’re the kind of indie band that the UK will always need… they stack up a fine array of top 30 hits and then turn up to the festivals at tea time and play them all with pride and gusto. Lovely. This was the first single from their second album and what fun I had mechanically marching on the spot bellowing along to it “I’m not a man.. I am machine!” I did this all summer and I’m still doing it now if it gets played. Now that’s what I call artistic impact.
 
 
 

5
When I Lose My Eyes
Saturday Looks Good To Me

SLGTM’s 2007 album “Fill Up The Room” was fantastic! My album of the year… but the rules of the PX50 only allow one song per artist so I’m going with track three. “When I Lose My Eyes” see’s SLGTM main main Fred Thomas expore the concept of love surviving physical decay over six minutes of demented, emotional, rattlingly heroic indie heaven.  This song has everything… so much so that the melodic riff that acts as a hook in the chorus is played by different arrangements of instruments each time it pops round (for example a Wizzard-esque rock n roll sax arrangement one time round, a Disney styled string section the next). At the end of the chorus Fred sings “…to finally find you” like he’s about to bursts into tears at the sheer realisation of his soul searching and before you can take in the sheer scope of what Fred is thinking and feeling the rattling drums kick in and it’s in to verse two. The whole song ends with crashing electric guitars that sound like the waves of death crashing into and destroying the vessel of physical life. If you lose yourself in this song you’ll need to lay down in a dark room afterwards just to feel normal again.
 
 

4
Rule the World
Take That

Lovely old Take That. They do what it says on the tin. They are a pop group. They are entertainers. They don’t want you to feel their pain.. they want to ease your pain. The makers of  ”Stardust” went to Mr. Gary Barlow’s office and said, “Hey Mr. Gary Barlow we’re doing a film can you do a big silly romantic song for us. Y’know like what films had in the 90’s and then we can do a promo vid for the song and stick lots of bits from film… y’know quick flashes of action mixed with close ups of the most famous people in the film”. Mr. Gary Barlow pondered for a while before imagining his fingers on his piano, suddenly Mr. barlow looked up and declared, “Oh yes Mr. Film Maker …The That will indeed deliver the goods for you.” And oh how they did… a song that sounds like Valentines Day, fireworks night and Christmas rolled into one. Lovely. Plus it has the great outro where Gary Barlow sings “Ah’ll the stars, are coming out tonight they’re lighting up the sky tonight…. For you, …for you” in a camp Britpop Suede-esque kinda way. Brilliant …all a boy of a certain age could ask for.
 
 

3
Vuitton Blues
The Laurel Collective

If there’s any justice in the world, The Laurels would hit the hearts and the pockets of the nations young and young at heart like a tornado. Here’s a band who could… nay should have a cultural impact on the charts that matches the likes of The Specials or The Stone Roses. Not that they particularly sound like either band but that’s one of the brilliant things about The Laurels. They don’t sound like anybody else. They don’t dress like they’re trying to fit a genre. Add to this the fact that their lyrics are light years away from their peers and the fact that they can blow another band off the stage with their blistering live performances and I think you’ll agree we’ve got a band that could help kickstart creativity and originality in the UK. In my innocent little pop hits world where everything is still all The Chart Show / Top Of The Pops and the NME / Melody Maker still making Wednesday’s exciting, I reckon that the Laurels have five. Yes FIVE “should be Top Ten smash hits” in them… “Vuitton Blues” is one them. Instantly catchy, constantly rewarding… god bless em.
 

2
Run-Away
Super Furry Animals

Now then, I do like a bit SFA. Unlike every other band from “The Britpop Wars”, SFA still haven’t released a complete duffer of an album (maybe some of them have been a bit “hazy” but they have released any actual “Head Music” styled duffers). Even so, this splendid fuzzed up-Glam rock meets Phil Spector gem felt kinda like a return to form.
 
 
 

1
Men’s Needs
The Cribs

A catchy riff, an outsider stance, vocal interplay mixed with a splendid bit of pop sensibility. All these things make for a great pop single in my opinion and “Men’s Needs” delivered them in spades. It’s an exhilarating 3 minutes worth of guitar pop… the like of which is rarely made these days. From the instant “diddly diddly did  dee dee dee” guitar riff and Gary Jarman’s opening despondent vocals (“Have you noticed I’ve never been impressed by your friends from New York and London?”) through till Ryan Jarman shouting out the chorus like his life depended on it, up until the final scratchy guitar / bass one note outro (that’d make a great hip hop sample).
 
Like the Ramones before them, the Cribs are kinda like the idiot savants of pop. They were never really been considered contenders but have not only outlived all the other “post-Strokes” bands but also out performed them easily simply by churning out a handful of irresistible indie-punk anthems over the past three years. The result is a dedicated fanbase and chance on album number three to break “the glass ceiling” and “Men’s Needs” did everything it needed to do to launch the band into the top 20, get them a slot at the V Festival and net Ryan Jarman a celebrity girlfriend (bizarrely… Kate Nash !?!)
 
Naturally being The Cribs there’s some “Whoa-oh oh oh’s!” thrown in just before the instrumental break. Franz’ Alex Kapranos does a splendid job making quite the impression as a producer, giving The Cribs sound some much needed pop-sheen subtly mixing in some soft plinky (almost steel-drum sounding) synth notes to highlight the chorus like a wash on a painting.
 
This single is a lesson in pop-craft that all secondary indie bands stuck at the Barfly should pay attention to.


 

October 12, 2007

Now That, I Do Like…

Filed under: music, reviews, authors, Topics, Dr T. — drt @ 6:28 am

Once again Phoenix Phil has selected some cuts for me to cast my withering eye of musical authoritarianism over. Another poor selection, which does little to make me homesick for old Blighty.

Maximo Park - Girls Who Play Guitar
Instant minus points for sloppy grammar. And the singer’s wearing a hat. A hat. It’s the sort of thing that makes me want to side with James Spader and bully Duckie.
If you had played this song to me 10 years ago, I would have told you that “This ‘A’ album is on the wrong speed.”

Judging by the singing, Maximo Park are from up North, perhaps they’re geordies. Unfortunately so are The Wildhearts, a band who sh!t all over Maximo Park from such a great height, their Wildheart poos become little meteorites on their way down.

The video is your bog standard band live miming with the fan club invited in for the crowd shots. Ho hum. Almost makes me pine for Feeder.

Athlete - Hurricane
You see, the problem with Athlete’s career path is that they’ve just skipped to the ‘Sold Out Coldplay nonsense’ part, missing out on the traditional arc of Angry Beginnings, Just Signed Optimism, Grand Designs, Disillusionment, and Debt.

Musically redundant and creatively dead. What’s wrong with people these days, and their attitude of “sod it, this’ll have to do, hope we can get an advert contract.”

I gave you a fair hearing Athlete, and I find you guilty of musical negligence. Your punishment is to listen to the song ‘The Hive’ by Jimmy Webb (sung by Richard Harris) over and over and over and over until you are driven to the brink of madness.

And your video was crap too. Lots of little building blocks being animated and doing not a lot. Build me a wall dammit, I feel one of my turns coming on…

Babyshambles - Delivery
Weren’t The Libertines fun? At least they didn’t skip straight to ripping off Coldplay. And kudos must be given to Pete ‘Needles’ Doherty for ripping off ‘On A Rope’ by Rocket From The Crypt, in his song ‘Delivery’.

Of course he gets minus points for wearing a hat in the video. And for being in the video too much. Delivery, misery… At least it’s well timed for those postal strikes.

Unfortunately the song is about the song being delivery straight to his lover’s heart (is he still going out with Kate Moss? Actually, don’t tell me, I don’t care). Yes, it’s a ‘meta song’ a song about a song. I suppose if he were to write her a poem it would go:

This is a poem about
The poem I’m sending out
That you are reading
Words I am writing
This poem right now
I just don’t know how
Being a proper cockernee
Show me to the skag please.

I am so unimpressed with this song, only a youtube search for the ‘Pain For Pleasure’ bit of ‘Fat Lip’ by Sum 41 can brighten my day.
Aah that was a lot of fun.

Anyway, now I DO LIKE…
Girls Aloud - Sexy! No No No
Or more correctly: Sexy! yes. Yes. YES! Except they’re looking a bit gothy in this video, which is a bit of a turn off frankly. Nice PVC catsuits though.

Actually the song isn’t as good as some of their earlier stuff, but being a man of principles, I must teach these lazy indie boys a lesson and recommend some corporate pop over their shallow outpourings. People’s standards are so low these days, and real musical appreciation has reached such a nadir, it’s only fitting that a gaggle of lovely girls can hold my attention for longer than the tepid whining of these unimaginative pricks with guitars.

In the Girls Aloud video, the concept appears to be that they are in a pin cushion. Girls Aloud are pin cushions if you will. Now that’s a new euphemism to my tired ears…

August 30, 2007

Now That, I Do Like…

Filed under: music, reviews, authors, Topics, Dr T. — drt @ 1:08 pm

Once again Phoenix Phil has selected some prime cuts for me to chew on. Where’s me Gaviscon? That reminds me, I must write to Gaviscon and pitch my advert where I rewrite the Jimmy Webb song ‘Galveston’ as an indigestion jingle…

Kate Nash - Foundations
You know the bit in Alan Partridge where he says to the hotel receptionist “Don’t sing! It sounds baaad!” and the joke is, is that she has a very pretty voice. Well, that Partridge quote went through my head whilst I watched this promo video, except it was no joke. Now, I have a certain fondness for the Estuary Accent, seeing as I grew up in Saaf East Inglund, (innit). But it doesn’t make for a good singing voice. Give me the received pronunciation of Black Box Recorder’s Sarah Nixey any day. Mmmmm.

Not only does the voice grate, but she can’t pull a Bob Dylan and write decent lyrics to distract us from her Vicky Pollard vocal stylings. For example: “Every time we fight I know it’s not right [m’kay?], bla bla [lost interest], I know I should forget but I can’t. [m’kay?]” And that’s the chorus (such as it is). Not exactly deep or revelatory stuff. No wonder men run a mile when girls want to talk about feelings - since it is basically an interrogation about a subject discussed at a meeting you were never invited to.

And the video? I can only conclude that the director hated the song as much as me, and made the video as literal as possible, so that viewers can mute the sound and still get the gist. In the song she sings about sucking lemons and so in the video she’s… “SUCKING LEMONS”. In the song she sings about fighting, and so in the video she’s… “WEARING BOXING GLOVES BECAUSE BOXING IS FIGHTING AND FIGHTING’S BAD [m’kay?]”

I think the only good thing I can say about her is that unlike most other would-be celebrities, she looks “achievable”.

Jack Penate - Torn On The Platform
Is this guy trying to be James Blunt? No, he’s changed his mind and now he wants to be in Madness. Oh, no, wait, he’s just got really into The Libertines. A glorious melting pot of styles, this is not.

He’s ‘Torn On The Platform’, but I don’t know why. Due to the half-arsed rhyme in the title, he tries to make up for it later in the song by rhyming… THE SAME WORD. “Lies lies lies” “Down down down”. Well wouldn’t you know?! “Lies” rhymes with “lies”. Wow. Someone buy this man some quality hip hop, and maybe some Dr Seuss books just in case. I look forward to his second album called “The Cat In The Flat” or some such.

The video is almost clever, with Mr Penate being a little cut out theatre man, but it keeps cutting back to the tubby lazybones’ basement band practice. “Hey guys, let’s combine Dido, UB40, and Arctic Monkeys!”

Interpol - The Heinrich Maneuver
Finally, a band I’ve heard of. Shame the song sucks. Bad Interpol. Go and stand in the corner and write a chorus for next time.

The video seems like it’s going to be a little bit conceptual, seeing as the camera just pulls back to reveal more of the scene…
Ooh, she looks nice.
Is that Sting on the phone? No.
Why is that waiter guy running?
Nope, she’s not as fit as I was expecting.
Waiter guy’s still running, he’s shouting I think.
That girl’s crossing the road, bet she gets run over.
Yep. The end.

All I want to know is how did the waiter in the background know the girl was going to get run over? He appeared to be warning the girl well before she stepped in front of that bus…

Finally, if you’re going to do a pun as a song title, it’s best to either (a) make it a proper pun with a meaning, or (b) have the meaning in the song. Neither of which are present here. The song might as well have been called ‘Droidian Slip’ or ‘Town’s Syndrome’.

Now, I DO “like”…
Operator Please - Just A Song About Ping Pong
I like this because it is a small mercy that this track clocks in at about two and a half minutes. And also because some kids might mistakenly download ‘Ping Pong’ by Stereolab instead, which is great.

From what I can tell, this is not a song actually about ping pong, rather, ‘ping pong’ is in the title and they sing the line “This is just a song about ping pong”. Well, it’s marginally better than ‘This is a song about sing song’ I guess.

At first I thought this was a novelty single. Maybe the band had read ‘The Manual’ but the skipped (the best) chapters about ‘The Golden Rules’. “Maybe they’re ‘The Indie Aqua’” I thought to myself… But judging by the video they’re quite young, and from the general ineptitude of pretty much every single musical aspect of the song, I can only conclude that it’s some school project that’s caught the zeitgeist.

It’s the sort of thing that the club kids will obviously lap up, what with its stupid hook, and the slow down - stop -start - GO! bit at the end. But remember, it wasn’t so long ago that we all thought ‘Danger! High Voltage’ was the bees knees, and who listens to it now?

July 16, 2007

Transformers - The Review by Dr T

Filed under: film, reviews, authors, Topics, Dr T. — drt @ 3:23 pm

TRANSFORMERS

I’ve still got the original Optimus Prime toy. OK, so it’s in my old bedroom in Kent, but my Mum has strict orders to NEVER throw it away. I know what I’m talking about when it comes to Transformers. I was teased at primary school for reading the comics when the rest of the kids were, I dunno, reading whatever was considered cool when you’re ten years old. The Hasbro target market aside, I am exactly the kind of person who the new Transformers movie was made for.

My initial joy at the news of a new Transformers movie was somewhat diminished when Michael Bay was revealed to be the director. Like all cinephiles, I know that of all the directors to admire (Godard, Herzog, Hartley, Kurosawa et al), Mr Bay’s name is never to be mentioned. He seems to want to craft entire films from strings of overstated, hamfisted cliches. The slo-mo, the contra slow music/action sequence, the silhouettes against the sun, the parallax meeting room pan, the ratcheting up of the tension by adding a pointless little kid into the mix, if the list were endless it would at least credit Mr Bay with imagination, but his bag of tricks is shallow indeed.

However, not even Michael Bay can go wrong with the formula of “Big F**k Off Robots Tw@tting Each Other And Transforming Into Cool Stuff”. I mean, what right minded person doesn’t want to see an F-22 fighter jet change mid-flight into a robot that leaps onto a pursuing jet, and then onto another one, smashing them all up with glee… It’s precisely this sort of spectacle that makes one forget about the humdrum reality of inept car-bombs and inconvenient truths.

This film looks amazing. Finally CGI has reached a point where you forget that the robots aren’t really there, not nuts and bolts, just bits and bytes. Although they lack the clean lines of their 80s incarnations, these robots do still look cool. I was a bit disappointed to see that they’d done away with Prime’s face guard and given him a moving mouth (I always thought the old style face guard gave Prime a ‘knight-like’ quality). But I was equally pleased to see that they’d given up on the whole “Megatron is a giant robot that can shrink into a hand-held gun” contradiction. In the film, he’s a flying… something. I know my military jets, and I couldn’t place it.

Apparently the fanboys are up in arms about “Frenzy being the new Jar Jar Binks”. It all comes down to a mis-step in sound effects. The foley artists should have just done some sinister whirring sounds and clicks, but no, it seems they decided to give this Decepticon master of infiltration the personality of Jabba’s Annoying Little Helper from ROTJ. That was wrist slap number one.

Wrist slap number two is that the action sequences are cut too fast. You never really get a proper look at what’s going on, with the camera zooming here and there, and then going all shakey hand-held docudrama style. I’m sure it adds to the visceral impact of the movie and illustrates the madness of war, but really, I’ve seen ‘Saving Private Ryan’, now I just want to see that giant robot shoot up some tanks, the human tragedy of it all can wait til later.

All in all, a great watch. It could have been a LOT worse. It’s no ‘Battlestar Galactica’ quality re-imagining, but it’s certainly Michael Bay’s best film. It’s got some good humour, the girl is well fit, and there’s GIANT ROBOTS BASHING SEVEN SHADES OF CRAP OUT OF EACH OTHER! Come on!

July 1, 2007

Now That, I Do Like…

Filed under: music, reviews, authors, PhoeniX Phil, Topics, Dr T. — drt @ 3:12 pm

 

 

 (Hi, This is PhoeniX PhiL. While watching Mtv2 drunk & bored at my mums a few weeks ago i wondered what my ex-housemate Dr.T would make of it all. He has always been a grumpy old so and so and I missed his barbed citicisms and confusion of how the kids would pay £12.99 for a Datsuns album while cruelly ignoring the Todd Rundgren cd’s in the sale section. I sent him 4 videos to look at and these were his “findings”.. enjoy. )

 

In the hectic self conscious city of London, everyone is looking at everyone else. What are the new bands?
Should I like what I think I like, or like what I think that fit girl likes, even though she WAS reading the NME on the bus. Sometimes it’s easier to just says ‘Yes’ to hipness, but at what cost? Just what kind of faustian pact are the young people of today making?

Perhaps what the youth of today needs is guidance.
Dispassionate advice from someone far away, removed from the pressures of fashion and of peers.

So, let me peruse these selections made for me by Phoenix Phil, and give you my thoughts:

First up with have CSS with ‘Let’s Make Love To Death from Above’
The youtube info says that they are from Sao Paulo. And they’re probably very proud of that, but I’m confused, because I thought Brazil was meant to be chocka with bronzed beauties. Of course looks aren’t everything (that’s why I rely on books), but in these days of saturated hip-hop video clips, there’s no reason not to throw in at least a couple of lovely ladies. People have expectations you know.

Are ‘Death From Above’ another band I’ve never heard of? Do I want to make love to them? Do I even want to make love with them playing concurrently on the stereo? Does Brazil still have those death squads that Sepultura used to sing about? Are the band named after the online shooter CounterStrike Source? Big questions one and all. Answers on a postcard.

As for the video and the song… Well, some ‘Mid Standard Distribution Curve’ girls and a moustachioed guy miming in various urban locations is your standard lo-budget indie clip. The song is unremarkable, lacks hooks, and perfect for the less discerning hormone addled p!ssed up booty shakers, who will love this song by the vague associated memories it conjures of flickering lights and blurred boobs.

Next, Editors with ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors’.
First, lets quickly deal with the musical content of this offering:
Five piss poor minutes of Coldplay bumming Interpol.

Now, this video director knows his stuff, because it stars a pretty girl. Thank you Mr Director for sparing us 300 merciless seconds of some scruffs emoting in a warehouse. The plot (such as it is) of this promotional clip is as follows: ‘Girl escapes from loonie bin, is helped by prossies, pikeys and the littlest hobo, gets into a boat, walks on water, runs away from scruffy singer of the band, into forest and freedom’.

I suppose the message of the clip is that even beautiful crazy people want to be free, and hey, we’re all a bit beautiful and crazy, and you’re free to buy this record! Also, Jesus was a nutter (thus solving the ‘mad, bad, or messiah’ conundrum).

Well Editors, my definite article has come to this conclusion: You can stick your sepia toned, Eastern European clip up where the customs people look. Thanks to youtube, I can watch Alizee’s ‘Moi Lolita’ clip as many times as my wife will let me, and that piece of seedy French pop says all there is to say about beautiful crazy girls on the run.

Thirdly, we have The Klaxons and their ’song’ - ‘It’s Not Over Yet’ So these are The Klaxons. If this quiet loud quiet loud dirge is representative of their output, then their monicker is well chosen. I was expecting better production. I suppose the whole ‘how can this music be called rave?’ discussion has long since worn itself out. And I suppose a promo video pitch called ‘Band ‘x’ are New Romantic Ninjas Fighting Geometric Shapes In Superman’s Fortress Of Solitude’ can’t fail to be commissioned. Bravo. One very strange man’s vision has become reality.

This fuzzy nothing of a song has no redeeming features, and is just mildly objectionable noise.

Style over substance by definition never goes out of fashion, more’s the pity.

Now, I do like…
Biffy Clyro and their song ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’ I didn’t quite catch all the lyrics to this song, but I’m pretty confident that Biffy Clyro haven’t fully explored the philosophical implications of their song title (does ‘everything’ die? Even rocks? Define your terms etc etc). But, as Douglas Adams admirably points out, sometimes just knowing the question is important.

It’s clever move by Biffy Clyro, going for the niche market of ‘Doom Indie’, especially given that this track can be best described as ‘emo-Fear Factory for boys (as opposed to Men)’. Half time changes, punctuated drumkit sections, the spoonful of sugar in the hint of synth. It’s all there. But not quite as shouty and fast. And the intro had me hoping for something more along Pet Shop Boys lines, but twas not to be…

The promo video takes in a few staples of the metal genre, low light, underground, water on the drumkit for lovely sprays in slow motion for the camera. Tattoos and guitars in close up, and plenty of silhouettes and shouting. In other words, just about every Morbid Angel, Carcass and Prong video clip rolled into one (Prong? I hear you ask… Look up ‘Snap Your Fingers Snap your Neck’ on youtube). I suppose this track gets my thumbs up because it reminds me of staying up til the early hours waiting to watch ‘Raw Power’ on ITV.

In the land of the arseholes, the half arsed is king.

June 16, 2007

Clerks 2 - The Review by Dr T

Filed under: film, reviews, authors, Topics, Dr T. — drt @ 3:19 pm

Well.. It’s better than ‘Jersey Girl’…

Let me elaborate:

It’s not brilliant, but not bad. Frustating flashes of genius generally sullied by a persistantly emotional streak. And waaaay too much ‘MTV Epiphanies’ where people think about what they’re going to do with their life by mutely staring whilst the soundtrack plays a nice rock song. And K Smith can’t get on my good side by using ‘1979′ either.

There’s some great discussions of LOTR and Star Wars, with Randall really laying into the gaye hobbits. The Transformers movie is discussed, and the term ‘Go Bot’ is used perjoratively, which I found ‘delicious’.

Jay and Silent Bob are relegated to their usual background roles, with hardly any good material.

I found Randall to be a bit too much of a bully, although you might be able to sympathise if you’re 33 and still working in a burger joint. I’d be angry and frustrated too…

Plot Spoiler LOOK AWAY AND SCROLL DOWN A BIT IF NECESSARY….

The script seemed to be building up to Dante having to make a ‘decision’ because early on in the film he was persistantly refered to as the guy who let other people (women in particular) make the decisions for him, and so you think “well I guess he will have to pick between the two ladies”, except halfway through the film, one of the ladies turns out to be pregnant, so that pretty much takes most of the decision out of his hands. And by doing so, makes the character arc redundant from a dramatic point of view.

YOU CAN LOOK NOW…
In the end, Kevin Smith has made a rather smutty “do what your heart tells you, because that’s where real happiness lies” flick. It is the literal definition of “ne’er fish nor fowl”, too sappy in places, too smutty in others. The hardcore fans will not be satisfied, and the Bridget Jones Brigade will turn off in disgust.

To Sum Up:
Worth a rental, wait for the sales, not as bad as ‘Jersey Girl.’

Memorable (Randall) line from the film:
“The next step up from a girl with a large cl!t is a guy with a tiny d!ck.”

May 16, 2007

From the lips of the ‘niX… with PhoeniX PhiL

Filed under: music, film, reviews, editorial, PhoeniX Phil — pxpl @ 6:06 pm

From the lips of the ‘nix… with PhoeniX PhiL


I can’t believe that there hasn’t been more made of the fact that there was a kids film called “The Last Mimzy” playing in the cinemas recently… I always thought “Mimzy” was posh slang for um, well a virgina. And to think they used to blame alchopops for the supposed huge amount of under aged sex that occurs in the UK. It used to make me laugh, I drank loads of alchopops as a young man but couldn’t get laid for love nor money. Do they even still do the classic alchopops… like Hooch or Two Dogs? I’m typing this up during my lunch break at my boring job and oh I suddenly crave an alcoholic  lemonade.
Memories are flooding back to me of New Years Eve 1995 / New Years Day 1996. I was stuck in a lock-in happening in a pub located on the Isle of Sheppy. The night had been typically awful, I had gone there with my friend and his girlfriend who was desperately trying to get her friends to fancy me (and oh! how I had to bare distant witness to disgusted refusals). I wasn’t too bothered as none of the girls liked Kiss (this was a year before I resigned myself to the sad truth that my first girlfriend probably wouldn’t like Kiss). So with any threat of sexual tension out of the way I found comfort in constant “one bottle of Two Dogs” demands at the bar to a soundtrack of current hits such as “Sorted For E’s & Whizz”, “Girl From Mars”, Mike Flower’s version of “Wonderwall” and um, “I Believe” by Robson & Jerome….
The night ended with me drunkenly p!ssing up against a wall in East Street, Sittingbourne while two chav girls clapped… which I kidded myself could be seen in some cultures as getting laid…
…ah the height of “The Brit-Pop Wars”.
Now then, I hear you screaming “Why oh why is he banging on about some forgotten night back in the 90’s?” Well, being an “indieboy of a certain age” I can’t help but feel a little bit of a tingle in my stomach about return of the Manic Street Preachers and Ash. Two bands admittedly well past their prime but seemingly two bands ready to make amends for previous crimes.

 
Of the two bands, the Manics perhaps fell the furthest. Back in 1992, they were possibly my favourite band in the world. I wasn’t a typical “Old school Manics fan” (things like that don’t reach Sittingbourne. For example “New rave” hasn’t exploded in Sittingbourne… possibly because “Old Rave” still hasn’t left Sittingbourne… but that’s another story for another time) but I was in love with them. I had a strange taped copy of “Generation Terrorists” I got from a friend of friend’s cousin in exchange for taping “Use Your Illusion 2″. My version of “Generation Terrorists” had a completely different tracklisting (it kicked off with the B-side “A Vision Of Dead Desire”… Yay!) and ended with a lengthy interview with Nicky Wire on the Steve Wright Radio Show.

 
For a long time that tape was my sonic bible… and Nicky’s claim in the interview that he “couldn’t see past” only releasing one album filled me with a strange kind of electricity. I liked Nirvana for their energy and mischief but I couldn’t relate to their songs (”a mosquito, an albino”… um, ok?) so the Manics were the ones that soundtracked my teenage essence.

 
I was a bit disappointed with “Gold Against The Soul” (despite it’s truly awesome singles) and “The Holy Bible” was great but it didn’t bond with me the same way that “Generation Terrorists” did. I’m not going to talk about the tragedy that followed as enough (possibly too much) has been said in the past, however I will add that “Everything Must Go” was a great hit fuelled album and would’ve been an ideal place to stop BUT NO the surviving three decided to carry on.

 
What followed was an album called “This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours” which in my opinion is the worst album ever released… sorry I’ll say that again THE WORST ALBUM EVER RELEASED. How it sold aswell as it did, I’ll never know… it’s 63 minutes and 10 seconds of boring dirge ( “S.Y.M.M.” is possibly the most terrible closing track ever). The only song I can stand on it is “Black Dog on My Shoulder” which is the one most people hate.

 
I couldn’t forgive them for that album so while the MSP limped on to produce two further albums I decided to look away. But now they’re back… dressed in their army clothes again singing a quite pleasant little ditty called “Your Love Alone Is Not Enough ” it’s not a classic, it’s not a return to form but is the sound of band seemingly getting something out of being a band again. It also features Cardigans vocalist Nina Persson who also seems to be feeling the “hooray lets be exciting pop stars again” vibe. So for the record The Manics: I forgive you… heck, I may even buy your new album.

 
Ash on the other hand are a strange property, they were responsible for some of the greatest indie-punk singles ever but there seems very little else for them do. I want the new Ash album to be amazing but I’m fearing it will be “Meltdown” part two. Time will tell I guess.

 
My long predicted “Jellyfish / McFly crossover” finally happens, as McFly’s new single is a cover of “Baby’s Coming Back”. Quite brilliantly though, McFly have developed a charming harpsichord / percussive little riff for the intro …which makes sense seeing as how McFly have already used the original intro of the song for their second hit “Obviously”. Bloody kids and their thieving… they’re just making life difficult for themselves.

 
I’m not a big fan of nepotism so I have to tread carefully with my praise of Lucky Soul’s debut album “The Great Unwanted”. My love of Lucky Soul is well documented and I’ve bragged like a fanboy about doing handclaps on the album so all I say is if you like shimmery, heart break indie-pop i recommend you check out the album. “Lips Are Unhappy” and “One Kiss Don’t Make A Summer” are glorious should-be-massive-pop-hits and I’m loving the final trilogy of teary eyed songs on the album (”Towering Inferno”, “It’s Yours” and “Last Song”). I prefer LS when they sound a bit bruised by life… not that I’m wishing them to be actually unhappy in life… I saw that Carpenters documentary t’other day it was very upsetting. DON’T SUFFER FOR YOUR ART LUCKY SOUL… PLEASE DON’T SUFFER! I think “Towering Inferno” may be my favourite.. that horn sound is “the sex”. oh yes. Yes I would like to see LS wade further into darker waters. They’ve stuck their toe in… now I’d like to see them get their knees wet.

 
Also me and Tamla Tim made the sleevenotes… which officially makes us the Shampoo to LS’ Manic Street Preachers. Bring on the Yen.
Am I the only one more than a little nervous about the news that Kylie Minogue is going to guest star in the next X-Mas Dr.Who? I mean I love Kylie and I love Dr. Who but surely this is going to be “the sh!ts”. Don’t believe me? Well… apparently the story is that she’s a sexy Cyber-woman sent to seduce “The Doctor”!!! Jesus Christ… how awful does that sound?

 

And I’m getting sick and tired of all this Dr.Who quasi-love interest stuff… HE’S DR.WHO… NOT AUSTIN POWERS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! With rumours of John Barrowman returning shortly I’m expecting the innuendo level to reach “Carry On” level by the end of the series.

 
I’m putting money on the end of the Christmas episode being that The Doctor reprograms Cyber-Minogue and sends her wrapped in a bow to Captain Jack Harkness as a Christmas present. Captain Jack looks her up and down and with a frown sighs “Oh well… what’s good for the goose..”(he then undoes his flies)”…is good for the gander… now “spin around” and touch your toes”. Captain Jack lets out a satisfied “Oooh”, he then looks straight into the camera and with a wink wishes us all a very happy Christmas. Is this what Terry Nation died for?
Anyhow, I’m very excited… it’s less than a week until Spider-man 3. I am a bit concerned about what Venom will look like. In this picture…
 

Venom Spiderman 3 
He looks like a demented alien toddler… hopefully they cgi it up. Or something… it’s almost as bizarrely scarily rubbish as that robot-woman thing at the end of Superman 3. Maybe that’s why they haven’t been showing much Venom in the trailers.

 
Oh well see you same time next week True Believers…

 
..and you can trust this
…it’s from the lips
…of the ‘niX
xx

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