Tuesday 23 February 2010

Music Review Co-Blog with Beckeye

Hullo chaps. This review is a co-blogging effort with the very very lovely Beckeye, who you may know from such websites as ThePopEye and StarPulse. Beckeye approached me a while ago with some ideas for a review. She had made a load of albums via the Random Album Meme that was going around a while back, and asked if I wanted to review them. She named the bands and records, designed album art, came up with song titles and named the bandmembers all using random methods involving Flickr, Wikipedia and other websites. Heck, the only thing she didn't invent were the release dates and barcode numbers. With such a wealth of information, how could I refuse? Here are the results of our collaboration. Please enjoy.

New Album Round-up

The urge to creativity is a strong one, and the wave of musical inspiration that flowed through Mozart, Lennon, Peter Cetera and the Vengaboys continues to bash against the rocks of artistic endeavour. New music is being released every day, like kidnapped bank tellers from a building besieged by snipers after a failed robbery attempt. This week I was sent some brand new music to listen to and appraise with all the flair and wit for which I am famous.

First up is veteran prog-punk dance-rock quintet Magnatune, with their umpteenth album Faith in the Future. Opening track ‘Symplectization’ is eighteen minutes of heavy-assed flute/glockenspiel cockrock shebangabanging, with brassic beats and bleary-eyed bassline thumpery added to the mix for extra mmmnice. It’s a great track, but sadly almost identical to the opening songs in their last four albums. In fact, all of the music seems to have been wholly taken from previous releases, including stand-out track ‘Health Insurance’, which is just ‘Cesar Catli’ from their debut record played backwards by an angry trumpet.

Verdict: Nice songs, but about as original as supermarket own-brand cornflakes

The term ‘Gutblasting Teutonic Chickrock’ is thrown around so much these days, but it has never been more warranted than in the case of Z√ľndels Abgang, the latest German Grrrrlcore fembunch. Their debut album, Saying what we Know, is more rocky than Rocky Balboa eating Rocky Road ice cream while sitting in a quarry. From opening track ‘Dosinia Maoriana’ to closer ‘Flying Guillotine’, this album grabbed me by the balls and wouldn’t let them go until I’d given it all my sweets. The only down-note was ‘Languages of Australia’, a song that the band’s drummer, Carissa Cantu, wrote while under general anaesthetic.

Verdict: I like it, now can I have my bike back please?

Ask the average person on the street what they understand by the term ‘math-rock’ and they’ll probably run away because I forgot to put pants on. American Front’s new album, Hindsight is Always Twenty-Twenty should be their answer, though, because it’s the most clever, dorky and embarrassing album ever released, and as a result epitomises math-rock in a way no words ever could. When listening to songs like ‘Bachelor of Business Administration’, ‘Aradle Mental Hospital’ and ‘Swimming at the 1996 Summer Olympics – Women’s 200 Metre Butterfly’, I feel like I’m being pounded on the head by a musical calculator. It’s a disconcerting experience, because I feel like if anyone sees me listening to it they’ll wedgie me out of spite.

Verdict: 2 + 2 = Poor

Individual Computers Catweasel are a Brooklyn duo made famous by the fact that their song ‘Pando’ was featured in a commercial for Gap Jeans. Their new album On You Like Wolves is highly anticipated, and music lovers will not be disappointed. Timothy Dwain Huff and Ian Hughes have worked hard to ensure that every single song on this album will be suitable for car, computer and clothing commercials, from the gentle, swaying ‘Pacific Coast Railway’ (just right for a Toyota Yaris ad) to the rocking ‘List of Career Achievements by Tiger Woods’ (soon to heard when Apple try to sell you an iPod). The television commercial usefulness of this album would make Moby blush, so you might as well not bother buying the album, because you’ll be sick of the songs by April.

Verdict: Just Do It.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

The Imaginary Review’s Top Ten Films of the Last Decade

Drop everything. Put down that piece of pie and read this. For I have spent the last four months doing nothing but watch every single film from the last ten years, whittling the whole lot down into one easily digested list and it would be imbecilic not to enjoy the fruits of my hard work and labours.

After 119 days in a darkened room with nothing but a television and DVD player for company, I give you: The Essential Films of the Noughties.

10: James Bond and the Chocolate Factory (2009)

Daniel Craig’s third outing as the eponymous secret agent saw him infiltrate the secret lair of a shady businessman (Johnny Depp) who was producing addictive confectionary. This film had even more midgets than its predecessors, and plenty of daft weaponry to keep the hardest Bond-nuts happy. Who could forget the chocolate-riverboat chase scene? I can’t wait for the sequel, James Bond and the Great Glass Elevator.

9: Disney’s The Little Racist (2001)

Both thought-provoking and fun, this story of a bigoted earthworm in a world full of biodiversity was a surprise hit for the up and coming animation studio.

8: Meet the Pschitt-Fockers (2005)

While some critics moaned that the franchise was losing its way, this sequel to the popular comedies Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers saw the cast visiting the extended family in Europe. Ben Stiller and Bob De Niro reprise their old roles, with new appearances from Philip Seymour Hoffman as Handfulla Pschitt-Focker and Amy Poehler as Pschittypschittyarsecrapboobstwatpissypissyswearwordsarefunny Pschitt-Focker.

7: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Doing Lots of Things that You Wouldn’t Expect Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to do (2008)

Ho ho ho! This family film was lots of fun, as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) did lots of things you wouldn’t expect him to do, like walk on a tightrope while carrying a baby, dress up as a girl with full make-up and hang-glide off a mountain while singing Mmmbop by Hanson.

6: Utility Knife (2007)

When Blake Twitshelf (David Chunderbung) wakes up chained to a rock in a strange room with nothing but a utility knife and a CD player blaring Billy Joel, he realises that he has become the unwitting participant in a twisted game. Does he have what it takes to cut his own ears off before he goes insane? Grisly but gripping.

5: Whatever Happened to Three Men and a Baby Jane? (2002)

This psychological thriller sees Tom Selleck, Sam from Cheers and Cory Haim (replacing sadly deceased original cast member Steve Guttenberg) confined to a house after a car accident. They depend on their sister, played by the shambling corpse of Bette Davis, who is abusive towards them and makes them eat rats. I liked this film because it’s always nice to see Tom Selleck in extreme discomfort.

4: Gaping Muff-Chutes 4 (2007)

Say what you like about this film, but I really liked it.

3: Twenty-Seven People Whose Lives are Quite Independent but who are Brought Together by a Random Event that Prompts them to See the Similarities Between Themselves (2004)

For much of this film I was quite confused as to why I was being made to watch these people with their independent lives going about their aforementioned independent lives in totally independent ways. But then when the random event occurs, I could see that they were all fated to meet and holy shit that totally blew my mind, bro. Starring a veritable Benetton commercial of B-list actors.

2: Wotcha Cockney Knees-Up on the Old Apples an’ Pears wiv the Old Joanna, Innit? (2002)

While some critics dismissed Guy Ritchie as a one-trick-pony, the director himself proved them wrong with an entertaining crime caper set in Lahndahn wiv real Lahndahners, innit. Sir Georgeington Douglas-Smeltsbridge starred as Bob “Shifty Bricks” Jones while Lord Asquith Givenchy-DeGoosehelmet co-starred as Ebenezer “The Geezer” Beezer. The dialogue was fresh as a butcher’s hat while the action scenes kicked more arse than a parrotful of donkeys.

1: Creationism: The Musical (2005)

No film typified the return of the musical genre than this, the inspirational tale of a group of people unfettered by logic, reasoning and good sense. While ostensibly a love story at heart, this film captures hatred in a way no other film ever has; hatred for gay people, for women, for poor people, for racial minorities, for people living in other countries, for anyone other than themselves and for themselves. And what musical numbers! Everyone was singing the wonderful songs such as I Can Shout Louder than You (So I Must Be Right), He May Be an Obese Drug Addict But I’ll Still Love Him in a Totally Non-Gay Way and Who Would Jesus Hate?