Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Broken flowers - film review

I like Bill Murray. I think a lot of people my age do. I remember standing in line to see Ghostbusters as a kid and thinking that Bill Murray was the coolest man on the face of the earth. I still think he's pretty cool.

Broken flowers is the third recent film where Bill Murray plays a fifty year old man who has reached an empty part of his life. He's pretty good at it. He has a hangdog face that just broadcasts inner misery.

This time he's a don juan character who's recently broken up with his latest younger girlfriend. He then recieves a letter that tells him he has a twenty year old son. Unfortunately he doesn't know who the mother is.

He manages to narrow it down to five and spurred on by his sherlock holmes wannabe neighbour he goes on a quest to find meaning in his life.

I'm not gonna tell you what happens. I guess the film probably evokes life as a 55year old bachelor who sits down and asks himself what he has achieved in life. It made me hope I don't end up like that.

I liked it better than 'lost in translation' but I enjoyed 'the aquatic life...' more. The soundtrack isn't as good as either.

Check it out. I give it 7 out of 10. It's Jim Jarmusch aiming for an oscar.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Retrospective record reviews - Dirty by Sonic Youth

Dirty by Sonic Youth is a good record. I'm listening to it right now. I first heard it when it came out 13 years ago. I really liked it back then but I think I appreciate it a bit more now.

Now I don't think Dirty is the best Sonic Youth album and it isn't the first Sonic Youth album that I loved (That honour goes to Daydream Nation which was in my local public library for some reason. I listened to it for a whole summer when I was 12 or 13, the same summer when I got into the Doors).

Dirty is one of Sonic Youth's commercial albums. It was their second album on Geffen and it was produced by Butch Vig who did Nevermind for Nirvana. The record company tried hard to punt this one with several videos that still show up on MTV2 in the middle of the night and several singles.

What is often not said is that Dirty is one of their most emotional albums and one of their most direct albums.

It starts with 100% (also the first single), a song about Joe Cole, former Black Flag roadie and best friend of Henry Rollins who was shot in the back of the head outside Rollins' house in LA. Cole had toured with Sonic Youth and was a friend of the band. The lyrics are clear - "100% of my love, goes out to you true star, It's hard to believe you took off, Always thought you'd go far". The words hit you in the head and in the heart. They have a greater resonance if you know the story. I was lucky enough to see a spoken word performance by Rollins in 1993 where he described Coles death and the emotional impact of his words still spring to mind when I hear this song.

Swimsuit Issue sung by Kim Gordon is about sexual harrassment. Some of the lyrics are a bit clunky but the sheer anger and joyous noise of the guitar give the song some punch.

The next couple of songs (theresa's sound world and drunken butterfly) are classic sonic youth noise, nicely focused by butch vig. In the years since 1992 I don't know if they have ever sounded this sharp again.

Wish fulfillment sounds like a love song to me. Notes bend and distort like a Jackson Pollok painting. The lyrics are about acceptance and reaching out to someone. Is it someone the singer is in a relationship or someone he admires from afar? I don't know. I just think it's a beautiful song. "It's my favourite shot of you......I'm still beside you in spite of everything you do". Nice.

Thank fuck these things are anonymous and nobody could put my name to this.

Anyway Sugar Kane (about Marilyn Monroe) and Youth Against Fascism (george bush senior "yeah the president sux, he's a warpig fuck") both stand up as great singles. I guess, thinking about it, Youth against fascism is even more relevant today.

The rest of the album is bloody good too. I can't be arsed writing more but it's good. It came out as a fancy delux edition last year so other people must think so too. Give it a listen. You might like it, you might hate it.

Enough sub-student pontificating. The weather has been miserable today and the news has been kinda depressing today. Race riots in Birmingham. The result of social deprivation. Sad.

Work was a skive today. Hope it stays that way. Nights on Friday.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A blister in the sun

I've been listening to the Violent Femmes a lot recently. I was never really aware of them when I was younger. I guess they weren't the sort of band that would be massively popular amongst young males in the UK.

They sound pretty fresh to my ears, even though some of their best stuff is over 20 years old. Fresh in a 'first time you hear the velvet underground' way. Well maybe not that fresh, but my ears are cynical.

It's fast, acoustic bass led stuff. Short songs about unrequited love sung is a whiny voice.

I picked up one of their albums about a year ago mainly cos it cost 5 quid and I was bored. I listened to it a bit before I flung it in the pile. About six months later I bought an ipod and burned it on in my initial flurry of ipod related activity.

Then I started listening to the violent femmes. Just a little, at first. I wouldn't skip a song when it came on at random. Then I would hope the song would come on. Then I would just listen to the whole album. And now I've bought another of their CDs.

I guess I like them.

'Blister in the sun' is probably my favourite song of theirs. Gordon Gano (the singer) wrote the song for a girl who wanted to start a band with him. Unfortunately she shaved her head and went to canada and joined a cult. I'm not sure that has anything to do with the lyrical content but it's a class song. Makes me smile.

They have other great songs that are worth checking out. Lyrically they often go for enthusiastic descriptions of male sexuality. Red-blooded males if not exactly gangsta rappers. And much better than most of the pish that blighted my eighties UK childhood.

I think they sold a lot of records in america.



'I held her in my arms' is another class song of theirs. And I've worked out how to add links to the sidebar which is cool.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Rubbish jobs

I'm trying to chill out tonight.

Imagine you had a busy job. Imagine you had to work for 12 days in a row. Imagine that your normal working day was about 8 hours long, but then on Friday, Saturday and Sunday you had to work for about 13 hours.

Now imagine that on friday evening and all day saturday and sunday you have a small device attatched to your belt. This device makes an annoying sound every 15 minutes. When this happens you have to phone someone. This person may be nice to you or they might be nasty to you.

Imagine you get no breaks and you have to eat while you work.

Imagine that you have a lot of responsibility and that people depend on you. You can call for help if you really need to but you don't really need to. You do your best to help people. Some of these people are really sick and some of them could even die. You try and stop that happening. You are responsible for about 180 people.

At the end of that you could be exhausted, physically and emotionally drained. You might even have a night of broken sleep because you are worried about one of the sick people you care for. And you still have another five normal working days before a weekend off.

And then 12 more days in a row....

Does that sound like fun?

Kinda sux, doesn't it.

Anyway, I'm trying to chill out now. I've been listening to Maps and Cold Wind by the arcade fire. Both cool (try and google the titles if you want to hear them). I've just read the third doom patrol book by Grant Morrison. It's bizzare but I like it.

I've also been looking at some cool photos by someone called mushsis which people should look at. I should be studying but I figure I deserve a night off.

Gonna do cool stuff this weekend. Play guitars with friends. See family. Sleep. Read. Visit other friends. Nice stuff.



Thursday, October 13, 2005

Classic eighties alternative music

I have recently been thinking about some of the brilliant bands that came out of the american underground in the 1980s. In my view these include Husker Du, the Replacements, the minutemen, Big Black and Sonic Youth.

Now I know sonic youth are slowly re-releasing some of their older records but what about Husker Du. Zen Arcade came out about 20 years ago and I know that some out-takes exist. I would love to hear some of that stuff but I don't forsee it coming out anytime soon.

Big Black have a similar story. I guess Steve Albini is politically oposed to re-releasing some of their rarities on CD but it would be cool to hear them.

I know the replacements re-mastered some stuff but I heard a story about them throwing all their master-tapes in a river. Sad.

Anyway, just a geek-out rant

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Supergrass - live in Glasgow

I went to see supergrass last night in the pissing cold Glasgow rain. I felt a bit like a drowned rat by the time I got to the venue. They were playing the ABC which is pretty cool.

I quite like supergrass. I've never been a massive fan but I own a few of their albums and I think they have a few classic songs. I've never seen them before.

This tour promotes their new experimental album and they seemed to be a bit 'experimental' tonite. They opened with about three new songs which sounded ok but were a bit long and slow. Nice textures but no focus, no bite.

During the course of the night they continued to play unusual arrangements of their classic songs. The version of 'mary' that they played was pish. 'Moving' was class as was 'pumping on your stereo'. We were not worthy enough to hear alright.

The gig was OK but it lacked passion. I might pick up the greatest hits if I see it cheap and the new album if I see it in a bargain bin. I won't specifically see them live again.

Da phunk

PS - scottish football - pish pish pish

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Serenity - movie review

I just saw a film that I've been looking forward to for some time. It was Serenity the spin-off film from Joss Wedons sadly cancelled Firefly series. It was worth the wait.

I guess a film that's a spin-off from a TV series that nobody watched might not be box-office gold. The set up to the movie sets the story up in a way that non-fanboy geeks should be able to follow. The effects are good and there is shit-loads of action.

It's dramatic too, with unexpected plots twists, emotional moments and QUESTIONS ANSWERED. Not your x-files movie pish.

So all in all 'five by five'. Kicks ass. Check it out and pray for a follow up or a spin off tv-series. Be warned though, it is more scary and violent than the TV show. Josh is enjoying freedom from TV censors and packing the blood in. My sensitive cousin was shocked.

Check it out!!!

And bring back futurama too!!!!

Now, even more geeky. Comics. I just read the first 'Strangehaven' book by Gary Spencer Millidge. It's cool in a prisinor rip-off way. Black and white and masonic. I'm gonna read more.

That's it for now.

Da funk

Monday, October 03, 2005

New franz ferdinand album

Just picked up the new Franz Ferdinand CD on the way home from work. I'm half-way through my second listen and I'm liking it so far. It's not a carbon copy of the first album, it's a bit warmer sounding, less angular. It has a couple of ballads and a few rock out tracks. It's a move in a different direction but it isn't a total jump into the unknown. Pretty good.

I'm looking forward to seeing them next month (if someone will swap my shift)

rock on readers


Playing with blogs

I've just spent an hour browsing some other peoples blogs. There is some weird shit out there. Some cool stuff too. It makes me realise how basic my little piece of the internet is. If I can I'll work out how to add more stuff to make it look better.

People use the blog sites for anything - MP3s, porn, airing their personal traumas, pictures of furniture and weird stories about cats. It's addictive. Can't be good for you.

I think this post is gonna get put in the bin sometime soon.

For something really cool check this out

Giant squid!!!!


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Top tens

I'm revising for a work related exam so I#ve been listening to some choonz.

Here's a list of what I think is cool

1. Sons & daughters - the repulsion box. Very nick cave, especially dance me in. Gets the blood pumping.

2. The replacements. Let it be. It's the best but most of the stuff is cool. Should have been much bigger.

3. Modest mouse - This a long drive for someone with nothing to think about. One of their earlier records but still cool. I think 'Good news....' is best. I want more of their stuff now.

4. Minutemen stuff I've downloaded from It seems to be mike watt approved. The live acoustic set is great. Amazing, amazing band. Hope that corona being the theme for jackass will make more people hunt them down.

I'm gonna but the new franz ferdinand album tomorrow. Sounds a bit metal but I will check it out. I've also been geeking out to a few comics. The 'identity crisis' hardcover by brad meltzer from DC comics is good. Dark story and I didn't expect the end. The oversized batman 'hush' book by loeb and lee is a thing of beauty. track it down if you are a geek.

Don't know if I mentioned it in a previous post but I saw dinosaur jr on their recent UK tour a few weeks ago. Great guitar sounds. Some classic songs and some pure pish but I did get a really nice T-shirt.

Just finished watching the american dvd of the first series of 'lost'. I was well impresed. Can't wait to see the second series. Also just seen 'the man' starring samuel L Jackson. Chewing gum for the eyes but a nice flavour.

Anyway, I've spouted enough bullshit