A collection of ideas for your interest and for the benefit of my mental health.

23 March 2011

The Very Best

Permit me to travel back 11(!) years.

It is 2000.  I am 9.  I have just received an awesome Pokémon Gameboy Colour and Pokémon Gold Edition.  It is an amazing time of my life, strategy guides, trading, battles, adventures.
And now, with the death of the save battery in my old cartridge the next generations has stepped up to fulfil the epic task.  100 hours gone, 9 hours 30 on the new restarted clock.  In no particular order, I'm hoping to train a Donphan, have a kickass Pidgeot, complete the Unown thing which I'm certain I never managed before and I guess I want to catch 'em all.  For sure though, I feel like a little kid again which is no good now I'm attempting to write essays and revise for exams (see Stevo's new blog, Studenting, for the perils of essays). 

Now with that tackled here's the end of my 3 Blog Post 30 Song Challenge!

21 A song that you listen to when you’re happy - C'mon and Love Me by Kiss!  This song reeks of satisfaction.  I could also have picked the 1986 version of Can't Stop This Feeling I Got by Prince which came on as soon as I found out I made it into York last year.  70s Kiss always makes me happy.

22 A song that you listen to when you’re sad - Beautiful Girls by Van Halen.  David Lee Roth is a totally radical man, and when I'm down in the dumps I just wanna turn up a fun rock n roll song.  Kind of humerous, definitely lighthearted, lift the spirits!  Don't mention Hoobastank or Breaking Benjamin...

23 A song that you want to play at your wedding - Crucial by Prince.  Yeah he's back.  This song is lovely.  Look out for the version with Miles Davis on if you're into it, I think the song is better without horns.  Could have chosen a lot of Prince songs for this one, he does a ballad well.  No doubt I'll have something more tasteful ready in the next 20 years! 

24 A song that you want to play at your funeral - I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead by Mogwai.  Kind of sombre but in a way uplifting I find.  Would suit a funeral I think.  On the other hand don't want to make it more miserable, but to play a really happy song would be distasteful.

25 A song that makes you laugh - Bobby Brown Goes Down by Frank Zappa.  Very very close to the line, still not sure which side it sits on.  But it is a funny song for real.

26 A song that you can play on an instrument - Honestly cannot.  Sorry to leave this blank, looks like I have failed the challenge.

27 A song that you wish you could play - Are You In? by Incubus.  Yes another repeat offender, I would love to break out the bass and do this one.  Also in the running was another Incubus track, Here In My Room which I think is beautiful.  Piano.  Well I suppose I own a keyboard.

28 A song that makes you feel guilty - Until You're Over Me by Maroon 5.  Eek did another repeat.  My music taste is mainly insular I guess.

29 A song from your childhood - Pokémon World.  See what I did there?

30 Your favorite song at this time last year - I'm A Legend Tonight by Kiss.  Ending on a repeat what a shame.  But it is true.  I look back to the blog posts of last year and find that Kiss was on heavy rotation and I remember this kickass song was going on.  You may remember this song from a few blog posts back, I was listening to it on the train.  It wasn't exploding enough to be fitting for this song though.  Paul Stanley is a God.

Well there you have to folks, the key to my failing to do anything good this week and the culmination of a musical voyage through memory.  Look out for more posts in the near future.  Peace.

22 March 2011

3 Blog Post 30 Song Challenge! Part Deux.

I was surprised and glad the last post went down well, but unfortunately I've got little to blog about apart except this 'amazing' song challenge.  So we've got 11-20 today for your pleasure.

11 A song from your favorite band - Psychopsilocybin by Incubus.  Fungus Amongus won't be to everyone's taste but this song is pretty awesome.  Especially Mike Einziger's guitar work.

12 A song from a band you hate - All The Pretty Faces by The Killers.  You know I dislike this band, I happen to think this particular song is alright.  Hate is a strong word.

13 A song that is a guilty pleasure - Dancing Queen by Abba.  The harmony is extremely special in this one.  I'm being very brave putting this instead of something less homo.  It's a good song.

14 A song that no one would expect you to love - Sunshine by Twista Feat. Anthony Hamilton. Like the sample most obviously, Bill Withers is brilliant, but Anthony Hamilton in particular makes this version particularly memorable.  Twista also lays down a decent rap about hustling and serving muthafuckers.

Still Not A Player

15 A song that describes you - De Do Do Do De Da Da Da by The Police.  Hard to think of one.  This seems alright.  Remember well; I am me and no song can immitate that.

16 A song that you used to love but now hate - Don't Stop Believin' by Journey.  Horrifically overplayed since 2009.  Went from favourite song contender to active avoidance.  Gee thanks, song challenge question number 2.

17 A song that you hear often on the radio - Forget You by Cee Lo Green.  Really like this song, think its still awesome even after all the exposure.  Gateway into a fantastic artist.  I regret that few will be able to check out his Stray Bullets mix tape which blows away the already great album The Lady Killer.  Fuck You was better, mind.

18 A song that you wish you heard on the radio - Ain't Nothing Wrong With That by Robert Randolph and the Family Band.  Totally unexpected song that came to me in a Halo Reach Beta montage last year!  Definitely deserves to broadcast the good summer vibrations over the waves to the mindless public who otherwise wouldn't hear this.  A feel good tune tha promotes tolerance.  What?!?

19 A song from your favorite album - Radio by Jamiroquai.  Am I copping out by choosing High Times, a singles collection?  This album was a surprise hit in summer 2008 for me, and I can still mostly happily listen to it again and again (did so yesterday in the car).  Sure, the single edits cut out a lot of great music from the tracks but its an essential collection and brilliant introduction to one of Britain's most funky exports.  Plus the song I have chosen is insanely sexy, and I really hope the band goes in this direction more in the next album. Opportunity missed on Rock Dust Light Star?

20 A song that you listen to when you’re angry- Lying From You by Linkin Park.  It had to be this band.  Nearly picked One Step Closer but this one is normally more apt if a little extreme.  Don't get angry very often.  Woe betide the person who witnesses it.

This was a really hard task to complete.  Hope you appreciate at least some of this choices.  Back soon with the ultimate blog post (if penultimate is second to last I guess last is ultimate?)

20 March 2011

The One with the Music

I spend a lot of my time listening to music or reading about my favourite  acts online these days and I feel apart from the Prince entry a couple of years ago (wtf?) I've not given music enough of a go on this blog amongst all the sci-fi, games, comics I've spoken about.  Gonna go few a through bands/singers I've been listening to lately to broaden your minds and review my own mistakes which will become evident as we go along.  Then I'll put together my list of 30 day song challenges except without whoring it out over a month, instead making it easy right here for your aural pleasure.  Or maybe 3 posts over the next week to make it less long.

So let's begin with Maroon 5. 

Gayest straight man, lead singer Adam Levine, about to tuck in to his daily virgin.

Wrote off their latest album, Hands All Over, as a poppy mess.  It certainly is poppy but it's also a grower, got some good songs going on especially on the deluxe version.  My main problem with the record is the lack of funk rock.  Somehow the opening song Misery is a very close immitation of This Love the band have somehow managed to mix out the funk guitar work.  It's there, deep in the mix, awaiting some kind of alternate universe liberation where it won't be drowned out by synths.  Mutt Lange may have worked on some very acclaimed work, but this was a mistake to my ears at least.  Synths I've got no problem with, make a great song even greater much of the time and in fact some of my favourite bands have used these at the forefront but they managed synth/funk guitar combinations just fine in the 80s.  Why not now?  Some hot songs from this album were the titular 'Hands All Over', 'Runaway' and 'Give A Little More' which should have been a bigger hit as a single.  Songs About Jane remains the best album.  Give the remixes a good listen too, some excellent work there.

Moving a little unconventionally away from the true mainstream I'm gonna probably introduce you to a band called Mogwai.  They are a post-rock outfit from Glasgow.

How anyone could create depressing music AND come from here is unfathomable.
What is post-rock?  I assume we're talking about a lack of traditional rock guitar, a more melodic sound juxtaposed with a pretentious sentence.  Wait.  Juxtaposed with harsh, almost white noise sound.  When I had the opportunity to see this band live I took it, and it was a very interesting one I must say.  The latest album I would say is not their strongest but again I'm limited in experience having listened to them for about a month at this point.  All I can really say is their live album is really good and the first is quite striking.  The soundscapes would be ideal for movies, or if you're feeling boring doing work.  In a moody way.

Next up is one even I wasn't expecting.  A woman called Nikka Costa.

Might be a little out of date.
Now I was browsing prince.org, the foremost discussion of his royal badness on these internets, and a dude said he was sure he heard Prince on this song.  While not of the Minneapolis sound, like The Time, Sheila E or Alexander O'Neal who I previously found thanks to Mr Rogers Nelson this was some pretty cool, if begging for the mainstream, funk/pop.  I can't really say much more except Spotify tells me the nearly unreleased son 'I Don't Think We've Met' is my most listened to lately.  So I shall embed.

Truly a reminder of the better days, before 2003.  I also think Prince is there on this one even if it can't be confirmed right now. The album it was intended for has contributions from Prince and Lenny Kravitz, everyone's favourite black jew.  If they don't speak for it what can I say?

Let's talk Robert Randolph and the Family Band for a bit.

Ain't no Guitar I ever heard of.

Actually the album above isn't what I want to speak about but I gotta say I had no idea what  a steel guitar looked like before I saw that.  Pity the album isn't very upbeat (and is possibly even brought down by incessant, and unfun, segues as many are these days).  Snowblind however is one of the most fun records I've heard in a long time and really suits the sunny weather I've been seeing lately.  Very funky, but also kind of goddy, this is a steel guitar driven empowerment fest.  And is not really too criticisable.  I'm reminded of Santana's Supernatural album, in spirit if not in sound, but that might just be the inclusion of Dave Matthews as a guest.  Yes we have another album with some great contributors, including Eric Clapton.  I was really hoping for more of the same when We Walk This Road came out last year but hey it doesn't stop this album from rocking.  Totally suits the summery mood.

To round out this eclectic and entirely unsacrilicous pentagram is Living Colour!  I bet you overlooked or didn't know about these guys before?

Not gay I swear. 
Funk metal, more metallic than funkadelic but what is wrong with that?  Their first album, Vivid, truly is as it describes.  I'm not sure what makes these guys so good but their songs are exciting, the lyrics often meaningful, I think its the style of the guitarist, Vernon Reid, that provides the hook and the percussion session that give it the line (bassline? Yeah?) and the singer the sinker.  Eek that was a rough spot.  Moving on...

3 Blog Post 30 Song Challenge!  Are you ready to be unimpressed/despairing? 

1 Your favorite song - This Guy's In Love With You by Faith No More.  A cover of a Burt Bacharach classic, Mike Patton kills it as he does with much of what he does.  A very romantic song, perhaps also a candidate for unexpected favourite.  Not sure I can think of a song I like more. 

2 Your least favorite song - Any song by the Glee Cast.  I know of some stinkers, Rebecca Black's unparralelled effort of last week a recent contender, but at least it was... original.  This is hypocritical given my favourite is a cover but its neither autotuned nor devoid of human emotion.

3 A song that makes you happy  - If I Like It I Do It by Jamiroquai.  From Emergency on Planet Earth, couldn't believe my ears when this was played 17 years later in the Debut Club last year for the 1000 luckiest people in London that night.  How can you not glide along the street on a sunny day when the vibes flow from this one?

4 A song that makes you sad - Sometimes It Snows in April by Prince & The Revolution.  One of his bestest songs, exceedingly sad.  Gives me shivers down my spine.  Can't say more.

5 A song that reminds you of someone - Get Down Saturday Night by Oliver Cheatham.  Mr Alex Smith you always come to mind when this song comes on.  Make Luv just isn't as good though.  Hope you made it down this far.

6 A song that reminds you of somewhere - I lead an unexciting life and can't really think of one of these.  Everywhere is pretty dull.  Can I have a song that reminds me of something I'm gonna do in the future?  If so get ready for a sweet ride in my convertible in the sunny USA listening to The Sun by Maroon 5.  If you're lucky you'll get to be there.

7 A song that reminds you of a certain event - Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. This reminds me of the awesome Matthew Harrop Wingman Event.  And also, more well known, the awesome Joe Medforth Karaoke Party.  That was a radical time and this is a radical song.

8 A song that you know all the words to - The Bad Touch by Bloodhound Gang.  Classic song, and though I can do a lot of songs well I thought this one might be moderately impressive.  My goal is to do Rappers Delight.

9 A song that you can dance to - Boogie Nights by Heatwave.  What a classic song.  Jazzy intro, funktastic rest of the song.  Iconic.

10 A song that makes you fall asleep - Sleepwalker by Faunts.  Pretty well titled I've gotta say, this song is but a snippet from one of my favourite records, M4.  Thank you Mass Effect for bringing me to this brilliant brilliant band.

I think we've had enough for today.  Maybe we'll talk later.

09 March 2011

You Brade Runna?

OK I'm gonna level with you. I don't think making more films in the Blade Runner universe is an inherantly bad idea.
Darryl Hannah's initial reaction.

I'm gonna go right ahead and say that Blade Runner is my number one tip top movie or at least in the top five alongside comparatively trivial things like Spirited Away and Anchorman.  I'm supposed to be concerned that the proposed movie(s) to be made by Alcon Entertainment will ruin the original movie forever! I have never understood how en -equel can have any real effects on the original and the feelings you got when watching it.  I think that concept has been flawed from the get go.

I can see where the problem may lie.  The propensity to use computers instead of practical effects has become a truly problematic blemish on filmmaking  perpetuated by George Lucas (the Battle of Endor was way more realistic than the Battle of Coruscant don't you think?) and I do realise I am perilously close to slipping between Harrison Ford movies. Despite the best efforts of filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, who manages to use real objects in real space, and the academy, though I don't put any weight behind their choices,  who know this and this year gave Inception the effects Oscar.  For a film where the sheer viceral weight of the objects and characters was the crux of grounding the world, and making it feel like a world and not a set, a modern version could likely ruin that feeling.  I have my concerns.  I've seen anime that has managed to feel real that was made since Blade Runner but never a film.  I'll take my Spinners as models thank you!

Not that kind of model, Denmark.

Casting will be very important here.  The original cast was interesting, I think it all worked out in the end.  It's hard to think what holywood will do with the story without attempting to match the characters and performances of Blade Runner.  Note that a game was made, a sequel book was produced and at least one of those was good so a prequel/sequel tie in IS potentially viable.  But in a sea of uninspired sequels a Blade Runner movie made now will have to stick to the original's guns in order to set itself apart from whatever Leonardo DiCaprio or god forbid SamWorthington (like the guy but c'mon) are up to.

I figure I ought to finish off here given this blog post has been W.I.P for about a week and I've had little to say.  Maybe I'll get inspired when/if some real news about one of these projects pops up.