Best fascist dictator: Adolf Hitler!

You got me, I watched Annie Hall again last night, and the above quote stuck in my mind. It seems appropriate, though, for this posting, because apparently it's that time of year again. Yep, not even out of October, but today was the first of the big end-of-year award ceremonies, as not-really-that-relevant music mag Q invited some fancy-pants big names to a fancy-pants hotel in London.

Why should you care? You shouldn't, really. Awards for Muse (live band), Arctic Monkeys (album), Gnarls Barkley (single, for 'Smiley Faces'... just kidding) and The Killers (video). Oasis won best band in the world, which you may have something to say about.

The main reason, though, that the Q Awards aren't allowed to be taken seriously is that.. well.. here are some of the awards:

Q Inspiration Award, Q Outstanding Contribution to Music Award, Q Groundbreaker Award, Q Icon Award, Q Idol Award, Q Classic Songwriter, Q Outstanding Performance, Q Lifetime Achievement Award, Q Merit Award, Q Innovation Award, Q Legend Award, and, best of all, Q Award of Awards.


Remember when there was just one token award, usually Lifetime Achievement? Here there are like ten of them with different names. Do you think they allocated awards to everyone who bothered to RSVP? It's very very odd. Oh, and Karma Chameleon was named Q Classic Song.

Full results here.

I am melancholy eternally

The Runout Groove has a great feature about one of my favourite records, 'Everything Must Go' by Manic Street Preachers. It's a really pivotal album of my youth, and I'd write more about it, but their feature is far more comprehensive. So read that.

Here, though, is a b-side from one of the 'Everything Must Go' singles - Australia, I think - called 'Sepia'. It's ace and namechecks one of my favourite films. Everyone's a winner.

[download Manic Street Preachers - Sepia]

A mobster with a gay son. That's ironic.

Look, I don't always claim to be topical, alright? With that in mind, last night I saw the film 'Lucky Number Slevin', which came out earlier this year. Seeing as Josh Harnett's other recent film stank out the joint, and how the reviews have been middling, I was a little worried that it would be rubbish, but Paul McGuigan (The Acid House, Gangster #1) is a convincing reason to overcome my prejudices.

Fortunately, 'Lucky Number Slevin' is fanfuckingtastic. Great dialogue, really neat editing and cinematography, lots and lots and lots of deaths, a really tight twist-heavy plot, great cast, barely any women... also, Bruce Willis has a great haircut that screams "serial rapist".

Rent it now, it's great.

Lindsey: What happen to your nose?

Slevin: I used it to break some guy's fist.

"This is a wonderful show"

Portland icons and language enthusiasts The Decemberists just put out their newest record The Crane Wife and it's dead good. They're playing in Atlanta on Friday, and since I live about seven hours from there, I shan't be going. It's a pity, because I saw them there last summer, and they were terrific. Later in the year, they came to Tallahassee (unheard of!) and it was the best gig of 2005. No Florida date on this tour, alas, so I guess I'll have to make do with the live recording of their date at the Wiltern in Los Angeles last week.

It's pretty 'Crane Wife'-heavy, of course, although there's a sad lack of 'Yankee Bayonet', but 'Odalisque' is back in there, so rejoice rejoice. And Colin leads the audience in a vocal warm up exercise. Plus there's talk about nubian princesses, and we all need more of that.

The best way to listen to this: dress up your friends, and if possible your pets, as 19th century merchants, put fairy-lights up all around your living room and try to acquire enough sand to cover the floor.

[download The Decemberists - Live at the Wiltern, 2006-10-21]

You're only nineteen for God's sake

One time for the Long Blondes. There's no shortage of talk about them on the blog-front at the moment, since their debut album 'Someone to Drive You Home' just found its way onto the internet.

They're from Sheffield, like the Arctics, Human League, Pulp [see most recent post], and perpetual relegation. As it happens, the record is produced by Pulp's bass player, the fine-haired Mr. Steve Mackey. A lot of the tracks have been online for a while in earlier forms, and the album recordings are tighter, most notably opener 'Lust in the Movies', which I've bigged up in here before. It's in turns jaunty ('Once and Never Again', 'Seperated by Motorways'), dark and spoken-wordy ('You Could Have Both', 'A Knife for the Girls') and, for the most part, balls-out fun, best exemplified by previous single 'Giddy Stratospheres' (live video below!).

Like the other ace Sheffield album from earlier this year, these songs are simple, catchy and will stick in your head for ages. Unlike that record, though, this band has sexy ladies. Everyone's a winner.

I'm not gonna upload any songs from the record, but it's not too hard to find them on other great sites.

I wanna dance, that's all

Three updates in a day? I must really be slacking off elsewhere.

I wanted to do a post about the new Pulp reissues, and was dallying, so The Onion AV Club's feature today about their album This Is Hardcore was all the inspiration I needed. Pulp was the first band I ever saw in concert. It was March 1996, a few weeks after Jarvis became a household name thanks to invading Michael Jackson's stage at the Brit Awards. It began my now decade long love affair with both live music, and tie-wearing. Good stuff.

The band followed the sudden success of 'Different Class' with Jarvis getting into drugs and porn, and writing This Is Hardcore, released in 1998. The title track remains their best ever (I will fight anyone that disagrees, and what a video too), and with the glamtastic 'Party Hard', epic 'Seductive Barry', brooding 'The Fear', tender 'A Little Soul' and 'Dishes', it's a phenomenally dark and impressive album. Don't even get me started on the guitars in 'I'm A Man'...

The bonus CD that's part of the new reissue is equally fascinating. It begins with the scathing 'Cocaine Socialism', which is about a certain member of the Blair family and isn't too complimentary. Elsewhere, there's their attempt at a Bond theme ('Tomorrow Never Dies'), a string-heavy remix of 'This is Hardcore', and today's download, a song called 'It's A Dirty World', which would've made for a great subtitle for the record overall.

Just as an aside, Jarvis Cocker has a solo record coming out soon. There's a song you can download over at Fluxblog. Do that, won't you?

I am not Jesus, though I have the same initials.

[download Pulp - It's A Dirty World (Session Outtake)]

She looks like that dead girl! How sick are you?

There are many things which, popular wisdom dictates, you should never do. Drive whilst intoxicated, for instance. Punch a bear in the face. Call Mike Tyson a big, lisping twat. Add to this esteemed list, “watch Brian de Palma’s The Black Dahlia” because, friends, it’s balls. Not THE balls, which would be good, but just plain balls.

The 1940s noir look is slick, the costumes are dead on, everyone smokes, and the cinematography is pretty. Beyond that, there was nothing to enjoy about the most lumpen, painful and generally boring two hours since England drew 0-0 with Macedonia. I’m sure James Ellroy’s novel is great, but the adaptation did not film well at all. It was confusing, dragged repeatedly, and the final act is just overtly melodramatic in a way that’s unintentionally hilarious.

None of the performances were great, and this from great actors! Aaron Eckhart undoes his cred-forming turn in Thank You For Smoking, Scarlett Johansson phones it in over a dodgy phone line. Hilary Swank (Oscar winner!) is okay as a lesbian femme fatale with a family that’s spectacularly crazy. And Josh Hartnett sort of drifts by.

The film is ostensibly about a Hollywood actress that got killed, but that seems to be a background detail. The problem is, the foreground’s details are all over the place.

Never taken a short cut before?


Two teasers are now online for the best film of 2007, Hot Fuzz.

Watch them now.

Nick Frost is great.

"Is it true that there's a place in a man's head that if you shoot it, it will blow up?"

(edit: SOULJACKER PART ONE... by eels. That's the song in there. It bugged me all day.)

Is it wrong to be strong?

Alright, I admit it. I don't really have a justification for loving Jackass: Number Two. There's obviously no plot, the first half features a lot of bare male ass, there's a decent wait until the vomit shows up, you get to see Wee Man's, erm, wee man, there's some horse shit, and someone drinks horse semen. There isn't even any Party Boy this time around!

Despite all this, it's still the most fun I've had at a movie for a while. There was more Knoxville and less Bam this time around, which I'm happy with. That said, there's one scene called 'The Switcheroo' which is Bam-instigated and fantastic. Further, there are a lot of animals in this one. The horse sex we've discussed, also some bulls, leeches, bees, sharks, and snakes (a lot of snakes). Plus John Waters, Academy Award winners (!) Three Six Mafia, and Jay Chandrashekar, a facefull of pubes, a rocket to the moon, and a Sideshow Bob style rake-to-the-face gag. Plus a lot of rocket-powered pranks.

I'd definitely recommend it, just take a shower afterwards.

There's blood on my laptop y'all

Last night was something of a rite de passage for me. I went to my first gig in my new hometown (Gainesville, FL), at the Common Grounds venue. It was nice to finally catch a show in what is, honestly, a poor town for live music. Opening up were The Ettes from L.A. and they were steadfastly okay. Seriously, a solid three-piece who had good dynamics, catchy hooks but nothing that you'd remember after they finished. They reminded me a LOT of the Sheffield band The Long Blondes, whose 'Lust in the Movies' is available here, and has been one of my most played of the last few weeks. Although the Ettes didn't really have anything as catchy, they were a decent support band.

The headliner was Girl Talk, who is just one dude, Gregg Gillis from Pittsburgh, and his laptop. Mashups were everywhere in 2002 in the UK, and then disappeared for awhile, and his album 'Night Ripper' combines having a shit-ton of illegal samples with being fantastic. The live show was a lot more surreal. Gregg took the stage in a full suit, said a few words, and hit play on the computer and then proceeded to invite the audience onto the stage, and then rock the fuck out. Beyonce's 'Ring the Alarm' was in there early, but it'd be pointless to go through all the songs played. Some were famous - 'Ain't No Other Man', 'Where Is My Mind?' - some were not. Gillis' on-stage energy was huge and everyone that made it up there before security stopped allowing more people up were having a great time. On the floor, it was less convincing, although by God, we tried.

Disaster struck when someone hit the wrong key on the laptop, so Rick Ross' 'Hustlin' got stuck on a loop. It takes a while for someone that isn't soaked in sweat to make it to the stage to fix the problem, and after that there's only time for one more song. It's Girl Talk's ill-advised, and honestly quite rubbish, cover of Nirvana's 'Scentless Apprentice' (see video below). Gregg is shirtless by this point and jumping off the stage, rolling on the floor, and generally being a bit weird. Great fun, great entertainment, great night's worth of dancing...

If you didn't come to party, then why did you come here?

No more songs about sex and drugs and rock n' roll

I know it seems like I write about these two bands a little disproportionately, but that's only because they played together recently, that's all. I promise this'll be the last post about We Are Scientists and Art Brut for a while.

The Rich Girls are Weeping has a download of WAS covering the Brut's 'Bang Bang Rock And Roll' from their split tour-only single. It's done in the style of the Velvet Underground. It's not, as promised, seventeen minutes long. Still no sign of Art Brut's cover of WAS' 'The Great Escape' which apparently is a 'Freebird' ripoff (Eddie's words).

[download We Are Scientists - Bang Bang Rock N' Roll]

Levitation ain't your only friend

Well, the Killers' new record is out today. Not shockingly, Sam's Town is not the greatest album of the last twenty years. But unlike most, apparently, I actually quite like it. Putting the intro after the first track is still daft, despite Flowers' explanation, but the segue from 'Enterlude' into single 'When You Were Young' works well. Since Hot Fuss was essentially a handful of great songs, a couple of good ones, and then a few crap ones, the only real disappointment for me is that Sam's Town has fewer great songs.

All the criticism that this record is too overblown, too MOR, too 80s... I don't really feel it. The last record, after all, had a gospel choir (they're back here, by the way), and to be fair to them, they'll never write another song as bad as the shimmering shit-pile that was 'Glamourous Indie Rock n' Roll.' The best bits here are still cheap-disco, big-chorus, dance-like-a-twat capital-F Fun.

'When You Were Young', with all its "burning down the highway skyline on the back of a hurricane" nonsense, is still a great summer single. (Although Rolling Stone's comments about the lyrics are worth a read). 'For Reasons Unknown' is huge. 'Bones' is ace and brassy. 'Uncle Johnny' is a cousin, or, well, an uncle, to 'Andy You're A Star'. Things tail off towards the end, as they did on the first album.

It's a little too easy to hate on The Killers these days, but Sam's Town shows that they still have a few tunes up their flowery sleeves. Based on what they look like these days, I think that they'd make for a great Halloween costume. If only I had three friends.

[The Killers on the Hype Machine]

Are you trying to mock me on live television?

Given that his 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' was so universally beloved, there's a lot of hype upon Michel Gondrey's new film 'The Science of Sleep'. Someone warned me that not only is it NOT the best film of the year, it's not even the best Michel Gondry film of the year (That'll be 'Dave Chappelle's Block Party').

Well, as you may expect, it's visually stunning. There's a lot of the homemade special effects that we've seen in many of his music videos. In fact, you don't have to watch Science too closely to find nods to his videos for 'Everlong', 'Bachelorette' or 'Deadweight'. The dream sequences are really arresting and there's a strong sense of fun throughout the film.

Where I thought it was lacking was the narrative. For a film rooted in dreams vs. reality, it is sometimes tough to keep up with. It's hard to love the (waking) characters, Gael Garcia Bernal's character is close to the line between sweet and creepy. His co-worker Guy is ace, though. Gondry wrote this one himself, and it doesn't carry the tenderness of Charlie Kaufman's scripts that he's worked with before.

Definitely see it if you can, but don't expect anything too amazing.

She's electric, got a family full of eccentrics

I saw 'Who Killed The Electric Car?' last night. Now, I'm pretty liberal politically, but from this one, even I was yearning for a little more balance. It's a really interesting documentary and all, with some nice interview footage of Tom Hanks and Mel Gibson (get this: Mel brings the crazy!) and it of course presents a great case for the electric car. All I'm saying is, it didn't really offer any perspective other than saying "Big oil companies / the Government / consumers were to blame". There's a good amount of resources on the film website, so if you're interested, give it a read. Good film, well presented, just could've given the bad guys more of a voice.

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