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Saturday, October 31, 2009

3 Degrees of Separation: Bobby Pickett to Of Montreal

Happy Halloween, kids! Hope you're all dressing up like demented monsters at some point today.
Now, since I've already done a Halloween playlist (in June, because I'm strange like that), I thought I'd bring you the 4th installment of 3 Degrees!

3 Degrees (noun): A series of posts in which I link three bands by cover versions. Sounds easy, but when you throw in a Halloween theme, things get a little trickier...

1. BOBBY 'BORIS' PICKETT AND THE CRYPTKICKERSThe Monster Mash (Click for MP3)- I'm sorry, but there's no way you can mention Halloween and not slip in a Monster Mash reference. Even Elvis slated the song, calling it 'the dumbest thing I've ever heard'. But for many, this is Halloween. Well, this or 'Thriller', but aren't we all a little Jackson-ed out of late?
Also: Bobby Pickett died in 2007. Did you know this? I didn't- I'm actually quite upset now. Moving on...

2. MISFITS The Monster Mash- Not sick of the Monster Mash yet? Then you should check out this cover by Misfits. The Misfits are quite easily my favorite horror-rock band of all time (a pretty lucrative market, but there you go)- and although this isn't exactly their best work, it's still damn fun.

Where Eagles Dare- FUN FACT TIME! The Misfit's primary source of inspiration are movies- 'Where Eagles Dare', for instance, is based upon a 1968 film of the same title, starring Clint Eastwood. I'm just a fountain of knowledge, me.

3. OF MONTREALWhere Eagles Dare- Of Montreal have taken a thrashing punk song, screaming of rebellion, and turned it into a tiny slice of electronic, catchy joy. Also, if you like what you hear, this blog has 80+ Of Montreal covers, and is generally a top-notch read.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

5 Fashions: Spring and Summer 2010

Each Autumn, the fashion conscious flock to the world's most celebrated cities to catch a glimpse of the future of the fashion world. Come Spring of the next year, every shop and boutique alike will be stocking up on garments that we saw shimmy down the runway during fashion week.
So, with that in mind, here are my 5 picks from London Fashion Week, and how you can make them work for you.

It's almost a given- monochrome is a timeless look that crops up time and time again on the catwalks, each with a slightly different take. This year, apart from being much more playful (such as being paired by quirky sunglasses at Giles Deacon, above), monochrome is also alot more casual- there's a lot less of the two-tone block colour affairs from last year, and the tailoring is alot less fussy. The 'Monochrome Maude' dress for Emily and Finn, above, is bang on the money, with a simple, fluid outline and a block print- a key trend from last summer that's set to continue.

The main focus of this year's London Fashion Week was romantic, playful pieces in a palette straight from the candy shop. Pastels were particularly big at Christopher Kane (above), who also branched out into translucent fabrics- another big hitter, but maybe a little daring. The delicate and beautiful pearl-coloured 'Tiers in Heaven' Dress, above, with three layers of scalloped, opalescent fabric really embodies the delicate playfulness we saw on the catwalk.

You may be more acquainted with Little Black Dresses, but all the big fashion houses have been tapping into this much softer take on a wardrobe staple. Most are simple, often with some black detailing (inkeeping with the monochrome theme), such as those seen at Issa. This bandeau dress by Rise at Dorothy Perkins, above, is classically cut and a complete steal at £40.00.

There were some more tropical and vibrant shades amidst the ice-cream coloured pastels, and orange in particular reared its ugly head at several shows, including Erdem Moralioglu, above. If you really must try this trend out for yourself, stick to burnt or dusky shades of orange, rather than a full-on vibrant shade. The shift dress from DKNY is playful and flirty, and just about inconspicuous enough to keep you from looking like a satsuma.

The 1980's sprung up everywhere from Giles Deacon to Burberry Prorsum (above), with power-dressing shoulder pads and a touch of rock and roll being the order of the day. Don't start raiding the wardrobe for 80's throwbacks just yet, though- more often than not, it was a subtle suggestion of 80's fashion than the full-on Bananarama. To best capture this look, your safest bet is following another seasonal trend, and adding shoulders. The Rebecca Taylor dress above takes elements of the pastels, metallics and 1980's shoulders, and combines them into one gorgeous garment.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Remix Wednesday: Heads Will Roll

It's that time of the week again, kids- time to shake of those mid-week blues with a little slice of remixed goodness, with love from me to you.
This week's song comes courtesy of A-Trak and Yeah Yeah Yeahs (a band I've previously expressed alot of love for). The song in question, 'Head Will Roll', was pretty upbeat and dance-y number before A-Trak got his mits on it, but it is impossible to resist the beat of this song- as soon as it gets going, you'll be dancing around your room like a crazy person before you know it.
Check it out:
MP3: 'Heads Will Roll' (A-Trak Remix)- Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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Should I Listen to Last.FM? Part I

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If, like all the writers here, you are a religious user of Last FM, you will know all about the recommendations it gives you. Basically, it takes a cross section of your artists and general music genre, adds a little hocus pocus, a few newts eyes and such and produces similar bands for your listening pleasure. Sometimes this goes amazingly, I have been introduced to ‘The Dykeenies’, ‘Alessi’s Ark’, ‘Cajun Dance Party’ along with many others I listen to like my whole life depends on it. Other times, well, it doesn’t go quite so well. Avril Lavigne has come up once or twice, but then again and anyone who knows me will know my astounding hatred for her… but anyway, that is a story for another day… On last FM people can also leave comments about the band or artist, I will be pulling out a few of these as secondary evidence of my findings.


Eight Legs

Similar To

Cajun Dance Party, Blood Red Shoes, The Metro’s, Look See Proof, Good Shoes

What Other Last Fmers Think

Mixed reviews here, a lot of people are complaining about the new album, it’s described as “terrible” and “weird” and even “disappointing”. But then there are a few people who are singing its praises. The band is described by some as “talented” and “niiice”, yes that’s three I’s, clearly this guy was impressed.

My Thoughts

I started off by listening to ‘Those Grey Days’ which was mentioned once or twice by fans. Just listening to one song I had fallen in love with this band. I must admit it’s what I affectionately dub ‘lads music’ and this song in particular is about drunken arguments and passing out on the concrete outside a lover’s house. This song was used at the Dior Homme Winter show in 2006 when the band were still unsigned and I can see why, it’s a satirical look at booze culture. Definitely worth a download! A double thumbs up!


Tina Dico

Similar To

Gemma Hayes, Sia and Charlotte Martin

What Other Last FMers Think

Wow, this Tina Dico definitely has a lot to live up to, we have comments praising her to high heavens. One man called her “stunning”, another said “amazing” and one over enthusiastic fan claimed she was “perfection”. Funnily these were all men and Tina Dico is very, very pretty, I need to decide for myself whether it’s because of her blonde hair and statuesque bone structure or for her talent…

My Thoughts

The first song I stumbled across was a live version of “In the Red”, it was slow, relaxing and sweet, played on an acoustic guitar. Whilst it was easy to listen to and Tina’s voice was sweet, it was just too singer-songwriter for me. Don’t get me wrong, I am a lover of that genre, my Itunes is full of it, but most of my singers bring something a little different to the table. Tina Dico falls into the monotonous category of a blonde chick with a guitar singing melancholy songs of the heart. Although I must say I do like her collaborations with Zero 7, ‘Home’ is haunting.


Winter Kids

Similar To

Joe Jean and The Jing Jang Jong, Johnny Foreigner, Mumm-ra, Look See Proof

What Other Last FMers Think

Very good response. We have outcries that they have “blown people away” and that they are the “best acid jazz band ever”. Very good comments to live up to. Honestly, I know you shouldn’t judge a band by their album cover, but I love the butterflies in the picture above, so maybe I’ll be a little bias? Who knows…

My Thoughts

I liked to ‘Tape It’, which seems to be the favourite on Last Fm and I was not disappointed. The lead singer’s voice is quite unique, maybe its just me, but he has a deeper, more manly voice then your standard run-of-the-mill, skinny-jeaned indie kid. The choruses of ‘HEAD RUSH!’ were unique and definitely brought a smile to my face. I like Indie bands that have women in them and its always refreshing to hear they sweeter, lighter vocals in WinterKids. Definitely something different, but in a very good way.

Ok 2/3. Pretty damn good Last FM. Have a gold star. Read More......

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Art of Rock

If you, like me, love exploring the connection between music and art, 'Art of Rock' (which is currently at the StolenSpace Gallery, London) is not to be missed. Each piece from the exhibition was inspired by a track from Green Day's latest offering, '21st Century Breakdown'- admittedly, not my favorite Green Day album, but a pretty awesome concept for an art show nonetheless.
Featuring art from Ron English, Will Barras, Christian Guémy (who's the dude behind '!Viva La Gloria!', above) and Chris Stain, amongst others, the show will be running until the 1st of November. Find out more here >>>

MP3: Green Day- Viva La Gloria
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Thursday, October 22, 2009


After waiting impatiently for several long months, the 15th October finally arrived, and I could hardly contain my excitement.

I first started listening to Bloc Party around the time their second album ‘A Weekend In The City’ was released (2007), which admittedly isn’t that long ago, but I have been hooked on their unique sound ever since. Kele Okereke’s rough London accent combined with the effects of distorted and layered guitars easily pulled me into what the lead singer wanted to be ‘a snapshot, a frozen moment in time’. Even their newest album ‘Intimacy’, although receiving mixed reviews from critics, soon joined my ever growing list of favourites, along with their first and possibly best album; ‘Silent Alarm’.

So as you can imagine I was very much looking forward to seeing them play live, and our loud renditions of ‘Flux’ and ‘Helicopter’ in the car on the way only increased my excitement. On arrival at the (newly moved) O2 Academy Birmingham I was pleasantly surprised to find the room reasonably small, compared to say the NEC or NIA, meaning we could easily get a spot on the left only one row from the front - despite only arriving after the support band had begun their set! I must admit I knew very songs by 'Grammatics', but have consequently downloaded their album due to their impressive performance on stage to an impatient crowd.

After much anticipation Kele and the band arrived on stage with a burst of cheers and blinding blue light, to perform my favourite song from their new album; ‘Halo’. From the second row we had an amazingly good view of Kele, whose rapid guitar playing and strong voice made him even more attractive than usual. If that is possible. Unsurprisingly there were hoards of swooning girls at the barrier, all reaching and pushing just for the chance to touch the towels Kele was using, very frequently I must add, to wipe his face. He courageously ventured into the crowd during the song ‘Mercury’ (see video below), and was stuck in the chest by something thrown from the audience during ‘Hunting For Witches’, forcing him to stop momentarily and exchange banter with the writhing crowd. I even caught a glimpse of someone’s feet rising above them, as though someone was attempting to do a crowd handstand! Very odd I must say.

Overall they must have played for at least an hour . Or maybe longer - I cannot exactly remember how long I was dancing and singing at the top of my voice for, but it was enough to steal my voice. Despite playing few of their older songs, the best from their newest albums were more or less covered, and Kele insisted on give the crowd a ‘breather’ once or twice with one of their slower tracks. I was disappointed that ‘So Here We Are’ was not included in that list, but this was the only one I felt they missed out, so I can hardly complain!

Seeing Bloc Party play live only increased my love for the band, and for Kele, who unfortunately didn’t join fellow band member Russell Lissack in taking off his top. However, it is defiantly my favourite gig to date, and despite my aching voice and feet I would happily pay to be part of such an amazing atmosphere once again.

MP3: Bloc Party- Halo
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review: Eastpak Antidote Tour

I. GHOST OF A THOUSANDI'd love to grace you with a review that sung the praises of this band, and whole-heartedly agreed with Kerrang (who gave them 5 K's on their live performance). Unfortunately, I can't.
Firstly, because I got horribly lost on the mean streets of Birmingham, and missed a large portion of their performance. Luckily, one of the Street Team found me and escorted me and some other kids to the O2 Arena- post-hardcore fans aren't great with directions, it seems.
Secondly, what I saw sounded reasonable- the band attacked the stage with a suitable amount of gusto, and the sound they made was pleasing, if a little shambolic in places. But that's as far as it went- they haven't quite found that fine line between unbridled rage and musical finesse. I do have high hopes for their future, mind.

II. FOUR YEAR STRONGAs this motley crew of big, beardy types descend upon the stage, you think you know what to expect. Screaming (lots of it), raging guitar solos and lyrics that can go from nought to riot in sixty seconds. Well, you'd be wrong.
Four Year Strong have a strange yet enchanting blend of pop punk and hardcore that you'd never expect from such hairy chunks of masculinity. And from the general nods of approval emanating form the slightly nonplussed audience, it was a sound they were working. This is definitely a band I'll be checking out again soon.

III. ANTI-FLAGAppearances were once again deceptive with Anti-Flag- for such weedy looking dudes, they sure are furious about something.
You always know what you're going to get with Anti-Flag- angry, political tracks- and with tracks such as 'Turncoat' and 'The Press Corpse', they didn't disappoint in that respect. The music itself has alot to be desired- nothing spectacular, nothing amiss- but what I found most off-putting was their rapport with the crowd. They stressed- between every single bloody song- how they were all about peace and love, and how they would remember this night for the rest of their lives, and how stupid the government was, and how they wanted everyone to go in the circle pit. Seriously, give it a rest.
They did get a bunch of people on stage, which I thought was quite nice of them, but I know there were those who'd argue they'd paid to see Anti-Flag, not to see some kids get up on stage and sing Anti-Flag. Matter of taste, I suppose.
Reference must of course be made to their drummer, who is up there with the scariest dudes to ever have lived- he just looks so demented. He has that crazy look in his eyes- the look that says 'I've definitely worn a straight jacket at some point in my life'. Yikes.

IV. ALEXISONFIREThe main event- and I wasn't disappointed.
I was a little confused when they only set up three stands- I thought there were five guys in Alexisonfire? Of course, my naïveté was soon put right- the fourth guy up front, bassist Chris Steele, had no stand, due to the fact he couldn't stand still for more than two seconds. He bounded around stage in a state of insanity for the entire performance, in a whirlwind of his own sweat and saliva. He went absolutely mental, and so did the crowd- I must admit I was happily dragged into the furore, pulling shapes like I was demented- even being slammed into the railings by a tidal wave of Dallas Green fan girls didn't dull my appetite for frenzy.
This pandemonium was matched by the rest of band, who not only managed to command the stage with manic prowess, but also deliver soaring, clear vocals, and guitar playing to a standard I have yet to see matched in a live performance.

All in all, pretty damn awesome. I you're considering going to this concert, you should definitely pick up a ticket: you won't regret it.

MP3: Alexisonfire- This Could be Anywhere in the World

Photo of Alexisonfire courtesy of martybell on deviantART
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This Will Destroy You w/ And So I Watch You From Afar (Birmingham Academy 3, 19/10/09)

It is half past eight. Doors have been open for over an hour and a half and there has been little sign of activity on the stage. But that's all about to change. On walk 'And So I Watch You From Afar', a four-piece post-rock outfit from Belfast. They launch into an aggressive forty five minute set without saying a word, the energy of their music mirrored perfectly by the stage presence of the band; both guitarists leap around the stage frantically as they launch into tracks such as 'Set Guitars To Kill' and 'If It Don't Break...Break it'. For an instrumental band, Tony Wright makes a charismatic and witty front man, indulging in more conversation with the crowd as the show progresses; "On the poster outside it says we're called 'As I Watched From Afar'; they're our tribute band". After some technical troubles with guitars during fan favourite 'I Capture Castles', the band make a swift recovery before their last song of the evening, 'Eat the City, Eat it Whole'.

A half an hour break ensued, before the main act emerge. 'This Will Destroy You' come on stage to a more elaborate set up than the support, providing keyboards and pedal boards that would (almost) put Johnny Greenwood to shame. The band seem a lot shier than 'And So I Watch...', with their sound also to suit; their music more ambient and mellow, but they also show a certain maturity the Irish post-rockers lacked. Their set is dreamy, with songs merging into one after opener 'A Three-Legged Workhorse'. After a short set (a mere thirty five minutes) they re-appear for a lengthy encore, which showcases the sheer breadth of the band, finishing with a breathtaking performance of 'There Are Some Remedies Worse Than The Disease'. With the sound being cut with them still on stage, a silence drifts over the audience for a second or two, with every member of the crowd silent and stunned, before the band wave their goodbyes and departing to the audience's applauds, which seem all the more subdued for the sheer volume and hectic nature of the band's finale, which still rings in my ears.

Download: This Will Destroy You - Quiet [RS]
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Top Ten Sexiest Men Of Comedy

Genetics are mean. Either you win the genetic lottery and grow into a drop dead gorgeous vision of Brad Pitt or, well, you’re not so lucky. Usually you are given something as compensation, whether it be brains, creativity or wit. The world of comedy isn’t a pretty one, it has to be said, but some lucky sods, like the ones we feature below, not only get the face of a heartthrob but the funny gene to boot.

1. Russell Howard

Perhaps best known for being a permanent face on BBC’s political panel show Mock the Week, Russell Howard, whilst quizzing my schoolmates for ideas was the first name on everyone’s lips. With his baby face, blonde hair and cheeky grin, this comedian not only tickles our funny bones but pulls on our heartstrings too.

2. Russell Brand

The bad boy of comedy! This man has come a long way from hosting ‘Big Brothers Big Mouth’, a side project of the reality TV show Big Brother. Nowadays you’ll find him starring in big Hollywood movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Bedtime Stories and St Trinians. Russell Brand is known for his big hair, flamboyant vocabulary and his many bed partners. We think he’s gorgeous!

3. Paddy McGuiness

Paddy McGuiness was first introduced to the public in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere and he quickly became a household name. With eyes that could melt the masses and a naked spread for Cosmo, this Bolton boy has definitely caught the eye of many a woman, especially readers of Cosmo.

4. Noel Fielding

Noel Fielding first got recognition for his comedic genius alongside Julian Barratt in the surreally funny TV show and stand up tour The Mighty Boosh in which Fielding played Vince Noir. Fielding stole the hearts of the nation with his tight trousers, carefree spirit and eccentric persona. In 2008 Fielding not only snagged The Best Dressed Male award at the NME’s, he also managed to grab The Sexiest Male award too. We can’t help but agree.

5. Simon Amstell

Simon Amstell despite being sacked from his first TV gig at Nickelodeon for being "sarcastic and mean to children.", this bushy-haired comedian hasn’t stopped growing in our hearts. From hosting Popworld and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, a panel show with a rock music theme and having two very successful stand up tours, one which is currently doing the rounds, Amstell has captured the nation with his sarcastic one liners, indie clothes and of course, the bushy hair.

6. Jimmy Carr

Jimmy Car, the man with the straightest face in British comedy. Clearly sarcasm is sexy as Carr (not to be confused with the other Carr, Alan) and despite not having any awards to prove his sexiest, his straight talking, edgy comedy has made many women wobble weak at the knees.

7. Ant and Dec

The legendry comedy duo. Newcastle’s finest, Ant (on the left ) and Dec (on the right ) have been doing the rounds for ages since their wee years in Byker Grove and the Saturday morning smash SM:TV live along with Cat Deeley. Nowadays you can see the cheeky Geordies on I’m a Celebrity…Get me Out of Here!, Saturday Night Takeaway and Britain Got Talent. Both as always beautifully dressed and looking sharp, but it is the sheer extremity of the bromance that has this girl hooked. We still never know which is which though…

8. Robert Webb

One half of the comedy duo Mitchell and Webb. Robert Webb was voted 88th Sexiest Man in the World by New Woman Magazine and has starred in many TV and sketch shows alongside his partner David Mitchell as well as in several projects on his own. Robert Webb has also been seen on the silver screen in Confetti and Magicians. Honestly, I can see why he got that award.

9. James Cordon and Matthew Horne

Our friendship group has an unhealthy obsession with James Cordon (on the right), in fact the owner of this blog, Eileen wakes up to see him on her ceiling every morning. Whilst being on the larger side of comedy, James Cordon somehow manages to be absolutely gorgeous and completely irrestible. Matthew Horne is not much different. You can find both in the movie Lesbian Vampire Killers (yes, its actually how it sounds) and on the telly in Gavin and Stacey, which I urge you to watch.

10. Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre is known for appearing on a multitude of comedy panel shows and stand up tours including his own Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Road Show. McIntyre is laugh-out-loud funny and his isocyanides make him adorable to watch.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Song of the Day: Valentine by The Crowns

Paloma Faith.
Ellie Goulding.
Just two of the names that I tipped for the big time only a few months ago, and I've heard both of them of Radio 1 this week. But, I'm not here to gloat- I'm here to share with you my next slice of fresh aural goodness- The Crowns. What first springs to mind when you hear Amsterdam? Windmills? Tulips? The Red Light District? Well, soon enough, I feel the indie-rock tunes of The Crowns could be up there on that list.
The Crowns, like so many before them, are a Myspace phenomenon. However, unlike many before them, they didn't rest on their laurels and wait for a record company to latch onto the hype; they released their self-titled album off their own back. A bold move, but in the days where record companies so often taint records with over-production, it may be a wise move too.

FUN FACT TIME! Not only is 'Valentine' the name of one of their songs, but it is also the name of the lead singer, whose bio states:
'Valentine is best known for being the inventor and world champion of extreme yodeling. Some 20 years ago, after a failed career in Japanese sumo wrestling, Valentine became a recluse in the Swiss Alps. Solitary, yet greatly inspired by traditional Swiss clothing and cuisine, Valentine laid the groundworks for extreme yodeling. Valentine is 23 years of age and can be seen on ESPN hosting the show Yodel or Die.'
Don't you feel enriched by that nugget of knowledge?

MP3: 'Valentine' by The Crowns
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Testimonial: Tri, not to be mistaken with the green leafy kind

Hi, my name is Tri (I am the one on the left), and I must admit that I have some innate inability to work computers, no matter how easy the task. I’ve been sitting at my desk for a good half hour trying to unravel the mysteries of eblogger and hope to god that it has paid off – or I really will look stupid! So now you know a bit about me, I guess I should tell you some more.

My life as an only child in a sleepy town cannot be described as exciting by any means, but it provided me with dance lessons from the age of 8 and a pretty good set of drums; if only to keep me from driving my parents mad. I guess my musical awakening has to be placed around the time I met the lovely Charles, as his unparalleled determination that SClub7 ‘Reach’ would not be my top played song, led him to introduce me to bands such as Snow Patrol and Imogen Heap. Charles, I thank you.

Since then my tastes have changed slightly, but the album ‘eyes open’ will probably always stay on my ipod simply because it reminds me of summer and of fun. I’m afraid I’ve run out of things to say, but I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me again soon, providing I learn how to use this damn thing. =)

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Testimonial: Eileen, The Brains

Although I’ve been writing here since May, and most regular visitors have probably got a pretty good idea of who I am, I realised I never did one of these ‘About Me’ things, so here goes:

A wise man (i.e. fellow blogger, Charles) once said ‘science is about understanding the world we live in- arts make it worth living in’. I would definitely class myself as an arts-y type. I have always immersed myself in culture- watching as many films, listening to as many songs, and reading as many books as I can.

Yet, I’ve never been a high-culture freak: I realised pretty early on that what matters- and what makes this world worth living in- is all about what makes us as individuals happy. I have guilty pleasures, but I’m not afraid to admit it. I listen to musical greats, like the Beatles, but Paramore probably receive as much airplay. ‘Baba O’ Reilly’ is one of my favourite songs of all time, but so is ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ by Fergie. On my DVD rack, I have ‘Funny Face’ (the 1957 Hepburn classic) right next to ‘Grind’ (a skater flick with fairly immature humour).

It was with this ethos that I set up this blog. I felt that cyberspace was lacking a blog that informed you of all of the latest hot topics, but also celebrated the weird, wonderful, and a little shameful. So, I’ll review the latest films and albums, but I’ll also share with you some of my guilty crushes, or some random pictures of cats in wigs.

So lets stand together against cultural snobs: people who brand music as ‘sell-out’, who form their opinions based on views of famous music blogs, who dress based on the whims of Topshop/Topman. I’ll listen to sell-out bands, and enjoy 'Backspacer' by Pearl Jam, and wear oversized guy’s T-shirts with pride- and least I’m happy, and at the end of the day kids, that’s what makes the world go round.

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Testimonial: Chloe, Stirred, Not Shaken.

Our next new writer here is called Chloe, and as her resident best friend since primary school, I can tell you she's certifiably bonkers. However, she is the McCartney to my Lennon, and I'm sure you'll gorw to find her craziness endearing. Chloe plays a vital role here At the Sinema, as she's both a film buff and actually knows what's going on the world of 'popular music' (unlike me). Take it away, Clo:

The names Chloe and I count myself as being the person who knows Eileen (the brains behind this operation) best. Course, I could be completely wrong, she could be a mystery wrapped in an enigma, her whole life could be one great façade, every aspect of her complete fiction… well, you get the idea.

I’m 18 years old and hate people who say, -insert age here- years young, its pretentious and annoying, so stop it… please? Despite being officially and legally an adult now I still watch the Disney Channel and have an unhealthy obsession with Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers, but give me a gun and the first people I’ll shoot would be the entire cast of ‘High School Musical’. Other then clearly having a few pitfalls in my music taste—I have actually deleted my whole Kylie Minogue back catalogues now… ok, so my hard drive was wiped and I'm too lazy to re-download... same difference— I do think that over all I have quite good taste. Apparently the genre is called Anti-Folk, thats what Charles tells me anyway, but I’m pretty sure that makes no sense to me whatsoever. I watch too many films to be healthy, yet always forget my glasses when going to the cinema – or should I say sinema? – and I read a lot of books. Twilight makes me want to hurt people. And that’s about it really.

[She also just realised that Charles' and Eileen's bios had come coherent pattern and set up towards them whilst mine was just a shambles, but *le sigh* such is life]

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Testimonial: Charles, The Individual

Charles is on the left.

He's already written a few posts here, but I thought it would be nice for you to get to meet our new writer, Charles. We've known each other since we were in primary school, and he's introduced me to some of my favourite bands. Here's what he has to say for himself:

So I liked Busted. I mean, actually loved them. I owned all (both) their albums. It has to be said, there's not many bands I can claim physical ownership of their entire discography. So naturally, when asked to introduce myself to the blog, the first thing that came to mind (that made any cohesive sense whatsoever) was Busted. They were great, weren't they? But this article isn't about Busted, it's about me. So let's get to it.

There was once this guy, called Charles. He was brought up pretty well off, and he was pretty musical. He responded to this ad in NME for a guitarist where he met James and Matt. Together, these guys were Busted, and they were pretty lame. Yet still people bought their albums. But people didn't realise they were lame at the time; they thought they were super hip! And so they were, for everyone under the age of twelve. I remember wishing I had a teacher as hot as the one in 'What I Go To School For' and jumping off the stage blocks at school discos to 'You Said No'. Hell, I remember getting so fucking pissed off when 'Sleeping With The Light On' was kept off the top spot by this joke of a song. Fuck R&B, man.

But hey, like everyone else around me, I grew up. The new ten year olds were listening to a crap new band called McFly and Busted's reign was pretty much over. They finally split their separate ways in 2005 and all went on to do even worse things. So whatever, I grew up and forgot all about Busted so what have three teenage boys jumping around with guitars have to do with my life? Well, quite a lot, really.

They were my gateway into music. They made me think, "hey, guitars are pretty cool". Because of this I went on to listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers and Coldplay and U2. Then one day I was checking out this thing called the internet, and I stumbled upon a guy called Bright Eyes. And he was fucking cool. He wasn't even playing electric guitar and he was still fucking cool. Man, I never thought cool guys played acoustic guitar, but this man proved me wrong. A year or two later I discovered a guy called Patrick Wolf, who played the violin and the ukulele. I didn't even know what the fuck a ukulele was, but he was making it look cool. So I no longer listen to Busted, nor do I think Conor Oberst is only guy to ever make an acoustic guitar cool. Hell, I don't even have a huge man-crush on Patrick Wolf any more. But that doesn't matter, because these are the things that have shaped me as a person today. I'm pretty sure this is still the reason I don't like R&B to this day. It's called progress.

So I sit here with my fancy Mac and swivelly chair, iPod and egg-shaped shaker, and I ponder over one question. Would my life really be the same without Busted?
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Bomb In A Birdcage: Song By Song

I have, for a few months now, been utterly entranced by the dreamy lyrics and milky tones of Alison Sudol aka ‘A Fine Frenzy’. So when I discovered she had a new album out, ‘A Bomb in a Birdcage’ (a title taken from the song ‘What I Wouldn’t Do’), I was downloading it quicker then said bomb could blow that birdcage to smithereens- and I was not disappointed. The age old cliché that a second album is never good as the first here is completely thrown up in the air. It has been described by critics as “closer to mainstream pop, with less of the singer-songwriter feel and more synthy sounds and bouncier beats. A Fine Frenzy's second album isn't a huge change of direction but more an evolution of sound”. But here’s it broken down, song by song:

1. What I Wouldn’t Do – Whilst not being my favorite song on the album, ‘What I Wouldn’t Do’ is a happy, refreshing way to start an album. It kicks off with a cheerful guitar sequence with the occasional tinkling of the ivories before slipping effortlessly and beautifully into the sweet vocals of Alison Sudol with splashings of pretty harmonies. A nice start.

2. New Heights – This song is closer to her old stuff that we saw in ‘One Cell in the Sea’. This song appears to be care-free, but if you slip past the smooth vocals and happy-go-lucky piano score, you can hear Sudol’s lyrical genius. Beautiful.

3. Electric Twist – Officially one of those songs that tattoos itself on your mind, and before you go comparing it to the likes of Black Lace’s Agadoo or some of the awfully repetitive corporate stuff you get nowadays, give it a listen. ‘Electric Twist’ is some of those songs that make you smile or, in my case anyway, actually get off you chair and do some electric twisting- and I thought only Bill Haley and the Comets could do that!

4. Happier – Perhaps my favorite song on the album. Sudol’s vocals are hauntingly beautiful, the lyrics filled with the stark realism of any break up when although neither person wants to part, you know it’s for the best. Definitely, definitely, definitely worth a listen.

5. Swan Song – A soulful tune with beautiful lyrics. Not my favorite; the one song on the album that I skip on shuffle, but if you’re into melancholy ballads, this is the one for you.

6. Elements – this song starts with a slow, almost military-like drum beat before slowly layering on the synthy sounds, before kicking into the actual song. I really like this song, it feels like it has many layers – an onion, if you will – that need to be broken down. Magnificent.

7. The World Without – This has a very pop-y feel about it; sweet, happy listening for when you're feeling down.

8. Bird of Summer – Here Sudol retracts into the singer-songwriter aura that we saw in her first album, with a truly beautiful piano score. However, that's not what I love about this song; it’s the happy chirps of wind instruments in the introduction, a fun way of reacting to the calls of birds without following down the route of other artists and layering on some sound clips. Plus, it’s always good, because it means I don’t glance out of my window wondering where all the birds are (Your Only Doll – Laura Marling: I just never learn!)

9. Stood Up – Definitely one of my favorites, ‘Stood Up’ has a more powerful, independent feel then the rest of the album. Rather then the sweet dulcet tones we hear on the rest of the album, here Sudol’s voice is synthy and interesting.

10. The Beacon – Actual pure lyrical genius! With the repetitive, monotonous words of mainstream chart-toppers today it’s refreshing to actually hear a metaphor. ‘The Beacon’ is absolutely bittersweet and beautiful, a song for the soul.

Somehow I have a feeling that me and ‘A Fine Frenzy’ will be carrying on this love affair for many years to come...

Source for review:

Chloe x

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