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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Song of the Day: Year of the Ox by Fucked Up

The song of the day today is the latest offering from Fucked Up's chinese zodiac. Basically, they aim to release a single for each year in the Chinese zodiac, and the results push even this most destructive of musical acts to their limits, allowing them to experiment far off the musical beaten track. And for me, this is their finest hour so far.
The thirteen-minute epic isn't out until September 28th, but you can stream it in full here. Alternatively, you can watch a live version they did for CBC Radio 3 below, complete with guest appearance from the crazy lady from Duchess Says.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

The Bands of Scott Pilgirm

As I'm sure many of you are aware, Pilgrimania is sweeping the nation (as I predicted), the latest manifestation of which is the star-studded soundtrack. The films will feature three main fictional bands, and obviously required three real bands to provide the tuneage. Meet these bands below:


A.K.A: Sex Bob-Omb
Where the Name Came From: Super Mario games, obviously. If you don't know what a Bob-omb is, you should probably gtfo.
The Real Band: Beck Hansen is an indie rock singer-songwriter, famed for his eclectic sound and the multitudinous instruments he can play. His unusual style has been compared to both Bob Dylan and Prince, which doesn't actually tell you a whole bunch about his sound, so you should probably just go listen to him.
The Fictional Band: Sex Bob-Omb is comprised of Scott Pilgrim on bass, Kim Pine on drums and Stephen Stills ('the talent') on vocals and guitar. In the books, rarely do their concerts go to plan, as they are often interrupted by epic death matches between Scott and Ramona's evil exes. If the film doesn't feature the gig they do in fancy dress, I'll be severely disappointed.


A.K.A: The Clash at Demonhead
Where the Name Came From: A NES game of the same name
The Real Band: Indie rock darlings Metric have been pumping out solidly alright music since the late 90's. 'Live It Out' is a terrific album, but I wasn't personally smitten by 'Fantasies'. Oh, and the song they did for the Twilight soundtrack was the worst.
The Fictional Band: The Clash at the Demonhead are the most famous/ successful band, made up of Envy Adams (Scott's ex who by all accounts is a massive bitch) Todd Ingram (Envy's paramour, who has super vegan powers) and Lynette Guycott (who plays drums and has a bionic arm which can punch the highlights out of people's hair).


A.K.A: Crash and the Boys
Where the Name Came From: The video game 'Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge'
The Real Band: Broken Social Scene are a loose musical co-operative hailing from Toronto. Much like Metric, they formed in the late 90's and have a strong indie-rock vibe. Emily Haines (of Metric) is also a member of BSS, as well as other well-known names such as Feist, Sebastian Grainger (of DFA 1979) and Amy Millan (of Stars). They are also the masterminds behind 'Forgiveness Rock Record', one of my favourite albums of this year.
The Fictional Band: These dudes don't play instruments, they can manipulate soundwaves with their minds. After a bit of a mutiny, they change their name to 'The Boys and Crash'.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

5 Fashions: Autumn/Winter 2010

The dresses have been packed away, the startling make-up removed, the catwalks dismantled- Fashion Week A/W is over for another year. But, the real work is just about to begin.What we saw in fashion week is now being fervently carbon-copied by every store nationwide- and here's my guide on the top trends to be coveting before they become 'cool' in autumn.


This fashion week was all about practicality over sexiness- the garments we saw were made to adorn the high-powered business woman, not the screen siren. This means the skirts are getting longer- say 'goodbye' to bodycon and 'hello' to a much more mature cut. Inspired by the likes Marc Jabobs, Asos' A/W collection is taking the 'long skirt' to even more extreme lengths in the form of the maxi skirt. Stylish, practical and able to hide a multitude of sins, you can pick one up here for a mere £28.


Outerwear in itself was a big concept- whether it's camel skin, tweed or fur, the more outlandish the fabric, the better. If you're not quite brave enough to attempt an electric blue and black furry number, as seen at Doo.Ri, perhaps the Camel Coat is for you. The gorgeously cut one above is from Jigsaw- it may be £149, but this season's outerwear is such a key wardrobe staple, it's important to buy quality.


Nude is still a heavy-hitter this season, but with a slight twist. The pastel pinks and peaches of summer are to be replaced by more earthy beige tones. If the camel coat isn't your cup of tea, perhaps try another one of the season's trends- the wide-leg trouser, seen at Chloe. The Esprit trousers above are ridiculously on trend- not only are they loose-fitting and beige, but also upturned and tapping into the adrognous trend. Snap up a pair for £39.99 whilst you can.


Run and hide, velvet is making a comeback. I wish I was joking, but Dolce and Gabbana, Karen Millen, Thakoon and Alexander Wang are all at it. A particularly prominent colour appears to be burgundy (a la Altuzzara and Dolce and Gabbana, above). Should you wish to attempt this trend, the high street hasn't quite caught on, but you could opt for the slinky 'Goddess Dress' by Isabella Oliver ($194)- however, this one does show alot of thigh, so isn't massively in line with the mood of this season. Guess we'll just have to wait and see if the high street catches on...


Yes, you did read that correctly- according to those in the know, 'Buxom is the new flat-chested, daahling'. If your own dĂ©colletage leaves alot to be desired, opt for another seasonal trend- the ruffled dress. The exaggerated ruffles have moved further inwards from the shoulders of last season, and should now be used to accentuate the bust, exemplified by Prada (above). The new O&O range(available at Urban Outfitters, click here) is perfect for this- the dress above is just £40, and boasts Prada-esque nude tones and bust ruffles.
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Underrated Albums from 2009

I know it’s over halfway through 2010 and all, but I feel that I’m only just beginning to come to terms with 2009 musically in retrospect. Undeniably, it was a good year for music- even going in, new material by heavy-hitters such as Animal Collective and Yeah Yeah Yeahs had bagsied their rightful places in Top 10 Lists. Yet, the fallout from this was that fresh, new voices and more obscure sounds that were equally worthy of great acclaim slipped under the radar. My end-of-year list has gone through many mental alterations since then- and here are some of the best albums you may not have heard about.

1. POLAR BEAR CLUB- CHASING HAMBURGAfter releasing this near-perfect album, I honestly think PBC deserve to take their rightful place amongst the greatest punk/post-hardcore bands of this generation. The opening track ‘See the Wind’ is an aggressive, visceral hardcore outing with a clear message- expect the unexpected from this band. It proves that they not just capable of the catchy hooks and math-rock riffs fans came to expect of them, but can also compose devastating breakdowns with dexterity. A ferocious and flawless sophomore effort, and one that deserves to be cherished.

Turbo Fruits is led by ex-Be Your Own Pet member Jonas Stein, and appear to have been judged solely on this. Critics have argued that Stein’s vocals cannot keep up with the brattish snarl of Jemina Pearl (of BYOP), credited the guitar-playing, and dismissed it as a 6/10.
Yet, even when judged against their previous BYOP carnation, Turbo Fruits for me still come up trumps. Comparing ‘Echo Kid’ to Jemina Pearl’s new stuff, you see where the talent lay in Be Your Own Pet- Jemina’s own sound is bland, whereas Turbo Fruits is a frenetic, drug-addled, sun-drenched frenzy.
When judged on their own, you can’t deny the ridiculously brilliant guitars in ‘Broadzilla’, Stein’s Dylan-esque swagger in ‘Get Up and Get Down (Tonite)’, and the stoner-rock poignancy of ‘Mama’s Mad ‘Cos I Fried My Brain’. In some places, the childish lyrics let down the instrumental prowess, but you cannot deny this is a stonker of an album.

3. DANANANANAYKROYD- HEY EVERYONE!There are two things to be said about this band:
1. They’re utterly unique.
2. They’re immense.
What makes them unique? Well, the fact they’ve had to coin a phrase themselves to try and describe their sound is a dead giveway. ‘Fight pop’ is a bizarre mix of twee indie and melodic post-hardcore, and is probably best demonstrated by the fact Dananananaykroyd concerts don’t have Walls of Death, they have Walls of Hugs.
‘Hey Everyone!’ is a boisterous joy ride between chants and screams, melodic even in the face of perfectly-played musical chaos. In certain places (‘Song One Puzzle’, we’re looking at you), comparisons could be drawn with, say, Los Campesinos! ; in others (‘Some Dresses’), the only accurate comparison would be a punch in the jugular. A thrilling and joyous ride from start to finish.

4. BLUE ROSES- BLUE ROSESLaura Groves’ debut album appears to be a reflection on her- dainty, pretty, seemingly romantic. And yet, there’s something in this album- largely consisting of romantic tales and Debussy-esque piano stylings, eloquently accompanied by layered harmonies- that says more. In amongst the tenderness, there’s a sense of playfulness and adventure, a tinge of theatricality- the sort of elements that make this beautiful album stand proudly above many other singer-songwriter works of 2009. Sit back, listen, treasure.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

10 Songs For A Way Cooler Prom.

Firstly, hey y'all, long time no speak. I've been doing exams and stuff, but that shit's over now.
Now it's time to prom. Unfortunately, this usually means shyly shuffling your feet to the 'hottest' songs of the last year or so, and by 'hottest' this usually means shit. Of course, there will no doubt be some classics mixed in there, but again, I use the term 'classics' very lightly. As a remedy for what will no doubt be a terrible evening filled with dumb ass girls pretending to be wasted on one glass of champagne and therefore people actually paying attention to all the nerdy girls, who actually turn out to be pretty hot (pretty sure this is the storyline to a million films as well as a Taylor Swift video), I have compiled a list of alternative prom songs that you can wish the DJ will play or maybe just have your own alternative prom night by yourself. Of course, you could actually go to your own prom and ask your DJ to play them, but let's be honest - everyone would hate you. Even more than they already do, and, if you're like me, then that's definitely saying something. So, without further ado, here are my 10 songs for a better, alternative and all round cooler prom:

10. Lady Gaga ft. Beyoncé - Telephone
Now, this might not be as 'out there' as you may have been expecting, but fear not - there is a reason. Starting with one of the few pop songs out there that are actually any good, you can gently ease your prom audience into the flow without completely losing them. They might even hang around for the second song, if you're lucky.
9. Yeasayer - O.N.E.
Y'all just need something good to dance to, and O.N.E. is the perfect song to demonstrate some killer moves. Lyrical content is not so important, so just make sure you don't sing this one directly to your date. Unless you don't like them, in which case anything goes.
8. The Hold Steady - First Night
It's time for that first slow song of the evening, and without a doubt this song was pretty much made for proms. In fact, you could pretty much choose any song from The Hold Steady's back catalogue, or even better - just have a Craig Finn themed prom. His lyrics deserve a dedication of some sort.
7. Animal Collective - My Girls
If you really wanna tell your girl that you just wanna take care of her, then there is surely no better song than the alt anthem 'My Girls'. And, if she really is worth it, then I'm sure she'll appreciate it just as much as you do, and eventually she might even walk down the aisle to it at your wedding.
6. The Knife - Heartbeats
A modern dancefloor classic, surely? Lyrically beautiful, a funky beat and the ability to make any true appreciator of contemporary Scandinavian electronic music get down and dance. And maybe you'll just find another true appreciator and bond. A bit like the two characters in of Montreal's 'The Past Is A Grotesque Animal', but that's a whole different beast...
5. of Montreal - The Past Is A Grotesque Animal
So it's the halfway point in your evening's entertainment, and now it gets serious. Of course it's not realistic, playing an 11 minute song that references a book of erotic three way fantasies at your prom, but hey, sometimes things are better drifting into the realms of fantasy. To quote this very song: "We want our film to be beautiful not realistic." And that's one of the things that makes this song so great - I can totally relate to that.
4. Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up
Well c'mon, it's probably the last chance you're ever gonna get to Rick Roll all your high school friends. And of course those douches that you hate. And that's gotta be satisfying. Just watch them rage.
3. Pavement - Spit On A Stranger
This indie classic was used in the popular American sitcom How I Met Your Mother, so perhaps there's a 0.0001% chance that one person other than you at your real prom will know it, and, if they're a cute girl, then I think that's a risk I'm willing to take.
2. The Magnetic Fields - Nothing Matters When We're Dancing
If you haven't heard this, then listen to it now. And pay attention to the lyrics too. For once I'm taking off my silly hat (my metaphorical silly hat of course, as you'll never tear my real silly hat away from me) and switching into serious mode for a second - this song is tear-inducing, so have those handkerchiefs ready, because this is one song that I would die for to have at my prom, and the one song I would hate too for having, as ultimately it would result in me sobbing my eyes out like the quivering emotional wreck I am out into my prom date's shoulder. Hopefully she'd understand.
1. The Killers - Mr. Brightside
This one again might seem strange and just what you might expect from a normal prom and, well, that's because it is. Of course I genuinely expect this song to be at my prom and every prom of this year and last year and next year too. I expect it to be at shitty proms where dumb ass girls think they're wasted on their complementary glass of champagne and I expect it to be at my own fantasy prom where everyone loves a good singalong to Girls and The Smiths alike. Why? Because this song is probably the song of our generation. I don't know any song that gets as many people from every background imaginable singing in unison together quite like this gem from an average American indie band. But for whatever reason, it has that effect, and any prom of this generation just wouldn't be the same without it. Read More......

Sunday, July 04, 2010

June: A Memoir

First of all, I have to issue an apology to all of our readers who have had to go a month without their ATS fix. We’ve been ridiculously busy with exams, but are now back to normal, and hopefully our posts will become a wee bit more regular.

ALBUM OF THE MONTH- Good Old War- Good Old WarFor some reason, holing oneself up in isolation seems to be a good way to make some great music- Good Old War is no exception. The album was recorded at a time when the three gents stowed themselves in the Pocono Mountains, learning new instruments and writing some of the most heartfelt material of their career. This album is packed with the usual indie-folk jolliness we’ve come to expect from the trio, but at its heart is a greater emotional vulnerability. You only have to listen to ‘I Should Go’ (below) to hear the true feeling woven into every track. It’s this sense of heart and soul that you can hear in their music that provide the backbone for this immense album.

FILM OF THE MONTH- EclipseYesterday, as we huddled down with our shared popcorn bucket in Row C, there was one question on mine and Chloe’s minds- how the Hell did we end up here?
As many of you will know by now, me and Chloe hate the Twilight Saga and everything it advocates- domestic violence, teenage suicide and Mormonism amongst the worst of it. And yet every time a new film is churned out, we always end up going to see it. I think that says alot about the almost magnetic pull of this franchise- it becomes compulsive viewing for even those who solemnly hate it.
Yet, obviously, the third film in the series (out of five, joy of joys) suffers from the same pitfalls as its predecessors. A shoddily-written source text, pitted full of narrative holes (for instance- how does Edward just ‘get over’ the fact he wants to drain his lover’s blood?), some pretty awful acting at times, and the cheesiest chat up lines I have ever heard.
So how does this film differ from the others? Well, there’s more action, a few extra pieces of guy candy and a few more back stories for the bit parts. But yet for me, this is still overshadowed by the fact that countless tweens will look upon Edward’s emotional blackmail, lies, and coercion into marriage as true love. And for that, Miss Meyer has alot to answer for.

It is often the curse of the young and the cool to be alienated by designers. Most of the designers I could name certainly do not scream ‘young and edgy’- the gently whisper ‘sophisticated and elegant’- and, most crucially, ‘rich’. Step in The Cassette Society- two ladies with a vision of breaking out and designing their own label. A few years on, and they have hipsters everywhere drooling over their unique, sexy designs. And, best of all, you can pick up TCS clothes for comparatively modest prices- the blue fringed dress above, for example, it $14.99. Snap it up whilst you can.

POSTS OF THE A Man Market- The three ladies of At the Sinema share their thoughts on the styles and bods of’s finest gentlemen. Warning: may contain shameless objectification.

A Remedy for the Reviser-
Exams may be over, but I’m sure we can all still appreciate Chloe’s collection of Youtube phenomena, ideal for procrastination of any kind.

Playlist 13: Instrumental- It’s so easy to convey meaning through lyrics. Yet, when words are thrown out of the window, the results can be just as moving- as proven by this playlist of Tri’s favourite instrumental tunes.
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