Wednesday, January 27, 2010

As Day Follows Night

Here is something I wrote last year, and now that I look back at it, knowing more that I actually did at the time, I am pleasantly surprised in it's ability to actually capture the feelings that I would put across now with more knowledge and experience of the artist in question.

Sarah Blasko As Day Follows Night
Sarah Blasko triumphantly returns with her third album, bringing an ambitious collection of songs together in an enchanted and alluring offering.

Fresh from her turn as composer for the 2008 Bell Shakespeare production of Hamlet, Blasko wrote all of the songs on the album, making a turn from her previous collaboratively written records. Much of the album was written on piano and Blasko shows the versatility of the instrument most effectively by showcasing subtle melodies (Down on Love) as well as sharp, hard hitting tracks (No Turning Back).

Produced, recorded and mixed in Stockholm with Bjorn Yttling (of Peter, Bjorn and John), the album has a uniquely different feel to Blasko’s past two records. The Bjorn influence is made quite apparent with a more acoustic and echo filled sound on tracks such as Is My Baby Yours and Hold On My Heart, reminiscent of Fleet Foxes and Emiliana Torrini, respectively. Lead track All I Want conjures up an eerie, wandering through the woods vibe with a stirring string accompaniment. Notable mention goes to my favourite track We Won’t Run, which has one hell of a catchy chorus.

Down on Love, Is My Baby Yours and I Never Knew reveal deeply personal lyrics, reminiscent of Joni Mitchell’s Blue album. However, this post break-up sound doesn’t play as a melancholic trance, but rather as a deep, self-reflective reverie that is easily a contender for the best release of the year that only gets better which each listen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Women Love Vampires Because They Want to Have Sex With Gay Men

Quite recently an article came out in Esquire stating that the current successes of Twilight, True Blood and the Vampire Diaries owe thanks to women who are enamoured with the phenomeon because they want to have sex with gay men.

Stephen Marche argues that the nature of the vampires and the women who are attracted to them mirror the (often closeted) gay and his beard (cover up girlfriend who is hopelessly in love with him). Using Edward from Twilight as an example Marche states that:

“[Edward is] a sweet, screwed-up high school kid, and at the beginning of his relationship with Bella, she is attracted to him because he is strange, beautiful, and seemingly repulsed by her. This exact scenario happened several times in my high school between straight girls and gay guys who either hadn’t figured out they were gay or were still in the closet.”

These ideas do make sense, despite the arguments tending to be slightly left field. But when you think about it, these vampire "studs" are fairly unattainable, they represent a different type of man who is different to the rest, and in the case of Edward especially, there is an effeminite quality to not only his demeanour, but his physical appearance too.

Some food for thought.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Twilight Effect

This has happened to me a few times now. I've been with a girl listening to music, having a chat about this and that, and then suddenly the Iron and Wine song "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" comes on. I've loved this song for yonks, since Samuel Beam (or Iron and Wine as he is more commonly known as) released his The Shepherd's Dog in 2007.

The song becomes recognised by the girl, to which she immediately pipes up with "Oh, I love this song" and starts singing the strange lyrics (Eg: "Now I'm a fat house cat/Cursing my sore blunt tongue") to utter and sheer whimsical delight. Then I pipe up saying "I love this album", the girl becomes slightly bewildered and yet extremely exhilarated and excitedly says "You love the Twilight Soundtrack?!?!" *Crazy fun times end in devasted boy (me) being lost in disappointment.

This situation has happened to me more than once, and that's no exaggeration. In truth, when I be fair to ethical ideals journalism and all that hoo-har, I should not omit that I started liking Iron and Wine from its inclusion on the soundtrack of the 2004 film In Good Company. So there, I've declared potential hypocrisy. But, to be fair, the song "Trapeze Swinger" was only released through the soundtrack.

However, when considering the effects of the Twilight soundtracks on the music industry, popular culture and the public sphere, this hypocrisy can be over looked. Massive indie/punk artists beyond Iron and Wine, such as Muse, Paramore and now Death Cab for Cutie have lost their underground (yet still massive underground) status and now are subjected to pop/rock star status and thus loved by the masses of tweeny-bopper Twilight saga lovers. Sadly, this mass love has led to my slow, dwindling vocal public declaration of such love for these artists. In laments terms, Twilight is destroying my love for music!!! Maybe that's an extreme statement, and one swimming in hyperbole, but it's engrained in truth!

My fear comes armed with feelings of woe and despair with the idea that my beloved Death Cab and other casualties may experience such a significant rise in popularity that they will no longer play in the uber cool venues where you can actually see their face. From this point on they will play in arenas or other similar venues where they become simply a speck of dust on a stage thousands of seats away. Just think of Kings of Leon. Just a few short years ago, they weren't selling out arenas. They weren't even playing arenas. But as the cruel tragic devil of popularity claims life after life, we see these amazing musicans that we idolise, literally move further and further away from us.

So with this on board, I had a look at the listing for the New Moon soundtrack, and I admitedly jizzed in my pants. I mean you've got Death Cab, Muse, Bon Iver with St. Vincent, Thom Yorke, Grizzly Bear and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Triple Jizz!!!! And then comes the realisation that your 13 year old cousin will soon be bouncing her empty head along to these masters. And that's when the doves cry. Cue Prince.

I Kissed a Girl Gets Covered by Folk Star

While enjoying beyond current zeitgeist pop sensation wonderment, Katy Perry can now add another title to her resume: a covered artist.

Much like when Bowling for Soup covered Britney Spears’ “Baby, One More Time” in 2003, Perry’s pop-a-di-da tunes have been recently covered by not one artist, but two. First Jordin Sparks released an acoustic cover of number one hit “Hot N Cold” showing nothing that much out of the unusual.

A more recent cover, diverting from his own genre of choice, is folk-indie artist William Fitzsimmons (fresh off his re released 2008 album The Sparrow and the Crow) has brought his own musical stylings to Perry’s number one international controversial “I Kissed a Girl”.

The strange choice of coverings can often lead to many interesting questions. While Mr. Fitzsimmons choices may be questionable, he nonetheless sounds pretty good, if not fairly stoned. It is often the strange choice of covers that can bring an artist back to life. Let us not forget the best cover ever made….Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”.

If you think I’m right, wrong, or totally misguided, then drop a line in that ol’ comment box and let us know what you think the best and/or worst covers are.

Click here to listen to Fitzsimmon's cover

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Best Catfights on Television

There comes a time in one's life, when the nights get lonely and long. One full proof way to help the night pass is to relive some of the greatest catty moments played out on the big and small screen. I could spend huge amounts of time filling the follow post up with clips from dozens of movies and television shows, but I've managed to make a particular selection with the following clips.

Some of the greatest catfights you'll ever see were on the 80s mega hit series
Dynasty. Dynasty is like a cross between Desperate Housewives and The Bold and the Beautiful. And if you don't know any of these shows either, then you have some much needed viewing to do. Thanks to Foxtel, I've been a viewer of Dynasty since I was about 10. The moments that stay with me are, of course, the catfights. And the best ones always seemed to involve Joan Collins' multiple marrying character Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan. I've provided two of the best Alexis catfights there is. But believe me, there's plenty more where that came from. If the fake slapping and over the top sound effects aren't enough, then enjoy the 80s fashions.

The Alexis/Dominique Catfight

The ULTIMATE Dynasty Catfight

Dynasty helped lead the way for female vs. female catfighting. It's influences spread across many more television shows for many decades since, and for many decades to come. I've chosen some favourite moments showcasing the Dynasty influence. An honourable mention goes to the Molly Shannon-Raquel Welch-Julia Louis Dreyfus catfight in the season 8 Seinfeld episode "Summer of George".

Thanks to the folks at youtube for this beautiful collection of the greatest hits (PUN PUN PUN!!!!!!) from bitch filled super drama Melrose Place

What's better than two women fighting, one asks? When one is a nun. Thank the holy lord!

While being more famously known as a quirky, neurotic stlyised lawyer comedy series, Ally McBeal did feature one marvelous catfight scene in the uni-sex bathroom that racked up a tally of 4 fighters.

A golden movie moment captured from the silver screen adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's best selling novel of the 1960's Valley of the Dolls. (Not a TV moment and it predated Dynasty, but it's irresistible)

Here's an extra tidbit-spoof from the 90s classic sitcom The Nanny

But let's not forget the wonderful verbal catfights, seen best during the Rosie days at The View

And finally, let's take the words "cat-fight" just a bit more seriously for a second:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Burton's Wonderland

If you haven't heard by now, prolific director Tim Burton has filmed an adaption of Lewis Carrol's famous novel Alice in Wonderland. It's now in the post production stages, and very recently, stills of the film were popped up on the internet.

And now we can enjoy th
em. Johnny Depp (The Mad Hatter), Helena Bonham Carter (The Queen) and Anne Hathaway (The White Witch) featured below.