Archive for the ‘Records’ Category

2016

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So, nothing much happened in 2016 it seems…

Books

The Kindle continued to be used. Perhaps not as much as last year. Main even on there was the last James Ellroy. Man you have no idea how angry that made me. Not even treading water. Sebastian Faulks put out a collection of parodies from super-smug literary Radio 4 quiz the Write Stuff. Even he would’ve baulked at this evel of descent into a cartoon of yourself. It’s just awful. And, a bit sad.

My promise to read more ‘literary’ books or non-fiction was forgotten come January 2nd

Film

I saw most of the movies on the best-of lists (except some glaring exceptions). Some really don’t deserve their places on those lists. Best for me was – inevitably – Green Room. In among the tension, horror and excellent performances (especially tragically in the case of Anton Yelchin), there’s a real true sense of what it’s like to be in a touring punk band. 

Music

A year of the old favourites raising there heads; The Handsome Family, Rick Redbeard, Angel Olsen (with some staggering live shows) and, of course, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. The latter including 6 gigs across not just Europe, but for the first time more than just London in the U.K.  Hopefully not the last. 

I did make an effort to listen to more new music. And, did not bad. Some was brilliant. But, it was the chancing across The Downtown Boys on the bill with another band I wanted to see that led to the best discovery for me. Loud, angry and blisteringly good fun. Hope they come back soon. 

Beer

Plenty of it. Lots of very top quality stuff. No sock-blowing ones.  Tommie Sjef‘s wild ales at Brettfest do stand out as the ones that did force me to encourage everyone around to try them 

Travel

Czech Republic – loved it and WILL return asap

Written by Tony Kiernan

01 January 2017 at 12:01 am

June to lack of interest, July has been cancelled

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Robert Forster – Islington Assembly Rooms (1 June 2016)

Full band set this time. Some really brilliant stuff in there. When he encores Cattle and Cane, there isn’t a dry eye in the house

The Daughter

Aussie adaptation of Ibsen. The usual powerful men and their fragile egos shafting everything up for the women.

Rather dreamily put together. Maybe losing that as it hurtles towards the inevitable melodrama at the end. But it kept me with it all the way

Despite some of the most hilarious relapsing-drunk acting for some time

Blindness/Deux Furiesses – The Lexington (5 June 2016)

Album launch from the band whose name translates as 2 Angry Birds*.  And, they own it.  Best sound I’ve experienced in this venue.  Best performance I’ve seen of these songs.  Exemplary.

This will be Blindness‘ last ever gig. A lot of people seem sad about this. I can’t work out why.

Woolf/Teenage Caveman – DIY Space for London (10 JUne 2016)

Another day another album launch. The inclusion of Trash Kit on this bill is what sealed it for me. So, of course, someone changes the bill and I get there just as they finish.

Which means I get to see Teenage Caveman, who invariably are the band I miss due to their place on the bill. Slightly jaggy post-Evol punk. Will be intending to make the effort to catch them next time.

Saw about two songs by Woolf last year. Was intrigued. Which is mainly why this gig was on my radar. They were worth noting.

Album only on vinyl, so didn’t bother with it.

The Nice Guys

Alright, quite fun. It’s no Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Actually, it’s no Last Boy Scout either. Nor, The Long Kiss Goodnight. Or Lethal Weapon. Even Last Action Hero. It is better than Iron Man 3 though.

Richard Herring: Happy, Now? – Leicester Square Theatre (12 JUne 2016)

X-Men: Apocalypse

Seriously, how big must be the trucks that deliver the money to Lawrence and Fassbender’s gaffs? It certainly can’t be incriminating photos.

A View From Islington North – The Arts Theatre (15 June 2016)

A portmanteau play. 5 political satires from, well, the usual suspects really. None of them at the top of their game. This was half price offer. And, I’m genuinely thinking even then it was too dear.

Mark Ravenhill’s unsurprisingly sweary opening piece is about the best on offer here. Despite not really fulfilling the promise and having to crowbar some uncomfortable half-baked themes int it to get a conclusion, it makes you think this is going to be at worst an evening of interesting ideas.

By the time it gets to David Hare‘s 6th form fantasy of Gideon Osborne meeting his idol Randy Ayn. It’s embarrassing. Everyone involved should really take a good look at themselves.

The Supersuckers – O2 Islington Academy (17 June 2016)

Back on the road after Eddie Spaghetti‘s cancer. It’s a country set. I’m guessing because his voice isn’t back to full strength. But, it’s good to see him and know he’ll be back fully rocking next time. (Although, I am not sure about that new guitarist.)

Warcraft: The Beginning

Better than it has any right to be, really. More fun than the X-men film

The Secret Life of Pets

More fun than either of them. Another smashing kids movie. With the added bonus of a new Minions short beforehand.

When Marnie Was Here

Last ever Ghibli movie (boo!). It’s based on a book of the type the BBC used to put on all the time for kids and we were forced to watch because there were only three channels. (Yes! 3!! One more than two, and still less than 4!! You lot don’t know your born.) Except, it’s dead good. Hope it’s not really their last

Tale of Tales

Not really anything it should be. Neither dreamy or disturbing enough. But, glad I saw it.

Shows that Vincent Cassell has an excellent sense of comic timing, though.

Rick Redbeard – Awake Unto

More upbeat and poppier second offering. Just more upbeat. Damn fine, though

*I am so getting my arse kicked

Written by Tony Kiernan

01 July 2016 at 12:26 am

Posted in Film, Gigs, London, Music, Records, Theatre

May bees

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Hmmmm. Maybe I need to rethink my blog ‘format’ again. Not sure this is working

Captain America: Civil War

Yeah, alright….

Bastille Day

Tee-hee. Thrillingly silly.

Grant McLennan Tribute Night – Bush Hall (6 May 2016)

10th anniversary since McLennan’s untimely death. A bunch of new and old indie luminaries (including most of Teenage Fanclub) get together to pay tribute. Compered by Stewart Lee – who shared a very touching tale of his meeting with the man himself. An excellent night.

Reginald D Hunter/Jarlath Regan – Amersham Arms (9 May 2016)

I’ve seen Regan here before. He did a good solid 20 minutes. There was some really nice material in there. He’s somehow managed to pad this to an hour for the Fringe. Which means it’s nowhere near as tight. Still there’s plenty time to go, I suppose.

Would that we could say the same for Reginald D Hunter. This is not for Edinburgh, but for his 2017 tour. “Because my last tour sucked.” There are moments of total hilarity. But, also some real clunking moments that would suggest that the accusations of misogyny might not be so unfair. But, remember, it’s trying out material. It’s not all gonna fall great. And, he is a terribly likable presence.

Some audience involvement goes terribly wrong and the whole thing falls apart. I find myself thinking of Sadowitz, but not in a good way.

Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards – Green Note Cafe (11 May 2016)

I first saw Laura Cortese playing bass for Uncle Earl. She got to do one of her own songs, which led to us picking up her album. Afterwards, I tried to catch her whenever she was passing through. This usually meant trawling out to weird bars and antique shops in the furthest corners of Scotland. This is my fist chance to see her in London, and the first with new backing band The Dance cards.

It’s all-round lovely. I’m very fond of this venue. And, filling it with lots of strings and old-timey music is just my bag (man).

Our Kind of Traitor

Seems this was shot by quite a famous cinematographer, which explains some of the interesting visual flourishes it has. It’s also got a Bond-like jet-setting sweep to it. Of course, as the recent The Night Manager showed us, all the best bits of John Le Carré take place sat at desks in anonymous rooms.

Green Room

Jeremy Saulnier‘s previous movie Blue Ruin is one of the best things I’ve seen in recent years. I’ve been counting the days to this one’s release since first catching the trailer.

Basically, punk band become witnesses to a murder in a dodgy club. Cue siege in the titular chamber, with neo-nazis on the other side of the door. It’s gruesome and gruelling. My nails may never grow back. And, probably the best film I will see this year. Amazing.

I really must seek out his first film.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare’s Globe

Shamefully, this is my first visit to the Globe. It’s a whopping whole £5 for the groundlings tickets (where I belong), but I’ve failed to come see anything yet. First year down there was a production of this, but I waited too long and failed to get tickets. (Disclosure: I didn’t actually get these ones either.) And, if I’m honest, it needed to be something this undemanding to actually tempt me to try the standing about for three hours involved in a visit.

Now, I’m all for dodgy adaptations of The Bard. I’ve sat through heroin-addicted Scottish Plays and post-apocalyptic Othellos and thoroughly enjoyed them. In their best incarnations they will tell you something new and relevant about the text; or just make you marvel at the ingenuity no budget can bring to the table.

So, getting a heads-up on them changing the gender of one of the Lovers in the play did not daunt me. Helena to Helenus. You see what that does? Yeah, quite clever. (But, never fully exploited.) The Bollywood setting? Sounds ace. Recasting the rude mechanicals as a women’s guild? “Rita Quince”? I like it. Ignoring the text and writing your own jokes? What? Changing all localities to London once particularly is there’s a cheap laugh to be had? Erm… Crowbarring Bowie’s Space Oddity in when there’s no reason, justification, or need for a tune, but just because. No. No. No!

It’s a thoroughly enjoyable romp through the play. It’s a damn good play. I enjoyed my trip to Bankside (as they kept reminding us). I will return. But, I was uneasy with the excessive lapses from the text afterwards. Since then, I’ve got downright angry at the laziness and near contempt for the audience the director seems to have in this production.

SPL2: A Time For Consequences

Or, that’s what the cinema told me it was called. The titles tell me it’s Kill Zone 2. I’ve seen neither SPL1 nor Kill Zone 1. I don’t really think it matters. This is a brilliantly flashy blend of martial arts and mawkish sentimentality. Being a chinese move, of course, all venality is ascribed to Thailand.

September Girls/The Black Tambourines – O2 Academy Islington (19 May 2016)

I’m sure I’ve seen The Black Tambourines before and they blew. So, I try to hang back in the pub and avoid them. As I result, I – of course – arrive bang on time to catch them taking to the stage. If I have seen them before, and they did indeed blow, they’ve been practising a lot to make up for it.

They come on and fire into a nosebleed speed take on math rock. It’s complex and rousing. As their set goes on they do that falling back on the popular stuff. Which means the poppier end of things. In their case, Televisiony garage punk. Which in itself would be good enough. Just, it pales slightly to the opening half. They go on the list

September Girls may suffer slightly from the flight. So to speak.

When I saw Dum Dum Girls, there was something about their glam-goth schtick that didn’t sit comfortably with them. September Girls seem to have adopted a similar mantle, and it doesn’t seem to fit them any better. And, it’s a strange discomfit that seems to extend to the material. Don’t get me wrong, they are good. There’s some cracking tunes in here. But, they never seem to fully inhabit the material.

My tip, though: Someone will take their bass player, put her in a leather jacket, and market her as some sort of millennial Leather Tuscadero. In a world where Anna Calvi exists, it’d work.

Mishka Shubaly – The Slaughtered Lamb (22 May 2016)

Like many people, I first became aware of Mishka Shubaly thought Doug Stanhope‘s championing of him. Since then I’ve enjoyed his books and grown to love to his songwriting. Playing so many comedy clubs shows in the extended between-song anecdotes. Which are charming and self-depreciating. But, when you’ve got songs like Gideon’s Bible, you maybe don’t have so much to apoligise for the life you’ve led.

Falstaff – Wilton’s Music Hall (23 May 2016)

There seem to be at least two corking tunes in this. Which, in my experience of opera is good odds.

This falls into the budget-based production decisions category (see Midsummer’s above).  And, mostly works quite nicely.  Of course, it’s got an opera singer’s sense of the bawdy and lascivious about it.  And, from your hi-art perch you need to be careful when setting a piece on Benefit Street (they are shaky at some points, but just about keep their balance).

Could definitely have done without the ‘contemporary’ translation. Again, back to the Globe, this material has lasted it should be good enough on its own.

Kinky Friedman – Nell’s Jazz & Blues Club (24 May 2016)

I love the Kinkster’s raconteur status. I love his (not as) politically incorrect (as people think) songs. But, I love the melancholy of Sold American more.

Everybody Wants Some!!

I have a strange relationship with Richard Linklater‘s movies. They are very much hit/miss for me. Among the latter is the lauded Dazed & Confused in which a bunch of people I couldn’t care less about did nothing. This kinda-sequel is pretty much the same. With the added bonus of the bunch happen to be lary jocks (ure to Brighton for this gig. Big Joanie are as ace as ever. Complex and urgent.
Rhode Island‘s Downtown Boys are a furious ball of political sax-skronking energy. I immediately check to see if there’s an official London date on this tour. There is!

Money Monster

I went into this expecting a typical liberal hollywood savaging of the financial crises and the media. I didn’t get it. Instead, it’s a well paced (90 minutes folks!) and brilliantly acted vaguely preposterous ‘thriller’. Thoroughly enjoyable is little of substance.

Nice to see Jack O’Connell more than holding his own next to serious movie stars.

Love and Friendship

Lusciously made. Very funny Jane Austen adaptation. Not 100% on the casting of Kate Beckinsale, who is overshadowed by every other performance around her. Also 90 minutes!!

Sing Street

Rather charming.

Downtown Boys/Trash Kit – The Victoria (31 May 2016)

First day back at work after a holiday weekend. No-one wants to go to a sweaty room of hipsters. But, the gig on Saturday was really good.

Trash Kit are also awesome. Primal, funky, jazzy, punk as fuck. They look like they’re having the best time on stage. Which is always a good thing.

Downtown Boys are still great. Angry, rocking and completely bouncy.

Both album’s bought. When I bitched about never finding new music, but kept saying I knew it was out there – and probably easier to find than ever, christ I was right. As usual.

Shit Love – Whipper

Completely ashamed of my lack of new music listening in April. May kicked off in fine form with this hummable cacophony from Melbourne.

Long Darkness of the SoulRL Cole

This is pay-what-you-can download from outta Denver, Colorado. The instrumentation and arrangements are pretty smart. But, sadly, I just don’t get on with something. I think it’s his voice, as I began thinking “this is more like it” as we hit the slightly less mannered closer Jesus.

Just LovelyThe Just Joans/The Hector Collectors/GUMS!

A 3-way split EP featuring 2 songs each by 3 aging indie pop bands from Motherwell.
Not familiar with GUMS! One of the songs is good enough to warrant further investigation. The other, starts well but doesn’t live up to it’s promise. Which I guess is over 50%, so a pass.

The Just Joans treading water. Which, admittedly, is still better than most folks’ trying hard.

The two Hector Collectors tracks serve as a reminder of all the promise they always showed. And, the infuriating lack of focus.

Written by Tony Kiernan

01 June 2016 at 12:01 am

Posted in Comedy, Film, Gigs, London, Music, Records

March

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Violent Femmes – We Can Do Anything

New album. Played this to death

*happy dance*

Is it one of their greats? No. Is it better than yours? Fuck, yeah!

Hail, Ceasar!

AND new Coens!!!!!!!. I expect to not awake in the morning.

It’s like they came up with the device of being able to do all the scenes they ever dreamt of but couldn’t find a place for by throwing them into a great bug hollywood dressing up box and film-within-a-film premise. It’s all over the shop. But, ultimately such a joyous celebration of a golden age of movies. Still grinning.

The Others Below

No-budget brit c-movie. Manages to be quite creepy and darkly funny. Althought I wouldn’t put money on the latter being deliberate.

10 Cloverfield Lane

Some-budget US b-movie. Who doesn’t like John Goodman at his most sinisterly avuncular best? An object lesson in economic story telling and vision. Great fun.

High-rise

*sigh*
So disappointing. Looks amazing. Fantastic performances. And, it tries.

Suspect when it was called unfilmable, they should’ve listened. Seems really long, yet really rushed. Maybe a six part series would’ve worked better.

Shame

Anomelisa

I think I liked this. Despite it’s best efforts to the contrary

Pere Ubu – The Dome (24 March 2016)

Contrary to expectation, a rather mirthful gig. If a little long.

Momus – Cafe Oto (25 March 2016)

Right up with expectation, an enormously mirthful gig. With those moments. Always essential.

Disorder

Ennui.
Ennui.
*crash bang*
Ennui.
*stabby killy*
Fin. WTF?

Yes, it is French

Written by Tony Kiernan

01 April 2016 at 2:18 pm

Posted in 2016, Film, Gigs, London, Music, Records

February fings

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They Might Be Giants – Electric Ballroom (8 February 2016)

Epic career-spanning set, performed with their usual vigour, humour and charm.

Bridget Christie/Sara Pascoe – The Amersham Arms (8 February 2016)

I’ve never seen Pascoe live. Having heard her interviewed at length, I always been a little underwhelmed by the panel show appearances. But, then, they shouldn’t be used as a measure of anything. Her live show is wicked smart and deftly charming. She goes on the catch-a-full-show list.

I have a lot of thoughts about the current attitude to ‘rape jokes’. And, sensibly, I keep most of these to myself. Thankfully Christie seems to have decided that he new material is going to take it on head first. It’s everything you want; hilarious, thought-provoking and, at turns, uncomfortable. Really looking forward to where this goes.

Trumbo

Ultimately, a really, really good TV movie. Bryan Cranston is superb. In this, like. Not just in general.

Mighty Mighty – 100 Club (19 February 2016)

More indie-schmindie nostalgia for me. Yet another unsightly bunch of men of an age that should-know-better shambling on stage and raking over material over 30 years old.

Every note of it made me feel 16 again. Like what a good pop tune should.

Terminal Cheesecake – The Lexington (20 February 2016)

Really enjoyed this. Yet, found myself focussing on just how fantastica powerhouse the drummer was. Which is never a good sign.

Spotlight

More Oscar® botherers. Also televisual. Unlike Trumbo, this was a movie aspiring to being an HBO mini-series, not vice versa.

Deadpool

Really wish I’d had the time to write the meditation on Ryan REynolds I wanted to write after seeing Mississippi Grind. Then I could be all smug. Seriously, ask anyone I went to the pub with in the last part of 2015.

Daredevil

Finally got round to watching what I had been told was The Wire of live-actioned Marvel. A bold claim. TBH, one that only Vincent D’Onofrio‘s near-Shakespearean take on a cartoon villain comes anywhere near fulfilling. Which, in itself, made the journey worthwhile.

I realise everyone’s probably finished the second season by now. I’ll get round to it. But, I’m not certain it’ll be able to keep that up without him.

Bat-Bike – Getting Back

Attempt to get to more new music. Random pick from blogs. Turns out they are local to me. This is great. Squinty psychedelics. Garage aesthetic. Gonna catch them live asap.

The Love Triangle – Clever Clever

Random Facebook recommend. Great stuff. The kind of fuzzalong powerpunk pop tunes that sound like they’re a dawdle to throw together. If they were, surely more people would be doing it?

Written by Tony Kiernan

01 March 2016 at 6:33 pm

2015

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Bit of a strange year for me. I think, a quiet-ish one. For my own benefit, once more…

Books

I bought a Kindle. As I may have mentioned previously, I seemed to have stopped reading. For the last few years I’ve been hauling unfinished books around with me for a good year or so. I always enjoyed the times I did sit down to read them, they just weren’t very often.

First thing was first, finish the hardback I had been humphing about with me. Which was fantastic. It’s weird, I wasn’t not enjoying it just not motivated, or too bust listeningto podcasts and checking social media. I almost don’t want to name the book, as it was given to me as a birthday gift, when it came out. Which a quick check tells me was six years ago now. But, The Way Home by George Pelecanos is worth recommending. It’s as tough, as touching and as downright exciting as you’d expect from the co-creator of The Wire. I will be reading more of his stuff.

The rest of the reading has been lagely me submerging myself in the good-old trashy thriller or police procedural. About the only recent stuff would have been the new Brookmyres. Read the first Stuart MacBride Cold Granite and looking forward to more (and visitng Aberdeen again – despite him capturing it’s icy miserableness bang on). Read all the Cal Innes books. Mainly down to having picked up the first when it was free years ago, and now having the means to do so. Enjoyed it and felt obligated to buy the rest. (Take note all producers.)

Next year, I’ll do some serious literature. But, I’m back reading!

Film

Movies this year seemed to be predominantly about women. From them kicking-ass in the two best blockbusters (Fury Road and The Force Awakens) to the dreamy Bechdel-busting worlds of The Falling and Duke of Burgandy. The big comedies were Trainwreck (which I didn’t see) and Sisters (which I did, and liked a lot). Then in the last month or so we got Carol. Which is a brilliant piece of film-making. But, for me, it lacks the emotional resonance of the staggering Brooklyn and wonderful Grandma
I could list half a dozen films with strong femal leads that I wanted to but failed to catch. Of course , the fact this is pass-remarkable is only an indication that this is still very much far from the norm. 

There were others. The Oscar fair being particularly good. (Birdman, Whiplash, Foxcatcher.) A couple of brilliantly acted indies; Missippi Grind and 99 Homes. I’m not sure Slow West is worth honourable mention. But, I do keep recommending it to folk. 

While I didn’t see anywhere bar the usual amount of animation (Inside Out and Minions of course), I have to say that I think my favourite film of the year was Shaun The Sheep. It made me happy. 

Music

So, as usual, tons of great shows. Mostly the usual suspects. The trip to Muddy Roots obviously stands out. But, best show must be finally seeing The Julie Ruin. Such a powerful, positive night. 

Continuing on the vague riot feel vibe, my favourite new bands were Slum of Legs and the amazing Big Joanie. Looking forward to more shows and recordings in 2016. 

The album I listened to the most was Coward’s Path by Mishkah Shubaly. Managed to catch him a couple of times. Bought some of his ‘singles’ for the Kindle. Looking forward to him coming back this year. 

I WILL listen to more new music in 2016. (And, this time I mean it.)

Beer

Brewdog seemed to get back on their game this year. The second Born To Die IPA nearly convinced me. Their nitro milk stout WILL win prizes when it becomes official next year. But, most of all, with Abstrakt 19. Complex but balanced. So much going on. Proper grown up beer. 

The where-the -fuck-did-that-come-from staring-at-the -glass- and-giggling award goes to Buxton and Wilderness‘ inspired (the only inspired offering this year) collaboration for The Rainbow Project a smoked orange saison Deep Rainbow Valley. Genius 

And, I don’t like saisons. 

Travel

Iceland
Kentucky and Tennessee

Written by Tony Kiernan

31 December 2015 at 7:19 pm

Mishka Shubalay

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Dude came to town. Released a new album

Written by Tony Kiernan

07 April 2015 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Gigs, London, Music, Records