Archive for December, 2010
Another Year Over
December 31st, 2010

I saw this film last night and it was exactly what I expected and wanted.
Popular culture often deals with more overtly ‘dramatic’ subjects, which makes Mike Leigh a master of the small detail blown up and magnified. These magnifications often turn into highly entertaining mannerisms, making his films oddly voyeuristic. It’s rare to see a gentle/truthful approach to middle age on the big screen and the lives of ordinary people scrutinised for better or for worse.

Another year has come and gone.

Range Life
December 24th, 2010


Tripped out, dense atmospherics driven by heavy bass and almost-grating synth lines that seem to have been forcibly removed from a Mister Mister album track before being stuffed into a broken tape player. I’ve been listening to Rangers today. They’re on Olde English Spelling Bee Records who are putting out loads of stuff akin to this. Gloriously messy.

Genre B. Goode
December 24th, 2010

Manual Creative, Folk and Leterme Dowling, Urban
Limited A1 posters, screen–printed on French–Paper Pop-Tone Sweet tooth stock
Taken from

Smooth lines here and plenty more at the EDITS website, so go there to see more musical genres represented by graphic designers.

Psychotic Reaction
December 23rd, 2010

Somebody thought it would be a good idea to make American Psycho into a musical. I’ll keep an open mind, but at the moment I’m as scared as Paul Allen just before the axe flies towards his soft flesh…

Any excuse to post a picture of Patrick…

My Fave Raves, 2010
December 20th, 2010

Julian Lynch – Mare

Wild Nothing – Gemini

Field Music – (Measure)

Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy

Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here?

James Blake – Klavierwerke EP

Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal

Sun Kil Moon – Admiral Fell Promises

Best Coast – Crazy For You

These are in no particular order and I make no apologies for picking LPs with great artwork… There were many other albums I listened to a lot this year, like LoneLady’s Nerve Up and Gonjasufi’s A Sufi And A Killer. There are also honourable mentions for The National’s High Violet, Beach House’s Teen Dream and The Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs. Obviously, I listened to loads of old music this year, too!

Happy Holidays.

Good Morning Captain
December 18th, 2010

I woke up this morning and found out that Don Van Vliet had died. This Anton Corbijn picture struck me as a fitting tribute. When asked about his name, he said, “A beef in my heart against this society”.

When I saw this video I was just a kid. I knew something was up.

Finger-pickin’ Good!
December 17th, 2010

It’d be rude not to post this while I’m in the Richard Thompson zone. It’s a genuine spectacle to watch him play. Virtuoso folk.

Thompson Twinge
December 17th, 2010

I love Richard Thompson’s guitar-playing and I love Werner Herzog’s films (and his nutty, charismatic behaviour). Here we see the director passing judgement on Thompson’s instrumental passage for the film, Grizzly Man. In the documentary of the soundtrack’s making, Herzog has the temerity to reject aspects of Thompson’s playing, which is hilarious and awkward. I wish there was YouTube footage of one particular thumbs-up that Herzog does, but this will have to do. Top notch.

Arden-t Supporter
December 16th, 2010

Still from The Other Side Of Underneath, directed by Jane Arden (1972)

I’ve been to some screenings of Jane Arden’s work recently and have found her films disorientating, curious, and visually inquisitive, not to mention a bit dull and unintentionally hilarious, which is quite a mixture of feelings. There are tons of eye-catching images in The Other Side Of Underneath, one of which you can see above, depicting the fragmented female identity of the main character(s).

One of my complaints about this film and Separation (1967) is the often heavy-handed use of metaphor and the overly-theoretical language shoe-horned into the adventurous, free-form visual stylings. However, when I consider that The Other Side... is  (shamefully) the only female-directed British film of the 1970s, I can see the importance of Arden and her desire to capture an unmitigated view of femininity and female psychology. The soundtrack of this particular film was often amazing, with a cello simultaneously mimicking the dialogue to create an oppressive, alienating atmosphere. Extra points go to the appearance of the Newport Transporter Bridge, which reminds me of the one in Middlesbrough!

Poppin’ Crystal
December 14th, 2010

Ah, the perfect 7inch single. Low Fidelity, Low Information, Great Sleeve.
Probably the band I enjoy most with ‘Crystal’ in their name. Roll on album 2.

Bachelor Boys
December 12th, 2010

Sometimes it’s hard to explain why you like a song, especially if the production-sound is a bit naff. The single version of Bachelor Kisses is a case in point, since it’s slathered in aural syrup. This performance, in Robert Forster’s apartment, is so subtle and economic in comparison. McLennan’s voice is broken and bruised here, but the softly beguiling chord progression urges him forward. The whole thing is a testament to the unadorned simplicity of two acoustic guitars playing off each other in service to a great pop song.

Bruce Almighty
December 9th, 2010

Untitled, East 100th Street (Couple Dancing), 1966-68

Untitled, East 100th Street (Two Girls in Dresses on Couch), 1966-68

Bruce Davidson is an absolute master photographer. I’d like to own a copy of the book from which these pictures were taken, but it costs about £200, so that’s not going to happen! I wrote some words about the second photo of the two young girls, but haven’t used them yet. I would like to write more songs about the photos in this series eventually.

Felt Up
December 9th, 2010

Felt are an enigmatic, insular group whose songs all sound kind of the same.
I have no problem with that.
One for those who enjoy the jingle of the mid-80s guitar along with a dose of the morose.

Käthe Did
December 7th, 2010

Käthe Kollwitz, Self Portrait, 1898.

Last night, on BBC4, there were a couple of fascinating programmes on German art and the architecture of Berlin. I was gripped. It seemed like a good excuse to post a luminous lithograph by one of the most famous German artists of the late 19th Century/early 20th Century.

Hitting The Cedermark
December 6th, 2010

Digging the atmosphere here; the song rolls along with something approaching abandon.
Plus, there’s a cute doggie viddie to boot for all you animal-lovers out there!

Lomax-ed Out
December 3rd, 2010

I was in Manchester’s Piccadilly Records yesterday and bagged a couple of the vinyl reissues of Alan Lomax’s pioneering field recordings of American folk and blues musicians. The sleeves are printed on lovely, chunky cardboard and come with long sleevenotes. I like the titles and the beautiful photography . It almost goes without saying that the music is generally stunning.