Archive for the ‘General’ Category

If, like us, you have a thing for dystopian folk, abstract poeticism and motorik rhythms then Olden Yolk can happily tick those boxes for you.

The New York-based group led by songwriters, vocalists, and multi-instrumentalists Shane Butler (of Quilt) and Caity Shaffer, are set to release their self-titled debut album on 23rd February via Trouble In Mind.

We previously shared tracks Takes One To Know One and Vital Sign, and now we have latest single, Cut To The Quick, which the band describe as being, “about reclaiming oneself when the pressures of the outside world seem to close in around you. The video was largely shot in NYC and Austin, TX; two places that have been homes to us at one time or another. It plays with abstraction, memory, and the simple acts we go through on a daily basis to construct some semblance of identity.”

Watch it here.

 

For the first time, we’re sharing our top choices for films of the year (UK release dates obviously…) and while by no means have we seen everything we wanted to in 2017, nonetheless these are all particular highlights for us.

15 Bad Day For The Cut

An excellent addition to the canon of UK gangster pics. Set in Northern Ireland, it follows Donal, a mild mannered farmer and mechanic, who sets out on an increasingly bloody path to vengeance following the slaying of his elderly mother. As he pieces together the story he realises she wasn’t as innocent as he thought, and the tale weaves between modern day people trafficking, family secrets, and the IRA in a bleakly brilliant manner shot through with savagely realistic violence and moments of black humour.

 

14 Shot Caller

Despite the slightly far-fetched premise, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of Game of Thrones fame is brilliantly convincing as Jacob, a successful suburbanite whose life is turned upside down when he accidentally kills someone by running a red light. Fatally falling in with white supremacists in jail to survive, he gradually is consumed by a hitherto unseen dark side that marries his intelligence with a ruthless capacity for violence and intimidation that helps him rise to the top of the prison gangbanger hierarchy. Cleverly mixing before and after timelines with a neat, if somewhat predictable, twist the film is an immensely satisfying mix of thriller and prison drama.

 

13 Manchester By The Sea

A perfectly judged story of love, sorrow and desperate, paralysing regret with an unmentionable tragedy at its heart. It centres on Casey Affleck’s tightly wound character, a janitor and odd-job man called Lee who approaches each new day with a clenched jaw determination to simply exist and see it through, and an equally fierce will to keep all and sundry at arms length. More is gradually revealed by way of another more immediate tragedy – the sudden death of his estranged brother – and his forced reconnection with his nephew, ex-wife and, through flashbacks, brother who show us the man he was, the shell he has become, and ultimately what might be a glimmer of hope of at least minor redemption of some kind. Beautifully shot and exquisitely played, it is a heavyweight film that tackles profound human failings with an unflinching eye and not a little warmth.

 

12 Lady Macbeth

Florence Pugh is perfect as the scheming, ambitious and unrepentant central character in this austere, stark Victorian noir cum psychological thriller. Surrounded by obnoxious, weak and arrogant men, she plots, schemes and connives her way through a joyless household, embarking on what ultimately becomes a reckless affair. The consequences are severe, but not in the ways you might expect, and the ultimate humiliations and final assertions of power give the film a perfect ending that more than matches the eighty or so harsh minutes that precede it.

 

11 Personal Shopper

A thought-provoking mix of ghost story and thriller, that has an outstanding performance from Kristen Stewart at its core. Lonely, grieving her twin brother, and able to commune with spirits, the film wisely focuses mainly on her day-to-day job as a personal shopper for a prima donna fashion model who is consumed by her own importance. Mysterious stalker texts, murder, and some not-by-the-book ghost scares combine to deliver something marvellously uneasy and unwaveringly original.

 

10 Split

James McAvoy excels in 23 ways as the creepy, multiple personalitied Kevin Crumb in this most satisfying of horror films that has a fine mix of suspense, back story and dry humour, whilst the back and forth psychological tennis between Crumb and his increasingly suspicious therapist are a delight to watch unfold.

 

9 T2 Trainspotting

The stakes couldn’t have been higher for this most anticipated of sequels and thankfully it doesn’t disappoint. The heroes (if we can call them that) of the original 90s classic are back – twenty years on and still mostly scraping a living from the fringes of society – drugs, escort services and other assorted petty crime. A plot of revenge, betrayal and of course redemption is eloquently and knowingly executed, whilst another spot-on soundtrack and some gentle nostalgia provide some light relief.

 

8 Super Dark Times

A brilliantly observed and atmospheric tale of pre-Colombine teen angst, alienation and frustration. A tragic accident leads to a hasty cover-up, and subsequent suspicion, paranoia and ultimately devastation. Set in a small New England town, the film creates a mood so fraught with oppressive, unnerving tension that every wintery frame seems to ratchet it higher and higher until the shocking finale. Outstanding.

 

7 Good Time

Constantine ‘Connie’ Nikas is a hyped-up, destructive, street hood whose chaotic efforts to break his much-loved brother (who has learning difficulties) from custody following a bungled ban heist leads to a series of increasingly ill-judged decisions and spirals him into one catastrophic event after another. By turn pathetic, arrogantly manipulative, devious and violent, the film has a pitch perfect performance from Robert Pattinson as Connie, and asks some all too pertinent modern day questions as the New York backdrop is perfectly portrayed both in a wonderfully grainy texture, and invasive electronic score from Oneohtrix Point Never.

 

6 Elle

Possibly the most brazen, provocative and icily strange film I saw all year. Isabelle Huppert is mesmerising as the strong, independent woman who turns the table on her attacker after a violent sexual assault – dealing with the attack and its aftermath entirely on her own terms. It subverts, jumping from grimly brutal to deadpan comedy with a humour blacker than almost anything else I’ve seen, and has a sub-plot that focuses on the cringingly awful love-hate relationship with her mother, and later, a knowing reveal of her father as a horrific 1970s serial killer. It thankfully credits the watcher with enough intelligence to at least debate some of the moral paradoxes it raises without tying everything up in a neat Hollywood style bow.

 

5 Raw

A wonderful juxtaposition of the vulnerable and the brutal, Raw feels like a wonderfully modern interpretation of the darkest Grimm’s fairytale to create a perfectly judged new take on horror films. From horrific initiation ceremonies to bitterly cruel sibling rivalry, the descent of Justine the waif-like student at veterinary college from fragile vegetarian to full on cannibal is documented in bloody and shocking detail. Laced with the blackest of humours, the film sets a confident course from wide-eyed idealism to the uncompromising abdication of any moral compass whatsoever.

 

4 It

Already a much-loved, vintage mini-TV series, Stephen King’s lengthy, coming-of-age horror story featuring the shape-shifting demonic Pennywise the Clown lived up to every single one of my expectations. And then some.

 

3 Get Out

Mr Popper’s favourite film of the year. A wonderful update on the classic horror “we know something you don’t”, nod-and-a-wink approach that links this to classics of yesteryear like The Wicker Man. Deftly commenting on racial paranoias through a series of cringe-inducing set pieces and wryly observed humour, the film gradually sets social anxieties to one side and replaces them with far more sinister and ghoulish intentions right up to the uncompromising climax.

 

2 Baby Driver

Just the best soundtrack of the year – matched to a stylistic, glossy and expertly structured storyline that was the best two hours of movie escapism of the year.

 

1 Wind River

Part thriller, part wintery western, Wind River is set on a native American reservation of the same name in frozen Wyoming. The discovery of a dead girl in the vast, snowy wastes leads to a murder investigation jointly carried out by taciturn tracker Cory Brennan and ill-prepared, but determined FBI agent Jane Banner who is refreshingly non-stereotypical, brave and smart enough to instinctively understand what she doesn’t know in this alien landscape. Brennan is still haunted by the loss of his own daughter in similarly brutal circumstances years earlier, and his initially uneasy alliance with Banner evolves into a far more rewarding on screen mutual respect as they piece together the circumstances of the murder. A couple of savagely violent scenes are handled with aplomb, whilst the performances of the leading characters and supporting cast is never less than riveting. All in all it makes Wind River a thoroughly compelling watch and a masterpiece of suspense and suffering.

 

Return of the Cave Singers

As well as the anticipation, there is always a slight sense of trepidation when an artist or band that you have a particular affinity with releases something new. More than anything you want that special sense of rapport and harmony that you feel to be prolonged and enhanced, and not to be spoiled – for your personal love affair with said artist’s music to continue.

So this is how it was for us when we got to hear That’s Why, the first track to be shared from The Cave Singers forthcoming album, their fifth, titled Banshee (out on February 19th).

The Cave Singers are a band we’ve loved from the beginning, both theirs and ours, for it was them (and bands like them) that inspired us to start a music blog in the first place.

But enough of the love-in, what about the song?

The song? Oh the song is a fuzzed up Americana stomper of insistent, rolling brilliance, built on a instant-classic sounding, glam-rock style riff (the like of which this trio does better than just about anyone else) and anchored by the immediately recognisable vocals of singer Pete Quirk . It is wonderful. Just one play and our grin spread from gill to gill.

In the darkest of days it is the little things that can bring the joy…listen.

 

MM Shorts 497: The Woodgrain

Georgia three-piece The Woodgrains delightfully mix an easygoing Americana sound (think CSNY or the Band) with dream-drifting psychedelia. The results are a lysergic brand of folk-rock anchored by three part harmonies and an instinctive feel for classic songwriting.

They will release their self-titled album later this month, but until then move and groove to Nobody Too, the first taste from the record.

Jon Mackay Poster Exhibition

Despite living in just a small, really small, town on the edge of the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire, it is a town that brims over with talent of all kinds.

None more so than artist and photographer Jon Mackay who over the past couple of years has built an ever increasing reputation for his band posters promoting gigs, tours and releases including work for The Vaccines, the Cribs, Howler, Piney Gir and many more.

He currently has an exhibition on at Oxford’s excellent Truck Store (until 12th May) and should you be in the area we would highly recommend a visit. Alternatively you can visit his Facebook page here or blogsite here.

And by way of a contrived link…here is a song!

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April's Feel Bad For You Mixtape

We have contributed to this month’s Feel Bad For You Mixtape, which is now up and live.

It has twenty tracks of wildly varying styles and genres, from Josh Ritter to the Replacements and from Run DMC to Daniel Romano. It can be downloaded for free by clicking here.

Feel Bad For You Monthly Mixtape

Posted: December 11, 2012 in General
Tags:

fbfy

For a good while now we have been availing ourselves of the delights contained within Feel Bad For You’s monthly mixtape made up of contributions from all over – and limited by nothing more than “any song, any genre, any year“.

We have also joined the ranks of the contributors this month and as well as our offering (Black Tar Carpet Ride by The Lollipops if you wanted to know) you can also pick up tracks from The Ramones, Horsehead, Old 97’s, Joy Division, Micah Schnabel and many more.

Head over to their site to download it…and all the previous monthly mixes.

The short film Elsewhere, by Mathy & Fran, is formed around a collection of songs by Kurt Vile, Lucky Dragons, High Places and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.

Set in London, two lovers-on-the-run head into the middle of nowhere, armed only with strange trinkets and a silver boom box. It is a story of love, destruction and the act of letting go, starring Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife, The Woman In Black) and Aneurin Barnard (We’ll Take Manhattan, Hunky Dory).

 It is now available to watch online in its entirety! And here it is:

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Supported by the UK Film Council, Film London and the British Council, the film screened internationally at festivals during 2011. Full credits at IMDB here.

Download Kurt Vile – Freeway mp3 (from Constant Hitmaker)

Sorry - More Bandwith Issues with Box.NetMany apologies, but once again we are having Bandwidth issues with Box.Net.

The reliability of their service has been hopeless over the past three months so we will investigate a new host for mp3s if they cannot resolve this once and for all. We’ll let you know as soon as we can what has been sorted out.

GO BLACK. STOP SOPA

Posted: January 18, 2012 in General
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STOP SOPA.