RSS

Category Archives: Music

Jamiroquai – Automaton (Single) Review

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? Normally I would be here to give you a film review, however that is not the case today as the first single from Jamiroquai’s upcoming 8th album has been released and I just have to talk about it!

jamiroquai-automaton

Let me just start by saying if you didn’t know already I am a MASSIVE Jamiroquai fan, have loved them since childhood and just behind the Red Hot Chili Peppers they are my all-time favourite band. It was also a life goal to see them live and I got to live that dream in summer 2013. And so their last album Rock Dust Light Star came out in 2010 and I have been waiting for what feels like an eternity for some new material, following every tiny bit of information about the band, their studio time and what not, and I knew something would be going down this year, but I had no clue the info would drop so soon. In the last week we got info on the name of the album, track listing, tour dates and locations, a teaser for the music video of the first single, and when the first single would get its first play.

Yesterday I saw on Twitter that the song would drop on Jo Whiley’s show on BBC Radio 2 so I downloaded the app just to hear it and unfortunately I didn’t catch the whole thing because I got lost in a game demo, but I caught the last half of it and what I heard, I liked. 🙂 Then I found out the song, “Automaton” would be officially released today and now that I’ve heard the song in full and seen the video I’m ready to give my thoughts on it.

Here’s the song:

Firstly let me talk about the song itself, wow, what a jam, it sounds so good. The cool thing is, it is different and familiar and I’m really feeling the style of music. The best way to describe the song is that it feels primarily electronic with disco mixed in. I felt shades of A Funk Odyssey and Rock Dust Light Star but with a Daft Punk edge from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack. During the first verse the difference in sound did take a little adjusting, but once that chorus kicks in with Jay Kay’s gorgeous vocals, everything slots into place. But then towards the latter side of the song there’s a lovely breakdown where the song taps into the more familiar Jamiroquai sound with the funky disco sounds and it feels so nice! I feel like this song is an evolution of the sound from “White Knuckle Ride” but on another level. This sound is bold, in your face and just oozing with flair and personality.

As for the music video, I really liked it. I watched it around an hour ago so I may miss some details, but I thought it was very sci-fi/otherworldly with Jay Kay playing some kind of man who was either: 1) A cyborg. 2) A human with robotic tendencies. Or 3) An alien. Either way it was an interesting video to watch this character move through the underground train stations, abandoned trains, out in the fields and in the room with that other guy watching all those monitors among other places. And that ending when he found the hat (which I believe is the same one from the cover of the High Times compilation album from 2006) I got so giddy, but then UFO’s showed up with a spotlight on him and that was a crazy, the way I interpreted the video was that this character was an alien sent to earth to learn and somehow contact his people to get picked up. I liked the colour scheme of the video, from the outdoor locations, to the glowing robot hat to the cool mirror room Jay was moving around in, plus this was the first video in ages to see Jay Kay dancing again and it was hella fun to see him busting some moves on the underground.

So that’s my quick thoughts on “Automaton“, I think it’s a really cool song which will grow on me and I will bleed the hell out of for weeks to come. And while I can see old school fans of the acid jazz days of the first 3 albums not being too captivated by this material, I think that this is a sign of good things to come. Anyway, for you Jamiroquai fans what did you think of this new song? Drop me your thoughts in the comments below so I’ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! 😀

 
7 Comments

Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Late End of Year Review 2016

cooltext866525182

Howdy ladies and gents, 2016 is technically over and normally at the end of the December I do my  annual END OF YEAR REVIEW, however because of timing issues, work and New Year’s Eve plans I never got around to releasing it on time. And so I’ve debated with myself over the last few days as to whether or not to write it, but after 5 years it felt wrong in my mind not to, so, even though it’s late, my review of 2016 is here now! 2016, was one heck of a year and while there was some good times here and there, it was somewhat of a surprising and melancholy year due to a lot of the events that took place. And while I can’t cover everything I’ll do my best to cover what I remembered. As with previous entries I will talk about the year as a whole from my perspective, break it down into sections and then conclude with a summary. You ready? Cool, let’s go!

Video Games

games-of-2016

I think 2016 was a good year for games, even if I didn’t play too many of the new ones because I didn’t have the console to play them on, initially. Most of my gaming was Nintendo-based again with my 3DS and Wii U getting a lot of play time. I spent a fair amount of time trying to perfect my skills in Super Smash Bros. 4, also played a fair amount of Xenoblade Chronicles X and went back to Xenoblade Chronicles for some level grinding too, Lego Marvel Superheroes got some love and I was even able to fit some time in for Super Metroid, a game I’m not too good at but find a lot of enjoyment in when I’m in the zone. My 3DS got the most play time, I finally finished Fire Emblem: Awakening and was emotionally saddened when I finished it, kept going back to Sonic 2 3D and for a little while Fire Emblem Fates had my love attention, but just didn’t have the engagement level that Awakening did. However, once Pokémon Sun came out I was on lock down, it was easily my most addictive new game of last year, and while the wow factor wasn’t as intense as X & Y, the game was just really fun, accessible and changed so many of the core game mechanics and progression in subtle and great ways. Oh and speaking of Pokémon, Pokémon GO yeah that thing, i was on that hype for around 5 weeks and then fell off, and after the game became incompatible with my phone I was obviously gone for good, but those first 3 weeks were frigging full-on walking, catching and chilling in town at PokéStops haha. Oh and last year I got a PS4, finally. Spent a few days of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens and then went straight into Final Fantasy XV, the whole reason I got my new console and during 2016 it was very different, and took time to adjust to, and while there were some issues I had with the combat, choice of buttons and game mechanics, it was hella fun and exciting, and the main four characters are some of my favourites in recent gaming memory. I’m really looking forward to gaming in 2017 especially when the Nintendo Switch drops, I need that thing to be good! 😛

Films

fav-films-of-2016

For me 2016 was a solid year for films, and while there was a fair amount of disappointment with a good deal of the popular films, there were some absolute gems that popped up over the course of last year. I had a fair amount of fun in the cinema and did a bit of catching up at home as well with some of the films I didn’t watch when they were released, I also just got around to checking out some films I hadn’t seen or wanted to rewatch like Enter the Dragon, Attack the Block, Stargate and Get On Up. I luckily didn’t watch too many bad films because I was smart enough or lazy enough to stay away, though Ben-Hur, while bad, it wasn’t the worst I watched last year and in some ways I found it quite funny haha. Anyway I technically did a top 10 film post already, but for those who haven’t seen it I will list it below and as usual I’m only counting films released in 2016, films originally released in 2015 that got UK release this year DOESN’T COUNT! And with that out of the way, these are my favourite films of 2016:

Top 10 Films of 2016

  1. Sing Street
  2. Captain America: Civil War
  3. Kubo and the Two Strings
  4. Rogue One
  5. Midnight Special
  6. Jungle Book
  7. Doctor Strange
  8. Zootopia
  9. Hell or High Water
  10. Green Room

Special Mentions

  • Moana
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • The Accountant
  • The Nice Guys
  • Don’t Breathe
  • The Edge of Seventeen
  • Arrival
  • Hunt For the Wilderpeople
  • Ben-Hur (for being unintentionally hilarious)

Top 5 Worst/Disappointing Films of 2016

  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
  2. Suicide Squad
  3. Independence Day Resurgence
  4. Batman V Superman
  5. X-Men: Apocalypse

Television

fav-tv-2016

TV last year was pretty filthy, I was watching a lot. From the Marvel/Netflix material with the great yet flawed second season of Daredevil and Luke Cage which had a great first half and questionable yet decent second half, but it was Stranger Things that was my favourite show of last year. It was a frigging revelation and I’ve not loved an origin TV show like that show for a long time. I also got around to finishing The Wire (which was awesome, checked out Luther and started Prison Break (better late than never). has been the most crammed one yet with me taking on multiple TV shows, new and old over the course of the year, sometimes overlapping several shows at the same time! One of the most heartbreaking experiences I had this year was seeing the end of Parks and Recreation with season 7. I also got to rewatch Fringe and relive all that awesomeness, and after around 2 years I finally finished the Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh and I finally finished Hotel Babylon after all this time.

On top of that in the Fall/Autumn there was a lot of good TV with the first good season of Arrow‘s since season 2, a pretty awesome first half of season 4 of  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. thanks to Ghost Rider and The Flash’s season 3 which has been good but a little lacking when compared to the previous seasons. Star Wars Rebels was a little up and down but had moments with season 3, Game of Thrones definitely delivered with season 6 when compared to last year, Atlanta was another surprisingly fun show, Preacher while a little patchy at first got better towards the latter half and The Walking Dead’s latest season hasn’t been as terrible as I thought it’d be. But Blindspot and Lucifer were the real surprises of last year, but of those second seasons were much better than expected and featured some really solid character and story material. Still need to finish Mr. Robot and Black Mirror, and finally start Westworld and Ash vs. Evil Dead.

Top 10 TV Shows

  1. Stranger Things (season 1)
  2. Daredevil (season 2)
  3. Game of Thrones (season 6)
  4. Mr. Robot (season 2)
  5. Arrow (season 5)
  6. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (season 4)
  7. Lucifer (season 2)
  8. Luke Cage (season 1)
  9. Blindspot (season 2)
  10. Atlanta

2017 promises a lot for the world of TV but I’m mainly hyped for Iron Fist, The Defenders, and the return of Preacher, Master of None and Stranger Things.

Music

Music this year has been surprisingly decent, I mean overall there’s been a great deal of crap that I’ve been subjected to at certain parties, gatherings and just at work on the radio and stuff, but it is surprising how many songs that have been either genuinely good or absurdly addictive.

Top 6 Songs

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities
  2. SG Lewis – All Night
  3. A Tribe Called Quest – We The People…
  4. Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners – This Girl
  5. Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling!
  6. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic

My Experience

2016, to be honest hasn’t been too bad of year for myself, I’ve dealt with a lot of shit, but my troubles haven’t been as severe as previous years. I did a lot that I never got around to doing in previous years, had a lot of fun with friends and family and got to have a high school reunion 10 years after I left school in May of 2006, something I thought I’d never get to experience and it was amazing. Also like previous years I returned to the Children’s Media Conference and make new acquaintances, went back London MCM Expo October 2016 Review, attended two wonderful weddings too, and also got finally see Alien Ant Farm live and got to see Red Hot Chili Peppers again too. Another random fact, last year I worked in a total of 4 different places and hopped 3 jobs before I landed the job that I have now, and 5 months on I’m in a much better place than I was before.

In addition to that I obtained my first long-term job that lasted longer than 6 weeks and got back into drawing in a big way for the first time in a while. But the key thing that makes me smile is the fact that I’ve been able to have such great experiences with my family and friends and that’s really helped me deal with some of the regular bullshit. Blogging-wise things were fair messy/lazy and I feel like last year was the worst year I’ve had on WordPress so far, but hell I pushed on and I hope to rectify the lack of content this year. Plus my podcast, while it started out well and I got better at it, there was a lack consistency for sure, so again hopefully I’ll get things sorted this year.

But does need to be noted about all the crazy stuff that went down last year like: 1) America allowed Donald Trump to become president, I knew its happen, I just hoped that it wouldn’t. 2) The UK voted to leave the EU, I also had a feeling this would be the case but again hoped it wouldn’t happen. And 3) Celebrity deaths, holy crap last year was just pure pain for all of the notable musicians, film and TV stars that passed on last year, and while there are too many to mention, for me I’ll miss Muhammad Ali, Ron Glass, Prince, Anton Yelchin and Alan Rickman. But the one’s that hit me hardest were Phife Dawg (because of his contributions to A Tribe Called Quest which affected my life in my late teens/early twenties), David Bowie (who after college I couldn’t imagine life without his music), George Michael (who had music which was part of my childhoo), and Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (the timing was awful and Carrie’s passing made my heart sink). And while these wonderful people are no longer with us, we gotta show love and continue to celebrate their achievements, RIP peeps of 2016.

Conclusion

In conclusion 2016 wasn’t a complete waste especially on a personal level, but at the same time let’s just all agree that a lot of the bad outweighed the good and I think we’re ready for this year to be over. So goodbye 2016 and let’s hope 2017 is a better year.

Well, thanks for reading. So how was your 2016? Please be sure to comment below and finally, have a happy new year and I hopefully I’ll see ya in again 2016. Laters! 😀

 
5 Comments

Posted by on January 4, 2017 in Films, Life, Media, Music, Television, Video Games

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

My Top 7 George Michael Songs

Howdy ladies and gents, hope you’ve had a good Christmas session and if you’re still off work at the moment then I hope you’re enjoying that relaxation to the maximum. So, 2016 is almost over and with the amount of depressing, chaotic, and troublesome stuff that’s gone down this year, you’d think things would finally stop… And yet, yesterday, I hear the news that George Michael was death and I’m like “No way! You’re kidding.” And yet I look online and its confirmed by several news sites and I felt so deflated, and on Christmas Day of all days. I seriously thought at that point, “2016, seriously just fuck off.” And so I just wanted to share with my brief memories of the man and the music that affected me over the years.

george-michael42

Now I’ve never been the biggest fan of George Michael, but to ignore his contributions to the world of music would be rude and unfair because the man’s talent was undeniable. I sort of grew up on the hearing the sounds of Wham! and Michael’s solo work through the 90’s to early 00’s and some of it I loved, and some of it not so much, but his music was inescapable especially if you live in the UK like I do. Before I reveal my list I want to say that I’m going to cheat a little and include both Wham! and Michael’s solo work because I couldn’t exclude the Wham! material, also while I enjoy the sounds of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go“, “Careless Whisper“, “Faith” and “Amazing” they won’t be making the list because I enjoy the following songs a lot more.

So yeah the following songs I’ve compiled based on their replay value, dancing quality and emotional engagement. 🙂

7. Flawless (Go to the City)

This is one of those songs that I forget that George Michael worked on, and every time it dropped on the radio I was like “Oh yeah, this is a jam!” I really enjoy the upbeat/electronic nature of the song and it so different from Michael’s other song because its house sound, but it makes for an unexpectedly good sound.

6. Jesus To a Child

You know when you hear a song for the first time and it hits you? Like in that super dramatic/emotional way? That was what happened to me when I heard this song in my childhood days. The drama and sense of saddness in this song is so intense and beautiful, it is not a very happy song, but that is one the reasons I love it. Sometimes I feel like one has to listen to songs that aren’t necessarily happy just to gain some perspective, appreciate life and learn more about certain musicians. Over the course of Michael’s career this has always been one of his most notable songs.

5. The Edge of Heaven

This song represents one of the key reasons I love music from the 80’s; the sound is so charismatic, upbeat and makes you dance, it’s simply so gorgeous in its musical composition and the lyrics are easy to up and sing along to. The funny thing about this song is that I heard it a lot during my teens but never knew it by name until I looked it up today, but it’s one of those songs that whenever I heard it I got in a happy mood.

4. Fastlove

This song in the 90’s was my frigging jam, not only was the song badass, but the video was quite notable because it was always in circulation on the music channels and it was overly sexual which was a little strange/awkward to see as a child. That being said, the song was far too cool to ignore so just tried to look past the visual imagery. This song just has a delicious, sexy and funky groove, the bit towards the end with the use of Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” is damn good too. But it’s just the words “Gotta get up to get down.” Those are words to live by and in this song they are repeated with style and conviction that its hard not to let those lyrics get inside your head.

3. As

I know this is cover of Stevie Wonder’s song, but screw it this version has my heart yo. For the longest time this was my favourite George Michael song, not because the amazing vocals from Michael and Mary J. Blige but also because of the music video. When I saw the video as kid I was amazed by the multiple versions of Michael and Blige singing, dancing, chilling, etc, it was insanity to my feeble mind but it was also the best thing ever. I adore Michael and Blige’s vocals, they blend well so well and you can hear the passion in their voices that makes it feel so much more engaging.

2. Everything She Wants

This Wham! song is one hadn’t heard until a few years ago and after I heard it was annoyed that I hadn’t come across it sooner. This is absolutely one of the Michael’s best songs, the lyrics tell a very interesting and dramatic tale about complexity of a relationship where one is giving everything and the other half just takes. It has a wonderful and emotionally engaging sound which is both thought-provoking and nice to listen to at the same time.

1. Club Tropicana

If you want a song that’s gonna make you feel good and want to dance look no further than this song. For me, this is one of the most feel-good songs in the history of existence, ever since I saw this song on TV, it’s become one of the key songs that represents good times and works especially well in the summer. My sister and I always insist that we’ll play this when we go on holiday at some point because it feels like a holiday-kind of song. I honestly love everything about this song, its great for karaoke, has a lot of catchy lyrics and the music from the horns, piano, bass guitar and so on, it is all on-point.

So even though it is sad that George Michael’s no longer with us, like the other celebrities that have passed on we just gotta keep their spirit alive and celebrate what they accomplished. RIP dude, you were awesome.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 26, 2016 in Life, Music

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

LATE REVIEW: Red Hot Chili Peppers @ The O2 Arena

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen, today I am back once again to give you a review of a gig I went to on Monday and it will be on the Red Hot Chili Peppers at The O2 Arena in London. Now I know that this review should have been out on Tuesday and the latest but I’ve been so busy with work, drawing and playing Final Fantasy XV and Pokemon Sun that finding the time to write this review was next to impossible. But regardless I just had to share my thoughts on the awesome night I had.

red-hot-chili-peppers_tour

So for those not aware, the Chili Peppers are one of my all-time favourite bands and I saw them the first time back in 2011 when they were playing at Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield. It was a significant occasion for me because not only was I totally loving the I’m With You album, but they were also my first band I’d seen live. It was a beautiful session and it pretty much kicked off my love for live music. So fast forward 5 years, we have their latest album; The Getaway (which I really like by the way) and a new tour, so you knew I had to get on that, and the 3 months after I bought the tickets flew by pretty quick.

Before I get into the awesomeness of the RHCP, I’d be incredibly rude to not mention the supporting act; BABYMETAL who left quite the impression on me after their performance ended. Now this band I’d heard of through friends but I never really knew much about them besides the fact that they were a Japanese girl band who did metal music and I heard some of their music briefly while in Tokyo Toys in London last year, but they were still an oddity to me. However, seeing them live was one of the most different and unique experiences I’d ever have with a live music performance. Seeing all the musicians rocking out so heavy and loudly while these three again ladies ran around, danced and performed all these actions at the same time was mental. I’ve not seen a band so theatrical and charismatic like this ever, it felt like I was watching a butch of excited kids singing and moving around with such a cray level of energy, but they were so bloody cute, beautiful and charming. I was surprised by not only how much I liked the ladies, but also how much I got into the music considering that I’m not super into metal music. Overall they were great and I definitely will be looking into their music in the future.

But let’s move on to the RHCP, when they came on stage it was like the room set ablaze, the energy was completely on another level. And from there the band went on play a collection of notable and newer songs, but in between we got really cool jamming sessions between Flea, Josh and Chad and I adore those so much, they were varied, upbeat and kept the momentum going. I also have to comment on the presentation too, there was this awesome set of cylinder-shaped lights that lit up in various colours and moved up and down via cables and formed waves, big rectangles and other crazy shapes which was so cool. And then there was the screen behind the band that showed them playing with interesting colour filters or had these crazy abstract videos with “2D or cut out animation which was so strange and badass.

As for the set list it was really good, the band played 5 songs from their latest album, a few from By the Way, Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication, and one each from I’m With You, Mother’s Milk and Stadium Arcadium. When the band came on-stage and then started with “Can’t Stop” as the first song I lost my mind. That is my all-time favourite Chili Peppers song and to hear it first got everyone moving. Then from there was a lovely selection of songs and most of them I really enjoyed, though some definitely got me more giddy than others. Getting to hear “Dark Necessities” life for the first time was a lot of fun and hearing the sound of “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” live again brought back memories of good times back in 2011, while “Go Robot” really got people moving and I loved hearing it live as it was still really groovy. My favourite choices included: 1) “Sick Love” I think it was both luck and fate that this song ended up being played, but my god I loved them for playing it as it was my favourite inital song off of The Getaway.  2) “Right On Time” is such a swift and beastly song and the fact that tit got played made me SO happy. ) 3) “Higher Ground” felt like the icing on a fantastic cake, its one of my favourite covers of any song in existence and hearing it live set my soul on fire! 😀 But the biggest happy moment I felt must have been from hearing “Under The Bridge“, for a while I thought to myself that there hadn’t been any songs from that BSSM so the band had to be saving it and sure enough they were, that is the song that sing together with friends or fans and it was absolutely stellar. I think the biggest responses the band got were from “Otherside“, “Dani California“, “Californication“, “By The Way” and “Under The Bridge” and “Give It Away“, those songs got everyone freaking out and singing along in unison. If I had any nitpicks I would say that sometimes I wish Josh’s guitar volume levels would have been turned up on a few of the songs, also I wished that Anthony would have reached just a little higher with his vocals on a few songs and finally I wish that I could have heard “Encore” and “Dreams of a Samurai” from the new album, but these are just minor nitpicks at best.

In the conclusion the Red Hot Chili Peppers at The O2 Arena was such a delightful time. As someone who had seen them before, I felt like time hadn’t passed and I was getting more great music and more of the awesome charisma, charm and badassery from the band members. The set list was good, the atmosphere was wonderful and the visual presentation was kick ass. Besides some nitpicks I had with some of the song arrangements, they pale in comparison to all of the great material that I experienced. If you’ve seen RHCP live let me know what you thought in the comments below, and if you haven’t seen them live you should, it is worth it for sure! 😀

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 9, 2016 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

TAKE TWO! Begin Again

Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to a new series I’ve been wanting to try out on this blog for a little while entitled “TAKE TWO!” where I take a look a film I haven’t seen for a while and see if it still holds up, and today’s choice is Begin Again.

begin_again_poster4590

Now for those not aware, Begin Again was this delightful little film from 2014, musical focused drama where the two main characters played by Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo both from two different areas of the music industry team up to create a unique album recorded in public locations all over New York City. When I saw it in the cinema I really liked it, I was pleasantly surprised as wasn’t sure what to expect but mainly wanted to check it out because of the reviews and Mark Ruffalo’s casting, but it was one of my favourite films of that year. So when I watched Sing Street not too long ago, I wanted to rewatch this film to see how it compared to director John Carney’s latest film, but also see if the story, characters, music and enjoyment level held up. And you know what? It does!

begin-again3236

One of the reasons I loved the film before and now is because its suck a feel-good film, and while there’s a focus on the drama and heartache, there is so much happiness, humour and joy that shines through the story, characters and music. What I liked about the story that is that its heartfelt and covered relatable issues like love and loss, the highs and lows of life, taking chances, forging new connections and following your dreams in the face of adversity. I also love the cast, everyone involved does a great job of making you care about these characters, you invest them and see their talent, strengths and flaws, unique qualities and personal drama and they work really well just as individual but also together because that’s where you’ll get a lot of enjoyment in this film. If you had told me back in my teens that I’d ever enjoy a film with Keira Knightley in it then I’d say you’re insane, but here she surprised me a lot, she was tolerable and dare I say likeable and I enjoyed her performance a lot. But then there’s Mark Ruffalo who was just incredible, he was very versatile, charming, charismatic and fun. This was I think the first film that introduced me to Hailee Steinfeld and she was really good too, I mean everyone’s great from Mos Def to Catherine Keener and CeeLo Green and James Corden were especially fun too. But I also have to mention Adam Levine, mate, I LOVE that dude’s voice, have done since the Maroon 5 days back in 2004. And even though I’m not overly keen on his band’s sound these days, his performance in this film reminds me of why I fell in love with his voice way back when as he still sounds incredible.

But on top of all that you have the music, and that is the soul of this film. This film really is about the music. Carney does a great job of making the music in this film, whether it is original or well-known, an integral and enjoyable part of this film. It feels like a celebration of music and makes you appreciate the art of creating music from the lyrical content to the creation of new sounds to way it can affect people emotionally. The use of popular artists like Stevie Wonder, The Walls and Frank Sinatra is great and further illustrates the film’s appreciation of music and its varied sounds, but the original songs are also great too, they quite varied, but are also catchy, personal, beautiful, joyful and some can even an emotional response from you too (I know it did for me). Even though a lot of this music isn’t my usual cup of tea, because of the way it’s presented in the story and the emotional content that’s tied to the musicians as they play, there’s a deeper level of appreciation for the songs, plus it also helps that the songs are wonderfully crafted and feature really good instrumentation as well as vocals. All of the songs have a sense of beauty, depth, wonder and emotion which you can hear in the lyrics and instruments. “Lost Stars” whether you’re talking about the Knightley or Levine version, there’s something about that song that gets me right in the soul every time I hear it, the same rule applies to “Like a Fool” which just hurts me when I hear those lyrics, but it’s so good at the same time. But then you have the sound of pure happiness with “Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home (Roof Top Mix)” which sounds and feels SO good, and just seeing such a varied amount of people come together to create such a great sound in a unique setting makes me so elated that its hard to describe.

So yeah if you couldn’t tell already I really enjoyed Begin Again and it definitely falls into the department of films I can watch over and over and never be bored with and if you haven’t seen it I imply you to do so because it is really fun and the music is great. And if you’ve seen the film already let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, until next time, laters! 😀

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 14, 2016 in Film Reviews, Music, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

QUICK REVIEW: Alien Ant Farm @ KOKO

Howdy ladies and gentlemen of the internet and welcome to another live gig review. Now Alien Ant Farm are one of those bands that some people know for their cover “Smooth Criminal” and that’s it, but there’s so much more to them than that, and after the Anthology album of 2001 they still continued to release good stuff (Always and Forever may be an exception to that rule), and for me they are one of my favourite bands that no one today really knows about. So when I heard they’d be playing live in London I jumped at the opportunity to see them live.

AlienAntFarm

Firstly I have to talk about the venue, this was my first time at KOKO and I have to say that it’s a nice venue with a great sense of style, an intimate kind of setting on the ground floor near the stage and I got some Brixton Academy vibes but just on a smaller scale. I also have to talk about the supporting acts; The Dirty Youth and InMe. While The Dirty Youth don’t have a sound I’m usually down to jam to, some of their songs was really addictive especially that Hurricane one, and InMe, damn, those guys were a revelation to me, their sound was SO good and I think they got a better reception than AAF did when they eventually came on.

But let’s finally talk about AAF, man it was good to hear their sound live especially since I’ve been listening to their music since 2001 and have wondered what a live session would be live, and while some of the songs were slightly different in their pacing and composition, overall they were just like I remembered them. And lead singer Dryden Mitchell was a lot of fun, he was funny, strange and a little foul with his use of profanity and spitting, but he delivered where it counted; in his vocals for the songs, .and while he did get as aggressive or as high-pitched for certain songs, overall he was great and so was the rest of the band. As for the songs themselves I did no expect the band to play the entirety of Anthology and it was great for them to start out with “Courage” and “Movies” as they were my favourites, and the sounds of “Sticks and Stones“, “Whisper“, “Attitude” and “Calico” were also welcome too. However it was when I heard “Summer” and “Stranded” when I really freaked out, “Summer” is one of my favourite jams, but “Stranded“, my god! That is my all-time favourite song and with the discography I didn’t think it’d get played, but it did and I was in heaven. And when they played “Glow” and “These Days” off of Truant I was having such a good time. But the crowd really went mad for “Wish” and “Smooth Criminal“, with the latter really creating a mad frenzy and starting the filthiest of mosh pits.

Now I will admit that my experience was hampered by a few things:

  1. Firstly there was a very annoying brick of a man who wouldn’t move out of my way and really squashed me into the left side of the floor and ever so often he’d look at me awkwardly and I’m just thinking”Yeah I’m having fun, you got a problem with that? Then move over!”
  2. Also the sound in general was a little messy, with the bass from the drums and bass guitar being too overpowering when it came to the vocals of the singers and guitars.
  3. And finally with AAF having 5 albums (4 fully formed ones anyway), I was surprised that the gig ended so soon without more songs being played off of Truant and Up in the Attic, heck I even listened to the new album Always and Forever because I assumed they’d play at least a few songs from that one, but nope, it was over fairly soon.

In conclusion Alien Ant Farm at KOKO was a good time for sure, that being said I was hoping for more songs from their other albums and which the sound and bass coming from the instruments was balanced better. However, to hear some of my favourite jams live was an experience I won’t forget any time soon.

So did you get to see Alien Ant Farm last night or any time during their previous or current live shows? And if so what did you think? Be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see you all on the next blog post yo! 😀

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

RIP David Bowie

I know the news about David Bowie’s death technically took place yesterday but I thought I’d still share my quick thoughts on this topic because I do have something to say.

david-bowie-guitar

So yesterday I woke up just after 11am and saw people talking about David Bowie and the fact that he’d died, and I was like “No way!” But then I checked on Google and saw several news sites confirming his death and my heart sank a little. This is another one of those celebrity deaths that I never expected to hear about and even thinking about it feels surreal like when Robin Williams or Christopher Lee passed on. What surprised me the most was the report that he’d been battling with cancel for 18 months, I never knew the man was even sick for so long and it bugs me that cancer has come along and taken away another great person from the world.

Now I’m not going to act like I’m the biggest Bowie fan ever, though he had a large impact on my life with his music and appearances in certain films and TV shows. I think I’ve always been aware of Bowie’s existence in the world of music, however, I think my first recollection of him was seeing him in Labyrinth back 1999 or 2000. That was such a strange yet fascinating film and part of the reason I liked it so much was because of Bowie as the Goblin King Jareth. It is crazy to see how much he’s gotten up to im his career, how many times he’s reinvented himself visually and but also how his music’s changed several times too and yet remained so fresh, inventive and relevant after so many decades. Add on top of that he had a fairly successful film career and he really can be described as the definition of a legend and I gotta give my condolences to Duncan Jones and the rest of Bowie’s family and friends for their loss.

I didn’t get into Bowie’s music until college which I have my old media tutor to thanks for that. I think it was back in 2008 when we were learning about concept albums we were introduced to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and since then his music was engrained in my memory for years to come. After that I really like the sound of “Starman“, “Five Years” and “Ziggy Stardust“. After that my interest his music slowly expanded and by time at uni I’d found new favourite songs in “Modern Love“, “Rebel Rebel” and “Let’s Dance” (a song I’d liked since my teenage years but really came to love later on). Also in 2012 The Perks of Being a Wallflower reminded me of how awesome “Heroes” is and by 2014 “Golden Years” had also become a jam I loved so much that I sang it at karaoke (not very well but I had been drinking haha). I’ve still yet to check out Bowie’s recent material but I’ll definitely be listening to it in the coming months along with the rest of his discography.

So today I leave you will the classic jam of “Let’s Dance” because at the end of the day I feels like that’s what we all should be doing; celebrating the life of a great man and jamming to his badass tunes. Laters! 😀

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Life, Music

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Robert Downey Jr. – The Futurist Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for an album review that I’ve been wanting to do for around a year or two now, today I’ll be talking about The Futurist by Robert Downey Jr. Now this is an album I first heard back in 2008, possibly in 2009 and I really liked it. But it wasn’t until I went to university that I revisited the album and discovered just how much I missed this sound. So how is the album overall? Well read on and find out.

album-the-futurist

So Robert Downey Jr., great actor, lovely man who’s reformed from his troubled past, and he’s been around in Hollywood for a while. However unless you’re a pretty big fan of his, then you probably weren’t aware that in 2004 he released a music album. To my knowledge there wasn’t a very big release for the album, the reviews were mixed at best and there’s not really many people asking for a new material either. It just seems like a small experimental period in RDJ’s life that few know about, that being said, I believe it’s something worth exploring.

I first came across this album with scanning through Deezer back in college and it was one of those surreal yet nice experiences, and after that point I’ve come back to the album every so often over the years. The Futurist is a good album, its playful and surprisingly heartfelt. Sure the album isn’t life-changing and some could argue about the RDJ’s vocal talents, but for the debut of someone who is known only for their film material this is not a bad effort.

Now I have a hard time describing this album’s sound, it feels primarily like jazz, but it also has elements of easy listening and some other stuff which I honestly wouldn’t be able to pin down because I’m no music expert. While Wikipedia isn’t the be all and end all of knowledge, according to their page this album consists of pop ballads in the jazz and folk genres. Regardless of the specifics, this makes great use of specific instruments like the piano, violin, bass guitar and many others and they blend together to create an interesting array of songs with RDJ’s vocals mixed in.

With all that in mind let’s talk about the tracks:

Firstly there’s “Man Like Me“, the song is simple in composition, but so effective in creating a beautiful and engaging sound. I just love that piano, but also the lyrical content too, and of course there are RDJ’s vocals which are so soft and yet powerful. It’s short and yet so gorgeous and a great way to start the album. Next up is “Broken” which will be the most recognisable song because of its inclusion in the credits of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. From beginning to end this song is all about the emotion. It is a love a song with very vivid lyrics that are sung with such passion and I can’t help but fall in love with this sound. “Kimberly Glide” is arguably my favourite song on the album, it gives me the shivers because of how beautiful it is. I love the introduction, and all of the instrumental material really taps into that jazz sound I love, add RDJ’s vocals and you have a song that’s near perfect for me. “The Futurist” is a nice and sensual jam with some lovely guitar and vocal work. Another track with a fabulous sound is “Little Clownz“, not only are vocals awesome, but if you ever wanted to feel drama through instrumental music listen to this song, it is so powerful and badass especially towards the end.

5:30“, this song, ah I just love this song. The way it begins with that bass and then the piano and drums kick in, it feels like this song belongs in film where are character is going through a series of events through montage like going to work in the big city or something. Beyond that I like how upbeat and fun sounds. “Your Move” (the first cover song) used to be my least favourite song on the album and while that may still be true, I do love it a lot more than I used to because of the uplifting nature of the lyrics and the good vocals from RDJ and Jon Anderson. “Details” is one of those songs that makes me want to shed tears because of that sweet jazz sound. That piano and the lovely vocals make this one of those songs that could be played in a jazz club or as the first song during a wedding reception. “Hannah” is a song with a subtle, slow and cool sound that blends the music with the vocals very well. And lastly we have “Smile“, a cover of the classic Charlie Chaplin song which feels kind of appropriate considering that RDJ played Chaplin in the film of the same name back in the 90’s. This version feels like a soft jazz jam that really works thanks to RDJ’s vocals that are subtle and yet passionate.

Favourite tracks:

  • Man Like Me
  • Broken
  • Kimberly Glide
  • Little Clownz
  • 5:30
  • Details
  • Smile

So in conclusion The Futurist is nice little album, it may not be for everyone and some may even call it bad but for me I find it quite delightful. There is a lot of fun, emotion and heart in this album and some of these songs are beautiful in composition and RDJ’s vocals compliment the music well. I would say if you are just a bit curious give this album a chance, its worth a listen.

Rating: 7.5/10 (A feel-good and funky collection of songs that make for a fun listening experience)

So have you heard The Futurist and if so what did you think of it? Also if this is your first time hearing about this do you plan to give it a listen in the future? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

End of Year Review 2015

cooltext866525182

Howdy ladies and gents, 2015 is Romeo done, and now its time for my annual END OF YEAR REVIEW! It’s the 5th edition on WordPress and I’m ready to summarise my experience in this post. While time has moved relatively fine, I swear toward the latter side of the summer till Christmas just few by absurdly quick, and here we are at the dawn of a new year. As with previous entries I will talk about the year as a whole from my perspective, breaking it down into sections and then conclude with a summary. You ready? Cool, let’s go!

Video Games

Gaming-2015

In the last two years I’ve really been getting back into my video games, but this year has been the one for catching that fever and playing several games at the same time. Again I’ve been primarily on my Nintendo stuff playing loads of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. 4 on my Wii U. But I’ve also been playing a fair amount of Child of Light, Xenoblade Chronicles, Lego Marvel Superheros, Mario Maker and Trine 2. And I’ve been bleeding through Project X Zone, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Sonic 2 3D, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and A Link to the Past. However my favourite experience by far has been playing Xenoblade Chronicles X, I’ve only had the game for around a week now, but this game just makes me feel so satisfied when it comes to exploration, combat and sense of community when it comes to the online elements. Now obviously I don’t have a PS4, Xbox One or a fancy PC to play a lot of the awesome games that’s been released like Metal Gear Solid 5, Witcher 3, Batman Arkham Knight or Ori and the Blind Forest to name a few, but hopefully I’ll get around to a PS4 and some of those games next year.

Films

2015-films

For me 2015 has been a pretty good year for films, and while there’s been a fair amount of disappointment, there’s also been a good deal of unexpected gems too. For all of the average/lame films that I had to watch like Terminator Genisys, Chappie and Fan4stic, we also got a Ex Machina or Black Mass. I missed a great deal of films in 2015, however, I saw as much as I could and most films delivered, though I wish I could have loved some of them more like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Spectre. So now I give you my top 10 films of the year.

Technically I did a top 10 film post already, but for those who haven’t seen it I will list it below and as usual I’m only counting films released in 2015, and films originally released in 2014 that got UK release this year DOESN’T COUNT! But with that out of the way, these are my favourite films of 2015:

Top 10 Films of 2015

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  2. Kingsman the Secret Service
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Mission Impossible Rogue Nation
  5. Straight Outta Compton
  6. Amy
  7. Mad Max Fury Road
  8. Black Mass
  9. The Martian
  10. Ant-Man

Special Mentions

  • Cinderella
  • Sicario
  • Inside Out
  • Crimson Peak
  • Me and Earl and Dying Girl

Television

my-2015-TV-favourites

TV this year has been the most crammed one yet with me taking on multiple TV shows, new and old over the course of the year, sometimes overlapping several shows at the same time! One of the most heartbreaking experiences I had this year was seeing the end of Parks and Recreation with season 7. I also got to rewatch Fringe and relive all that awesomeness, and after around 2 years I finally finished the Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh and I finally finished Hotel Babylon after all this time. With Netflix and Amazon Video I really got into a good few shows like Blue Mountain State and rewatched The IT Crowd, Chappelle Show, Alpha House and Justice League. But the main show I really got into was It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it was a show that was recommended to me by my mate’s sister back in July of 2013 and I decided to binge all 9 seasons over a few weeks and it was hella fun. That show is absurdly silly and funny and is one of my new favourite shows.

On top of that in the Fall/Autumn, we got to see the return to form of with Arrow‘s 4th season, more improvements with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3, more great material from The Flash season 2, some smart and humourous material with season 19 of South Park, the continuing awesomeness with of Grimm with season 5 and the great second of Star Wars Rebels. I will admit that my love for Game of Thrones‘s season 5 wasn’t as impressive as previous seasons improvement and while I’ve enjoyed the latest seasons of The Walking Dead and Castle I haven’t been as invested as before, especially when it comes to season 8 of Castle.

But it’s not just about continuing shows that I got into. I really enjoyed Blindspot, Agent Carter‘s first season was pretty cool, also after getting past some of the weaker episodes I really got into Moonbeam City and Master of None‘s first season was one of the most unexpected surprises of the year with its realistic take on life issues, relationships and unique style of humour with a film-like quality. But Marvel’s first two dips into the Netflix realm with Daredevil and Jessica Jones proved to be a very successful, with darker, violent and more realistic portrayals of the heroes of the MCU. I really enjoyed the violence, fight choreography and crime drama elements of Daredevil, while with Jessica Jones it wa all about the more serious and personal stories that dealt with more mature and realistic issues too.

Top 5 TV Shows

  1. Daredevil
  2. Master of None
  3. Mr. Robot
  4. Jessica Jones
  5. Moonbeam City

Overall this year has been great for TV and I’m looking forward to the continuation of my current shows, the return of Agent Carter and Daredevil with their second seasons, and the start of Legends of Tomorrow and Luke Cage.

Music

As for music, all I can say is that 2015 has been the most disappointing year for new music I’ve seen in ages. There’s next to no new music I liked, and most of the stuff I heard that was popular just wasn’t of any interest to me at all. The only new songs I liked probably not on anyone’s radar. Firstly there’s Asian Kung-Fu Generation with “Easter” from their Wonder Future album, it’s a great opening track full of style and intensity, and the other song was “Fiesta” from Bomba Estereo featuring Will Smith, while the song definitely fits into the standard EDM style of modern music, at the same time it has a pretty nice sound, and it also helps that my man Will Smith was rapping on the track which was so much fun.

My Experience

2015, to be honest its hard to rate this year when comparing it to previous ones. There were highs and lows, and I think I’ve realised that there will be no year at this current point in my that doesn’t come without some struggle. That being said I’ve had one hell of an adventure.

I got to return to the Children’s Media Conference and make some new friends, I also went back for year two at London Film & Comic-Con and after a two-year gap I went back to the MCM London Expo too. As for other events I finally got to see Asian Kung-Fu Generation live and witnessed a kick ass Pokemon concert too. In addition to that I obtained my first long-term job that lasted longer than 6 weeks and got back into drawing in a big way for the first time in a while. But the key thing that makes me smile is the fact that I’ve been able to have such great experiences with my family and friends and that’s really helped me deal with some of the regular bullshit. Oh and the blogging, for those who read this blog on the regular you know this has been an inconsistent year when it comes to the pacing and amount of posts that I’ve done, but luckily I’ve had a lot of my regular people to help me through the slow days, and to them I thank you greatly. 🙂

Conclusion

In conclusion 2015 was a good session, but I’m ready to say goodbye to this year and welcome the next. These days I’m all about the progression and I will look back fondly on some of my adventures individually and with other people, but for all I’m gonna say is “Peace out 2015, and hello to 2016! Come on, this’ll be my time!”

Well, thanks for reading. So how was your 2015? Please be sure to comment below and finally, have a happy new year and I hopefully I’ll see ya in again 2016. Laters! 😀

 
8 Comments

Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Films, Media, Music, Reviews, Television, Video Games

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions Review

Howdy people of the internet, today I am here to give you my review of Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions, the orchestrated concert based on music in the Pokémon video game series. Last night, along with my sister, I went to London and witnessed this amazing musical sound and I just have to talk about it.

Pokemon-Symphonic-Evolutions-Poster

As soon as I got into Hammersmith Apollo, I noticed hundreds of people around all buzzing about the show, some in cosplay and others in general Nintendo-based attire, and use I sat down, I turned opened my 3DS and checked my StreetPass and after that it just didn’t end. I was constantly getting StreetPass hits and I loved it haha. Also during the waiting period there was a huge screen below the seating area of the orchestra which had the whole “Who’s That Pokémon?” thing going on with various Pokémon throughout all six generations showing up in silhouette and then being revealed, I did alright, but some of them I could guess for the life of me.

20151220_190831Sorry about the picture quality, but this was the view from my seat before the concert took place.

Oh but when the concert started, man, the mood in the room was elevated and the feeling amongst all the fans was electric. And once everything started, the feeling overwhelming happiness never left my heart.

This was the setlist:

  1. Overture
  2. Pallet Town (from Red, Blue, and Yellow)
  3. Prepare for Trouble (from Red, Blue, and Yellow)
  4. Born to be a Champion (from Red, Blue, and Yellow)
  5. Ecruteak City (from Gold, Silver, and Crystal)
  6. Songs of the Towers (from Gold, Silver, and Crystal)
  7. … (from Gold, Silver, and Crystal)
  8. Ancients of Hoenn (from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald)
  9. Falling Ashes (from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald)
  10. End of the Road (from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald)
  11. Dreams and Adventures (from Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum)
  12. Routes of Sinnoh (from Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum)
  13. The Lake Guardians (from Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum)

Intermission

  1. Pokémon Center
  2. The Day I Became King (from Black and White)
  3. N-Counter (from Black and White)
  4. Farewell (from Black and White)
  5. An Eternal Prison (from X and Y)
  6. Welcome to Kalos (from X and Y)
  7. Professor Sycamore (from X and Y)
  8. Friends, Fights & Finales (from X and Y)

Encore

  1. Gotta Catch ’em All (Pokémon Theme)
  2. KISEKI

What made the concert so great was musical was a combination of nostalgia, interesting musical arrangements and the sense of unity amongst the crowd.

So let me start with the nostalgia factor. For me, I’m not a hardcore Pokémon fan these days, however, back in the 90’s to early 00’s this franchise meant so much to me and even these days I still show love to Pokémon when appropriate. But seriously, hearing the “Overture” and seeing the title screens of all the Pokémon games from beginning to end was special and I could feel the emotion right in the center of my soul being lit up. After that hearing a lot of the music from Generation 1, 2 and 3 was kind of magical, like there was that feeling of being a kid/young teenager stepping into these games again for the first time when entering new places, going into battles or going to the Pokémon League.

As for the music, oh dear god. The music was gorgeous. Just like Symphony of the Goddesses, this concert really opened my eyes to how creative and surprising orchestrated versions of video game music can be when handled well. I mean to be honest there’s at least two or three well-known versions of the main Pokémon theme thanks to the 90’s anime show, and Super Smash Bros. Melee, but when the “Overture” came along, I was like “Damn, this is even more incredible than I imagined.” It was like if the main theme of Pokémon descended from heaven. Yeah it was that good and it set the tone so well. But what was cool about the concert was that not every arrangement was so powerful, intense or large in scale, some were quiet, intimate and had certain genre differences especially when it came to some of my favourites like “Ecruteak City“, “Songs of the Towers” (from Gold, Silver, and Crystal) and “Professor Sycamore“.

There were some beautiful moments in “Falling Ashes” (based on the music from Route 113 which was one of my favourite pieces from Ruby & Sapphire), while “Born to be a Champion” was delightful and “…” featured some of my favourite pieces from Gold, Silver, and Crystal especially the battle with Red which was AMAZING! But my favourite arrangement by far was “Prepare for Trouble” which was the music from the Silph Co building in Red, Blue, and Yellow, that’s always been one of my favourite songs in the series and to hear this dark, super dramatic, overwhleming beast of a song come and just rock my eardrums was fabulous. It sounded like something out of a film, maybe a thriller or a sci-fi adventure, either way, you could feel the impact of the song and it was just intense and badass. I WAS IN LOVE!

And then finally there was the sense of community. This crowd was very vocal, whether they were reacting to some of the funny dialogue on-screen from the NPC’s or just reacting to conductor Susie Seiter or the MC (who’s name I can’t reemember at the moment), everyone had moments to scream and shout in happiness. Oh but my favourite moment was when we all got to sing the main theme from the Pokémon anime, any fan knows the song, we’ve all sang it and to sing it there was frigging awesome!

20151220_213913

In conclusion Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions was a fantastic experience, it was nostalgic, powerful and interactive. Like when I went to the last two Zelda concerts, these concerts have presented very different and impressive orchestrated versions of classic video game music, and while I wasn’t completely familiar with all of the music, it was gorgeous and I would highly recommend it.

So if you’re a Pokémon fan have you experienced this concert before and if so how was your experience? Leave them below in the comments section and I’ll catch ya on the next review yo.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 21, 2015 in Media, Music, Reviews, Video Games

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: