Friday, August 28, 2015

Top 5 Records (August)

1: La Casa Al Mare - this astro EP
2: Chvrches - the bones of what you believe
3: Tame Impala - currents
4: The Pierces - creation
5: Class Acress - movies EP

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Eternal - breathe EP (reissue)

Eternal's solo EP (for Sarah) was one of my favourite records of the early 90s and still is one of my favourite singles ever. But here it is re-released and with the "lost" song November to fill it out so how does it still stack up in 2015?

First of all it isn't the same single, i don't know whether these are different studio versions (or the original demos which are said to have been higher quality than the actual studio versions) or its been remastered but it sounds different to the original. A lot higher fi for a start. The wonderful "Take me down" for example actually has chords i can recognise rather than just various fuzzy noises. To be honest i prefer the fuzz but the delicate and doomed beauty of the song is still there. "November" is also lovely though does sound like it needed a bit more work which is maybe why it never made it to the original single.

So the "Breathe EP" how does it stack up in the 21st century? Its different but still amazing. The world has changed a lot since the early 90s but Eternal's incredible record is still capable of changing worlds, or at least my one.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Human Colonies - calvary

Blurry dream pop from Italy and very fine it is too. Highlights? Well "Sunshine Jesus" is a blistering blast of fuzzy noise, urgent beat under a wave of distorted guitar and fabulous. I also love "Falling deeper" which is a little more downbeat and underpinned by screeches of guitar. "Cross" and "Exosphere" are on a similar vein, both contain beauty amid the noise. "Hey you" is dramatic, reminding me a bit of the Bardots.

To be honest i love all of this album. The album is available here, highly recommended.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Houndstooth - no news from home

Oregon's Houndtooth present their second album, and a very presentable collection of modern garage rock it is too. There is a bit of a small town vibe about proceedings with the album underpinned with rootsy psychedelia but plenty of modern touches. Highlight is "Amelia", a delightful background melody over which vocals and guitars shimmer and soar.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Movie : Oily Maniac (HK 1976)

If there is to be an award for the film with the best title ever then this 70s Shaw Brothers film may be in with a shout. Using Malay witchdoctor magic a cripple having a hard time (played by Danny Lee Sau-Yin) transforms himself into an oily maniac, or to be precise a monster made out of oil, and basically busts some (oily) ass...

Low-concept maybe but definately high-cheese, this is an entertaining 70s shock horror flick. The special effects are not fabulous but then again it was made in the mid-70s and that is maybe part of the appeal. There is also plenty of female nudity in the film, a number of women in their film get their clothes ripped off. Yeah its that kind of film. Sex and oily monsters. What more could you want?

A plot maybe? Well there is one more or less. Mind you the plot is full of holes. A monster made out of oil does have one rather large design flaw, but no one seems to realise this until the end. So is this film any good? It is definitely worth seeing, but no doubt a great part of the appeal is the fact it is called Oily Maniac...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tame Impala - currents

Sonically very sweet and swish, lush neo-synthpop and blissed out pop soul. But under the glitter is a dark underbelly. Or something like that. Personally i just think its a great pop album full of great tunes with pop hooks a plenty and lyrics that rise (highly) above the inane.

Highlights are the epic and haunting pop ballad "Cause I'm a man" and the hypnotic dance of the opener "Let it happen". Its very polished and slick, on some records that would seem too much, but on this record its just right.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Movie : Blue Lightning (1991)

Hong Kong: it seduces you, inspires you, attracts you but its a tough mistress. The streets have the bright lights and a myriad of attractions but in a dark alleyway is something ready to bite you on the behind.

Danny Lee plays a drunk ex-cop in this 1991 film whose ex-wife is killed by person unknown. Only their kid survives. But why kill the woman? Thats the question on the lips of cop Tony Leung Ka Fei. As they investigate they start to delve into a dark world of blackmail, corruption and underage sex...

A Bigwig in HK is preparing for election but has a dark secret the assassin is trying to cover up. The assassin comes back to remove more evidence, including the friend of the deceased woman in the form of Olivia Cheng (in her last film according to online filmographies before she went to become a golf instructor). And then he comes after Danny. The Bigwig has the police in his pocket, can he be stopped?

A hard bleak and very violent film. In this film HK is sleezy, HK is brutal, and HK doesn't care as another victim bleeds to death on it's tarmac...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Class Actress - journal of ardency

Now and then in your life you come across a band or artist who change totally your outlook on music, they lead you down new alleyways, to explore a new soundscape. A few years Class Actress reintroduced me to synth pop, neo-synth pop natch.

Class Actress obviously believed musical development peaked around 1982, this debut EP is all early synths and retro beats. Singer Elizabeth Harper cuts through the 80s noise with vocals of pure sex. "Journal of ardency" is the highlight, a roller coaster of a track, writhing and surging with an electro beat but led by Harper's sultry vocals.

"Careful what you say" is another classic, with some spacey synths. "Something real" is a little more experimental as if the keyboards have taken a life of their own in some 80s sci-fi horror but with a hard electric beat