Friday, April 29, 2016

Top 5 Records (April)

1: BASIA BULAT - good advice
2: TYLER BURNS - Mr Regular
3: FREEWEIGHTS - lightweight
4: BIG DATA - 2.0
5: SCARLET SOHO - in cold blood

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

MV : "This is all we know" by Le Cassette

This could easily be on the soundtrack to a trashy 80s straight to VHS movie, no higher praise can i give truly.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Movie : War Of The Underworld (1996)

The success of the Young & Dangerous series of triad movies in HK saw many copycats of which this is one and unlike some of its ilk is a good film too.

The story is a basic (and well worn) tale of triad betrayal and revenge but the cast is very good (Tony Leung, Jordan Chan, Carman Lee among others) and the action solid... and very bloody. You certainly get your machete worth.

Some of the camera work is maybe trying too hard to be "arty" at times and there is a little too much nonsense about triad "honour" and how they are the descendants of the kung fu masters but that won't spoil your enjoyment too much.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Single : Freeweights - lightweight

Oh what a lovely track, so full of the best 80s sounds all honed and engineered with cutting edge perfection. Its urgent and glows with neon light, underpinned with top notch pop melodies and hooks. Would probably sound best blasting out of the stereo of your 80s hot hatch as you burn it up across Miami, or Banbury.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Single : Tyler Burns - Mr Regular

There is a lot of neo-synth pop around these days, much of it trying hard to recapture the sounds of the 80s... or an imagined sound of the 80s anyway... with varying degrees of success. The best way is to treat the synths as a tool to make music and not worship them for the sake of it... just like this track by Tyler Burns.

This track succeeds with an excellent pop song with a chorus to die for. It has retro sounds but also sounds contemporary and fresh and is one of the best songs out there right now.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Movie : Tiger On The Beat 2 (1990)

Tiger On The Beat was an excellent HK action movie starring Chow Yun Fat and this sequel is, well not really a sequel. The only connection to the first movie is that it also stars Conan Lee (though not the same character) and in an action film set in HK. That doesn't mean its a bad film by any means though it is a bit disjointed.

There is a plot of sorts involving an error prone HK cop (Danny Lee) and his lazy American born nephew (Conan) who is visiting, plus a prostitute (Ellan Chan) and a stolen ring. The first half of the film has that strange though enjoyable HK movie mixture of comedy and ultraviolence and the usual goofy characters.

In the second half though the action ups a gear and the final action showpiece is pretty spectacular (martial arts on a bus, i loved it). An enjoyable if uneven film, it probably would have been better to have given it a stand alone title but lets not worry too much about that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Phases - for life

More neo-synth pop glory, Phases are unashamedly pop and unashamedly good. "Betty Blue" shimmers with an electric beat, "I'm in love with my life" is so light and bouncy its like the cutest puppy dog made into a song. "Silhouette" has a deliciously slinky disco beat. Its not all shiny dance pop, though even slower songs like "Spark" and underpinned with a neon electric vibe. Its all lovely stuff that will keep you bopping to dawn and beyond.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Movie : Young & Dangerous : The Prequel (1998)

The Young & Dangerous movie series is about a bunch of Triad members and their adventures in the dark and squalid world of HK organised crime, this prequel details how the guys first entered this world and despite the ever present danger that prequels usually bring to a movie series this actually isn't a bad film at all.

The first portion of the movie is a bit of a slog though as the boys get kicked out of school for rock and roll and smoke, a lot (in fact an entire tobacco harvest seems to have gone into the making of this film). The action soon picks up once they join the Triads (which seems a bit easy, the boss of a local branch just asks them and they say OK) and being a Triad movie there is a lot of action and violence, and its bloody.

Of course the film throws in a number of pop stars (of the time) some of whom do not really seem to have a role in the film apart from adding to the star power but the leads are solid and the story while standard (betrayals, endless fights, respect your daigoh et cetera) is also solid and all in all a worthwhile addition to the series.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Sugar Shoppe

The Sugar Shoppe were billed as the "Canadian Mamas and Papas", and you can certainly understand why, they were Canadian for a start. They had a brief period of success in their own country and released this album originally for Capitol "down south" in 1968. Their period of success was brief but one of the members Victor Garber later made a good name for himself as an actor in films like Titanic and Argo.

The Sugar Shoppe are 60s groovy and appear at first glance to be a bit bubblegum, but behind some whimsical song titles like "The candy children song" and "poor Papa" and cute arrangements, including a vibraphone at times, the music is solid mainstream late-60s pop. Its fun and light pop, the other side of the late 60s to all that psychedelic noise. We all need a break yeah?

"The attitude" is atmospheric and adventurous with groovy sounds and a multi-faceted song structure. The cover of Donovan's "Skip-a-long Sam" is sweet and irrelevant. "Let the truth come out" some how managed to be laid-back and urgent at the same time, with a funky bluesey undercurrent. The aforementioned "Candy children song" has a bright and sweet melody with a trippy feel. This is one of the missing links of the 60s pop scene, oh yeah.