Thursday, 23 December 2004 Man of the Year Awards part II

The second part of's inaugural Man of the Year awards has just gone up.

Check it out here

Tuesday, 21 December 2004 Man of the Year Awards have just published their first ever Man of the Year awards.

It's a countdown from 10 to 1. The first part is up now and the second half will be published later in the week.


Sunday, 19 December 2004

Latest column at

My latest, and last for 2005, column is up on

Check it out here

Saturday, 18 December 2004

The best albums of 2004

25. Morrissey – You Are The Quarry
After a seven year absence, Morrissey returned to deliver what is remarkably his greatest solo achievement.

Best track – Irish Blood, English Heart

24. Lambchop – Aw C'mon / No You C'mon
Everything seems right in the world when you hear Kurt Wagner crooning about his idiosyncratic observations.

Best tracks – Steve McQueen / Nothing Adventurous Please

23. The Dears – No Cities Left
Gorgeous and uplifting but incredibly sad and evocative, No Cities Left is totally unpredictable and totally wonderful.

Best track – Lost In The Plot

22. Regina Spekor – Soviet Kitsch
Kooky and quirky but never pretentious, Soviet Kitsch requires a bit of patience but it's proof that Regina is a unique talent.

Best track – The Flowers

21. Ghostface Killah – The Pretty Toney Album
Determined to prove he's only Clansman still making music that matters, Ghostface was at his hungriest on this bruising album. A rap classic that straddles the divide between street cred and commercial respect.

Best track – Run

20. Ryan Adams – Love Is Hell
These are the most focused, affecting and best songs Adams has written since Heartbreaker. Hopefully Lost Highway will now realise they have to trust his artistic urges.

Best track – This House Is Not For Sale

19. The Killers – Hot Fuss
Included for the near-perfect first half and not the substandard second, Hot Fuss is still a goliath of modern synth pop.

Best track – All These Things That I've Done

18. Interpol – Antics
Warmer and much more fun than their incredible debut but not quite as good. Still, a smart and satisfying second step.

Best track - Evil

17. Giant Sand – Is All Over The Map
More shambling and raucous than anything they've made since 1992's Centre Of The Universe, Howe Gelb is still a class apart when it comes to melding and weaving together differing musical forms.

Best track – Classico

16. The Beastie Boys – To The 5 Boroughs
They look old, hell, they are old but they don't sound it. After the experimental Hello Nasty, Ad Rock, MCA and Mike D got back to making a straight up hip hop album and it's probably the best they've made since Paul's Boutique.

Best track – Oh Word?

15. Kanye West – The College Dropout
We knew Kanye had skills as a producer but I doubt anyone imagined he'd be this good on the microphone. Hip hop has a new megastar.

Best track – All Falls Down

14. Devendra Banhart – Rejoicing In The Hands
Sixteen left field, bonkers and, you suspect, timeless songs.

Best track - This Beard Is For Siobhán

13. Joanna Newsom – The Milk-Eyed Mender
Appalachian folk and bluegrass somehow wrapped up in the blanket of harp-driven indie rock. Sounds strange? Well that's before you factor in Newsom's screeching girlish voice. Certainly the year's most unique album.

Best track – The Book Of Right On

12. Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans
How good is this guy? Not content with writing an album about all 50 states of the US, he took time out to record this delicate and arresting beauty.

Best track – The Dress Looks Nice On You

11. Arcade Fire – Funeral
Less a truly remarkable debut album and more a life-affirming religious experience. Following Funeral, the world is Arcade Fire's oyster.

Best track – Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)

10. Madvillain – Madvillainy
That the ceaselessly inventive Doom gets some help from Madlib to produce a blissful, engaging and irreverent album. That it's only Doom's second best album this year is testament to his genius.

Best track – All Caps

9. Comets On Fire – Blue Cathedral
Brutal and bludgeoning, Blue Cathedral needs to be play brain-meltingly loud. Definitely the best freak-out record of the decade so far.

Best track – Whiskey River

8. Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Isaac Brock's band have always deserved a breakthrough moment and Float On was it. Daring and thoughtful but accessible and catchy.

Best track – Float On

7. Brian Wilson – Smile
Arguably the greatest triumph in the history of pop music. The songs are just as spellbinding as they always were and Wilson's wrecked voice just makes it all the more poignant. Worth the wait? I'll say.

Best track – Surf's Up

6. The Hold Steady – Almost Killed Me
Channelling the ragged, drunken spirit of Husker Du, this modern-day E Street band are destined for huge things. Craig Finn's sing-talking was the most unique vocal performance of the year.

Best track – Killer Parties

5. Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose
Jack White's reinvention of Loretta Lynn is every bit as triumphant as Rick Rubin's work with Johnny Cash. This is a tough, gritty and heartbreaking country album. Gen-yoo-ine country brilliance that shows the wusses how it's done.

Best track – Van Lear Rose

4. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus
After the tepid Nocturama, this pair of incredible albums mark a (yeah, I know it's a cliché but it's true in this case) storming return to form. Not only remarkable in their scope, these are certainly the two most beautifully packaged albums of the year.

Best tracks – Hiding All Away / Breathless

3. Tom Waits – Real Gone
By ditching the piano Waits has become more grizzled and grimy than ever. His junk yard genius appears to know no bounds. Real Gone ranks right up with his very best work.

Best track – Hoist That Rag

2. Laura Veirs – Carbon Glacier
A cold, beautiful and engaging record that improves with every listen. A truly hypnotic masterpiece.

Best track – The Cloud Room

1. MF Doom – MM Food?
Has the bizarre feel of a magnum opus and something Doom tossed off in his lunch break. His breathless creativity is head-spinning, hard-hitting and jaw-dropping. Dumile is everything that's great about not hip hop but music in general.

Best track – Hoe Cakes

Wednesday, 15 December 2004

Robin shock poses

Here's a great collection of the Robin Corner Shock Pose. Basically, throughout the 50s and 60s dozens of Batman covers featured Robin in the bottom left or right corner looking shocked.


Sunday, 12 December 2004

Latest column at

My new column is up at

Read it here

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

Batman loves Twinkies

Holy confectionary, Batman!

The guys at Toner Mishap have scanned and posted images from Marvel and DC comics from the 70s when the two comic book powerhouses allowed their characters to shill shamelessly for cake companies.


Latest column at have published my latest column.

Read it here

Monday, 29 November 2004

Latest column at

My latest column is up at

You can read it here

Sunday, 21 November 2004

Superman not a great role model

Interesting article in the New Scientist that cites recent research from NYU and MIT that concludes that fans of Superman are less likely to help out others in times of need.

The psychologists have proposed that the reason for this is that the average DC fan quickly realises that there's no way they can compare to the Man of Steel and decide no to help at all.


Sunday, 14 November 2004

Ol' Dirty Bastard dies aged 35

Russell Jones has died in a New York recording studio. The cause of his death remains unknown at this time.

Fitting obituaries will be written by better writers than me. And, right now, I don't know what to say.

Rest in peace, Ol Dirty.

Monday, 1 November 2004

Latest column at

My latest column is up on

Each one will be titled from now.

Read the Karl Matthews issue here

Thursday, 28 October 2004

Mario playing Lego robot

A couple of dudes - one unfortunately wearing a Gooners shirt - built a robot from Lego that can complete the first level of Super Mario Bros.


Tuesday, 26 October 2004

RIP, John Peel

DJ, TV presenter, music fan and all-round good egg John Peel has died.

His passing is an immense loss.

Link to the BBC obituary

Latest column at have published my latest column.

Read it here

Saturday, 23 October 2004

Russ Meyer RIP

Legendary sexploitation film-maker Russ Meyer has died aged 82.

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls were both masterpiece atrocities that I'm going to revisit right now.

Link to the Independent's obiturary

Monday, 18 October 2004

Latest column at have published my latest column.

You can read it here

Thursday, 14 October 2004

Disney seek 1,000th ghost

Oh man. Oh man. Oh man.

In an effort to raise money for The Boys & Girls Clubs Of America, Disney is auctioning off a chance to become a ghost in the Haunted Mansion.

"The winning bidder will also receive a one-of-a-kind miniature replica of the tombstone and a certificate officially recognizing him/her as an Honorary resident of the Haunted Mansion; and the successful bidder and a guest will be spirited away from his or her hometown to Disneyland in time for a midnight "burial" ceremony on Thursday, October 28, officially placing the tombstone in the graveyard of the Haunted Mansion."


Monday, 11 October 2004

Latest column at

My latest column has been published on

You can check it out here

Monday, 4 October 2004

Latest column at

My latest column at is up.

Check it out here

Tuesday, 28 September 2004

Steve Goldby at has very kindly invited me to become a regular columnist for the site.

The site's only been around for a few weeks, but I'm very pleased to be involved.

You can check out my first column here

Thursday, 23 September 2004

Big Boss Man dead at 41

Ray Traylor, better know as Big Boss Man, has died. He was 41.

Despite his limited ability, Traylor was one of my favourite wrestlers as a kid and it's sad to hear that a heart attack has claimed the life of another of my childhood idols.


Friday, 17 September 2004

Johnny Ramone RIP

Johnny Ramone, one of the greatest guitar players of all time, has died aged 55.


Saturday, 14 August 2004

Watchmen remixes

Over on SomethingAwful, they're recaptioning Watchmen comic panels.


Wednesday, 28 July 2004

Disneyland 1968

Here's a really lovely set of family holiday photos from a blogger's childhood trip to Disneyland in 1968.

His comments on the photos are nearly as great as the pics themselves.


Sunday, 2 May 2004

Album Review: Look Mom... No Hands

Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein wasn't just a great album, it picked up the torch from Company Flow and single-handedly reinvigorated hip-hop like only Funcrusher Plus, Enter The 36 Chambers and It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back had achieved before it.

Not only that, it was, in this writer's opinion, one of the very best albums ever made. I would hate to play down Vordul Megalah's contribution to The Cold Vein but it was Vast Aire's flow that stood out. One moment heart-broken suitor, the next a demented conspiracy theorist, he played each role to perfection; his intelligent verses were a Godsend for true hip-hop fans everywhere. In the interceding three years, fans have had their appetite whet with guest appearances on albums by El-P and SA Smash amongst others. All of the above serves to make Look Mom... No Hands the most anticipated hip hop album this year.

As early as the second track (tepid chant-a-thon KRS-Lightly) Vast's mystique begins to unravel with lyrics as insipid as, "Niggers want war like Edwin Starr, but what is it good for? Absolutely nothing / I'm saying Ice Ice Baby lost eighteen zeros, cos he was absolutely fronting." it's hardly surprising. The production isn't much better; the track hops along to a sub-Dre style beat. Sadly it's fairly indicative of what remains of Look Mom... No Hands, Pegasus, Candid Cam / Wetlands 1996 and the inaccurately titledZenith are all frustratingly ordinary.

The production is probably the biggest problem with the album. A glance at the sleeve will inform you that seven different producers take control of the desk on the LP. While it certainly makes the album a more diverse one that The Cold Vein the end result is rather scattershot. Only Madlib and MF Doom really excel themselves, while RJD2 and Jake One offer decent beats on '9 Lashes' and Viewtiful Flow respectively, it leaves the album sounding a bit too random.

Where The Cold Vein was a rich melange of conspiracy theory, tales of New York streets and the absurdity of life, Look Mom... is a predictable mix of braggadocio and nerdish in-jokes that verges on the cliched at times. (".... But you already knew that, like the third movie of The Matrix was gonna be whack" - Viewtiful Flow and "It's funny how they brought Trinity back like Lois / I guess Clark and Neo wasn't having that." - Pegasus). Elsewhere, Vast displays a rather typical line in immodesty as he quips "I brought street to your radio." on 'Viewtiful Flow'.

While there are some really disappointing moments on Look Mom..., glimpses of Vast's talent do seep through. Opener, His Majesty's Laughter was originally found on the Euphony compilation. It's earlier incarnation was as a stand-alone track, but here it has to be satisfied with the intro tag. It has Vast at his most demented as he spits, "Opportunity was like fuck knocking, I'll pick the lock." There are other moments when Vast's lyrical dexterity and eye for a clever metaphor return to the fore; reminding the listener why this album is so anticipated ("If I'm the son of a gun then I came from a cannon" - Look Mom... No Hands). Elsewhere both Poverty Lane 16128 and Life's Ill Part II recall the feelings of hopelessness and defiance from The Cold Vein ("Either all I find I keep or just gimme.") and are two of the highlights; proving that Vast Aire is a better rapper when he's angry or depressed.

However, that isn't to say he can't perform on the more upbeat numbers. Da Superfriendz is one of the real highlights of the album. MF Doom continues to prove that he can do no wrong with a masterclass of old-school production. Vast takes a trip down memory lane, and it's quite interesting to hear about his formative years, as he recalls, "I used to sew army patches on my favourite coat / BMX, got your guns, old folks got soaked." In a time when most mainstream rappers are attempting to re-enact 1994s obsession with gangsta, it's quite refreshing to hear an MC quip about waterpistols. Other highlights include the Wu Tang-esque 9 Lashes (produced by RJD2); it's Vast at his most uncompromising while the soaring orchestral accompaniment serves to exaggerate the vitriol and WHY'SDASKYBLUE? is an obtuse collection of a snapping drum, science fiction samples and a thunderous bassline. It's also one of the few moments where Vast contemplates life ala The Cold Vein as he recalls, "We learn mathematics, then we count our blessings / at the age of ten, I picked up the pen / fire's pretty and it burns / I learned that then."

Just as Fantastic Damage lacked a consistent voice to accompany El-Ps typically obdurate production, so Look Mom...No Hands lacks consistent production to transform Vast's somewhat scattershot lyrics into something more cohesive. So in short, it's very much a mixed bag. It's not always poor, but the moments where the album rises above mediocrity are far too seldom. Perhaps Vast needed people like Vordul Megalah and El-P to rein in some of his more commercial tendencies? We'll never know for sure.

You can blame overconfidence, laziness or a lack of direction, but Vast Aire's talent is not in question, which only serves to make Look Mom, No Hands more frustrating.

Anyone expecting 'The Cold Vein Pt. II' will be massively disappointed.

Wednesday, 28 April 2004

The birth of the boombox

Here's an online museum that presents images of boomboxes from the 70s and 80s. I love my iPod but Apple can't hope to match the charm of these bad boys.

I actually owned this particular one.


Saturday, 24 April 2004

Woody Woodpecker laugh bloke is dead

Harry Babbit, who performed Woody Woodpecker's laugh in the Woody Woodpecker theme song has died.


Monday, 19 April 2004

Building a better mouse

The New York Times have just published a great piece about the dwindling importance of the Mickey Mouse brand and Disney's attempts at rejuvenating the character.

"The company has indeed made quiet attempts to find him. In 2002, Disney marketing officials set up a Mickey ''situation room,'' stocked floor to ceiling with thousands of examples of mouse merchandise, to show executives from every division, brought in for tours, that the character was inconsistent and in need of refocusing. (Licensees were somewhat randomly producing four different generations of Mickey likenesses.) At around the same time, said a branding executive who did not wish to risk reprisals by allowing his name to be used, Disney ''put out feelers'' among animators for ideas about remaking the Mouse. Disney officials deny it, saying that the 18-month program of special events and new product releases that commenced on his 75th birthday, last November, was not an attempt to revive a flagging brand but merely a company-wide effort at ''showcasing'' Mickey more successfully. But it is not immediately clear how the 75 giant Mickey statues they gave celebrities to decorate might do that."


Friday, 9 April 2004

Ghost stations

Here's a site devoted to the disused underground stations that now lie abandoned around the streets of London.


Thursday, 8 April 2004

Superman vs Seinfeld

This new American Express advert starring Jerry Seinfeld and Superman (voiced by the guy who played David Puddy in Seinfeld) is just too funny.


Sunday, 28 March 2004

40 things every drunkard should do before they die

The always brilliant Modern Drunkard Magazine have counted down the 40 things every drunkard should do before they die.

I'm proud and a bit sad to admit that I've done several of them.

"10.) Extravagantly overtip a bartender.
The next time a bartender is especially kind or proficient, lay a massive tip on her. I mean, massive. You must be relatively sober or they’ll discount the act as drunken foolishness. Say something smooth like, “You’re the best of your kind,” drop the bomb, and—this is important—walk out of the bar without another word. With this single act of unexpected generosity, you will restore a bartender’s faith in humanity and give your own self-image a healthy boost."


Monday, 22 March 2004

Album Review: Sleep No More

Not much is known about DJ Signify, something that can only be attributed to the highly reclusive career he’s led up to this point. Until now, he has released two stunning mix tapes, Signifyin Breaks and Mixed Messages, Signify also contributed to Anticon’s controversial, Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop compilation.

Sleep No More is an extension of his mixtape work and an expedition into dark, industrial production, so much so that the album is sold as the soundtrack to an imaginary horror movie. It’s hip-hop at its darkest and most chilling. While it isn’t quite the terrifying affair the press release makes out, it does have a twisted, almost psychotic edge.

Along with his two unlikely henchmen, Sage Francis and Buck 65, Signify embarks on a desolate journey through eerie loops, stark drums, and timely scratching, all seamlessly threaded into one unique whole. While Sleep No More is ostensibly a full-length album, it plays a lot more like a mix tape than a conventional LP, essentially meaning that you need to experience the piece in its entirety. As hard as that may be to grasp, there is something quite enchanting about Sleep No More; both in its scope and execution that provides a sense of accomplishment for the creator and the listener.

However, the album mystifies and frustrates in equal measure. When Signify sticks to instrumentals, Sleep No More wanders aimlessly, as on the disconcerting Shatter & Splatter and the head splitting Migraine. Elsewhere, Dirty chugs along without any real direction. In fact of the instrumental tracks, only opener Fly Away and the three parts of the Pee-A-Boo trilogy are engaging enough to warrant further investigation – especially Part II where the album finally erupts in a fit of clever beats and turntablism. Unfortunately, its might is such that is makes the surrounding tracks sound a bit sparse.

The album is aided immeasurably by the vocal signposts that are expertly supplied by Buck 65 and Sage Francis. Frankly, all but the most resilient minds will find the human interaction welcoming. The contrasting styles of the two narrators lend themselves well to the instrumentation. Buck 65 is constantly stumbling on the tempo while Francis offers more elegantly classic diction. However, both supply interesting nuances to Signify’s grey landscapes. Buck’s dark tale of a desolate motel on Stranded makes it a menacing proposition, “the bathroom was crawling with roaches and beetles / the sign above the toilet said ‘don’t flush your needles.” His somewhat enervated drawl on Winter’s Going and Where Did She Go make those two of the stronger tracks. While more energetic, Sage Francis is no less meticulous in his delivery. His accounts on Kiddie Litter and Haunted House Party spare no detail and help to morph Sleep No More into the horror movie it was intended to be.

This is not an easy record to listen to. Sleep No More unveils its personality with time, and requires repeated listens for one to fully appreciate its scope. DJ Signify has crafted an intriguing and stylish piece of work which unfortunately loses sight of its substance too often. It’s an expansive album that definitely improves with every listen, but at over an hour in length, few will have the patience to discover what lurks in its dark corners.

Life with Chris Rock's phone number

A really funny account of a girl who, by complete chance, ends up having Chris Rock's old mobile phone number.

"LAURA: Hello?

CALLER: Is Chris there?

LAURA: [Inquires politely] Who's calling?

CALLER: It's Spike.

LAURA: [Mischievously inquisitive] From...?

CALLER: [Blurts out, annoyed] It's Spike Lee.

LAURA: [Momentarily stunned and speechless] Uh... well... actually... you have the wrong number."

It's a fun story, but disappointing to hear that Jerry Seinfeld acted like such a prick.


Friday, 19 March 2004

List of fonts used at Disney parks

A pretty comprehensive list of all the fonts used in Disney parks, where they are used and where to download them from.

In. Fucking. Credible.


Tuesday, 16 March 2004


I'm not usually a big fan of mash-ups, especially not the rash of post Jay-Z ones. But I've got to admit that this one is killer.


Wednesday, 10 March 2004

Album Review: Carbon Glacier

Carbon Glacier, (named after the breathtaking black and white mass atop Mount Rainier) is Veirs’ fourth album, is one great impressionistic mood-sweep.

Her last album, Troubled By The Fire while utterly beguiling, trod a familiar, country-tinged path, too similar to the works of Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris to be considered a great work. At times, Troubled By The Fire attempted to straddle too many genres (one minute bluegrass, one minute country, one minute agit-rock), and was denied of absolute greatness by being a bit scattershot and a bit too familiar. With Carbon Glacier, Veirs showcases an album of opaque, wintered laments that evoke the cold, jagged landscape of the Colorado Rockies.

While an album based on a landscape is nothing new, no other artist has succeeded like Veirs. Where other artists (notably Bruce Springsteen on Nebraska) have used the winter as a metaphor for emotional atrophy and exile, Veirs turns the idea on its head, instead focussing on the possibility of new life amongst the icy terrain. The opening lines are telling, “My wooden vibrating mouth / sing me your lover’s song / come with me and we’ll head up North / Where the rivers run icy and strong.” (Ether Sings) and so Veirs remains here for the duration of the album, using the American wilderness as giant metaphor and exploring nature’s unpredictability and the failings of humanity via gently exquisite songs that are both dark and enlightening.

Rapture is an excellent example of the Veirs’ songwriting range, name-checking Kurt Cobain (“junk coursing through his veins”) and Virginia Woolf (“Death came and hung her coat”). While comparing Monet’s Giverny gardens and Japanese poet Basho’s, “plucking ponds and toads” to, “the tree that writes great poetry / doing itself so well.” Recent single The Cloud Room balances its pop-leanings with a beautiful description of winter evenings, (“Trees fade to white / and boulders just might make an appearance / if the sun shines just right”) immaculately. Elsewhere, Chimney Sweeping Man offers a take on Dylan-esque narrative; the lonely protagonist locked into a life pattern of squandered promise. Veirs succeeds in translating the bleak, isolated immensity of nature into the bleak, isolated vastness of the modern city-sprawl, which ensures the album’s resonance

While Veirs’ voice is responsible for the imagery, much of the stark beauty is due to the credible production work of sometime Modest Mouse/Howe Gelb collaborator Tucker Martine; whose bare and simplistic arrangements still bear enough edge so as not to dull the listener into passivity. As Veirs' voice reaches its angel-sweet peak on the chorus to Rapture, a strange, descending vibraphone emerges, conjuring an air of stargazed self-discovery. Elsewhere, Wind Is Blowing Stars with its simple voice and guitar motif, cupped in a heavenly string arrangement is stunning. Only the queasy feedback of Salvage A Smile breaks the stride of the album. Above a flurry of urgently plucked, overdriven guitar and Veirs’ despondent poetry, Eyvind Kang’s viola creates a wonderful cacophony of human despair and strained dissonance.

While the album is deeply-rooted in feelings of isolation, the closing track, Riptide hints at a route out. Accompanied again by Kang’s weeping viola, she whispers, “And with this phosphorescence map / A sailor’s chart, a mermaid’s hand / something I’ll find.” You can be certain she will.

Carbon Glacier is the sound of a focussed songwriter hitting full stride. Not only does it excel in terms of songcraft and musicality; Veirs manages to deliver dour and disaffected subject matter without ever sounding detached or impenetrable. Carbon Glacier is a cold, beautiful and engaging record that improves with every listen. An absolute masterpiece.

Saturday, 6 March 2004

Album Review: What It Sounds Like Volume 1

Alternative Country (or as it has become known) is a tough sound to define. Ever since No Depression was first published in 1995, the magazine has sought to provide examples of, but even they have been quick to point out that they don't quite know what it is (hence the disclaimer, 'whatever that is' appearing on every cover). The definition is elusive because, as with all art, the music pays no mind to strictures or bounds. And yet, somewhere, somehow there is a commonality, a harmonizing chord struck between the cracks of the styles and genres that blend together amid the artists portrayed in their pages. Ultimately though, the best way to understand any music, is to hear it. And here is a collection of thirteen moving and inspired songs that seem to fit together under the banner (whatever that is).

Seattle may seem like an odd place for a country compilation to begin, but then Johnny Cash was no ordinary country performer and Time Of The Preacher is no ordinary country track. Cash, during one of his final tours decided to stop off at a local studio and record this Willie Nelson track. Joining him are Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) on guitar, Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) on bass and Sean Kinney (Alice In Chains) on drums. Concluding this ephemeral super-group was John Carter Cash on twelve-string. As expected, the result is staggering; as Cash delivers one of his most powerful vocal performances.

Ryan Adams' former alma mater, Whiskeytown, make an appearance. Despite being surrounded by more worldly-wise artists on every track, it is the twenty-year-old Adams who sums up the feelings behind more than anyone else, as he admits, "So I started this damn country band / cause punk rock was too hard to sing." Faithless Street is lifted from Whiskeytown's 1995 album of the same name and is a potent reminder that while Adams' rock leanings have become more evident, his roots can be found in country music. Adams isn't the only artist on this collection who abandoned his punk lineage to forge a career in country music. No Depression's Artist of the Decade, Alejandro Escovedo's (formerly a member of 70s punk band The Nuns) finest moment, the startling Five Hearts Breaking is also featured.

The Carter Family's No Depression In Heaven demands inclusion, for it's the track that gave 'No Depression' magazine its name. The song is often credited to A.P. Carter, though research has shown that the true author was James D. Vaughn. This song has often been covered (most notably by New Lost City Ramblers and Uncle Tupelo), but it is the Carter Family's adaptation that remains the definitive version.

Other highlights include the beautiful, Is Heaven Good Enough For You by Alison Moorer, Buddy Miller's caustic, Does My Ring Burn Your Finger? and Hayseed's interpretation of the age-old standard, Farther Alon. Farther Along is proof, once again, that Emmylou Harris is the most perfect harmonising partner in country music history, perfectly complementing Christopher Wyant's baritone vocal.

This disc is bright and humorous yet gloomy and poignant. No Depression doesn't assist in establishing a definition for What it does do though, is serve as an excellent starting point for those to start their journey into the realms into the more credible end of country music. Frankly, this compilation is an excellent opportunity for any music fan to buy a baker's dozen of tremendous, disparate yet comparable songs in one fell swoop.

Sunday, 29 February 2004

I love the Boro, me

Saturday, 3 January 2004

STD movie by Disney

Here's a great review from Skip Elsheimer of a World War II movie that Disney made.

"The next scene is of an animated germ wearing a spiked Kaiser helmet, the Sergeant (played by Keenan Wynn – perhaps best known for his role as Colonel ‘Bat’ Guano in Dr. Strangelove) briefing his troops of the Contagion Corps. The troops are syphilis and gonorrhea germs that wear berets with their initials on them (‘S’ and ‘G’)."