Wednesday, 21 December 2005

The best albums of 2005

25. The Fall - Fall Heads Roll
Pounding, lurching and the equal of anything in their catalogue.

Best track – Pacifying Joint

24. Adam Green – Gemstones
The dickheads at Q gave this no stars. That just proves how fucking great it is.

Best track – Down On The Street

23. Ryan Adams – 29
You do sense that Adams is still struggling to nail down his artistic identity but many of the songs on 29 are the most beautiful he has ever written.

Best track – Strawberry Wine

22. Pajo – 1968
Airy, stirring and surprisingly sweet, 1968 has the former Slint man in delightfully winsome form.

Best track – We Get Along, Mostly

21. The Time Flys – Fly
Juvenile, reckless and very nearly perfect. One of the best punk albums of the last decade.

Best track – Jailbait

20. Nada Surf – The Weight Is A Gift
Alright, they rarely meander from the safe-haven of melodic indie-pop melancholy but Nada Surf make timeless records that show a complete disregard for musical fads and fashions.

Best track – Blankest Year

19. Mercury Rev – The Secret Migration
A little way short of 1998's Deserter's Songs but The Secret Migration is an uplifting, joyous celebration of all the beauty in the world of Jonathan Donahue's boys.

Best track – In A Funny Way

18. Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary
The move to Sub Pop has helped Spencer Krug tidy up the rough edges of their earlier EPs and allow their magnificent songs to shine through the chaos.

Best track – Fancy Claps

17. iLiKETRAiNS - Progress Reform
Never mind it's apparent status as an EP, it has eight fucking tracks, which is enough for me to consider it an album. Super-serious and devoid of any humour, Progress Reform is macabre gothica played through waves of distortion. Just brilliant, all told.

Best track – Terra Nova

16. Ry Cooder – Chavez Ravine
The most poignant, authentic and fun history lesson you'll ever have.

Best track – Chinito Chinito

15. Kanye West – Late Registration
So expansive and ambitious, it makes his debut sound positively lo-fi but more importantly it does what few hip hop artists have managed and delivers on the promise second time around.

Best track – Gold Digger

14. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
An album destined to become the standard bearer for this era of post-punk. Angular, edgy, pulsating and makes you want to dance your ass off.

Best track - Helicopter

13. M.I.A – Arular
Aggressive, antagonist, political but downright funky and sexy. Remarkable and revolutionary global pop.

Best track – Pull Up The People

12. Edan – Beauty & The Beat
It was easy to predict that Edan would've returned with another tribute to the golden age of hip hop. What wasn't so easy to predict is that he'd wrap his rhymes up in 60s psych-rock. An incredible mishmash of genius.

Best track – The Science Of The Two

11. Ben Folds – Songs For Silverman
Like all Folds records, it's a little corny and a little clichéd but it's also tender and heartbreaking.

Best track - Landed

10. The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
Baffled as many fans as it delighted but Get Behind Me Satan marks a huge step forward in the evolution of one of the world's great rock bands.

Best track – The Denial Twist

9. The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday
That The Hold Steady made one of the best albums of last year was some achievement, that they followed it just twelve months later with an equally great album is quite something else.

Best track – Stevie Nix

8. Damien Jurado – On My Way To Absence
Damien Jurado might be the most consistent artist in the world at the moment. Ever since 1999's Rehearsals For Departure his solo work has been of a staggering high level. On My Way To Absence isn't as dark as his last solo venture but it is richer and more inviting.

Best track – White Center

7. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
CYHSY arrived with such a barrage of hype, it would've been easy to be dubious but this record is an absolutely thunderous debut that points to absolutely colossal potential.

Best track – Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood

6. Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
Stripped down, this is the sound of a young man who's totally fucked off with his country but it's the closeness and honesty that ensures this is Conor Oberst's second consecutive masterpiece (I'll ignore the substandard Digital Ash In A Digital Urn).

Best track – Road To Joy

5. Sigur Rós – Takk…
Not since Moby's Play has an album been quite so ubiquitous but to criticise Takk… for being the backdrop to nearly every news report this year would be churlish. Only Sigur Rós seem capable of making music that is so frail and so muscular, so noisy and so beautiful. A truly, truly amazing album.

Best track - Saeglopur

4. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
A unique and extraordinary achievement. An absolute work of art and, miraculously a new high watermark in Sufan's canon.

Best track – Chicago

3. The National – Alligator
Wow! The National really went for it with their third album. Their previous two long-players hinted at brilliance, but this is their first masterpiece. Alligator is gossamer light at times and thrashing and pounding at others. Matt Berninger delicious everyman lyrics are better than ever. Smart, witty, powerful and absolutely fucking brilliant.

Best track – Mr. November

2. The Silver Jews – Tanglewood Numbers
2005 was the year that Dave Berman finally unmasked. His depression and his drug use became public knowledge but instead of shifting into the shadows he roared back triumphantly with his first true rock album. "Where's the paper bag that holds the liquor / just in case I feel the need to puke" was the year's best opening lyric. Powerful, moving and remarkably self-assured.

Best track – Punks In The Beerlight

1. Antony & The Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now
Johnny Cash's Hurt notwithstanding, I can't remember the time a voice moved me into a hushed awe. I Am A Bird Now is tough, honest and beautiful; an album that finds hope in amongst heartbreak and loss. It's like nothing else you've heard this year, or indeed any other year. Rightly recognised by most as the year's standout album.

Best track – Hope There's Someone

Monday, 19 December 2005

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Saturday, 17 December 2005

John Spencer dies aged 58

John Spencer, who famously played Leo McGarry in The West Wing, has died of a heart attack.

Though it's always had a terrifically talented ensemble cast, Spencer was always one of the stand out performers in The West Wing and the show won't be the same without him. 

In a very sad irony, of course, his character had suffered a massive heart attack in the previous season.


Friday, 16 December 2005 Man of the Year Awards 2005 Part II

Part II of the Man of the Year Awards have just gone up.

You can read the column here

Tuesday, 13 December 2005 Man of the Year Awards 2005

Has it been a year already? have just published the first half of this year's Man of the Year awards.

Part II is coming later in the week.

You can see the results here

Monday, 12 December 2005

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Monday, 21 November 2005

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Friday, 18 November 2005

Singletons sue for fake dates

Users of online dating service are suing the company over complaints that staff have posed as interested date prospects online and IN PERSON!

" is accused in a federal lawsuit of goading members into renewing their subscriptions through bogus romantic e-mails sent out by company employees. In some instances, the suit contends, people on the Match payroll even went on sham dates with subscribers as a marketing ploy.

"This is a grossly fraudulent practice that is engaged in," said H. Scott Leviant, a lawyer at Los Angeles law firm Arias, Ozzello & Gignac LLP, which brought the suit."


Monday, 14 November 2005

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Sunday, 13 November 2005

Eddie Guerrero RIP

Former WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero has died at the age of 38.

In the past Guerrero had fought addictions to alcohol and painkillers but he was believed to be clean at the time of his death. Time will tell what the cause of his untimely passing was but the important thing is that wrestling has lost a superstar and his wife has lost her husband and his two daughters have lost their father.

Friday, 4 November 2005

Honest game titles

The latest Photoshop Phriday at Something Awful is a doozie.


Thursday, 27 October 2005

Katamary Damacy the text adventure

ruxxell has turned Katamary Damacy into an absolutely fucking fabulous text adventure.

"You are standing on the floor of a bedroom.
Your Katamari is 10cm.

> N

There is a PAPER CLIP here.


I do not know what a CLIP is.


You roll up the PAPER CLIP.

You are standing on the floor of a bedroom.


Your Katamari is 10.2cm.

> N
You are standing on the floor of a bedroom.
There is a bottle of WHITE OUT here.


You attempt to roll the WHITE OUT. You bounce back with a jarring force!

You are standing on the floor of a bedroom.
There is a bottle of WHITE OUT here."


Katamary Damacy lyrics

Some dude has translated the lyrics of the Katamary Damacy soundtrack into English.

"I sprinted, I twisted,
I tried to run about everywhere
I spun, I was spun,
I rolled into anything I could find
I was attached, I felt included,
hey! I just picked up so much stuff!

I tried to avoid it, I tried to flee,
But the power was too much, came crashing down on me
I tried to push it, I tried to pull it,
At the end of my rope, I tried to cast it away
I crashed, I snapped,
A huge thrill ran through my body"


Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Album Review: Summer In The Southeast

You’ll be hard pressed to find a review about Will Oldham that doesn’t contain the word ‘enigmatic’. Certainly, Oldham has a reputation for being grumpy and uncooperative. However, his talent is never in doubt, something reinforced by the release by Drag City of Oldham’s first live album.

Whether working as Palace, his own name, or Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Oldham’s albums are never particularly embellished with production trickery, but Summer In The Southeast allows an even greater focus on the songs themselves.

Master and Everyone erupts in a way it didn’t when housed on the 2003 album of the same name, while the classic Appalachian sound of Nomadic Revery is enriched by the live recording and the fragility of fatalistic anthem, I See A Darkness, means it almost disappears altogether until its emotional crescendo. And there are yet more changes to mainstays of Oldham’s catalogue, I Send My Love To You gets a full boom-click-boom country makeover. May It Always Be is noisily transformed from the version on 2002’s Ease Down The Road album, while the Celtic folk of Madeleine Mary gets a bluesy makeover.

O Let It Be from 1997’s Joya is the album’s one true rock song. But it is the repertoire of love songs that has Oldham at his most tender; the barely-there melody of Beast For Thee is one of the set’s standout moments.

Bar some irritating whooping from the typically excitable US audience, of which I dare say Oldham wouldn’t have approved, this is an enjoyable listen from beginning to end.

Monday, 24 October 2005

Album Review: Fancy Barrel

After two celebrated EPs, Aidan Smith decided to move from Twisted Nerve to Analogue Catalogue and, with the change of labels, upgrade from a 4-track to a professional studio for his debut album. Fortunately, the ramshackle nature of his approach has not been tainted.

Smith manages to blend jauntiness and tragedy with some ease and is more than able to seamlessly negotiate between the every day humour of Jam Will Suffice and dark tales of violence like The Cuckold, without ever letting his smile slip. In fact, Smith plays the latter track with so much levity that the listener may initially miss the fact that the song is actually a bitter story of suicide.

Yet, Fancy Barrel is not just some throwaway comedy album. The opening track, Aeroplanes, Pigs etc, offers some excellent jazz drumming, whilst the sinister pseudo-lounge core of Bert’s Violent Rage is another example of Smith’s slightly skewed approach to songwriting.

Whether elated or afflicted, Fancy Barrel proves that Smith is a talent without any obvious limitations.

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Saturday, 22 October 2005

Secrets of the Haunted Mansion

Here's a stunning tribute site to Disney's Haunted Mansion.


Thursday, 20 October 2005

Gallery of new wave record covers

The Endless Groove has an incredible gallery of scans of punk and new wave record sleeves.


Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Murray Wilson drunk rant

Here's a magnificent piece of audio. It's Murray Wilson (father of Brian, Dennis and Carl of the Beach Boys), drunk, ranting and abusive in the studio.

"January 8, 1965: The Beach Boys enter the studio to record what will become their second number one hit, Help Me Rhonda. Well into the session, a drunken Murry Wilson (Brian, Carl and Dennis' Dad) arrives and proceeds to commandeer the session with psychodrama, scat singing and weepy, abusive melodrama."


Monday, 17 October 2005

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Monday, 10 October 2005

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Saturday, 8 October 2005

Album Review: Tanglewood Numbers

David Berman and his Silver Jews have always been something of an enigma. Part of the Jews’ mystique was a lack of solid information about David Berman; his refusal to play live or grant interviews. But now, with news of Berman’s addictions and suicide attempts made public, the veil has been lifted. What’s more, it’s helped Berman create his greatest album.

From the opening seconds of Punks In The Beerlight, it’s clear that the music matters more than it ever has. With guest spots from Will Oldham, Bob Nastanovich, Paz Lenchantin and Stephen Malkmus, perhaps it’s not surprising that the music is of high quality, but more importantly, there appears to have been a shift in the way that the songs are performed and structured. If its predecessor, Bright Flight, was a muted country record, then Tanglewood Numbers is straight-up band orientated rock and roll. In fact, only the ballads I’m Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You and Sleeping Is The Only Love offer respite from the otherwise non-stop romp.

It’s no surprise that Berman - probably the most talented lyricist of his generation - refuses to allow his words to be overshadowed. Lines like “Andre was a young black Santa Claus / Didn’t want to be like his Daddy was,” allay any fears that Berman’s intentional drug overdose two years ago has dulled his wit. What’s more, his singing voice, nominally the weakest part of any Jews record, is more forceful and intense than ever.

It would’ve been easy for Berman to turn Tanglewood Numbers into a maudlin, autobiographical account of his drug addiction, but nothing could be further from the truth. As Berman chants “I saw God’s shadow on this world,” with almost insane conviction, you know that he has used his adversity to create an altogether triumphant rock record.

Monday, 3 October 2005

Album Review: Fall Heads Roll

Thirty years have passed since The Fall released their seminal debut, Live At The Witch Trials. While the band appeared to be in decline, 2003’s Real New Fall LP was hoped by many to indicate that the fire and passion that saw them knock out classics like Dragnet, Grotesque and Perverted By Language with almost casual regularity has returned.

Opener Ride Away is as jaunty a tune as they’ve released since their version of The Kinks’ Victoria. The electronic swirls bop along to a ragged reggae skank and a one-two beat with Mark E Smith’s cheeky, intermittent, “hey hey” is a perfect introduction to what is the most frequently brilliant Fall album since This Nation’s Saving Grace.

Pacifying Joint has Eleni Smith’s synthesiser zipping over the kind of dirge guitars that only The Fall do this well. That Smith’s lyrics are delivered in the perfect drawl is but icing on the cake. Blindness, having appeared on both Interim and the Peel Sessions Box Set, will be the track most anticipated by Fall fans. Harking back to their long-standing rule that ‘longer is better’ and sounding meaner than ever, Smith’s band demonstrate the magic that can make seven minutes of the same riff feel like a far too short length of time. Later, Smith deconstructs The Move’s I Can Hear The Grass Grow by literally tearing apart the original’s multi-layered arrangements and turning it into a raucous singalong.

Only the Mark E Smith-less Trust In Me (which, annoyingly, closes out the set) sounds out of place on an album which not only proves that The Fall can live up to their legend but, in fact, are more than able to surpass it.


Nicholas Cage has named his new son after Superman: Kal-El Cage.


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Monday, 26 September 2005

Album Review: Music To Start A Cult To

Revolving around the supposed Royal Order of Rabbits, the Californian trio Gram Rabbit’s debut is one of intrigue, beauty and, above all, the occult.

After a couple of tracks it becomes apparent that Gram Rabbit are a band who refuse to stay in one place for too long. From the dark folk-country of the opening track through the murky synth of Disco#2 to the fuzzy stadium rock of New Energy, Gram Rabbit prove themselves to be equally adept at each of their chosen styles.

The shadowy spaghetti-Western twang of Dirty Horse is an immediate highlight, while Cowboys & Aliens is a Rapture-esque dancefloor stomper. Devil’s Playground is a tumbleweed-choked country hymn that depicts the struggle of everyday life.
And then there’s the dreamlike commentary on the culture of violence that is Kill A Man, a track that would sound right at home alongside some of Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack work.

It would be easy to dismiss this whole thing as tongue in cheek curio but I & suseJ - a track played entirely in reverse - and the monastic chanting that lies of the conclusion of Land of Jail give some indication that Gram Rabbit take this cult thing seriously. And, of course, at the helm is the bewitching and seductive Jesika von Rabbit. You can’t help but admire their dedication.

You’ll probably hear more immediately appealing albums but don’t be put off by the sunstroked weirdness, this is a real gem.

Saturday, 24 September 2005

3 Dev Adam

3 Dev Adam is one of my favourite movies. It's a Turkish film that features Mexican wrestler Santo teaming with Captain America to defeat evil Spider-Man.

It looks like the guys at I-Mockery love it as much as I do.


Friday, 23 September 2005

Willie Hutch RIP

I've just heard that Willie Hutchinson, aka Willie Hutch, died on Monday.

Hutch wrote so many of Motown's greatest songs, including The Jackson 5's I'll Be There and released loads of incredible singles of his own. Brother's Gonna Work It Out, Slick and Sunshine Lady are all classics and his stuff was sampled by the likes of Biggie Smalls, Lil' Kim and, of course, he was a big inspiration for The Chemical Brothers.

He also soundtracked blaxploitation classics The Mack and Foxy Brown... I could go on, the man was a genius and will be missed.


Tuesday, 13 September 2005

Album Review: In Case We Die

There's something undeniably childlike about In Case We Die, the second album from Architecture In Helsinki. Yet, for every propulsive drum beat or gleeful handclap, there's a sad segue or moment of tender guitar playing.

Few bands are able to straddle this line between childhood and adulthood, and to do it, the Melbourne eight-piece take a dizzying detour through genres that even Arcade Fire would struggle to keep up with. On the opener, Neverevereverdid, the listener is sped through opera, classical and jazz before the track collapses in a prog rock meltdown. And all in three minutes, thirty-three seconds. Later, there's the twee mathematics of It's 5 and the cute dance pop of Do The Whirlwind.

And yet, from the album's first sounds - funeral bells ringing - to it's last, the theme of mortality is everywhere (ghosts, cemeteries and reincarnation all feature heavily). The feeling is that we should sing, dance and celebrate now, because it might be the last chance we have.

Monday, 12 September 2005

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Saturday, 10 September 2005

Album Review: Once Upon A Little Time

Ploughing the same field as Howe Gelb and Mark Lanegan, John Parish has slowly but surely built one of the most satisfying rock catalogues in recent memory, choosing to work with other artists (notably, PJ Harvey, Eels and Sparklehorse) rather than take the role of front man himself.

In spite of, or perhaps, because of, this, Once Upon A Little Time feels like a life time’s work; Parish’s wife, Michelle, designed the sleeve and his daughter, Honor, set the type and his other daughter, Hopey, plays shakers and organ on the rollicking Sea Defences.

As for Parish himself, picking up the microphone for the first time fifteen years, his voice barely lifting above conversational volume, is world weary and raspy. In other words, his lyrics are the perfect accompaniment to the cracked production style that has realised them.

That’s not to say that the album is pedestrian. In fact, Parish gets dangerously close to rocking out on the Cajun-tinged Even Redder Than That and the devilish Trick Pilot.

Accomplished and graceful, Once Upon A Little Time sees Parish finally take centre stage. It’s been worth the wait.

Monday, 5 September 2005

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Friday, 2 September 2005

Rules of modern advertising

BBC writer John Camm explores the 26 rules of modern advertising.

"1. Men are obsessed with sex but will forego sex in order to watch football or drink beer.

2. Women are locked in a constant battle with their weight/body shape/hairstyle.

3. Career success is entirely based on your ability to impress your boss.

4. Mums are often harassed but NEVER depressed/unable to cope."


Tuesday, 30 August 2005

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Monday, 29 August 2005

Vag in a can

Hey, what guy can't use a nice tall can of female genitalia every once in a while?


Monday, 22 August 2005

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Monday, 15 August 2005

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Saturday, 13 August 2005


Monday, 8 August 2005

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Saturday, 6 August 2005

Album Review: Fly

Strutting out of Oakland, California with a brimful of attitude and summoning the eternally indecent and time-tested formula of scratchy guitar, subterranean drums, bruising bass and sneering vocals are The Time Flys. Their debut Fly is a juvenile, reckless and very nearly perfect record.

With twelve brutal and jumpy tracks, many of them less than two minutes in length, Fly immediately recalls the sound of the New York Dolls, The Gizmos, The Stooges and The Penetrators. In fact, it’s so deeply reminiscent of late 1970’s punk that you would be forgiven for mistaking it for a lost nugget from the pre-punk Midwest/New York landscape.

Sir Eric “The Masher” Von Ravenson, Andy Freeze, Erin Error and Peter P Juvenile have crafted an album with a ramshackle and almost sloppy feel which, when compared to most of today’s over-produced rock offerings, is highly invigorating.

Each feral two-minute punk blast bombards the senses, but Jailbait, Teenage Years and Anti-Depressants are especially abrasive, taking in, as they do, underage sex, alcoholism and drug abuse. For those still in any doubt, the band lay out their manifesto on Time Flys Theme, “We're the Time Flys and we don't care / You don't like us cuz we got long hair / We play Rock and Roll, we got no time / It's OK as long as it rhymes.”

The obvious 1970s punk comparisons and obscure doo-wop cover, Teenage Tears, suggest that The Time Flys are rooted firmly in the past, but there’s enough lyrical weirdness and explosive noise to suggest that they’ve got at least one eye on the future.

Monday, 1 August 2005

Another season at has been relaunched for the new season.

The site's undergone a bit of a redesign and there are a few new columnists joining me on the staff.

You can read my first column of the season here.

Friday, 22 July 2005

Man shot dead by police in London

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that, this morning, they shot dead a man at Stockwell underground station.


Thursday, 21 July 2005

Explosions in London

Four explosions have gone off on the London transport network. This is two weeks exactly after 56 people were killed in the capital.

The BBC is reporting that these explosions are significantly smaller, as are the reported number of casualties. There are reports that devices did not work as planned.

The news is on the TV now but nothing has yet been published online.

Wednesday, 13 July 2005

Carny lingo

Welcometothefair have listed a pretty comprehensive glossary of the language carnies use.

"BABY NEEDS MILK - When carnies see another carny flirting with the townies, they will often go by and say this just to mess up their buddies 'score'.

FAIRBANK - When the agent cheats himself to get the player to bet higher and higher sums.

HANKY-PANK - In the old days it meant a game where a you win a prize everytime. Now it is usually used to apply to any straight game."


Thursday, 7 July 2005

Another explosion in London

A bus has just exploded in Tavistock Square.

This incident, along with the explosions this morning on the Circle and Piccadilly lines haven't yet been confirmed as terrorist attacks but I don't see how this can be anything other than a coordinated attack on the city.

This is eerie, weird and fucking scary.

London explosions

Three explosions have occured on the London underground.

It's unclear whether anyone is hurt at this stage.

I hope everyone is okay.

Saturday, 2 July 2005

Album Review: Illinois

With two years passed and just two states down, Sufjan Stevens should expect to conclude his 50 States project sometime around 2099. Whether he manages to finish the project or not is largely irrelevant because, like Michigan before it, Illinois is, in both theory and practise, a staggeringly huge collection of American artistry.

Weighing in at a hefty seventy-four minutes and with a selection of song titles that would double as mini-essays, the album - which Stevens recorded, produced and engineered entirely on his own - requires no small amount of patience. And, at first listen, Illinois does sound remarkably similar to its predecessor, his hometown tribute, Michigan. However, with repeated listening, the nuances of Stevens’ approach are revealed.

Stunningly arranged instrumental tracks like To The Workers and The Predatory Wasp mix with brilliantly written descriptive pieces like Casimir Pulaski Day and Decatur, which in turn sit beside the rousing singalongs, Chicago and The Tallest Man.

It’s all but inconceivable that the next forty eight albums will be this good, but with a talent like Stevens, you never know.

Tuesday, 7 June 2005

Bootlegged Star Wars sub-titles

Jeremy at has just posted some hilarious screengrabs of a bootlegged Chinese version of The Revenge Of The Sith that he bought.

Holy shit this stuff is funny.


Tuesday, 31 May 2005

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Monday, 23 May 2005

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Friday, 20 May 2005 Writers' Awards have just published their first ever end of season awards.

You can see the results here

Thursday, 19 May 2005

Grand Theftendo

Grand Theftendo is a port of the original Grand Theft Auto to the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System.

It's a pretty incredible undertaking.


Thursday, 12 May 2005

50 Disney facts

As part of the countdown to the 50th anniversary of Disneyland (17th July), the San Francisco Chronicle have produced a great list of 50 little-known Disney facts.

"7. Children's Fairyland in Oakland was one of the major inspirations for Disneyland. Walt Disney even hired Fairyland's first director, Dorothy Manes, to work at his park.

8. From groundbreaking to opening, Disneyland was built in just 365 days.

9. Perhaps inevitably, Opening Day -- July 17, 1955 -- was a disaster. Asphalt poured just hours before guests arrived hadn't fully dried, and women's spiked heels sunk into Main Street. VIP passes were widely counterfeited, and double the expected number of people showed up. Rides broke down. Because of a plumber's strike, Walt Disney had to choose between drinking fountains and bathrooms. He opted for the latter, telling a reporter, "People can buy Pepsi-Cola, but they can't pee in the street.""


Monday, 9 May 2005

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Monday, 2 May 2005

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Monday, 25 April 2005

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Thursday, 21 April 2005

God save the Piz'

Apparently Pizza Express share its birthday with the Queen. And apparently this year it's the chain's 40th Birthday. Both seem a little unlikely to me but anyway...

To commemorate these facts, they have commissioned a series of pizza portraits.

Good to see Camilla getting in on the act too.


Monday, 18 April 2005

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Thursday, 14 April 2005

Hillbilly Greeking

You've all seen 'Greeking', it's the place-holder text that gets used by designers when they don't have real copy to work with. You know, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit...."

GreekMachine have introduced a greeking generator that creates, amongst other things, Hillbilly greeking:

"Hairy buckshot, pasture no fence buy round-up city-slickers quarrel had. Darn askin' y'all sheep lordy, yonder spell. Liniment yippie it crazy broke fat tractor thar. That broke fussin' cabin dirt how out sittin', fried, heapin' barn chitlins nothin', jezebel. Farm reckon, confounded fuss polecat barrel.

Whomp shootin', fussin' jiggly truck wild afford, liar everlastin' skedaddled jehosephat.

Hee-haw nothin' caught simple feathered hootch hoosegow skinned fetched trailer buy her fit. Caught ails pick-up tar, no fire, polecat moonshine shed, farm guzzled ever road jest damn. Highway pot wild tax-collectors hoosegow simple tin huntin' squalor greasy fer woman skinned."

Why would anybody use anything else?


Wednesday, 6 April 2005


NotApathetic has been set up to give people in the UK who don't vote a chance to get their voice heard.


Monday, 4 April 2005

Lego vs Disneyland

These Lego fans have built a scale model of Disneyland.


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Saturday, 26 March 2005

Massive Mario mural made from Post-Its

Take 3,800 Post-It notes, 12 people and 90 minutes and apparently it's possible to make a four-storey mural dedicated to Nintendo's famous plumber.


Monday, 14 March 2005

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Monday, 7 March 2005

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Friday, 4 March 2005

1121 'names' you can't put on your NFL jersey

Here's a very, very, very, very, very long list of words that won't print on your personalised NFL jerseys.

2 ON 1


Monday, 28 February 2005

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Flyers from the early days of hip hop

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

These dudes have scanned a selection of hundreds of hip hop flyers from the 70s and 80s.

The page takes a million years to load but boy is it worth it.


Wednesday, 23 February 2005

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Monday, 21 February 2005

Hunter S Thompson (1937-2005)

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."

Hunter S Thompson, who committed suicide yesterday.


Friday, 18 February 2005

CBGB may have to close

This is seriously sad.

Legendary New York venue, CBGB may be forced to close due to rising rent.

It'll be a very, very sad day when it's forced to shut its doors for good.


Monday, 14 February 2005

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Thursday, 10 February 2005

Album Review: No Said Date

Only the most ardent Shaolin monk would disagree that the Wu Tang symbol has lost some of its lustre in recent years. Odd then, that it should take an album from the quietest member, and the only one who hasn’t previously released a solo album, to reignite the whole group.

Par for the Wu course, there are guest spots from Ghostface, Method Man, Raekwon and Gza (all as good as you would expect), but this is very much Killa’s party. The production from Rza (whose rejigging of Outkast’s Skew It On The Bar-B on the title track ranks among his best work) is exemplary and the Wu chieftain even manages to pilfer samples from the themes of Sanford & Son and Cheers. Elsewhere, Mathematics and True Master are close to their best on cuts like Secret Rivals and Last Drink. In fact, the whole thing sounds like it came from the Wu’s 1994 heyday, which seeing as many of these tracks have been cocooned for over a decade, isn’t all that surprising.

That’s not to say there isn’t some degree of innovation, Digi Warfare, D.T.D. and School all broaden the Wu canon with a selection of vicious beats.

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Album Review: I Am A Bird Now

It's not often that new music actually stops you in your tracks, but it was only those made of granite that weren't hushed into an awed silence the first time they heard Antony sing. "Hope there's someone who'll take care of me when I die", the opening words to the best album of the year.

From the Peter Hujar photo, Candy Darling On Her Deathbead, that adorns the sleeve, to some of the subject matter - breast amputation (My Lady Story), domestic violence (Fistful Of Love) and gender confusion (For Today I Am A Boy) - it might appear to be a hard shell to crack, but what makes I Am A Bird Now all the more compelling is that Antony is able to take what are profoundly personal words and transform them into something highly ambiguous and hugely accessible.

Nonetheless, it is Antony's voice that, for many, is the main draw. Equal parts Nina Simone, Labi Siffre, Billie Holiday and Jimmy Scott, Antony sings with such sadness, such belief, such frailty and such authority that he could be singing about anything and it wouldn't matter. Even better then, that the lyrics should be so affecting and challenging.

It's somewhat fitting an album which, more than anything, draws on feelings of isolation and loneliness should have such a stellar cast of supporting players. Long-time Antony champion, Lou Reed, adds an unpretentious and almost terse spoken word intro to Fistful Of Love, before Antony delivers a heartbreaking account of domestic abuse ("I feel your fist and I know it's out of love"). Immediately afterwards, Devendra Banhart adds some disturbing incantations to the beginning of the staggering Spiralling.

Just preceding those two songs is What Can I Do? Here, Antony relinquishes the lead vocal role and allows Rufus Wainwright to take centre stage. Wainwright, a highly accomplished singer himself is, despite his best efforts, ultimately upstaged by Antony's supreme backing vocals.

Of the collaborations though, it is, perhaps surprisingly, Antony's duet with Boy George on You Are My Sister than works best. George, who offers his best vocal perfomance since The Crying Game, holds Antony's hand through a paean to broken friendship that is one of the album's most poignant moments.

But, in the end, I Am A Bird Now is not about the special guests; it's about the beauty of Antony's voice, the power of his delivery and the bravery of his words. After Antony has found his wings and completed his metamorphosis on the concluding track, the beauteous Bird Gerhl, the listener is left to reflect on an album of transformation and transcendence, an album that is life affirming and tragic at the same time, an album that is immeasurable in scope and, at times, uncomfortably confessional. An album that has quite literally nothing in common with the rest of the musical output of this decade so far.

And that, if nothing else, is worth celebrating.

Monday, 7 February 2005

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Monday, 31 January 2005

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After the game at Carrow Road it was pretty hard finding anything to laugh about, but my latest column is up at now.

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Monday, 24 January 2005

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Thursday, 20 January 2005

Album Review: The Secret Migration

In a natural extension of 2001’s All Is Dream, Mercury Rev’s sixth album is one of pomp and grandeur. Across Yer Ocean’s soaring melody is an early indication of what follows, as are the lilting pianos and rolling bass lines of Secret For A Song. Elsewhere, the fragile opening piano line of Vermillion is supplanted by an intense orchestral blast.

Jonathan Donahue’s enchanting vocals, which paint an almost perfect collection of idyllic fantasias, are the focal point, but guitarist Grasshopper’s exquisite solo on Black Forest (Lorelei) harks back to the presence he had on the best moments of Deserter’s Songs.

Perhaps aware that the whole thing could easily have slipped into the realm of bombast and ostentation, the band allow the album to drift slightly, with two bewitching instrumental works, Move On and Down Poured The Heavens, before offering one final push of uplifting energy with Arise.

Only the most churlish would dismiss this unashamedly romantic and achingly beautiful album as cheap sentiment.

Sunday, 16 January 2005

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Saturday, 15 January 2005

Getting snapped with characters at Disneyland

Miceland have just posted a great list of tips on how to get your photos taken with Disney characters.


Monday, 10 January 2005

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My first column of 2006 is up now at

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