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

Latest column at

My latest column is up now at

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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

Latest column at have just published my latest column.

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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."