Tell Them All To Go To Hell: Albums of the Year 2012

 Albums of the Year 2012


You might not know it to look at/listen to what little coverage I’ve given music this year (out of what little coverage I’ve given anything, honestly), but I heard 78 albums, mixtapes and EPs released in 2012. That’s excluding reissues, of which you can add at least another ten to that number (seriously, everyone go get the four Archers of Loaf albums). Excepting those only available digitally (like the second Death Grips record of the year – y’know, the cock one), I bought or was gifted all but one on vinyl or CD (the Stanley Odd album, if you’re wondering, which arrived out of the blue from a PR). By and large, I’m happy to have spent that much. It’s been a good year. And I like buying music with my own money, because it means I don’t feel beholden to anyone for a decent review if it’s pish. Continue reading

Lost in the Supermarket

As I mentioned previously, I wrote a few short bits and pieces again for City A.M. Bespoke, the London magazine whose second issue has just appeared online and is embedded after the jump. Some thoughts on the popularity of Philip Glass are on page 9, a commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Joe Strummer’s death is on page 12 and a reminder of how big a deal Life of Pi was for UK publishing in 2002 is on page 13. As before, please bear in mind the target audience is substantially different from anyone likely to be reading this, and know that I recognise the irony of an elegy to Joe Strummer appearing alongside ads for Porsches and luxury watches. Continue reading

I saw him wave and we’re in bloom


I’m once again writing a few short pieces for the next issue of City A.M. Bespoke, which all being well should be available in early December. One of said pieces was a really very short thing about Nick Drake (to tie in with the forthcoming vinyl reissue of Pink Moon) that won’t be running in the magazine any more, so I’ve stuck it after the jump. I really can’t stress enough how short this thing is. And if the last sentence seems excessively pat, well, it is, but again, I’m pleading word limit and writing for an audience that may be unfamiliar with Drake, which I assume is not the same kind of audience currently reading this.


Continue reading

The Weedy Burton

Once again, my pal Steve asked if I would write him a thing about films, an’ that. So I did, and the results – a defence of Tim Burton against accusations of his being past it, in anticipation of the release of the quite splendid-looking Frankenweenieare now online here in the debut issue of City A.M.’s new magazine, Bespoke, of which Steve is the editor. I have page 46 all to myself. Unfortunately, page 46 only holds around 300 words, and I submitted about double that (including an Ozu gag that proved an inevitable casualty of the cuts), so as before I’m going to post that longer draft after the jump. Please, click through to Bespoke and give it the hits, admire the layouts and such, and have a good laugh at just how out of place I clearly am amidst the fashion spreads and adverts for high-end lifestyle products. Then come back here and read why you’re wrong if you’ve written off Burton. Continue reading

‘When I think about you and your poor ukulele!’

And calling a double bass ‘the bull fiddle’ will never not be funny.

I know, I know, at the rate I’m going I’m liable to get a reputation as ‘that Billy Wilder guy’, but I resolved that this week was the week I was going to start posting stuff on here on a more regular basis and it just so happened that I kicked it off by finally getting around to the Blu-Ray of Some Like It Hot, the imminent release of which was one of the driving factors behind the last podcast. Continue reading

We See Things That You Need Not See: Men in Black 3

'Oh no, don't try pinning this one on some San Francisco cocksucker, Wu.'

While I was down in London this past week seeing Jay-Z and Kanye West play “Niggas In Paris” six times in a row (quoth Kanye: ‘AGAIN!’), my friend Steve got me to review Men in Black 3 for his paper, City A.M. (well, the paper he writes for. He’s not quite William Randolph Hearst. Yet, anyway.)

The version that ended up in the paper today was edited slightly from what I submitted (with mild wiseassery and rampant pop cultural nerdery toned down a touch), so I thought I’d post the original here, since I figure mine is the kind of crowd that’ll care exactly which Stones song Sonnenfeld uses to let you know you’re in the 60s.

Also, my review turned out to be quite similar – as in, uses many of the same words, phrases and sentiments – to Nathan Rabin’s for The A.V. Club, which came out yesterday, so I want to make clear that I submitted mine on Tuesday and have the e-mail to prove it. I’m not suggesting The A.V. Club is monitoring my e-mail or anything, but frankly it doesn’t seem that out of the question that Rabin and I have some sort of shinning going on.

Anyway, yes, original version of my Men in Black 3 review after the jump, the version that made it into the paper (along with Steve’s review of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom) here: Continue reading

Parents – They’re So Fucked Up: The Descendants

George Clooney; a hedge


You’ve probably heard by now that the opening minutes of The Descendants, Alexander Payne’s adaptation of the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, do not bode well for what follows. The first film Payne has directed that he hasn’t co-written with Jim Taylor, his partner on Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt and Sideways (and surreally, wonderfully, credited drafts of Jurassic Park III and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry), starts with a concentrated burst of uncharacteristically clunky expository voiceover from George Clooney, playing Hawaiian lawyer Matt King. As Clooney looks the old show-don’t-tell rule square in the face and dares it to blink, there’s an emergent worry that seven years off has left Payne the writer a little rusty, even as Payne the director expertly complements the narration bemoaning outsiders’ idealised visions of Hawaii with shots of an island city that looks like it could be anywhere in the USA. Continue reading