Danny, Champion of Nothing - EP

There’s something glorious about hearing a band playing the stuff they want to play. I’m usually bored by bands trying to sound exactly like someone else or genre X. ‘Oh, we must have a MicroKorg because everyone else in a band has one / let’s all get fleshtunnels, etc’. However, that doesn’t mean I’m averse to enjoying a band when, although they may not be doing anything that different, they still hit all their marks in full stride - like watching a stuntman jumping through a loop of fire you know exactly what to expect and are still impressed when he does it. The only thing I’d say about Danny, Champion of Nothing is that, in their case, the stuntman not only jumps through a loop of fire but does so while sodomising a horse and munching a packet of Hobnobs at the same time. 

Another thing that endeared me was that I couldn’t understand a thing they were saying but it sounded angry. I love Svart Crown for the exact same reason. My favourite lyrics were the ones that went “RAGH RAGH RAAAAGH”. I saw Danny, Champion of Nothing live and found it quite amusing that they thought anyone could actually understand a single word let alone what any of the songs were about. There was a bit about a whistle and I just assumed it was about a lost guide dog. 

Regardless, the EP blazes by in 26 mins and all that’s left is to push it back to the start and listen again. It’s one that impresses from the beginning and develops with each listen. Baikal’s opening is like a missing song from the Diablo II soundtrack with a second movement written by Biffy Clyro. I challenge anyone to listen to the last 30 seconds of it and not be caught up in the energy and nod their head in time. The only weak note is maybe the end of Modern Futilities which brought to mind the end of a self-pitying Slipknot or Burning Red-era Machine Head track. 

All this considered, it’s a cracking record and they even got around the 4am marketing meeting decision of calling their band Danny, Champion of Nothing by referring to themselves as DCON. 

Nice one, fellas.

Listen to and then buy Danny, Champion of Nothing here.

Lady Gaga - ARTPOP
Having wanted originally to just write FART PLOP as the review I thought I’d write a little more instead. A follow-through, if you will.
I remember being very impressed with Lady Gaga’s striking earlier stuff and following the release of Born This Way everyone stopped caring. She seems to have become less and less relevant with each release. Mostly cos she released a terrible cod-rock album 30 years late.
ARTPOP finds her deciding to throw far too many hooks and genre switches into each track which dilutes the overall impact. In the main it sounds like MSTRKRFT, Daft Punk and Madonna had a fiveway (Totally achievable - Madonna has a lot of holes.)
If that last comment was too graphic for you take a swerve away from this record as Ms Gaga only wants to talk about fucking and money. As someone who finds her less than attractive listening to her sex chat it like being courted by Quasimodo.  
The record opens very well but then falls apart. First 3 tracks are great but by the end you’re bored. 15 tracks is too long these days - especially when at least 8 of them should have been cleansed with fire. 
The problem with ARTPOP is that you could take a 30 second snippet from any song and, on its own, you’d think it was great. But then when you listen to the full 4 minutes it doesn’t sound as good. Far too often each song has 2 great ideas and then 3 bad ones. And they repeat the bad ones. Fashion! is genuinely awful but tries to win you over by stealing sounds from other people’s songs to give you a sense of familiarity - in this case the keytar bit on Daft Punk’s Digital Love.
Lastly, a word or three must be said about the R.Kelly collaboration Do What You Want. It’s a fabulous ode to the joy of watersports. I mean you don’t get R.Kelly in to sing “Do what I want with your body” while you sing “Do what you want with my body”. Considering we all know he loves to piss on girls.
Additionally one of his lyrics appears to be “I could be the drink in your cup, I could be the cream in your butt” 
Songs worth checking out: Aura, Venus, G.U.Y., Do What You Want, Swine & Applause.
Cleanse with fire: All the others but especially Dope and Jewels N’ Drugs
Enter into Eurovision: Gypsy
3/10
 
Oh. If you want to hear better pop music you should check out Fiona Reid’s new track BRAVADO. Which is fantastic and much better than this.

Lady Gaga - ARTPOP

Having wanted originally to just write FART PLOP as the review I thought I’d write a little more instead. A follow-through, if you will.

I remember being very impressed with Lady Gaga’s striking earlier stuff and following the release of Born This Way everyone stopped caring. She seems to have become less and less relevant with each release. Mostly cos she released a terrible cod-rock album 30 years late.

ARTPOP finds her deciding to throw far too many hooks and genre switches into each track which dilutes the overall impact. In the main it sounds like MSTRKRFT, Daft Punk and Madonna had a fiveway (Totally achievable - Madonna has a lot of holes.)

If that last comment was too graphic for you take a swerve away from this record as Ms Gaga only wants to talk about fucking and money. As someone who finds her less than attractive listening to her sex chat it like being courted by Quasimodo.  

The record opens very well but then falls apart. First 3 tracks are great but by the end you’re bored. 15 tracks is too long these days - especially when at least 8 of them should have been cleansed with fire. 

The problem with ARTPOP is that you could take a 30 second snippet from any song and, on its own, you’d think it was great. But then when you listen to the full 4 minutes it doesn’t sound as good. Far too often each song has 2 great ideas and then 3 bad ones. And they repeat the bad ones. Fashion! is genuinely awful but tries to win you over by stealing sounds from other people’s songs to give you a sense of familiarity - in this case the keytar bit on Daft Punk’s Digital Love.

Lastly, a word or three must be said about the R.Kelly collaboration Do What You Want. It’s a fabulous ode to the joy of watersports. I mean you don’t get R.Kelly in to sing “Do what I want with your body” while you sing “Do what you want with my body”. Considering we all know he loves to piss on girls.

Additionally one of his lyrics appears to be “I could be the drink in your cup, I could be the cream in your butt” 

Songs worth checking out: Aura, Venus, G.U.Y., Do What You Want, Swine & Applause.

Cleanse with fire: All the others but especially Dope and Jewels N’ Drugs

Enter into Eurovision: Gypsy

3/10

 

Oh. If you want to hear better pop music you should check out Fiona Reid’s new track BRAVADO. Which is fantastic and much better than this.

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

The Eater of Dreams

Awful. Like a child eating diamonds and shitting out sand.

Copy of A

Lyrically this sounds like the drunken rambles of a man with too much money - a Tory MP tucking into his lunchtime swan pie. It’s emotionally Xeroxed. The drum beat follows the repetitive and frankly 19 fucking year old pattern of Closer except with about the same intensity as a recent speech by the recently-castrated Nick Clegg.

Come Back Haunted

Another single melody lasting an entire song with stuff built on top. Could be 3 mins long but is 5. Yeah there is a cosy familiarity in hearing Trent sounding like Trent but Elvis still sounded like Elvis when he was shitting himself to death.

Find My Way

Considering the intricacies of NIN’s previous work – the remixes of Further Down The Spiral for example – it’s sad to hear such empty tracks like this. Where is his passion now? He sings in a dull lifeless monodrone like Nick Cave on ketamine. Five minutes too long.

All Time Low

The song before was an All Time Low to be honest. This just sounds like someone messing around with a sample of a cow. Definitely has the feel of Scissor Sisters at their worst.

Disappointed

Most of the song titles are review in themselves. It sounds to me that Trent decided to be Talking Heads but left his talent in his 20s. It’s crazy to think they used to be a rock band – we’re left with something so dull James Blake would consider it too slow.

Everything

Well, this one is up tempo. FOR A FUCKING PILE OF TRAVIS-CUNTSHIT. So toe-clenching awful I had to spend the rest of the album coercing my balls to come back out of my body.

Satellite

Okay, so this can’t be as bad as Everything and has a decent groove to it. Nice tones and Trent’s voice actually sounds like it belongs on the song unlike all that went before it. He even breaks out of his monodrone.

Various Methods of Escape

Imagine if you paid for this record? Thanks Nine Inch Nails for highlighting that people who still buy music without streaming first are IDIOTS. Spotify saved me money on this rusty turd. This song follow the pattern of every other song on the record – 5 minutes long and nothing happens. Well, it kinda breaks in the last minute but mid tempo. It’s basically a re-tread of the “I won’t let you fall apart” ending of The Fragile.

Running

Really like the buzzing melody and mellotron-esque backing vocals. Otherwise it’s all very steel drum Vampire Weekend and equally as pitiful.

I Would For You

Again there is something quite pleasant about the verse but the chorus sounds like Johnny Rotten singing the national anthem through his piss flap.

In Two

Finally, a bit of spark. There’s a bit of life here and some nice vocal effects. It loses momentum of course as every verse feels like it’s twice as long as necessary. It finally claws something back – again in the last minute – but it should have done this much earlier. Also none of the lyrics mean anything. They’re vaguer than Obama’s stance on drone attacks.

While I’m Still Here

Ugh. There’s less beat here than on your grandma’s life support monitor.

Black Noise

While typing the above I wrote Black Nonce. That would be 100% better. This instrumental end is actually quite good. It sounds like something I made in 2007.

Verdict: SKID MARKS

Won’t Get Fooled Again

andy-welch:

"Hello Mr Welch. Visa Card Services here." That was the line with which my nightmare started one Sunday morning, hungover, sitting on the sofa trying to piece together the night before. The landline rang. I was surprised because I’d only given the number to about three people.

The person on the other end of the phone – Mark – told me there had been a number of fraudulent transactions on my bank account since midnight, adding up to about £1,100. I’d never heard of Visa Card Services before, but then I’d never had money stolen like this before. Maybe this is what happens?

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Stake Land

Stake Land is basically The Walking Dead with vampires. It feels like they shot a six episode season then edited it down to a 90 minute film. The tone and character building is similar - long and drawn out except for when vampires attack and then it feels like it was filmed by a very bad horror movie enthusiast. 

All of this contributes to the weird pacing issues the film has. Each scene feels like it could have been a 45 minute episode but instead has been cut down to 20 minutes. Characters come and go and plot lines become garbled.

Overall, I found the experience choppy and nowhere near as effective as I should have. If this has been left to boil a little longer it could have been great.

Meh.

3/10

The Last Stand

A distinctly average action film which, considering the pedigree, should have been sensational. Fresh from the morality swamp of I Saw The Devil comes Jee-woon Kim with his first Hollywood effort and he only goes and casts Arnie in his comeback. The film is crammed full of watchable talent like Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Johnny Knoxville and even a random cameo by Harry Dean Stanton. 

It took a while for the cinema audience to sync with the comedy but once a few laughs had blossomed from the the film became a brilliant crowd pleaser. (Note: The flare gun death caused the biggest laugh I’ve heard in the cinema for a while).

As with ALL Arnold Schwarzenegger films the bad guy is NEVER as awesome as him. The bad guy is always some completely hopeless dope who when you put them in a head to head with Arnie look ridiculous - Kindergarten Cop, The 6th Day, Commando (although Bennett was legendary), etc. So yes, the film is fun and a blast and all that but there isn’t any depth and it’s absolutely throwaway. 

6/10

God Bless America

Coming cold on the trails of Birth of a Nation Bobcat Goldthwait’s poorly executed mess of a movie lands with less impact than a mid-season episode of Lost.

Frank, a sad, intolerant man who has lost everything goes on a killing spree with an equally intolerant young girl called Roxy. Whilst the start of the film is particularly good and presents how mean spirited television has become the solution proposed by the two is equally problematic. 

What we get are long soapbox monologues of poor stand-up comedy masquerading as character dialogue. Midway through one of these diatribes Frank starts calling Roxy “Juno” - which would be funny if it wasn’t actually true. The never-ending, tedious dialogue grates on you. Who is it trying to convert? Right wing folk are clearly going to dismiss it immediately and intelligent left wing folk are gonna pick holes in every single scene. Worse are the obnoxious bits where they list people who deserve to die from “Mormons and other religious assholes who won’t let gay people be married” to the rather twee “People who pound energy drinks all day.”

Okay, I’ll try and keep this next bit simple: Picking on people we don’t like in society (for whatever reason) then blaming them for the rot in our culture is basically how Hitler managed to gas 6 million jews. That’s what we have here. It’s ironic that the “this is what Hitler did” argument used incorrectly so often by Fox News, etc, is actually the plot backbone in this left-wing movie.

There is a small silver-lining that could have saved this movie. During their killing sprees the press coverage twists the motives for their own agenda. Kill someone in the cinema for talking? It was clearly the violent Vietnam documentary they were watching that caused it, etc. I also liked when they killed the Westboro Baptist Church the press reported it as possible Obama Death Squads. This was clearly the most subversive part of the film and if it hadn’t been so throwaway it could have won me over. 

But it didn’t.

2/10

Curators - The Cold In The Walls

Following on from their debut release Is This A Private Flight? Curators have huddled together, perfected their sound and delivered one of the finest eps I’ve heard in a while.

Whilst the cover is a little Led Zeppelin IV for my taste the music contained within is nothing like that – thank God. I would have preferred a photo of the terrible band Cold stuffed into the walls of someone’s house like a horrific Fred West tribute but ce la vie, you can’t have everything.

The opener, Sunk reminds me of classic Get Up Kids. It’s a flawless up-tempo track with some pretty zingy lyrics that sidestep cliché and come across honest and heartfelt. It’s perfect. Ghost in the Attic sounds like a cross between early Placebo and Glasvegas which makes it particularly striking.

Every time I see the phrase “Loose Lips Sink Ships” I think of Shout Out Out Out Out’s “Guilt Trips, Sink Ships” which is a damn hard tune to beat so it’s with great relief that the Curators track of similar name is just as superb. I especially liked the Idlewild When I Argue I See Shapes-type vocal play end bit. Although I would have put a huge dubstep drop in before the last chorus because I’m a terrible person. If anything, sometimes Curators don’t allow themselves to revel in the joyous crescendos they architect – but that’s a selfish critiscm really. As Flight of The Conchords said “2 minutes in heaven is better than 1 minute in heaven”.

North Star is the beacon of the ep: providing not only a shiver down the spine moment on the delivery of the first chorus but building on its repetition and making it stronger each time. Thankfully, it bears no relation to Mel C’s Northern Star either. It might have but they stopped their producer Guy Perchard adding bells and xmas tones to it according to the inlay credits. Sometimes a band knows best.

In what I’d only consider to be a minor flaw with the record is that on Bones & Scars the lead vocals sound slightly less enthusiastic on their delivery than the backing vocalists which dampens the experience the song deserves. The ep closes on the thunderous Dinosaurs which although starts off a little Slowasaurus it quickly evolves into a fucking T-Rex and stomps the shit out of everything. Which is a lovely way to round things off.

The album is available to stream on Bandcamp at the moment with download coming soon or you can go buy the cd from Big Cartel right now. Go check it out.

9/10

Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph starts off so mesmerising incredible that it was if a large mushroom had fallen onto my head and I’d doubled in size. I was absolutely grinning from ear to ear at the beginning.

And then, all of a sudden, it takes a turn into Shitland. Or Candy Land as it’s actually called. At this point it stops being the film it was advertised  and just becomes the usual insipid Disneyland sugary nonsense. It’s like a Gawker headline - hook you in with an interesting headline then smothers you in a pointless article. You’ll notice the movie poster above shows lots of your favourite computer game characters and this is the biggest cheat. Sonic and those folk are in for a brief couple of scenes.

What the movie poster fails to show is a shitty candy land filled with ultra annoying characters. My patience wore out well before the end and I began to seethe quietly in my seat. I hated it. I hated being cheated in this way whilst being forcefed sickly and cancerous themes of good will. Anything where you are supposed to feel sympathy for a character voiced by Sarah Silverman is off to a losing start. In fact, I can trace my dislike for the film directly to her character’s appearance. Her screechy child-imitating voice actually made me want to HULKSMASH everything.

I’m sure a lot of other people found Alan Tudyk’s voice for the king equally annoying. But I thought it was funny as I was pretty sure it was being done by the guy who played Roget Rabbit until I checked the credits.

So basically, good opening section and the rest is teeth-grindingly awful.

1/10

Oh, quick few words on Paperman (the short film shown before Wreck-It Ralph): Best thing Disney has done since Beauty & the Beast. 10/10