Archive for the Music Category

Heretic Pride Review

Posted in Music, Review with tags , , on 2 February, 2009 by J-Man

So here’s the second music review on EG by popular request (actually it was just Dom asking for it). It’s the album Heretic Pride by the Mountain Goats.

Sax Rohmer #1

In my opinion, the first song of an album has to show what the rest will be like. You need some lyrics, some choruses, some acoustic guitars etc. Sax Rohmer has all of these, but twists it in a peculiar way. Kinda depressing lyrics, mixed with happy and cathartic drums and acoustic guitars makes an incredibly good sounding track.

San Bernardino

Here’s the song for the softies – a tale of love amongst “yellow and blood red bits; like a kaleidoscope.” There’s no hint of sorrow in this track, but there’s a sacrifice of energetic sounds, for a slightly more repetitive group of strings. There’s twinging of guitars, and is that a violin I hear? (I listen to the songs as I write this, to be as accurate as possible. You may also have noticed I never use the music jargon for 2 reasons; I don’t know it, and it’s slightly exclusive to solely those who know it.)

Heretic Pride

The track which the album is named after, and its probably the best. While the Goats never blast me away with their melodies, the lyrics are just incredible. They fit in perfectly, are sung with conviction, and engross me every time I hear them.

“Crowds grow denser by the second
As we near the center of the town
And they dig a trench right in the main square right there
And they pick me up and throw me down”

This song is probably the best, due to the fantastic story backing it. Its also a great example of a typical Goats song.

I’ll finish this review later by editing the post, I’m a tad busy right now. Expect part 2 within the day or by tomorrow.

Cloud Cult – Feel Good Ghosts Review

Posted in Music with tags , , on 17 January, 2009 by J-Man

It’s easy to review a film, or a game, because there’s very basic criteria, and you can easily tick all the boxes on a list in a review. I have no clue how to approach a music review, so I’ll try and do this track by track, which makes more sense to me than lumping all the songs together and reviewing them.

1 – No one said it would be easy

It’s a basic start to the album, and while it isn’t the best song, it certainly does give you the idea of what Cloud Cult are really all about; lengthy instrumental intros, repetition of lyrics, guitars, and a general feel-good atmosphere.

2 – Everybody here is a cloud

A quieter track than the first, it’s also softer and has better lyrics. Bonus points for the SOOKY SOOKY SOOKY SOO! bit.

3 – The tornado lessons

Far more unconventional, this features an organ, and a clip of audio from a message from Apollo 8. The lyrics, while there aren’t many of them, are brilliant. Minus points for the annoying as hell squirrel voices in the background.

4 – When water comes to life

The song with the longest instrumental parts (featuring violins), but certainly the softest. Not brilliant lyrics, but its fantastic in that it turns from a single violin into a massive syntheticy indie piece.

5 – Must Explore

It’s an audio clip of a guy going “man must explore”. Shouldn’t be counted as a track, and serves no real purpose.

6 – Journey of the featherless

It’s a genero-indie song, and to be honest I don’t like it. The lyrics aren’t uplifting, and the ending just doesn’t sound right.

7 – The ghost inside our house

Another genero-indie song, and like journey, I disliked it. It’s acoustic guitars, with a guy singing very softly.

8 – It’s what you need

One of the shortest tracks, it’s one of my favourites. It’s short and sweet, I love the beat and instinctively yell “what you need!” when listening to it.

9 – Story of the grandson of Jesus

I didn’t think I would like this one, what with the theistic implications, but its just a really nice song. Guitars and drums play as a modern-day parable is sung in a slightly computerish voice. Bonus points for when someone laughs “I messed up” and then an incredibly quiet, yet assertive voice says “No you didn’t.”

10 – Hurricane and fire survival guide

The opening makes it seem like this song will be depressing, with a piano peice, and then some high background notes from some weird instrument that I have no idea what is called. But then it reaches a crescendo more than 2 thirds of the way through, and we hear the uplifting lyrics “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”, before they hum along along with the tune.

11 – May your hearts stay strong

Since when was it obligatory to include a depressing song an indie album? AIH did it with Places like this by putting in Feather in a Baseball Cap. If you want to savour the essence of Cloud Cult’s sweet happiness, skip this song.

12 – The will of a volcano

Slightly yell-y, but great singing, and the odd choice of instruments suits it perfectly. Then the electric guitars and drums kick in. The entire song is one crescendo,  before collapsing into silence. Great.

13 – Love you all

A mainly instrumental song, but an electronic voice butts in regularly to talk about loving parents (no, don’t run). The fact that this voice is electronic up until the end makes the humanity of the vocalist all the more striking.

GCSE Module Results

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 15 January, 2009 by J-Man

I do 3 papers to start off with; one for each subject, those being physics, chemistry and biology. The maximum result for each is 50. For A* you need at least 45, and for an A you need 40. So it was with great glee I noted down my results.

P1A – 47
B1A – 43
C1A – 50

So two A*s, an A, and full marks on chemistry. Not too bad. But I’m less confident with my ISA, which is when you’re marked on an experiment.  I also don’t get the results back for the ISA, because the results are subject to moderation by the exam board. Ah well.

In other news, Cloud Cult, Mountain Goats and Architecture in Helsinki are all competing to be my favourite band. Throw some Decemberists in there, and I’m about to explode with such a difficult choice.

Last.fm is brilliant

Posted in Music with tags on 11 January, 2009 by J-Man

So, in an effort to discover good and new music, I’ve turned to last.fm. You create a free profile, download a teensy application, type in the name of favourite bands or genres, and then it’ll play you a big selection of similar music. You then choose “love” or “hate” and last.fm will decide on new songs to play you based on previous choices. It’s very simple, requires no technical skill, and I already discovered 4 new bands I love.

http://www.last.fm/user/existentialistG

Feel good ghosts

Posted in Music with tags , , on 10 January, 2009 by J-Man

Have now replaced “Places Like This” as my favourite album. Sorry, AIH. It’s a beautfiul album, with one particular song that appealed to my more feminine side. For some reason. Look, why are you still thinking about that sentence? Don’t quote me on that. GO AWAY.

A look back at 2008

Posted in Films, Gaming, Literature, Music, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , on 2 January, 2009 by J-Man

Music:

Places like this – Architecture in Helsinki

An absolutely brilliant album by an absolutely brilliant band. The only songs I disliked where Feather in a Baseball Cap and Underwater. The first was the only down-beat song in the album, and felt oddly out of place. The latter was extremely repetitive and slightly boring at the end. However, Like it or Not and Lazy (lazy) stole the limelight, and are possibly the two-most listented to songs on my iPod.

Tweekend Advance – The Crystal Method

A slight let-down. I heard Name of the Game in the film “Tropic Thunder” and thought it was my thing. However, the album was full of overly-similar and underwhelming beat-driven songs. Disappointing.

Films

In (fuckin’) Bruges (wit’ you?!)

Absolutely brilliant film, definitely the best of the year. In case you’re wondering why I haven’t posted recently, it’s because I went to Bruges, inspired by the film. Colin Farell is brilliant as the insolent yet charismatic protagonist, with Ralph Fiennes playing the English boss. Although the music was dodgy in parts, it was fantastic.

in-bruges

Waltz with Bashir

Another brilliant film, and definitely shocking at the end. Slightly repetitive in that there’s perhaps too much action, but otherwise was great.

The Baader-Meinhoff Complex

This one follows the story of several terrorists/freedom-fighters as they try to survive imprisonment in a judicial system. It’s interesting in that makes the protagonists morally ambiguous. I found myself warming up to a few of them, despite terrorist activities.

Burn After Reading

A very funny and well-directed observation of human morals and motivation. Criticised by many for a confusing story, its strength lies in the fact it doesn’t actually have a conventional plot. It’s just a bunch of characters and their reactions to what’s happening around them.

Literature

Catcher in the Rye – Salinger

At one point the USA’s second most taught book and most censored peice of literature, it’s brilliant. It’s a semi-existentialist look at a disenchanted teenager’s visit to New York after being expelled. It’s written superbly, and had me hooked from start to end.

Consolations of Philosophy – De Botton

A short, but incredibly useful philosophical book that shows the reader how philosophy can help in day-to-day situations with things like anger, lack of money, unpopularity, inadequacy, difficulties and the end of romantic relationships. It’s well written, and was apparently turned into a TV series.

The Trial – Kafka

The Trial.cover.1

I read the graphic novel version of the book, which is a surrealist tale of beauracracy and sex, as well as having incredible visuals. It’s confusing in some points, and depressing in the end, but it’s a great read, and I strongly recommend.

Che: A graphic biography – Spain Rodriguez

Another great graphic novel, this one about one of the best communists ever; Che. It displays his life from start to finish, fighting the good fight against American imperialism. Slightly biased in that it shows few of his mistakes, but one of the best things about him was that he admitted his mistakes when he made them.

Games

There’s a massive Steam sale on, which lasts until the 2nd (tomorrow), with games reduced to frankly silly prices. Bioshock is £3.50, and Trials 2, which I got, is £1.50. It’s one of those infuriating, yet hilarious games, and Chris Livingston sums up the feeling at 1fort.

Aside from that, I’m slowly becoming disenchanted with the FPS, thanks to IGN. So instead, I’m substituting my usual fare with some indie greats, like N, in which you a play a little ninja jumping around 2-d levels. No, don’t run away. The beauty is that when you perform moves perfectly, leap past the enemies trying to hit you with lasers, and then jump on top of a block hurtling towards you at a lethal speed and use it as a lift, everything seems incredible. It makes me look forward to Mirror’s Edge far more.

TV

Dexter

Another succesful series, but yet again I have the feeling the writers will soon run out of ideas. However, now that Dexter’s married he has to juggle living with a family with murdering villains. Some people say it’s formulaic and Dexter is put in a good light because he only kills bad people, but the point is he kills bad people because it’s easier for him.

Robot Chicken

Another teensy-tiny series by Seth Green, but this was alleviated by the release of the second Star Wars spoof. Utterly hilarious again, I hope they keep making ’em as good as this.

Other Stuff

Barack Obama

Bout frickin’ time. Nevertheless, if any thing at all goes wrong in 2009, Fox News will pounce at the chance to slander him with all their dirty republican abilities. Note: I fucking hate Fox.

Bruges

Was fun. I was there for three days, and it was certainly not a shithole. It’s weird though. It’s like the town is split into three. In the south you have the big streets, dirty markets and a few nice parks, in the middle it’s like a gothic medieval town with cathedrals, canals and squares, and in the north it turns into a quaint little french town. Brussels, on the other hand, is undoubtedly a shit hole of epic proportions. It feels like the dirty end of Tottenham Court Road everywhere you go.

Architecture in Helsinki

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on 22 December, 2008 by J-Man

New music update! I’ve heard a lot about this on James, but never really got round to listening to it. Until 30 minutes ago. Now I’m researching their albums and finding websites places to pirate purchase their music. That makes 2 great bands I discovered this week!

Helsinki

The music is generally bright and kinda uplifting, and will provide a worthy opposite to Rage Against the Machine on my ipod. Here’s an embedded video for you to get the idea: