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Apr 17

Unheard Album Project: March 2017

New York London Paris Munich2 comments • 176 views

The (much delayed) third playlist for this project, covering the 31 records I listened to for the first time in March. Delayed partly because it was a lot harder to get some of these songs to play well with others! Full list under the cut.

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Apr 17

The Sound Barrier Podcast: 2: The Beloved Rogue / Neruda

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narude rogue 3 portraitThe second episode of our fortnightly silent sound film comparison podcast. This week our topic is political poets, or poets who have been exiled for their politics (though in one case possibly for his terrible poetry too). Our poets are Pablo Naruda, subject of Pablo Larrain’s recent Naruda, and Francois Villon, portrayed by John Barrymore in 1927’s The Beloved Rogue. Our modern film is playfully metatextual about its subject and delivery, but that isn’t to say that silent film is a simple as the romantic swashbuckler suggested on poster.

Myself and Pamela Hutchinson talk politics, poetry, lens flare, crabby acting, snow and inevitably facial hair as we play our cinematic game of top trumps to determine which movie is the best. And your FreakyTrigger correspondant might say the word “interesting” a few too many times. Subscribe on iTunes here:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/silent-london-podcast/id518437841

Or listen on Silent London here: https://silentlondon.co.uk/2017/04/16/sound-barrier-neruda-the-beloved-rogue-1927/

Presented in association with SOAS Radio.

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Apr 17

The Sound Barrier Podcast: 1: The Lost World / The Lost City Of Z

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sound barrier 1So for a while myself and Pamela Hutchinson, of Silent London fame have been talking about doing a more regular podcast. And while we love talking about silent films, we also like new films too. And so The Sound Barrier was born over a Campari Spritz or four, we take a new release and we contrast it with a silent antecedent. And we were extremely lucky with the release dates as just released was The Lost City Of Z, about Major Percy Fawcett’s hunt for a lost civilization in the Amazon. And this seemed to compare perfectly with The Lost World, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s pulp, in which Professor Challenger (based partially on Percy Fawcett) searches for a lost plateau of ancient creatures. . We talk exploration, beards, special effects, not so special acting and we may even, for a bonus mention The Smurfs: The Lost Village.

You can listen to it here on Silent London:
https://silentlondon.co.uk/2017/04/02/sound-barrier-the-lost-city-of-z-the-lost-world/
Here on iTunes (usual give us a review plea to bump us up search function)

And any suggestions for future pairings let us know, or just come back in a fortnight for the next one. Enjoy.

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Apr 17

2017 Albums I Like Part 1

New York London Paris Munich7 comments • 528 views

hot thoughts Thanks to the Unheard Album Project (March mix on its way!) I am finally in a position where I can ACTUALLY DO a list of the records I’ve enjoyed most in “Q1”. (Note that at no point in my career as a ‘music journalist’ did I listen to enough new music for this to be possible!)

All of these need further listening to ‘settle down’ into a coherent list but here’s what I’ve dug this far.

1. SPOON – Hot Thoughts (Indie rock vets in lascivious mood)
2. T Q D – UKG (“Bass supergroup” brings the wub wub)
3. SACRED PAWS – Strike A Match (Sunny highlife-inflected indiepop)
4. IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE – Uyai (Afrobeats old and new plus lazer noises)
5. GOLDLINK – At What Cost (Catchy go-go influenced DC hip-hop)
6. SERGE BEYNAUD – Accelerate (Tuneful coupe-decale from Cote D’Ivoire)
7. VALERIE JUNE – The Order Of Time (Oak-aged Americana with cawing vocals)
8. CHARLI XCX – Number 1 Angel (Hyperreal pop plus surprisingly good guest spots)
9. KEHLANI – SweetSexySavage (Slinky, opulent R&B)
10. DUTCH UNCLES – Big Balloon (Herky-jerk nerd pop from Manchester)

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Mar 17

Going Back To My Routes: Sinnoh

FT1 comment • 192 views

pokemon pearl This is part of a series of critical essays on the Pokémon games. This one is about Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the fourth “main series” games, and inevitably contains LOTS of spoilers for anyone who hasn’t played them.

WHAT A WELL-MADE WORLD

Every generation of Pokémon games reacts, inevitably, to the one before. In Gen III’s Hoenn region, nature had the upper hand – man had to compromise and adapt to it, literally carving out his niche. In Sinnoh, home region of Pokémon’s fourth generation and the Diamond and Pearl games, nature has been thoroughly tamed – delved, cultivated, and exploited. The first areas of interest you visit are a working mine, a flowery meadow and a wind farm. None of the towns have the wild, precarious character of the Hoenn settlements – instead, they are solid and well-established, to the extent that they seem to blur together. Oreburgh, Veilstone, Hearthome… it’s one well-rendered stony town after another.

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Mar 17

Datapanik In The Year Sheero

New York London Paris Munich45 comments • 3,651 views

sheerageddon Ed Sheeran’s absurd dominance of the singles chart is great news for him, his fans, Asylum records, and Paul Gambaccini’s agent, but it’s hard to argue it’s good news for the chart itself. It demonstrates the utter weakness of the post-streaming Top 40 as a separate entity from the Album chart (since the release of any big new LP can swamp it) and frankly as a separate entity from the Spotify UK Top 50 playlist, which at least has the decency to update a few times a day.

If the problem were just “too many Ed Sheeran songs in the Top 40” then it’s easily fixable – just cap the number of tracks which can chart from any individual LP. But that’s not really the problem. (If you like Ed, it’s not even *a* problem). It’s of a piece with the sclerosis of the chart, that deathly slow turnover of new hits which started in the download era and has been accelerated by the dominance of streaming. And Ed or no Ed, there’s no real sense that the singles chart has a role to play any more.

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Mar 17

Unheard Album Project: February 2017

FT + New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 217 views

These are 27 of the 28 albums I listened to for the first time in February as part of this project. (The 28th, Joanna Newsom’s Divers, is not on Spotify: it would have been represented by “Time, As A Symptom”). The pleasure for me in the project is discovery: the pleasure for me in the playlist is sequencing, and hopefully this mix makes a kind of sense.

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Feb 17

OASIS – “The Hindu Times”

Popular61 comments • 4,611 views

#923, 27th April 2002

oasishindu The biggest band in Britain grinds on, and as usual when an Oasis single toils its way by, their own past is the best stick to beat them with. In 1994, Oasis’ approach – putting great chunks of rock’s past in a smelter and using noise, hooks and force of will to forge something fresh from it – was a thrill. For all Noel’s occasional trolling in interviews, what Oasis represented an alternative and challenge to wasn’t pop. Instead they rebuked rock as it stood in the early 90s, only sometimes unfairly. British indie, first of all, the wan inbred descendent of punk rock, for its habit of simply aping the past, not trying to match it. Shoegaze and post-rock, for their refusal of the possibilities of a mass audience. Grunge rock, for finding that audience and turning away from it with a shudder. And most of all, the classic rock establishment, packing arenas and scooping BRIT awards by offering the same tired product, year upon year.

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Feb 17

The FT Top 41 Films 2016 – #10 – #1

Do You See + FT10 comments • 439 views

tumblr_inline_o30imhR5R21rk58rr_540“Hi I’m The Brave Little Toaster, star of the 1986 film The Brave Little Toaster and its direct to video sequels The Brave Little Toaster To The Rescue, and The Brave Little Toaster Goes To Mars. You know, the late 80’s was a brilliant time to be a Toaster, we were flying all over the place on screensavers, being fancipantsed up by Duralit, and then there was me, an honest to god appliance hero for a consumer age. These days though, you’re all in tha cloud, and there is no room for toast in the cloud, so I have been told. So I sit with my friends, Lampy, Air Conditioner and Two Faced Sewing Machine and watch Entertainment Centre and all the great films that came out last year like these ones. I mean, I assume I got back from Mars, I have to admit I didn’t watch it, it seemed far fetched. ”

Cheers Toasty, and you should just be proud that as a Toaster you got your own film franchise. The mind boggles. Anyway here is the top ten:

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Feb 17

Unheard Album Project: January 2017

New York London Paris Munich3 comments • 261 views

One of my resolutions this year was to listen to a record I’d never heard before, new or old, every day. I’ve kept it up for all of January and here’s a list of what I’ve heard (below the cut), and a playlist taking a track from each. Since there’s no guarantee I’ll like a record I can’t pretend that everything on the playlist is solid gold but I had fun sequencing it and attempting to give it some kind of coherence.