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Summerteeth was new territory for Wilco who before having recorded songs as they would be performed live would on this album overdub alot of material resulting in perhaps more convuluted or experimental material.
She's A Jar is a great track, a laid back acoustic number laden with spooky synth. Tweedy welcomes you with 'She's a jar with a heavy lid'. Tweedy was significantly influenced by twentieth century literature i his lyrics which read in his words which seem almost like poetry. It's a very eerie track and you're never quite sure what Wilco are trying to make you feel with their combination of words and backing.
I'm Always In Love is a more energetic number which appears to be influenced by Tweedy's break from his wofe of the time. It's an all out pop song with eerie synth and chugging guitar moving it along. There's definitely a hint of The Band in there. Perhaps barr the synth... What I like is how Wilco are able to produce such songs that are so simple yet would be near impossible for another band to reproduce. There's complexity but at it's core it's just good pop.
How To Fight Lonliness takes a more sombre tone with Tweedy crooning slowly over a gently strummed acoustic and the ever spooky keys. Depressingly the song appears to tell of how you can 'fill your heart with smoke' but it will continue to 'follow you round'. And there I was hoping to discover how to really fight lonliness... Tweedy tells us we can kid ourselves ('just smile all the time') but we will be perpetually lonely (uplifting stuff).
Summerteeth is a fantastic album and is probably my favourite Wilco album. It's proabbly slightly too long at 17 tracks but it's packed with some real gems which I will continue to listen to for the perfection evident in the lyrics and often hard to follow backing.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot saw a strange period for Wilco, on finishing this album their label refused to release it and decided to stream it free from their website. What makes this so surprising is that it's such a fantastic album and was pre-Radiohead's free music stunt.
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart opens the album in befitting fashion. Drums clatter and cascade whilst keys hum for the first minute before Jeff begins to sing sweet poetry over an apparet mess of sound. A lovely dischordal piano solo is a highlight. Any guise of structured writing appears to be dropped in favour of some jamming that wouldn't be alien to a Verve album.
War on War takes a more standard approach. Beginning with guitar and drums it sounds a little like Go Your Own Way to begin with! But not for long. It as you would expect deals with the issue of war, taking a more folky, country rock approach. 'You have to learn how to die if you wanna be alive'. Wilco sometimes remind me slightly of Eels, especially in this track.
I'm The Man Who Loves You appears like a take on all those cheesy love songs. It's often non-sensical lyrics and cliched chorus feels a bit like a piss take for Wilco and the unconventionally sloppy guitar backs up this idea. But it's a fun song and nice to listen to.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is a good Wilco album. There's an element of experimentalism about it and unconventionality which might be a factor in to why the album was refused release but it's nice and I really like Wilco's style, subtle yet often totally out there.
Wilco are an indie folk rock outfit hailing from somewhere in America (excuse my research) with Sky Blue Sky being their sixth studio album.
Either Way opens the album in traditional wilco fashion. It's gentle, melodic and soothing, Jeff Tweedy's soft voice whispering baffling lyricisms through your speaker. The song is beautifully constructed with subtle strings, atmospheric keys and perfect guitar solo. Some may find this music boring but it's simply subtle. There are countless details that only take a keen ear to discern.
Please Be Patient is another fantastic song. It feels like an intimate ballad you might sing a lover, nothing about it is overbearing and as a whole Sky Blue Sky is a much mellower effort than any of Wilco's previous efforts. Anything needless appears to be stripped away from the songs leaving beautifully raw songs which is more than welcome in a world where over production is horribly common.
On and On and On fits into the same vein. It's subtle melanchoic feel and thoughtful lyricals are effective without being cheesy or wet. The reptitively swirling backing backs the content of the song perfectly before it descends into a bit of a rocker.
Wilco are a great band and whilst this somewhat more chilled out release will confuse or even put off some it shows ability to suit different moods successfully by the band and I personally really like it.
Vista Home Basic will probably have been the most popular Vista package, the operating system for the every man (and woman).
The one aspect you will notice about Vista instantly is how good it looks. Whereas XP may have been clunky Vista is sleek and smooth with the covetous 'aero' look. It's sort of a concession for windows trying to attract those who may have been drawn in by Apple's ever tasty graphics.
Another great feature if on the task bar when you have multiple programs open you can open all windows at once and see them all at once to toggle through them. When they are all minimised you can hover over them and see a miniature ghostly version of the window appear (which is very useful if you want to quickly check an installations progress for example). All very useful but hardly a huge step.
Another 'revolution' is the way Windows have changed how your files are indexed allowing easier searching and such. Frankly I never had problems with searching or ever found myself having to search alot anyway. But you have a nice layout of where files are stored now into proper sections rather than folders for things such as pictures and documents which is nice. The problem is all of these changes are nice not necessarily awe inspiring or making me overjoyed I parted with a significant amount of cash.
Now the problems Vista has is such, reliability. For one there are quite a few programs which will not run on vista. Relatively iritating, potentially making Vista unusable for some. I'm no computer expert but when I've had to reinstall Vista 3 times in a period of a year or so it doesn't shout reliability for a piece of software. I can't really go into details of the causes as I really have no idea but I know I'm not alone. Many people have complained of Vista's unreliability. Even going as far as reinstalling XP...
This is the model of guitar that 5 years or so ago I learn to play guitar on.
Having received advice that a classical guitar was easier to play (and hurt less to play) I decided to buy one and seeing how much cheaper one of these babies was than it's steel strung counterparts I bought one straight away.
Opening it up it's quite a beautiful sight. Very simple design and for the price I was surprised at how well finished it appeared, it didn't look it's price tag. It came with a Yamaha guitar book incidentally which was quite good for songs but not for actually learning the basics.
The tone of the guitar is nice, with classical guitars I have little comparisons but it sounds lovely and warm and a million times the tinny little jobs I've played on before.
Given it's age this guitar has last quite well. Around the edges there is a little wear and tear wear it's been carried around and noced against things but it is in as playable a state as when I bought it. And it was perfect for learning on. Just buy yourself a good book!
Photoshop, probably the most powerful image editing and creation programs of all time. And with it's hefty price tag you'd certainly hope so.
It's quite difficult to review something that has so many appliations and possibilities for use but I will do my best....
Photoshop for a start is very well laid out. You will standardly have a number of windows open which will aid you in whatever you're working on. There's a navigator window which lets you zoom and navigate around the worspace, an action history where you can easily undo and redo any action you have done, a main tools window which allows you to select brushes and erasers and all of that. What is somewhat irritating about this however is that these windows can get in the way of your view and getting on with whatever you're working on, you can make them dissappear with tab key (windows) but then this removes the ability to quickly switch between tools. It's especially annoying when you're using lassos making selection and bringin up the windows would cause you to lose your selection points.
The array of effects you can implement is simply baffling. You can achieve practically anything with photoshop. The problem of course is working out how the hell to go about doing it. There are countless filters, image adjustment settings, blending options and such which I am slowly picking up. I find the only real way to learn is through tutorials and jumping straight in and trying things out. I am liking goodtutorials (look it up on google) which helps you learn photoshop within practical applications.
My REAL pet peeve about photoshop CS v 8.0 is when you're working on something if you are viewing the image at anything other than 100% then it will appear pixelated and distorted. VERY irritating when trying to gauge whether something looks right or not.
Really photoshop is an indispensable tool for people working with image processing and image creation I really couldn't think of any alternative and if there is one it obviously hasn't caught on perhaps with good reason...
9 is the follow up for folksy Damien Rice's infamous debut album O.
The album opens with 9 crimes, piano leading the gentle ballad. It builds slowly from simple piano riff to overlaying vocals with cymbal and cello and odd bumps and bangs. The 'Is that all right?' refrain keeps returning and becomes annoyingly lodged in one's head. It's certainly shows difference from Rice's debut. Whilst the first album was quite and fragile this sophomore effort appears larger and amplifies some of Rice's subtlties. Perhaps on this song not all to my taste...
Rootless Tree should come with a warning. What begins as quiet, guitar and muttered vocals develops into a chorus with a 'fuck you' refrain. Please keep one hand on the volume knob if sensitive ears are nearby. It's startlingly and the chorus, forgetting it's lyrics for a moment, feels almost as if it belongs to a stadium rock outfit. It's new and it's something that would be completely out of place on the first album. Damien rocks but the reason I liked his first album was because it filled a void that all out rockers simply couldn't. It had fragility and subtlty which I thin this album is all too short of.
One song I really do like off the album is Cocunut Skins. It's bouncy and folky and shows real afliction as well as odd metaphor I can assume in the lyrics. What he means by coconut skins one can only speculate... It's a thankful moment amongst an album which feels largely ingenuine. Whilst his debut came off as emotive and touching 9 feels almost like a cruel imitation of the feelings Rice managed to produce on O. It's not a terrible album but sickly pale in comparison to his debut.
The Third Man is a film that reguarly appears on those 'best films of all time' and all such lists despite being released over 50 years ago and in black and white. As an amateur film admirer (we all are aren't we?) I decided to give it a look in after having it recommended to me by a friend.
The Third Man tells the story of Holly Martins who having received a letter from his friend Harry Lime about wishing to work with him travels to Vienna. On his arrival he discovers that Harry has been killed by a lorry whilst crossing the road. He rushes to Lime's funeral and discovers finds out about Lime's wish for his girlfriend to be looked after. Finding Lime's girlfriend Anna he talks to her and begins to suspect Lime's death...
There are a number of amazing aspects to this incredible film. It contains some of the most classic scenes of cinema. The cat in the door way scene, the chase scene and that endlessly reproduced scene of Anna walking off into the distance at the end of the film. It also contains one of the most fantastic film scores of jangling guitar which is jarring and dramatic, I believe it was also one of the first score written specifically for a film and the film won an award for its soundtrack. The camera work is also great, at no point is the camera sitting as if its on a flat surface, every angle is slanted. A technique used to jar and disorient the audience. It's an odd but effective touch. The starring actor is Orson Welles and oddly for a film the big star actor does not appear until the last 20 minutes. It's an incredible film and every scene feels perfect, it's difficult to describe a film without you watching it really. It's a must see for any amateur film admirers like myself.
Fargo is a Cohen Brothers outing and when the Cohen Brothers release a film you're pretty certain it's worth watching.
The premise of Fargo is relatively simple. An ordinary man finds himself in trouble, having had money problems he's been stealing money in small segments through his father in law's car dealers which he also works at. Still having problems and realising the amount of money he's stolen has cascaded to a rather noticeable amount he decides he will solve both problems at once by hiring two men to kidnap his wife and ask for ransom money which his father in law (his wife's father) will pay, he will then keep half and give the other half to the two men he hired. He will then be able to pay back the money he had taken as well as having enough to keep himself afloat. The plot is based on a true story we are told in the beginning which seems hard to believe but.. there you go. Unfortunately for our main character things get horribly out of hand horribly quickly...
What is so good about this film is the way it tells the story. We are given snapshots of everyone involved, we are given insights into the home life of the police woman involved in the investigations. The 'down time' of one of our kidnappers and the desperation of our husband...
There are also some great moments that demonstrate how well the Cohen brothers are as film makers. The symmetry between the police woman and the old schoolfriend meeting for lunch and the kidnapper and a prostitute meeting for dinner is fantastic and is something the Cohens must have paid close attention to for them to write it in.
Camera work is also used to great effect to produce a response from the audience. I am only an amateur film admirer but I understand that use of the camera is paramount for what you want the audience to feel. Close in your face camera angles are used to make the audience feel as awkward as the characters are meant to and far panned angles make the audience feel as if theyre sneaking a look at something they shouldn't be. But it's small touches like this that demonstrate the Cohen brothers attention to detail that produces incredible films like this.
Lynx Dark Temptation is the, perhaps somewhat controversial, 'chocolate deodorant'. And rather than have this as a subtle ingredient it is the source of the advertising campaign, you may well have seen the chocolate man lynx advert. This chocolate man is, of course, irresistible to women. I don't know what exactly the boys in the ideas sector of Lynx were thinking when this idea was formulated or why whoever suggested it wasn't laughed out of the board room meeting. The logic is obviously because women like chocolate they will be attracted a man that smells like chocolate which is frankly ridiculous logic. I think if I was a woman and I found my date turned up stinking of chocolate bars I would probably be infinitely more perplexed than aroused.
The design of the Lynx cans has always been excellent and Dark Temptation is no exception. The suave metal can is topped with a twist spray nozzle which prevents any accidental spraying when in transit or when fumbling in the bathroom cabinets. The graphics are also always very contemporary and look achingly stylish which is probably one of many factors in it's large popularity within the teenage boys. (A probably larger factor is it's advertisements that promote it's ability to attract women without fail).
The actual scent is very odd. As you would expect it has a sweet aspect to it, there's a fruity, flowery hint to it also without it smelling too much like a perfume and of course the dry alcoholic stench makes it smell as manly as a can of petrol. The 'chocolate deodorant' smells surprisingly little like chocolate, not even chocolate ina jar of pot pourri. I did some research and discovered that infact this deodorant does not contain chocolate but rather it contains caramel. Which surely means it just contains sugar? I'm no confectionist. But Dark Temptation is a surprisingly standard Lynx scent. It's inoffensive, light and sweet smelling. And I have a feeling that this chocolate deodorant malarky is all just a gimmick...
Series 2 picks up just where the bizarre first series left off. Mac is in a coma after the accident in the ambulance and Guy has been suspended from the job. Martin as it turns out is absolutely fine. Mac wakes up fine but Caroline soon discovers he has no recollection of a short time prior to his accident, including the moment they became a couple right before it...
This series takes a much more plot based approach, whilst the first series focused more on situations that yielded hilarious improvisation there are plenty of twists and turns and drama in this second series. Theres death, marriage proposals, illegitimate children, stabbings with swiss army knives and detection of terminal illness all in this series. None to the degradation of the humour however. The first series allowed you to get comfortable with the characters and I feel that this series really allows the actors to make the best of this or even surprise us. Guy may yet show us he has some humanity...
This series contains some of my favourite sketches of all time. You can probably find them on youtube, there's Guy playing keyboards in the operating room, the peanut scene and of course Guy pretending to be anything but middle class.
Where I felt the first series could do no wrong, the second series beat it. I don't think I've ever laughed more. Green Wing is one of the most imaginative, ingenious, hilarious comedies I've ever seen and despite some of it's morbid themes in this series it's unbelievably uplifting.
Green Wing is a sitcom like no other. It's set in a hospital somewhere in London and this first Series charts the progress of new the new doctor, Caroline Todd (Tamsin Greig; Black Books) into the loony hospital. The set up sounds fairly sane but the way the writers appear to work is by writing the actors a rough plotline and then have them improvise insanely. It feels like immature Python humour restrained within plot. Dr Todd finds herself surrounded by her workmates, hit on by seedy, sexist anaethatist Guy Secretan (Stephen Mangan), the charming yet distant surgeon Mac McCartney (Julian Rhind-Tutt), made green with jealousy by the untouchable Angela and doted on by awkward junior doctor Martin Dear (Karl Theobald).
The level of improvisation is incredible, you'll be driven to tear by laughter with some of the amazing one liners some of the actors come out with, 'You may be thinking I'm comparing my penis to that of a corpse', 'I may be many things, but not being indiscreet isn't one of them' and even more incredible is the skits between them. Guy on the phone pretending to be from Derbyshire is great and Mac and Caroline have some great scenes where he knows she likes him and takes every oppurtunity to play off of this.
There are no huge twists or turns in the series as plot is very much a secondary feature to creating really hilarious comedy. Dr Statham still continues his one and off phsical affair with Joanna, Mac and Caroline show obvious tension, Guy continues to be immature and irritating and Sue continues to be unhelpful. The last episode however yeilds some big surprises.... I won't ruin it for you but it will make you want to see the next series and if you watch it on tv when it was on it will have driven you up the wall to wonder what happens.
The Longpigs released their debut at the heigh of Britpop fevour, you would be excused for dismissing them as a generic britpop act or for not even hearing of them. But they are not to be dismissed.
Lost Myself kicks The Sun Is Often Out off, Richard Hawley plays crunchy melodic guitar whilst Crispin croons about being left alone after a break up. The other members blend into the background and for me only Richard as the talented guitarist, the guitar solo on this track reminds me of Graham Coxon's work on Coffee and Tv which is brilliant, and Crispin as the impressive singer and impressionable front man shine out. The Longpigs to me sound a little like The Las (There She Goes), crossed perhaps with late Blur (later than 96 anyway). Definitely a single.
Far is my favourite song on the album. The chorus gets right inside your head and lifts my mood everytime I hear it. Jangling guitar provides perfect backing to a melody soaked track that oozes with hook. Crispin is a fantastic songwriter and fortunately is still writing songs with some pretty big names, most recently with Newton Faulkner on his latest album. Incidently Cripsin also had a fantastic haircut, gotta love those 90s cuts.
On & On has to have a mention. If youwill have only heard of one Longpigs song it will be On & On. It remains a great track, a fantastic love song I think it made it onto some NME love song list or other. It's a gently building ballad with some very emotive vocals from our Crispin, he has a very impressive range. It's also a very catchy, melodic tune which you will keep coing back to.
The Longpigs are an absolutely fantastic band and they are almost unheard of. The whole album is filled with brilliance that is two step forward from the usual indie drivel of the time. Their second album wasn't so impressive but their debut stands as a testament to their ability to write a brilliant album.
Blur debut saw the dawn of an extremely creative Indie group in Blur. This first album sees a creativity somewhat subdued however...
She's So High was allegedly spawned by record bosses requesting of Blur they produce a single in the same vein as the Stone Roses and sure enough... The guitar riff is quite similar to that of Waterfall and the echo laden vocals are certainly Stone Roses tinged... The backwards guitar solo whilst not an original touch is nice and whilst the song is by any means an innovative compositon is a nice single. Perhaps slightly long though.
There's No Other Way feels similar to She's So High. Repetitive guitar riff is built around with Damon's accentless croons, another backwards guitar solo... It's very much a single and I can imagine the meetings record label bosses had with Blur and they resulted in some very generic indie tracks.... Any of these songs could have been found on a Stone Roses or Pulp record from the same period and not look out of place.
All the songs are quite samey and being unfamiliar with song titles and lyrics I think you would find it relatively easy to ask yourself whether or not you had already listened to one of the tracks because they all feel so generic. This debut I think is very deceptive as to Blur's creative capacity and a real period of genius is for me not really evident for another half a decade. An album puppeteered by record bosses I feel.
A classic Britpop album born out of the 90s. But a classic album for all times?
For Tommorow is a fantastic opener, Damon's cockney geezer cuts over the screeching violins and chugging guitar. Much as the album title suggests the song deals with the reality of life, telling the story of a young couple living in London, I very much get the live to work vibe. It's a reality that couples go out for drives on the weekend to convince themselves that they are making the most of their lives and then coming home and sitting in front of the telly of an evening.
Chemical World feels post-apocalyptic with it's a alien vocal effects and indistinguishable guitars. Blur follow the, not entirely original, blueprint of young rock bands singing about being dissatisfied about life. Watch that this album doesn't convince you to grow your hair and walk around looking at your feet. The lyrics deal with a mutual disconnection with individuals and the world aided by the various chemicals we rely on, chocolate, make up and tea to name a few mentioned in the song.
Oily Water sees a more psychadelic approach. Dizzy guitars and flitting vocals are in double measures, it sounds not dissimilar to something Radiohead might write. The lyrics appear to be drivel but deal with paranoia probably about 'oily water', what this is seems unclear however... The end drags on for a very long time on this one.... You've been warned.
MLIR has its moments of brilliance (For Tommorow) but also it's moments of sheer indulgence (Oily Water). It has a few worthy songs on it but it's overall vibe has a dated sort of feel, very 90s. And it's subject matter can begin to grate after awhile. There's only so many times you can be told that modern life is rubbish....