Talking Backwards Real Estate. Jangly guitar pop:
Monument Royksopp & Robyn. I reckon Robyn has had more top songs in my year end lists than any other artist. I think most are too busy dancing to notice her consistently great lyrics:
Bad Self Portraits Lake Street Dive. She bought a camera to take pictures of her love and now he’s gone:
Figure It Out Royal Blood: I thrashed the living crap out of this part Accadacca, part Motorhead ripper done by just two blokes on bass and drums. Start your air guitars now:
Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams suffers from the Billy Joel syndrome of sounding a bit too much like his idols. Ryan almost does something in the songs on his self titled album. He wants you to “Give me Something Good” or he “Just Might” do something. Whatever that ‘something’ is? He’s scared, he’s unsure and he sounds bloody beautiful.
Art Official Age Prince- When my teenage kids are telling me “Dad, Prince is weird”, the old funkster is doing something right. Maybe it’s the ray gun effects in the touching ballad or going the full Mickey Mouse voice in another, but Prince does a Bohemian Rhapsody on every song here; jamming them full of ideas and melodies. Catchy funky weirdness.
The Basement Tapes Bob Dylan- Bob and his mates mucking around in a basement with just a couple of mics pointed at them. Apologies, but the only phrase that came to mind listening to this album is, “Fuck me ragged!”. A wonderful remastering and his voice sounding the best in his whole career. A lovely present.
Two films starring Chris Pratt? My top films are here to prove that entertainment is art. That, and the fact I’ll usually only leave the house for the Imax Cinema.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Chris Pratt, a seventies pumping soundtrack in a space fantasy that proves there are inner feelings in outer space. Dance-off anyone?
Captain America: Winter Soldier – Action aplenty now with added Scarlett Johansson in a skin tight body suit. “Shouldn’t we concentrate on the mission instead of my love life?” Asks Cap. “I’m multi-tasking,” Scarlett replies as she leaps over a balcony and proceeds to demolish a dozen armed men.
The Lego Movie – No, seriously. Piss funny.
The Grand Budapest Hotel – No one does life and death like Wes Anderson. It’s that light whimsical touch and the overly staged scenes that add humanity to his movies, when in the hands of others it’s Hotel New Hampshire.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – I finally convinced my better half, who has no time for fantasy movies, to come along with me and the kids by enlightening her that it’s a roller coaster ride. And what a ride. Action scenes that would have Spielberg whacking off into an old sock. Oh, and best dragon ever.
The Mule – It’s about an end of season footy trip that goes horribly wrong. It’s chockablock with drinking, violence, drugs, poo and Alan Bond. Angus Sampson’s little Aussie movie with Noni Hazelhurst, John Noble and Hugo Weaving (all giving superb performances) couldn’t get a general release at the cinema. WTF is going on? There’s a culture war going on in this country and the Aussies are losing it big time. I was lucky enough to see a preview at a small cinema and though there are stomach churning scenes (eat before you watch), it was faecal grossness rather than violence that made me turn away. But this movie stayed with me for weeks afterwards. The sound design was superb (planes flying overhead put you in the heart of a Tullamarine Motel), while visually it captured the tan themed feel of 1982 Australia during the America’s Cup era with a scary accuracy. I feel sorry that today’s young cinema audience weren’t allowed to see this Wake In Brown at the flicks. Maybe we should have a law that every cinema should have an Aussie film showing in one theatre at all times. Sadly, it’s straight to DVD and available to buy at JB Hi Fi now.