- 1 day ago
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The Strokes - ’Someday’
Vampire Weekend - ‘Cousins’
TV On the Radio - ‘DLZ’
SKATERS - ‘I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How)’
Interpol - ‘Evil’
Yeasayer - ‘O.N.E.’
The National - ‘Graceless’
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - ‘Heads Will Roll’
The Rapture - ‘Whoo! Alright - Yeah… Uh Huh’
Grizzly Bear - ‘While You Wait For the Others’
- 2 weeks ago
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- 3 weeks ago
So, George Clooney assembles a crack team, each with a different specialty, to reclaim a fortune. Sounds like Ocean’s Eleven all over again. But, while Matt Damon is present, The Monuments Men (co-written and directed by Clooney) is no heist film. Instead, it tells the remarkable true story of Frank Stokes and his willing accomplices as they aim to find, reclaim and protect the world’s most valuable and culturally significant pieces of art in the midst of World War II.
Overall, The Monuments Men is a fascinating tale and a unique perspective on not only World War II, but on the destruction that results from any warfare, and the values underlying society’s inherent need for culture. Consequently, the film is littered with poignant moments. Perhaps the most powerful of these is the beautiful but futile gesture of Lieutenant James Granger (Damon), who returns the stolen portrait of a woman to the wall of an abandoned Jewish home. The Star of David, and the single word ‘JUDE’ scrawled across the opposite wall, is a heart-wrenching reminder of Nazi atrocities.
While The Monuments Men is by no means a representation of World War II to be named alongside the likes of The Pianist and Schindler’s List, its value is in its subtle portrayal of ordinary tragedy alongside the somewhat glorified and occasionally comical antics of Clooney & Co. It doesn’t shy away from death, but it also provides as lighthearted a take on war as is respectfully possible. This, I believe, is necessary every now and then to remind us that, even during times of tremendous hardship, humans will persevere. The film’s biggest downfall, however, is that it splinters an all-star cast (including John Goodman, Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett) into several rather mundane storylines that occasionally intersect for Clooney to rev up the troops. There’s also a disappointing lack of tension and development, factors which could have made an average film so much better.
- 4 weeks ago
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Less than three months into the year, 2014 has already produced a number of exquisite musical offerings. Here are three of the best albums so far.
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
Hailing from Crouch End in north London and named after an Indian takeaway chain, Bombay Bicycle Club returned with a somewhat different sound in late 2013. The lead single, Carry Me, was a leap into new territory for the Londoners, with elements of techno incorporated into the ubiquitous indie rock structure of their music. The distinctive vocals of Jack Steadman are a prominent and welcome constant in a song that is otherwise a step away from 2011’s A Different Kind of Fix. The single, however, was by no means difficult to embrace, and when So Long, See You Tomorrow hit shelves in early February, it proved to be a stunning collection of songs, each a unique and endearing representation of Bombay Bicycle Club’s ongoing development into one of the finest bands of our generation.
Personal highlights: Overdone, Carry Me, Luna
Temples – Sun Structures
You could have been forgiven for thinking The Beatles had made a sensational return to your radio when fuzzy British rockers Temples released their first single, Shelter Song, in November 2012. Shelter Song is a charming throwback to pop music of old, but Temples’ debut album is more than a 60’s retrospective. In Sun Structures, the band blend elements of psych rock and indie rock to produce a gorgeous, shimmering record, with an ethereal sound that is well abreast of their contemporaries.
Personal highlights: Sun Structures, The Golden Throne, Mesmerise
The Holidays – Real Feel
Sydney locals The Holidays garnered critical acclaim in 2010 with their dreamy, tropically-influenced debut album, Post Paradise. Largely experimental and entirely euphonious, Post Paradise was the aural equivalent of sunshine and golden beaches. It oozed youthful exuberance. For all of its positive elements, however, four years of touring and writing has resulted in a sophomore effort that is altogether more fluid. Real Feel establishes The Holidays as a band that has matured and ventured into darker musical terrain. A more unified sound from an ever-improving band has produced a stellar Australian album.
Personal highlights: All Time High, Voices Drifting, Tongue Talk
So far, 2014 has also witnessed great new music from Broken Bells, a project of The Shins’ frontman James Mercer, as well as an eclectic album from UK electro-pop wizards Metronomy. The imminent release of Foster the People’s sophomore album, Supermodel, and fresh solo tunes from The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas mean that March should see the list of quality music continue to bourgeon. Forthcoming records from Klaxons and Kaiser Chiefs, in addition to the much-anticipated debut album from Melbourne vocalist and producer Chet Faker, will continue to construct 2014’s formidable musical landscape. Fans of Red Hot Chili Peppers (which, let’s face it, is everyone) should be excited about the possibility of new music from California’s finest later in the year, while The Black Keys are also expected to add to their monumental catalogue of blues-infused rock.