How We Got Through…March 2017

Film

A Cure For Wellness

As you can read here I liked it, but it made me want to self harm. It’s basically this years Nocturnal Creatures, but not quite as great. I do wish Celia Imrie was in it more, she was in the trailer but her role in the film was really nothing more than an extended cameo. Mia Goth was superb however, as was Dane DeHaan (which reminds me, I really need to see Chronicle)

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“Why don’t we do the poster for Slither, but sexy?” “Genius! More cocaine”

Deadpool

Still very very funny, still lacking a compelling story though, but it’s so funny that that makes up for it. One of my favourite soundtracks from last year, although there were a lot of REALLY strong soundtracks last year; Deadpool, Edge Of Seventeen etc all showed that art of the mixtape method of soundtrack making isn’t dead whilst Moana and Kubo showed how you can use a soundtrack as an extensive mood piece for the film.

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Get Out

As you read here, really really good and I can’t wait to see it again to catch things I missed the first time. Got an almost perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, and it fully deserves that.

Hidden Figures

It was good, I wouldn’t call it “Oscar Worthy”. The main trouble with these sorts of stories is it’s impossible to have a good villain. The key to a good villain comes in two separate flavours:

  1. The “nobody knows anything about him” (usually used in horror films)
  2. The “I can see his point, but he’s very very wrong”.

Because these films are character pieces you can’t have the villains be the first one, so you need the second one. But they never work in these films for one simple reason; there’s no logical defence of racism. There’s no way of seeing their point. I had similar problems with Selma too, the villains are so clearly wrong that they don’t make compelling characters. Now I know this is what it was actually like at the time, and it is a truly fascinating story, but it does mean as a cinema experience it never really stays with you. So really my problem isn’t with the film, it’s with reality not conforming to my expectations, so maybe the problem is me.

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Definitely not with the performances which were strong all round

John Wick 2

If you enjoyed the first one, you’ll enjoy this. It’s basically the first film, but more so and in a way that never feels like it’s walking in the same footsteps. One of the first times in a while I remember leaving the cinema and being incredibly excited for the sequel.

Kong: Skull Island

I went into this with low expectations. I was thinking “but I’ve already seen everything, how can spectacle cinema work in this day and age? And you showed too much Kong in the trailer, you idiots, you ruined everything I hate you”. Looking back at it, that may have been an overreaction. The film was, well it was solid. It showed that spectacle can still work in a post Avatar world. It’s not a “I must buy this film immediately”, kind of film, but if it’s on on TV at some point, grab a couple of mates, get some beers in, and leave your brain at the door.

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Logan

One of the best films I’ve seen this year, without a shadow of a doubt. Fully deserves all the plaudits praising it, and more so.

The Great Muppet Caper

I always assumed The Muppets weren’t self referential until the new films came out, like all generations I assumed it was my generation that invented meta-comedy as we’re all so much smarter than all the previous generations. Yeah, I was wrong, and I’m an idiot. Some people say a good film is one that makes you ask questions, the major question of this film is “how the hell did they do that bicycle scene? That’s superb”

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Books

We Need To Talk About Kevin

A very very good book, but not a very nice one. Has a unique way of telling the story and very rarely comes off as exploitative. I’ve yet to see the film but I’m very excited to get round to it.

TV Shows

I should point out; a LOT of these are going to be BBC based. I went on a website I frequent to see what will be taken off netflix soon. There was A LOT of BBC based stuff coming off at the end of the month. As such I had to watch a lot before it got taken off. I got halfway through Doctor Who (which I was watching whilst I was reading Hitchhiker’s Guide, never do that as it creates a weird mash up in your head) and whatever legal issues there were with contracts ending etc was resolved, and a lot of the stuff stayed on. I went off list for no reason.

Extras/The Office

First season of The Office; very very good. Second series; still good. Christmas special; he tried so damn hard to make the main character likeable it’s like he forgot the point of his own story. Extras however is the point where Ricky Gervais just started angrily complaining about the state of comedy in a smug “I’m better than you all, only my comedy is true comedy” way. Which would be admirable if one of the points he was making wasn’t about people releasing comedy singles in-character, which he has since done.

Fawlty Towers

Surprisingly, I had never seen this show before, not all of it anyway. I’d seen an episode or two here and there, but never the whole thing. I get why people love this, very very funny. Does more in 14 episodes than most comedies could hope to do in 14 series.

That Mitchell And Webb Look

Like all sketch shows it’s a bit repetitive but not as obviously as most shows of the genre. I think the reason for this is the history behind it. A lot of sketch show characters have the catchphrase as the joke; so every line in the script is building up to a new way to say that catchphrase. This show tends to put the catchphrases at the start, due (it would seem) to the shows history on radio, which necessitated you put the catchphrase first so that the audience would know which sketch you were in. Has some sketches which are just brilliantly funny (I will never not find a way to use “our caps have got skulls on them, are we the bad guys?” in political discourse). But is also one of the few sketch shows which made me hate life and cry, the “Dementia Sherlock Holmes“. Completely heartbreaking.

The Trip

Yes, it is very up itself, but it is also very very funny, and features two actors self-evaluating every criticism they have of themselves, and they have a lot. New series starts next month, but not on the trusty BBC, instead on Sky Atlantic.

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The Wrong Mans

I’m a sucker for long-form storytelling, particularly in sitcoms (it’s one of many many reasons why I love Crazy Ex Girlfriend and Bojack Horseman), and this has a fantastic story thread running through it. It’s hard to explain just how tightly and intricately plotted this is without it seeming like hyperbole. Hopefully now that James Cordon is huge in America this will start to get strong DVD sales.

Twenty Twelve

Very very BBC. Not going to change your life, but a pleasant enough way to wile away the hours. Funny and enjoyable, just not very memorable.

Music

Shenanigans

Weird to think this is now halfway through Green Days career in terms of albums released, six albums either side of the releases of this and International Superhits. But let’s forget about how this makes me aware of my own mortality and focus on how good this album is; B-sides which are better than most bands release as singles. “Ha Ha You’re Dead” is still one of my favourite songs by the band but you can’t say that without sounding like a hipster douche who’s all like “oh, you probably won’t know my favourite song by them”, and nobody likes those kind of people.

Best songs: Ha Ha You’re Dead

Do Da Da

Suffocate.

Also check out; they have this album called Dookie that you might not know about, pretty good. Also, check out this other super rare album that nobody knows about called American Idiot

All That She Wants – Wizo

I love pop punk covers of songs, and this is no exception. The original is a simply wonderful slice of summer pop (and yes, to me that is a genre) and a pop punk version of it suits it so well.

Podcasts

Toku Podcast

A podcast about video games, biscuits, films, biscuits, tea, biscuits, tv shows, and biscuits. The two hosts are extremely likeable, funny, smart, and kind of strange in the most wonderful way. They spent a long time discussing which avengers would be which biscuits that was hilarious ((in case you were wondering what my choices would be: Iron Man; Jammie Dodger. Captain America; Hob Nob. Hulk: Those oat biscuits that crumble all the time. Spider-Man: Jaffa Cake (is it an avenger, is it a cake? Nobody knows)).

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They also have the best episode titles

So that’s that for this month; I’ll see you in April unless I get hit by a bus and die, then I might have to delay until May.

Re-recording The Black Parade (take 1)

Similar to our Recasting blogs, in this new category we take a look at popular albums and dream up insane but also sometimes sensible choices for which acts we’d have cover each track…if for some reason the album was ever re-recorded or something. This week emo-poster child My Chemical Romance’s seminal album, the rock record that made people take them seriously and completely miss the point,  The Black Parade.

 

The End.Frank Turner

It’s already starts acoustic, so let’s get this record kicked off with Mr Acoustic punk himself, to toss some tables and add a true sense of honesty to it. Now this could go either way, one) it’s a slow moving purely acoustic track like Journey of the magi, that really feeds the heart. Or two) it’s a builder like Do you believe that starts acoustic then builds to a true foot-stomping, jaunty rocker.

Dead! Streetlight Manifesto

This is one of the safer choices on this list. The grandfathers of ska punk taking this fast fun rock tune and jigging it up with trumpets and rough vocals; simple but effective.

 

This Is How I DisappearBrandon Flowers

This isn’t The Killers I’m talking about. I’m talking about the right now Brandon Flowers’ solo career of glorious 80’s pop jams, and that’s what I want him to do to this. Slow it down, throw in the sexy synth and pulsating drum machines, swoon over it, and make it an 80s crooner you can dance to! Why? I don’t know. This is just the song I can see fitting that style better than any other, and because at its heart it’s still a love song.

 

The Sharpest LivesRed Hot Chili Peppers

Being one of MCR’s quickest lyrical songs, Anthony Kiedis’s rap style of singing would suit it to a tee, adding a wiry wit to the sharp lyrics of partying and drinking problems. Then throw in Flea funking up the bass, and suddenly this downer song will shine like a fun sunny day while still meditating on the dark issues of drinking ya self into an early grave. Sounds like a Chili’s song to me.

 

Welcome to the Black Parade – Andrew Jackson Jihad

The oddest choice I’d say on this list; but when it comes to a classic anthem like Welcome to the Black Parade, a song that’s such a staple of the band, there’s no point going for an act to try and match it. All you can do is give it to people who would completely change it; and that’s what this emotional and endearingly nasal, folk ska-ish band would do. Strip the grandness down to its black bones and give you the raw emotion behind the song, in an honest, cutting, but joyous fashion.

(give them a chance, they’re a grower)

I Don’t Love YouCounting Crows

One of MCR’s most swooning songs, about the realization that the love you once felt so strong has withered up and gone. So who better but the rambling beat poet-esque Adam Duritz and his roots rock group, to strip away the melodrama and bring it down to its meaning and words as he heart-wrenchingly rambles through them. It would be poetry to my ears….if only mine.

 

House of WolvesTouché Amore

This is a personal favorite of a lot of people who don’t even like My Chemical Romance. It’s a swaggering punk-rock jam; so let’s turn that up to eleven and let post-hardcore giants Touché Amore, shout it out at double volume and double the speed. It would be louder, it would be rawer, and it would pack twice the punch.

 

CancerRegina Spektor

It’s a sad song, but give it to the endlessly cheery Regina Spektor and…it would still be a sad song, but her natural quirkiness would add a new humor to contrast and emphasis the misery, and overall add new depth to this death lament.

 

MamaPoets of the fall

Poets of the fall have a lot of kinship with My Chemical Romance. They’re both theatrical rock bands with a flair for the overdramatic, though Fall’s style falls more in tune with a light operatic Rammstein. And if you’re wondering if you’ve heard them before, they did most of the soundtrack of Alan Wake. But yes, Mama; a bold, melancholy and jaunty tune that you could either strip down or build up, so let’s build this fucker up to the operatic hard rock epic this band would turn it into, till it wouldn’t sound out of place in Repo: the genetic opera.

 

SleepWhite Lies

After their seminal third album Big TV, these 80’s loving new wave rockers have become one of my most listened to on my iPod. So this song was less of a case of what band could play this song, and what song would suit White Lies synth laden ethereal style, and of cause Sleep fits perfectly. The slower, sombre tone is begging to be synth-ified and crooned out by Harry McVeigh’s baritone, which would add a dramatic, dark, danciness.

 

Teenagers Green Day

Because of course; some bands I picked because of how different they’d make the song, Green Day I picked because they could arguably do it better and punkier than MCR already did. It wouldn’t be very different but it would make it even funner, and add some needed levity to this pretty silly anthem.

 

Disenchanted Bruce Springsteen

I’m not talking about the Born to run, Born in the USA, Springsteen, I’m talking about the Youngstown, Devils and Dust, Springsteen, the stripped back folk Springsteen. That style combined with Springsteen’s world weary voice, would really bring a nuance and heartbreak to these lyrics, and turn it into an old country ballad in all the right ways.

 

Famous Last WordsRammstein

My Chemical Romance have had forays into metal once or twice, and the ender to this epic album is definitely on the side of hard rock, so who better to take it over the edge while maintaining the glory and finesse that comes with it, than the German metal gods that is Rammstein. Their fast heavy style combined with Till Lindemann’s grizzled bellow would just make this an orgastic and epic affair; the perfect way to end this bizarre genre hopping cover album.

So what do you think of this new Black Parade? Agree? Disagree? Couldn’t care less? Who would you want covering these songs? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page here.

OH SNAP! Bonus track!
BloodBob Dylan

Because it would be funny, because Dylan’s ramshackle voice and sweet melancholy could actually turn this silly little diddy into a genuine song of loss and lament. And that would be the best joke of all.

 

Come again Friday, when our other producer recounts his cast for his Black Parade!

Why We Love….London Calling

22nd December 2002 is possibly the most important day in my life from a music listening perspective. The day Joe Strummer died. Some of you may be aware that The Clash are one of my favourite bands, and I’m not alone in that respect, they were widely called The Only Band That Mattered and they’re good enough that that name doesn’t seem like hyperbole. Which makes me feel even more guilty about what I’m about to say, I didn’t know who The Clash were when Strummer died, in fact his death was what made me a fan of the band. Not in a hipster-ish “I only bands who were underground so I wait for members to die” kind of way, don’t worry. I was sitting at home one day flipping through the music channels when he died, I know this as London Calling played on Q (I think), and it was labeled “London Calling – The Clash. Joe Strummer R.I.P”. For some reason it was the first time I had paid much attention to that song, and something clicked in my head about how good it is. Then I went through to another channel and they played Should I Stay Or Should I Go? I was amazed. How can one band perform two songs that sounded so different? Then the triangle of triumph was complete when a channel played Rock The Casbah. It was at that point I knew I needed to find out more about this band, so, Boxing Day, 2002 I went to The Shop Formally Known As Sounds Perfect and brought what would turn out to be one of my favourite albums of all time: London Calling. To those of you who haven’t listened to this album: you’re less of a person and you should fix that immediately. Since then I’ve heard the other albums they’ve made, and whilst they’re all good, they’re no London Calling. I think part of that is because of the experimentation shown on this album. Very few albums have as many different genres on show here: almost every song sounds different from the next, with some punk, some ska, some lounge, some R&B, some reggae, some jazz etc. In terms of styles the album is just a hodgepodge of different styles and clashes that combine to form something truly wonderful, in much the same way as London (specifically, Camden). This album is, still today, the sound of London in much the same way that It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back is the sound of New York. It’s not just the music, it’s also the lyrics. The album is not just good (in my opinion, whilst Sum41 may have named their album as such, this album is the true All Killer, No Filler album), lyrically this album is a masterpiece, covering the issues that needed to be covered right now. From unemployment through to racial conflict, drug use and the responsibilities of adulthood. Guns Of Brixton (a.k.a: the song that launched a thousand basslines, seriously, this has to be the most punk song which you could use as the backdrop for a hip hop song) has one of the intense opening lines of a song:

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

The fact that such brutal lyrics were laid against one of the best bass backdrops in music history opened the casual listeners minds up to the situation. The trouble with a lot of punk music is it’s preaching to the already converted. If the Sex Pistols were singing to people who were punks, it was The Clash that turned these people punk in the first place. The Clash are like Bob Dylan in that they have influenced outside of their genre. The best way to gauge a bands influence is via tribute albums. Yes, The Ramones tribute album does seem to have a wide variety of bands (Metallica, RHCP, Rob Zombie etc) the only true completely strange one to see is U2. The Clash, however, on Burning London have not only the expected ones (No Doubt, Rancid, Mighty Mighty Bosstones) they also have some you’d never have expected (Ice Cube, Moby). If a band can lay claim to have influenced bands as diverse as that, they must truly be something special.

Now onto my favourite part of this album, how it was released. Now, the band had had trouble with their record label prior to this. CBS had refused to release the bands debut album in the US, released singles the band didn’t want, and asked them to clean up their sound. The issues for this album came from the band wanting to release a double album, the record label refused because they were assholes. They did, however, allow them to release a free single with the album. So the band put a free single with the album, it was just a single that contained a lot of B-sides, in fact, almost an entire albums worth of B-sides. Since the deal was that the single would be free with the album, this meant that the (now) double album would be released at the same price as a normal album. The band won as they got to release the album as it was intended, the fans won as they didn’t have to pay more, and the record company lost, which is exactly how it should be.

So yeah, that’s why I love this band, and why this album is one of the most important pieces of music I’ve ever heard. And why it makes me feel even worse that it took the death of the singer to realise how amazingly talented this band is. People can keep their 1959 plane crash, for me, 22nd December 2002 is the real day the music died, and the day it was reborn, out of the fire like a phoenix, into my head, and into my heart.

Like if you enjoy

  • Rancid
  • Green Day
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Rage Against The Machine

After this, check out

  • Chimes Of Freedom: The Songs Of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years Of Amnesty International. A 4 disc tribute album to Bob Dylan, only one song is featured more than once, and every song was recorded specifically for the album. Dylan is one of the select few artists you could do this with, especially with the amount of talent on show: This is the only album where MCR, The Gaslight Anthem, Rise Against and Bad Religion sit alongside Mick Hucknall, Miley Cyrus, Bryan Ferry, Natasha Bedingfield, Sting and Adele.
  • Heartattack. I knew I had to put a modern punk compilation on here. Was going to put one of the Punk-O-Rama albums on here but then realised I listen to the songs from here a lot more. Featuring a bonus disc of new songs to celebrate Burning Heart records, this album features some truly fantastic songs.