mad_max_fury_road_base

Favourite Dramatic Feature Films 2015

1. The Revenant (Dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)

Print

2. Spotlight (Dir. Tom McCarthy)

spotlight

3. Carol (Dir. Todd Haynes)

carol_ver13 sml

4. Mad Max: Fury Road (Dir. George Miller)

mad_max_fury_road_ver7

5. Clouds of Sils Maria (Dir. Olivier Assayas)

clouds_of_sils_maria

6. Son of Saul (Dir. László Nemes)

Son of Saul

7. Inside Out (Dir. Pete Docter)

Inside out poster best sml

8. Men & Chicken (Dir. Anders Thomas Jensen)

men & chicken wide

9. Bridge of Spies (Dir. Steven Spielberg)

bridge-of-spies-final-01-e1454008900722 SML

10. The Hateful Eight (Dir. Quentin Tarantino)

hateful_eight SML

11. Mustang (Dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven)

mustang-poster SML

12. Tangerine (Dir. Sean Baker)

tangerine sml

13. The Second Mother (Dir. Anna Muylaert)

the-second-mother-poster  SML

14. Anomalisa (Dir. Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson)

anomalisa_ver2

15. Beasts of No Nation (Dir. Cary Joji Fukunaga)

beasts_of_no_nation wide.jpg

16. Room (Dir. Lenny Abrahamson)

room_ver4

17. While We’re Young (Dir. Noah Baumbach)

while_were_young

 

18. James White (Dir. Josh Mond)

james_white SML

19. Sicario (Dir. Denis Villeneuve)

sicario_ver8

20. The End of the Tour (Dir. James Ponsoldt)

end_of_the_tour

21. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Dir. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)

me-earl-dying-girl.jpg

22. Brooklyn (Dir. Nick Hornby)

brooklyn.jpg

23. 45 Years (Dir. Andrew Haigh)

45 Years SML

24. Ex Machina (Dir.Alex Garland)

ex-machina-2015 poster

25. Mistress America (Dir. Noah Baumbach)

mistress-america-poster

 

Wolfpack wide

Favourite Documentary Feature Films 2015

1. Listen To Me Marlon (Dir. Stevan Riley)

Listen to me Marlon

2. Best of Enemies (Dirs. Morgan Neville, Robert Gordon)

best_of_enemies_xlg

3. Heart of a Dog (Dir. Laurie Anderson)

heart_of_a_dog

4. Cartel Land (Dir. Matthew Heinman)

cartel_land

5. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (Dir. Brett Morgen)

kurt_cobain_montage_of_heck_ver2

6. The Circus Dynasty (Dir. Anders Riis-Hansen)

circus_dynasty

7. Meet the Patels (Dir. Geeta V. Patel)

Meet the Patels poster small

8. The Arms Drop (Dir. Andreas Koefoed)

arms drop

9. The Look of Silence (Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer)

look_of_silence

10. The Wolfpack (Dir.Crystal Moselle)

Wolfpack (clean) SML

11. What Happened Miss Simone? (Dir. Liz Garbus)

what_happened_miss_simone SML

12. Amy (Dir. Asif Kapadia)

amy (movie poster) SML

13. Winter on Fire (Dir. Evgeny Afineevsky)

winter_on_fire

14. Unbranded (Dir. Phillip Baribeau)

unbranded_ver2

15. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

(Dir. Alex Gibney)

going_clear_scientology_and_the_prison_of_belief

16. My Love Don’t Cross That River (Dir. Jin Mo-young)

My_Love,_Don't_Cross_That_River-p1 SML

17. Missing People (Dir. David Shapiro)

missing-people-poster. SML

18. The Hunting Ground (Dir. Kirby Dick)

hunting_ground poster

19. Dreamcatcher (Dir. Kim Longinotto)

Dreamcatcher doc poster

20. Welcome to Leith (Dirs. Michael Nichols & Christopher Walker)

welcome_to_leith poster SML

 

Mew Plus Minus Artwork

Favourite Record Albums 2015

Some years, the stylistic direction that music travels diverges from my general taste. That can be a great opportunity to grow and acquire new perspectives towards music style. 2015 was definitely a more challenging year in music for me. The acclaimed records were a little more idiosyncratic than I was used to, so the appeal wasn’t as readily apparent. But ultimately, 2015 was rewarding once I opened my ears to the current sounds.  There were new works from several old favourites, but many new names appeared on the world stage.

 

 1. Mew, +- (art rock)mew plus minus album cover

You can’t talk about Mew’s music without mentioning singer Jonas Bjerre’s vocals.  There is an airy, falsetto quality to his singing that is even more delicate than fellow Scandinavian, Jónsi, of Sigur Rós.  That voice gives each song a fairytale quality, and Mew’s grand, sweepingly cinematic prog-rock music is a beautiful contrast to the frailty of Bjerre’s vocals. With +-, Mew balance their math-rock moments with sweet pop melodies that flow along beautifully, but there’s always the threat of an electrifying guitar solo at any moment.  This is a dynamic record.

2. Tame Impala – Currents (psychedelic pop)

Currents_artwork_(Tame_Impala_album)

With Currents there’s a soft rock of the 70’s sound that’s tempered the fuzzed-out neo-psychedelia that prevailed on previous Tame Impala albums (Innerspeaker and Lonerism). While the rock-god swagger of those great records doesn’t play here, a more personal and intimate type of music runs through Currents. It’s a break-up album that is sad and sweet in its vocals and lyrics, but balanced with slight R&B groves or the skip of a disco beat. This record is about moving on from relationships when you know you need a change in your life to progress, and everything in this production expresses that beautifully.

3. Beach House – Depression Cherry (dream pop)

Beach House Depression Cherry Album Art

Ethereal music that floats along like a breeze through chiming keys, with waves of synth, gentle buzzing guitars and an occasional thumping beat. Singer Victoria Legrand’s vocals are often a feathery whisper, but can soar with the sudden symphonic swell of the keyboards or gravelly growl of guitar grows out of atmospheric music.  This is music for watching sunrises and sunsets.

4. Jamie xx – In Colour (electronic, dance)

Jamie xx In Colour Album Art

Jamie xx is a great music producer, and his album In Colour is a beautiful blend of styles that run from starkly atmospheric to dynamic tracks that alternate between drum & bass, R&B, hip-hop, indie-rock and trippy dance in one of the most kinetic album of the year.

5. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (hip hop)

To Pimp a Butterfly Album Art

Prince used to make albums like this (Sign o’ The Times, Lovesexy). Soulful R&B and hip hop, that’s personal, political, pertinent and really dramatic. It’s the artistic statement of the year because it is fearless in its raw expression of defiance, debauchery and personal confession with music that can be dark or aggressive at moments, but often beautiful in its reference to free form jazz, or wonky psychedelic funk. Kendrick Lamar demands your attention to absorb his complex layers of music and lyrics.  He’s an incredibly engaging storyteller and eclectic songwriter.

6. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell (indie folk)

Sufjan_Stevens_-_Carrie_&_Lowell Album Art

The songs on this album were inspired by the death of Sufjan Stevens’ mother, Carrie, and the family trips that they took to Oregon in Stevens’ childhood. His mother suffered from depression, schizophrenia and drug abuse. This record expresses the pain, suffering and intense love in their life and her death. It’s a coming to terms with loss, and a closure. Beautiful, sad music.

7. Grimes – Art Angels (synthpop)

Grimes Art Angels Album Cover

8. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (indie folk)

Father John Misty I love you honeybear art

9. Julia Holter – Have You in My Wilderness (art pop)

Julia_Holter In my wilderness cover art

10. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color (blues rock)

alabama-shakes-sound-and-color Cover Art

 

11. D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Black Messiah (funk, soul, R&B)

D'Angelo and The Vanguard - Black Messiah cover art

 

12. Blur – The Magic Whip (indie rock, Britpop)

Magic Whip Album Art

13. C Duncan – Architect (indie pop, indie folk)

C_Duncan_Architect Albume Art

14.  Dawn Richard – Blackheart (electronica, dance pop, R&B)

dawn richard blackheart cover art

15. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (indie rock)

Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit Album cover art

16. New Order – Music Complete (electropop)

new-order_music-complete album art

17. Mac Demarco – Another One (jangle pop, indie rock)

mac demarco another one cover art

18. Emily King – The Switch (R&B)

Emily King Switch Cover Art

19. Julio Bashmore – Knockin’ Boots (house)

julio_bashmore_knockin_boots Cover Art

20. The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness (alt. R&B)

beautybehindthemadness cover art

21. Jazmine Sullivan – Reality Show (contemporary R&B)

jazmine-sullivan-reality-show cover art

22. Leon Bridges – Coming Home (soul, R&B)

leon-bridges-stream-coming-home-album art

23. Sheer Mag – II 7″ (indie rock)

sheer mag II 7%22

24. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love (psych. rock, indie pop)

Multi-love cover art

25. Duran Duran – Paper Gods (synthpop, dance-rock)

duran paper gods cover art

26. Swervedriver – I Wasn’t Born to Lose You (indie rock, shoegaze)

swervedriver i wasn't born to lose you

27. Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars (dream pop)

beachhouse_thankyourluckystars_cover art

28. Dråpe – Relax/Relapse (indie pop)

drape relax relapse cover art

29. Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon (folk, baroque pop)

tobias jesso jr goon cover art

Modern Vampires Of The City

Favourite Record Albums 2013

For me, a great record album often demands multiple attentive listens under different circumstances, different hours of the day, different moods and having the benefit of the live experience, before its richness is revealed. I’ve been listening to and enjoying the sounds of these ‘Year 2013 Records’ for months but I’m still discovering references, meaning and musicality that I missed the first dozen, two dozen or more times that I visited them.  And I know that years from now I’ll have a different relationship to them than I do now, which will add something I can’t imagine today.

1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City (Indie, Chamber, World Beat)

Modern Vampires Of The City

Lyrically and musically playful, and rich with layer upon layer of religious, historic, political and music references.  The metaphors are beautiful, intricate and have fans arguing about song meanings. From the opening notes of the album there are hints of gospel revival that run through the record.  Yet, three songs in and “Steps” lays out samples from ’90s rap group Souls of Mischief played through the prism of Bach styled chamber music. Doo-wop, Rockabilly, Afrobeat and Surfer Rock weave through the record, and lead singer, Ezra Koenig, quotes from the Bible to Milton to Run DMC. I’m sure that I’m still missing half of what’s going on in these tracks, but I’m looking forward to discovering more.

 

 

2. The National – Trouble Will Find Me (Indie Rock)

Trouble Will Find Me

There has always been a heavy, sometimes weary sentiment in the vocals of The National lead signer Matt Berninger, and an almost trance-like repetitiveness to the music. But somehow, through the regret and anguish conveyed in their music there is often a point where there is a soaring grace. These are intimate, personal songs that feel like confessions, and the music follows the emotions like a heartbeat that begins to race until it bursts.

 

 

 

3. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (Dance, House, Soft Rock)

Random Access Memories

Dance music at its best.  Simple, funky and smooth. But Random Access Memories gains depth as you travel through it. It sounds like it could be a classic 70’s concept album. Like a spaceship trip through the cosmos that ends with an intense, fiery crash landing. Excellent collaborations with Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Pharrell Williams, Paul Williams and Panda Bear.

 

 

 

 

4. John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts (Electro Chamber Pop)

Pale Green Ghost

Truly a singer-songwriter’s album. John Grant knocks out grand electro-piano tracks that feel intensely personal and DIY, yet sometimes these songs sound as cinematic as a James Bond score. Closing track “Glacier” is heartbreakingly beautiful and epic.  And this may be the best coming-out album of all time.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Cut Copy – Free Your Mind (Electro Pop, Acid House)

Free Your Mind

Reminiscent of the early 90’s UK club scene dance music.  This is Cut Copy’s homage to Screamadelica era Primal Scream.  Can never stop dancing when I hear these etherial tracks. Euphoric!

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Arctic Monkeys – AM (Rock)

AM

The sexiest rock album of the year. AM has the swagger of 70’s era rock gods Led Zepplin. Stomping good, big-hair rock!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Arcade Fire – Reflektor  (Indie Rock)

Reflektor

Understated indie rock that rewards after repeat listenings. Reflektor reminds me of The Clash at their best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Suede – Bloodsports (Glam Rock)

Bloodsports

I used to always think “classic Bowie” when I listened to Suede. Now, with Bloodsports I’m just thinking “classic Suede!”  Dramatic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. The Strokes – Come Down Machine (Indie Rock)

Comedown Machine

The Strokes sound like they are having fun again; a lot of fun!  Come Down Machine is like a blend of every era of rock history rolled together, even the brief disco-rock period (Think Kiss’ “I Was Made for Lovin’ You”), and yet it sounds perfectly contemporary and exciting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Laura Mvula – Sing to the Moon (Soul, R&B)

Sing to the Moon

A magical album of orchestral soul/R&B.  One of the most unique records of the year that sounds like a fairytale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Phoenix – Bankrupt! (Indie Pop/Rock)

Bankrupt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Pet Shop Boys – Electric (Electro Pop)

Electric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Valerie June – Pushin’ Against a Stone (Blues)

Pushin' Against a Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Telekinesis – Dormarion (Alternative)

Dormarion (Bonus Track Version)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. Shout Out Louds – Optica (Indie Pop)

Optica (Bonus Track Version)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. The Bryan Ferry Orchestra – The Jazz Age (20’s era Jazz)

The Jazz Age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17. Foxygen – We Are the 20th Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Psychedelic Folk Rock)

We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. James Blake – Overgrown (Trip Hop)

Overgrown (Deluxe Edition)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. London Grammar – If You Wait

If You Wait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20. Cayucas – Big Foot (Surf Pop)

Bigfoot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21. Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse (Pysch-pop)

Wondrous Bughouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22.  MGMT – MGMT

MGMT (The _Optimizer_ Deluxe Edition)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23. Camera Obscura – Desire Lines (Indie Pop)

Desire Lines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24. Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze (Indie Rock)

Wakin On a Pretty Daze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25. Foals – Holy Fire (Indie Rock)

Holy Fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26. Diana – Perpetual Surrender

Perpetual Surrender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27. Majical Cloudz – Impersonator

Impersonator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (Roots Rock)

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (Deluxe Edition)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29. Various artists – After Dark 2 (Electronic/Slow Disco)

After Dark 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30. My Bloody Valentine – m b v

m b v

 

 

 

 

 

1. Her (Spike Jonze, USA)

Favourite Films (Drama) 2013

1. Her (Spike Jonze, USA)

1. Her (Spike Jonze, USA)

2. 12 Years a Slave (Alexander McQueen, USA)

2. 12 Years a Slave (Alexander McQueen, USA)

3. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, USA)

3. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, USA)

4. The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, Italy)

4. The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, Italy)

5. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, USA)

5. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, USA)

6. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen, USA)

6. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen, USA)

7. Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée, USA)

7. Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée, USA)

8. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, USA)

8. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, USA)

9. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth, USA)

9. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth, USA)

10. The Past (Asghar Farhadi, France)

10. The Past (Asghar Farhadi, France)

11. The Selfish Giant (Clio Barnard, UK)

11. The Selfish Giant (Clio Barnard, UK)

12. Gabrielle (Louise Archambault, Canada)

12. Gabrielle (Louise Archambault, Canada)

13. Concrete Night (Pirjo Honkasalo, Finland)

13. Concrete Night (Pirjo Honkasalo, Finland)

14. Behind the Candelabra (Steven Soderbergh, USA)

14. Behind the Candelabra (Steven Soderbergh, USA)

15. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, USA)

15. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, USA)

16. Gloria (Sebastián Lelio, Chile)

16. Gloria (Sebastián Lelio, Chile)

17. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, USA)

17. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, USA)

18. Blue is the Warmest Colour (Abdellatif Kechiche, France)

18. Blue is the Warmest Colour (Abdellatif Kechiche, France)

19. All Is Lost (J. C. Chandor, USA)

19. All Is Lost (J. C. Chandor, USA)

20. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, Austria/USA)

20. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, Austria/USA)

21. Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland)

21. Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland)

22. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass, USA)

22. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass, USA)

23. Nebraska (Alexander Payne, USA)

23. Nebraska (Alexander Payne, USA)

24. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve, USA)

24. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve, USA)

25. Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler, USA)

25. Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler, USA)

26. This is the End (Evan Golderg, Seth Rogen, USA)

26. This is the End (Evan Golderg, Seth Rogen, USA)

27. Honeymoon (Jan Hrebejk, Czech Republic)

27. Honeymoon (Jan Hrebejk, Czech Republic)

28. Child's Pose (Călin Peter Netzer, Romania)

28. Child’s Pose (Călin Peter Netzer, Romania)

29. The Strange Little Cat (Ramon Zücher, Germany)

29. The Strange Little Cat (Ramon Zücher, Germany)

30. Miss Violence (Alexandros Avranas, Greece)

30. Miss Violence (Alexandros Avranas, Greece)

Childhood – “Solemn Skies”

Don’t be fooled by the title, “Solemn Skies” is pure sunshine. The new English band, Childhood, deliver a Jangle Pop song reminiscent of 60’s era Power Pop and 90’s Madchester. Its propulsive beat and swirling guitar cords sound like a high-speed spin on the Octopus fairground ride.