Sunday, 31 May 2009


Hi all. I'm away north of the border tomorrow so they'll be no reviews till at least Thursday. But all that train time should result in a slurry of poorly written critiques. Also should be back on the subject of music by then. To tide you over here's a rather lovely video off Samamidon playing at the Bowery in Edinburgh. Enjoy

Samamidon - Wild Bill Jones (Live at the Bowery, Edinburgh) from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

Top 5 films Of 2008

A change of pace, but after spending the day watching films on my laptop I decided to share this post with you all, just in case any of you missed these great films. Any other suggestions/comments would be duely appreciated, as i'm running out of things to watch.

5. Wristcutters: A Love Story - Saw this at the Edinburgh film festival before going to see Regina Spektor, it must have been great because itstead of starring intently at her i kept thinking about this film. What's even better is it's cast includes Tom Waits and G.O.B From Arrested development. Its a story of a man who finds himself in some form of purgatory. Its just like our world but a little worse!. On finding out his ex girlfriend has also commited suicide, he and his new russian sidekick head on a road trip to find her. Full of great music and a querky tale based on a short story by Israeli novelist Etgar Keret.
Best moment: Eugene telling his story of how he got where he is
Best Song: 'Dead and lovely' Tom Waits
IMDB score and link: 7.4/10
4. There Will Be Blood: P.T Andersons adaptation of Upton Sinclairs 'Oil' is a mesmorising 'tour de force' (Sorry) that from the very begining draws you in to its uncomfortable world. The story centers around oil tycoon Daniel Plainview and his latest venture in the god fearing west. Daniel Day Lewis is phenominal as the leading man with great support from Paul Dano. Anderson, Lewis and Dano have already made names for themselves in hollywood though, and the real revalation here is the score by Radioheads Johnny Greenwood. The strings pound a beat through the story that makes it almost unwatchable at times, but in a good way

Best Moment:
"I drink your milkshake"
Best song: The opening strings that pierce your ears
IMDB score and link: 8.3/10
3. Les Chanson D'amour: Not everyones cup of tea, ut after watching this i found myself skipping down the road singing in made up french sounding words. If you love french new wave cinema like i do then you'll love this wonderful reimagination of the genre. A musical based round a threesome which becomes disrupted by a tragic event. I really like Louis Garrel and this is a great performans by him. All the music is done by a man called Alex Beaupain, and its the way his songs flow effortlessly into the dialogue that make this film amazing. Plus its uber french and cool.

Best Moment:
Singing outside the cinema
Best Song: Je n'aime que toi
IMDB score and link: 7.2/10
2. The Fall: I can't rave enough about how wonderful this film is. Staring Lee Pace off Pushing daisies fame, it contains the same trype of style. An excellent example of storytelling at its best. Anything that gives you that feeling of being tucked up in bed and being read a story is all good by me. The story centers around a young (very cute) spanish girl who, whilst in hospital meets a suicidal stuntman. In an attempt to gain her confidence he tells her a fantastical story of heroes and villians. But theres a twist, as there normally is. The story begings to show signs of reality and you realise he's after something else from her, other than her company.

Best Moment:
When the mystic shows his skills
Best Song: Symphony No. 7 in A major
IMDB score and link: 8.0/10
1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: Based on the biography of Jean Dominque Bauby, the editor of Elle magazine, who one day, quite unexpectidly had a stroke which left him completly paralized apart from the use of one eye. Determined to tell his story he works with a speech therapist developing a blinking technique to convey his words. Wonderfully directed by Julian Schnable, this 'unfilmable' story is brought to life with such style its hard to draw yourself away. The montage shots are pure magic and its a film which really helps you see the true beauty available to you in this world. Interesting fact, Schnable, an american decided to do the film in French due to the horrible sounding letters of the English language. This film is a true classic already.

Best Moment: The montage scene showing the collapse of the cliff facings
Best Song: 'Don't kiss me goodnight' - Ultra Orange
IMDB score and Link: 8.1/10

Notable Mentions (Click film for link to trailer and IMDB score for link to site)

  • Paranoid Park: Gus Van Sandt, skaters, Christopher Doyle cinematography! Enough said 7.0/10
  • Beaufort: First great anti war film based in the middle east. A great film about friendship in troubled times 6.9/10
  • In Bruges: Wonderfully funny, even Colin Farrel puts in a great show. Really want to go to Bruges now 8.1/10
  • The Go-Getter: It has Zoey Deschanel and the music is done by M.Ward! Also its due to this film that we have the wonderful 'She & Him' 6.9/10
  • In Search Of A Midnight kiss: If Clerks met 'Before Sunset' a very good romantic comedy 7.4/10
Also Rans: Assisation Of Jesse James, Eastern Promises, Blame It On Fidel, Warsaw Dark & Hunger (Trailer below because it just looks so godd dam good, would of made the final list but its far to gritty to watch more than once)

n.b Wrestler was no.3 till i realsied that was this year

Taxi ! Taxi ! - Step Out into The Night EP

What’s that? Teenage Scandinavian twin girls from Stockholm playing folk music! Do I need to say anymore….well yeah I guess I do. Miriam Eriksson Berhan and Johanna Eriksson Berhan have made many friends in Sweden and Denmark and have performed at such festivals as Roskilde and Hultsfred Festival. This EP is a taste of what’s to come on their forth coming album due out later this year. The vocals are incredibly haunting and powerful, and the music is everything we’ve come to expect from folk music from across the North Sea. It does miss something though, it’s hard to put your finger on, but it feels like there’s a missing ingredient here that’s stopping the Taxi girls from cementing there place in the hollowed fields of such acts as Marissa Nadler and the likes. This EP does show real promise though, and if these girls continue to progress with their sound, perhaps with the aid of their new found musical friends then their debut album could be something really beautiful. One of these famous friends of theirs is Peter Broderick, who performs a cover of one of their songs as a bonus track on this EP. Broderick is signed to Bella Union and has performed as part of Efterklangs live band. Taxi! Taxi! May not have completely blown me away just yet but ‘Step out into the light’ has introduced to both them and Mr Broderick, two very promising propositions.

Score: 6/10

Stand out track: True Love will find you in the end

Genre: Folk, Scandinavian folk

For Fans Of: Marissa Nadler, Russian Red, Hanne Hukkelberg

Links to music:

Download: Media Fire

Myspace: Taxi! Taxi!

Last FM:!

Black Bear - Cinnamon Phase

I love bears, as you can probably guess from the title picture of this blog. I’ve always said that if I was ever diagnosed with a terminal illness I’d love to go hug a polar bear. The pain of being ripped to shreds by the strongest animal on the planet would be worth it for that brief moment when I’d get to wrap my arms round its furry neck and nuzzle my face against his. Recently this love of bears has combined with my love of music. Such bear named bands as ‘Grizzly Bear’, ‘Polar Bear’ and ‘Panda Bear’ have blasted through my headphones many times. There’s always an exception to any rule though and unfortunately Black Bear (Incidentally my least favorite type of Bear) don’t live up to the caliber of their name sakes. Black Bear is one man, Sam Beebe, co-runner of the Baskerville Hill record label. Using simple instruments and organs he has created Cinnamon phase. Anyone familiar with ‘Casiotone for the painfully alone’ will recognize what is being done here. Simple, lo fi one man and his organ music. And that is this albums main problem, it sounds to similar to Owen Pallets project without really bringing anything new to a genre which doesn’t really have much scope for individuality. Lyrically this album is sound, but the barely inventive music makes it feel like talking to a very intelligent man, with a terribly monotone voice. Cinnamon phase isn’t a bad album, it just doesn’t have much ‘come back to’ value.

Score: 5/10

Stand out track: Black Bear

Genre: Indie, Lo-Fi,

For Fans Of: Casiotone for the painfully alone

Links to music:

Download: No Name Leeds


Here are some pictures of some bears:

Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse & David Lynch! - Dark Night Of The Soul

I first heard that Sparklehorse and Dangermouse had collaborated when they made the album ‘ We Dreamt for light years’, I must admit I was unsure as to how it would all work. The main shock was that it didn’t really change the ‘horse’ sound that much. What it added was subtle but very successful to the overall sound. Unfortunately though it didn’t have the same stand out tunes that ‘It’s a wonderful life’ and ‘Good morning spider’ had to make it note worthy. That time it was ‘just’ a Sparklehorse album, this time the two have collaborated with a host of vocalists and visual direction from the legend David Lynch. The music is what you’d expect from Mark Linkous, it has that familiar spacey folk sound that isn’t afraid to step on the distortion pedal from time to time. Vocally though each track has its own individual sound, whether its Julian Casablanca of strokes fame on ‘little girl’ singing about hanging out on a beach with his ‘twisted little girl’ or Iggy pop on the heavier ‘pain’ each guest makes their own distinct mark on the work.

You always feel like you’re listening to the same album though. As the tracks progress it takes you on a journey through different locations, like starring out the same window, at the same view but during different times of the day. This isn’t just a novelty album though, the reoccurring presence of Jason Lytle, Vic Chesnutt and James Mercer give the album some stability, with each of these songs sounding like they belong, and each vocalist fitting into the album as if they were original members of Sparklehorse and not just stand-in vocalists. I’ve yet to truly view the visuals by David Lynch. But judging by his obviously excellent track history and even his wonderful ‘Gucci’ advert, featuring Blondie I’m very excited by it. The accompanying posters that advertise ‘Dark Night Of the Soul’

as some kind of art house, Lynchian (Sorry for made up genre) thriller, also adds a wonderful element that makes this work not just a novelty purchase, but near essential.

Guest Vocals:

  • Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips)
  • Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals)
  • Jason Lytle (Granddaddy)
  • Julian Casablanca (Strokes)
  • Black Francis (Pixies)
  • Iggy Pop (Stooges)
  • James Mercer (Shins)
  • Nina Persson (Cardigans)
  • Vic Chesnutt
Score: 8.8/10

Stand out track: Jaykub, Feat Jason Lytle

Genre: Space Rock, Indie, Folk

For Fans Of: Sparklehorse, Granddaddy, The Shins,


Links to music:

Download: Rapidshare

Last FM: DM&SH


David Lynch accompanying work


David Lynch Gucci Advert:

NB. There will also be a book released by Lynch to accompany this release sometime in June