Tag: foo fighters

MUSIC REVIEW | Zac Brown Band – Uncaged (2012)

uncaged

I’d never heard of Zac Brown Band until they appeared on the Foo Fighters Sonic Highways series. But according to that, Zac Brown is massive in America, playing to massive crowds in massive, sold out venues. That got me a little interested. But it took a tweet from Jason Isbell about them covering one of his songs that made me know I needed to give Zac Brown Band a go. Which is exactly what I did with Uncaged.


Things start on shaky ground. With a weird combination of calypso rhythms, country fiddles and impeccable harmonies, Jump Right In sounds like the worst kind of middle of the road, corporate, safe music in existence. But Uncaged immediately improves with the title track. It’s just as polished and impeccable, but it has so much more life to it. While Jump Right In sounds like it was written by a computer, you can actually hear real people with heartbeats behind Uncaged. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | The Germs – GI (1979)

Germs

I’ve always been a little wary of The Germs. I love punk rock. I especially love Californian punk rock. And The Germs are one of the most revered of the early days of that scene. They were only together for a few years, and they only made one studio album before the suicide of singer Darby Crash. But their legend only grew in the years following. That’s what makes me wary. Is the music that good, or has the legend simply taken on a life of its own? Is their one and only studio album, GI, actually any good?


The first surprise is how slick it is. I’ve read about the band a bit over the years, and I remember them being a major part of the documentary The Downfall of Western Civilization. And what I remember most, is how shambolic they were. But the opening trifecta of What We Do is Secret, Communist Eyes and Land of Treason is pretty tight, efficient stuff. It’s simple, balls to the wall, and effective. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Somewhere (2010)

somewhere
In 1999, Sofia Coppola finally escaped the dark shadow of her acting role in The Godfather Part III and revealed herself as a film maker to be taken seriously with the indie darling, The Virgin Suicides.  She stepped it up a notch with the financial, critical and awards success of Lost in Translation in 2003.  Three years later, there was the overly ambitious, but not overly successful Marie Antoinette.  This year, Coppola gave us her most commercial attempt yet with The Bling Ring.  But maybe a little scarred from the experience of Marie Antoinette, there was a movie in between.  By far her smallest and most introspective, 2010’s Somewhere.

Centred around Stephen Dorff as Johnny Marco, Somewhere is about…  Well, I don’t think Somewhere is really about anything.  But don’t let that scare you away, because it’s not nearly as pretentious, arty or precious as that sounds.  It’s just not a movie built around a standard screenplay structure that leads to any character revelation or story climax.  It’s almost like an invisible camera crew followed this Johnny Marco guy around, and no one ever noticed.

The character of Johnny Marco is a Tom Cruise style mega star.  He’s been in blockbuster movies and is set to make more, but right now, he’s just chilling in his suite at the Chateau Marmont, playing video games with his best friend, hanging out with his young daughter and watching the odd double act pole dancing show.  Like I said, just chilling.

He takes his daughter on a junket to Italy, he bangs around with women staying in his hotel, his car breaks down at one point, he has a broken arm that’s never explained and never needs to be.  It really is just one person’s meandering life where you totally believe that even the most luxurious life would become mundane if you lived it for long enough.  But again, none of this ever gets boring or seems indulgent on the part of Coppola or Dorff.

One aspect I really liked was Coppola’s decision to not make Dorff’s super star Marco some sort of tortured soul.  He’s a great dad to his daughter, he seems to have a healthy relationship with the girl’s mother, he enjoys the benefits of being  rich and famous in regards to women, but never seems to exploit them or be self loathing about his conquests.  He’s nice to people around him without it ever being a comment on shallow celebrities.  I’m worried I’m making Somewhere sound boring and inconsequential, but it’s really not.

It’s real in a way I don’t think I’d ever seen before, right down to the sound and lighting.  It looks like there isn’t a single artificial light source or piece of audio added in later.  Little things, like Dorff’s voice being almost inaudible over traffic when stuck on the side of the road, or hearing Foo Fighters blasting out of a stereo when the duel strippers do their thing all ad to the reality of Somewhere and show how the little things can make a big difference.

Somewhere
Directed By – Sofia Coppola
Written By – Sofia Coppola

MUSIC REVIEW | Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants – All Hat and No Cattle (2013)

chris_shiflett_and_the_dead_peasants_all_hat_and_no_cattle

From time with punk rock stayers No Use for a Name, to sold out arenas all over the world with Foo Fighters, to punk super group / cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Chris Shiflett is obviously a man passionate about his music, who will take any outlet on offer.  And when you’re in a band as big as Foo Fighters, those outlets are probably a little more numerous than for your average journeyman guitarist.  But make no mistake, Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants is no vanity project.


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