Bob Dylan – Dylan Review

Barely scraping in at half an hour of music, and Bob Dylan somehow begins to pull a thread that would unravel his image as a trend-setting, electrifying performer and lyricist. Where Johnny Cash’s buried recordings had promise to them, the Johnny 99 days quite remarkable considering the active fight the Man in Black had against his record label at the time, Dylan’s smaller works do not have that same appeal. They are not as electrifying as his proudest works and not all that worth seeking out, as are the works of other artists who were fading at a time when Dylan was rising. Stunted growth appears on Dylan, an album that feels strangely bereft of what makes the man’s work so great.

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Fight Club Review

Hard, isn’t it? To avoid making a joke about “the first rule of fight club.” Yes, very good. Everyone is thinking it. Jot it down on a bit of paper. Scrunch it up. Bin it. Everyone else that came before you have done it, and everyone else after will do it too. It’s not original, it’s not interesting, and neither is Fight Club, not really, anyway. Fight Club? Fine club. Fine indeed. It’s fine. But what makes Fight Club a struggle to view is not its commentary and fundamentally skewered take on Chuck Palahniuk’s view, but the response to it. The misunderstanding of it. An audience problem, that one, albeit a benefit to Fight Club anyway.

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Bob Dylan – New Morning Review

Understandable it is for an artist to feel spent after releasing their masterwork, Bob Dylan managed to release five masterclasses and a handful of other great bits and pieces in his first decade of work. Burnout, for anyone, would set in after releasing nine albums in seven years. Those cracks started to show with Nashville Skyline, not out of quality, but out of changes to the technical merits and vocals. Dylan expired himself so fast that he clamoured for new sounds, new ideations of his sound. New Morning, his first album from the turn of the 1970s, feels like a necessary change for the legendary singer. Not in how he sings, but in what he chooses to focus on. A refreshing change of pace that can be blamed for a hefty downfall in the periods to follow.

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Starship Troopers Review

A post-modernist, tactical criticism of American militarism and the ingrained patriotism felt by it should come as no surprise. What does come as a surprise is that Paul Verhoeven managed to shroud it so well with his cheesy, brilliant adaptation of Robert A. Heinlen’s Starship Troopers. Lambs to the contemporary slaughter, but minds of the future were far kinder to Verhoeven’s efforts at adapting this militaristic insight and how it would soon be adapted to shepherd those that enjoy the safety of belief in their country and pride within it. Starship Troopers is an exemplary piece of film because it blurs the line between friendly, explosive entertainment and darker, biting criticisms of a culture it hopes to expose and explore.

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Pulp reunion confirmed by frontman Jarvis Cocker with 2023 tour planned

Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has confirmed the band is back together just days after a cryptic Instagram post hinted at the legendary Britpop troupe’s return.

Cocker confirmed the news of an upcoming Pulp reunion, with tours slated for next year.

Specific dates are yet to be announced, but drummer Nick Banks took to Twitter and attempted to calm the tides of frantic fans.

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Spiderhead Review

Presumably, director Joseph Kosinski had hoped to avoid having Spiderhead compared to Michael Bay’s cloning feature The Island, but here we are. A commentary either on animal testing and the broad range of human trials or the strange gateway drug of Marvel films leading to a state of absolute empty repression. Spiderhead then becomes a feature documenting Chris Hemsworth hoping to regain his ability to feel love for art, or just in general. Although it would be a bit on the nose if he were in the hot seat, Miles Teller of all people steps in. A second chance for the Whiplash lead after that weird Esquire interview. If it weren’t too squeaky clean and desensitised, then Spiderhead would be something. Not something good. But something.

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Sloppy Jane – Madison Review

With baroque pop moments of religiously-infused wonder, Sloppy Jane’s articulation of theme throughout Madison is a strong, intense revelation. Eccentricity is at the heart of their live performance and movement of lead singer Haley Dahl, with a grand gusto and effective, unique quality to her presence as a stage artist. Somehow, Sloppy Jane has recreated that feeling, that thriving movement, on their latest album. A similar context to Madison’s recording as Jarv Is’ live set during lockdown. Or at least, a similar feeling and need to thrive in an unusual place. A cave-recorded album, taking in the beauty of echoes and the underground without having to deal with the unusual fear of being locked down in the depths. But that is to the strength of Sloppy Jane’s work here.

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Mad God Review

Animated flourishes and a delicate backdrop, animation like that is always doomed for streaming services. Creativity is an ill beast. Mad God is a dangerous one. A fun one too. Its ambience and hellish dream, orchestral voices echoing through the opening sequence that feels just a little like a John Romero Doom-era vision is exactly the right tone for this maddening spiral into animated mastery. A feature that feels the aesthetic qualities of H.R. Geiger and the depressed, permanent madness of apocalyptic fiction and all the bells and whistles desperately attached to it. No escape for Mad God, despite its unique form. Apocalyptic underworlds are the zombies of yesterday and the true crime of tomorrow.  

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Phoebe Bridgers at Manchester’s O2 Apollo – Class act from atmospheric chamber pop singer

Music journalists are gentle things. They don’t want to explore the exposure of the standing ticketed area. Staying far away from feral fans screeching and waving as Phoebe Bridgers walks onto the stage is not just preferable, but necessary to avoid puncturing the eardrums. But what an atmosphere it is, to watch it from above. Right in the heavens is the place to be. That’s where the scene comes whole. With well over three thousand screaming fans swaying to the indie-folk, chamber pop of Bridgers, it is almost impossible not to be lost in it. The sea of hands waving for Scott Street, the yells of adoration from a sea of fans who have waited patiently for quite some time to see Bridgers perform at Manchester’s O2 Apollo on Saturday night, it’s intoxicating.   

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The Kooks – 10 Tracks to Echo in the Dark Review

If a tree falls and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? That question can be interpreted by the work of The Kooks here. If nobody is there to listen to 10 Tracks to Echo in the Dark, did it happen? What if they are just echoes in the dark. It’s hard to figure out who is listening and what they are listening to if it’s dark. Maybe that is the point of this latest record from trendsetting indie rockers The Kooks, whose survival in pop culture is in part thanks to Naïve. Are audiences naïve enough to give them the time of day ten years on with ten more tracks? Possibly so. Hopefully.

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The art we all forgot, and rightly so.