Saturday, March 26, 2016

Video Of The Week: Shane MacGowan & The Popes

Say what you want about Shane MacGowan, his character, his lack of professionalism, his alcoholism, or the way he leads his life - but there's no denying his songwriting chops.

Even his so-called "sub-par" work, like this video for Lonesome Highway, is a fine Celtic-inspired ballad tha would have been at home on any rocker's album between 1987 and 1997; it's actually from the 1997 record The Crock Of Gold, by Shane MacGowan & The Popes, the band he started when he was kicked out of The Pogues. Because of his character, his lack of professionalism, his alcoholism, and the way he leads his life.

I'm currently looking back at my own songwriting output, as I'm preparing to release poetry books (including my lyrics) in both French and English, each accompanied by a compilation album. This is a song I would have liked to have written myself.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Video Of The Week: Bat For Lashes

Natasha Khan - known to some by her stage name Bat For Lashes - is set to release her next record on July 1st, 2016. It will be a concept album called The Bride, dealing with a relationship that ends in death, as in "Til Death Do Us Part"; it remains to be seen if the protagonist will get to the wedding first or if the couple will die as fiancés*, but I'm curious to find out, to say the least.

It will be her fourth full-length album; she also has three live EPs under her belt.

After releasing the song I Do in February (featuring a cover image that was simply a wedding invitation with the album's release date), here is the first true single and video, co-directed by Khan and John De Menil, for the haunting, mournful song In God's House:

The imagery and cinematography are stunning, and so far I like the song a lot. I find it rich, smart, subtle, subdued, nuanced and multi-layered. Maybe the over-abundance of keys will get on my nerves eventually, but so far I'm really into it. I also really like the nods to her past work everywhere in this, including the Volvo.

*You'd think a song called I Do would mean that, yes, they got to the ceremony, but in In God's House, she sings: "In God's house I do wait / for my love on our wedding day / Dewy eyes and lashes long / for my love, but I'm feeling something's wrong", which kind of steers the story in another direction.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Video Of The Week: Xania

Xania's artist profile says she's a rapper who fuses hip hop with electro and tap dancing and, while that's a fair assessment, it's missing her quirky charm and the fact that she doesn't seem to take on a project without making it pure and cute.

In her latest video, for the song Dance With The Robot, which she directed with Robert Donachie and Sylvain Brosset like her previous one for I'm Broke - which I've meant to share here since December and likely will in the future - fuses child-like choreography and costumes with nice Montréal sight lines and charismatic visuals and friends who seem to partake in the same kind of amusement.

It's refreshing, particularly in a time where even all the bubblegum pop you hear everywhere is so melodramatic (I'll jump on a grenade for you / You left me and I want to die), methodically-planned (focus groups say kids want to hear...) and pretty much antiseptic and generic (Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift); Xania's the opposite of all that.

So go ahead and dance along with the robot, folks. Have fun. Live a little.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Furrians And Refugees

So, uh, Syrian refugees arrived in Canada this week, greeted by The Face Of Canada, Justin Trudeau (i.e. the prettier Stephen Harper). Then they were put in a hotel where there was a Furry convention...

... and good times ensued, because the kids are innocent and haven't been corrupted by Life, or Religion, or Politics, or anything else yet. They can just be.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Misleading Headlines

So The Daily Mail entitled a post "Denny's patron rewards her waiter with a sex act", with the link on Facebook appearing as "The Shocking Moments A Denny's Patron Tips Her Waiter With A Sex Act", except it didn't go all the way.

That's misleading.

And the whole article, the man and woman - consenting adults - are shown as "unidentified", inviting further investigation, as is wondering if the poor sob who got tricked out of a tip by barely wetting his tip lost his job over the incident.

Shame on you, Daily Mail.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Video Of The Week: Massive Attack feat. Young Fathers

This week's featured video was directed by British director Ringan Lewidge (2006's Gone, as well as a controversial grocery store chain - Sainsbury - ad in 2014) and features actress Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) dancing solo in an empty hall - not unlike Christopher Walker in Fatboy Slim's Weapon Of Choice or Jamiroquai's lead singer Jay Kay in Virtual Insanity - except here she really seems like she's losing her mind, whereas they were just moving through space. Her dance moves are more of the "classic modern dance" variety than theirs, but the song and visuals match up perfectly.

Speaking of which, it's Voodoo In My Blood, by Massive Attack and Young Fathers:

The colour palette (green and yellow) is reminiscent of turn-of-the-millennium films such as Fight Club and the Matrix sequels (whereas many current films delve into more of an orange-y vibe these days, from the Star Trek films to Man Of Steel to 300).

I'm not a huge fan of Pike's and I prefer my Massive Attack when they're slow and moody instead of loud and obnoxious/obvious, but this is a solid piece of art regardless.