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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Jennifer Lawrence returns to fight The Man in the ongoing pro-revolution blockbuster.


#Screened
#Film
#chimp71

31st Mar 2014

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Upstream Color

Spellbinding, hypnotic indie sci-fi. A hugely individual vision, masterfully assembled.


#JustWatched
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#CSF

25th Aug 2013

Read more 4.5 star reviews

Short Attention Span Theatre: Amblin'

Something a little different for SAST today: Steven Spielberg's 35mm short from 1968, a hippy love story/road trip, filled with a groovy soundtrack and zero dialogue. Probably better known as the film he named Amblin' Entertainment after. Here's Spielberg taking a look back at the poster in 2008.

#chimpx
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#ShortAttentionSpanTheatre

28th May 2013 - Add Comment - Tweet

Trailer Park: Les Maitres Du Temps

Stumbled across this Moebius-designed, Rene Laloux-directed French animation from 1982 about a metaphysical rescue operation. There's a Eureka edition out on DVD, more on the making of here at Twitch

#chimpx
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#TrailerPark

12th Oct 2012 - Add Comment - Tweet

New Eddie Vedder: Ukulele Songs

Eddie Vedder is back with a new solo album on May 31st, his first since the recent-Pearl-Jam trumping Into The Wild soundtrack. Ukulele Songs is made up of new songs and covers, unsurprisingly played on a ukulele. Don't worry if that's a deal-breaker for you however as he also has a tour film - Water On The Road - coming out on the same date and directed by Fugazi's Brendan Canty. That film is culled from 2008's solo tour and features solo cuts mixed in with Pearl Jam classics.

First single Longing To Belong is out today.

Via Pearl Jam

UPDATE: Cat Power guests. Uh oh.

#CSF
#Music

19th Mar 2011 - Add Comment - Tweet

1080p is the VHS of the future

How's that 47", 1080p, Full HD-ready TV working out for you? Nice try, but it's already out-of-date. What you really want is a Super Hi-Vision plasma screen, capable of a resolution of 7680x4320 - 16 x better than 1080p.

OK there is a projector, but while the TV sets don't exist yet (you can use 4 x 4K sets together) the camera does - and the BBC and Japan's NHK just did a test broadcast of a studio session from The Charlatans. Not quite sure how that content decision came about.

The quality is so clear that a special lens had to be built to cope, and much like 3DTV, the format has dictated a shooting style of its own - with a single camera wide-shot being so big and clear that the viewer would be distracted by too much editing and can just cast their eyes around the screen instead.

Watch more at the BBC

#CSF
#Tech
#TV

16th Nov 2010 - Add Comment - Tweet

Black Mountain

Wilderness Heart

With album number three, Vancouver's Black Mountain may be threatening to hit the mainstream ...and with an output history this solid and thrilling, they deserve nothing less.

While 2008's In The Future was a decade highlight for me, Wilderness Heart proves to be something of a departure from it's predecessor - eschewing that early 70's monolithic rock sound for something a little more modern. Circa 1978. Synths and keyboards litter the sound with hidden flourishes, while Amber Webber gets more time in the lime light on these concise, deceptively simple tracks.

Opener The Hair Song exudes a swaggering confidence, while Old Fangs is built around a riff worthy of AC/DC themselves. Empires are smashed, tempos are shifted and War of the Worlds-style synths rule in one of many mini epics on the album - where no tracks head far north of 5 minutes.

Rollercoaster dips before Webber's vocals soar. Let Spirits Ride takes the band on a freight train of their most thundering thrash to date, complete with electrifying guitar and keyboard solos. A calmness decends with the orchestral overtones of Buried by the Blues - but throughout the album Josh Wells' drumming is again a magnificent highlight, running in and out of the layered and intricate guitars and keyboards and providing a muscular and spine tingling backbone.

Title track Wilderness Heart is the highlight, cramming a ten minute epic into just under four minutes as all the elements magically come together perfectly: thunderous intro, duelling vocals, pneumatic waves of drumming and a soaring coda all weaving in and out of each other into a towering, all-conquering masterpiece. Thrilling.

#Music
#CSF

13th Sep 2010 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Double Black Mountain

Perennial chimp favourites Black Mountain are playing the T In The Park festival in July and will follow the monster festival with two tiny shows at London's Lexington (tickets here).

See you down the front.

Even better new comes from their blog: "The band are currently putting the finishing touches to their third album, the follow-up to 2008's acclaimed 'In The Future'."

#CSF
#Music

15th Apr 2010 - Add Comment - Tweet

Everything That's Happened on Lost So Far, Just from Memory

Forget the fancy Lost timeline, or cheat-sheet catch ups like Lost In 10 Minutes. If you're a true fan you should be recallng the entire show from memory. Gawker tried it out.

The final season of Lost kicks off with a double episode on Sky1 this Friday at 9pm.

#CSF

3rd Feb 2010 - Add Comment - Tweet

Best Of 2009

CSF

As a quick precursor to the Best of the 00s list I'm currently editing, here's my Top 5 albums of 2009.

Not a stellar year compared to 2007 or 2008, but there's certainly been a few stand outs.

John Frusciante - The Empyrean
He didn't tell us he'd left the Chili Peppers, but Frusciante's latest solo album certainly upped the anti on 2004's marathon of low-key releases, blending epic guitars, a stellar guest list and a near-perfect cover of Tim Buckley's Song To The Siren.

Pink Mountaintops - Outside Love
The Black Mountain side-project took it's own place in the spot light, with a solid album - made twice as good by the outstanding supporting tour.

Lightning Dust - Infinite Light
Amber Webber was missed on the aforementioned Pink Mountaintops tour, but luckily that's because she was polishing up her own project. Taking the promise of their debut, Lightning Dust moved forward with grand strides on this haunting ethereal masterpiece.

Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
The old favourites pulled virtually no surprises out with this one, just another handful of great rock songs with mind-blowing musicianship - and again backed it all up with one of the gigs of the year.

Flight of the Conchords - I Told You I Was Freaky
One great album seemed like a fluke, but the soundtrack to season two expanded the comedy duos surprising knack for blending piss-take and homage in an accomplished way, laced with fits and giggles. I'm in love with a sexy lady, with an eye that's lazy.

#Music
#CSF

30th Dec 2009 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Best Of 2009

BC

It's been a crazy old year 2009, not quite the end of the modern world as predicted from the rubble of 2008 but strange nonetheless. And what better soundtrack for utter misery than the New Jersey new boys Titus Andronicus who stole the show for me early on this year. Heavyweights Sonic Youth returned with the solid The Eternal and Doves continued their run of form. Punk duo Japandroids were the unexpected highlight this year with Post Nothing. They sat proudly on top of an over subscribed DIY noise scene. Disappointment came in the form of the bloated Decemberists album and the equally bloated Monsters Of Folk gig at The Troxy Here's my lists...

Titus Andronicus - The Airing Of Grievances
It's pretty sad when the album of the year arrives in January and technically this is a 2008 release but really, who even reads this shit? No matter what came after this nothing could match the shear might of this debut.

Japandroids - Post Nothing
This came out of nowhere and has been rocking my world ever since. It's raw, simmering energy just makes you wish you were young again, when making out and living forever were as important as as likely as eachother.

Doves - Kingdom Of Rust
They've been pumping out solid albums since the start of the decade but Kingdom Of Rust seemed to be the most perfectly formed of them all. The opening 3 tracks are the strongest starting line up this year.

Girls - Album
This gets my award for the most original release, even though it sounds like so many other things. Achingly sad from start to finish but utterly uplifting nonetheless.

Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer
After the compelling yet bloated and slightly confusing Random Spirit Lover I was surprised to find Dragonslayer so succinct. It's some of Krug's finest work.

Honorable Mentions:
Sonic Youth - The Eternal
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Loney Dear - Dear John
Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport
Why? - Eskimo Snow
The XX

Gigs:
Wilco - The Troxy
Pearl Jam - O2
White Denim - Old Blue Last
Titus Andronicus - 100 Club
Jason Lytle - Islington Academy

Songs:
Japandroids - Heart Sweats
Sonic Youth - What We Know
Doves - The Outsiders
Animal Collective - My Girls
Girls - Hellhole Ratface

#Music
#BC

23rd Dec 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Ad Nauseum: Adidas Originals

You might have caught this star-studded Adidas Originals campaign on TV this year - a well planned campaign that started with invites going out with a teaser clip, followed by the party/ad itself and even ending up with a Simpsons parody (below). All run through their website, Facebook and Youtube page.

Great concept, great photography and great direction - by Nima Nourizadeh, through Partizan.

Final ad above. You can probably dig out a more legit copy of the final clip on the Adidas website, or see it on the Partizan site.

P.S. Check out Beckham's hole in one too.

#CSF
#AdNauseum
#Film

18th Dec 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Fuck Buttons

Tarot Sport

ATP

Having produced one of the most intense and energy draining albums of 2008, Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power return with a much more user-friendly take on their drone headache and one of the most succinctly perfect dance records I've heard for a good while. Street Horrrising had its fair share of melody and pop sensibility, but that's before a tone of ear scraping noise was dumped on it from a high height and all but obliterated any nod towards recognised form. That's not to say it wasn't an endlessly intriguing piece of work, but I must admit the shift that has occurred with Tarot Sport comes as a welcome change and one that retains all the edge we associate with this band, but channels them into subtler and more palatable structures.

There are various factors behind this change of approach and therefore sound. The enormous expanse of songs like Sweet Love For Planet Earth that opened the first album came from a post-rock school of thought and while this thinking still drives every song here it comes from a more electronic place. The other factor to bear in mind would be Andrew Weatherall at the helm. His influence is stamped all over this record and the combination of his techno history and Fuck Button's post-rock drone tendencies is a near-perfect marriage. The band explain Weatherall's input: "There are so many more layers of sound that we needed somebody with the ability to spread these out over a wide plane... The ambition of sound in this record required him to realise it." The result is massive synth textures that grow and evolve around meticulously constructed rhythms which together expand into epic sonic journeys.

Their skills are put to way more mature work here. These constructions are subtle and slow to evolve but carry with them such gravitas. They unfold with narrative melody and throughout their lengthy progression they become more like mini life-spans than actual songs. Where brutality was the flavor on their first record, it is merely suggested in the might of these tracks. It's in this restraint that Tarot Sport really succeeds. Opener Surf Solar employs a clipped synth melody to build tension growing fiercer with every mangled texture, while The Lisbon Maru is built around a military drum beat that threatens an onslaught but always holds back. The central song Olympians could be the soundtrack to one of Godfrey Reggio's Quatsi movies. Over the course of its near eleven minute length it could only be fitting for something this grand to accompany the evolution of the universe itself.

Tarot Sport is a seismic shift away from the first album but a conscious and meticulous one. It is a pure exploration of sound that holds the listener in mind all the way. It's a record that demonstrates an obsessive commitment to their art and one to be exceptionally proud of.

#Music
#BC

24th Nov 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Port O'Brien

Threadbare

City Slang

The progression that occurred between this Californian bands first installment and 2008's All We Could Do Was Sing hinted at a road that could take them to the momentous heights of Arcade Fire. Sounding like a raggedy relative of the Canadians they shone with effortless grandeur and lifted their sound way beyond their acoustic starting point to one that rivaled the crashing waves they often sung about. But as art often takes its cue from life, singer Cambria Goodwin's brother tragically died during the recording of Threadbare and the result is a more sombre and reflective followup but one that gleams with quiet beauty.

Goodwin gets more of the singing duties than last time and her distant vocals on opener High Without The Hope set the tone of the record early on with a delicate and achingly vulnerable delivery. As it fades from earshot the opening bars of My Will Is Good creep in to replace it and with it comes the husky vocals of Van Pierszalowski. His writing on All We Could Do Was Sing became slightly repetitive in its complaint of the sea fairing life that had been chosen for him, but here there is a darker feel and a more mature one. On this and Tree Bones - which recalls Nirvana's unplugged Plateau - the somber mood gains muscle and brings with it an interesting darkness. But instead of being weighty, this prevailing mood gives the album structure and the many punctuations that lift you high from the doom are well placed and essential. Songs like Sour Milk / Salt Water and Leap Year race along with uncharacteristic pace and with it Pierszalowski's vocals strain with raw energy.

It may not be the record we expected, but it's solid and more developed than before. Life's harsh twists and turns have brought out some truly thoughtful and searching music in this band and there are delights along the way that line this record with more than a glimmer of hope

#Music
#BC

22nd Oct 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Vivian Girls

Everything Goes Wrong

In The Red

You'd be hard pushed to find a 'best of' list in 2008 that didn't feature this Brooklyn trio's eponymous self titled debut and so the expectation for the followup must have been something of an issue to overcome after such blanket praise. With it's raw punk riffs and flattend-out off-the-cuff-vocals it dazzled with immediacy, excitement and spontaneity - qualities that can easily be eradicated with the slightest bit of pressure from expectation. And when you read that the followup Everything Goes Wrong took double the time to record and is a longer record the signs point to a disappointment. However when that recording period was six days instead of three and the carefree notes of opener Walking Alone At Night greet your ears you'll only chastise yourself for such pessimism.

Everything Goes Wrong is a much darker affair than it's predecessor. With a sombre weight, the girls have jacked up the pace evolving their bubble-gum garage rock into full-on punk rock bursts. There's not such a reliance on the pop melody and seems to draw its influence on the hardcore scene more than the shoegaze tendencies that ran through the debut. All this is to it's credit however and this sophomore album effortlessly sidesteps any pressure by sounding like it was unaware of the pressure in the first place. These changes have been made without the record sounding aware of itself in the slightest. But this is no fresh-faced first-time sound. Far from it, it's a mature sound that has evolved and one that they can start to call their own. There isn't the stand-out joy of their first record and many of the songs come at you in a similar package. But the result is a wave-upon-wave effect that, after repeated subjection, sweeps you up and you're theirs.

The record may be more somber and more aggressive but the sweet vocal melodies are more beguiling as a result. They wash over the feral background easing everything into the distance and taking the listener with them. This form of attack works best on the longer songs and with few of the debuts cuts making it past the two minute mark it's quite a shock to see a good few four minuters here. Can't Get Over You and the soaring Out For The Sun never let up in pace and build a wall of sound around you that is impossible to escape even if you wanted to, and the vocal harmonies on Double Vision cast a blissful spell that seems to sum up the whole record. There's nothing better than a sophomore album that only serves to justify the debut and this builds on the success of 2008 with startling maturity and subtlety without seeming conscious at all. As they plod on to higher ground Vivian Girls cast a spell in their wake while seeming blissfully unaware of its potency.

#Music
#BC

25th Sep 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Castanets

Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts

Asthmatic Kitty

Over the years Ray Raposa has trodden much ground with his Castanets. With Cathedral, their 2004 debut for Asthmatic Kitty, Raposa's country roots were laced with noise and free-jazz haze-outs, while 2007's In The Vines welcomed in the warmth with its glistening lap-steel moments. 2008 saw the release of City Of Refuge which increased this warmth to sweltering levels, not stopping until every composition was reduced to dry desert. It was a minimalist opera of stillness and endless bleakness. I don't know how long this approach could have lasted as the listener was starved of any morsel of habitation within these arrangements. Thankfully, Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts arrives like a long overdue rain storm.

The opening track plays out like the entire album. It continues the bleak landscape that ended City Of Refuge. Raposa's frail vocals shivering in this barren world, as dry as tinder and equally as delicate. With only a faint acoustic guitar as company he nudges this album into view. Gradually he is joined by ever-increasing bass drums, lap-steel, mariachi trumpets and stirring back-up soul singers. From here on in, the beauty resides. It gets lonely in parts, as you'd expect from this writer, but it's the beauty that carries it along.

With his trademark instruments, Raposa crafts lush soundscapes from delicate guitar, steel drums, oceans of synths and some expertly chosen touches of crackling electronica that, once introduced to the mix, transform this from your average country record into something achingly linked to the past but fiercely contemporary. Worn From The Fight (With Fireworks) comes off the back of some truly traditional sounds and simply glistens and dances with modern day frivolity. Its frail structure hangs on the deepest boom of electronic bass with glitchy rhythms dancing around it like static from a TV. In this landscape Raposa's vocals assume an intimate tenderness rarely seen.

Ray Raposa comes from the same bleak school as artists like Jason Molina or The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle - and just as the sun has crept into their work of late, the same has happened here. That's not to say he's dropped all the experimentation that made his work so challenging in the first place. Far from it - he's just managed it better here and integrated it with such depth of beauty. Like the previous artists, this record is at first arresting in its simplicity but hides much within. Take your time with Texas Rose and it will unleash endless pay offs.

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22nd Sep 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Times New Viking

Born Again Revisited

Matador

The world of DIY noise-pop is a different place now than when we last heard from Ohio trio Times New Viking. In 2008 their Matador debut Rip It Off gate crashed the scene and sounded like a major malfunction in the recording room with red lined production drenching what sounded like good pop songs. It arrived with due critical acclaim but now seems quite run-of-the-mill due to the constant stream of like minded music that has descended upon us ever since.

Whereas the master recording for Rip It Off was delivered on cassette the followup, Born Again Revisited, arrived on VHS and claims to feature "25% higher fidelity." After hearing opener Martin Luther King Day you may start to get excited about this fact. It's the most coherent song they've given us and peals away some of the tape hiss to reveal great song structure and shining vocals. Don't be fooled as this coherence is short-lived and with the arrival of I Smell Bubblegum we're back in the grit and hiss that carried with it Rip It Off.

This isn't really a criticism but merely a minor disappointment. The abrasion that dominates the next few tracks seems rather too familiar now. But things have changed with this release and without sounding like they give a monkeys what other bands are doing these songs show a greater maturity. None so effectively as No Time, No Hope. With its chiming guitars and booming bass this song gives due space to the vocals, an element much overlooked with this band, and as the narcotic organs swirl into place we get a damn near perfect song in this genre. More highlights include the Japanther-like These Days and the anthemic Move To California.

Born Again Revisited has a pleasing amount of change to it after the wealth of DIY that has come since its predecessor but also enough of Times New Viking's trademark rawness. It's far more layered and varied and that extra 25% really shows in the gleaming high points mentioned. With the genre plodding on - albeit in a somewhat tired manner now - it's up to pillar bands like this to pave the way to new lands and this is a good start to the journey.

#Music
#BC

21st Sep 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Star Status: Jeff Bridges

How does the much-loved Jeff Bridges actually rate in the Chimpomatic Star Status Movie Maths Generator?

It's 10 points for a Hit, 5 for a Maybe and 1 for a Miss... No TV movies, just cinema releases to date.

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008) .... MAYBE
Iron Man (2008) .... HIT!
Surf's Up (2007) (voice) .... MAYBE
Stick It (2006) .... MISS
Tideland (2005) .... MAYBE
The Moguls (2005) .... MAYBE
The Door in the Floor (2004) .... MAYBE
Seabiscuit (2003) .... HIT
Masked and Anonymous (2003) .... MAYBE
K-PAX (2001) .... HIT
Scenes of the Crime (2001) .... MAYBE
The Contender (2000) .... HIT
Simpatico (1999) .... MISS
The Muse (1999) .... MISS
Arlington Road (1999) .... HIT
The Big Lebowski (1998) .... HIT!!!
Hidden in America (1996) (TV) .... MAYBE
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) .... MAYBE
White Squall (1996) .... MAYBE
Wild Bill (1995) .... MAYBE
Blown Away (1994) .... MISS
Fearless (1993) .... HIT!
The Vanishing (1993) .... HIT
American Heart (1992) .... HIT
The Fisher King (1991) .... HIT
Texasville (1990) ....MAYBE
The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) .... HIT
Cold Feet (1989) (uncredited) .... MISS
See You in the Morning (1989) ....MISS
Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) .... HIT
Nadine (1987) .... MISS
The Morning After (1986) ....MISS
8 Million Ways to Die (1986) ....MISS
Jagged Edge (1985) .... HIT!
Starman (1984) .... HIT!
Against All Odds (1984) .... HIT!
Kiss Me Goodbye (1982) .... MISS
The Last Unicorn (1982) (voice) .... MAYBE
TRON (1982) .... HIT
Cutter's Way (1981) ....MISS
Heaven's Gate (1980) .... MAYBE
The American Success Company (1980) .... MISS
Winter Kills (1979) .... MISS
Somebody Killed Her Husband (1978) .... MISS
King Kong (1976) .... MISS
Stay Hungry (1976) .... MISS
Hearts of the West (1975) .... MAYBE
Rancho Deluxe (1975) .... MAYBE
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) .... HIT!
The Iceman Cometh (1973) .... HIT
The Last American Hero (1973) .... MAYBE
Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973) .... MISS
Bad Company (1972) .... HIT
Fat City (1972) ....HIT
The Last Picture Show (1971) .... HIT!

23 hits, 16 maybes and 15 misses.

So that's 307 points out of a possible 540.

Jeff Bridges: you have scored 56.9%.

There's no doubting he makes some odd choices, and his huge work-rate brings him down with a lot of 'maybes' but even in a bad film he remains pretty much 90% watchable. If he worked at a Harrison Ford rate, he'd probably have a near-perfect record, with a serious hit every couple of years.

If you need any further convincing that The Dude is a very cool dude, check out his own great website.

If you dare make a purchase, you can do so here, allowing Chimpomatic to profit from his loss success. Check back soon for more Star Status movie maths. Same Chimp Channel, same Chimp Time...

#CSF
#Film
#StarStatus

18th Sep 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

The 4 Hour Work Week

I'm aiming for a new zen-like existence after reading Tim Ferris' excellent book The 4 Hour Work Week. In fact, I've been living such an existence for many months now, meaning I didn't get round to writing this up.

The basic concept of the book deals with streamlining your work life to make you more efficient, giving you time to pursue recreational ambitions and further yourself. Luckily, it just about stays on the right side of being a self-growth, believe-in-yourself type load of spiritual mumbo-jumbo and focuses on practical applications, many of which are easily done, most notably checking your emails only once or twice a day, turning down troublesome work and sub-contracting many tasks - even to the point of hiring an assistant in India.

A major focus is the 80/20 principal, where 80% of a lot of things is unnecessary waffle, while 20% is the useful core. I imagine it's applicable on chimpomatic too, with 20% of our readers being loyal followers, while 80% are just here for the early word on Torchwood.

Once you're on top of your game, the fun begins - letting you blow 80% of your time on more fun pursuits, with Ferris having become a kick-boxing champion, a speed swimmer and even built up 34lbs of muscle in 4 weeks. Check out his excellent website for occasional tips on speaking a new language in 1 hour, sleeping better, travelling the world with 10lbs of luggagespeed reading, never forgetting anything, holidaying by twitter, getting a good table at top restaurants and more.

Ferris has become something of an internet personality in the wake of the book's success, making maximum use of the likes of Twitter and Facebook to rustle up followers and crowd-source content for his next book - and even knock out a possible TV show, where he learns a new skill per episode. All that stuff can actually get a bit annoying, and he sometimes seems so obsessed with efficiency that the writing can be a bit dry ("Post reading time: 15 minutes" etc.), and his collaborations with Digg founder Kevin Rose tend to make one of the two seem strangely closed-minded...

#CSF
#Tech
#Travel
#Websites

17th Sep 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

At Home With Bob Pollard

Nice at-home-with-Bob-Pollard type article over in the Spin archive.

"I like these old solid-state cassette players for recording - they get a good, bright guitar sound. When Guided By Voices were on TVT, they'd make us go to a studio to make the demos, then a bigger studio to record the album, a process I really don't understand."

#CSF
#Music

10th Sep 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Monotonix

Where Were You When It Happened?

Drag City

Sometime last year I went to see Silver Jews play in the intimate surroundings of London's ULU. On entering I couldn't help but notice the crowd congregating avidly round some sort of commotion occurring in the middle of the venue. The stage was clear so it couldn't be the band, but what was the source of the deafening noise that was pounding through my very soul? In order to get a better view I took up position on the balcony and to my surprise I saw, at the very heart of this scene, three sweaty, bare chested beasts who were masquerading as humans. The drummer pounded a very scant looking drum kit to death while the guy making most of the noise shrieked so violently into his contorted fist you'd think he was about to swallow it. As if that wasn't enough, in a sudden burst of reserved superhuman energy, they picked up the drum kit and ran out of the hall, mid song. While everyone looked around puzzled, they emerged on our balcony still playing the drums and still maintaining the howl. Anyway, to cut a long story short they ended up hanging from the balcony, drums in hand and played out the rest of the song, legs dangling, throat straining and most certainly crowd gawping. It was without a doubt the most exhilarating gig performance but to be honest I couldn't tell you much about the music, this was secondary. But with this, their first full length, the music speaks for itself and is impossible to overlook.

Their 2008 EP Body Language unleashed a short, sharp glimpse of what this band had been doing all round their hometown of Tel Aviv since 2005. Channelling the raw energy of bands like the Stooges but with the muscle of Black Sabbath, their sound was as uncontrollable as an unmanned, gushing fire hose. Where Were You is no different but seems to benefit from slightly denser production. Yonatan Gat's riffs loom large and often chug with meaty forcefulness over Ran Shimoni's erratic drumming. The star of the live experience is clearly front man Ami Shalev and I suppose one difference here is that he manages to fit in quite comfortably around his music and doesn't overpower the brute force that surrounds him. This makes the record gel in a much more coherent way and ultimately packs a better punch.

Things seem to have been considered more here. The rawness dominates every part of this, but not in an uncontrollable way. It has all the unpredictable energy of the live show, but keeps its eyes focused on the plan and churns out some mighty examples of old school rock filth. Set Me Free is the best example of this and is one of the only songs that allows space for the listener - opening with a sparse rhythm that is slowly joined by grinding guitars. The song takes its time and changes pace throughout the duration showing off an element that wasn't part of their earlier repertoire. Of course this is all obliterated on Spit It On Your Face and the musical hose pipe gives over to the spasms once again. Having been banned from most of the venues in Tel Aviv we can only hope that this scuzz dripping rock circus will spend more time on our shores. But this time it wont be just the live antics that dazzle.

#Music
#BC

1st Sep 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Architect's Journal: Top Ten Star Wars Architecture Moments

nice list of Star Wars architecture like the eco-friendly Ewok town (knew they were good for something), with links to some buildings in a galaxy much, much nearer - check the Sandcrawler influence on Rem Koolhaas, or the plans for the Full Moon Hotel in Azerbaijan

#chimp71
#Art
#Film

14th Aug 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Lightning Dust

Infinite Light

Jagjaguwar

The Black Mountain Army are proving to be nothing if not consistent. Since releasing Black Mountain's barn-storming In The Future in 2008, the contributors have been working steadily through their alter egos - with Pinkmountaintops putting out the excellent Outside Love and now alumni Amber Webber and Joshua Wells releasing a second album under the Lightning Dust moniker. I'm expecting a breakthrough album from Blood Meridian next.

Webber's contribution to Black Mountain is not to be over-looked, with her sultry vocals pulling the band back from the brink of parody and adding a mournful sound to the mix. Her vocals also supplied some of the highlights on Outside Love - and she was sorely missed on the supporting tour. With Lightning Dust however, Webber is firmly centre stage - taking on the majority of the writing, as well as guitar and 95% of the vocals.

Where the self titled debut was spare and sultry, Infinite Light is a more filled out and polished affair - much like the latest albums from the previously mentioned strands - and that extra push pays out rich rewards. Where Lightning Dust occasionally strained or became just too sparse, Inifinte Light sweeps and soars, showing a much wider range. Opener Antonia Jane is a country-tinged affair, obligitary lead-free-download I Knew adds some catchy low-key disco electronics and is notable for Well's superb drumming, while the piano-led The Times even threatens to become a sing-a-long. There are mysterious synthesizers and luscious strings, which all add up to a strangely epic vibe - for what is still essentially a small, self-contained record. There's a consistency and clarity here that would make a perfect soundtrack, probably to a modern day western or double crossin' film noir.

That 5% of the vocals that Webber doesn't cover is where this album loses it's half star - momentarily slipping towards that musical theatre vibe as the male vocals intrude on Honest Man. So while the variations are welcome to a certain extent, it's still the mournful voice of Webber that scores the highlights here - leading us effortlessly through the swell of History, the pounding balladry of Wondering What Everyone Knows or the flawless closer Take It Home, which perfectly sums up everything good about this excellent band. Great drums, moody bass, strings that could go on forever and a soaring, epic vocal performance that will put shivers down your spine.

Unmissable.

#Music
#CSF

30th Jul 2009 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Feed The Monster

Web 2.0 has really been picking up speed recently, and with Twitter seeming to catch up with Facebook in terms of mass popularity, let's have a look what else is out there.

Tumblr is somewhere between Twitter and a full blown blog, and in terms of customization it's pretty nifty. You can totally customise the code, and pull in data from other sources (e.g. our main content feed). Their business plan seems to involve ads on the home page, which like Twitter is made up of posts by other people you are following (e.g. Look At This Fucking Hipster). Check out ours and follow us here.

That following aspect is the big selling point for us, as a way of dragging new readers onto the mothership (www.chimpomatic.com), as well as adding some bonus data on the move, as Tumblr and Twitter are very iPhone friendly. In order to keep all our feeds and so on alive, we're using Twitterfeed, which can pull RSS content from any source and auto-Twitter it for you - hence our always up to date Twitter feed. That Twitter feed is then handy to post everything to your Facebook page.

Yahoo's Fire Eagle and Google's Latitude are likely to take off next, allowing you to easily update your location for selected people to find you. While there's something of a privacy issue, I don't think too many people will really care - or will select exactly who they wish to share that data with. Several location based social-networking services are already using the Fire Eagle service - for example Dopplr (there's that dumb spelling again), which is a travel based info-sharing service. Haven't quite got my head around that one yet, but will keep you updated...

#CSF
#Tech
#Websites

22nd Jul 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Star Status: Andy Garcia

A recent screening of The Untouchables brought Andy Garcia into the sights of Star Status, and it's a mixed picture. He's actually been in a lot of TV stuff and a lot of stuff that I for one haven't seen - so quite a few of these scores will be coming from the over-generous IBDB voting system. No TV, so his appearance in the pilot of Murder She Wrote won't count I'm afraid.

So, how does Cuban-born Andy Garcia rate in the Chimpomatic Star Status Movie Maths Generator?

It's 10 points for a Hit, 5 for a Maybe and 1 for a Miss... 

The Pink Panther 2 (2009) .... Vicenzo - MISS
City Island (2009) .... Vince Rizzo - HIT
La linea (2008) .... Javier Salazar - MISS
Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) (voice) .... Delgado - MISS
Ocean's Thirteen (2007) .... Terry Benedict - HIT
The Air I Breathe (2007) .... Fingers - HIT
Smokin' Aces (2006) .... Stanley Locke - MAYBE
The Lost City (2005) .... Fico Fellove - MAYBE
Ocean's Twelve (2004) .... Terry Benedict - HIT
Modigliani (2004) .... Amedeo Modigliani - MAYBE
The Lazarus Child (2004) .... Jack Heywood - MISS
Twisted (2004/I) .... Mike Delmarco - MISS
Confidence (2003) .... Gunther Butan - MAYBE
Just Like Mona (2003) - MISS
Ocean's Eleven (2001) .... Terry Benedict - HIT
The Man from Elysian Fields (2001) .... Byron - MAYBE
The Unsaid (2001) .... Michael Hunter - MAYBE
Lakeboat (2000) .... Guigliani - MISS
Just the Ticket (1999/I) .... Gary Starke - MISS
Desperate Measures (1998) .... Frank Conner - MISS
Hoodlum (1997) .... Lucky Luciano - MISS
The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1996) .... Lorca - MAYBE
Night Falls on Manhattan (1996) .... Sean Casey - MAYBE
Steal Big Steal Little (1995) .... Ruben Partida Martinez/Robert Martin/Narrator - MISS
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) .... Jimmy 'The Saint' Tosnia - HIT
When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) .... Michael Green - MAYBE
Jennifer Eight (1992) .... Sgt. John Berlin - HIT
Hero (1992/I) .... John Bubber - HIT
Dead Again (1991) .... Gray Baker - HIT
The Godfather: Part III (1990) .... Vincent Mancini - HIT
A Show of Force (1990) .... Luis Angel Mora - MISS
Internal Affairs (1990) .... Raymond Avilla - HIT
Black Rain (1989/I) .... Charlie - HIT
American Roulette (1988) .... Carlos Quintas - MISS
Stand and Deliver (1988) .... Dr. Ramirez (Educational Testing Service) - MAYBE
The Untouchables (1987) .... Agent George Stone / Giuseppe Petri - HIT
8 Million Ways to Die (1986) .... Angel Moldonado - MAYBE

HIT 11
MAYBE 11
MISS 13

So that's 178 out of a possible 370

Andy Garcia, you have scored a (perhaps surprising) 48.1%

If you dare make a purchase, you can do so here, allowing Chimpomatic to profit from his loss. Check back soon for more Star Status movie maths. Same Chimp Channel, same Chimp Time...

#BC
#Film
#StarStatus

17th Jul 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Out of this world movies

Indie moviemaker site Shooting People don't seem impressed by the contents of the video shelf on the International Space Station - which is disclosed here. Regarding classics such as Beverly Hills Cop (an easy 5 stars IMHO) as inferior, they are running a poll to select more suitable 'highbrow' titles to suggest.

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#Film
#Space

3rd Jul 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Death of a Blogger

A 2008 survey counted 133 million active blogs, but a 2009 follow-up notes that only 7.4 million of them have been updated in the last 120 days. That's a 95% failure rate.

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#Tech
#Websites

18th Jun 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

The Monsters of Folk

Following on from Evil Urges, 'Monsters of Funk' might be a better name for a Jim James/Bright Eyes/M. Ward supergroup - and at the moment it's hard to decide who provides the most potential for disappointment from these three....

Cynicism aside, there's plenty of potential for retribution as the Monsters of Folk reform for a newly announced, self-titled album, out in September on Rough Trade. Bootleg from their 2004 tour online here.

 

#CSF
#Music

15th Jun 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Crocodiles

Summer Of Hate

Fat Possum

The days of getting into new bands by the thank you's in the liner notes of a record are sadly long gone, as bittorrent downloads don't come with such added details, but the ever increasing ripples of excitement that are emanating from this band have largely originated from the fact that No Age included their self released 7" Neon Jesus in their Top Ten Songs of 2008.

The fact that No Age mentioned them in the first place is in itself quite misleading. Crocodiles are pretty scuzzy with ample feedback and effects permeating through each note but their adherence to pop sensibilities remove them quite considerably from the brand of noise punk that No Age craft. Long time friends Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez hail from sunny San Diego and I guess Summer Of Hate emerges from an alternative and less glamorous Californian life that is filtered over to us here, a life of hum drum days and bored teenagers. So as a result you get an album drenched in hazy sunshine but dripping with grime. I say 'dripping with grime' but this may be a slight exaggeration. One scratch at this greasy surface and a gleaming pop structure reveals itself below. In fact, without even scratching another structure reveals itself, that of The Jesus And Mary Chain. I Wanna Kill, an extremely catchy piece of scuzz pop, is built almost entirely on the frame work of Head On, the same drum beats and a hook that follows the 80's hit to the letter. But instead of holding this against them, the song and the rest of the record is so satisfying that I find myself carrying on regardless. Soft Skull (In My Room) is a damn near perfect blend of dub rock and art-punk madness.

The record can be divided quite equally into two types of approach, that of the afore mentioned spiky pounders and the tripped out atmospherics of songs like Here Comes The Sky and the title track which swirls around like a modern day Velvets submerging the distant vocals in layer upon layer of effect laden melodies. There's enough of a blend of 80's synth beats and very contemporary punk rock grit to make this much more than a cheap rehash. It has a refreshingly different agenda than a lot of the noise pop acts around at the moment. It isn't very noisy and it doesn't aim to pummel you but rather seethes with tension and anxiety. Though Crocodiles at times seem to be hovering tentatively on the fringes of the noise punk sound as if not quite confident enough to dive headlong in their decision to keep an eye on melody make this a familiar yet rewarding listen.

#Music
#BC

28th May 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Cryptacize

Mythomania

Asthmatic Kitty

'Mythomania' is the follow up to Cryptacize’s 2008 debut, ‘Dig That Treasure’. Nope, I don’t know what they’re on about either, however subterfuge and mysteriousness seem to be part of the ‘Cryptacize’ brief . Their sound slips between definitions; part Calexico’s brooding folk and part Nico’s vulnerable female vocals. Throw in the use of an ‘autoharp’ and there’s even a curious dash of John Barry’s ‘Ipcress File’ soundtrack to much of the album.

The songs lurch along erratically, off-beat and off the beat; you’re never quite sure where you’re being led. It starts on a high; ‘Tail & Main’ manages to be cheerful and bittersweet . ‘If I could find my way back to you’ sings Nedelle Torrisi, repeating her plaintive call over a bouncy ensemble of guitar, drums and the manic reverberations of that autoharp.
It’s an enchanting start - shame that the lyric ends up as a bit of a premonition. It’s not until late tracks ‘I’ll Take The Long Way’ and ‘New Spell’, that Cryptacize really hit the same heights. In between, the songs are varyingly successful. They stick to the same direct sound throughout; simple, naïve almost - electric guitars and echoing vocals, all bound together by Michael Carreira’s distinctive syncopation on the drums.

Mythomania is a refreshing sonic mystery, worth the time spent unravelling.

#Music
#LG

26th May 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Jeff Koons Coming To The Serpentine

Jeff Koons is bringing his Popeye series to the Serpentine 2 July-13 Sep

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#Art

12th May 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Wireless Hot Spotify

Despite a minor security scare, Spotify is continuing to gather a major following after their UK launch - with a load more labels now getting on board (most notably Sub Pop). Still a few big names missing (The Smiths anyone?), but it's fast become a totally viable storage-free alternative to iTunes.

The obvious drawback remains not having the files on your iPod, making listening on the move a problem - but the big news hitting the nets is a possible mobile client, and as shown in the video an iPhone client (More info: Wired / Techcrunch). The best feature? The app is designed to cache music you have lined up, meaning there's music available when you drop out of signal range.

Of course, Apple may not allow the app onto the iTunes store, but they do allow Last FM on there - and even highlight it in their iPhone adverts on TV. Apple could, of course, launch a similar service themselves - and have recently begun offering season pass-type subscriptions, similar to Top Spin's business model. They'd probably need another round of negotiations with the labels, but with many indies now working as a fifth pseudo-major label that shouldn't be all that complicated (p.s. note, Merlin have our inside-man Matthew Herbert as their poster boy).

Some bands are even taking the matter into their own hands, with No Doubt giving away their entire catalog when you buy a tour ticket and The Presidents of the United States offering four of their albums in a handy app for $3. Ex-President Dave Dederer has even gone so far as to become involved in a company offering such apps, as well as the Nutsie service - which promises to deliver your iTunes music to your phone, other PCs and even Facebook.

That social networking aspect is integral to all these services - and sites are springing up all over the place allowing you to share your playlists and so on (1,2), but none can beat this old-school front end for actual browsing.

Exciting times.

#CSF
#Music
#Tech

6th Mar 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Metallica

MEN Arena, Manchester

26 February 2009

With new album Death Magnetic showing a return to form after the below-par St. Anger, well documented in the film Some Kind Of Monster, I was keen to finally see Metallica live – having first heard them on record in 1988. They haven’t played in Manchester for 13 years, and have recently only played festival dates in the UK.

We're running late. Afraid that we'd missed the opening of their set, we'd walked briskly through Manchester's rain-soaked centre. Luckily, we hadn't missed anything, except the support act. Just time to try to find our seats, when the familiar tune of Ennio Morricone's Ecstasy Of Gold (from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly) began - the full-capacity crowd cheered and sang along in unison.

And they’re off. The first track is from Death Magnetic, it’s performed in almost complete darkness apart from a laser-fest. We can’t really see anything except for the drums, but we can hear it – it’s loud. Ribcage-rattling loud. In to the second song, also off the new album, and the lights are up. We can see them, finally.

The first thing that struck me was that there were no video screens. But it didn’t matter: Metallica perform in-the-round, which in an arena really means that you can see them even if you’re up in the rafters. James Hetfield flits between eight mic stations dotted around the stage, singing to each corner of the crowd. Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo also use each of the stations to perform backing vocals and stunt guitar solos. Lars Ulrich’s drums are in the middle on a circular riser that is turned to face the four sides of the venue throughout the set.

It’s a pretty serious Metal affair – plenty of running around; marathon songs with numerous time signature changes and an endless supply of riffs; rock-out endings that step up a notch from an already speedy tempo; pyrotechnics; hammy theatrics. As polished as you’d expect from a band that’s been playing this stuff for 28 years. But the overall mood is quite cheerful, joyous even. There’s something quite primeval about the riffs, the chugging guitars and thrashing drums. It’s almost as if you can’t help but to nod your head.

There are moments of levity and self-awareness however. Hetfield asks the crowd if any of them have the new album, ‘with the little coffin on it? … It’s supposed to be a coffin...’ The lighting rig previously high above the stage at one point lowers and is revealed to be four coffin-shaped boxes. During the encore, at a stage where you’re thinking there can’t possibly be more, hundreds of black (what else?) Metallica beach balls fall out of the sky. It’s like they’re out-Tapping Tap. It does look like they are having fun too.

The sound was far too bass-heavy, which was a real shame: you couldn’t actually hear Trujillo’s bass guitar for Lars’s bass drums and the slightly too chuggy guitar sound. So for that reason only 4 out of 5 because it spoiled the music a little.

Highlights for me in the 2-hour set were For Whom The Bell Tolls, Enter Sandman, and a blistering rendition of One. They change the set each night they play, so it’s by no means guaranteed that they’ll play your favourite track, with a few exceptions. Their set consists mainly of classic tracks and it’s a testament to their return to form that the new stuff sits comfortably next to those, sounding, well, classic.


Setlist:
That Was Just Your Life - [Death Magnetic, 2008]
The End Of The Line - [Death Magnetic]
For Whom the Bell tolls - [Ride The Lightning, 1984]
Wherever I May Roam - [Metallica, 1991. aka The Black Album]
One - [...And Justice For All, 1988]
Broken, Beat And Scarred - [Death Magnetic]
Cyanide - [Death Magnetic]
Sad But True - [Metallica]
Turn The Page - [Garage Inc., 1998; cover of Bob Seger song]
The Judas Kiss - [Death Magnetic]
The Day That Never Comes - [Death Magnetic]
Master Of Puppets - [Master of Puppets, 1986]
Blackened [...And Justice For All]
Nothing Else Matters - [Metallica]
Enter Sandman - [Metallica]
- - - - - - - -
Blitzkrieg - [Garage Inc.; cover of Blitzgrieg song]
The Prince - [Garage Inc.; cover of Diamond Head song]
Seek and Destroy - [Kill 'Em All, 1983]

#Music
#Gig
#cnrth

28th Feb 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Robert Pollard

4 New Albums

It's been a while since I checked in with former GBV frontman Robert Pollard's release schedule (June 11th 2008 in fact) and a belated effort to do so now quickly unearths a whopping 4 new records. The kind of output that makes even John Frusciante look lazy. With Pollard's usual hit-rate in mind, I was expecting at least four new tracks for my ever expanding best-of-Pollard playlist.

Boston Spaceships - Brown Submarine - Sept 16th 2008 - 3 Stars
First up is the debut album from Pollard's 'new' band - the Boston Spaceships. A collaboration with former GBV band mate Chris Slusarenko (also featured in The Takeovers) and Decemberist John Moen, the band marks an effort to re-capture that 'full band' sound that has been missing from many of Pollard's post-Guided By Voices projects.

Go For The Exit starts the record with a slice of classic Pollard, as thoughtful lyrics wind over a simple guitar, before exploding into power chords - while Ready To Pop threatens to re-visit the successful magic of GBV's final album, but somehow never quite takes off. There's little in the way of experimentation here, so the simple-but-fun Rat Trap provides a welcome break from the otherwise even footing of much of the album, which is generally operating on cruise control, with only two songs even building beyond the 3 minute mark.

Circus Devils - Ataxia - November 11th 2008 - 2 Stars
The Circus Devils has been a longer-running side-project for Pollard, partnering with producer Todd Tobias and brother Tim Tobias. Ataxia marks the sixth full-length from the project and like a musical desk drawer, the record is packed full of sound bites and ideas while largely remaining a little incomplete.

Not dissimilar to one of Pollard's own art collages, the record has countless moments that catch your attention and a scattergun approach will always hit a few targets. The meandering epic Fuzz In The Street fails to gain any traction, while promising moments appear with the unfulfilled mystical intro to He Had All Day or the Procol Harum-esque spoken word of Stars, Stripes and Crack Pipes.

Just as your patience may be wearing a little thin however, another bonifide gem is polished out of the album's rough diamonds - as the gentle intro of The Girls Will Make It Happen gives way to a pounding drums and hypnotic lyrics that thunder along at a relentless and engaging pace.

Robert Pollard - The Crawling Distance - Jan 20th 2009 - 2.5 Stars
After the excellent albums Off To Business and Normal Happiness, Pollard seemed to be finding his stride in a world without GBV and the hit rate was soaring. Sadly the magic has momentarily gone again and we're back to the plodding middle-lane driving of tracks like No Island or It's Easy. Lyrically, as ever, there's plenty of interest - but without fully developed musical backing there's little to really grab your attention.

With the turbulent peaks and troughs of most Pollard records there's nearly always a killer track but, unfortunately, here the sea is calm and little breaks the surface. As a consequence, there's no real stinkers either, but I'd gladly drop a couple of tracks in return for that one diamond.


Boston Spaceships - Planets Are Blasted - Feb 17th 2009 - 2.5 Stars
A mere five months after their debut, the Boston Spaceships are back with a sophomore effort - Planets Are Blasted. Rather than build on the strengths of the original however, the record unfortunately misses the mark, lacking muscle and falling back into the one-dimensional trap that plagues much of Pollard's projects. Big O Gets An Earful tries to build up a wall of sound before fading away and Canned Food Demons makes a brave effort to bring the album up a notch, but it's too little too late. Sounding like it was recorded in parts, the record again lacks that power generated by a full live band holing up in a studio for 9 months. Or 9 days for that matter.

Circus Devils - Gringo - April 14th 2009 - 4 Stars
Before I'd even finished writing this review (quite literally) details of another Circus Devils album arrived in my inbox - their seventh album, Gringo, due out on April 14th on Happy Jack Rock Records.

It's arrival was not a moment too late. Forget the descriptions ("1970's Morricone-esque with a South Western flavour") and focus on the music, as Gringo is the easy highlight of this current run of releases. The album's more acoustic bias immediately dispels the tinny studio sound that has marred many of the releases cover here and in stark contrast to the Circus Devils' last record there's a full sound with a cohesive approach and multiple layers of interest. The epic Monkey Head takes the prize for album highlight, with a sprawling - almost prog - approach played out through booming acoustic guitars. Thumping sing-a-long Easy Baby ebbs and flows beautifully while Witness Hill wraps up an engaging record with suitable style.

Thanks Bob, I'll check back in six months.

#Music
#CSF

27th Feb 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Star Status: Michael Caine

The whole star status formula was concocted one evening in the pub following a discussion about the patchy career of messrs Connory and Caine. Connery has a career so patchy he only scored a 28.8% hit rate, while Michael Caine's career is so schizophrenic that he couldn't collect his Oscar for Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, as he was busy filming Jaws IV: The Revenge. A low in the entire pantheon of cinema, not just one man's career.

So, how does Michael Caine (A.K.A. Sir Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr.) rate in the Chimpomatic Star Status Movie Maths Generator?

It's 10 points for a Hit, 5 for a Maybe and 1 for a Miss... No TV movies, just cinema releases to date.

In the spirit of full disclosure I should also tell you that I've been a little presumptuous and started the count with Zulu (1964), as prior to that it's a barrage of uncredited roles and TV bit parts. As he's a man with 139 credits on his IMDB page, there's plenty I haven't seen, for which I've taken some advice from the often over-generous IMDB ratings.

Is There Anybody There? (2008) - MAYBE
The Dark Knight (2008) .... Alfred Pennyworth - HIT
Sleuth (2007) .... Andrew - MISS
Flawless (2007) .... Mr. Hobbs - MAYBE
The Prestige (2006) .... Cutter - MAYBE
Children of Men (2006) .... Jasper - HIT
The Weather Man (2005) .... Robert Spritzel - MAYBE
Bewitched (2005) .... Nigel Bigelow - MISS
Batman Begins (2005) .... Alfred  - HIT
Around the Bend (2004) .... Henry Lair - HIT
The Statement (2003) .... Pierre Brossard - MAYBE
Secondhand Lions (2003) .... Garth - HIT
The Actors (2003) .... Anthony O'Malley - MAYBE
Quicksand (2003) .... Jake Mellows - MISS
The Quiet American (2002) .... Thomas Fowler - HIT
Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) .... Nigel Powers - MAYBE
Last Orders (2001) .... Jack - HIT
Miss Congeniality (2000) .... Victor Melling - MAAAAYBE
Get Carter (2000) .... Cliff Brumby - MISS
Shiner (2000) .... Billy 'Shiner' Simpson - MAYBE
Quills (2000) .... Dr. Royer-Collard - HIT
The Debtors (1999) - MISS
The Cider House Rules (1999) .... Dr. Wilbur Larch - HIT
Curtain Call (1999) .... Max Gale - MISS
Little Voice (1998) .... Ray Say - HIT
Shadow Run (1998) .... Haskell - MISS
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997/II) (TV) .... Captain Nemo - MISS
Mandela and de Klerk (1997) (TV) .... F.W. de Klerk - MAYBE
Midnight in Saint Petersburg (1996) .... Harry Palmer - MISS
Blood and Wine (1996) .... Victor 'Vic' Spansky - MAYBE
Bullet to Beijing (1995) .... Harry Palmer - MISS
World War II: When Lions Roared (1994) (TV) .... Joseph V. Stalin - MAYBE
On Deadly Ground (1994) .... Michael Jennings - MISS
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) .... Ebenezer Scrooge - HIT
Blue Ice (1992) .... Harry Anders - MISS
Noises Off... (1992) .... Lloyd Fellowes - MAYBE
Bullseye! (1990) .... Sidney Lipton/Doctor Hicklar - MISS
Mr. Destiny (1990) .... Mike/Mr. Destiny - MISS
A Shock to the System (1990) .... Graham Marshall - MISS
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) .... Lawrence Jamieson - MAYBE
Without a Clue (1988) .... Sherlock Holmes - MAYBE
Surrender (1987) .... Sean Stein - MISS
Jaws: The Revenge (1987) .... Hoagie Newcombe - MIIIIISSSSSSS!
The Whistle Blower (1987) .... Frank Jones - MISS
The Fourth Protocol (1987) .... John Preston - MAYBE
Half Moon Street (1986) .... Lord Sam Bulbeck - MISS
Mona Lisa (1986) .... Mortwell - HIT
Sweet Liberty (1986) .... Elliott James - MISS
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) .... Elliot - HIT
The Holcroft Covenant (1985) .... Noel Holcroft - MISS
Water (1985/I) .... Governor Baxter Thwaites  - MISS
Blame It on Rio (1984) .... Matthew Hollins - MISS
The Honorary Consul (1983) .... Charley Fortnum, Consul - MISS
Educating Rita (1983) .... Dr. Frank Bryant - HIT
The Jigsaw Man (1983) .... Philip Kimberly/Sergei Kuzminsky - MISS
Deathtrap (1982) .... Sidney Bruhl - MISS
Escape To Victory (1981) .... Capt. John Colby - HIT
The Hand (1981) .... Jonathan Lansdale - MISS
The Island (1980) .... Blair Maynard - MISS
Dressed to Kill (1980) .... Doctor Robert Elliott - MAYBE
Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979) .... Captain Mike Turner - MISS
Ashanti (1979) .... Dr. David Linderby - MISS
California Suite (1978) .... Sidney Cochran - MAYBE
The Swarm (1978) .... Dr. Bradford Crane - MISS
Silver Bears (1978) .... Doc Fletcher - MISS
A Bridge Too Far (1977) .... Lt. Col. John O.E. Vandeleur - HIT
The Eagle Has Landed (1976) .... Colonel Steiner - HIT
Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976) .... Adam Worth - MISS
The Man Who Would Be King (1975) .... Peachy Carnehan - HIT
The Romantic Englishwoman (1975) .... Lewis Fielding - MISS
The Wilby Conspiracy (1975) .... Jim Keogh - MISS
Peeper (1975) .... Leslie C. Tucker - MISS
The Black Windmill (1974) .... Maj. John Tarrant - MISS
Sleuth (1972) .... Milo Tindle - HIT
Pulp (1972) .... Mickey King - MAYBE
Zee and Co. (1972) .... Robert Blakeley - MISS 
Kidnapped (1971) .... Alan Breck - MAYBE
Get Carter (1971) .... Jack Carter - HIT
The Last Valley (1970) .... The Captain - HIT
Too Late the Hero (1970) .... Pvt. Tosh Hearne - MAYBE
Battle of Britain (1969) .... Squadron Leader Canfield - HIT
The Italian Job (1969) .... Charlie Croker - HIT
The Magus (1968) .... Nicholas Urfe - MISS
Deadfall (1968) .... Henry Stuart Clarke - MISS
Play Dirty (1968) .... Capt. Douglas - MISS
Billion Dollar Brain (1967) .... Harry Palmer - MISS
Woman Times Seven (1967) .... Handsome Stranger (segment "Snow") - MISS
Hurry Sundown (1967) .... Henry Warren - MISS
Funeral in Berlin (1966) .... Harry Palmer - HIT
Gambit (1966) .... Harry Tristan Dean - HIT
The Wrong Box (1966) .... Michael Finsbury - MAYBE
Alfie (1966) .... Alfie Elkins - HIT
The Ipcress File (1965) .... Harry Palmer - HIT
Zulu (1964) .... Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead - HIT

HIT 28
MISS 22
MAYBE 44

So that's a generous 434 points out of a possible whopping 940.

Michael Caine: you have scored 46.1%

If you dare make a purchase, you can do so here, allowing Chimpomatic to profit from his loss. Check back soon for more Star Status movie maths. Same Chimp Channel, same Chimp Time...

#CSF
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#StarStatus

26th Feb 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

The Truth Is Out There... In Homey Airport?!

Area 51's had a makeover - it's now called "Homey Airport" you'd never think aliens would land anywhere that sounded that friendly, would you?

#chimp71
#Space
#Travel

24th Feb 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

A Bright Idea For WIFI

Sounds like a sure-fire recipe for a headache to me, but Wired has an article about a possible future WIFI development which will use flickering lightbulbs to transmit the data - limiting access to that data to the throw of the beam and securing places like the White House from nosey bandwidth thieves who happen to be having a muffin in a nearby coffee shop.

#CSF
#Tech

13th Feb 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Star Status: Drew Barrymore

How does Drew Barrymore rate in the Chimpomatic Star Status Movie Maths Generator?

It's 10 points for a Hit, 5 for a Maybe and 1 for a Miss... No TV movies, just cinema releases to date.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) (voice) .... Chloe MAYBE
Lucky You (2007) .... Billie Offer MISS
Music and Lyrics (2007) .... Sophie Fisher MAYBE
Curious George (2006) (voice) .... Maggie MAYBE
Fever Pitch (2005) .... Lindsey Meeks MAYBE
50 First Dates (2004) .... Lucy Whitmore HIT
Duplex (2003) .... Nancy Kendricks MISS
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) .... Dylan Sanders HIT
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) .... Penny HIT
Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) .... Beverly Donofrio HIT
Freddy Got Fingered (2001) .... Davidson's Receptionist MISS
Donnie Darko (2001) .... Karen Pomeroy HIT
Charlie's Angels (2000) .... Dylan Sanders HIT
Titan A.E. (2000) (voice) .... Akima MISS
Skipped Parts (2000) .... Fantasy Girl MISS
Never Been Kissed (1999) .... Josie Geller HIT
Home Fries (1998) .... Sally Jackson MISS
Ever After (1998) .... Danielle De Barbarac HIT
The Wedding Singer (1998) .... Julia HIT
Best Men (1997) .... Hope MISS
Wishful Thinking (1997) .... Lena MISS
Scream (1996/I) .... Casey Becker HIT
Everyone Says I Love You (1996) .... Skylar Dandridge HIT
Batman Forever (1995) .... Sugar MISS
Mad Love (1995) .... Casey Roberts MAYBE
Boys on the Side (1995) .... Holly Pulchik-Lincoln HIT
Bad Girls (1994/I) .... Lilly Laronette HIT
Inside the Goldmine (1994) .... Daisy MISS
Wayne's World 2 (1993) .... Bjergen Kjergen HIT
Doppelganger (1993) .... Holly Gooding MISS
No Place to Hide (1993) .... Tinsel Hanley MISS
Guncrazy (1992) .... Anita Minteer MAYBE
Poison Ivy (1992) .... Ivy MAYBE
Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992) .... Vampire Victim #1 MISS
Motorama (1991) .... Fantasy Girl MISS
Far from Home (1989) .... Joleen Cox MISS
See You in the Morning (1989) .... Cathy Goodwin MAYBE
Cat's Eye (1985) .... Our Girl, Amanda (all segments) MAYBE
Irreconcilable Differences (1984) .... Casey Brodsky MISS
Firestarter (1984) .... Charlene 'Charlie' McGee MAYBE
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) .... Gertie HIT
Altered States (1980) .... Margaret Jessup HIT

 

HIT 17
MISS 16
MAYBE 9

So that's 258 points out of a possible 420

Drew Barrymore: you have scored (a perhaps surprising) 61.66%

If you dare make a purchase, you can do so here, allowing Chimpomatic to profit from her loss. Check back soon for more Star Status movie maths. Same Chimp Channel, same Chimp Time...

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12th Feb 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Half Exposed

Attention camera geeks. Check out this dissected Nikon D3 camera.

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9th Feb 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Star Status: Nicole Kidman

I love to dance! Is her best film an ad? It's time to find out with this week's instalment of the Chimpomatic Star Status Movie Maths Generator!

Remember: it's 10 points for a Hit, 5 for a Maybe and 1 for a Miss... No TV movies, just cinema releases to date.

Australia (2008) .... Lady Sarah Ashley - MISS 
The Golden Compass (2007) .... Mrs. Coulter MAYBE
Margot at the Wedding (2007) .... Margot MAYBE
The Invasion (2007) .... Carol Bennell MISS
Happy Feet (2006) (voice) .... Norma Jean MAYBE
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006) .... Diane Arbus HIT
Bewitched (2005) .... Isabel Bigelow / Samantha MISS
The Interpreter (2005) .... Silvia Broome MISS
Birth (2004) .... Anna MAYBE
The Stepford Wives (2004) .... Joanna Eberhart MISS
Cold Mountain (2003) .... Ada Monroe MAYBE
The Human Stain (2003) .... Faunia Farley MISS
Dogville (2003) .... Grace Margaret Mulligan HIT
The Hours (2002) .... Virginia Woolf HIT
Birthday Girl (2001) .... Sophia, alias Nadia MAYBE
The Others (2001) .... Grace Stewart HIT
Moulin Rouge! (2001) .... Satine HIT
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) .... Alice Harford MAYBE
Practical Magic (1998) .... Gillian Owens MISS
The Peacemaker (1997) .... Dr. Julia Kelly HIT
The Leading Man (1996) .... Academy Awards Presenter MAYBE
The Portrait of a Lady (1996) .... Isabel Archer MISS
Batman Forever (1995) .... Dr. Chase Meridian MISS
To Die For (1995) .... Suzanne Stone Maretto HIT
My Life (1993/I) .... Gail Jones MAYBE
Malice (1993) .... Tracy Kennsinger MISS
Far and Away (1992) .... Shannon Christie MAYBE
Billy Bathgate (1991) .... Drew Preston MAYBE
Flirting (1991) .... Nicola HIT
Days of Thunder (1990) .... Dr. Claire Lewicki MAYBE
Dead Calm (1989) .... Rae Ingram HIT
Emerald City (1988) .... Helen MAYBE
Watch the Shadows Dance aka Nightmaster (1987) .... Amy Gabriel MISS
The Bit Part (1987) .... Mary McAllister MAYBE
Windrider (1986) .... Jade MISS
Wills & Burke (1985) .... Julia Matthews MISS
Bush Christmas (1983) .... Helen MISS
BMX Bandits (1983) .... Judy HIT

HIT 10 
MISS 14
MAYBE 14

So out of a possible 380 that’s 184

Nicole Kidman: you have scored 48.42%

If you dare make a purchase, you can do so here, allowing Chimpomatic to profit from her loss. Check back next Thursday for more Star Status movie maths. Same Chimp Channel, same Chimp Time...

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#StarStatus

29th Jan 2009 - 3 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

Star Status: Hugh Jackman

He's lined up to play Wolverine again this summer, and is currently starring with Nicole Kidman in Australia - but how does Hugh Jackman rate in the Chimpomatic Star Status Movie Career Hitrate Generator

It's 10 points for a Hit,  5 for a Maybe and 1 for a Miss... No TV movies, just cinema releases. 

Australia (2008) .... Drover MISS
Deception (2008) .... Wyatt Bose MISS
Happy Feet (2006) (voice) .... Memphis MAYBE
Flushed Away (2006) (voice) .... Roddy MISS
The Prestige (2006) .... Robert Angier MAYBE
The Fountain (2006) .... Tomas / Tommy / Tom Creo MAYBE
Scoop (2006) .... Peter Lyman MISS
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) .... Logan / Wolverine MISS
Van Helsing (2004) .... Van Helsing MISS
Standing Room Only (2004/I) .... Roger MISS
X2 (2003) .... Logan / Wolverine ...HIT
Kate & Leopold (2001) .... Leopold MAYBE
Swordfish (2001) .... Stanley Jobson MISS
Someone Like You... (2001) .... Eddie Alden MISS
X-Men (2000) .... Logan / Wolverine HIT
Erskineville Kings (1999) .... Wace HIT
Paperback Hero (1999) .... Jack Willis MISS

HIT 3 
MISS 10
MAYBE 4

So that's 60 points out of a possible 170

Hugh Jackman: you have scored 35%

If you dare make a purchase, you can do so here, allowing Chimpomatic to profit from his loss. Check back next Thursday for more Star Status movie maths. Same Chimp Channel, same Chimp Time...


Links

Stock up on Hugh Jackman's good 35% here!

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22nd Jan 2009 - 2 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

Best Maps of 2008

Google Maps Mania has a nice round-up of the best Google Maps of 2008 - including a nice narrative story-telling map (21 Steps) and a virtual skydive.

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21st Jan 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet