Friday, 2 March 2018

The Breeders - All Nerve

I got the new Breeders LP All Nerve today. A new release from The Breeders is always a cause for celebration. The ten year gap between this new album and its predecessor inevitably gives me expectations that cannot possibly be met. 2008's Mountain Battles is a very special record for me and it's hard to imagine anything surpassing it in my estimation but this is a very worthwhile followup. After a few listens here are my first impressions of the album:

- It's a grower.

- A lovely mixture of sweetness and melancholy. A very atmospheric sound.

- Nervous Mary is a perfect album opener, similar feel and tempo to 'New Year' on Last Splash.

- Nice analogue synth on 'Space Woman'.

- I've always found the abstract lyrics in the Breeders work beautiful and fascinating.

- The cover of the Amon Duul II song 'Archangel's Thunderbird' feels like the only out of place track on the record. I never liked their version of 'Happiness is a Warm Gun' on Pod (I seem to be in a minority on that one). The covers were better integrated on Mountain Battles.

- It's an old fashioned album in the way that the songs sound better when placed together rather than in isolation.

- With the Kim Deal solo series in 2013 there was a missed opportunity for an excellent solo album but I'm glad that the tracks are available individually. For what it's worth I prefer the new band version of 'Walking with a Killer' on All Nerve to the earlier version she recorded as a solo release.

- Nice to hear Josephine Wiggs (bass and vocals) and Jim MacPherson (drums) back on a Breeders record. Although touted as a reunion, it hasn't been complete silence from Kim Deal and the classic 1990s lineup over the last decade. There was the Fate to Fatal EP in 2009. 2013 saw an excellent 3 disc reissue of The Last Splash with a wealth of bonus tracks and a 20th anniversary tour.

- Having said that, it's a shame that Mando Lopez and Jose Medeles are no longer in the band's lineup.

- Steve Albini is once again present in a producer/engineer role on a few tracks. Well done Steve!

- I look forward to hearing them play these songs live in Leeds in May.

- I hope it's not a ten year wait for the next album.

Current Standout tracks: 
Dawn: Making an Effort
Walking with a Killer

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2018 watchlist

Films I'm looking forward to or just curious about in 2018:

Blessed Virgin (Paul Verhoeven)

Radegund (Terrence Malick)

High Life (Claire Denis)

Siberia (Abel Ferrara)

A Rainy Day in New York (Woody Allen)

Domino (Brian De Palma)

Image and Speech (Jean-Luc Godard)

Laplace's Witch (Takashi Miike)

Grass (Hong Sang-soo)

D. (Roman Polanski)

Transit (Christian Petzold)

Insects (Jan Svankmajer)

The Modern Ocean (Shane Carruth)

Little Joe (Jessica Hausner)

The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood)

Tough as They Come (Sylvester Stallone)

Undermajordomo Minor (Kelly Reichardt)

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (Terry Gilliam)

Love Child (Todd Solondz)

The Predator (Shane Black)

Dragged Across Concrete (S. Craig Zahler)

The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)

The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)

Season of the Devil (Laz Diaz)

Maniac Cop (John Hyams)

Where'd You Go, Bernadette (Richard Linklater)

Mission: Impossible 6 (Christopher McQuarrie)

Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg)

The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (Steven Spielberg)

Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhangke)

Holmes and Watson (Etan Cohen)

Peterloo (Mike Leigh)

The Commuter (Jaume Collet-Serra)

Everybody Knows (Asghar Farhadi)

Mary Magdalene (Garth Davis)

Vision (Naomi Kawase)

The Widow (Neil Jordan)

Mute (Duncan Jones)

Unsane (Steven Soderbergh)

Shadow (Zhang Yimou)

The Women of Marwen (Robert Zemeckis)

Destroyer (Karyn Kusama)

Where Life is Born (Carlos Reygadas)

Annihilation (Alex Garland)

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Film Discoveries of 2017

Here's a list of my favourite first time viewings/film discoveries of 2017:

My top ten first time viewings of 2017:

  1. Housekeeping (1987, Bill Forsyth) - After languishing in semi obscurity for decades this truly wondrous film has been given the presentation it so richly deserves on the UK dual format release, courtesy of Powerhouse films/Indicator label.
  2. Vengeance is Mine (1979, Shohei Imamura)
  3. A Brighter Summer Day (1991, Edward Yang)
  4. La Captive (2000, Chantal Akerman)
  5. Retribution (2006, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
  6. Great Day in the Morning (1956, Jacques Tourneur)
  7. Lourdes (2009, Jessica Hausner)
  8. Seance (2000, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
  9. Go Go Tales (2007, Abel Ferrara)
  10. 20 30 40 (2004, Sylvia Chang)

Best filmgoing experience: 

  • Peppermint Soda (1977, Diane Kurys) at Hyde Park Picturehouse (19/9/17).

My top ten repeat viewings of 2017:

  • Alien: Resurrection (1997, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
  • Christmas in July (1940, Preston Sturges)
  • Ghosts of Mars (2001, John Carpenter)
  • Gran Torino (2008, Clint Eastwood)
  • The Host (2006, Bong Joon-ho)
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989, Steven Spielberg)
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948, Max Ophuls)
  • Rosemary's Baby (1968, Roman Polanski)
  • Sorcerer (1977, William Friedkin)
  • Spontaneous Combustion (1990, Tobe Hooper)

Hope to make many more great discoveries in 2018.
Happy New Year!