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What I’ve Been Listening To #3

By on Jan 10, 2012 in Reviews | 5 comments

(Previous “What I’ve Been Listening To”s: 1, 2) Songs I’ve been listening to on repeat in the past few months (in no particular order)… Icarus by Bastille: From their Flaws single-album release, Icarus is an upbeat, peppy song that contrasts with what the lyrics are about which gives it this weird quality. Sadly their Laura Palmer EP isn’t as good. Where Is My Mind by Yoav ft Emily Browning: From the movie OST for Sucker Punch. Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson: Did you know Scarlett Johansson sings??? In a collaboration album titled Break Up with Pete Yorn, Scarlet Johansson provides backing vocals is pretty good at it. A live performance of Blackie’s Dead seems to show Johansson so uncomfortable with the whole gig business. :D Look at her hands and the way she acts on stage – “I have arms??? And legs??? Well…what am I supposed to do with them???” 19-2000 (Soulchild remix) by Gorillaz: Tenth year anniversary of the Gorillaz! If you aren’t a fan of this band yet, this remix should get you hooked! (My other recommendation is Clint Eastwood.) deadmau5: The Mickey Mouse hat wearing DJ has been around for a while, 2011 has been a breakout year him. Love the album 4×4=12. Check out Bad Selection. Bonus – this promo gig deadmau5 did for Nokia Lumia’s launch. Shuffle by Bombay Bicycle Club: I love the human bicycle they form in this music video! Heart Skips A Beat by Olly Murs ft Rizzle Kicks: I am slightly ashamed to admit liking this one. :| Mutemath: Normally I prefer studio albums to live recordings. I make an exception for Typical… …and Linkin Park‘s performance of New Divide at Moscow’s Red Square. You seriously have NO IDEA how many times I have replayed this video! In fact, the whole Red Square LP gig was EPIC! Watch every single video of it – fancam or ripped from TV telecast – that you can find on YouTube. What The Water Gave Me by Florence + The Machine: Florence Welch has such an ethereal voice and her band has been among my favourites for a while now. Real Steel soundtrack: Three songs from the film Real Steel have been stuck with me: Make Some Noise (Put ‘Em Up) by The Crystal Method ft Yelawolf; Here’s A Little Something For Ya by Beastie Boys; Give It A Go by Timbaland ft Veronica. PS – I fucking loved the film! PPS – Also check out Yelawolf. Ingrid Michaelson: Listen to her album Be OK. Also, eponymous song. AWOLNATION: I have a feeling AWOLNATION is going to blow big within the next couple of years. Very hit-or-miss at the moment. For some reason their single Sail is particularly popular even though I don’t find it appealing; the same goes for their 2011 album Megalithic Symphonies. What I do less-than-three is this one single MF. Fucken. Love. It. This is one song I pump up to full volume, hearing damage be damned! Bill Withers: Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall is the kind of album gapless MP3 playback was invented for. If I had to take a pick, I’d chose Grandma’s Hands or I Can’t Write Left-Handed. A classic. Fine, it was recorded in 1973, “jazz is not cool”, the guy gives a political lecture at the start of the song…just give it a go, please? Entire Sinners Never Sleep album by You Me At Six. The Vaccines: Their first album titled What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? released in 2011. It’s kinda astonishing how quickly they shot to popularity in such a short span of time. Check out Wetsuit and Post Break-Up Sex. (Bonus – At one point in the Wetsuit music video below, you can see “Maurice” / Richard Ayoyade from The IT Crowd crowd-surfing at a concert!) Can’t Find My Way Home by Blind Faith: I first heard a 2010 remaster of this song on the TV show Fresh Meat. Sadly, Blind Faith’s other songs are not worth listening as it was a Jesus-music band. (Psst – Eric Clapton was in it.) Disturbing album art cover, too. Second To None by Styles of Beyond ft Mike Shinoda: Pump your volume waaaaay up! Safari Disco Club by Yelle: Overcomes my hate of French-speaking people. You’ll notice the final scene is a clever way of showing where the album cover comes from. The xx: Another hot new indie band. This may be a clichéd choice but if I had to choose one I’d go for Crystalised. Whole album, yada yada. The Dharohar Project: A collaboration between Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, and traditional Rajasthani musicians. The first two themselves are themselves on my favourites list, but with this fusion music album – even though just a couple a songs – is heavenly! Try out Mehendi Rachi. Way Away by Yellowcard Autotunage by Limp Bizkit: Yeah, yeah, I know everyone knows Limp Bizkit. Just shut the fuck up and go listen to their 2011 album Gold Cobra if you haven’t already. The standout song is Autotunage, which you cannot fully appreciate without listening to the prologue in the preceding song Loser. Other favourites from the album: Douche Bag, Gold Cobra… This Is The Life by Two Door Cinema Club: Album Tourist History is somewhat hit/miss. Little Bad Girl by David Guetta ft Taio Cruz & Ludacris: True story – I used to think the ‘little...


By on May 10, 2011 in On A Whim | 4 comments


K-Pop / J-Pop makes no sense

By on May 1, 2011 in On A Whim | 6 comments

I finished with the very last tutorials, lectures, or lab sessions here at NTU last week. It’s hard to believe it has been nine months in Singapore already! Anyway, so I was working on this software project for a bus simulation software for an academic course and one of the guys on my team is a massive K-Pop / J-Pop fan. He could code going without food for more than 24 hours but take away his music video breaks from him and he’d lose energy faster than all those other non-Duracell bunnies in Duracell advertisements. I have attended a handful of K-Pop / J-Pop / Canto-Pop sessions organised by the International Student Centre and the night-outs with friends here. It still confuses me. For instance, this video by massively popular band SNSD called Mr Taxi. Fair enough, I know neither Korean nor Japanese. I still have an inkling that even if I did, the song wouldn’t make logical sense. What do Tokyo, Seoul, London, and New York have to do with each other, other than cities which have taxis in them? More importantly, what are the word ‘supersonic’ – which is related to the speed of sound – next to ‘hypertonic’ – which is about solution strengths – and why are either of these words in a song supposedly about some taxi driver? There are nine girls in that video and collectively they seem to be more confused about life than Rebecca Black and her existential dilemma about car seat choice. See, when I hear this song it’s all gibberish to me. “Always gay, let’s feed the bear!” :D Any K-Pop / J-Pop fans in the audience? If yes, could you please enlighten me to what you see in this, beyond what seems to be an obvious fap fap fap...

Vintage Lady Gaga at NYU

By on Mar 29, 2011 in On A Whim | 2 comments

Vintage Lady Gaga piano performance video at NYU, from back in the day when she was still known as Stefani Germanotta. Hard to believe she turns just 25 today!

No force on Earth…

By on Mar 11, 2011 in Reviews | 0 comments

There is no force on Earth more powerful than the will to live. – 127 Hours I didn’t enjoy Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire as much as the next guy did, but boy does Boyle make good cinema in his latest film 127 Hours. For me, the most memorable moment was when the plot moves on to the second day of his entrapment. James Franco is thrashing around frantically to free his arm – but the soundtrack used for the scene is Bill Withers’ Lovely Day. The contrast of emotions is so stark that it jolted me upright; it’s almost as effective as a well-timed “Boo!” Seriously, check this film out. Also, the song is lovely. (I was extremely annoyed by the some of the other patrons in the theatre where I watched this as they kept laughing throughout the film. Have they no humanity?) **** Watching 127 Hours reminded me of another film – British sci-fi flick Moon. Moon is also a primarily one-man starrer (Sam Rockwell) that revolves around a similar theme of a man’s will to live and survive against all odds. What really made me join the dots is how Moon too uses music cleverly to juxtapose contrasting ideas by playing Chesney Hawkes’ The One and Only (he played at Surrey University!) in scenes where the character Sam Bell is shown to be alone but [redacted to not reveal plot]. You think you’ve heard epic movie soundtracks? Wait till you hear Clint Mansell’s compositions for Moon; they will fucking blow your mind. Welcome, to the Lunar Industries. And even though no AI computer in science fiction is going to ever top 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s HAL 9000, in my opinion Moon‘s Gerty comes close to greatness. For he does what HAL doesn’t – Gerty goes against his ultimate masters, programming, and mission objectives to help out a human Sam Bell purely out of what appears to be compassion. There’s a scene where Gerty is upset to learn Sam Bell is sad and ‘cries’. It’s a simple transition from a concerned smiley to a crying smiley, and yet it communicates volumes about the bond between man and...