Sunday, 29 April 2012

Let's Get This Done

This is just a quick plea to request that you please follow this link :

DJ paWL formerly of the brilliant group Hangar 18, is making a film about rappers and what it's like actually being a rap artist in present day hip hop. From the looks of things it's going to give an insight into the side of the business we don't see, actually showing what it's like to work as a rapper like how we work in whatever our day jobs are. A more detailed explanation can be found at the end of that link up there.

Please check it out and help get this documentary made. For those of you unfamiliar with Kickstarter I'll give you a brief explanation, essentially the projects on this site need funding and they need it from you! The cool thing about this is that you are rewarded for your contribution, with better rewards the more you chip in. On this project for example there are numerous rewards for getting involved:
$1 gets you a personal thank you email from The Director.
$5 gets you a thanks in the credits! That's not bad for your name on a movie.
$100 will actually get you in the movie! I'm gutted I don't live in America as I would be all over this one.
There are loads of other rewards for you depending on the amount you want to donate so I'll let you check the link to see what you can get.

The other cool thing about this is that the money will not be deducted from your account until the closing date of  the project and only if the target is met. If the full amount is not collected then you won't be out of pocket, if the goal is met then the money is taken and you get whatever shiny reward you were after and also the satisfaction of helping someone get their business done. Head on over to the site and give what you can, it would be a crying shame to see this project fizzle out. Please give even if it's just a dollar (that's 61p for us Brits, which is good value for a pleasant email from a member of one of my favourite rap groups, it is for me anyways).

If you could check it out I'd really appreciate it and if you can spare some coin then I'm sure the folks involved in the project would appreciate it too. If you would like to, check out the Twitter feed of DJ paWL on @Pawlmadethis and you can keep up to date with the progress of the project.

Thanks for reading


Saturday, 14 April 2012

Cool Guy, Cool Car, Cool Jacket

El Drive

If the title of this post and the Spanish poster up there weren't enough of a hint I'll be using this post to talk about Drive. Ryan Gosling stars as a stuntman/mechanic/cool as fuck getaway driver in this stylish thriller from Nicolas Winding Refn. I'm gonna get this right off my chest, this film made me wish I was Ryan Gosling. It's one of those films that oozes cool and the main character, Driver, is one of the baddest motherfunkers to ever grace a screen. Driver is a perfect mix of bad-ass traits, he doesn't seem to waste a single letter let alone word, he drives a 1973 Chevy Malibu (alright, I googled that), he looks like Ryan Gosling, and he dresses like only someone in a movie can. That jacket is straight gangster, a quilted white satin number complete with hardcore scorpion on the back. The moment I saw that jacket I wanted one, unfortunately I don't look like Ryan Gosling and I'm not in this film so there is no way I could ever get away with wearing one. To anybody else who really wants this jacket, the same applies to you! Don't believe me? Ask these dudes...

Somebody please tell them what they look like
That's what I meant when I said only a movie character could get away with rocking that jacket.You have to look like a movie star to wear movie star clothes so don't bother. It'd be a challenge to rock that jacket even before you went and put a yellow scorpion on the back, whilst I'm on the subject of the scorpion I'm going to go a little fancy and chat some nonsense as to why it might be on his back, other than the brilliant aesthetic. Towards the end of the film Gosling's character references the fable of The Scorpion and The Frog. To anyone that is unfamiliar with that story I'll give a brief outline, basically a Scorpion wants to get across a river so he asks The Frog for a lift. The Frog says no because the scorpion will sting him, The Scorpion denies this and says that if he did then he'd drown and they'd both die. The Frog says alright and off they go, half way across The Scorpion stings The Frog. The Frog is all like 'Mate! Why'd you go and do that?'. To which The Scorpion replies 'I'm a Scorpion, I sting things. Do something.' Essentially the fable is trying to say that sometimes behaviour is irrepressible regardless of the consequence. This is certainly something that can be applied to Ryan Gosling's character as at times he doesn't seem to give a damn for the consequences of his actions and in researching this post I saw there are a few people who have picked up on this and made the Scorpion link. Personally though, I think he's more like the Frog in this story. I might be completely wrong on this but hear me out. Firstly on a straight up match, The Frog is giving The Scorpion a lift, he's the driver of the fable. The Frog (Gosling) agrees, naively, to enter the destructive world of The Scorpion (Criminals) leading to bad times for all involved. I think the most important thing that gives it away the Gosling is The Frog is that the Scorpion is on the back of his jacket just like The Scorpion on The Frog's back. In a film that is so precise and well thought out I can't accept that the back of his jacket isn't a well thought out representation of his character's situation.

Got my poor attempt at sounding like I understand films out of the way now so we'll get back to the proper stuff. The soundtrack!!! What a soundtrack!!! As amazingly cool and seemingly effortless as the rest of the film, the music is absolutely electric and well worth picking up. You know something is good when it starts getting used in shit adverts for mobile phones or ripped off by betting shops (Lonely Boy by Black Keys is a recent unrelated victim). The below song is a prime example of how brilliant the score is, it's also now being used in a mobile phone advert.

Now that's a song. It's also responsible for making me look like a dick. A few days after I saw the film I got the soundtrack. I'd also just got a new car, not a '73 Chevy Malibu but a Seat Ibiza. I was driving to work the next morning in my new car and I had my music on shuffle, it was a nice day and I had my fancy new electric windows down. Just as I pulled up to a set of traffic lights next to a middle aged woman on her own commute to work, the song embedded above started playing. I've just seen Drive and had been ranting to everyone about how cool that shit is and now here I was, driving, to that song that Gosling drives to, in my new car. I'll be honest in that moment I'm thinking to myself "I probably look exactly like Ryan Gosling right now". Out the corner of my eye I notice the woman I'm stopped next to is staring at me, probably because of the music that is blasting out of the car. She's staring and I think to myself "Even she is recognising how Ryan Gosling-like I am right now", so I gave her a nod, one of those slow motion smug nods, a nod that said "Yes woman! You are right, this dude right here is exactly like that Ryan Gosling you've seen on your tellybox". The lights then changed and I sped off at the speed of light to the NCP car park 200 yards up the road, feeling like I was one cool motherfunker. Once I'd got my early bird parking ticket and parked in the roomy spaces at the back I had time to reflect on what had just transpired. I realised that I figured I looked like this...
Gosling on set

but I was actually looking something like this...
Me in a Belgian hotel not in a car
For anyone unable to tell us apart, Gosling is the cool one wearing sunglasses and gloves and I'm the overweight, bad beard sporting, ladies sunglasses wearing idiot. This incident and the guys at the top of the post wearing their Drive jackets are probably the only flaw I can find with this movie. It's so cool and such a brilliant movie that it makes idiots like me think that we could possibly be that cool if we did something a bit like the character I'm raving about. I can't be and the movie has given me false hope, to be fair though that is probably more of a flaw with me rather than the film.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the film because you really need to check it out if you haven't already. It's a ridiculously great film, that doesn't give a damn about back story or letting characters explain everything that's going on. The camera shows you everything you need to see to understand what is happening without wasting precious words, a key example is the scene where Gosling gets angry with a woman. Rather than getting all shouty and venting, we are made aware of his rising anger by the fact his fist is tightening as the scene goes on, the crackle of the leather gloves explains what dialogue normally does. Martin, the guy behind Attackosaur (previous blog), has explained to me that this film is exactly how David Mamet explains films should be made. If that's what Mamet says then I'm on board, hopefully I can rob the book from Mart at some point and I'll do a little edit and add to this point.

The supporting cast are all superb Carey Mulligan as the love interest is superb and there does seem to be a nice chemistry between her and Driver, just touching on my point from the previous paragraph, it is worth noting how little these two characters actually talk to each other in the film. Ron Perlman is cracking as the unpredictable criminal Nino, as is Albert Brooks as his more composed but no less dangerous partner in crime Bernie. There's also a great turn from Malcolm In The Middle's dad (Bryan Cranston) as Driver's boss and friend.

Superb film and well worth a look if you have a spare evening, just know going in that you will never be able to pull off that jacket or drive that way.


Ruined My Life is not exactly Ronseal

Points for epic photos

I've been absent for a while as my laptop is a horrendous peace of junk and I've been busy/lazy. This one will be short as I'll be talking about DZ Deathrays ridiculously brilliant Ruined My Life-EP. Now I first stumbled across this band on a couple of 'one to watch 2012' lists dotted around on this here internets. When I skim those lists I generally check out the bands with great names, shallow and very rarely effective but I'm a sucker for a good name. Now if you are going to name yourself after a bad-ass piece of equipment an evil genius may use to melt a face or ten, then you better be backing that up with some bad-ass music that some evil genius could use to melt a face or ten. Long story short these brilliant Aussie bastards do that and then some.

I've tried to find out a little bit about this band to give you some background but to be honest there isn't a great deal out there, at least not on the first few pages of a Google search anyways. What info I can find is that DZ Deathrays comprise of two gents, a drummer named Simon Ridley, and a guitarist by the name of Shane Parsons. They hail from Brisbane, Australia and are signed to I Oh You records (home of interesting punk band Bleeding Knees Club).

I believe this short six track EP is a taster for a an album due out this year so obviously it remains to be seen what they can do over a full length release, that said I thinks it's a pretty good bet that any album that's on the horizon is going to be pretty raw.

Ruined My Life kicks off with 'Blue Blood' which could easily be a Death From Above 1979 track, seriously, if someone had played me this track and told me it was a new track from DFA 1979 then you'd be reading about how awesome the new Death From Above stuff was. Like all the songs on this EP, it's a pretty aggressive track and I can imagine it's a an absolute riot at a live show. The next two songs 'Licking Knives' and 'Yeah' carry on in a similar way and are no less rockingly awesome. The songs are a natural progression from the opener and work more as a collective than they possibly do as individual songs, kind of how the first few Raveonettes albums worked. Next up is 'The Mess Up' which is a massive track that words won't quite do justice to. You might as well just pop your ear-holes around the embedded video below.

This song needs to be played on your stereo with the bass turned all the way up, unfortunately I can't found a link to your stereo so tinny youtube will have to suffice. I have nearly destroyed my steering wheel so many times because of this song! If any of you see my driving and it appears like I'm yelling at myself and smacking my steering wheel please do not call any white jacketed men to take me away, it's a safe bet that this song is blaring out.

'Teeth' follows on and that's another song that gets me pumped to the point of looking like an absolute end. Again if you see me driving around apparently having a seizure, don't panic, I've just got to this track and I'm getting my awkward rock on. 'Gebbie Street' finishes the EP off and is a bit funkier than the other tracks, and the guitar a little less distorted. It has a nice mixture of the screaming and singing that Shane Parsons seems so adept at.

All in all this is 20 minutes of some truly great music and you should run along and pick it up now. It's available on that there iTunes for £3.49 so go get it. Once the album drops I have a suspicion that these guys might just blow up, so go buy it before iTunes realise they could charge more if they wanted.

I'm out