Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Rock and Roll Will Never Die

February 12, 2011

It just fades into the background every few years…

I have to start this review by saying that Richard Curtis is one of my favorite writers at the moment.  Working Title puts out some of the best movies around and he has written the majority of them.  Also, I just found out that he wrote my favorite episode of Doctor Who Series 5 (Vincent and the Doctor, watch it IMMEDIATELY).

For the second time in as many weeks, I have just finished watching Pirate Radio (or The Boat That Rocked if you’re watching it under its original title).  If you have not seen this movie… what are you waiting for?  A fantastic cast of British actors and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing pirate radio DJs of the sixties.  Seriously, there is so much to love about this movie

As the opening of the movie tells us, most radio stations in Britain were only allowed to play one hour of rock a day, if that.  So, what are rock and roll loving men of radio to do?  Buy a boat, load it with a functioning radio studio and as many records as you can get your hands on, anchor it far out into the North Sea, and start broadcasting for twenty four hours a day far out of the reach of the very stodgy government.

Let the free-wheeling sixties hijinks ensue!

And ensue they do.

These hijinks are set to an amazing soundtrack that just cannot be stopped.  The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Procol Haram, The Turtles, Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, Jeff Beck, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and oh so many more.

If you haven’t seen this movie, definitely check it out.  Not only is it a great story, it is a great story in one of the greatest times to be alive and to be a fan of rock and roll.  This is when music was free of corporate influence (at least to the levels it would reach in the seventies and eighties) and had a soul.

There is a moment where everything looks quite bleak for the Radio Rock crew and the Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman) gets on the air and gives this amazing speech.  It gives me chills every time I’ve watched it.  It has the same effect as the classic “mad as hell” speech in Network.

I mentioned Philip Seymour Hoffman before, and that’s just the American side of amazing acting in this film.  We also get Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Rhys Ifans, Kenneth Branagh, Rhys Darby, Chris O’Dowd, and even brief cameos by the amazing Emma Thompson and the lovely January Jones.  It’s a wonder that boat could stay afloat with all that talent on board.

Also, to compound my Doctor Who nerdiness, another connection pops up in this film. Talulah Riley, who plays Marianne in the film, was Ms. Evangelista in one of my favorite two-part episode arcs of Doctor Who, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead.  Pardon me, while I pause over her beauty.



William, the Movie Nerdfighter

who has never wanted to be a radio DJ more in his entire life than he does right now.

Alan Lastufka and Tom Milsom are “Taking Leave”

August 6, 2009
DFTBA Records co-founder Alan Lastufka has a strong draw to music. Whether it be from his early work recorded on mini-cassettes, or his music video work with bands like imadethismistake and solo artists like Charlie McDonnell. So, it’s no surprise that his album “Taking Leave”, a collaboration with “internet sensation” and musician Tom Milsom (known as hexachordal on YouTube), is pure musical genius.

Beginning with “Just a Boy”, Alan and Tom create a unique sound and a song about the loss of innocence. Using what sounds like a child’s piano (the one that sounds a bit like a xylophone) with masterful electric piano (or synthesizer?) to back it up, this song brings us right into the world of a man who is lost in his life, possibly due to the influence of his father years earlier.

“The Wind” takes us into the mind of a girl in love. So in love, in fact, that she is almost weightless, pushed and pulled by the wind after seeing the object of her affection. This is a song of a love so strong that nothing else seems to matter. The music and lyrics are so marvelously interwoven and powerful, we almost want to fly with her.

Now, for the other side of this powerful love, we have “Can’t.” Seeing things from the guy’s perspective, how he feels controlled by her, but in a love to strong to give up. The electropop sound of this song creates a mechanical beat that matches the lyrics perfectly.

In “The Mirror Song”, featuring Kristina Horner along with Milsom, we hear both sides of the relationship as they look back on better times. A simple but beautiful piano accompaniment adds volumes to this song.

While the final song on the EP, “Forgiven” seems (to some) like a slight departure from the rest of the album, it is actually a natural progression in the “story” being told. Plus, it is bridged by a spoken-word track from author John Green called “The Sparks Fly Upward” (a passage from the Book of Job). Also, though “Forgiven” seems stylistically different from the beginning tracks, the progression is more of a build-up to the grandeur of the final piece. It sounds as if “Forgiven” includes music from every instrument featured in previous tracks, creating a musical epilogue that wraps up the story nicely; both instrumentally and lyrically.

“Taking Leave” is both extremely catchy and remarkably deep at the same time. It’s an album that I haven’t been able to stop listening to since it arrived, and I find more in it with each new listen.

If you’re a fan of thought-provoking, extremely well-done music; “Taking Leave” is a must!

Need a little taste? Check out the video for “Can’t

Click here to buy “Taking Leave” by Alan Lastufka and Tom Milsom for a mere $6!

I know what you’re thinking: “William, did you say that album is only six bucks? Impossible!”

But, I can assure you, dear reader, it’s absolutely true!!


William, the Movie Nerdfighter

who has taken a departure from his usual movie reviews to tell you about some amazing music.