Greg Dulli's 90's stalwarts were one of the greatest alt rock acts of arguably the greatest decade in American alt rock, with a run of albums that rival anyone and in 1965 (a straight 10/10) still being one of my favorite go to albums. Since their 2010's rebirth, they've hardly been slouches, but this third album is their finest document since their heyday. In a terrific year for indie and alt guitar music - one of the best.
Happily, the UK's Kevin Martin (aka The Bug, King Midas Sound and many others) continues to double down on the monolithic intensity of 2007 landmark classic, London Zoo, as he did with my album of the year from 2021, Fire. This is far more an experiment than an full album though, using the same base track with multiple vocalists. A fine concept but the vocalists themselves are rarely interesting enough to sell it.
As a fan of the long running UK electronic pop since the start, like many fans I suspect, I expect each new album to garner a couple of great new tracks to the list, whilst being a little too middle of the road to be memorable a year later. That's double the case here- the opening four tracks are the most dynamic and exciting a run the band has had since their probable high point, The Warning, after that however it's a law of diminishing returns.
The second album from the California based electronic artist, eschews the abrasive freneticism inherent in Chigao's Footwork music scene, for something melodic, chilled and almost ambient. Well sequenced, poised, relaxing and subtle, one of the most attractive electronic releases of the year.
40% on Rotten Tomatoes? Now way is that fair for this comic book/super-hero-hiding-in-plain-sight (see Unbreakable) Stallone vehicle. Its screenplay/basic story maybe as rote as it gets but we get a strong director, a top tier soundtrack, great dialogue and near the same visuals. Plus Stallone is superb, not just phoning it in and the hard edge totally belies its PG-13 rating. In fact pretty much everything bar a hackneyed basic story (with an admittedly strong twist) is very good.
After reading a few reviews of this cross over indie success - about two friends stuck 2,000 ft up a tower, I have to disagree with most of the criticism. I didn't find it over reliant on hanging off things, too long or injected with melodrama. For the most part this "climbing-horror" plays out like Waiting for Godot in the sky, has a screenplay that builds pretty expertly (rushed end aside) and when the melodrama comes, its given short shift. Fall has enough stare-through-your-fingers height scares, but crucially not too much.two pretty great leads, a reliance on script, is well paced and a stunning visual (symbolic?) location. Top stuff.
After trashing the esteemed Baz Luhrmann's filmography for years, the for someone reason timely biopic of Elvis, is the first time this most singular of auteurs has effectively controlled his uniquely unwieldy talents across a whole movie. It maybe surface level noise but it's also an incredible work or art and is an absolute pinnacle of film-making craft.
I often think the parable of the emperor's new clothes is really about movie and music critics, who are either cowards following each other blindly or greet anything they don't understand by ascribing meaning to it, lest they look stupid. That's the only way I could understand some of the stellar reviews wonder-director, Jordan Peele's worst film by miles, is getting. Trust me - it's flat, repetitive, boring, devoid of meaning, with unwritten characters and a pointlessly bolted on side story that wipes the floor with the main film.
It wouldn't be a weekday if Neil Young wasn't releasing an album. If his insanely prolific archive series has tiers of interest - from completests only fair to previously unreleased treasures of gold, this sits almost uniquely in the top pile. Not in anyway fascinating by the standards of a long ditched, never released classic album, it's a simple live set with his, ahem, Crazy Horse-lite band of much younger players, The Promise of the Real. But what elevates this to the heavens, is that its from a 2019 tour in honor of his late manager a close friend of 50 years, Elliot Roberts, so for this most cantankerous and uncommercial of artists, we get a tracklist of 'greatest hits' and "golden oldies", nothing after 1995, the kind of thing he never does. Putting it immediately alongside the iconic live sets, Weld and Live Rust. The set list alone will blow any Neil Young tragic's mind but almost uniquely in his catalogue, this one expertly blends gentle country laments, country rock and full blown guitar feedback blitzkriegs into one enthusiastic, compelling whole.