Things that don't really matter

A bunch of inane comments on things by that magical man, Josh Scuse.

Mar 13

David Bowie- The Next Day


I did a little review of Bowie’s new album. It’s a bit long so I’ll put it behind a read more but please have a little read.

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Oct 25

The Cribs @ O2 Academy Oxford, 23 October 2012

On October 23rd 2012, low-fi Indie gods The Cribs played at Oxford’s local O2 Academy in support of their latest album In the Belly of the Brazen Bull

I arrived there just in time to see support act Mazes begin their set. As support sets go it was one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’d never listened to them before but after Tuesday night’s fantastic performance I can safely say that I’ll be checking them out.

It’s a pretty tiny venue, especially for The Cribs. It’s even smaller than the Kingston Hippdrome where I saw them not 6 months ago, and that was supposed to be an “intimate” gig!

I manage to wriggle my way to the front, impressive with a couple of beers in my hands.

Twenty minutes of anticipation and two pints of intoxication later, the Jarman brothers swagger out onto the stage to the sound of God Gave Rock n Roll to You by KISS. A proper rock anthem to open for 3 boys who truly embody the spirit of rock n roll.

They launch into their set with Come On, Be A No-One before embarking on a mammoth 20-song journey with a crowd that was clearly comprised of some big fans! (Myself included!)

At the zenith of their set, the ever crowd pleasing Ryan Jarman tells the crowd that they’ve only a few songs left before dropping a bomb shell and asking the fans whether they’d rather hear Don’t You Wanna Be Relevant? or Chi-Town.

The crowd was divided, but of course the rarity won in the end! (Despite efforts on my behalf to start a chant of ‘PLAY THEM BOTH!’)

The band closed on Arena Rock Encore (Full Cast) before throwing their instruments off themselves and swaggering off stage just as cool as they came on.

Sure, The Cribs are the absolute epitome of ‘low-fi indie’ which became a tired branch of music many years ago for every other band in the genre. But the Jarmans are undoubtedly the best at what they do. There’s a reason they’re one of my favourite bands! When they play live, it’s an experience, it feels like proper old school rock n roll. The swagger, the sloppy yet flawless playing, the sweaty and intimate atmosphere.

They are consistently one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. If you get a chance to see them then do it!

If you haven’t already heard their latest album, then do that too! It’s fantastic and certainly not one to miss!


Mar 3

A study in Kinder Eggs

I work in a supermarket and at the end of the day part of my job involves logging which items are damaged/need to be thrown out. 

Today I hit the motherlode. I had to throw out 3 relatively good condition Kinder Eggs. Now, I wasn’t too fussed about their chocolatey exteriors, no. What really grabbed my interest was the treasure within.

We all remember how wonderfully exciting receiving a Kinder Egg was as a child. For starters, the chocolate was fantastic but the most exciting part was clearly the toy inside it.

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Feb 11

A beginner’s guide to travelling in London

A few weeks ago, this happened to me. I was walking around Camden, that wonderfully vibrant and cultural town where you can buy cheap vintage clothing, dodgy hash and terrifyingly unclean piercings, when an American woman happened to stand next to me. 

She said to me; “Oh my god, can you believe we’re in Camden?! This is such an iconic place, everyone in the world knows its culture! Can you believe we’re here?!”

My response was simple; “Yes… I live 5 miles away…” 

Which brings me to the first rule for newcomers to London. Or any major city around the world I’d imagine. 

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Dec 22

A Christmas Review

Yes, I’m going to review Christmas. Ooh controversial. 

Christmas is the greatest time of year. You get to spend time with your family, eating enough food to plug the grand canyon and you get to watch loads of Christmas television.

But that makes it sound like an enjoyable thing. It’s not.

It’s probably my age. I’m stuck in that nether region where I’m too old to be encapsulated by the magic and majesty of the event. I’m at the age now where exchanging presents is a mutual thing. I spend about £10 on someone to give them something they don’t want and in return I receive something worth £10 that I don’t want. So whilst I’m not out of pocket, I am out of happiness. Even the one big present I do receive from my parents is something I know about weeks in advance. This year my mother has gotten me a ticket to Reading Festival. She did this last year too. I know this because she asked me what I want and I bought it for her and she paid me back. So now I have to pretend to the rest of my family that I’m still hugely excited about my present on Christmas Day despite having known about it for the past 3 weeks since it was bought and the past 6 months since she agreed to get it for me.

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Nov 7

Mylo Xyloto

Now let me just put it out on the table before I start. Barring a few exceptions like Life in Technicolor ii and The Scientist, I don’t really like Coldplay. 

I mean, I can understand why people do like them. But I’m not really a fan.

Mylo Xyloto however, will probably change this. It’s just such a fantastic album. 

It’s an album which is so utterly contemporary and yet is musically brilliant. If there is an album that 2011 will be remembered for, it should be this one.

It seems to have so many styles and genres within it, all woven into one beautifully crafted package.

Paradise, for example, quite clearly has influences of modern dance/pop music in it. It has a wonderfully dubsteppy bassline to it but in a very subtle way that doesn’t make the song an awful council estate car park anthem but rather a very zeitgeist capturing piece of art.

Then there’s Major Minus, which to me sounds subtly influenced by the neo-folk bands popping up everywhere nowadays.

And Princess of China, it’s Coldplay and Rihanna. COLDPLAY AND RIHANNA WHAT. But it works, it works so wonderfully well.

Coldplay have moved on from their old songwriting style of “HERE ARE SOME CHORDS AND SOME WORDS” - they briefly deviated from this style on their last album but it is on Mylo Xyloto that they really perfect it.

Chris Martin has taken the very best aspects of the modern music scene and woven it together into one stunning masterpiece. There’s pop, rock, dance, folk, all experimented with in a wonderfully Radiohead-esque fashion.

In short, Coldplay have won me over. It only took them 10 years but they did it.

1973 had Dark Side of the Moon. 1997 had Ok Computer. 2011 has Mylo Xyloto.

Oct 18

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Sorry for not actually using this for so long! I’m back! Maybe.

Anyway, Noel Gallagher’s first solo effort. Fuck me. 

I mean, I knew it was going to be good back in July when he released The Death of You and Me but I didn’t realize quite how good.

I make no secret that I adore Noel and despise Liam. Of the two brothers, it is quite clear that Noel is the only one with any talent. Even Liam’s voice irritates me. 

I loved Oasis, but always suspected they’d be a thousand times better with Noel permanently taking lead vocals. Just listen to the vocals on The Masterplan or Don’t Look Back in Anger. Liam could stay on and be their mascot or something, like Bez. 

This album for me just confirmed what I’ve always known. Noel is better without Liam. It’s Oasis but better. 

Even the track Stop the Clocks has been included on the album. After being recorded by Oasis for 2004’s Don’t Believe the Truth but ultimately not on the final track listing. It was taken by Noel for this recording and revamped. Noel says he improved it. I, along with most people, never heard it. But I don’t doubt him for a second.

The track is sort of a metaphor for the entire album. Noel has taken the essence of Oasis and improved it. 

5 gold stars out of 5.

Tracks to listen to: Apart from all of them obviously. Everybody’s on the Run, Dream On, The Death of You and Me, Stop The Clocks.

Aug 3

Mona’s self titled debut album

I’m going to Reading Festival this year, as many readers of my main blog have no doubt figured out by now, and I was looking at the line up deciding who I wanted to see. It appeared I’d have a gap in my schedule between Miles Kane and Rise Against. I decided to check out Mona on Spotify since they’re playing in between those two acts.

I was expecting some typical, low down on the NME stage, happy indie bullshit. The sort of thing I’d never listen to normally but would happily go to in order to kill some time at Reading.

I was wrong. Shit, I was so wrong.

Mona by Mona is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. They sound vaguely reminiscent of Kings of Leon and the like, probably due to their Tennessee origins. But unlike Kings of Leon, who in my opinion are actually pretty crap, their music won’t be permanently played in clubs and crap pubs because the wannabe indie chav population that attends them thinks that it, along with their Lyle and Scott merchandise inexplicably makes them indie. 

No, Mona take the style of Kings of Leon (which isn’t that bad, gritty southern rock can be good Leon just don’t add in shite songs like Sex on Fire to appeal to the brainless chimps in the Radio One audience) and strip the rubbish pop elements off whilst at the same time adding lyrics that mean something without getting rid of the catchiness (You can be catchy without being cheesy Leon, listen to Mona’s Shooting the Moon or Pavement  or Listen to your Love).

A little bit of research tells me this album was produced by Rich Costley, who was the producer and mixer for Black Holes & Revelations by Muse and Humbug by Arctic Monkeys, two of my favourite albums ever. It seems he’s scored himself another brilliant one.

I think, given a few years and another album or two like this, one day Mona won’t be playing their brilliant music on the NME stage, we might all be attending Reading to see them headline the main stage.

A rating? I rate this album 8 offensive Morrissey statements out of 10.

Listen to it here if you have Spotify! Mona – Mona

Jul 20

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

Might as well start my reviews blog off with a big one and what a big one it was. I’m going to expect you’ve read the books by this point so I won’t be skipping out any plot spoilers, you’ve had 4 years… I’ll do my best to avoid spoiling the film itself though.

I’ve been a massive fan of Harry Potter since the first book came out although I haven’t always agreed with the films. In my opinion, Deathly Hallows part 1 was awful so I didn’t have high hopes for this instalment if I’m being honest (Although, I’m the same person who thinks that the Half Blood Prince movie was by far the best of them up until now, unpopular opinionzzz).

I’m therefore extremely happy to say I was wrong, and I don’t usually like being wrong. This film was almost perfect, or as perfect as it could be anyway. 

Admittedly, a few of the deaths were brushed over more than I’d want but unfortunately even with two films worth of screen time there’s only so much plot they can squeeze in and I understand that. Still I would have liked to have been able to mourn Fred and Tonks a bit more. Although I welled up at them regardless. Lupin would be included in that but we get a chance to mourn him a bit more in the fantastic resurrection stone scene.

That brings me onto Snape’s death which caused my tears to completely flood the theatre. Ever since the first book I’ve known he wasn’t evil like the insufferable Harry always seemed to think (yes I hate Harry). Even after killing Dumbledore in HBP I refused to believe he had truly evil intentions. When DH the book came out this reveal of his character was for me one of the greatest moments in the series and to see it handled so perfectly on screen was just a wonderful gift.

One thing the movie managed to get spot on was the ratio of laughter and tears. I frequently found myself laughing through my tears at a joke of Ron’s or one of Voldemort’s odd noises (he made a lot). It really felt true to the spirit of the series in the sense that even in the darkest hour no one gives up hope and there’s always time for humor. 

The bad points about the movie were ultimately insignificant in the grand scheme of things. The only bad points really were very, very minor deviations from the books and to me that didn’t matter much anyway- books and film are two different art forms and I’d never expect them to match perfectly. Things which work in print often don’t work on screen and vice versa. Although this movie managed to bring almost everything in the novel onto the screen and make it work.

The acting was, strangely brilliant. Even Daniel Radcliffe who I usually find to be an abysmal actor wasn’t bad, I mean he wasn’t fantastic obviously but he did the job convincingly so kudos to him.

The were moments, like the King’s Cross/death/purgatory scene that weren’t quite how I imagined them but it didn’t really matter because they were done brilliantly anyway.

It might just be because I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter but, to be honest apart from Prisoner of Azkaban, Half Blood Prince and to a lesser extent Goblet of Fire, I’ve always thought the films were a bit shit. Deathly Hallows Pt2 however was perfect, easily the best of the series.

Now I should probably invent some kind of rating system for this reviews blog so I’m going to give it 9.5/10 just because they should have included a scene were Emma Watson and I get married.