Sunday, June 22, 2008


Due to a defective CPU or some such crap, we are temporarily incommunicado [where?]. Hell, we're even using Wii Internet to type this, and frankly, it's like pulling teeth.
We hope to resume a full service in the near future. Apologies! x

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Single Reviews 15/06/08

Yes, we’re fully aware that we skipped last week’s Single Reviews. And not out of choice either, given that Feeder would’ve walked it (and frankly, any opportunity to put them on a pedestal is seen as compulsory round these parts). Instead, keep your minces peeled for our upcoming review of their album, and enjoy this week’s singles in the meantime…

It seems that while Hanson are off becoming ministers or having children in spite of them being children themselves, the Jonas Brothers have filled their boots rather nicely. Mind you, bearing in mind these boots are actually stale, sensible Jesus sandals designed for walking in the middle of the All-American road, that’s no good thing. SOS is bland, forgettable airwave wadding.

Next up, Jesse McCartney, who if we’d cared enough about, we’d have already dismissed as a one-man Us 5. Who’d have thought a tweenage fluff rockabilly would transform into Robin Thicke’s very own Mini-Me? While the cash register sound effect is questionable, there’s something highly engaging about Leavin’ – you can almost hear Shayne Ward firing his A&R man from here…

Weezer seem content in quietly being one of the greatest bands on Earth, proving they’re as consistent as they are musically-endowed. The breathtakingly brilliant Pork & Beans also boasts the latest in a lengthy line of outstanding videos, but even when removed from this, you’re still left with a concrete example of kickass Weezer wondrousness. Single of the Week by a mile.

And finally, after the frankly barking yet still considerably dull Touch My Body, Mariah Carey has opted to pluck a number from her “Tried & Tested” pile. The wishy-washy Bye Bye is Mariah at her benchmark dullest, which probably bodes well for her mental health, but not for much else. And while she may never want to return to her power ballad days, watery Ashanti ballads probably aren’t the way forward.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Honking Box Review: Big Brother 9 Launch

We are truly ashamed of ourselves. We had promised ourselves that this year’s Big Brother would be the year we’d boycott it, having gone so far as to consider booking a holiday to coincide with the launch date so as not to get tied up in it. Alas, the car crash element was too much to resist. So there sat the Sloppy Dog television set, tuned to Channel 4 and covered in venomous spittle, accompanied by a slurry of disapproving expletives. And here is the aftermath. Prepare for some bile…

Question: how do the producers get it so monumentally wrong every year? Last year, the house was saturated with starry-eyed vultures who couldn’t lay claim to a single brain cell between the lot of them. And they paid the price for it – the lowest ratings since Big Brother began, and a significant plummet of any pop culture gravitas it still had left after Shilpagate.

To think Endemol promised a diverse mix of characters, only to give us a predictable yet shockingly embarrassing infestation of losers, wannabes and frankly, utter pondscum. A balance between the sex and the sexualities, they teased. One vile, repellent gay was what we got, with a level of campness to make Shahbaz look like 50 Cent. All different ages, they promised. Instead, we’re given a 40-year-old couple dropped amongst an army of immature, zit-flecked brats. The array of promo girls ready and waiting to get their flaps out for Nuts magazine; the geeky virgin character; the gobby fat bird; the numerous brushes with fame prior to entering the house; Anthony Hutton sneaking back in and calling himself Dale.

But of course, mention must be made of Michael, the show’s first blind housemate. As each new housemate made their way through the door, the process for already-induced housemates was generally the same – the renowned look-and-judge, the polite/awkward greeting peppered with “I’m rubbish at names”, before sidling back to glug warm champagne and calculate which magazines to ‘do’ on their inevitable eviction. But the entry of Michael saw something entirely different.

A roomful of imbeciles, all desperate to push whichever tenuous aspects of themselves make them ‘different’, are suddenly confronted with someone who embodies ‘different’, whether he likes it or not. Cue an uncharacteristic silence as the line-up of braindead morons are transfixed by something so far outside of their respective vacuous fame-whore bubbles, they look as though they’re going to cry. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

Meanwhile, the ensuing Big Brother Launch Night Project acted as an advertisement of precisely why not to enter the house. Mind you, it did address some of the greater moments of the show – Nikki’s tantrums, Nadia’s patented drain-cackle, and Dame Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace kissing her teeth and saying “know yourself”, which we desperately want as our new text message alert. While mildly entertaining, quite why Channel 4 would willingly underline how much worse this year’s bunch are by highlighting previous gems is a mystery. Maybe they’ve set up this year’s series to be some sort of taxloss?

So, all in all, a series we’d written off altogether based solely on the launch show. That is, until the appearance of the lone saving grace in the form of the batshit hilarious Kathreya, a Thai cookie fiend and seemingly the secret lovechild of Nancy Lam and Iggle-Piggle. Fingers crossed she’s voted out first so we’re not required to watch for the inexplicable 93-day shitfest that promises to pollute summer screens to an even greater extent than last year’s catastrophe. In short, we’re sort of boycotting. For now. Until Kathreya goes. But we DO officially hate it. Oh, fuck off, the lot of you.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Zutons – You Can Do Anything (SonyBMG)

That whole ‘curse of the second album’ thing is just an urban myth, you know. Sure, there are a deluge of examples to give the theory sufficient weight, but take the Zutons. An above-par debut album, far outshined by its successor. See, the Zutons have waited til album three to let things go tits-up.

In fairness, You Can Do Anything is far more impressive than the above paragraph gives it credit for. It all comes down to what the listener considers their key pleasure within the Zutons (and no, that’s not a smutty Zoo-style reference to Abi’s legs). If it’s the exceptional melodies, you’re all good. If it’s the cheeky parps of sax, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if it’s the congenial Scouse buoyancy, this is where your luck runs out.

Take the very ordinary Give Me A Reason or the slightly oafish Family of Leechs (we were going to insert a [sic] but that wouldn’t be enough to highlight our grammatical disgust). Not bad tracks by anyone’s standards, but just lacking a certain upbeat oomph that the Zutons have come to define as their key facet. Thankfully, the more direct charm of You Could Make The 4 Walls Cry or lead single Always Right Behind You easily counteract such minor shortcomings.

Perhaps it’s down to the departure of Boyan Chowdhury, which, while not as directly evident as a Dave or Abi deficiency would be, underlines that he’s categorically more than just one of the Jims. Could the murkier tones be an aural epitaph, or has he upped and left taking every last gram of twinkle with him?

Or maybe the band are just resting on their laurels as they revel in the Valerie royalties? While Mark Ronson chokes on his comedy trombone and Winehouse chokes on her own vomit, the Zutons are swimming around in their money vault, Scrooge McDuck style, unwittingly divorced from their own musical worth.

Either way, nowhere near enough damage has been done to You Can Do Anything to prevent it from being a decent record. It’s merely lacking the immediacy found in Tired of Hanging Around, and the fresh-from-the-student-union charisma of Who Killed The Zutons?, and sadly, suffers slightly for it. Overall, however, it seems that You Can Do Anything’s bad points are mere footnotes, and are only as evident as they are due to the bar being set so astronomically high. The best kind of disappointing.
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