Today, we were set to publish Jake Cordiner‘s review of the new Justin Timberlake record Man of the Woods, an album we were anticipating for justified reasons. Sadly, Timberlake’s extensive history of borderline abusive actions have came to our attention. While this will no doubt provoke a “separate the art from the artist”, we pride ourselves on having a strong code of morals when it comes to these sort of actions and Man of the Woods has already received some…interesting coverage so we’re sure our decision won’t have any rippling effects.
by jake cordiner (@jjjjaketh)
Hey, Jake Cordiner here. 2017 was fucking shite eh? I appreciate that this sentiment has been beaten to death but it really was. The only shining lights were found in yer music, games, TV, wrestling (shouts to Kenny Omega) and, perhaps the most important, film. So many fucking unreal films came out in 2017, I struggled like fuck to narrow down this list.
PLEASE NOTE: I haven’t seen Spider-Man: Homecoming, I’m fucking sorry, ok? There are loads of films I haven’t got around to seeing yet but I guaran-damn-tee that I’ll get the most hate for having not seen Homecoming. Right, honourable mentions:
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Ramped up everything that made the first film so refreshing, but sadly felt a bit by the numbers in the process. Still worth a watch.
- The Ghoul – A good wee British horror that I reviewed earlier on in 2017, mind-bending af, in the same vein as the likes of Coherence and Timecrimes.
- T2 Trainspotting – To be brutally honest, this film had absolutely no right to be as good as it was. Danny Boyle used all the directing tricks he’s learned in the 20+ years that had passed since the original Trainspotting to create a film that manages to stand on its own merits.
- Mayhem / The Belko Experiment – Both have very, very similar plots (shit goes down in an office building) so I’ve lumped these two together. Go for Mayhem if you want over the top schlock, go for The Belko Experiment if you want something a bit smarter, but more subdued.
Right, here goes. The 20 DEFINITIVE best films of 2017!!
20. Brigsby Bear
An absolutely dynamite film, this. It stars Kyle Mooney and Mark Hamill and that’s literally all I want to say. I implore you, don’t watch any trailers or clips. Go in as blind as possible and let this wonderful piece of cinema sweep you away.
I.T is a film that, I think, defied all expectations. It shouldn’t have been this good, but boy oh boy am I glad it is. It oozes humour and genuine dread from its every pore, in no small part thanks to some stonking performances from the central children, and of course Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, the Dancing Clown. Not every joke/scare hits, but when they do, fuck me do they deliver.
18. Baby Driver
I wasn’t as head over heels in love with this yin as a lot of other people seemed to be, but that doesn’t make it any less of a great film. An utter masterclass in song choice and editing, Baby Driver is nothing but straight up fun. Add another worldie to Edgar Wright’s repertoire.
17. Thor Ragnarok
Without a doubt the most fun I had in the cinema in 2017, Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok managed to capture the humour and wistfulness of his previous works (Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do In The Shadows, both fantastic films), AND on top of that he made a damn fine action film. I now want Taika to direct every film that will ever come out. I’m not sure of the logistics but I think it’s probably possible.
I’m still not entirely sure what the fuck I watched, basically. One of the most batshit insane films I’ve ever seen, Mother! Is Darren Aronofsky making a film that is kind of about everything and kind of about nothing all at once? It is fucking mad, and it’s brilliant.
15. The Love Witch
The Love Witch is an incredibly strange film. A surreal horror/romance/60s throwback with deliberately(?) wooden acting and strange transitions between scenes. I’m genuinely not even sure if I liked it that much, but I’ve watched it willingly three times so that must count for something. A bizarre, but must-watch film.
What Dunkirk lacks in the story department, it more than makes up for visually. Some of the shots in this flick are utterly staggering. A palpable sense of dread and tension hangs over each and every scene. Whilst sitting in the cinema, I genuinely felt anxious at points, so this definitely isn’t one for the faint of heart. One of Christopher Nolan’s weakest pictures, but then again, a weak Christopher Nolan joint is still better than most directors best efforts.
13. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE LAST JEDI: I fucking loved this film. It has more heart and soul in it than any Star Wars film before it. Some of the scenes are stupid, some of the motivations for the characters are stupid, but it is an utter joy. The new characters introduced all had their place, and the way Rian Johnson decided to treat the force as a religious allegory like the original trilogy did was a wonderful touch. Do not listen to the hate, this is a wonderful, wonderful piece of cinema.
One of only two good things to come out of 2017 with the name Logan attached (here’s looking at you, Logan Lucky) Logan is one of the best comic book films of all time because it didn’t feel like a comic book film (for the most part). It’s gritty, moody, violent as all hell, sad as fuck and, maybe above all else, it’s human. Who’d have thought all it would take to make a great stand-alone Wolverine film would be to make him weaker? A blinder.
11. Brawl In Cell Block 99
Just missing out on my top 10 is the devilishly pulpy Brawl In Cellblock 99. S. Craig Zahler is one of the most exciting directors working today, and he only has 2 films under his belt (the other being 2015’s gory western horror Bone Tomahawk, also a great movie). The premise is simple: Big scary man (played by Vince Vaughn, in a career-best performance) goes to jail, has to do something in jail to save his pregnant wife. What follows is a journey documenting how far people will go for the people they love (hint: REALLY fucking far). If gore is your bag, look no further. Brawl… will knock your socks clean off.
Here we go MY DUDES, tenth spot goes to the utterly gorgeous Moonlight. Barry Jenkins’ touching portrait of a young black man’s entire life as he grapples with topics ranging from sexuality to what it means to be black in modern America.
There’s almost nothing you can fault with this film, Jenkins’ writing and directing is masterful, as are the performances throughout, in particular, a star-making turn from Mahershala Ali as Juan. This film can go from melancholic to harrowing in the space of a scene, but it never feels jarring or poorly paced.
To put it simply, this is a masterpiece of cinema, and it’s a testament to how good a year 2017 was for film that it’s only ranking at number 10 on my list.
What an absolute gem of a film this is. Starring Anne Hathaway (in probably the best performance she’s ever given), Colossal tells the tale of Gloria, an out of work alcoholic who leaves her apartment in the big city and her, to be frank, total wank of a boyfriend Tim (played with aplomb by Dan Stevens, who is fucking great) to move back to her hometown and try to “find herself” (so far so bloody cliche).
After Something decimates Seoul overnight, she slowly but surely begins to realise that she might have something to do with the destruction of one of the world’s largest cities. That’s as much as I can go into without spoiling anything, so I’m instead going to gush about how fucking incredible Jason Sudeikis is in this film. Like, he SERIOUSLY knocks it entirely out of the park. He knocks whatever “it” is into the stratosphere, in fact, “it” probably landed on the surface of Mars. Where the fuck did this performance come from? He’s always been a serviceable enough comedic actor, but my man has LAYERS. He’s warm, cuddly and intimidating all at once.
I can honestly say this is one of the most surprising films of the year, for me. I stumbled upon the trailer by accident whilst traveling downwards through a youtube rabbit hole and it instantly got my attention, but it just seemed like an artsy wee weird, low budget / high production value romcom. How wrong I was, this blew me away and I can almost guarantee it’ll blow you away too.
8. The Big Sick
God this film made me cry. It made me cry more than I think any film in recent memory has. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s story is one that needed to be heard (or in this case, saw). Kumail stars as himself, doing shitey wee stand up gigs in a toilet venue in Chicago, a toilet venue that Emily (played with an effortless charm and venom by Zoe Kazan) happens to attend one night. What follows is a journey that is heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure, as a mystery illness leaves Emily’s life hanging in the balance. Kumail casting himself as himself is nothing short of genius, and it allows him to give one of the most believable performances of 2017.
You feel every moment of elation and despair Kumail, Emily and Emily’s parents, played by Holly Hunter (Mrs. Bloody fucking Incredible!) and RAY ROMANO (who is genuinely all sorts of fantastic in this film) go through.
The Big Sick is one of the funniest films of the year, it is dripping with Kumail’s signature deadpan humour. Nanijani and Gordon have written one of the most stunningly human films of recent times, and for my money, the best romantic comedy ever.
7. The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected)
Jesus H Christ this film’s a journey. Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories follows three siblings who are trying and failing to escape the shadow of their father. The siblings are played beautifully by Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Jean Marvel. All 3 are nothing short of fucking incredible in this film, Sandler especially, who proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that when he tries, he can be a stunningly good actor. Dustin Hoffman plays their father, Harold, a neurotic retired artist who was, for all intents and purposes, kind of a really shitty dad/husband/person in general. He’s onto his third wife, Maureen (hammed up to perfection by the ever impressive Emma Thompson). As his children try (and fail) desperately to strike up some form of connection with Harold, he takes ill. And THATS AS MUCH OF A SYNOPSIS AS YIS ARE GETTING!
Noah Baumbach is the king of writing films like this, emotional gut-punches wrapped in wittily written monologues and dialogues, and his run of form continues here. This is an oftentimes bleak peak into dysfunctional family life, and it is a vital watch.
6. Get Out
Jordan Peele, take a fucking bow, son.
This racially driven horror/thriller/comedy(according to the golden globes) is nothing less than a slice of fried gold. Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris Washington, who is about to go to his girlfriend’s family’s house upstate for the weekend. He hasn’t met them yet. Bad shit is going to go down. Everything starts off innocently enough, niceties are shared between all family members (with a bit of seemingly unintentional casual racism thrown in the mix), but soon things take a turn for the incredibly sinister.
What follows is one of the most uncomfortable films I have ever watched. I squirmed, almost non-stop throughout this films entire run time. The performances from Rose (played by Allison Williams) and her family are staggeringly good, with a real tenseness and a sense of underlying evil intentions soaking almost every line of dialogue they have. Catherine Keener as Missy especially oozes an aura of uncomfortableness throughout. But this is very much Kaluuya’s film, with a perfectly weighted performance that has seen him gain a BAFTA nomination, and rightly so.
It’s staggering that this was Jordan Peele’s first foray into feature-length film, and as I’m sure anyone who’s seen Get Out will agree, he’s placed himself firmly among the ranks of the most exciting young directors working today.
5. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
Yorgos Lanthimos is a mad fucking genius and I adore him. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a very hard film to categorise. On the one hand, it could be construed as a pitch black comedy, on the other it’s an eerie and skin-crawling horror. But that’s the true beauty of Lanthimos’s work, it simply refuses categorisation. The film’s advertising campaign was a masterstroke, revealing almost nothing about the film’s plot apart from the bare essentials. Colin Farrell is a surgeon. Nicole Kidman is his wife. Barry Keoghan is a weird as fuck teenager and Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic are Farrell and Kidman’s children.
The rest is left purposefully vague, and it’s all the better for it. It may seem like a cop-out to say this but the less you know about The Killing of a Sacred Deer going into It the better, but it’s genuinely true. This is a film that requires your full attention, many wee details may slip through the cracks on your first view so multiple viewings would also help. A lot of people don’t care for Lanthimos’s style after his last two films (Dogtooth and The Lobster), but those who do know exactly how talented this man is. Belting stuff.
The best way to describe this film is Mean Girls meets The Silence of the Lambs. What starts off as a simple coming of age fare turns dark very, VERY quickly. Julia Ducournau French language directorial debut is a masterclass in slow burning dread. Justine arrives at college to become a vet like the rest of her family, and upon arriving is subjected to a hazing ritual along with the rest of the new starts. This ritual includes the consumption of RAW (HE SAID IT) meat. There’s one wee problem, though: Julia’s been a vegetarian since birth. This hazing ritual is the catalyst for awakening a previously unknown love of meat. RAW ( there he goes again!) meat specifically.
There were horror tales surrounding this films showing at the Toronto film festival, with the usual (more often than not bullshit) stories about “PEOPLE VOMITING IN THE AISLES” and “AMBULANCES RUSHING TO THE THEATRE TO ATTEND TO CASES OF MASS FAINTING!” But I’ll give this film the benefit of the doubt, some of the scenes throughout are genuinely fucking vile. But at the same time, a lot of this film is gorgeous, with a lot of striking camera work throughout.
It’s that balance that makes Raw so great in my eyes. Garance Mallier (this is also her first feature-length film) plays Julia with just the right amount of nervous energy and (eventually) sassiness that it’s hard not to be sucked into this film. A bloody slobber knocker, and another film that showcases the trend of genuinely smart horror that we’ve been blessed with over the last few years.
3. La La Land
The film I’ve seen more than any other on this list, La La Land is, in a word, dazzling. At its heart, La La Land is a film about sacrifice. Be it sacrificing relationships, morals or dreams, sacrifice is the running theme throughout Damien Chazelle’s sun-drenched musical masterpiece.
Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a struggling pianist and jazz connoisseur (we’ve all met one of them, bloody annoying dicks) who dreams of owning his own jazz club. Emma Stone’s Mia works at a coffee shop, but she dreams of being an actress. They fall in love, he teaches her about jazz, she tries to teach him about film, but a copious amount of roadblocks stand in the way of the relationship. From their own egos to job opportunities, to timing. It’s never really clear if the relationship will work out. And that is absolutely fine because not everything works out. Sometimes things aren’t meant to be, and La La Land excels in conveying this message. Maybe the person you think is your soulmate never really was.
The music throughout La La Land is genuinely on another level. From the jaunty and energetic opener Another Day of Sun to the slow and brooding City of Stars, not a note is wasted throughout. Performance wise, Gosling and Stone are electric together, their chemistry is through the roof and I can’t imagine this film being as good with anyone else in the starring roles. The choreography deserves a mention as well, each and every extra in the big dance numbers pops out of the screen. This is partly thanks to the costumes and partly thanks to the choreography itself, which is stellar throughout. This film simply drips class, beauty, and sadness, and it is absolutely fucking astonishingly good.
2. A Ghost Story
I haven’t stopped thinking about this film since I seen it. It is, seriously, one of the most stunningly beautiful films I have ever seen. It explores such heady topics with such a deft hand that it is almost difficult for me to talk about without tearing up, this is not hyperbole. David Lowrey deserves a Nobel peace prize for this film.
Starring Rooney Mara and White Male Shitbird, A Ghost Story tells the tale of C (man) and M (woman). C & M live happily in a lovely little home in an equally lovely little town. C is a music producer, who is happy with the house. M is not happy, she wants to leave as soon as possible. Something about the house troubles her, she feels like something will soon go horribly wrong. Hesitant of change, C laughs off these claims but soon, something does go very wrong. C is killed in a car accident. It wasn’t his fault, it never usually is the fault of the person who loses their life. M goes to identify the body, it’s him. She’s completely and utterly lost, she can bare to see the lifeless body of the man she loved, still loves. She runs away. C rises out of his body as a ghost, wearing a sheet, with wee holes cut out for eyes.
In any other film, this depiction of a ghost would be seen as pretentious and asinine, not here. C goes back to his house. He watches M live her life without him. Struggling to find meaning, she binge eats and vomits it back out. She is a husk. She leaves, C can’t. He’s stuck in this house. The next family moves in. And the next. And the next. You see where this is going.
A Ghost Story tackles time, love, loss, grief, the meaning of fucking life and treats each question with the weight they deserve. There’s barely any dialogue for over half the film. There doesn’t need to be. The imagery conveys the messages this film takes on effortlessly, arguably far better than words ever could. I’m aware I’m gushing, and I’m genuinely sorry but this film seems to have flown under a lot of people’s radars and that’s quite simply a fucking crime.
You may think a write up like that should be number one? Well, not necessarily…
1. Blade Runner 2049
This film should not exist. Not only should it not exist, it has the AUDACITY to be one of the best films ever made. Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins have gifted us with one of the most visually spectacular films of all time. EVERY. SINGLE. SHOT is desktop background worthy (high praise, I’m a man who respects his desktop and its background, anyone who knows me will tell you that).
The world building in this film is stellar, helped in no small part by the three shorts released prior to 2049’s release. The acting is second to none, Gosling is on the form of his life as K, Robin Wright shines as K’s commander in chief, a criminally under-utilized Dave Bautista steals the short scene he’s in without breaking a sweat (figuratively, not literally). But the star of the show here is Harrison Ford. I don’t know what Denis and the rest of the crew fed him, but he was a different gravy entirely in this flick. Potentially the best performance he’s ever given.
I’ve sucked enough actor dick for one lifetime, so let’s get to the story. K is a newer replicant who is hired by the police to track down and decommission older replicants (for the uninitiated, replicants are basically androids). An almost botched job leads him on a journey to discover who he is, and if he even is a replicant at all. That’s the basic premise, it goes a lot deeper than that I promise you, but you’ll have to discover the film’s intricacies for yourself.
Villeneuve has taken the concept of big bad Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (and Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) and ran with it. He’s Forrest Gump’d the fucker. I think he’s still running as we speak. Though limitations due to the time it was made have to be taken into account, Villeneuve and his crew’s design of near-future Los Angeles is fucking awe-inspiring. It’s all blinding neon advertisements, towering skyscrapers and Neo-futuristic slums. And that’s just the exteriors, each and ever interior location was meticulously designed with so much love that the care that went into the sets is almost palpable.
This is a special, special film. It takes Scott’s original and punts it into orbit, answering questions that the original was either too scared or too up its own arse to answer. It’s beautiful, it’s harrowing, it’s deeply sad and it’s the best film of 2017.
Now, I should make something clear here while I’ve still got you. I might have bigged up some films more than other’s, yet placed them lower on the list. This is because I can appreciate that art is special, and still not enjoy them as much as other pieces of art. That’s a wanky way of saying please don’t hate me. As always, a massive, massive, humongous, to be honest too big thank you to Liam and the rest of the Blinkclyro team for letting me write shite. It’s truly one of the greatest privileges I’ve had in my life. And an equally as big thank you to you, for reading the shite I’ve written. It means more than you could ever know.
2017 was a shite year in a lot of aspects but it was still decent for me. I found my footing in the journalism game and I managed to write a few pieces I’m genuinely proud of.
Let me know your favourite films of 2017, let me know how you are, let me know if you’re doing ok. Follow me on twitter @jjjjaketh, have a wonderful morning/ afternoon/evening/night, and I’ll see you again soon.
By Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)
HEY HOWDY HEY DUDES AND DUDETTES! Jake here with the last Halloween piece of 2017 pauses for crowd sympathy. This has been a wild ride, and it’s been fun as hell. So let’s get going – I’m going to give you ideas for your Halloween movie marathons! And imma kick things off with…
TOP 5 FOUND FOOTAGE FILMS
Just as an aside, I’m not going to go super in-depth with the descriptions of any of these choices for the sake of brevity, so sorry! ANYWHO
This is in my top 3 films of all time. It’s brilliant. A smashing big sea monster wakes up and attacks New York. That’s all you need to know. Not necessarily a horror film which is why it’s at number 5 but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention it so…
4: The Taking of Deborah Logan
Caught this on a whim on Netflix and thought it was bloody cracking. Starts off as your standard possession film but goes buck wild as it progresses.
3: Paranormal Activity
The film you can blame for the wave of really shitty modern found footage films. When this was released, however, it was as big a deal as The Blair Witch Project. Incredibly effective and constantly creepy. Just avoid the sequels.
2: Blair Witch
THAT’S RIGHT I’M BRINGING THIS FILM UP AGAIN I LOVE IT FUCK EVERYONE WHO HATES IT MY ADDRESS IS removed for the safety of the writer COME AND FIND ME
This wee Spanish-Language zombie flick is a total doozie. It all takes place in a block of flats and it’s entirely fucked up. Just watch it.
SNACK: i’m going to try and recommend a humorous snack for each of these sup categories so for found footage…
A CAMERA LENSE FILLED WITH BONBONS!
TOP 5 SCI-FI SCARE…RS
A small town in the US is attacked by mad wee parasitic slug aliens in James Gunn’s 2006 horror comedy. It’s very good.
4: Jason X
There has to be a wee bit of cheese throughout this article and here’s a slab of prime stilton. Jason Voorhees… in space… killing folk. What’s not to love?
Hell yeah, baby, the granddaddy of Modern Sci-Fi! Alien is still almost perfect like… 40 years after it’s release? An astonishing piece of work from oor Ridley. I’m sure almost everyone who will read this has seen it before but if for some reason you haven’t, do yourself a bloody favour.
2: The Thing
I can hear you all now… “he’s put Alien 3rd and The Thing 2nd…? But… But they’re the best!” I’m buzzing for you to see number 1 lemme tell ya. The Thing is a stone cold (PUNS!) classic, and the less known about it going in the better. An alien attacks a remote research base in Antarctica. That’s all that needs to be said.
1: Event Horizon
HELL YES BABY! This film is balls to the wall nuts and I fucking adore it. The plot doesn’t even matter, it’s just pure nuttiness happening on a spaceship and you should WATCH IT
SNACK: for the sci-fi genre, might I recommend some mixed Milky Way confectionary? a crispy roll perhaps? or some magic stars? and a wee mars bar as a pallet cleanser. To be served on a.. sniggers a wee SAUCER!
TOP 5 GORY FILMS
5: Literally Any Saw Film
The only good Saw film is Saw 1. The rest are varying levels of laughably bad. But if you’re a gorehound like me watching the Saw series is a no-brainer (MORE PUNS!).
4: Literally any Hostel film
Read the above entry but replace the word Saw with the word Hostel. Some of you may call this lazy journalism, I call it energy conservation.
3: Men Behind The Sun
I saw this on YouTube about 6 years ago and it’s one of the most mental films ever. It’s about Japanese war experiments and, in some places, it’s shitting vile.
2: A Serbian Film
Ah, this old chestnut. One of only two films to ever make me actually vomit (you’ll know EXACTLY what scene I’m talking about when/if you watch it) this 2010 film tells the tale of a retired porn star who takes one more job to keep his family afloat. This job ends up being FUCKED THE FUCK UP.
1: Dead Alive (or Braindead)
One of Peter Jackson’s first feature films, this is a hilariously disgusting zombie feature that includes one of my favourite scenes in cinema history (lawnmower). It’s stupid, but it’s knowingly stupid so it doesn’t get annoying.
SNACK: like a smashing big fucking pile of raw meat? fuck knows, knock yourselves out.
TOP 5 CREATURE FEATURES!
5: The Host
A wonderfully shot Korean sea monster film, you’ve probably seen the films opening scene in every “best horror scenes” youtube compilation ever.
More a Christmas film this but I’m giving it a wee nod anyway. Krampus is the evil Santa who kills your family if you’ve been bad. Make sure you see the actually good Krampus film starring Adam Scott and Champ from Anchorman and not the shite ones that they always release around Christmas.
3: Shin Godzilla
2016’s Shin Godzilla is balls to the wall mad. It ends up being more about how the Japanese government deals with the effects of Godzilla rather than just a film about Godzilla going mental but it works and it absolutely should not. This was one of my favourite films of last year so give it a shot!
2: The Fly (1986)
This could have been in the sci-fi list as well but I don’t want to mention the same films twice (which is why Cloverfield isn’t in this list as well). The Fly is a terribly sad film about a man who does a wee experiment on a fly that goes horrifically wrong. Also, Jeff Goldblum is in it and he’s the best actor ever.
1: The Descent
This is such a good fucking film god damn it. Cave exploration GONE WILD 2017 XXX. Is all I’ll say.
SNACK: Monster Much, obviously.
TOP 5 HORROR GAMES!
Oh yes, baby a motherfucking curveball.
5: Amnesia: The Dark Descent
If you’re at all into gaming, you’ve heard of this. You can’t fight your enemies, you have to run away, which makes exploring this victorian-era castle all the more unnerving.
4: Outlast 2
This game got way under my skin when I played it earlier this year. Using only your camera, you must traverse through a Christian cult’s compound in the remote mountains of the US of A. You will shit yourself.
3: Silent Hill 2
I shouldn’t have to explain what this game/series is all about so y’know what? I won’t. Just bloody hurry up and play it. Trust me, it’s very, VERY good.
2: Resident Evil… SEVEN
The latest installment in the Resident Evil franchise is tied with Resi 4 as the best in the series for me. Resi 7 is way scarier though. One of the only games where i’ve had to pause and have a wee break in between sections. You explore the Baker house as Ethan Winters, looking for your wife Mia. Then bad things happen.
1: Dead Space 2
I just replayed this, so I may have a slight bias to it but I genuinely think this game is almost perfect. As Isaac Clarke, you wake up in a psychiatric ward in the wake of another necromorph outbreak. As you learn more about why you were in the ward in the first place, the puzzle pieces start falling into order and you realise you may have had more to do with the outbreak than you thought…
SNACKS: millionaire shortbread because it’s nice
BEST SLASHER FILMS
5: Freddy vs Jason
An absolutely wonderfully shitty cheesefest, the two kings of the slasher genre face off to see who’s better at killing mentally deficient teens. It’s a worldy of a film.
4: You’re Next
This could also fall into the category of home invasion films. You’re Next is about a big family getting taken out one by one by psychos wearing big animal masks. It’s better than I’ve made it sound, trust me.
3: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
It’s shocking how well this film has stood the test of time, it’s still fucking disgusting FORTY THREE YEARS after it’s initial release. Well worth a watch or a rewatch for just how dirty and horrible it makes you feel. It’s obviously about a man in Texas that insights a massacre using a chainsaw. Duh.
2: The Cabin in the Woods
Kind of bending my own rules here but THERE ARE SLASHER ELEMENTS IN THIS FILM! I love this motion picture. It’s funny and scary in equal measure. Go in as blind as you possibly can and you will be rewarded with one of the smartest horror films ever made.
Hell yeah my dudes I love Scream to the moon and back. I said all I really have to say about this genuine masterpiece in my top 10 horror films piece (that’s right, i’m not above shameless self promotion) so see that if you want to know my full thoughts on this wee classic.
SNACKS: make cupcakes with wee marzipan eyes on the top. Woah spooky!
and for your last list…
BEST HORROR FILMS OF THE DECADE (SO FAR)!
2017’s It is an utter joy of a film. Every performance is brilliant, every scare lands perfectly but above all else it’s gutbustingly funny. This is a break out performance from Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard (such a fucking rad name) but everyone in the cast gets their time to shine.
This is an awkward one to talk about. If you only go in blind with one of the films i’ve talked about in this article, please make sure it’s this one. I cannot say anything more about this film than something strange happens at a dinner party and that it’s honestly incredible.
A coming of age story wrapped around someone’s uncooked leg. This is part Clueless part Cannibal Holocaust and it is ALL AMAZING baby.
2: The VVitch
This film is about a witch that terrorises a family in 1500s New England and it is truly terrifying without relying at all on jump scares. So good.
Horror has been so good recently that i’d feel bad not mentioning these so HERE GOES;
The Conjuring 1 & 2
Insidious 1 & 2
Under the Shadow
Train To Busan
and your number one modern horror film IS…
1: Get Out
Jordan Peele is a genius. This is a ludicrously smart film about the way POC’s are still be treated in modern day society. It’s hilarious in one moment and hideously uncomfortable in the next, and that’s why it’s my favourite modern horror film.
SNACKS: hmm… Soylent because it’s modern!
There’s your lot! I want to thank Liam for letting me write about horror films for the past month. I love you my guy. If you want any further recommendations from me for some reason, you can find me on twitter here: @jjjjaketh. Peace out fuckers. x
Jake, here again, watched another horror film this week so without further interruption lets get cracking… PSYCHE, HONOURABLE MENTION BITCH!
Brawl In Cell Block 99
This is an honourable mention because it’s not a horror but it IS an incredibly good film. “Brawl…” Stars Vince Vaughn as an ex-boxer turned drug runner who ends up in the jail after a shootout with the popo. Aye… Vince Vaughn is the main star of this brutal, pulpy, 70s inspired grindhouse-like film and let me tell you something ladies and gentlefolk, he absolutely fucking KILLS IT. He is SO good at being an absolute nutter. An absolute revelation of a performance.
As for the film itself, it’s an absolute corker. Quite straightforward in it’s writing and direction (like writer/director S. Craig Zahler’s first feature film, the excellent Bone Tomahawk) but it doesn’t need to be complex. The action is choreographed and directed flawlessly, with Zahler choosing to keep the camera static throughout the occasionally disgusting action sequences. You’ll find no shaky cam here, and it’s better for it. Even when the violence borderlines on cartoonish, they fight scenes seem far more real without the camera freaking the fuck out constantly. Can we get #LetsStopShakyCam trending please? Cheers guys.
The supporting guest are nothing to sniff at either, everyone hamming it up to fuck (in keeping with the films hammier/grindhouse aesthetics). Don Johnson is in particular scene chewing form as the cunty as they come Warden Tuggs. But as I mentioned before, this is very much Vaughn’s film, giving a surprisingly subdued (for the most part) and emotional performance as Bradley Thomas.
S. Craig Zahler is two for two then. This is an often brutal but always brilliant character study of a man who will do anything for his family, and you’ll be hard pressed find a more upset Korean abortionist in any other film you see this year.
I didn’t really get a chance to see a lot of horror films this week, sadly. However, I did catch The Ghoul starring Tom Meeten, probably best known for portraying Andy Warhol in Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, and Dan Renton Skinner (or Angelos Epithemiou from Shooting Stars). It was pretty darn good: I’m here for this new wave of modern, smart British horror that was more or less kickstarted by Ben Wheatley (who exec. produces this film) with 2011’s brilliant Kill List (in which The Ghoul director Gareth Tunley has a small role. THE MORE YOU KNOW!). The Ghoul, whilst not belonging to the same sub-genre of horror as Kill List, continues the trend that Wheatley started – that trend being horror THAT MAKES YA GO “HMMMMM”.
Meeten plays homicide detective Chris, who’s given an absolutely bizarre case. A couple were shot a total of 5 times by an unknown perp, and they didn’t go down. What follows is a man losing his fucking mind. Chris goes undercover, posing as a mentally ill man and begins therapy with a very suspect pair of “mental health experts” (played expertly by Niamh Cusack and the absolutely bloody wonderful Geoffrey McGivern). He basically goes absolutely bloody mental and falls into a world of satanisim and the occult. Also Alice Lowe is there, and it’s just nice to see Alice Lowe in things isn’t it? She’s well good.
This is becoming a theme with my horror reviews, but I suppose it comes with the territory. There’s not much more I can say about this film without ruining some tasty twists and turns. Just know that this film is a bloody cracking slice of surrealist horror, and that this is an absolutely star making performance by Tom Meeten. God almighty he’s good in this, i’ve already started a petition to get him roles in every film that ever gets made from now on. There’s only 3 signatures though and the other two are from my mum and dad .
On the real though, Meeten is absolutely different class in this film. Portraying the potentially mentally ill Chris with grace and aplomb. Having been mostly known for his comedic roles in the past you’d be forgiven for being apprehensive of him taking a stab at a serious role, but he knocks it out of the park.
In short, this is a lovely wee film and is well worth checking out. And you can! It’s being shown on Film4 on Monday the 30th of October as part of their FilmFear series. So you’ve no bloody excuse not to seek this wee number out!
That’s all from me this week. I’ll be back before halloween with a comprehensive horror viewing guide if my editor allows me to ever write again. Toodle-pip!
By Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)
UNDER THE SHADOW
Set in the 1980’s during the infamous “War of the Cities”, Under The Shadow is a supremely creepy film. After a missile hits our protagonists, mother Shideh and daughter Dorsa’s, apartment building, superstitious neighbours are convinced that the missile shell was cursed and contained evil spirits or Djinn. As the days progress, more and more strange goings on occur around their home and Shideh becomes convinced that the Djinn are attempting to possess her daughter. Under The Shadow has been on my radar for the better part of a year, ever since seeing the high praise that Best Film Critic Currently Alive Mark Kermode™ (my words, not his) gave it. And I’m incredibly happy to report that it lives up to the hype and then some. This film has a lingering, ever-present darkness that hangs over each and every scene (barring maybe the Jane Fonda workout tape scenes… aye).
There’s always the sense that something horrible is just about to happen. Constant explosions can be heard in the background throughout the film, some closer than others, which works wonders in conveying the ever-present danger that plagued the citizens of Iraq and Iran during the “War of the Cities”. The film as a whole can be seen as one big fuck off metaphor about the horrors of war, but I also seen it as a study in how a mother’s love can outweigh anything, be it evil spirits threatening to take her daughter, or evil men threatening to take the lives of her and everyone she loves. As for the scares, they are FANTASTIC. The aforementioned perpetually creepy atmosphere make it so when a genuine fright occurs, it’s almost twice as effective. Add to this two powerful central performances from Narges Rashidi (Shideh) and newcomer Avin Manshadi (Dorsa), you’ve got a big pot of scary soup on the hob baby. Though there
The aforementioned perpetually creepy atmosphere make it so when a genuine fright occurs, it’s almost twice as effective. Add to this two powerful central performances from Narges Rashidi (Shideh) and newcomer Avin Manshadi (Dorsa), you’ve got a big pot of scary soup on the hob baby. Though there were one or two relatively cheap jump scares, the vast majority of frights in Under The Shadow are cerebral and goosebump-inducing. Under The Shadow is truly a film that will dig its way deep under your skin.
A film adaption Gerald’s Game shouldn’t exist. Constantly described as “literally unfilmable” this 1992 Stephen King story is a complex tale about a woman going slowly insane. To describe it any further would
ruin some of this film’s magic, so, kind of but not really SPOILERS for the rest of this wee review. Jeff Flanagan then, by the account of the doubters, has achieved the impossible. Gerald’s Game is a whip smart, uncomfortable, tense and pitch black horror/thriller. Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood play Jessie and Gerald Burlingame. A slightly above middle-aged couple who, in an attempt to spice up their slightly failing marriage, hire a friend’s forest cabin for a weekend of fine dining and finer SHAGGIN’. Things get a bit too rowdy for Jessie, a series of bad things happen and she’s left handcuffed to a bed, alone, in the middle of the woods. Not ideal. She begins hallucinating multiple… people (OR IS SHE HALLUCINATING OOOOOO?!) and slowly goes insane. There’s also a pretty cute dog that gets involved.
There’s honestly not much I can say plot-wise that won’t ruin some of the films later developments, so excuse my vagueness but I really think this is a film that should be experienced with as little prior knowledge of the source material as possible. Now, is the film good? In short, yes.Very, very good. The majority of the film is shot in such a way that you feel like you’re in the bedroom with Jessie, every uncomfortable tug on her wrists from the handcuffs is palpable and stunningly uncomfortable. Gugino’s performance(s) as Jessie is nothing short of fantastic. Selling the characters perpetual descent into madness with aplomb. Credit also to Bruce Greenwood who plays the titular Gerald with a wonderful and knowing cuntiness. The make-up used in the film is also to be commended, particularly in the case of Jessie’s wrists and face as the film progresses, and the design of the Moonlight Man (who I won’t talk about any more but HOLEE SHIT is he creepy).
There’s a sliiiiiiiiiight deep in quality in the films final third, but not enough to tarnish what is a beautifully realised adaption of one of Stephen King’s littler known works. Having been a fan of Flanagan’s work in the past (namely 2013’s Oculus and 2016’s Ouija: Origin of Evil) I’m truly excited to see what he works on next.
By Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)
Primus are back and, thankfully, as batshit insane as ever. The Desaturating Seven is the band’s 9th studio album, and their second LP in a row based on an existing media property (the first being 2014’s Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble. No prizes for guessing what that album is based on). This record however is slightly more obscure in it’s concept. The album’s 7 tracks revolve (quite loosely) around a children’s book called The Rainbow Goblins written by Ul De Rico that band leader Les Claypool used to read to his kids when they were younger. The book, specifically it’s striking artwork, left a lasting impression on Claypool and he decided to pitch to the rest of Primus an album that took inspiration from the book, and here we are: The Desaturating Seven.
It’s also worth noting that this is the first full-length of original material featuring Primus’s original line up (Les Claypool, Larry “Ler” LaLonde and Tim “Herb” Alexander) in twenty two fucking years, so excitement for the record within the Primus fanbase is at a fever pitch. And I’m happy to report that, for the most part, their latest project delivers.
The Rainbow Goblins is an absolutely astonishingly perfect fit for the creepy, mindfucking storytelling that runs deep in the roots of Primus’s songwriting. The album kicks off with The Valley, strummed acoustics ease the listener into a false sense of security before Claypool’s alter ego, Christopher P. Bacon, abruptly cuts through the calm. “ONCE THERE WAS A LAND THAT LIVED IN FEAR OF SEVEN GOBLINS. THE GOBLINS FED ON COLOUR” Bacon/Claypool booms, only Primus could make a children’s book sound so eerie. He goes on to explain that the 7 Goblins are searching for rainbows catch in their lassos and eventually feed on (it would appear that The Rainbow Goblins was written by Ul De Rico and co-written by Copious Amounts of Cocaine) and that they’re about to stumble upon a hidden valley that knew not of the goblins, known as THE VALLEY OF THE RAINBOW. Vintage Primus thus far. The Valley is surprisingly subdued instrumentally for the most part, apart from the proggy breakdown near the songs outro. Don’t make the same mistake this writer did and listen to this song in the dark, as Claypool’s vocals will do nothing but terrify you. Moving on…
“RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, INDIGO, VIOLET, THESE ARE THE COLOURS OF THE SEVEN” screams Claypool, backed by a fucking rocking instrumental. The Seven is the lead single from the album, and it’s easy to see why. It’s Primus letting everyone know the O.Gs are back in business and they’ve not missed a step. LaLonde, Alexander and Claypool sound as good as they ever have on this track. A short blast of the unpredictable, ever-evolving Primus we’ve grown to love over the years.
After being formally introduced to the Seven in track 2, track 3, The Trek, documents the beginnings of their journey to THE VALLEY OF THE RAINBOW. Clocking in at just under 8 minutes long, this track is a rollercoaster. Claypool sings verses in a vocal style which can only be described as “Tiny Tim’s Carnival Leader Uncle”, then there’s a cool as fuck breakdown with some almost annoyingly catchy gang vocals, back to Carnival Town, back to breakdown and so on and so forth. It may sound like bashing the structure of the song but that’s not the aim at all. It really does work, and it shouldn’t, and isn’t that what Primus excel at? Taking something that, on paper, sounds dumb as all hell and making it rad as heck? Small side note, Carny Les Claypool shouting “SAVOUR THE FLAVOUR!” is in the top 10 musical moments of the year for.
The Scheme is a nice wee track with a really cool driving drum beat that’s almost impossible to not tap along to. (This may be a reach but through the verses Claypool sounds like he’s aping the vocals from Primus’s 1991 track Tommy the Cat.). The Dream starts off really creepy sounding, with a hideously distorted looped… vocal sample? Honestly cannot tell what it is. Some oddly soothing guitar work from LaLonde as well. Claypool’s vocal line comes in and follows along with the guitar, which works quite well. Apart from that the track kind of doddles along at it’s own pace… until the last minute and a half where everything kind of goes fucking mental. The bass and the drums have a bit of back and forth, then the guitar gets a bit jealous and tries to square go the pair of them. A wonderful bit of chaos.
Penultimate track, The Storm, continues the albums theme of being batshit crazy. There’s a riff in the intro that sounds like a guitar being played by a church organ. Claypool plays a bass line that sounds a bit like a helicopter taking off. The cymbals sounds like literal thunder. It is all kicking off in the VALLEY OF THE RAINBOW. This is one of the best tracks Primus have recorded in decades. The vocals are just the right amount of strange, the lyrics themselves are so… satisfying? It really does sound like Claypool is having a jam with his pals while reading a kids book, which, kind of is the point. But they’ve nailed the whole aesthetic they were going for with the concept of this album. Instrumentally this track fucking RIPS. Not a single note is wasted. Awesome.
The album ends on, fittingly, The Ends? By far the spookiest song on the album, and also the shortest. Claypool sounds like he’s drowning. The drums are almost tribal, the bass comes in and out of the mix like a persistent mosquito you keep swatting away but he’s going fucking nowhere, pal. It’s just a really unnerving track.
That’s actually a good way to sum up the album, “unnerving”. Not in a negative way, quite the contrary. Primus have made their living off being strange and off-kilter, that’s one of the main reasons they’re as popular around the world as they are. With all that being said, The Desaturating Seven is something of an anomaly in Primus’s catalogue of albums, in that it retains the strangeness that makes Primus, Primus but it manages to be rather overtly accessible at the same time. The Desaturating Seven would be a good recommendation as a starting point to someone who wanted to get into Primus, which is a testament to the band and their ability to stay so unique over 3 decades into their careers.
So fear not, dear reader. Primus still fucking suck and it doesn’t seem like they’re going to stop fucking sucking any time soon.
By Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)
A Black Mile To The Surface is absolutely amazing in almost every way. It sounds like the album that Manchester Orchestra have always wanted to make: raw, emotional, heavy, beautiful and sad all at once. It is a devastatingly sad record, themes of suicide, absent fathers, depression, and more running through the very core of its 11 tracks. Not that the band have a reputation of releasing cheery albums, far from it, but this is the darkest they’ve went since their sophomore effort, 2009’s stone cold classic Mean Everything To Nothing.
Lyrically, frontman / wordsmith / lovely man Andy Hull has cemented his place as one of the most talented songwriters working today, painting wonderfully depressing pictures of small town American life and the hardships facing families within it throughout the album’s run time. Every single song is a brutal story, not one word wasted. Sonically, this may well be the Atlanta outfit’s most varied effort yet. Not necessarily in terms of the instruments used, but the way they’re using them. On The Sunshine, for example, an almost funky bass line accompanies a shuffling drum beat and an upbeat bit of guitar, it’s a more than welcome departure from their usual sound.
Not that Manchester Orchestra‘s “usual” sound has gotten stale, far, far from it. Songs like The Gold and The Mistake are classic slices of MO gold, it’s just nice to see them venture out from what’s expected of them and to experiment with their sound over a decade into their careers.
Buried within the album is the remnants of Hull‘s original idea for it, a concept album based on the very fictional story of two brothers at odds in the very real town of Lead in South Dakota (this explains why track 4, “Lead, SD” is named as such – curiously, it’s also the only song on the entire record without a The in the title). From what can be gathered on repeated listens, the story goes that one brother got a gun and shot up a supermarket before trying (and failing) to shoot himself, and the other brother failed to stop him.
Now, knowing Andy Hull to the extent we do (see: not very well at all) it’s very possible, neigh likely, that this is all a metaphor for something else entirely, and that no literal bullets were used at all in this sorry tale, but instead metaphorical bullets were fired. Perhaps if Andy Hull hadn’t scrapped the idea of making “…Surface” a pure concept album we would get answers to that question, but that isn’t the case, so we just have to make our own assumptions. It’s a testament to Hull‘s sheer talent that this vagueness isn’t at all frustrating and instead lends itself wonderfully to the mystique of the album.
The rest of Manchester Orchestra are on unbeatable form on A Black Mile To The Surface as well, Robert McDowell lending some of his best fretwork to date on tracks like The Grocery and The Wolf. Tim Very sounds as lethal as ever behind the kit and newest member of Mr. Hull’s Mancunian Orchestra Andy Prince brings it all together with some wonderful work on the bass guitar: it all comes together to form an absolutely stunning listen.
On The Parts, one of the most gorgeous songs you’ll hear this year, Andy sings about falling in love, staying in love and watching his baby daughter be born. It cuts through the sadness and desolation of the rest of the album and stands almost alone: a lullaby written for wife Amy and daughter Mayzie. This has to be mentioned specifically as a way to convey a message that is strangely always made itself clear in the background of Manchester Orchestra‘s back catalogue, one of hope, that everything will be alright in the end. “I still want to know each part of you” sings Hull, in that now trademark cracked Southern drawl of his, and it’s a sentiment that anyone who has fallen in and out of love can relate to. You need to hold on to hope at all times, and Andy Hull has always understood that.
To conclude, this album is absolutely vital. It could (and absolutely should) bring Manchester Orchestra to the front of the fold as titans in both indie and emo circles, somewhere they’ve always belonged.
By Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)
After Laughter is the riskiest album Paramore have ever put out. 2013’s self-titled effort, while great in its own right, felt like the beginning of a metamorphosis for the band. They were gradually becoming a different beast entirely: with songs like Ain’t It Fun and Still Into You, they were starting to shed the “punk” from their “pop-punk” label, opting for an edgier pop vibe, and it worked with those singles being massive successes. However, a large portion of their fanbase was not happy in the fucking slightest with Hayley and co dabbling in the joys of pop, thus causing a divide in the Paramore community: those who were able to handle a band doing what they want, and those who weren’t.
So Paramore were at a major crossroads in their career. Who do they make music for? Themselves or those who were dismissing their new direction? Well, on April 19th of this year, they answered that question indisputably: Paramore are doing it for themselves baybeeeeee! Hard Times is, simply put, around 3 minutes of pure pop bliss. It is the PERFECT opener to After Laughter (their 5th (fucking FIFTH) record). It’s all dancey synth, glittery guitar lines, and tropical drum lines. It sounds like Friendly Fires and CHVRCHES had a one night stand in Ibiza and decided to make a go of it, bless them.
Then comes Rose-Colored Boy. Oh my GOD Rose-Colored Boy. Hayley Williams is sounding better than she ever has, and it’s cracking to see Zac Farro back on the sticks. This song has an absolute topper of a chorus, alongside a lovely bit of gang vocals, being one of the album’s many standouts. Told You So comes next, and it will undoubtedly be a crowd pleaser when the three-piece hit the road later in the year.
As with most songs on the album, there’s a massive juxtaposition between the instrumentals and lyrics on the album on Told You So. Take the opening line for example: “For all I know, the best is over and the worst is yet to come“. Williams‘ lyrics are quite sombre and pessimistic throughout the album’s 12 tracks. The aforementioned juxtaposition works in spades, the (mostly) happy-go-lucky instrumentals allow the less than happy lyrics to stand out excellently.
Though it’s an easy record to gush over, there are one or two songs that don’t quite hit the mark of quality that the majority of the album upholds. Forgiveness, for example, is nothing more than a serviceable wee slow number. Certainly not offensively bad, but definitely one of the weaker tracks on the record. Same with Caught In The Middle, lyrically the song is one of the strongest tracks on the whole LP but musically it’s just a bit middling (if you’ll excuse that fucking shite pun.)
Would it really be a Paramore album without a soppy, but lovely acoustic ballad? 26 is After Laughter‘s answer to that question. And it might be the most beautiful song that Paramore have ever came out with. Hayley sounds gorgeous, as do the strings that pierce through the elegantly soft guitar at the heart of the track. This song really is a wonderful wee number, one that will slot neatly into your Sunday hangover playlist.
So, now comes the most important question about After Laughter: did Hayley, Zac and Taylor make the right decision in not listening to the angsty side of their Parafans? (Note: we’re not sure if they’re called Parafans but as far as Jake is concerned, they are now). In short, they absolutely made the right choice. After Laughter is the sound of a band finally making the kind of music they’ve been threatening to for years now.
And they’re all the better for it.
BEST TRACKS: Hard Times, Pool, 26, Rose-Colored Boy, Grudges
Finding yourself on the opposing side of the Paramore divide, where you see their last release as too polished and devoid of anything that made the band what they are, After Laughter is definitely a step in the right direction. Some songs may shoot themselves in the foot, Hard Times I’m looking at you, but the merging of happy go lucky instrumentals and dark lyrics make it the band’s most ambitious by far.
6/10 – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)
BEST TRACKS: Told You So, No Friend
By Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)
Check Your Head is the 3rd studio album by the (beyond) legendary New York hip hop/punk 3 piece Beastie Boys. It was released on April 21st, 1992 to, save for a few PHILISTINES (I’m looking at you Entertainment Weekly’s David Bowne *shakes fist menacingly*), critical acclaim. Looking back at this album, it can be seen as a turning point for the trio. It’s quite clear that Mike D, Ad-Rock and MCA (R.I.P) just went into the studio and fucked about for a while. It definitely shows seeing as this album is genuinely MENTAL: there are so many genres and ideas thrown into the point that at times it can become quite jarring.
Take, for example, the first 5 tracks. You have a reverb-heavy, but still quite recognisably Beastie Boys track, album opener Jimmy James (with some absolutely transcendent scratch work on the beat). Then comes Funky Boss. A minute and a half long funk interlude that includes Mike D screaming like Tarzan in the background and MCA doing a weird moan/cry thing. Thirdly comes Pass The Mic, which is a fucking belter. 4 and a bit minutes of the act at their best. A quick side note, the Beastie Boys lyrics would sound corny as all hell coming from literally anyone else, but something about their delivery makes it seem incredibly cool, even two decades after dropping them.
Gratitude comes next, a big, sexy, almost stoner rock bass riff drives the song with some shouty vocals. The first of many call backs to the Beastie Boys punk past (this is the first full length studio album that the guys played their own instruments on). Lastly in this example of the trio’s scatterbrained-as-fuck list of influences on this album is Lighten Up. It’s like… an African tribal song with stabs of funk guitar and organ? Look when it’s described it sounds like utter shit but trust me it’s a cool little track.
The aforementioned jarring nature of Check Your Head, however, is more of a positive than a negative in my eyes. It shows that the Beastie Boys could tackle a wide range of genres and do it better than almost anyone else. Other highlights on the album include the incredible glam-like stomp of So What’Cha Want, the hardcore punk blast that is Time For Livin’, the all over the place yet somehow coherent The Maestro (I’ll never tire of hearing Mike D call me a motherfucker) and the album’s closing track Namaste, which sounds like what would happen if The Roots were commissioned to write an album of elevator music.
To conclude, as I said before this album is utterly bonkers in the best possible way. This is the sound of a group coming into their own and truly making themselves known as one of the most unique names not just in hip-hop, but in the music landscape in general. Not just debatably the best Beastie Boys album, but one of the best albums of the 90’s full stop. Vital.
P.S. I miss MCA more than I really should. R.I.P Adam Yauch.
By Jake Cordiner (@jjjaketh)
I’ll admit it, I was apprehensive about paying £80+ to see Drake. I’d never paid that much to see anyone before, but as soon as Drizzy walked out onstage and fired straight into an incendiary version of Trophies it was made abundantly clear that I had sweet fuck all to be apprehensive about.
Drake absolutely killed it. Top to bottom, this was one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve ever been to. Aubrey had the entirety of the Hydro in the palm of his hands. Arriving on stage at around 8:45 (the wait for him to actually come out was one of my very few complaints about the night. There was around 45 minutes between the main support and Drake himself) the 6 God was fired up for the duration of his 30 song set. Backed by a percussionist, a pianist and a DJ, he flew through the set with aplomb.
He frequently thanked the crowd for singing along and being so loud and he must have said Glasgow had been his favourite night of the 20+ date European tour about 10 times. Now I know what you’re thinking, “of course he did, everyone says that” but there seemed to be a genuine sincerity in his voice when he said it. On the subject of Drake speaking to the crowd, he really is a fantastic showman. At one point he told a story about how he and his pianist were in a restaurant-exclusive John Legend cover band and, around halfway through the set, he downed a half cup of straight whiskey because he’s Drake and he’s an absolute fucking nutter.
As far as the songs in the set, it was all killer no filler from beginning to end. Highlights included a MASSIVE sounding version of Know Yourself (in which Drake instructed his “Mosh Pit Gang” to “lose their fucking minds” bless him), undeniable bangers Hotline Bling, One Dance and Feel No Ways and a furious sounding Pop Style. However, my personal highlight was when he brought out motherfucking GIGGS, who played Whippin Excursion from his 2016 Landlord album, much to the joy of the 100 odd people in the crowd who actually recognised who he was. Drake also brought out Popcaan for a few tunes, which was bloody ace.
My only massive complaint I had with the set was the fact that Drake played next to nothing from his latest album/playlist/mixtape/whateverthefuckhescallingit More Life. Apart from walking out to Passionfruit, the only other song he performed from More Life was Fake Love (which, admittedly was absolutely awesome). It just seemed like a missed opportunity to have Giggs come to the show and not perform any of the songs he features on from the new album. That’s a very minor complaint, though, because at the end of the day this was an absolutely incredible show. From the stage production (which was cool as all hell) to Drake’s performance itself, this was a night no one in the crowd will forget in a hurry.