Archive for September, 2012

The Loop Learns How To Dress Well

Ethereal R&B purveyor How To Dress Well has amply confirmed the promise showed in his debut album with follow-up ‘Total Loss’, another fine collection of falsetto vocals and phantasmagorical tunes. “& It Was You” is one of the singer’s most upbeat moments and reaches peak position on this edition.

The collaboration between A.C. Newman & Neko Case is the week’s highest entry and top free download. Andy Stott; Dirty Projectors; Yo La Tengo and Beck’s covering Caetano Veloso as part of ’s the forthcoming tribute album to the Tropicalia’s master are also new.

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‘Holy Motors’ Is Our Film Of The Week

Recovered from a long career hiatus, Leos Carax’ return is our favourite movie this week, and so far this year. ‘Holy Motors’★★★★★, an uniquely personal work from the director of ‘Pola X’ and ‘The Lovers Of The Bridge”, blends multiple genres and references to the history of cinema on a series of episodes defying the conventions of logical narrative and shaping up a beautiful homage to cinema. Denis Lavant gets in chameleon-like shape to portray several different roles as a mysterious limo drives Mr. Oscar around Paris, taking him from project to project. Ultimately a love it or hate it affair, ‘Holy Motors’ won’t leave anyone unchallenged. We’ll be lucky if this season brings any work that can rival its formidable qualities.

Other strong new releases this week are smart sci-fi thriller ‘Looper’★★★½ and taut German drama ‘Barbara’★★★★. Former films of the week ‘Killing Me Softly’ and ‘About Elly’ hold their place in our recommended Top 5. Don’t miss any of them!

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Film Of The Week: Killing Them Softly

Entering straight at the top of our Top 20 recommended films is Andrew Dominik’s third feature ‘Killing Them Softly’★★★★. A darkly comic mob story set at the beginning of the current financial crisis with a superb cast headed by Brad Pitt. His second collaboration with the director after their take on the classic Western subject of ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford’.

Joint number ones from last week, Iranian drama ‘About Elly’★★★★½ and Portuguese arthouse favourite ‘Tabu’★★★★½, remain strong in our top 5, whereas the second highest entry just below them belongs to French charmer ‘Untouchable’★★★½, which begins its quest to gain the favour of English speaking audiences having already conquered the rest of the world’s. Based on real events, Omar Sy and François Cluzet’s screen chemistry has proven to be global box-office gold in this story of odd friendship between a disabled millionaire and the rough young man hired to be his carer. An English language version is being prepared with Colin Firth rumoured as one of the leads.

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Summer Recap: Best Albums Spotify Playlist

For a year that is not giving us many joys, musical or otherwise, the summer season did bring its share of surprises. From dazzling debuts (Frank Ocean; Jessie Ware) to unexpected returns to form (Swans; Nas); long-awaited follow-ups (The xx; How To Dress Well) to brand new works by some of yoday’s movers and shakers in alternative music (Grizzly Bear; Dirty Projectors; Animal Collective; Ariel Pink). Altogether, they formed an eclectic soundtrack to the estival season that’s just finished. To wrap it up in style, here’s our selection of the best albums released over the last three months.

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Kanye West Assembles His Clique

Kanye West with a little help from Jay-Z & Big Sean fast-tracked all the way to the top with Clique, another highlight from his G.O.O.D Music label’s just released ‘Cruel Summer’ compilation, packed with high calibre stars of urban music such as John Legend; Raekwon; The-Dream; Ghostface Killah or R. Kelly.

Two of the most celebrated albums in recent times, Grizzly Bear and Jessie Ware spawed this edition’s highest entries. Next to them newcomers Chvrches; Sam Flax and the new EP by all-female band Dum Dum Girls also hit our chart. Dead Can Dance and The Soft Moon were the generous souls providing free downloads.

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“About Elly” & “Tabu” Our Films Of The Week

The autumn has arrived and the industry is ready to deploy its heavy artillery in the annual battle for trophies and honours that is the awards season. This year the Olympic Games have had a significant impact in the number and quality of titles exhibited during the summer, therefore a huge pile of works is piled up in the distributors’ shelves waiting to be released and enjoyed by filmgoers around the globe.

Many long awaited films are already occupying our screens, ranging from lavish studio productions (Anna Karenina; Lawless…) to critically acclaimed arthouse fare (The Queen Of Versailles; Berberian Sound Studio…). Venice; Telluride & Toronto have revealed to the world some of the year’s biggest contenders (The Master; Argo & Silver Lining Playbook being the first on taking positions for the Oscar race), meanwhile every country is choosing its national representative (Haneke’s ‘Amour’ (Austria); Mungiu’s ‘Beyond The Hills (Romania); Petzold’s Barbara (Germany) and the crowd-pleasing ‘Untouchable’ (France) are some of the first selected). All together they will be competing to gain public and critical favour.

Trying not to miss a thing on a time that promises non-stop thrills until, hopefully, next spring; every week we’ll be recommending our favourite Top 20 movies as soon as they come to a theatre near you. Reviews of the main ones will follow. OntThis first edition Asghar Farhadi’s predecessor to Oscar winner ‘A Separation’ – also Roberawards 2011 best film winner- “About Elly”, another extraordinary gripping moral tale from the Iranian director, and ‘Tabu’, Miguel Gomes’ poetic tribute to Murnau and one of the most celebrated works of the last Berlinale, sharing the honour of being our first movies of the week.

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The Loop Goes “Classical” With Anna Meredith

Classical composer Anna Meredith, gets on top of the loop with an incursion in avant-garde electronica on her debut EP, ‘Black Prince Fury’. The horn-infused, epic ‘Nautilus’ is our favourite track of the moment.

Kanye West teams up with good mates Jay-Z & Big Sean in another standout off the soon-to-be-released, star-studded compilation of his G.O.O.D. Music label. The whole album can be streamed here and ‘Clique’ makes the week’s highest entry, next to new tracks by the likes of How To Dress Well; Bat For Lashes and the Neil Hannon penned musical number that Kylie performs in the much talked-about latest film by Leos Carax, ‘Holy Motors’.

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New Soul Conquers The Loop Again With Miguel

Thanks to Frank Ocean’ enormous impact, the doors are now opened for a new generation of male soul crooners and it looks like one of the first taking advantage it’s going to be Miguel, an US vocalist whose career to date has been rather underappreciated. All that about to change after offering three excellent EPs of new material for free, paving the way for his second album ‘Kaleidoscope Dreams’. One of those EPs’ standout tracks, “Arch N Point” tops the loop this week.

The habitual avalanche of September releases has made its mark on this edition, with a record number of new entries; the highest of them is little known folk singer Angel Olsen. Other notable entries include new Thom Yorke-led supergroup Atoms For Peace; Nick Cave with one of the songs from the ‘Lawless’ soundtrack and Method Man also helping in another soundtrack, the directorial debut of Wu-pal RZA, ‘The Man With The Iron Fist’.

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The All-Conquering Return Of Swans

With a terrific new double album, ‘The Seer’, which many are claiming is Swans’ best; Michael Gira’s veteran band has cemented a second coming they began a few years ago. ‘Mother Of The World’ is the abrasive first single and this week’s favourite track in our loop.

The Brits gets this week’s strongest entries with the likes of young electronic wizard Blawan leading a pack that also includes tracks by King Midas Sound singer Roger Robinson and experimental musician Anna Meredith.

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