Vinyl looks like it’s worth a spin

HBO has a knack of producing fabulous television content, and who are we to think this latest series is to be any different.

Vinyl, which stars Bobby Cannavale as its chief character, record label president Richie Finestra, is brought to us by none other than Martin Scorsesee, ably assisted by Mick Jagger and Terence Winter. It is described as “a ride through the sex- and drug-addled music business at the dawn of punk, disco, and hip-hop”.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a ride I want to get on. Here’s a trailer.

Vinyl hits screens in January 2016.

Daft Punk: Unchained … but when??

No doubt about it, I’m intrigued. The last frame of this trailer for Daft Punk: Unchained is enough for me to know I have to see this BBC Worldwide documentary.

The blurb reads thus:

“Daft Punk: Unchained, directed by Hervé Martin Delpierre, is the first independent film which explores an exceptional pop culture phenomenon of the past twenty years: Daft Punk. Between fiction and reality, magic and secrets, theatricality and humility, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo have created a unique artistic universe. Throughout their career they have remained determined to control every link in the chain of their creative work. The film highlights key moments of their story, from their first school band in Paris to their historic concert at Coachella festival in 2006 and their spectacular triumph at the 2014 Grammy Awards for the album Random Access Memories. In an era of globalisation and the expansion of social media, they have refused to show their own faces and they orchestrate every detail of their appearances as robots. The documentary includes archives of radio interviews with Daft Punk, rare footage and exclusive interviews with their friends and close collaborators from Pharrell Williams to Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, Kanye West, Michel Gondry, Paul Williams, Peter Lindbergh, Leiji Matsumoto and Pete Tong.”

The problem is, these guys are so secretive, it appears to be impossible to shed any light on when this thing will be released. It says 2015, and there is some media dating back to June on its making, but despite a lengthy search, no date. But, like everything they do, no doubt it will hit us like a thunderbolt when it is played out in full.

Colbert lives out all our Pearl Jam fantasies

Stephen Colbert said it himself. “What an honour! You don’t get to that everyday.”

‘That’ is getting to stand alongside the great Eddie Vedder on stage with his awesome band, Pearl Jam, and rock out like a mofo to their cover of choice, Rockin The Free World, originally done, of course, by Neil Young.

Just watching this will fill you with joy. I guarantee it. You can thank me later.

Pearl Jam were in New York as part of the excellent Global Citizen Festival, which aims to end global poverty by the year 2030 in conjunction with the United Nations. It’s a noble cause, and certainly a realistic if we all do our part.

You can find out more about that at our sister blog Foraggio Photographic here. Do it. Become a Global Citizen and make a mark. Rock the free world for yourself, and feel as good as Colbert did on stage here.

Sia is Alive, and thank heavens she is

A new release from Sia hit the airwaves this week, and in a way we’re lucky it did with her magnificent voice on it. Alive, the name of the track, was in fact written with British singer Adele in mind.

Rihanna, who had a huge hit with the Sia-penned Diamonds in 2012, was also sent a copy, but sent it back. All of which led to Sia doing the damn thing herself, and to be honest, that’s not such a bad thing.

Produced by Jesse Shatkin, of Chandalier fame, you’ll realise Sia was the one and only sensible option for this track when you hit the bridge. Simply, it’s impossible to imagine any other singer could come remotely as close to nailing the vocal in the way the Australian singer has.

The repetitive power-sighs of “I’m still breathing” are immaculate, but it’s her final cry of the song’s motif, “I’m alive”, that makes you wonder if you actually are, or if you’ve transcended into some sort of heavenly space, where singing is only practised by those with a freakish ability to make every hair on your body stand on end.

No way could Rihanna have pulled that off that, nor Adele, for that matter, even if she does have a co-writing credit on the track. With all due respect to them both, this song was meat to be sung by Sia. So let’s just be thankful they inadvertently ensured that it was.

Stevie Wonder by name and by nature

Stevie Wonder is a music legend. Hell, he’s just a legend, full-stop. We all know that. We also know that James Corden is a pretty funny dude, with one of the best late shows doing the rounds at the moment. Corden’s Carpool Karaoke segment is testament to that.

So, when you put all of that together, it’s a perfect storm.

I learned a few other things about Stevie through this clip. He surprises at every turn – pardon the pun.

1. He can laugh at himself from the outset.

2. He can crack some pretty hilarious jokes of his own, too. This guy is awesomely funny.

3. He does a pretty good English accent.

4. He can make you cry in a heartbeat, through his pure ability to measure a moment perfectly.

If you didn’t love the man already, I guarantee you will after watching this.

Eminem gets covered by two guys on one guitar

A great cover of The Real Slim Shady popped up on YouTube this week. Apart from the impressive MC and beat-boxing skills here, two guys playing one guitar is pretty good too! Laurier Lachance has a habit of producing innovative covers on his channel, and this is up there with the best of them. Enjoy!

Lauren Mayberry slams the misogynistic trolls

Lauren Mayberry - Leave A Trace

Mayberry’s look in the Leave A Trace video had led to some dispicable trolling (YouTube)

CHVRCHES lead singer Lauren Mayberry has spoken out about online misogyny again during an interview on Channel 4 in the UK.

Mayberry, who is 27, recently featured in the band’s new video for its single Leave A Trace, has received a torrent of sexual cyber abuse since that clip was released on music board 4chan. Mayberry was quick to react, and good on her.

The band’s official account followed up.

Here is the clip, in case you’re wondering what this is all about. It’s a song we’ve praised highly on this blog, too. And when you compare this clip to those of the likes of Nicki Minaj and others, it’s somewhat astonishing anything overtly sexual could be drawn from it.

Mayberry, though, is not shying away from the bullies, and is determined to bury them, which for a woman in her position is the only right thing to do. That said, it still takes a certain degree of bravery to do so, especially when some of these trolls are suggesting they know where she lives and will rape her given the opportunity.

That any woman should be expected to put up with this type of abuse is disgusting. As Mayberry states in the interview, were this to happen in person, and not on the Internet, serious charges could be laid and followed through, one would hope, with a criminal conviction for the perpetrators.

Anonymity on the Internet has long been a problem. It’s one that is difficult to solve, but only by speaking out against those using it as a shield for their pathetic rants will we see it fade. I pay huge respect to Lauren Mayberry for being so vocal about the problem. While a solution may seem far off, it’s comments such as hers that get us closer every day.

Mayberry and CHVRCHES has been highlighting this type of abuse for a few years now. Mayberry indeed wrote a piece on The Guardian on the topic in 2013, in which she re-published some of the sickening comments the band receives on a regular basis.

It’s tough to read, but with the fight well and truly taken up by Mayberry and others, such content will either be purged from the world wide web entirely, or those responsible will be weeded out and held to account.

Fight the good fight with her, and highlight any abuse online you see. You’ll feel good doing it. These arseholes should not be allowed to sleep comfortably at night thinking that their actions are normal or acceptable. They’re not.

Spending time with Cigars Of The Pharaoh

I’ve been pretty busy this past couple of weeks with music of my own, for a change. My band, Cigars Of The Pharaoh, has been into the studio to record our first EP, which we’ve titled Mystery Highway. It’s comprised of four songs and was done in just less than a week, all up.

We recorded and mixed over three days with the incomparable Sean Carey at Church Street Studios in Sydney. This is the fifth record I’ve made with Sean, and probably the best, but he’s always an absolute joy to work with, and a truly skilled musician.

We mastered the songs a few days later with Steve Smart at Studios 301, a veritable legend of the industry Down Under, and now it’s all being printed and pressed.

Here is the cover art, delightfully put together by photographer Meredith Schofield and graphic designer Jacalin Ding.

Cigars Of The Pharaoh - Mystery Highway

Cigars Of The Pharaoh – Mystery Highway cover art

Since sending out the finished audio files to a few people, we’ve been approached by The A&R Department in Sydney to help us with a single and EP launch. They loved the sound and are keen to work with us, so that’s a huge compliment given they’re probably the best at what they do in Australia. We’ve also got some early airplay on a national commercial station, Triple M, which is doubly amazing.

So all in all, it’s been a pretty great fortnight. To hear some of the tracks, just visit the website’s music page.

CHVRCHES let another new track out

Scottish electro poppers CHVRCHES have released another new track into the public domain from the forthcoming album Every Open Eye. Check it out.

The track is called Never Ending Circles and is the second tune from the new album after Leave A Trace popped up last month.

The album is due for release on 25 September.