Hem has released their fourth album, Departure and Farewell. Given some cryptic messages on their Facebook page, I gathered the band was in trouble, and they have since confirmed they nearly broke up. Instead, the band soldiered on to make a new album.
Tourniquet, the fittingly named lead single shown above, is simply gorgeous. Had it been their swan song, it would have been as fine an exit as one could have asked for. Thankfully, it was not. More thoughts later, but my first impression is that it’s not quite up there with Rabbit Songs or Eveningland, but roughly on par with Funnel Cloud.
There’s also a new video, another gorgeous animation, this time for Seven Angels.
Dredd is the second attempt to bring the exploits of Mega-City One's finest to the screen, after a disappointing attempt in 1995. Karl Urban (Eomer in LOTR and Dr McCoy in the new Trek) dons the helmet as the notorious judge to take down Ma-ma, a drug lord (Lena Headey) occupying one of Mega-City One's skyscrapers. That's all you need to know, and pretty much all there is to know. Dredd, being Dredd, has a job to do and will brook no interference.
Dredd's action scenes are brutal and unsentimental, taking great pleasure in the graphic disintegration of the human body, every bit as lovingly as in the comic. It's also laced with dark humor and a suitably mean streak. Fans of the comic will find little reason to gripe: criminals are handled with little or no mercy, and Dredd's face always stays where it should be – beneath the helmet.
Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) fights by his side, as the rookie being assessed for the job. (I assume screenwriter Alex Garland wanted to give at least one of the leads something of a character arc, because I remember a similar rookie storyline from the comic, only with a male judge.)
On release, Dredd was roundly drubbed and accused of being monotonous and taking itself too seriously, but I respectfully disagree; Dredd is a faithful adaptation, but you have to be in on the joke to enjoy it fully. Furthermore, it's not the creators' fault that that the actual world is catching up to many of the less savory aspects of the comic's prediction of the future.
Susanna Hoffs’ new album, Someday, is a charmingly breezy affair. Her first solo outing, When You’re a Boy, hid her pop classicism under an uneccessary layer of plastic, whereas the production of Someday is suitably low-key, allowing the songs to shine. Musically, it’s hardly a revolutionary affair, and I sometimes miss the the added bite of The Bangles (on fine display on 2011′s Sweetheart of the Sun). No matter: if you enjoy retro-tinged Californian pop as much as I do, you won’t be disappointed with Someday. (Spotify link: Susanna Hoffs – Someday)
Chuck Clostermann isn’t terribly impressed by the Metallica / Lou Reed collaboration Lulu:
The reason Lulu is so terrible is because the people making this music clearly don’t care if anyone else enjoys it. Now — if viewed in a vacuum — that sentiment is admirable and important. But we don’t live in a vacuum. We live on Earth. And that means we have to accept the real-life consequences of a culture in which recorded music no longer has monetary value, and one of those consequences is Lulu.
I’m glad Metallica and Reed tried this, if only because I’m always a fan of bad ideas.
Clostermann makes an interesting point about the de-monetization of music. Read the whole thing, it’s worth it.
SETH ROGEN plays BRITT REID, a RICH WASTREL and STONER, which is a TOTAL STRETCH. He also flexes his acting muscle by LOSING WEIGHT. When his father is KILLED DEAD, he takes up CRIMEFIGHTING because he is served BAD COFFEE one morning. So he rehires KATO, played by JAY CHOU, who is BRUCE WAYNE and LUCIUS FOX rolled up in one, plus a touch of BRUCE LEE. Then he hires CAMERON DIAZ to be HOT and also to HAVE SEX WITH, but HIJINX, then BLUE BALLS, because she prefers KATO, who is COOL and RIPPED and A GENIUS with serious MARTIAL ARTS SKILLZ. But sadly, he is also THE SIDEKICK, so BLUE BALLS for EVERYONE. (More after the jump…)
So far, the iPad is a pretty stellar piece of tech, BUT … what’s up with the photo management? There seems to be a ton of photo editing software, but barely any actual photo management apps.
Simply put: if – or rather when – I’m traveling, I need an iPhoto or Picasa equivalent. I take lots of photos, and need to organize them as I go. The worst part is, the photo app only needs two additional features: creating folders within the app (seriously, Apple?) and tags. And I can live without tagging. As for EXIF info and all that jazz…pfff…not a pro, don’t care.
I would also like to see a proper blogging app. Windows has had LiveWriter for free for years, and it’s superb; the closest Mac equivalent is MarsEdit, which is very good, but not perfect. RedSweater is working on it, though.
Still, the iPad is barely a year into existence. Gorillaz just made an album on an iPad, putting the last nail in the “just for consumption, not creating” coffin. Android will push Apple and vice versa, with WP7 coming from behind, so I think we’re good.