HAIM are a band that I feel have been floating around my peripheral vision for a while – a band with the kind of shape and consistency that suggest I might be playing them over and over again very soon. Well, the day finally came, and their albums ‘Days Are Gone’ and ‘Something To Tell You’ are probably my most listened to albums at the moment. Continue reading

This month, I’m recommending the work of my neighbour, who lives just a couple of boats down from us with his lovely wife Abby. Many’s the time in summer when I’m cycling past and the path is blocked by Mani, attacking some enormous canvas. And inevitably he’ll say “Hey, James! Wait a minute…”  And then he’ll scrabble in his pocket for headphones and say “You HAVE to listen to this…” And some psychedelic funk headfuck will ensue. Continue reading

Controversially, this is a recommendation that I haven’t actually watched all the way through. I just loved the concept.

For fans of the new wave of True Crime documentary series like Making A Murderer and podcasts like Serial, this is a new Netflix ‘mock-rue-crime-mentary’*, in which a school A/V club makes their own series exploring the mystery of 27 penises spray-painted on the 27 cars of their schoolteachers. Treated with all the seriousness of a mass killing, this show has a blast sending up all the clichés that have been gripping netizens for months. Continue reading

When I originally made a note of Janelle Monaé as a potential recommendation I see that I wrote: “Janelle Monaé: take your pick”. I’m going to go with the first track I heard: Tightrope.

When I first stumbled across the video I had that whole “Who the hell is this?! And why have I not heard of them?” I was struck right away by the sense that this is an artist who has got the whole thing together: a great tune, a distinctive sound (or rather, a distinctive take on a familiar sound), lyrics that are actually saying something, a striking visual image and a coherent video that sticks in the memory. Continue reading

I’m the kind of person, demographically, who should be a Bruce Springsteen worshipper. But for some reason it never quite happened. There are definitely songs of his that I really like. But… well, perhaps it’s just that I feel I can get the same thing from Tom Waits, and I also get a nightmarish and deranged German cabaret freak show host shouting into a megaphone thrown into the bargain.

Perhaps I’m always worried I’m going to find Bruce Almighty a bit too earnest to take, and perhaps that’s why I wasn’t drawn to the idea of him recording an album inspired by the work of folk singer Pete Seeger (half-brother of the awesome Peggy, who lives just down the road). But right from the opening, with the fantastic version of ‘Old Dan Tucker’ (a song with something of a troubling history) it’s clear that being po-faced is not going to be a problem on this album. It actually reminds me of how Bellowhead was sounding at the same time: the big good-time traditionals band. Continue reading

Tested.com is a website hosted by Adam Savage, formerly of the US TV show Mythbusters, although I think the driving force is presenter Norman Chan. And it also frequently features Simone Giertz who you might now (particularly if you’ve seen my social media) is Queen of the Shitty Robot Nation.

Much of this website is devoted to making homemade models of movie props. (Although, when I say homemade, Adam used to work for leading Hollywood special effects company Industrial Light & Magic, so the standard is actually cutting edge – no pun intended.) Or it’s devoted to making cosplay costumes and wearing them at comic conventions. Or it’s devoted to discussing pop culture events, particularly super hero movies.

I’m actually interested in surprisingly few of these. But I love that: I love tuning into regular shows made by people who are fantastically enthusiastic and knowledgable about things that I know comparitively nothing about. Continue reading