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Feb 212015
 

AgentCarter107-2

Things are looking grim for Peggy and the SSR. She has been captured and accused of high treason whilst Dr Ivchenko is free to work his manipulative hypnotism and instruct fellow Leviathan agent Dottie in his evil schemes. Jarvis tries his best to assist but ends up making things worse. Thompson and Souza have mixed emotions about Peggy as the evidence conflicts with their experience of Peggy himself. Chief Dooley has no such qualms and falls prey easily to Ivchenko’s machinations.

Slowly but surely, Thompson and Souza come to their senses and realize that Peggy is telling the truth but it is too late for poor Chief Dooley and pays the ultimate price for trusting Ivchenko. This episode also reveals what Ivchenko’s plans are and it is surprisingly similar to that of Richmond Valentine’s in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Great minds think alike? Or is there a paucity of ideas in the ‘genre’?

Either way, it sets up brilliantly for the final episode. Considering how long it took Agents of SHIELD not to suck, I say give Agent Carter more episodes!

Feb 202015
 

blur-2015

Blur is back! This time with the original lineup!!

New album ‘The Magic Whip’ out April 27.

New single “Go Out” sounds like a Bowie outtake from Low, not necessarily a bad thing but… not quite the comeback I was expecting. Ah well.

Pre-order now and get the track “Go Out” instantly:
Amazon http://smarturl.it/apoTMW
iTunes http://smarturl.it/iTMW
Official Store http://smarturl.it/osTMW

Feb 202015
 

Arrow 314-1

Like Thea, viewers of Arrow might be getting a little exasperated at the little twists and turns the CW series needs to take, in order to tell its stories. The last few episodes have been tough on Oliver’s little sister as she has had to deal with an almighty info dump and this latest episode was probably the worst, when she discovered that she was responsible for Sara Lance’s murder. The episode was a bit of a stopgap, serving as an incredulous training lesson meted out by Malcolm Merlyn (why do the Queen siblings continue to trust him when he has proven time and again to be untrustworthy?) but at least brought back Wilson Slade/Deathstroke for more unnecessary violent fun.

In the flashback narrative, Oliver finds himself back in Starling five years ago with Maseo (who is one of the brighter cast additions) which leads to Oliver acquiring his fathers guilty list notebook (remember?). Naturally, the show could not resist throwing in familiar faces into this mix – 2010’s version Tommy, Laurel, John, Felicity, Thea and a drunk Det. Lance all featured in mostly character-revealing moments with the introduction of Lt. Matthew Shrieve (Marc Singer!) at the conclusion spicing things up once again.

But in the present day, things need to move forward with the Ra’s Al Ghul plot line and soon. C’mon!

Feb 202015
 

POPTV

Brian Wilson has a new album – No Pier Pressure – coming out soon. The album will be released on Capitol Records on April 7th 2015 and will be produced by Joe Thomas.

NoPierPressure

Main concern – Thomas tends to favour a very professional slick sound which somewhat flattens out any of Brian’s idiosyncratic tendencies. Compare Thomas’ production on the lacklustre Imagination to that on the incredible Smile album (shepherded by the talented Darian Sahanaja) and you can understand the anxiety.

In any case, the new single “The Right Time” sounds about right, though it’s not quite sure whether ‘right’ is the way to go for Brian. Sigh.

Pre-order on iTunes and get “The Right Time” immediately: http://smarturl.it/BrianWilson

Feb 202015
 

Talking-Heads

To be honest, I was rather freaked out the first time I heard Talking Heads. That was in 1980 with Remain in Light, the band’s fourth album, which involved ground-breaking pop-rock experiments with African rhythms. And of course, when I first heard David Byrne’s voice, it took some getting used to as well. But when the follow-up, Speaking in Tongues was released in 1983, I found myself enjoying the catchy songwriting especially “Burning Down the House” and “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”. Presumably that is why I consider Little Creatures to be my favourite Talking Heads LP as it featured more conventional pop-rock, not to mention the introduction of country-folk into the dynamic.

Continue reading »

Feb 202015
 

12Monkeys105

Continue to be seriously on the fence about Syfy’s 12 Monkeys. This latest episode basically was a one location (The Nightroom) shoot as Cole and the Army of the 12 Monkeys came ever closer to their goal – the deadly virus. There was quite a bit of people sitting around and waiting for something to happen. The Pallid Man played mind games and tortured Cole as the Army was kept away from the virus by a lazer force field.

Jennifer Goines was reunited with Cole and her contribution proved crucial in the scheme of things. Actually, I am making all this sound more exciting than it actually was. Which made me resolve to give up on the series when once more, the show pulled a rabbit out of the hat with its mysterious ending. When a show is about time travel, there are a lot of possibilities for courageous writers to take narrative risks and it seemed at the conclusion that 12 Monkeys had done just that. Wait and see again, I guess.

Feb 192015
 

Helix205

Alright, so we are spoiling season 2 episode 5 with the above image which reveals that cult leader Michael is actually an immortal. But of course, that was hinted by the scores of portraits on his wall and the different generations of women advisors (they are all his daughters apparently). So, is Caleb (from the 30 years later storyline) also Michael’s son? Who knows? This revelation needed to come as the plot lines were steadily going nowhere.

As it was, the fact that certain cult factions were working against the CDC team without any consequences or concern from the ‘benevolent’ Michael seemed a tad too convenient. So maybe this revelation accounts for Michael’s constant placid demeanour. Elsewhere, Alan and Peter sort out their differences without satisfactory resolution with Peter once again keeping his cards close to his chest. Sure, I understand that secrets keep a story intriguing but too much is not a good thing either. In any case, we need some answers and soon.

Feb 192015
 

Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul is almost Breaking Bad in reverse. Basically, for fans of the latter, we already know ‘Saul Goodman’ as the unscrupulous, immoral shyster lawyer. This prequel/sequel of sorts is telling us the story of how bumbling, inept, down on his luck Jim McGill become Saul Goodman. The best part? There is no rush to get there! The show takes its time to tell Jim’s story first before rushing into Saul. So far, that has meant first class television for the three episodes we have had so far.

Any familiar faces, you ask? Well at the moment we have Jonathan Banks reprising his Breaking Bad role as Mike Ehrmantraut – who we find as a crusty parking attendant.Ehrmantraut is actually instrumental in helping McGill crack the case and save his own bacon. So suddenly our awkward attorney has his very first significant ‘win’ and how it moves from here is anyone’s guess but the show has all the makings of a humongous hit.

Feb 192015
 

Hangabouts

Yes so why does it seem that the music of yester-year is miles better than anything new? Seems to have been the case since Y2K (mayhaps that was what the Millennium Bug was really about?). Consisting of John Lowry, Greg Addington and Chip Saam, the Hangabouts bring to mind the wonderful pop-rock music of 90s bands like Fountains of Wayne, Pernice Brothers and Teenage Fanclub where melody is paramount above all else. Lovers of that special rock era will never tire of what the band has to offer and will savour Illustrated Bird from beginning to end. Of course, suffice to say that the three Bs loom large as influences i.e. The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Byrds. It does not get any better than this when it comes together this well. Check out the interview we did with the band below.

Continue reading »

Feb 182015
 

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The Firestorm two-parter may well have been the best Flash episodes so far – which is really saying something. No stone was left unturned to flesh out the characters that make up Firestorm (i.e. Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond) and there was a sense of inevitability that the two would eventually merge once again. Harrison Wells (Reverse-Flash) is manipulating events behind the scenes and as the ending suggests is also somehow related with Gorilla Grodd as well! I am curious to see what Wells’ motivation in the scheme of things because the writers have done a good job in keeping Wells’ true intentions hidden.

The episodes worked so well that it played like a set up for a Firestorm spin-off and depending on how the audiences respond, I am guessing that that series may happen sooner than later. Victor Garber (Stein) and Robbie Amell (Raymond) have settled into their respective roles rather well and it would be intriguing to see how a Firestorm series will explore this unique dynamic. But for the Flash, it does feel that we getting ever closer to Barry’s encounter with the Reverse-Flash in a race to save his mother. Can hardly wait!

Just an aside to pay tribute to the creators of these wonderful super-heroes. Even as the credits omit this fact (based on characters in DC Comics), the Barry Allen-Flash was of course created by writers Robert Kanigher & John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino, whilst the original Firestorm was created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Al Milgrom. Credit where it is due!

Feb 182015
 

FeralConservatives

Rashie Rosenfarb & Matt Francis aka Feral Conservatives seem like your typical two-piece indie rock band, except that their style does not quite fit in with your White Stripes/Black Keys garage-blues-rock cliches. In fact, Rosenfarb plays a mandolin (!) and there is a pleasing alt-country direction that the duo quite excel in. Their four-track cassette/digital release The Feeling Noise Becomes is a refreshing roots-pop take on modern rock that deserves closer attention. Rosenfarb shared with us the thinking behind the Feral Conservatives sound.

Is contrast an important element in your music making?

Yeah, we like to create a balance between noisy/chaotic and soft and delicate. I think it’s become a big part of who we are starting with my voice and the shimmery tones in the mandolin vs. Matt’s powerful drumming style and it’s just progressed from there.

How did the mandolin become part of your sound?

The two off us started off playing together in another band that was more garage rock back when we first became friends and I was just playing mandolin for fun (I played bass in the other band.) Matt and I started a folky side project with the mandolin not too much later and eventually the band we were in broke up so we just decided to transition everything we were creating into our side project. That’s how FC’s came to be and then it just morphed into more of a rock band while maintaining the folky elements and the mandolin to the fore.

Continue reading »

Feb 182015
 

The-Walking-Dead-S05E10-1

After the traumatic episodes on both sides of the mid-season break, this episode caught up with our merry band of survivors to find them struggling with a crisis of faith. Season 5 has seen more death, more disaster, more peril than ever before. Inevitably, the question must be broached – what’s the point of going on? Why not just give up? For Maggie, Sasha and Daryl, it seems as if their will to live has gone, even as Beth and Tyreese have gone. The pain is difficult to take and it does not help that the group is exhausted running out of food and water as they make the long trek to Washington D.C.

Quite like episode 9, there is a lyrical, poetic quality to “Them” as the group’s grapples with their biggest challenge – not walkers and not evildoers but themselves. After all, if you cannot convince yourself to keep living, then the battle is already over. This is encapsulated by Rick when he says – “… we are the walking dead” even as the group shelters from the storm. However, moments later when the will to survive is given the ultimate test, the group collectively brave the storm and live to fight another day. Kudos to the writers for giving us yet another deep episode without compromising on zombie kills.

One of the best series on TV now. But you knew that.

Feb 182015
 

Scandal_S4E12_

Despite its increasingly implausible plot lines – this episode involved a bidding war over Olivia Pope amongst rogue nations, terrorist groups and crime lords (!) – the folks behind Scandal managed to imbue a sense of pathos that would seem ridiculous when one consider the stakes these characters are up against. Olivia herself does not play much of a role but she does what she can to try to influence proceedings but fails miserably – which is a fairly new situation for her. Olivia’s loved ones try their level best to get her back, short of moving heaven and earth, though the odd murder or two are committed in the endeavour.

But that is exactly what Scandal fans are looking for – over the top scenarios in this epic-scoped soap opera. There are strong moments of human emotion that litter the apocalyptic landscape of Olivia’s pursuit as the key players attempt to stay a step ahead of the other. This is political drama, lest anyone forgets, and by the end of the episode Olivia’s predicament takes on global significance. The ride ain’t over yet.

Feb 182015
 

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And so it’s the end of another semester. This semester was difficult, as due to the cutting down of classes, my income had been reduced significantly. Initially, I was extremely upset by this as the school did not provide a satisfactory reason for this reduction and I felt prejudiced against because of my age. This has happened to me before with previous employers as ageism is a real problem in our society. But I resolved to trust in GOD and looked for other opportunities to earn an honest living despite the challenges.

So I managed to get another class in another school but not at the same pay and thus, there was a shortfall that I had to cover for. Again, this was a lesson in relying wholly on GOD’s provision to see me through on a daily basis. Glad to say that things are somewhat at equilibrium and whilst music projects are trickling in, there is still so much to trust GOD for.

So the next eight weeks are crucial for me as I am impressed by the need to spend my time wisely. To that end, I will be focusing on quite a few music projects. To wit,

– Recording of my new album, Bring Back Yesterday.
– Producing a charity song.
– Recording a score for a TV movie.
– Copy writing for the So Happy project.
– Re-releasing my back catalogue (and other 90s rock releases) under Believe Digital.
– Producing a SG indie rock compilation.
– On-going work with SGMUSO in my role as Treasurer.
– Working with young artists under the KAMCO Music banner.
– A StageFright music festival.
– Preparing for the launch of the new album, Bring Back Yesterday.

As you can see, there’s quite a bit on the plate. Add to the above, my work with TODAY and POWER OF POP, and it is clear that there is still so much to look forward to. To help me along, I replaced my aging white Macbook (5 years young) with a brand new iMac to motivate me to work harder. Over this long CNY holiday weekend, I will endeavour to get to know my iMac better so that in the months ahead, it will be the platform upon which many new creative ventures will be born!

... still there’s more …

Feb 172015
 

JupiterJones

Written and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowskis.
Starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean & Eddie Redmayne.

Where do I begin? The fact that Jupiter Ascending had two previous release dates in 2014 before settling on February 2015 was already cause of concern. Add to that the dodgy trailer hinted of a ridiculously fantastical plot, lame dialogue and over the top epic sequences did not help comfort the unease.

Continue reading »

Feb 162015
 

better-call-saul

Remember that feeling you had when you watching one of the best TV series around? I am talking about Breaking Bad of course. Well, it’s hard not to get a sense of deja vu when watching Better Call Saul, a spin-off/prequel/sequel to that popular series. Well, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is still in the driving seat (together with Peter Gould) and it already looks like this series will be as memorable as Breaking Bad was. Excellent news!

Continue reading »

Feb 162015
 

Canaries

Getting more and more intense with each passing episode, Arrow season 3 is maintaining its status as the best dark superhero soap opera out there.

Secrets are revealed left, right and centre and the impact on the series remains to be seen. Laurel Lance is accepted in her new role as the Canary and Ra’s Al Ghul makes his play and the Queen siblings realize that they have to trust Malcolm Merlyn, for better or worse.

Meanwhile, Oliver’s flashback narrative brings us an unexpected twist.

Feb 162015
 

ACarter6

Peggy is in big trouble and so is the SSR. The agents of Leviathan have the upper hand and SSR is not even aware of this. SSR wrongfully accuse Peggy of being a spy and most of the episode is spent demonstrating Peggy evades capture until the end where she is subdued in unique fashion, to say the least.

With only two episodes left, it will be intriguing to see how Peggy and the SSR get out of this mess.

Feb 152015
 

Firestorm

The secret origin of Firestorm! It took some time but finally The Flash revealed to us how Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond merged to become the Nuclear Man. In the meantime, Joe West recruits Cisco Ramon to investigate further the death of Barry Allen’s mother, with Dr Harrison Wells being the prime suspect.

Well written overall, with emotional resonance but somehow Firestorm’s lack of a costume made him look terribly lame. But Cisco’s investigation turns out some shocking results and the cliff-hanger ending kept the interest high. And.. where is Grodd?

Feb 132015
 

kingsman

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Written by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine.

This movie adaptation of the Mark Millar – Dave Gibbons comic (co-plotted by Vaughn) has a lot going for it. Strong cast, comic timing and fantastical settings. Underpinned by Millar’s stock in trade themes of the unlikely hero being thrust into an unimaginable new world (previously explored in Kick Ass and Wanted).

Continue reading »

Feb 102015
 

You know the old adage – one man’s meat is another man’s poison? Well, it’s always been true but it does seem for me personally that folks’ taste in art and music have been getting from bad to worse year on year. Or is that merely my own perception. Of course, things like age and background do get in the way of perspective and point of view but gone are the days when there were generally accepted principles of what was good music and what wasn’t. Nowadays, it’s popularity and the numbers that hold even more sway than ever before. Image and hype even more persuasive than ever. Every new awards show will have controversy over young people not knowing this or that legendary artist and that will continue to get worse and worse. In the final analysis, I do what I wanna do, end of story. I need to be informed about what is hot and so forth but in my heart and soul, I know what I like and I like what I know. Period.

… still there’s more … 

Feb 092015
 

Helix204

Remember when I said the strong point about the second season of Helix was the two parallel storylines? (present and future) Well, that only holds true if the storylines keep things interesting. And while more information was given about the disease (something to do with bees), the future scenario was awfully cliched even if it contained a kickass fight between Hatake and Julia.

The whole plot with Hatake seemed irrelevant even if his re-appearance initially suggest exciting possibilities. No answers there whatsoever. The episode ends with a cliffhanger as two characters from both timelines lay dying in a pool of their own blood. Yeah yeah nobody’s going to die but at least there’s incentive to tune in to episode 5. Just about…

Feb 092015
 

Scandal411

Last episode, we learned that Olivia Pope had been kidnapped. This episode, we find out the whole point of Olivia’s snatching – to blackmail President Fitz into declaring war on West Angola (as orchestrated by the Vice-President).

Quite a few twists along the way as Olivia, her Gladiators (Huck reveals his monstrous side) and even Mellie (the First Lady) do their best to ensure Olivia’s rescue. Disappointed perhaps that the storyline is still being dragged on beyond two episodes but at least it’s wickedly fun.

Feb 092015
 

12M104

A cute installment of 12 Monkeys. In the sense that whilst it dwelt primarily on a sci-fi trope (going back to time to change events), it utilized it as an intelligent plot device to reveal more of Cole’s character.

Focusing mainly on Cole’s present (i.e. 2043), flesh was put on Cole’s bare-boned characterization and the extent of Cole’s relationship with Ramse. Although it deviated from the primarily storyline that involved our present (i.e. 2015) – “Atari” was well worth the ride. A little convenient in parts but overall, a fun episode.