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This is the world of Survivors, a new six-part drama coming to BBC One later this month. Originally created in 1975 by Terry Nation (who also created the Daleks for Doctor Who), the series ran for 38 episodes over three series. This modern retelling of the story, based on Terry Nation’s novel, is a bold, cinematic, character driven piece that promises to have a whole new generation (that’ll be us then!) gripped by the fearful possibility of facing life in a harsh, unforgiving post-pandemic world. Its writer and Executive Producer Adrian Hodges talks about the concept and how very real and possible this future could be… I remember the original series by Terry Nation very well, the shock that everyone who saw it felt, and the concept retains that emotional power. It gives you the chance to tackle every possible kind of human drama. Most of what we write about happens within society, but in Survivors there is no society. It’s about people taken to their limits and, of course, you encounter the dark side of human nature, but the new series is not as bleak as the original. The characters find themselves in horrendous situations, but I couldn’t have taken it on unless the overall message was one of hope. While I was writing it, there was at least two major health scare stories that made the front pages of the papers. I think we’re more receptive now to the idea that this kind of virus could strike, and certainly closer to the possibility of it happening than we were in the 1970s. In his research for Survivors, Adrian spoke to virologists who confirmed that a scenario similar to that in the series is all too plausible. They are absolutely convinced there will be a pandemic one
day, but not sure exactly how bad it will be, and they’re also convinced there will only be a limited amount we can do about it when it happens. The world is busier than it’s ever been, travel is easier, and viruses and bugs replicate and spread with incredible speed – perhaps not as fast as the virus in Survivors, but still at an astonishing rate. I’m convinced it would be harder to survive now – we’re more helpless than perhaps we’ve ever been at any point in history. There’s no doubt that some of the people left would be very practical, but a lot of them would be hopeless. That was true in the 1970s to a degree, but more so now. One of the endearing things about the original is that there really isn’t that much technology in people’s homes at all. When I was writing, I looked around my own room at home and imagined stripping out all the technology, and what’s left was basically a chair and me. So this enormous web of technology we’ve developed in the intervening years needed to be part of the storytelling in the new Survivors. We’re too far down the road of being in love with it to give it up lightly, so it’s not a case of going back to the Stone Age overnight. I also tease a bit with the possibilities of whether some technology might still work and why that might be so. Adrian is keeping mum about whether the “why that might be so” might involve the kind of conspiracy theories that abound in a complex and fearful 21st century. I genuinely don’t want to say too much, but I feel comfortable saying I’ve explored the back-story of the virus in a way that the original Survivors didn’t. The possibilities of how it came into being, how it spread so quickly and what it actually is are all things I deal with, but you’ll have to watch to see how!
99% of the population has been wiped out by a mystery virus…
There are no rules, no law and order…
David Grant (Shaun Dingwall)
David is a self-employed builder, a loving family man who is competent, brave and determined. Although they have been worn down by the illness of their beloved son Peter, Abby's and David's marriage is a solid and loving one. But nothing in David's life has prepared him for the crisis which is about to sweep away everything he ever knew and loved...
Abby is a mother and home-maker to her son Peter (11) and husband David (Shaun Dingwall). Before the virus struck Peter had successfully defied a near-terminal illness. Peter is now better and Abby has reluctantly agreed to let him go on an adventure holiday. Abby plans to resume her career and re-ignite her faltering relationship with loving but exhausted husband David. But fate has other plans in store for them...
Abby Grant (Julie Graham)
Greg Preston (Paterson Joseph)
A former systems analyst for a big multi-national, Greg felt trapped and dreamed of a new life. But his wife, who had grown used to a wealthy and comfortable lifestyle, was appalled by his utopian vision of a new, hard scrabble future. Nursing bitter personal wounds, Greg is now a man who believes he can live without love, friendship or family.
Tom Price (Max Beesley)
Samantha Willis (Nikki Amuka-Bird)
Dr Anya Raczynski (Zoë Tapper)
Anya is a young doctor who does her best to save as many people as she can when the virus that wipes out most of humanity hits. But there is no cure and no vaccine and all her skill ultimately proves fruitless. While she struggles with the enormity of it, she is forced to stand by helplessly as her friend Patricia is among those brought to the hospital in the grip of the illness...
Samantha is a junior minister delegated to handle the press in the midst of the crisis. Dealing as best she can with an anxious media and her own stunned colleagues, Samantha at first has no idea how serious the crisis is becoming. Forced to put aside her love and concern for her own family, Samantha becomes the last contact between the government and the people it can no longer protect. Her journey from innocence to a full knowledge of the truth is laced with bravery and horror.
In prison when the story starts, Tom Price is handsome, charming and capable, but also very dangerous... A man who will stop at nothing to achieve his own ends, Price finds himself locked in his cell while all around him are dying. As the long night of the virus wears on, survival and freedom become the only issues that matter...
Jenny Collins (Freema Agyeman)
Jenny is a bright and lively young teacher in a primary school. Overwhelmed by the chaos she sees all around her, she is determined to save the life of her dying flatmate Patricia. Nothing will stop her taking her friend to the hospital and saving her life. But fate intervenes to confront Jenny with choices beyond anything she could have imagined.
Al Sadiq (Phillip Rhys)
A rich, good-looking playboy, Al has lived a life of privilege. In the aftermath of the virus he finds himself responsible for eleven-year-old Najid. Al has never seen himself as the paternal type and he initially proves to be a disaster as a father figure; he would rather find a softer life for himself in the post-disaster world. But strangely this frightening new environment ultimately makes him a better man than he would ever have been if he had continued his old life.
iPlayer will be offering their enticingly monikered ‘stacking function’ – rather than individual episodes only being available for seven days, series stacking means we’ll be able to enjoy any episode, after it has first been broadcast, for the duration of the entire series. Survivors is also being shown on BBC HD through Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media. Find out what kind of survivor you would be with Survivors Interactive at:
Further preview material and cast interviews coming soon to:
After years of toil in supporting roles, actor Josh Brolin broke through to a new level with high profile performances in American Gangster and No Country For Old Men. Now he plays lead in W., starring as American president George W. Bush for director Oliver Stone.
“I decided to get into that business early on after I took an acting class in school which I liked very much. Then once I decided to do it I did a bunch of things that I’m sure my kids would never do. I made up a résumé, I lied, there were a lot of obstacles for me. People didn’t want there to be any nepotism, so they sometimes wouldn’t see me based on that fact.” Do you think W. offers a more sympathetic portrait of George Bush the man than people will expect? “For sure. Sympathetic is a tough word to use because of what that administration has done, it’s hard to use the word ‘sympathetic’. Am I more sympathetic towards the man? I don’t know, I just feel like I have more information now. There were moments where, the best thing for me just as a citizen, was to be able to study the Republican point of view. To be able to study the evangelical point of view, and then ultimately to study the Bush administration, and Bush himself. And read as many books as I could on it.” How did you feel about him before embarking on this movie? “I judged this guy as cosmetically as a lot of other people, that he’s just a stammering, stuttering idiot. You can’t be the president and just be an idiot, so I think that was very irresponsible of me, and lazy of me, to write him off as that. I’ve learned that that’s not the case at all.” Large chunks of the American population trust him precisely because he’s not the smoothest of talkers, don’t they? “I don’t think that’s accurate now but I think that was the case. I think that’s how he got voted into office, twice. I think people really hooked into this fallibility, after the elitism of Reagan and all these other presidents. To bring somebody down to ‘our level’ making us feel that it was more possible if a guy like that could become president maybe ‘we’ could.” For some people the sexual indiscretions of Bill Clinton are tougher to forgive than anything Bush has done though, aren’t they? “Which is phenomenal. He made a mistake and he lied and I think there’s been proper consequence for that, but to want to impeach somebody because of that and then to not impeach somebody under impeachable acts, not going forth with it is phenomenal. It’s stunning to me, some of the reactions of the American people. And it’s also stunning to me that by speaking up, which I think is very important, there are these blogs that say ‘why does this guy speak up, why does Susan Sarandon say anything, why does Sean Penn say anything?’. Why would you try and stifle that? It’s good isn’t it? We’re the ones that vote so we’re the ones who should speak up regardless of what job you have, whether you’re an actor, a plumber or a reporter.” Oliver Stone was, briefly, in the same class as George Bush at Yale. It’s curious that these men have followed such different paths? “Very different paths. When I was thinking about doing this role Oliver and I met at his house. I met his Mom who’s a staunch Republican, from France, very funny. I was surprised by that. Then I met his wife who is, I’m not going to say staunch, but a true Christian. I thought ‘wow, man, he hasn’t surrounded himself with a bunch of yes people who think exactly like he does,’. He’s constantly challenging himself with the perspectives and perception of things of other people who are close to him. I was very turned on by that, it was very different from a lot of stories that you hear about political bias.” That flies in the face of Oliver’s reputation, doesn’t it? “Whatever reputation Oliver has. Like Bush, Bush is very different from the reputation of this stammering, stuttering idiot. Once you get into it you go ‘I see his intention,’ and some of the intention was very pure, it’s just curtailed by what it gets corrupted by a lot of times which is greed and fear and wanting to be re-elected. And oil.” But just because you have a conviction that something’s right doesn’t mean it’s right does it? “No, and obviously to me the best leader – and this is just my opinion – is somebody who can reassess a situation. They may have a conviction and they may have foresight that the rest of us don’t have, but the ability to reassess and create a different pathway is, to me, the sign of a great leader.” Is it satisfying to be able to explore issues like this through the medium of film? “It keeps it all sustainable for me because it’s something new every five or six months. This opens up so much information, so much psychologically and behaviourally that it’s overwhelming at times.” So do you think audiences will be surprised by Oliver Stone’s nuanced and balanced portrait of George W. Bush? “I think so, personally. We’re not out to slam anybody, we’re out to tell this very compelling story of a guy who was really flailing for many, many years, who decided to get sober on his own and then to deepen his whole relationship with Jesus, and became the President of the United States. Twice. That’s an amazing story.”
It’s been a rather impressive few years for you, hasn’t it? “Right, but once you confine it to the year of where do you go from there?” But it’s enabled you to take the step up to play the lead in W., doesn’t it? “That was what I hoped, to respect the moment. I had a lot of opportunities and a lot of money came my way, so thank God for my friend Brett Markinson who taught me most of what I know about trading stocks. That gave me an objectivity to it all. His whole thing is ‘the minute you start to feel greed, sell, and the minute you start to feel fear look and see if it’s something you want to acquire because it’s probably a pretty good time to buy in’. I think it helps to have the ability to step back and go ‘am I going to feel comfortable looking back on this or am I going to feel like I took the first buck because I was so happy to be making a buck as opposed to six cents?’.” You ran the script for W. by your oldest son, which suggests you trust his judgement a great deal. “Very much so. It doesn’t end with him, I would never put that kind of pressure on him but I’ve shown him a few scripts that I was thinking about doing and I think he has a good point of view. It’s an off beat point of view, but I like his insight into characters and story.” Your father, James Brolin, is a successful actor, was that easy to come to terms with when you started out?
W. is in cinemas now. wthemovie.co.uk
more film features and interviews at: thenationalstudent .co.uk/film
Misunderstood, fiercely political, unpredictable and unleashing an incendiary new album. Danielle Goldstein caught up with.....
he dub-punk opera, Gaddafi: A Living Myth, was soundtracked by Asian Dub Foundation. La Haine and The Battle of Algiers both got the honour of reworked soundtracks by the band. And let’s not forget the campaign they ran to free Saptal Ram after he was imprisoned for defending himself in a racial attack. ADF are a band known for their political statements through music and movements, but for their sixth studio album, Punkara, they want you to know that they were just having a bit of fun. So it’s somewhat surprising when I walk in on Chandrasonic, aka Steve Chandra Savale, aka the backbone of ADF, interviewing the left wing novelist and political campaigner, Tariq Ali. “Stop The War thought that [it would be] a good thing to have musicians interviewing great radicals and thinkers,” says Steve almost absentmindedly as he fingers the droplets on his glass, “and Tariq Ali seemed to be the obvious choice.” As well as Stop The War, Steve has been moonlighting with renowned Arabic news agency Al Jazeera on a
programme called ‘Music of Resistance’, looking at groups around the world whose music is effecting social change. “Were you planning to talk about music at some point?” he asks rather impatiently but with an awkward smile. His face expresses exhaustion in the serious, activist side of ADF. “Once you get tagged, especially in Britain, it’s hard to shake it off. We either get praised for being this politicised drum and bass, punky, Indian band or we get slagged for it. We’re not allowed to have any nuances.” And so we drop the politics and focus on Punkara in the making – shootings in McDonald’s, personal frictions and Iggy Pop. It’s been 15 years since ADF formed at the Community Music House in Farringdon, London and a lot has happened in those years. For one, they’ve been through five singers and two bass players. “That’s not that much,” Steve grins. “We’re not The Fall…not yet.” They’ve played with the Beastie Boys, Primal Scream and Radiohead
- to name but a few - and have been praised by pop know-it-all, Madonna. But it’s the three years since their last album, Tank that has spawned this change in direction. “We just decided to change the way we do things in a couple of areas. [Punkara] is less polemical, there’s more humour in there, a lot more fun than previous albums.” There’s also more live instrumentation, less MCing, more singing, a few instrumentals and a couple of personal tracks. “Because we have to challenge ourselves, we can’t keep doing the same thing musically and lyrically. That’s built into the ADF DNA. Obviously there are tracks that are about things, like world leaders on drugs (‘Altered Statesmen’), the rise of India in this decade (‘Superpower’), guns in Brixton (‘Target Practice’), which is where I live,” he says. Can we assume this is from personal experience? “Well, I was going to pick up my girlfriend from the Ritzy Cinema after two people had been shot in McDonald’s.” As well as an alternative version to
‘S.O.C.A’ with Gogol Bordello’s Eugen Hutz, Punkara also boasts a Bhangra cover of ‘No Fun’ by The Stooges with vocals from Iggy. They met last year at a festival in Croatia and Iggy obviously took a liking to them. “I sent in the demo and he phoned my house. He said,” and here he puts on a rough Midwestern American accent, “‘Ah’ve been listenin’ to the demos Chandra, and ah jus’ got a speedin’ ticket.’ All that was a good laugh, and yet we still get people saying, ‘Oh they’re going on about politics,’ when it’s quite obvious that it’s just us having a laugh.” Clearly stigmatised by political branding, Chandrasonic moves quickly on to the darker side of ADF and the years they spent in a rut. “We’ve been together for 15 years, there’s going to be a period when things aren’t quite right,” he says sternly. “From the end of 2004 to the middle of 2007 there was a lot of internal friction in the group, a lot of nastiness. There were some pretty disastrous personal relationship breakdowns and also the discovery that
one of the vocalists was a criminal. If you’ve been around as long as we have you’re bound to go through some shit like that. The question is whether you can walk through the fire and come out of it alive, and we have done.” He sounds triumphant, and rightly so. He shies away from talking about the wayward member, but in early 2007 MC Spex was asked to leave the band and Aktar ‘Aktarvator’ Ahmed returned to sing, followed by ex-King Prawn front man, Al Rumjen. “From summer last year we knew we were starting in a good place again. Then we did some amazing shows in Japan that brought everybody’s confidence back up. And we did an amazing first date of the French tour, so everyone is really fired up, and the audience responds to that.” Now ADF are embarking on a huge European tour that’ll take them to the end of December, but among the dates sits only one British show in Camden, London. How will their audience respond to that? “Britain can be really hard. It’s all about whether you’re easily moulded into a particular perspective that the press or the music industry are taking at the moment. Yeah, it’s a bummer, but if promoters think ADF’s star has fallen then they won’t pay as much to get us up there and finan-
cially we can’t do it. Whereas, if we go to France or Japan or Spain” - Chandra sounds genuinely disappointed that they can’t reach more of Britain as he carries on. “I know there’re loads of fans out there, but we have to be asked to play and we have to make sure that they’re at a rate we can afford.
ered such a great thing. You’re either in hip hop or rap or you’re a band of guitars. There’s not much in between, and we’re kind of in between.” Steve has devoted almost half his life to ADF.
we encourage them to take part in ADF and you don’t know how that’s going to go.” Herein lies the risks that ADF have taken on these kids. They put a lot of trust in them, but it’s not always returned, and we’re brought back to the unlawful elements. “One of them turned out to be a disaster. He hadn’t left his criminal side behind. So that was a big problem that we created for ourselves through a belief that music should be more than just about your ego and be about establishing things at a grassroots level that helps people. And then, having known one member of the band for 17 or 18 years, we had a really bad fall out, which is inevitable. Not over music, over personal stuff.” The experience, both good and bad, ads up and the band know they can only learn from it. “All these things are good. With the band’s line up now, I’ve never enjoyed it so much in my career, even in the early days. This French tour I enjoyed more than ever. I really enjoyed everybody’s company, the vibe we got onstage with each other, the personalities - there’s a really nice balance in the group that we never really had before.” Perhaps this is down to their being older and wiser? “Wiser, maybe. I don’t know where the wisdom comes in though,” he says, revealing a defiant smile. “It might be that we just don’t mind being kids again.”
ADF doesn’t make that
Aktar is also a social worker, while Babu Stormz, the bass player works as a music teacher when ADF aren’t touring. “It’s not easy to sustain a group like [ADF],” explains Steve. “We cross boundaries quite a lot. That’s something that’s not, at the moment, consid-
Now in his late thirties he thinks back to the birth of the band. “The thing about ADF,” he pauses, clears his throat and continues. “I don’t know if you know this about us, but we have the education project and a lot of young kids, well kids when they started, came through the band. A couple of them joined us as vocalists, and they’re the real article. They’re from the East End, they didn’t do that well at school and they got into gangs. But
Listen Out For:
FAT FREDDY’S DROP
about their organic evolution out of a rich Wellington scene which has also produced the comedy duo Flight Of The Conchords, as well as Bongmaster, the group he, Dallas and keyboard-player and chef extraordinaire Iain Gordon, aka Dobie Blaze, played in before the Freddy’s. The name Fat Freddy’s Drop came from Fat Freddy’s Cat, a fictional feline in The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers underground comic strip drawn by American cartoonist Gilbert Shelton in the seventies, though the expression was also apparently slang for a strong batch of LSD popular in Wellington in the nineties. In 1999, the Freddy’s began contributing tracks to various compilations and their reputation grew with the release of the Live At The Matterhorn album in 2001. By the time they issued ‘Midnight Marauders’ – credited to Fitchie and Joe Dukie – in 2002, they’d been joined by Dobie, guitarist Tehimana Kerr, aka Jetlag Johnson, and saxophonist Warren Maxwell, aka Fulla Flash – who has since been replaced by Scott Tower, aka Chopper Reedz. Trombonist Joe Lindsay, aka Hopepa, arrived the following year. In New Zealand, people were clamouring for the Freddy’s music on the back of five years of live appearances and, when they finally released Based On A True Story, the demand was such that it instantly topped the charts and remained the best selling New Zealand album for the following two years (it is now 8 x Platinum). The group went on to win four New Zealand Music Awards in 2005 and a further three in 2006. In this age of cut-and-paste music where acts pillage innumerable genres to create a aural melting pot of unfamiliar sounds, Fat Freddy’s Drop infuse the familiar grooves and sounds of soul, jazz and reggae with enough innovation to make them a truly modern act which makes the prospect of second album Big BW (dropping early 2009) a welcome one. Despite the quality of their recorded output it is in the live arena where the band really shine with their penchant for funky improvisation meaning that no two Freddy’s gigs are the same. With their return to the UK this month we have the chance to catch this unique live experience for ourselves Go forth and check out Fat Freddy’s Drop on record and on their tour and bring a bit of sunshine back into your life.
Catch the band on tour November 14 - Birmingham Academy November 15 - Manchester Academy December 3 - Norwich UEA December 4-5 - London Roundhouse
With all this doom and gloom looming oppressively overhead we could all do with something to bring a little sunshine to our lives. The unique blend of hi tek soul, jazz and reggae of Fat Freddy’s Drop is just the tonic! The seven-strong New Zealand collective are set to return to these shores bringing their incendiary and unpredictable live performances with them in the run-up to their hotlyanticipated second long-player penned for release early next year. Fat Freddy’s have been winning an ever increasing global fan base since the release
of their exceptional debut album Based On A True Story in 2005 and were the first independent act to debut at number one in New Zealand in May of the same year. Their debut overflowing with soulful cuts like the insidiously infectious ‘Cay’s Crays’, the chilled-out ‘Ray Ray’, the hypnotic ‘Wandering Eye’ and the epic ‘Hope’, has sold 200.000 copies, and made them firm favourites with audiences worldwide. Gushing praise was heaped upon this groovy classic, the Observer called their debut “a slow-burn winner” while the Guardian chipped calling it “transcendental”. Hell, we
at The National Student liked it so much that we stuck ‘name of track’ on our Fresher Sounds Volume 2 compilation in 2005, and it was one of the highlights of the disc. The band was birthed from jams in local bars and clubs, where main-man, producer and beat-master Mu, born Chris Faiumu, aka DJ Fitchie’s legendary DJ sets soon expanded to feature the sweet soul vocals of Dallas Tamaira, aka Joe Dukie, and the freestyle trumpet of Tony Laign, aka Tony Chang. “Everyone had slightly more important projects. People were digging those vibes and it became our main focus,” explains Mu
We are giving one lucky soul the chance to go and check out Fat Freddy’s Drop for themselves. The winner will bag a pair of tickets to the venue of their choice (venues listed above)
Simply head off to The National Student website for your chance to win:
Nell Bryden Second Time Around (Warp) October 20 2008
SometimeS it takes fate for someone’s dream to come true, and Nell Bryden’s story has more serendipitous schmaltz than any Will Smith vehicle (even the ones that also star his son). Working as a waitress, Bryden dreamed of hitting the big time with her singing career, touring America with the little money she had. Nothing came of it however, and amidst selling all her worldly possessions to fund one last tour, Bryden stumbled across an original painting by milton Avery which sold for just under $300,000. And it’s this money that has allowed Second Time Around to appear, but is it as interesting as the story behind it? it does certainly have its plaudits, but it’s the same people offering this praising who find something worthwhile in Norah Jones and Katie melua. Her sound has an altogether more memorable blend of blues, jazz and soul, though don’t worry, there’s no Joss Stone border crossed here, with things kept classy, especially on sul-
try opener ‘tonight’. this smoky jazz club mood is sustained through much of what Bryden offers, though things do veer towards sentimental country on only Life i Know and even Brechtian swing on ‘Where the Pavement ends’. it’s certainly a mix of styles that puts the aforementioned Jones and melua to shame. the ballads may not work quite so well as its more swinging moments, but be thankful for such great art as Avery’s has allowed even more enjoyable creativity to make itself known. by thomas meek able imagination, even if it’s not a creativity for all. Like many a five-year-old before him, Comelade has turned to toys in order to embellish that playfulness that runs throughout his work. A stripped down version of the Kink’s ‘Sunny Afternoon’ becomes its own with its plastic piano simplicity. there’s a killer clown eeriness to it though, especially when followed by such a deep, dark beauty as PJ Harvey collaboration, ‘Love too Soon’. the sweet glockenspiel does take some edge off the pained lyrics however, and comes in handy on more than one other occasion in this compilation. it’s these covers and collaborations that see the album’s strongest moments, with Robert Wyatt and JeanHerve Peron from Faust also showing up to impassioned effect, leaving some questions over Comelade’s own songwriting ability. His creative spark is undeniable though, and someday he may belong to more than Catalonia by thomas meek
Pascal Comelade The No Dancing (Because Music) November 10 2008
Diplo Decent Work For Decent Pay (Big Dada) January 26 2009
2004’S FloridA put Diplo on the map dropping his genre-mashing productions on the world like a lead weight. He became hipness personified and the go-to name for production and remixes. But whilst being annoyingly hip, Diplo has the tunes to back up the hype. His uncomplicated beats and rhythms, underpin his innovative and experimental use of sound. these are party-bangers with a twist. He has proven his calibre with production credits on stone-cold modern classics such as m.i.A’s Paper Planes, Kano’s reload it and Bonde Do Role’s debut. All have been lauded for their innovation. decent Work For decent Pay: Collected Works Volume one collates prime cuts from his career so far, taking in his own tunes like the amazing electro-
AFteR 33 years making music, and with over 40 albums and numerous film scores to his name, Pascal Comelade is not quite the revered name his experience perhaps merits. take him out of his home in Catalonia, and don’t expect many to perk up when you talk of his Reinhardt influenced picking or his passion for the most playful of sounds. Give them a copy of The No dancing though, and they’d be hard pushed not to form some strong opinion of the man. For this pleasingly cohesive compilation of Comelade’s best work from the last 14 years shows a man of undeni-
dancehall of ‘NewsFlash’, Kano and Bonde Do Role originals and the bestof-the-best from his extensive remix catalogue. the reworking of Big Dada label mates Spank Rock’s ‘Put that Pussy on me’ drops kinetic beats over twanged rock n roll guitar to create an irresistible funked-up dancefloor filler. mC Spank Rock’s vocals are slipped effortlessly into the mix. And as if Diplo’s work in m.i.A’s ‘Paper Planes’ was already brilliant enough, in all it’s Clash and gun-sampling glory the remix here adds new life that makes it easily as good as the album cut. ‘Flower punk’ hipsters the Black Keys are undone and redone on one of the LP’s most surprising mixes, their tune ‘Veni Vidi Vici’ retains it’s dark, rock n roll ambience but has been turned into a dance tune that shouldn’t work but does. there is not a bad tune on the whole disc, which is complimented by remixes of Bloc Party, CSS, Hot Chip and a stunning remoulding of Peter, Bjorn and John’s ‘Young Folks’ for good measure. decent Work is a must-buy dance collection for 2009. Get it, spin it and get your party started. by michael Banks
Imelda May Love Tattoo (Ambassador Records) November 24 2008
Winner of best newcomer at the irish Music Awards and with adoring words already from Jeff Beck and Jools Holland, you’d be forgiven for expecting big things from imelda May’s debut album. And things do get off to an explosive start on the appropriately named ‘Johnny Got a Boom Boom’ – an upbeat jazz romp that knows the merits of a toe-tapping bassline. May’s vocals too become enlivened on an energetic chorus that offers up a ‘boom boom’ to match Johnny’s. With Winehouse, Duffy and Ava Leigh (amongst God knows how many others) still trying to relive the glory of Holiday, Simone and esther Phillips though, May has to have more up those leopard-print sleeves than just a decent voice and a good boom. She does come close to finding such distinction in a rock ‘n’ roll sass that offers up that sultry attitude of the burlesque. ‘it’s Your Voodoo’ working certainly wouldn’t sound amiss over beautiful women demonstrating just what tassels are for, but there’s still something about May that stops her lasting in the memory. When it comes to the ballads, her voice falters, disappointingly lacking a natural irish tone and not having the raw power of Winehouse, who despite her personal problems, still leads the pack. Love Tattoo is just too rock ‘n’ roll for the dinner party playlist, but too unsatisfying for any great devotion elsewhere by Thomas Meek
Various Artists Be True To Your School (Fortuna Pop)
THAnk THe stars there are still independent labels out there who put out music because they love it and not because it can be marketed to relieve the masses of their mullah. Thank the stars for fortuna Pop. for 15 years they have been sporadically releasing great indie records for the sheer love of it (well they certainly haven’t made any money, so what else can it be for?). This is a potted-history of the label spanning 25 wonderful tracks from almost all the bands released on the label. on face value fortuna Pop is often thought-of as purvey-
Empty Boat Waitless (Poo Productions Ltd.)
APPArenTLY iT’S World Toilet Day on november 19. i’m still unsure as to what this day actually entails (i assume i may go to the toilet on it though in some form of celebration), but i thank empty Boat for bringing such an event to my attention. it’s not the only toilet issue this collective of 15 musicians and vocalists from all over the planet want to bring to highlight though. Behind such comic trivialities and festive music, there’s a very serious message of inadequate sanitation in developing countries. Produced in collaboration with Pump Aid, a charity aiming to provide clean water in African communities, each copy of Waitless sold will help such admirable efforts become a reality with sanitation being provided for one person for life. Musically, what’s heard is just as exciting and welcome a project, combining elements and influences from the broadest of musical spectrums. numerous voices are heard as a variety of languages sing out for joy and
ors of twee, jangly indie-pop but Be True To Your School shows their remit to be much wider and more freeform than the narrow assumptions. The bliss-filled, chill-out electronica of Discordia and the sample-heavy, hip-hop/ pop of Cannonball Jane truly complicate the proceedings. each and every track has its own merits from finlay’s enthralling alt-rock fuzz, to the manic, scattershot wrong-pop of the ever inventing Bearsuit, through the classic indie-stylings of Tendertrap and the panoramic pop of The Chemistry experiment. As with any great indie label Be True To Your School is a reflection of the founders music taste as much as the listeners and proves that the music can be its own reward. fortuna Pop are essential to the British music scene and because of that this is a must have label sampler. by Chris Marks
sorrow. African drums too are prominent, though eastern-european brass, Mediterranean jives and even jarringly modern dubstep can be found on an eclectically enthusiastic record. eu Vivo neste Mundo (i Live in This World) is what Sufjan Stevens aspires to with when he tries to escape his western influences, and the use of chidren’s vocals on Up Up and Away and Mamae iemanja (i Call The Stars) are a sweet success. An admirable effort for a worthy cause, even if it won’t quite appeal to the popular taste. by Thomas Meek George Lenton’s vocals too remind of Paul Draper, with treble tones and controlled angst in each of this eP’s three songs. Lenton even shows some ambition of Cousteau crooning in opener Alaska’s sadly short-lived coda. ‘Go on’ almost becomes one republic, but sticks to credibility with smart lyrics and a biting guitar in the chorus. But it’s ‘never Met That Girl’ that stands out as Tiny Spark’s bona fide hit. Lenton excels, and the synth strings make this almost as good as ‘Wide open Space’. Tiny Sparks to shining stars? We shall see. it bodes well though. by Thomas Meek
Tiny Spark Alaska EP (The Animal Farm)
WeLL SoMeBoDY’S been listening to Mansun. Certainly, these three songs from the south-coast five piece would have fitted comfortably on the brilliant Attack of the Grey Lantern, with sprawling yet well-structured guitars that threaten to veer into prog dirges, yet stay on the right side of listenable.
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