Michael Jackson “SCREAM” (Album Review)

CD/digital download available: 29th September 2017

Vinyl record available: 27th October 2017

Produced by: MJJ Productions – Released by: Epic Records/Legacy/Sony Music


 

WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM

As Maestro of All Hallows Eve’s unofficial anthem, Michael Jackson has for many years been synonymous with the witching season. But it is not just on 1982’s monster hit “Thriller” (and that John Landis-directed 1984 short film) that the King of Pop got to indulge his love of the macabre in his music. While Christmas albums have long been a profitable tradition, this creepy compilation – the brainchild of the late star’s prolific Estate – is perhaps the first high profile Halloween-themed set. Executive producers John Branca and John McClain will hope Scream will rise from the grave to haunt record store shelves every October.

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Baby Driver (Cinema Review)

15 – 113mins – 2017


 

THE FAULT IN OUR EARS

Baby (Ansel The Fault In Our Stars Elgort) is a talented getaway driver who relies upon the beat of his iPod soundtrack to drown out his tinnitus and focus his acute reflexes behind the wheel. In debt to heist mastermind Doc (Kevin Spacey) for a mistake he made in his youth, Baby is counting down the jobs until his slate is clear and he can start a new, clean life with the girl of his dreams, Deborah (Lily James). Unfortunately, Doc has other ideas for his blessed go-to driver, but will this next robbery be one job too far?

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Toploader “SEEING STARS” (Album Review)

Toploader Seeing Stars

Released digitally on: 12th May 2017

Purchase link


 

IT’S A KNOCKOUT AGAIN

20 years after they first formed, 17 years after “Dancing in the Moonlight” gained them nationwide attention and 8 years since they reformed after an extended hiatus, Eastbourne alternative rockers Toploader have released their fourth long player, Seeing Stars, fan-funded via a successful PledgeMusic campaign (see HERE).

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Thriller Live (Live Review)

Norwich Theatre Royal – 13th-18th January 2017 – £8-£32.50

Directed and choreographed by: Gary Lloyd

Executive director: Adrian Grant

Official Show websiteTour Tickets


BOOGIE WONDERLAND

Recently recognised as the 17th longest running production in West End history, in the eight years it has been thrilling audiences I have seen Gary Lloyd’s spectacular tribute to the King of Pop on three separate occasions. Each time it has been on tour from its established base at London’s Lyric Theatre, and each time it has improved significantly, growing more confident, more ebullient, more honed.

… Keep Scuttling!

Release the Bats with JOHN CARPENTER (Live Review)

img_1985Troxy, London – 31st October 2016 – Doors: 6:30pm

Official WebsiteTour Dates


 

LOST THEMES FOUND ON STAGE

In the wake of original tour promoters ATP folding, the pre-show ticketing fiasco and the shit-storm which followed the apparent overselling (and under-conscious organisation of) the “upgraded” Manchester date two nights earlier, it would be fair to say there was a fair bit of concern and apprehension amongst the flock of John Carpenter fans snaking around the Tower Hamlets venue on Monday night. Even the stewards seems somewhat confused by exactly who required a re-printed ticket from the box office! Thankfully, everyone was only too happy to help.

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Lady Gaga “JOANNE” (Album Review)

Lady Gaga Reveals More 'Joanne' Song Titles

Label: Streamline / Interscope Records

Release date: 21st October 2016 (UK)


 

SMOKIN’ THEM ALL

“I confess I am lost…”

Three years in the waiting, Lady Gaga finally satiates her legions of little monsters with her follow-up to 2013’s critically-muted Artpop. Consciously stripping back the ostentatious gaud and circus-esque electro-surrealism she flaunted on stage as much as in the studio, LG5 – as it was known online before the official title, in tribute to her late-aunt, was unveiled – still has flourishes of beat-driven poppiness (A-Yo and John Wayne are rockier standouts) but on the whole this personal collection feels more mellow and repressed. Clearly crooning with Tony Bennett has had an impact.

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Kill Your Friends (DVD Review)

Image result for kill your friends film18 – 99mins – 2015


 

THE DEATH OF THE RECORD INDUSTRY

“Loaded dice and poisoned chalice all over the fucking shop.”

Taking the alias of his furry X-Men character to heart, Nicholas Hoult is chillingly bestial as ambitious A&R man Steven Stelfox in this dark-as-night hyperbolic evisceration of the greed, hedonism and backstabbing which fuelled the profit-over-sincerity mentality of the Britpop-barmy 90s music business.

“None of us have a fucking clue what we’re doing!”

Spouting satirical, fourth wall-breaking soliloquys to the screen, steely-eyed talent scout Stelfox spends the majority of the film “off his tits” on all manner of substances, disconnected from the callous circus which circles and consumes him. He’s a monstrous figure, but screenwriter John Niven – working from his own novel – does an admirable job of making this “smart, ambitious… lost” soul into an investible anti-hero, even if he’s not likeable enough to be charming. He is a murderer, after all.

“A sense of unravelling…”

As Stelfox’s clumsy control on his perilous situation spirals into a black hole of grave dancing, blackmail, framing and extortion, Kill Your Friends perhaps dips the satire to such distasteful and disbelieving depths that its hard to even classify this as a black comedy, but its a ballsy and compromisingly “haaaardcore” warning to those who would do anything to live the dream. And I’m pretty sure I know what its middle finger-brandishing reaction to anyone who found it ghastly and amoral would be: “Get fucked!”

CR@B’s Claw Score: 4 stars