Saturday, 27 November 2010

Fall Out Boy: Where Are They Now?

After going on an ‘indefinate hiatus’ last year, what have the members of Fall Out Boy been up to?

Some call them emo, some call them pop-punk, some call them plain old rock. But what does it matter? Fall Out Boy are on an ‘indefinite hiatus’ as of their announcement in November 2009. But like a phoenix from the ashes, we can now expect some exciting side projects from the four boys from Chicago. Here is what they have in store…

Patrick Stump

Position in Fall Out Boy: lead vocals & guitar

Where is he now?

The now, much slimmer, Patrick is working on a solo album which is due to be released in February 2011. Earlier this year he posted a video on YouTube of himself playing an impressive range of instruments to promote his solo project. Stump has now revealed the record will be called ‘Soul Punk’ and that he will be writing, producing and performing the whole thing himself. It has been revealed that we will get to hear new track ‘Spotlight’ very soon, the lyrics of which have been posted on Patrick’s website.

Joe Trohman & Andy Hurley

Position in Fall Out Boy: Joe - lead guitar, Andy – drums

Where are they now?

The two arguably less ‘high profile’ members of the band have now joined a supergroup. The Damned Things also features Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano of Anthrax and Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die. After playing a selection of shows earlier this year - including a set at Download Festival – the band are ready to release their debut album. The record, ‘Ironiclast’, is due to hit real and virtual stores on December 14th but in the meantime, you can buy debut single ‘We’ve Got A Situation Hear’ now.

Pete Wentz

Position in Fall Out Boy: bass & lyrics

Where is he now?

After taking a year out to spend time with his son - named Bronx Mowgli in true rock star fashion – and wife Ashlee Simpson, Pete has now formed an experimental electropop band, which is heavily influenced by reggae, called Black Cards. With Pete on bass and backup vocals, Spencer Peterson on drums, Nate Patterson on lead guitar and amateur singer Bebe Rexha on lead vocals, the group completed a short European tour in October. Debut single ‘Club Called Heaven’, featuring hip hop group Chiddy Bang, has been released online but there is no news of an album just yet. Pete also likes to keep his dedicated fans up to date via his blog ‘A Homeboy’s Life’.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Album Review: Danger Days - The Fabulous Return of My Chemical Romance

It’s no wonder My Chemical Romance scrapped their first attempt at a fourth album. Whatever it sounded like, it could not have compared to this.

Since My Chemical Romance announced that The Black Parade was dead back in 2007, the MCRmy have been kept in suspense about what to expect from the band’s fourth album and at times, whether they would get a fourth album at all. The making of Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys may well have been rocky - with the band binning their original recordings and starting again – but it was definitely worth the wait. After originally insisting they would not create another concept album, the band then realised that storytelling is what they do best and so Danger Days was born. Set in the year 2019, it follows a gang known as the Killjoys and their Technicolor world of laser guns and desert duals.

Kicking off with a dramatic intro from radio DJ ‘Dr Death Defying’, first single from the record ‘NaNaNa’ explodes onto the scene. At times it may feel like a list of random words strung together in a surreal rant but this infuriatingly catchy tune grips hold of you and throws you head first into the world of the Killjoys.

Dramatically different from The Black Parade, Danger Days is all about rebellious fun. A distinct comic book influence comes in the form of several interjections from Dr Death and the furious party anthem ‘Party Poison’. Although the foundations of classic MCR are there, the boys from New Jersey have experimented with different genres and British influences to glorious effect. ‘Planetary (GO!) sees the band venture into pop/dance with distinct elements of Pulp, ‘Summertime’ has a Cure influenced indie feel whilst ‘Vampire Money’ is very much a raw punk track.

Album highlights come in the form of stunning power ballad ‘S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W’ and the spectacular ‘Sing’ with its spine tingling intro and the type of chorus that could lead a revolution. The equally rebellious ‘Destroya’ is perhaps the defining track on the album. An eclectic mix of crazy jungle drums and subtle elements of rap stinks of Rage Against The Machine.

Danger Days will leave you itching to see it performed live. In fact, My Chem could probably get away with playing nothing but the album in its entirety on their next tour. Hiding behind fictional characters may work well for the band, but looking beyond the record’s concept it stands alone as a perfect mix of tracks that perfectly demonstrate what MCR are capable of.

If they can shake the ‘emo’ stereotype, this record could unlock the potential for My Chemical Romance to rival the mainstream success of the likes of Green Day. A bold claim, but surely no match for the Killjoys and their laser guns.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Ten Inch Wand

The penultimate Harry Potter film is here, and it seems that not even witches and wizards can escape puberty.

Like a proud mother, it’s hard not to get a little misty eyed when reminiscing about the time we watched Harry get his letter from Hogwarts nine years ago. But now ‘The Boy Who Lived’ is all grown up and has a war to fight.

Part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is centred around the three friends, Harry, Ron and Hermoine, as they escape from the evil Lord Voldemort whilst simultaneously working out a way to destroy him. After Professor Dumbledore’s untimely death at the end of the last film the gang must now track down and destroy the ‘Horcruxes’ – the secret to Voldemort’s immortality. They are not alone though. Whilst the acting of the three child ‘prodigies’ still leaves a little to be desired, it’s the talent of the star-studded supporting cast that holds it all together. Superb appearances from Rhys Ifans as Luna Lovegood’s dad and Helena Bonham Carter as the gloriously deranged Bellatrix Lestrange are particular highlights. Dobby the House Elf also makes a very welcome return, proving his eternal gratitude to Harry for freeing him from the Malfoy’s.

One ‘character’ that fails to make much of an appearance though, is Hogwarts. The film starts to feel like an advert for the English Tourist Board at times with scenes set on the streets of London as well as in the English countryside.

Far from being aimed at the middle aged day trippers however, it’s clear that the movie is targeted at those who have grown up with the movies. The script is surprisingly witty and full of innuendos about Ron’s ‘ten inch wand’ and the like, perfect for the ‘Inbetweeners’ generation. A rare chance to see a cross dressing Harry Potter also gets a few laughs.

Love is very much in the air for the horny teenager wizards, with the on-going ‘will they/wont they’ between Ron and Hermione and Harry’s blossoming relationship with Ginny Weasley. We even get a very brief glimpse of a sex scene between Harry and Hermione, but don’t worry it’s only a mind trick to anger Ron.

Now competing with the ‘hotties’ from Twilight, Daniel Radcliffe also takes every opportunity to remove his shirt. Those who still fondly remember him buying his first wand on Diagon Alley, aged 11, will also find it slightly disturbing that he now has chest hair.

For those dedicated fans, the seventh instalment also features several references to the previous films, from Harry’s lingering final goodbye to the ‘cupboard under the stairs’, to several mentions of his fight with the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets.

The Deathly Hallows is packed full of drama, with several wand duals and no less than three deaths, one of which is surprisingly moving; it’s very much a broomstick ride of emotion. And of course, there are no prizes for guessing that it ends on a chilling cliff hanger that will have you queuing up to see part two in July 2011.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Live Review: Ellie Goulding 'Lights' up Southampton

Considering she was relatively unknown this time last year, Ellie Goulding has created an impressive buzz of excitement at the Southampton Guildhall this evening. The former town hall is packed with people of all ages, from those young enough to watch Blue Peter to those old enough to remember it the first time round.

Support act ‘Sunday Girl’, so called because no one knew her name when she worked in a pet shop every Sunday, takes to the stage to showcase her marvellous vocal talent. With a skilled control on her voice, some catchy synth-infused pop and a refreshing cover of club favourite ‘Tik Tok’, Jade Williams’ alias gets the crowd dancing. Unfortunately, much like at her old part-time job, Sunday Girl lacks much presence on the stage and with an unoriginal sounding voice puts on a pleasant yet unremarkable set.

The same certainly can’t be said for tonight’s main act though. Kicking off the show with a drumming session then moving on to the guitar and not to mention her iconic voice, Ellie Goulding perfectly demonstrates just how multi-talented she is.

Starting her set with some perfectly crafted electro-pop from debut album 'Lights', Ellie then seamlessly moves into some acoustic tracks. With the help of some atmospheric lighting and a carpet that screams Countdown and false teeth, the spacious venue suddenly feels more cosy as Ellie gives a rare performance of unreleased track ‘The End’ and her stunning cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’.

Despite a slightly cheesy MTV style promo video on the big screen of Ellie gushing about her love for her fans, the girl from Herefordshire comes across as very down to earth on stage. Letting the room in on the story behind songs such as ‘Wish I Stayed’ (about missing home during her short stay at university) plus some cheery banter with the crowd, Ellie helps to make the evening feel intimate and special for everyone in the room.

An encore of a new song from her next album gets a positive reaction but it’s the powerful rendition of chart hit ‘Starry Eyed’ - which surprisingly sounds even better live - that leaves the crowd happy in the knowledge that Miss Goulding will be sticking around for 2011.