Thursday, 24 February 2011

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - "That boy loves dragons..."

I've been seeing a lot of dragons lately, I'm retreading through Demon's Souls at the moment and I also played the Dragon Age II demo, both of which feature the fire breathing mythical reptiles in abundance. Today, Bethesda have suddenly released a new trailer for the highly anticipated Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I don't usually post trailers for the sake of trailers but after the initial teaser trailer that was unveiled at the VGA awards in 2010 this new trailer reveals in game footage for the first time. Needless to say, the game looks utterly fantastic, the graphics look highly evolved from the Oblivion/Fallout engine. The snowy landscapes look sublime, the character models look more human and dragon combat looks exciting. I'm wondering whether the dragons will function in the same way as the Oblivion Gates in the last game or will they function like Big Daddies boss fights in Bioshock? Anyway, it all looks good and gamer geeks everywhere are going to be speculating this all over the internet. This may just be the most anticipated game of 2011 now. 


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Ghost Trains - Sniffing Round LA

* Originally written for The Sentinel.

Band Name: Ghost Trains
Release: Sniffing Round LA (LP)
Genre: Acoustic
Release Date: February 2011

Staffordshire acoustic trio, Ghost Trains release their second album Sniffing Round L.A. mere months after their debut Where Lovers Die. Independent in every sense of the word, Ghost Trains are riding a wave of creativity, having won a cult following with their soulful bohemian sound and melancholy lyrics. Opening song, Michael Caine, focuses the album within the gutter of the city angels, but it isn’t long before the album transcends itself skyward, as if floating on a breeze. Tim Ellis’s lyrics are thoughtful, sung with a variable sense of emotion where necessary and accented by sweet vocal harmonies. The acoustic melodies are executed masterfully and are truly worthy of getting lost within. As with the best acoustic music, Ghost Train thrive on subtlety to drop their bombs, the lyrics and music complement each other wonderfully and are absolutely deserving of your attention. 

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Charlie Goes Adventuring in Thailand Part 6: Ko Phangan

Its been a while, since the 2nd December in fact, but I finally got round to completing the next part of my Thailand videos. I was busy doing various forms of voluntary work experience all in the name of pursuing a career in media...  This one took longer than necessary as to make as I had to come up with a way of tackling how utterly trolleyed I got at the party. Was I drugged? Was I robbed? Just what the hell did happen? I still don't know and I sort of don't want to...

Anyway the video deals with Ko Phangan, another of the Gulf of Thailand's popular islands. Topics include discussion of Alex Garland's The Beach, the beauty of life on Thong Nai Pan and of course the full moon party/full moon parody of humanity that takes place once every month or so on Haad Rim.

Please enjoy...  I like the Nintendo references...

Sunday, 13 February 2011

New Foo Fighter track - White Limo

After teasing us over the last couple of weeks, the Foos have suddenly released a video for full length track White Limo right on time for Valentines Day. And it is love at first listen. I already wrote a bit about my expectations of the Foos next album and how I've sort of become disenfranchised with them as they've gotten bigger. I would just like to say that all is forgiven... They are absolutely channeling Weenie Beanie from their first album.

Rental Review Roundup 4

Another couple of months have gone by and I've plundered my way through some more games that I wouldn't pay top dollar for...

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Beefcake Andy Serkis will rip off your head and sh*t down your neck.
Ninja Theory, developers of Heavenly Sword return with their second game, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. I played Heavenly Sword a couple of months ago, I may have even written about it in the first ever rental review roundup. Whilst it was a generally an okayish brawler with a colourful collection of characters, it was mired by the inability to jump and some awful six axis sections. Thankfully, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is a vast improvement on all regards. The game treads somewhat similar ground or rather displays Ninja Theory’s knack for creating a richly detailed fantasy worlds with interesting characters.  Characters that are bound to grow on even the most cynical of gamers and maybe even persuade the non gaming converts into thinking that this nerdy past time is actually capable of producing a more wholesome entertainment experience than the usual rubbish that Hollywood churns out.

Ninja Theory are to be commended for really emphasizing story, which is written by Alex Garland, author of the Beach and supposedly a treatment of the Halo movie, an inevitability that remains in development purgatory. Enslaved is based on the ancient Chinese story, Journey to the West though transferred to a post apocalyptic depiction of America that is plagued with slavers and hunter killer robots. You play as Monkey, a beefcake version of Andy Serkis who returns to Ninja Theory after playing the villain in Heavenly Sword. After escaping a slave ship that crash lands in New York in an absolutely breathtaking introduction Monkey finds himself enslaved by Trip, a red haired farm girl who wants to return home safely. Home is some 300 miles away and if Trip dies, Monkey’s slave headband will explode or something. The point is that he is forced into following her orders, and to ensure that she makes it back home. Monkey of course warms to Trip very quickly, there may have been a moment of hostile rivalry at the beginning, by Monkey is too much of a teddy bear to reject authority despite his thick New Yoik accent.

Like Uncharted, the game takes you by the hand and guides you through a highly cinematic though very linear experience. The world attempts to illustrate an alternative take on the post apocalyptic landscape, a colourful vision of a world that has passed on without mankind. A bit like Darksiders then, except it is inhabited by killer robots. The combat is mostly a breeze, though satisfying and brutal, as you pummel legions of killer robots to a choir of metallic thonks, scrapes and wrenches. The game’s greatest achievement for 100Gs lies within its characters and story. Though the game plays well regardless, it is all the more satisfying because of it. I look forward to Ninja Theory reboot of the Devil May Cry series, though the combat is going to have to be a lot better if the developers don’t want to be hounded by fanboys.  In the mean time Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is a nigh perfect rental.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior
So many pockets...
Cast your minds back to the opening Dam level of Goldeneye, because something very important happened in that first guard tower. I’m talking of course about the sniper rifle. It was a revelation, and FPSs have never been the same since, with every game featuring its own version of the long ranged sniper’s rifle. Sniping has become a meta game in most shooters, the bane of the most unskilled players and the weapon of choice for the more solitary patient player.

Now, we have Sniper: Ghost Warrior, a game that focuses completely on picking off your targets from long range. Well for the majority of segments. There are a couple of bits when you will need to arm yourself accordingly with an assault rifle. When the game focuses on sniping, it works surprisingly well. As you find a place to hide and headshot all the unsuspecting guards through protracted slow motion bullet sequences. Unfortunately, the game is awful when you are given an assault rifle and are required to fight your battles more conventionally. The game is consistently buggy and has frame rate issues particularly in the assault rifle bits.

The game was originally released for a lower retail price in a move to undercut the sales of the more prominent shooters. Unfortunately, Sniper: Ghost Warrior won’t be much of a concern for Call of Duty’s billion dollar share of the market of course I couldn’t really recommend it even as a way of sticking a finger at Activision. For the best sniper sequences play last year’s Medal of Honour (reviewed by me on this very site) or the boss fight with The End in Metal Gear Solid 3.   

To take out an advanced alien civilization that harvests planets of all resources and indigenous life you're going to need a native American hero...
I owned Prey at one stage when it first came out in the summer of 2006, but I traded it in for a measly price of about five pounds at GAME. Since then I have regretted my decision as it was a decent if somewhat antiquated shooter that existed before console FPSs really took off, that is to say before the release of Halo 3 and COD4. It was also the last game to be made and released by 3D Realms (pauses for the readers who instantly think DUKE NUKEM FOREVER). I was getting nostalgic and added it to my rental list.

Prey has you play as Tommy a disillusioned mechanic of native American extraction who is dying to take his beloved girlfriend Jenny and move off of the reservation much to the disappointment of his elder grandfather who tries to get Tommy to take his heritage more seriously. Anyway one day, after repairing the toilet at his girlfriend’s bar, Tommy finds himself being abducted by aliens alongside his girlfriend and grandfather. He soon finds himself on the mothership where a great number of earth’s population are being harvested by the aliens for grisly purposes. It is a really well done sequence, with the game managing to convey a sense of terror and wondor as you find yourself within this truly alien environment. Obviously, it isn’t long before Tommy is soon running riot through the alien ship in search of his girlfriend and riding the trajectory of his character arc as he accepts his Indian heritage and gains such awesome powers as soul walking, which allows him to initiate outer body experiences all in the name of solving puzzles.

On second playthrough, I found myself enjoying the story a bit more. Its not Citizen Kane but you sort of want Tommy to succeed. Far more so than that Turok guy. Of course the best aspect of the game is the level design. Particularly in the first act of the game as you are introduced to the alien space craft, which includes anti gravity walk ways and portals. There are blue rimmed portals and orange rimmed portals, which is proof that Valve are guilty of plagiarism. The weapons in the game are slightly limited but it has all bases covered essentially, from the leech gun which literally leeches three different types of ammo (Lightning Gun FTW) and the slime shot gun. The enemies are pretty good aesthetically, a parade of grotesque alien monsters but they are mostly bullet sponges and rather than getting killed by them, when depleted of health points you find yourself within an arena upon the astral plain where you shoot flying wraiths with your soul arrows in order to resurrect yourself exactly on the spot where you died. It isn’t the hardest game by any stretch of the imagination but it is a decent enough story based shooter set within a memorable location. There is also a horrific scene in which you witness a little kid being stabbed to death by his sister. Very grisly. You don’t see that in many games, not that you would want to of course… 

Split Second

I don't really know what is happening, but I best just keep my foot on the pedal.
After Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, I suddenly found myself enjoying the humble racing game once again. Not since Project Gotham Racing had I had so much fun (RIP Bizarre Creations) and I felt obliged to try out Split Second, which was also released last year to glowing reviews. Existing as a cross between Stuntman and confrontational styled racers like Mario Kart, the premise of Split Second is sort of like American craziest police chases with more explosions and less police. Basically if Michael Bay did Nascar or Disney remade Death Race.

You build up your ‘power play’ by drafting and drifting, there are three levels, the first one will allow you to trigger explosions or other hazards in front of you to take out your competitors. Build up enough power and you will be able to trigger a monumental event that will change the race route and hopefully take out everyone that is on ahead of you. As a result the game can be quite easy for newcomers to pick up and play and the game gets harder the higher you are in the lead. Once you know all the races and the various hazards you will find yourself being able to evade much easier. There are a number of different game modes, from your normal races, time trials and elimination games. There are a couple of new modes, which require you to dodge missiles from an attack helicopter and another where you have to evade explosive barrels being churned out by a juggernaught.     

None of the cars are officially licensed so you’ll have to make up with Madeupi Roadster X Pro or the Boostmi Ego 4. The crashes aren’t quite as good as Burnout or Hot Pursuit, but wrecking your opponents is tremendously satisfying and you do get a bit of a rush as you hurtle along one of the courses evading fiery school buses and cranes arms that wipe across the road. The game can be a bit unfair sometimes, when you are first you are at a disadvantage, since all the cars behind you will be triggering explosions. You can find yourself riding high for the three laps right until some helicopter drops a red barrel on you just before the finish line and you will end up in last place. Suffice it to say, you will need your wits about you when playing Split Second, for those who want a more explosive alternative to the sublime Hot Pursuit, it is well worth checking out.           

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit - the quick and the dead

*This review was originally written for Crude Pixel. 

Title: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
Platform: Xbox360/PS3
Rating: PG
Genre: Arcade Racer
Developer: Criterion Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
I have killed plenty of virtual people during my video game career, committed various heinous acts of violence and attained the dastardly achievement in Red Dead Redemption. Despite this, I harbor a deep an unusual prejudice against the street racing genre based on the moral grounds that driving over the speed limit and being a general nuisance to a local albeit virtual community is just wrong. I cannot seem to shake the feeling that I shouldn’t be breaking the speed limit and bashing into commuters within a residential area. If you are like me, you will find much to enjoy with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit which gives you the opportunity to play as the police, allowing you to bring swift and brutal justice to all those awful racers out there. Whether these are the kind of racers exiled from The Fast and the Furious franchise, who wear their trousers at their knees listening to their stupid music as their accompanying lady friend climaxes all over the front passenger seat to the sound of their over powered small penis compensating engine or whether they are just the more affluent racers who believes that being able to afford a Bugatti Veyron automatically gives them a license to drive dangerously, you will feel perfectly at home taking these felons out from behind the wheel of your souped up police car.

It is true, that there have been many Need for Speed games over the last decade or so to the point that EAs brand has effectively become a complex mish mash of titles that cater for both the driving simulator and arcade racer fans. Following EA’s admirable though failed mission to promote new and original IPs in 2008 (which led to Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge) the publishers have turned their attention into reinventing their core series, hence last year’s Medal of Honour, a new SSX game and a revamp of Hot Pursuit. There have already been two Hot Pursuit games, the first was released on PSone in 1998 and the second was released for the following generation in 2002. In order to bring the series out of retirement, EA turned to Guilford based development team Criterion games who already boast much success with the genre through the Burnout series, which peaked with 2009’s Burnout Paradise.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is located within a fictional area of the North American landscape called Sea Crest County, which plays host to a series of illegal racing events. Far from being beaten, the authorities have decided to get even, by putting a stop to these races via specially engineered supercars. The game essentially consists of two career modes, one in which you play as the cops and the other where as you play as the criminals… or the racers. Completing races levels up your profile and unlocks new vehicles and challenges. There are over 60 cars in the retail version of the game (there are more available through DLC, naturally) ranging from Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Porsches, Koenigseggs and of course the Bugatti Veyron. Ferrari’s absence from the game is felt but there are enough to keep you busy. Whilst both careers are essentially made up of the same kind of events, time trial modes, one on ones and races, they are linked by the hot pursuit mode. An almighty race between eight cars who will also have to contend with the pursuing police forces. It is a highly climatic affair that builds and builds until the finish race is reached or the last racer is put out of commission. Each faction has an assortment of equipment and abilities including, spike traps, emp locks, road blocks and helicopters, which you will use to battle the other side and potentially to screw one another over. Hot pursuit mode is easily the best mode of the game, to the point that the normal races become slightly mundane. With that said, Criterion have succeeded in making a phenomenally exhilarating racer that evolves the genre dynamically, competitively and in accessibility.   

The sign says stop!

The first thing that will become apparent when playing Hot Pursuit is the sheer feeling of speed, which is absolutely unparalleled by any other racer that exists upon the market today. All cars have a nitrous injection, which is earned by powersliding, drafting and taking short cuts. This will help you get to top speed which isn’t necessarily the watershed. As you progress through the game, you unlock faster cars and eventually during the racer’s campaign you will unlock the turbo boost, which when used essentially transitions as a jump to hyperspace. Going fast in Hot Pursuit is an adrenaline rush and makes the game all the more addictive, literally putting the need back into Need for Speed. Of course, the faster you go the more risk you are taking, as you evade traffic and other obstacles upon the roads. Lest you want to go the way of Ratts Tyerell.

It is easy to see the spirit of Burnout in Hot Pursuit through the crashes, spectacular slow motion replays of soon to be written off supercars rolling to the symphony of twisted metal and shattered glass. Whether you are the victim or the perpetrator it is quite the definition of the old saying, of not being able to look away from a car crash. As the perpetrator, it is an immensely satisfying moment as you zoom on ahead but as the victim it can be crushing and towards the end of some of the later races it can spell the difference between first place and failure. The threat of crashing keeps you on your toes for most of the game and only increases the faster you go, and faster you’ll want to go.

Sweet justice. That will learn ya...
The routes you drive upon range from open roads that blister through low lying deserts or hang precariously off cliff sides overlooking the ocean. Other routes take you through snowy mountains and redwood forests, whilst others have you weaving through traffic on snaking freeways. The imagery is purely American and looks great as you zoom on past. There are also numerous shortcut routes that you can take to avoid the fuzz or gain an advantage within a race. Most are off road, and to utilize them to their fullest potential you will need a sturdier vehicle, the lower lying high performance vehicles will actually go slower through these routes, which adds a bit of balance to multiplayer. There is a subtle emphasis upon strategy that is implemented into the design of Hot Pursuit, which will require the player to think about their choice of vehicle. Stronger vehicles will help you last far longer against the police whilst faster vehicles will obviously give you the advantage in speed. Playing the different modes of each career isn’t necessarily an exercise of driving your most recently unlocked vehicle.

Thinking about how you are going to race will become more prominent through Hot Pursuit’s autolog feature. If you have friends playing Hot Pursuit, the game will automatically display their race times upon your dashboard. Though each race has the usual, bronze, silver and gold attainment of medals, if a friend has beaten your best time you will want to rectify this situation as soon as possible and so you enter the game’s highly competitive arena. During game you can take pictures at any point with a touch of a button and you can post these to your wall for your friends to see. Beat a friend’s time and you can type a message to rub it in their face. Previously, you could do this with any game but the genius of Hot Pursuit is in implementing it so fluidly within the game’s design. You can bet that more games are going to start doing this.

There are only a couple of niggles, as I have said before, the normal races that don’t feature the police are fairly boring in comparison to the headlining hot pursuit mode. Since this is a Need for Speed game, I guess the game couldn’t have shipped without your normal race modes. The game can be played in first or third person, as is usual for most racers of course, but why you would want to play the game in any for other perspective than first person is beyond me, unless if its just to see the Bugatti Veyron's spoiler come out when breaking. The game also includes a sound track of various different artists ranging from The Klaxons to MIA and whilst it is more a question of personal musical preferences I felt that there was a lot of filler in between some of the decent tracks. However, you probably won’t be too bothered by the musical soundtrack under the colossal sound of your engine as you takedown an opposing vehicle.   


Serious driving simulator fans will probably groan at the game’s errant simplicity and sense of unreality. For everybody else, they will enjoy a highly accessible and replayable racer. Needless to say Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is a triumphant reboot of the series and the racing genre in general. It manages to simplify the usual racer by putting a much needed emphasis back upon speed but deepens it by allowing the players to employ a variety of different styles, whether it be aggressive, speedy or somewhere between the two. Its revolutionary social stat tracking adds much competitive life to the game that will last long after you have gained every gold medal.        

Lilya 4 Ever - A tale of false hope in the former Soviet Union

Film: Lilja 4 Ever
Release Date: 25th April, 2003
Certificate: 18
Running Time: 109 minutes
Director: Lukas Moodysson
Oksana Akinshina, Artyom Bogucharsky, Tõnu Kark
Genre: Drama
Studio: Sonet Film
Format: DVD
Country: Sweden

Lilja 4 Ever is the third film from Swedish director Lukas Moodysson and is the story of one girl’s belief that she is destined for happiness within an area of the former Soviet Union where the prospects of child prostitution and sex trafficking are forever looming. The narrative of a girl's descent into prostitution may be a cliched narrative of world cinema but it doesn't stop Lilja 4 Ever from being all the more harrowing. 

Opening to the sound of industrial death metal, we are introduced to Lilja (played by Oksana Akinshina),who wanders bruised and disorientated, lost and alone, in a foreign city. Coming across a bridge, she prepares to jump off onto the busy highway below in an act of suicide. Fading to black, the film resumes three months earlier in the former Soviet Union to an impoverished area of Estonia.

Lilja is elated at the prospect of moving to America with her mother and her new ‘boyfriend’. Unfortunately, after a family meeting, it transpires that the mother is to move off to the US without Lilja who will be left under the care of a cruel and seemingly uncaring aunt. Left on her own, Lilja is forced into coming up with a way to support herself, which comes in the form of prostitution. Forming a friendship with Volodya, a local boy and son of an abusive alcoholic father, Lilja manages to maintain her composure as she makes enough money to live independently. After forming a relationship with a Swedish gentleman, Lilja is asked to move to Sweden with him. It seems as if her dreams are finally becoming true.       

From the harrowing opening sequence it is clear that Lilja 4 Ever is not going to be an easy film to watch. The film is based on real life events where 16 year old Danguole Rasalaite jumped off a bridge after being transported from her home in Lithuania to Sweden under the allusion that she was going to have a job but in reality was pimped out and sexually abused upon a daily basis. She died three days later after jumping and her story was pieced together by three letters she was carrying at the time.

For director Lukas Moodysson it marks a startling change, his debut film Show Me Love out grossed Titanic in his native Sweden and his last picture Together was an oddball hippy comedy of sorts with dark satirical undertones. By contrast, Lilja 4 Ever is a fairy tale set within a gritty urban area, there are monsters and angels, an evil aunt, a loyal and dependable friend and even a handsome prince. Lilja is effectively a princess who believes unquestionably in this narrative that her luck is destined to change, dreaming that her prince charming will come and whisk her far away from the misery that surrounds her. It will of course lead to her downfall and the audience knows this of course, and the film’s predictability only adds to its tragedy. 

The relationship between Lilja and Volodya are the core to the film.
The more innocent scenes between Lilja and Volodya form the core of the story and feel reminiscent of the character interactions as seen in the films of Shane Meadows and Ken Loach. That is, two characters living in impoverishment but still finding happiness in their lives through their friendship. Lilja herself played by Oksana Akinshina can at times appear to be a spoiled brat as she flaunts her success in the faces of friends and neighbours, and you can sometimes forget that she is just a kid.     

Next to the Millennium trilogy, Lilja 4 Ever illuminates Sweden’s misogynist undercurrents. Less critical, and more of an outright condemnation, Moodysson is on the warpath against his native homeland on this front. Sometimes the film feels as if it is going too far, the film’s Ramstein opening, for example is a particularly bombastical approach, you may ask why a Swedish film would open to German death metal. Though it does add an element of confusion, you do wonder how Lilja would have any conception of this kind of music, even when she has been pushed so far to the edge, she views death as her only liberation.

The ugliest moments of the movie come in the form of a series of montage sequences, in which we witness from Lilja’s perspective, a parade of older men raping her. The sheer number of men is sickening, the whole experience invasive and completely without passion, like the audience is being raped themselves. It is no understatement to say that these scenes may just be enough to put you off sex for life. Even after the film has finished, these sequences will linger, as you realize that someone somewhere on this planet will be experiencing this horror for real.

Lilja 4 Ever, is not for the faint of heart. Though there are moments of tenderness to balance the unremitting horror and overwhelming sense of hopelessness, the film feels like a very angry film as Lilja is buoyed on by delusional dreams much to the audiences’ own distress. It is certainly a hard film to recommend, as any film that deals with child prostitution will be, but then this is a subject that cannot be left out of minds.

The Strokes - Under Cover of Darkness

The Strokes are back, after almost four years in purgatory. Their new album, Angles is coming in the Spring and has been preceded by the single, Under Cover of Darkness, which was released as a free download via their website for a limited time. Which was very nice of them... Anyway, the new single has a real swing to it and it almost feels, dare I say it? Uncannily like their first album. It has that same retro lego tightness... What a breakthrough. The music press seem to have the habit of complaining that the band have never regained the inspiration of that first album, which came to earth to save us all from the Stereophonics and Nu Metal by instating the prevalence of 'indie rock' in 2001. It is jarring to consider just how influential The Strokes became with the release of that album, a literal decade ago no less. Lets hope they don't exert themselves too much like they did with their third album, First Impressions of Earth. Short and snappy, gentleman. That is what you guys are good at.

Foo Fighers - New Album

1st teaser: Bridge Burning

The Foo Fighters have finished recording their seventh studio album which is set to be released later this year, in April. Produced by the legendary Butch Vig and recorded in Dave Grohl's garage, the album has already been teased through a couple of 30 second snippets, and promises to be their heaviest yet. This of course comes after extensive dabbling with the acoustic guitars on their last two albums. Former Nirvana band mate, Krist Novoselic will be playing bass and accordion on one of the tracks and guitarist Pat Smear is also confirmed to be playing on all tracks after rejoining the band as they toured their last album.

I have been a big Foo Fighter fan ever since There is Nothing Left to Lose, I have witnessed the band go from a popular band to one of the biggest bands in the planet, but after 2007's Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace I have felt myself sadly becoming less interested in the band. Personally, I felt that the band faltered after 2003's One by One, which I quite liked as an album in itself but one that saw the band go through a bit of trouble to produce. 2005's double album In Your Honour was founded on an identity crisis, creating one disc of the loudest material of their career and another disc that was dedicated entirely to acoustic guitar. I think it was a bit of a crime separating these two streams because the Foos have always been a band that worked on these two levels. They crossed the streams with their last album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace but you still had these two elements seemingly working against one another, sometimes within the same song. It seemed impossible to recapture the essence of songs like Aurora, but maybe this is the problem of a band that grows older. Maybe I'm just a massive softie. 

2nd Teaser: Miss the Misery

That said, I am excited about this new album. I'm excited that they are working with Butch Vig and I'm excited that they are going back to basics. Also hoping that we may get a sequel to Stacked Actors, with Grohl, Vig, Novoselic and Pat Smear forming a low key Nirvana reunion...

Undiscovered Soul - Let Go

* This music review was originally used for an article for The Sentinel.

Band name: Undiscovered Soul
Release: Let Go (EP) 
Genre: Rock
Release Date: January 3rd 2011

With the release of debut EP ‘Let Go’, local band Undiscovered Soul may have to rethink their band name, as they start attracting fans with their old school Saturday night rock music. The band’s true power lies with front woman, Maisie Cole, who sings with mighty gusto. Most refreshingly she has great diction, projecting the knowingly clichéd lyrics with great emotional gravitas. Stand out tracks include I’ll Be There, an infectious dose of breezy power pop with laugh out loud biblical references, and Won’t be Mine with its heavy guitar chords seemingly looking out for a fight. Title track, Let Go, is a slow burning power ballad laced with lazy Southern guitar which unfortunately sounds as if it is selling some high profile golfing resort. On the whole, however, Undiscovered Soul serve up a hearty meal of traditional meat and potatoes rock music. My diagnosis? Eat it. It’s good for you.