Saturday, 23 January 2016

Ten Cover Songs To Enhance Your Weekend

1. Violet (Hole) by Lauren Tate (Hands Off Gretel)
Not an easy song to pull off vocally, but Hands Off Gretel's Lauren Tate has a voice that can easily rival Courtney Love.
2. Shake It Off (Taylor Swift) by Charli XCX
Charli and her band turned Taylor's hit into a spunky pop-punk anthem for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.

3. Oblivion (Grimes) by Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand did a live, unplugged version of Grimes' hugely addictive song for a French radio station.

4. Needle In The Hay (Elliott Smith) by Juliana Hatfield
Recorded for the I Saved Latin! A Tribute To Wes Anderson compilation, Juliana puts her own spin on Elliott's song, without sacrificing any of the original's intensity.

5. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths) by Dum Dum Girls
This fuzzy cover can be found of the bands' EP, He Gets Me High.

6. Lies (CHVRCHES) by Muse
Another Live Lounge gem - Muse took CHVRCHES' dark synth pop track and added in some fuzzy bass and distortion.
7. Falling (Haim) by CHVRCHES
I love this cover. CHVRCHES turned a song I like into a blippy, synthy song that I love.
8. On a Mission (Katy B) by The Skints
The Skints stripped back, toned-down version is just as catchy as Katy B's version.
9. The Mother We Share (CHVRCHES) by SOAK
I know, I've two CHVRCHES covers in this list... but that's how good they both are! SOAK’s acoustic version of this song adds a tenderness and fragility.

10. Stay With Me (Sam Smith) by FKA Twigs
FKA Twigs managed to take Sam Smith's boring, overrated shit-fest and turn it into a darkly, haunting, actually interesting song - wow!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Thoughts on Jessica Jones

*CW: abuse, rape

Jessica Jones, the most recent Marvel TV series, is about a woman living in Hell's Kitchen (yes, the same setting as Daredevil), working as a Private Investigator and trying to get to grips with her PTSD.

It's a pretty straightfoward premise for a show, and it starts off in a way you might expect it to, with Jessica getting a new case to investigate; things begin to get complicated when she notices parallels between the disappearance of the girl she's investigating, and events in her own past.
This brings Jessica's ex-abuser, and the shows main villain, Killgrave back into the picture. What makes Jessica Jones more than just another great Marvel show is its portrayal of abuse and PTSD. We don't just see her fighting the bad guy and saving people; we see her dealing with flashbacks of what Kilgrave did to her, using alcohol to cope, isolating herself.
Killgrave's power is mind control - he just has to say what he wants someone to do out loud, and they are compelled to do it. That's why Killgrave is such a terrifying character; he doesn't attack with weapons or physical strength, his attack is psychological. He is Marvel's version of an everyday abuser. He uses the same techniques that other abusive men use (manipulation, gaslighting), only at a slightly elevated level.

I like that the show didn't take the route is so easily could have, which would have been to use Jessica's flashbacks as a way to show scenes of graphic abuse and be all "look how dark we are, give us credibility!". We actually see very little of Jessica's flashbacks, only enough to know that she has them, and they're traumatic. The writing of the show allows us to piece together what she's been through without showing us much at all.

Jessica Jones not only looks at how rape/abuse effect the individual, but also at how society treats the crime as a whole. Jeri Hogarth, and the general public's, cynicism and disbelief of what Killgrave is capable of is represenetetive of how victim's and rape accusations are treated.

There's also the guilt that Jessica feels for what she did whilst under Killgrave's control. She had no control over what happened, yet she still blames herself, feels there was something she should have done differently. Again, this is also common in victims of sexual assault.

I thought the flashback's to Killgrave's past were handled really well; as a viewer, you find yourself in the difficult position of sympathising with him at times, then realising that you yourself have been lied to.
I can't end this without mentioning the shows side characters, of course. As the show went on, I found myself really liking Jessica's adoptive sister, Trish Jones. At first, I thought she was going to be the typical, dissapproving sibling who has all of her shit together and only really only exists to show us just how chaotic the main characters life is. Thankfully, this wasn't the case here; Trish is intelligent, fiercley loyal to Jessica, with her own backstory; a former child star who now has her own radio show, she grew up with an abusive mother and has also found herself a victim of Killgrave, who tries to have her killed. We see her trying to quietly reclaim her life and body. I hope we get to see more of her in the future.

Overall, I loved Jessica Jones. It's such a cliche to say this when talking about comic book adaptations, but this is so much more than another superhero show. There's so much going on besides "superpowers", I could easily write a short novels worth of words about how I feel about it! I'd recommend it to anyone, regardless of if you're a Marvel fan.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Ned's Atomic Dustbin (KYTV Festival) - Wolverhampton Civic Hall

This year saw the first (of, hopefully, many) Kill Your Television Festival, put on by Ned's Atomic Dustbin who describe the event as "a celebration, an end and a beginning." In case you're not familiar with the band, "Kill Your Television" is the name of their 1990 single that went straight to the top of the Indie singles chart, the phrase now having reached semi-iconic status.

First to take the stage tonight was West Country band, Eat, with The Wonder Stuff's Malc Treece on guitar. They played well, and even brought a guy from the audience onstage who was wearing a Christmas turkey hat - definitely a highlight!

Next up, and certainly the most festive band of the night, was The Primitives, their equipment adorned with tinsel and christmas lights, it was the perfect setting for them to finally play their Christmas song, "You Trashed My Christmas", live. (And I got their set list, yay!)

The Wedding Present were the third band in tonight's line-up. Despite their self-described semi-legendary status, I hadn't ever actually listened to the band before. Within hearing them get half-way through the first song of their set, it hit me that I love The Wedding Present and what even was my life before this moment?

Clearly I've been blind to their brilliance, especially if the reaction of some of their die-hard fans in the audience is anything to go by.

By now, the Civic Hall was packed. Ned's Atomic Dustbin came onstage, and so began one of the sweatiest, rib-crushing gigs (in a good way) I've been to in a long time!

Opening with "Not Sleeping Around", the band are clearly loving every second of being on stage.

Partway through their set, vocalist John Penney reveals that the band have "got their arses in gear and written a new song." Titled "Self Defence", it could easily have been taken from one of their previous albums, and the crowd loved it.

Oh, and a special mention does need to go to Santa Clause, who apparently took a night off from his Christmas prepartions to get in a bit of crowd-surfing.

This was such a fun night and, given how packed the venue was, hopefully we'll see something similar this year!