Monthly Archives: January 2014

WoT: Chords in the Right Order

London Grammar – If You Wait

Maybe I’m wasting my young years. Maybe we are.

Were it not for an ad placed by drummer Peter Criss in Rolling Stone, the world would not have been graced by the musical stylings of Kiss. Flash forward 40ish years and the world has Facebook to thank for bringing together Hannah Reid and Dan Rothman, 2/3 of London Grammar. Rothman and Reid attended the University of Nottingham, and it was a picture of Reid on Facebook with her guitar that inspired Rothman to ask her to collaborate. Multi-instrumentalist Dot Major was added later after being introduced to the band by Rothman’s girlfriend. While a single with the inexplicable staying power of “Rock and Roll All Nite” is still forthcoming, these three finding each other is an exciting and promising music story for 2014.

If You Wait opens slowly with “Hey Now,” showcasing Reid’s soaring vocals over bass drum heartbeats and bare guitars. Her voice is oft-compared to nearly every contemporary female vocalist, for me I get a lot of Florence Welch, however Reid is more nuanced. Her voice has unquestionable power, but it’s when she chooses not to use it that you really notice.

The album really takes off with “Stay Awake.” Reid inflects emotional pleas very well, and this track is no exception, mixing her fractured but strong vocals with a driving cymbal and tom beat. Like countrymen the xx, London Grammar use silence and breakdowns well. Something as simple as a loan piano chord can provide the most memorable moment.

The standout track, and probably the one that will propel this band to the next level, is “Wasting My Young Years.” Building from just piano into a driving epic, it showcases everything that London Grammar is about. If there is any justice in the world, London Grammar are the next big thing and band to watch in 2014. The xx were a sub-headliner at Coachella 2013, it’s easy to see London Grammar reaching similar heights over the next few years.

If you’re only going to buy one track: Wasting My Young Years

You might like if you like: the xx, Polica, CHVRCHES

Local info: Playing the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis April 3rd w/ Vancouver Sleep Clinic. $13/$15

http://londongrammar.com/home/

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Kyle’s Spoiler-FREE Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

As a guy that’s seen every Lord of the Rings/Hobbit film in theaters as well as owning them all on Blu-Ray, I knew that I’d be seeing this latest installment as well. Now before the stereotypes enter your head I want to clarify a few things. I’m not a reader. So by not being a reader, I have not read any of the books in the LOTR series or it’s prequel, The Hobbit. I tried to read The Hobbit once in 5th grade and barely got through a couple of pages before I was lost and didn’t care to continue. That being said, I only know & love the world of hobbits, dwarfs, elves, and Gandalf through Peter Jackson’s creations. I’ve seen them all in the theater, once at their own individual time of release, and again when I bought them on Blu-Ray within this last year. 

 

Heading into the 2nd installment of the Hobbit trilogy it’s become more and more hard not to subject oneself to the reviews of critics or friends that have seen the flick, especially since I waited to see it in it’s 4th week of release. I’ve heard from quite a few people that they feel the Hobbit should have just been 1 or 2 films instead of a trilogy but we all know that’s not how Hollywood and money do business together. With those feelings aside, this is a trilogy and I took as such.

 

My actual review of the movie is spoiler-free and pretty scarce but here goes.

I liked it quite a bit. 

 

The movie is more action-packed compared to The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey. I understand that that film had to set up the back story and work up to it but it seemed really long and it dragged. I mean, 45 minutes of dwarfs eating dinner at Bilbo’s house was a little overkill (45 minutes was a total estimate but that’s how long it felt). The Desolation of Smaug ended up being 8 minutes shorter in length but really didn’t feel like it. I’ve seen some other movies lately in theaters that have been about as long but felt like it, this was very different and I credit that to Peter Jackson.

 

Overall I feel that the cliffhanger at the end of The Desolation of Smaug left me craving more where The Unexpected Journey’s cliffhanger was rather lackluster and left me not really caring but knowing I would see the next film anyway. The thirst for the 3rd installment is real though with all the action taking place at the end of The Desolation of Smag. The cast was amazing again. Martin Freeman didn’t steal the show as much in this one to me as the film focused more on Thorin, the head dwarf. The way they made Smaug was pretty neat and the CGI wasn’t even that noticeable. I also had no idea Benedict Cumberbatch was the voice until I looked it up after. Orlando Bloom does another solid job as Legolas and the new addition of former “Lost” actress Evangeline Lilly was great for those hoping for some more elvish eye candy.

 

I fully recommend anyone to see this film. If you haven’t seen The Unexpected Journey, see that first, but you don’t need to see the Lord of the Rings trilogy if you don’t want to. In fact, I recommend this series over that if you didn’t see LOTR because you didn’t think it was for you or that you didn’t want to give into the hype or something. Also, be on the lookout for Stephen Colbert’s very brief cameo. I laughed out loud when I finally found him, Where’s Waldo style.

 

(Only criticism of all of these films in either series is that the spiders and orcs are gross and they creep me out. The spiders are the worst)