About The Cold Cut...

The musings of a teenage audiophile. Indie, Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap, Dance, Dubstep, Garage, Metal... music crosses all boundaries. The Cold Cut is devoted to giving you a taste of what's going on in music at the moment.

About Me

A 17 year old taking his first tentative steps into the world of blogging. In my first year, its been up and down, from the slow first months to a busy time around the one year anniversary.

Arctic Monkeys: Favourite Worst Nightmare Review

It was pretty obvious at the end of 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not', that the Arctic Monkeys were going to have a really hard time topping the critical acclaim of their debut album. But needless to say, they went away for a year and a few months, and they have released a fantastically different album that defies the common mantra that 'second albums are always rubbish'. I can honestly say that this album is better than the first; Alex Turner's lyrics are as sharp as ever, and the skill of the band on their respective instruments have increased hugely. Matt Helders, the drummer, in particular has obviously been working hard; the drumming on this album is off the map. This is obvious on the excellent single and first track 'Brianstorm', which features the first real contribution from the new bassist, Nick O' Malley. This track is great, and seems to get better with every play: first impressions weren't great, but after a few plays, it matches 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor' for a first single, if being a lot heavier, meaner and faster.

The sound of the new album is more varied than their debut; there are much heavier tracks such as 'D Is For Dangerous', which has a rampaging joint vocal and rhythm between Turner and Helders, who has a good voice in his own right. These songs are contrasted by the more low-key songs like 'Only One Who Knows' which has only Turner's Vocal and Jamie Cook's accompanying guitar. The best song of the album, though, is 'Fluorescent Adolescent', a song which may be the 'Mardy Bum' of this album, a quieter song which still steals the album from the more 'exciting' tracks which include 'Teddy Picker' a loud, in your face track which suitably follows 'Brianstorm'. 'Teddy Picker' is about the celebrity of Hollywood; it seems like that this album focusses on the experiences this band has had since they were thrust into stardom. Whereas the first album focussed on the experiences they had in the Sheffield borough of High Green, this album is really the band, and Turner in particular, coming to turns with their new celebrity.

I have to say, I was worried that once all the hype surrounding the first album had died down and the internet distribution fad had died out, that the Arctic Monkeys would struggle to retain their audience. I'm really glad to see that they have written an excellent new album, which whilst different, wont change people's opinion that this is one of the best contemporary guitar bands the UK has ever seen.

Here is one of the great song off this album, Teddy Picker. If you like it, head over to iTunes or Play.com to get the album.

Arctic Monkeys- Teddy Picker

Introducing Lewis Hamilton: the new Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton is a revelation; since Damon Hill retired in 1999, Britain has been stuck with Jensen Button, who has only succeeded in winning a one out of his 113 races. To be fair, he as been on the podium a fair few times, but Britain's new boy Lewis Hamilton has been on the podium in both of his first two races. He was placed third in the Australian Grand Prix, and second in the next Grand Prix in Sepang. This was exceptional, and is the best result ever seen in a driver's first two races in Formula One. Its no coincidence that the day after his first race I opened up the newspaper to find his face on pretty much every advert and article, touting him justifiably as the next F1 star. My Dad certainly thinks so; he has been closely following Hamilton since the start of is F1 career and I can hear his excitement on a Sunday race morning when Lewis inevitably places.

In the qualifying race for the Bahrain race that took place this morning, Hamilton got his first front-row start, coming second after Ferrari's Felipe Massa. I hope the pattern I see emerging continues to develop, and that Hamilton finishes first tomorrow. Whatever happens, it is clear that Britain has found a new talent to take some of the strain of Button (a bit like Andy Murry coming along to relieve Tim Henman as the only British hope).

Vista- One update every two hours

Last week my dad ordered a brand new computer from Dell, complete with a 2.4 Ghz dual-core AMD processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 256 Mb Nvidia Geforce graphics card, a 320 GB hard drive, all in one printer and a 19" ultra sharp LCD screen. And to top it all off, we got a free version of Windows Vista Professional. Not bad for the £800 price tag, hey?

Well, the computer arrived yesterday morning, and we had it up and running by the evening. The shipping notes said that everything was installed and ready out of the box, yet as soon as we booted up the machine and plugged in the network cable, there was an instant message saying the PC had to be restarted, as updates were installed. I did so, as I thought 'this is the first startup, so thats okay'. But then as soon as we restarted the machine, more notifications popped up on the side of the screen. This has been the case every time the machine has been turned on, and internet forums say that this will happen for the next 6 months!

I have to say, I was a bit skeptical when my Dad asked me whether it was worth getting Vista. The only reason we got it was because it was free with the computer. On first impression, it alls seems really good: visually, it is leagues ahead of XP. The colours are more vivid, and Microsoft has obviously taken a leaf out of Apple's books- they have included gadgets on the sidebar, which are amazingly similar to 'widgets'. But the problems lie beneath the attractive surface. It seems as if Windows have rushed the operating system; there are compatibility issues with printers, speakers etc, and I have already mentioned the constant updates.

I know its fairly recent, but there shouldn't be this many issues this early on. Have many of you out there updated to Vista from XP, and if you have, what do you think?

Second Life... Why not get a first one?

Second Life is a internet based virtual-world which is the latest 'craze': since its creation in 2004 by Linden Lab, 5 million people have registered and created avatars of themselves, all of which can be customised to look like the user. There are many other things to do in Second Life, but everything costs money. This is an issue.... whenever there is a cost element to something (games in particular), there is likely to be violence. How else can you explain the deaths there have been in Hong Kong because someone has not received the virtual sword they payed for?

I don't think there have been many issues so far with Second Life, and the whole concept seems quite appealing. The only problem is that most people who are members of Second Life don't have any aims: they just wander around, spending their valuable Linden Dollars (350 to each American Dollar). I don't mind those who are making money out of Second Life, such as Anshe Chung (the first Second Life millionaire), but there are many people out there who see Second Life as an alternative to reality. Its really sad that this is the way it is, but many people find it easier to communicate under the guise of an avatar, as they can change the way it looks. Even more so, Linden Lab is making huge amounts of money out of these people, as the registration fee and land prices in Second Life keep rise daily.

I hope you can see that it is ridiculous when a virtual world such as Second Life can have a higher GDP ($600 million) than some small countries. If anyone out there uses it or is interested, I would like to hear about why you use it, and why it appeals to you.

Flickr... putting the fun into photography

I recently discovered the wonders of www.flickr.com, as I'm sure many other people have. To describe it is hard: have you ever been on holiday and had your camera run out of battery at an inopportune moment? Well, on flickr, you can find a photo of the things you missed. This website offers a unique way of posting photos: you create an account, and then post photos in your profile with specific tags. This way, people can go to the website, search for 'Empire State Building' and be presented with a multitude of photos relating to their search, with the dates on which they were taken, and the albums to which they belong.

I think its a really good idea, and those who post images get a certain amount of satisfaction from the process as well. People can post comments relating to the image, telling the photographer that the images are good (or bad), which is encouraging. The only issue with it is that sometimes I deliberately don't carry my camera as I know the images on flickr will be better, not least due to the fact that I am rubbish at taking photos...

I am not a user of flickr, but I know a few people who are... Is it easy to use? And do those of you who use it find it encouraging?

Has the Playstation brand finally met it's match?

When the PS3 was released in America in November last year, it was competing against the Xbox 360 and the Wii, both of which had been released months before. The Playstation wasn't met with the same acclaim as the Wii or the Xbox 360, and many shops had trouble selling the units. When it was recently released in Europe, it started selling quite well, but is still a long way from the amount of units that Nintendo and Microsoft have sold.

I'm sure many of you know that the price is main reason for this problem; at £425 or $600 in the UK and US resectively, its a little steep. Add onto that the price of games and the necessary HD-TV and you have a considerable investment. Sony hasn't been particularly smart in the way they have marketed the console; it is far more than just a games console: its a media centre. There is not enough emphasis that the Playstation 3 is a Blu-Ray player as well, and that currently the cheapest Blu-Ray player on the market is £1000. In that context, the PS3 is a bargain, as it connects to the internet, plays games and music as well!

Another problem is the lack of good launch titles. Other than Resistance: Fall of Man, there aren't a large amount of stand-out games, which is disappointing. The games are also really expensive, because Blu-Ray discs are hard to produce. I think the problem will resolve itself, but this will take time: the technology costs (Blu-Ray Drives etc) need to drop before Sony can start selling lots of units, and the war between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray needs to be fought out. Then people can make the decision to buy a PS3 without worrying about whether Blu-Ray discs will be obsolete in a years time. I personally am going to wait; I think they will release a cheaper version in the near future. If anyone out there has a PS3, I would appreciate your comments on whether you think its a good console and a worthy investment.

Is the ipod the ultimate mp3 player?

The 1st generation ipod was released in 2001, to mild acclaim. I reckon it was about the 3rd generation when it started to become the modern icon it is today. As the owner of a 5th generation ipod and the previous owner of a 3rd generation ipod, I am a proud part of this phenomenon. I should probably say now that I got a 5th generation ipod because my first one broke... so why do people keep coming back for more?

Well, I will first point out that the ipod is more than just an mp3 player: it is a piece of art. The looks of the ipod are striking enough that people wanted one just from the adverts. Initially, Apple was ahead of the curve in terms of its user interface as well, so they were giving the full package. In the time it took the other mp3 companies (Sony, Creative) to catch up with the ipod, it had all of us hooked.

Apple are very good at keeping up with technological developments; they release a new generation of the ipod yearly, keeping the consumers interested and willing to wait for the next version. For example, the rumour-mills say that a new widescreen ipod will be on the market within the year. The only current issue I can find with the ipod is the batterty; the quoted life on the 30Gb video ipod is 18 hours of music, and I get about 10 on a good day. Another problem is the fact that the ipod is essentially, just a nicely presented hard-drive. Hard-drives are made of lots of small components and a small rotating reel, and are likely to fall apart is moved around. So think about the fact that many people use their ipods for running: its no wonder so many of them break!

I'm sure many of you out there have ipods; have you had any problems with yours? Do you keep coming back for more? And if you haven't got one, whats your view on this iconic piece of technology?

Youtube... the completely free revolution?

I recently heard that Google, the new owners of Youtube, are considering rewarding their contributors by giving people specific sums of money if their videos are watched. I think this is a really cool idea, and it's good to know that they want to repay the people who have made them so much money, but I think they have missed out a really important point...

It is inevitable that as soon as an object becomes valuable, people will be looking for a cut of the money. To put this into context, if a person receives money for a video containing popular music on Youtube, then the person whose music it is will file for a lawsuit unless they get a portion of the money. This can only be stopped by people who make completely original videos, which are few and far between. Does anyone have any ideas as to how we can counter this?

Navy officers held for 2 weeks, and then released witout a deal?

The 15 British Navy Officers who supposedly strayed into Iranian waters 2 weeks ago have been in captivity, and on the front page of newspapers, for the last 13 days. And yet, after the whole ordeal, they were released yesterday with the assurance from Tony Blair that there had been absolutely no negotiations or side deals. It's good to know that the argument concerned was more important to the British Government than the lives of the 15 servicemen and woman: Tony Blair was more interested in denying the fact that the ship was in Iranian waters than making sure the captives were alive and well.

I find it very hard to believe that there was no deal to ensure the release of the prisoners. What else would explain the changes in their treatment throughout their stay in Iran? When they were captured, the sailors were lined up with loaded weapons cocked and aimed at them. To make things worse, they were each interrogated in turn and were told they would face several years in prison if they denied the accusation that they were in Iranian waters. Yet when they were released, each sailor was given an individual gift! Why the sudden change in heart? If anyone has any theories on this, I would like to hear them.

Sunshine... a view of our future?

I have, of course, seen Trainspotting. I wouldn't be able to call myself a film fan unless I had seen it, and it ranks highly in my favourite films. I'm sure many of you have also seen 28 Days Later, which did for zombie films what Alien did for sci-fi. Another excellent movie I watched recently was The Beach, which had a great twist. And the one thing that connects all these films is that they were directed by the one and only Danny Boyle.

Well, I have been waiting anxiously for his next film, Sunshine, to be released, and the time is finally upon us. Sunshine is set 50 years in the future, when the sun is dying. An international group of astronauts are sent to reignite the sun with a bomb the size of Manhattan. Now, many people have drawn parallels between the concepts of both Sunshine and Armageddon, but the similarities end with the story... As the crew of Icarus II (ironic name, huh?) edge closer to the sun, they become aware of the remains of Icarus I, which was the first attempt to reignite the sun which was disappeared. I'm not going to ruin the story, but there is more to Icarus I than meets the eyes; needless to say, all hells breaks lose and people die.Please check out the sidebar to watch the trailer...

I haven't seen the film yet, but as soon as its on general release, i will. Early reviews have been good, but people say that Boyle drops the ball a bit with the ending. If you have seen the film, I would really like to hear what you think about it: Did you think the ending was good? Do you think Danny Boyle is a great director?

Children of Húrin

I was reading through the news the other day when I read an article saying that another Lord Of The Rings book will be published next month. How, I thought? J.R.R Tolkien has been dead for many years now, and I don't think anyone else could capture the target audience as he did. But it appears Tolkien was writing a book when he died 90 years ago. His son Christopher Tolkien Junior decided to finish the uncompleted book, and has taken almost 3 decades to complete it. Early reviews say it is "an epic story of adventure, tragedy, fellowship and heroism" which bodes well, and is set around the time period of the Hobbit.

It will be interesting to see if Christopher can capture the spirit of the earlier books: he has used his father's considerable notes to tell the story as it was meant to be told, and it is already being considered for movie treatment. How this will fit in is to be seen, with Peter Jackson not directing the Hobbit. I myself will probably be purchasing a copy, when it comes out on April 16th.

David Blaine thinks he's a GOD?

David Blaine markets himself as the herald of his generation. He even has the audacity to compare himself to Jesus... but just wait a minute; if i remember correctly, Jesus didn't live in an oversized nappy for 5 weeks whilst being tempted in the desert; when Blaine did the 'Above the Below' stunt over the Thames, he lived in a perspex box for 44 days without any food. It was pretty spectacular, but Blaine had a constant supply of water and had been stockpiling food for weeks before the event, so I think it is unfair to compare this to the Temptation of Christ.

I find it really disturbing that he wants to compare himself to Christ- it is obvious to the public that he is very talented, but why does he find the need to draw parallels between a character who may or may not be fictional? He is an excellent magician, but i think his career may be cut short by these tests; he has been hospitalised many times; in his most recent stunt, Blaine lived in a water-filled sphere for 7 days with regulated oxygen before attempting to break the world record for holding your breath. To make things worse, this was done whilst he was trying to escape from chains, and needless to say, he fell short by a minute. Afterwards, doctors said that areas of skin on his body were dying, he had liver failure and considerable brain damage!

But this obviously didn't deter him; he said he wanted to have another go at the record, and undertook another task recently called Revolution. I just think he should go back to the basics: he is a talented street magician, but this obviously isn't enough for him. I find it quite hard to take him seriously anymore; he has something to prove, but I just find myself laughing at his 'miracles'. I don't know how other people respond to his stunts, please comment....

Big Brother or the Golden Cage?

So how many people out there think Big Brother is ridiculous? Who would want to give up 2 to 3 months of their lives for the infinitesimally small chance of a £10000 prize. Well, that's nothing. In Holland, where I currently live, they have a program called De Gouden Kooi, which is translated as The Golden Cage. It was the first reality TV show, and Big Brother is based on its formula. Not particularly groundbreaking, I know, but the difference here is that De Gouden Kooi goes on for 3 years. Yes, that's right, 3 years, 36 months, 1068 days... And the prize?
This Villa
As you can probably see its pretty small villa at that. You do have to question the contestants logic; I sincerely believe that I could make enough money to buy a house in 3 years, without the added bonus of living in the company of at least a couple of people I hate. I suppose that there are some advantages; you get your food and accommodation for 3 years (better than squatting I suppose), and you get to look like a pillock on national TV. Plus, don't forget that you will be a guaranteed Z-list celebrity when you eventually get thrown out. Definately worth it?

I haven't watched the program, given the fact that I understand about 4 words of dutch, but it's hard to imagine the public maintaining their obsession for 3 years, let alone 3 months... I wonder what the contestants are like. At the moment on Big Brother it seems like you have to have some kind of mental disability or dual-personality to be selected, which I find disgusting. I think reality TV has existed for far too long... it was a fad which has somehow survived beyond its time. I hope that the recognized racism in the recent series has finally stuck the knife and ended the public obsession with these supposedly 'ordinary' people.

Craignotbond.com? Have you seen Casino Royale?

When Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond, a load of websites popped up protesting against the fact that someone blond had been cast as the suave agent. Yes, BLOND. A tad petty perhaps? Well, I noticed that all the websites seemed to shut up after the release of Casino Royale. Probably due to the fact that both the film and the acting were excellent... I went to the most popular website today, craignotbond.com, and it has shut down! I suppose the administrator's would rather disappear than eat their words.

I personally thought that the film was excellent, with good set pieces and a believable storyline.
How many people thought that the Bond franchise was beyond redemption after the silly ice surfing sequence in Die Another Day? Pierce Brosnan was a good Bond, but it's important to bear in mind that the last Bond film based on one of Ian Fleming's books was Live and Let Die(?). Therefore its safe to assume that the last few films have had crap screenwriter's; none of them managed to achieve the grit that we saw in Casino Royale (especially the beginning sequence- the first kill). The only recent Bond film which comes anywhere near Casino Royale is Goldeneye, and its not a coincidence that Martin Campbell directed both. Its fallen to him twice to reinvent the Bond name, and he has been succesful both times; in Goldeneye he made the successful transition to the Cold War era, and in Casino Royale we appear to be in the modern day...

My main question is who would allow such a well known franchise to become so ridiculous? It was blisteringly obvious to the public that although the Bond films were entertaining, we were laughing at them, not really with them...

Patrick Wolf- The Magic Position Review

Patrick Wolf is, I suppose, someone that you could call odd. You only have to take a look at the album artwork below to deduce that he is not your average person, or at least someone with an extremely warped fashion sense. But this doesn't really matter; as his 3rd album, The Magic Position, is amazing.

I recently copied my Dad's CD onto my ipod out of curiosity, and I wasn't really expecting to like it. I suppose I was being a bit superficial, though 'you can't judge a book by it's cover', i suppose. The album is very unique and different, much like Patrick's dress sense; Wolf prides himself on the fact that he has never reached for a guitar, and i don't think I could compare the album, or its sound, to anything else barring Bjork, Kate Bush and other "weird" artists. The album follows the opener, Overture, with the title track, which is the happiest point on the album. The next song, Accident And Emergency, has heavy beats and sounds experimental. This is my favourite, and was the first single off the album. The next section is made up of two songs, one which builds up to the next, Bluebells. There's a vcast on Amazon.com (follow link at the bottom of this post): i hope this live performance gives an indication of how good his voice is... The next few tracks are great, particularly Magpie, in which he is joined by a slightly disturbing female vocal.

The only negative aspect of this album is a completely wasted song called Secret Garden. I don't really know how to describe it other than continual white noise for two minutes. But I wont let that alter my review; on the whole, Patrick Wolf has constructed an excellent 13 tracks which will hopefully get him the recognition he deserves. Unfortunately, my brother has been going on about him since the release of his first album, Lycanthropy, and I think I will find myself giving his back-catalogue a listen. All in all, The Magic Position is an excellent album by a rare talent, and I give it 8 out of 10.


The Death Of Myspace

Myspace is dying.... come on, admit it. How many of you out there actually use it any more? Gone are the days when you weren't a succesful band unless you had a myspace page with more than a million plays. Sure, some bands still use it, but as a social networking tool, it is inferior. Many people use facebook, bebo, hi5. My personal favourite is facebook: the happiness i had from finding friends who i haven't thought about in years was amazing. And it was all so easy.

Facebook is superior because of all the wierd groups you can join, and the photo tagging feature. Anyway.... follow this link to join: www.facebook.com

One last question: who uses myspace, and who uses facebook. I want to hear your views if your with me or against me.....

Save the Cheerleader, Save the World...

There is a new TV show on the block, Heroes. Directed by Tim Kring, it arrived late last year with hardly any exposure, but has already built up a large following, myself included, due to the fact that it is not afraid to be different: the tag line for this series is "save the cheerleader, save the world".

Nearing the end of the first season, every episode so far has had something different on offer. As the title suggests, the show follows the lives of certain people who learn they have powers. So far, so X-men, you might find yourself saying. But it is far from a rip-off of the comic book movies which have been doing well over the last couple of years. There are a few things which are similar, yes, but there is no save haven for the heroes, and many of them do not understand what they are going through... This is why I love the program; unlike anything else, the heroes are mostly reluctant.

Anyway, its a great program, with, from what i've seen, an almost entirely original formula and lots to offer. The challenge Tim Kring faces is to maintain my, and other viewers, levels of interest for the next few seasons...

Chump, or Trump?

I was an avid watcher of The Apprentice whilst I lived in America. There's something particularly hilarious about Donald Trump, complete with tacked on hair, wildly gesturing towards someone before muttering the fateful words, "You're Fired". Said person then follows the trademark routine, walking into the black cab that whisks them away to 'failure'.

And then we move back to Europe and we are stuck with the inferior British version. Helmed by a successful businessman, Alan Sugar, who does not have anywhere near the amount of business accolades which Donald Trump does, the show falters (the tasks are also smaller). I mean, he's not unsuccessful (having risen from nothing to 800 million pounds) but it is his objectionable manner which ruins what otherwise is a thrilling show. I often find myself shouting at the TV when he is giving out advice during the boardroom scenes... I don't think I would be alone in the fact that I would find it hard to take constructive criticism or advice from a man who says things such as "as sure as I got a hole in my arse" when telling you that you are "shit". Its hard to believe that he has been given such a wide berth in the show: I'm sure that there are more savvy and less aggressive businessman who meet the criteria (e.g Theo Paphitis, a Dragon in the highly successful Dragon's Den, a much more satisfying program).

Before this analysis turns into a rant, i would advise you all to convert to the American Show. It is shown on BBC Three, and is a better version of the British formula. The tasks are bigger, the stakes higher, the rewards better and the contestants more aggressive.

The Arcade Fire- Neon Bible Review

I was recently given a copy of the new Arcade Fire album, Neon Bible. They weren't particularly big before, despite having an excellent first album (Funeral), and after giving the best performance last year at Glastonbury. Anyway, they couldn't have followed it up in a better fashion: Neon Bible is different from the first album, in the fact that it is bigger, louder and better.

The album begins with "Black Mirror", a song which reminds us of their roots in Quebec: "un, deux, trois, le miroir noir", and builds up to "Keep The Car Running" which in my opinion, is the best song on this album... this band is unique; in their live performances, there is said to be no less than 11 people on stage at a time, and by the sounds of things, this carries through to their recorded stuff too. "Intervention", another key track, begins with an epic organ riff: sources said the band have learnt instruments such as the organ and lyre to create the sound they wanted to achieve, and it really works. Another key element of this album is the vastly improved voice of the frontman, Win Butler, which is heard in the quiter songs such as "Neon Bible". On the next song, "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations", his wife Regine Chassagne takes the lead; it is a credit to the band that there is not a member who falters in their contribution to this album.

Personally, one of my favourite tracks on this album is "No Cars Go"... this was a previous B-side which has been re-tooled for Neon Bible at the last minute. The fact that the band was going to discard such a track gives and idea of the quality of the music they create. In conclusion, I give this album 9 out of 10.