Well, we have been out far more than we have been in recently, so this one is an article shorter than normal, but at least we have an album, a book, and some top telly for you to read over! Then at the end of the week, we will have a massive 'Going Out' series of reviews for you, while our livers recuperate from last weekend...
The Howling Lords Album Review
Magnificently bold, bluesy rock two piece The Howling Lords may hail from Stornoway, but a good chunk of their musical attitude and vibe could easily have staggered from the smoke and alcohol drenched music joints of 1920’s America. The first thing that struck me upon listening to the album (well, the second thing, the first thing was a simple ‘wow’) was just how well the mix between classic rock and sweat drenched vintage blues was in the melting pot. Some bands try it and fail miserably. The Howling Lords however, they make it look so easy they might as well own it! I mean, if these guys had a story about meeting the devil on a cloudless Stornoway crossroads one midnight, I would not be the least bit surprised.
Each track on the album also has a distinctive muted, almost haunting feel to it, it's like it captures a different era of music in the recording and mastering process entirely. Hell, I could very well be listening to a direct link to some other distant time via my stereo, and it’s kind of fitting that I am listening to it on a rain drenched, wind lashed Glasgow night. This particular brand of music seems to fit such nights as a hand does a glove. The whole album fires the darkened imagination somewhat, and if it wasn't already rain drenched and wind lashed outside, then I could be forgiven for thinking it probably was!
Best track for me has to be track 2, Devil In Me, as it just seems to power along under a steam all of its own making. It's one of those songs that could make for an excellent accompaniment with any whisky of your choice. Just turn it up loud, pour a double, and enjoy. Bucking my trend for only choosing one favourite, this time I need to opt for two, as track 7 – Like Nicotine has a special swagger all its own, and I could see it vying for my favourite track on the album depending on how I feel from day to day.
In fact, the best thing I could say about this album is that every single song on there could be a goddamn favourite of mines, it really was that hard a choice to choose one over the rest. So, I urge our readers to do the same. Check them out on the link below and get your teeth into some downright moody blues rock, you deserve it.
Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear by Steve Goodman
I’ve spent a lot of time since last year researching the physics behind sound and its impact on humans. I eventually stumbled upon a few paragraphs from the above book which instantly caught my interest. Sonic Warfare was written by Steve Goodman AKA (Kode9) – a London Based, Glaswegian DJ with a PhD, variety of degrees and a book published by MIT Press.
I’m actually only about a quarter of the way through this book but it’s already had a profound impact. As expected, it’s not exactly light reading and more of a science paper than a book but is filled with an array of interesting information and detailed anecdotes. It’s structured (or unstructured) in such a way that each chapter is distinct and separate from one another so you can read any on its own and learn something interesting. As the title suggests it’s regarding how sound can be weaponised but also journeys through the history of music and politics. It discusses how low flying supersonic jets can damage whole cities as well as the mental state of a populace to the evolution of R n B and dance music.
The content is absolutely fantastic and if you’ve got any interest in music, physics, sound, politics, military, philosophy, conspiracies… etc. - then it’s for you. It’s like an encyclopaedia, dictionary and short story book all in one. What’s interesting is how hard the publishers/author try to push the point that they are neutral when talking about any chapter but how it’s important just to gather and discuss the knowledge and history without censorship. I’d recommend it for anyone wanting to learn a bit more or even to have a book on their shelf/device that they can delve into (and back into) months or years apart. I’ve already decided it needs another read once I’m done! I’ll report back in a month or so. Stay tuned...
Lucifer Season 2 review
I must admit it, I wasn’t really sold on Lucifer season one until I had watched about two thirds of the way through it. It wasn’t that it was boring, or lacked entertainment. Far from it actually, it was rather enjoyable escapism from start to finish. My main gripe with it is that it often straddled the fine line between bawdy teenage sex comedy, and supernatural police thriller too closely, and often seemed to not know which side of that line it was on from one moment to the next. Lucifer Morningstar himself would also stray dangerously close to being a heady mix of Austin Powers and Russell Brand, and I wasn’t sticking around too long if there was more of that being served up in season two. One Russell Brand is enough thank you very much.
As far as gripes go, that's not a big one though, and by the start of season two I was literally caught hook, line, and sinker. By seasons end, the only thing I feel is pissed off that I need to wait so long for another episode! The characters are much more fleshed out in season two, and the procedural police aspect (that I so love in other shows like Elementary) seem to jump forward a little too, with the teen comedy jokey-ness that I wasn’t very keen on the first time round growing up a little in the humour stakes. Hell, even the supernatural slant seems to come screaming to the fore in this series, and Lucifer seems to be firing on all cylinders, right to the fantastic final episode. The episode that left me so pissed off at waiting for more. (Which I guess all final episodes should do.)
If you want something new to watch, and watched a few episodes but weren’t really enamoured by it, do stick with it, it really is worth persevering with.