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Love & Mercy


“When you listen to Pet Sounds, use earphones in the dark, and you can hear everything.”

Though I’ve long known that Pet Sounds is considered one of the greatest albums ever recorded, it was not until I watched a film called Love & Mercy that I ever gave the record a proper listen.

The movie depicts two eras in the life of the Beach Boys’ musical genie Brian Wilson. The mid-60s version, played by Paul Dano, is a young man overflowing with sonic inspiration, and hints at the shadow that will eventually swallow Wilson for a while. John Cusack plays the man in the 1980s, when he has become zombified by a mad doctor who badly mistreats Wilson’s mental disease.

While both eras of the picture are compelling, it was the sections that focused on the Pet Sounds sessions that intrigued me the most and made me seek out these songs. I now listen to the album on repeat on my long walk to work, letting it’s whimsical melancholy wash over me like a harmonic ocean.

The movie is worth seeing if only to awaken in you the chance to hear life with new ears.

The Vinyl of My Life


Image credit: Robert Farkas

Ultimate Painting

Formed by James of Veronica Falls and Jack of Mazes, this duo crafts simple and true ’60s and ’70s-inspired guitar pop. Their latest album, Green Lanes, is great bopping-around music.

Influenced by: The Velvet Underground
Similar to: Real Estate

New Music: Other Lives


These guys opened for Radiohead a few years back and yet hardly anyone’s heard of them. An Oklahoma band that sings from the heartland. Haunting strings and ethereal vocals, perfect for a folksy Western soundtrack. New album, Rituals, is that electrified. They’re on tour now, so buy a ticket if they’re coming to your town.

The 20 Best Films of the 2010s (so far)

50/50 (2011)
IMDb: 7.7
Metascore: 72

Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease.

A Separation (2011)
IMDb: 8.4
Metascore: 95

A married couple are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Birdman (2014)
IMDb: 7.9
Metascore: 88

A washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play.

Black Swan (2010)
IMDb: 8.0
Metascore: 79

A ballet dancer wins the lead in “Swan Lake” and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan – Princess Odette – but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.

Drive (2011)
IMDb: 7.8
Metascore: 78

A mysterious Hollywood stuntman, mechanic and getaway driver lands himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor.

Frances Ha (2012)
IMDb: 7.4
Metascore: 82

A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles.

Gravity (2013)
IMDb: 7.9
Metascore: 96

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after a catastrophe destroys their shuttle and leaves them adrift in orbit.

Her (2013)
IMDb: 8.0
Metascore: 90

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
IMDb: 7.5
Metascore: 92

A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Looper (2012)
IMDb: 7.5
Metascore: 84

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits – someone like Joe – who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.

Melancholia (2011)
IMDb: 7.1
Metascore: 80

Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with Earth.

Skyfall (2012)
IMDb: 7.8
Metascore: 81

Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Take Shelter (2011)
IMDb: 7.4
Metascore: 85

Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
IMDb: 8.1
Metascore: 88

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

The Kids Are All Right (2010)
IMDb: 7.1
Metascore: 86

Two children conceived by artificial insemination bring their father into their family life.

The Master (2012)
IMDb: 7.1
Metascore: 86

A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future – until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.

The Social Network (2010)
IMDb: 7.8
Metascore: 95

Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the cofounder who was later squeezed out of the business.

The Tree of Life (2011)
IMDb: 6.7
Metascore: 85

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents’ conflicting teachings.

Whiplash (2014)
IMDb: 8.6
Metascore: 88

A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

Winter’s Bone (2010)
IMDb: 7.2
Metascore: 90

An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.

Wasted Words (already been heard)


“There’s new love, heartbreak, good friends, not-that-much studying and a-few-too-many beers, all written with great wit. Highly recommended.”

“This short novel gives an insightful and emotional perspective of a college student who is an outsider even when he is in a group. The prose is witty and playful, the comedic elements are laugh out loud funny, and there is no doubt this book will touch anyone who has ever felt different.”

“Lucas’s apathy is often frustrating but ultimately heart-breaking as he drifts through life waiting for something that never truly comes. Wonderfully written with an acerbic wit and deep vulnerability, Wasted Words is an ideal read for the many who feel a haunting disappoint in life. Highly recommended.”

“A must read for those with a misspent youth. And for those current adolescents, a road map by which to guide the next years of your life. Enjoy.”

Click here to read Wasted Words.

50 for 50: Albums of the Years

Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan

Revolver, The Beatles

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles

The Beatles (The White Album), The Beatles

Abbey Road, The Beatles

After The Gold Rush, Neil Young

Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, David Bowie

The Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Genesis

Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd

Ramones, Ramones

Rumours, Fleetwood Mac

Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Bruce Springsteen

London Calling, The Clash

Remain In Light, Talking Heads

Moving Pictures, Rush

Thriller, Michael Jackson

Murmur, R.E.M.

Purple Rain, Prince & The Revolution

Rain Dogs, Tom Waits

The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths

The Joshua Tree, U2

Daydream Nation, Sonic Youth

Doolittle, Pixies

Violator, Depeche Mode

Nevermind, Nirvana

Automatic For The People, R.E.M.

In Utero, Nirvana

Grace, Jeff Buckley

The Bends, Radiohead

Pinkerton, Weezer

OK Computer, Radiohead

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel

Ágætis Byrjun, Sigur Rós

Kid A, Radiohead

Is This It, The Strokes

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco

Elephant, The White Stripes

Funeral, Arcade Fire

Illinois, Sufjan Stevens

Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, Arctic Monkeys

In Rainbows, Radiohead

Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes

Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective

The Suburbs, Arcade Fire

Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Lonerism, Tame Impala

Modern Vampires Of The City, Vampire Weekend

Lost In The Dream, The War On Drugs

Source: besteveralbums.com

14 Hippest Songs of 2014

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers
In no particular order…

“Shelter Song” Temples, Sun Structures

“Red Eyes” The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream
“Inside Out” Spoon, They Want My Soul

“Salad Days” Mac DeMarco, Salad Days

“Blue Moon” Beck, Morning Phase

“Weight of Love” The Black Keys, Turn Blue
“Talking Backwards” Real Estate, Atlas

“Cavalier” James Vincent McMorrow, Post Tropical

“Can’t Do Without You” Caribou, Our Love

“Put Your Number in My Phone” Ariel Pink, Pom Pom

“Holding On For Life” Broken Bells, After the Disco

“The Heat” Jungle, Jungle

“Ojai” Ray LaMontagne, Supernova

“Lessons” SOHN, Tremors

The Rise of Digital vs The Vinyl Revival

Source: http://www.superfi.co.uk/blog/digital-versus-vinyl

Wasted Words: The College Daze


If you like obscure authors, you’ll love this one…

When he enters the prestigious Northwestern University, Lucas Lloyd still has respect for rules. He has never drank, smoked, or gotten anywhere worth mentioning with the opposite sex. The first 18 years of his life have been devoted almost exclusively to academic success.

Wasted Words follows Luke as he comes to realize that the college years go by in the blink of an eye and that A’s are overrated. While knowledge might be gained by listening to professors preach, real wisdom is attained outside the classroom. Though his path to manhood is littered with more beer cans than books, by the time he reaches graduation, Luke has learned how to make his way through the world.

Kindle edition now on sale for only $0.99. Click here to purchase and read the rest.