It’s hard to be ambivalent about Zooey Deschanel. She’s a polarizing personality, one whose deadpan movie roles and big Bambi eyes are either charming or too cute for their own good. The same can be said for She & Him, a soft rock duo that features Deschanel doing what she does best as a film star: acting utterly adorable alongside a quiet, talented male character. Her co-star in this case is M. Ward, who produces the band's second album and frames Deschanel’s voice with a Spector-sized pile of instruments. Those who already take issue with Zooey’s acting will almost surely pick this record apart – it’s too reminiscent of her cutesy turns in movies like (500) Days of Summer to change many minds – but for fans of retro pop (and Deschanel in general), Volume 2 is a gem. Whether they’re copping the Brill Building sound or resurrecting ‘70s beach-pop, She & Him always seem to have nostalgia on the mind.
John Carpenter s 1980 follow-up film to his smash hit Halloween featured ghost sailors terrorizing a Californian coastal community as a dense fog descends on their homes. The multi-talented filmmaker not only directed and wrote his films but also created his own unique brand of atmospheric synthesiser scores. This updated version of Silva Screen s long deleted and sought after 2000 reissue brings together not just the original album which featured 20 minutes of newly released music but a second 20 track disc of the entire score, drawn from the original tapes, remastered by long-time Carpenter collaborator Alan Howarth.
Cameron Carpenter, an American in his early thirties who’s been living in Berlin for the last three years, is definitely the most eccentric musician ever to take the organist’s seat. He’s self-confident, combative and controversial and he plays Bach’s toccatas with the same virtuosity as his pop-song arrangements. Since March this year, he has been playing a self-designed "international touring organ” worth a million Euros. Three trucks are needed to transport this digital masterpiece, which has made him independent of churches and concert halls. The organist introduced it to Berlin’s public at an open-air spectacle at the city’s Kulturforum.
Any doubts as to the continuing relevance of Sonic Youth upon their jump to major-label status were quickly laid to rest by Goo, their follow-up to the monumental Daydream Nation. While paling in the shadow of its predecessor, the record is nevertheless a defiant call to arms against mainstream musical values; the Geffen logo adorning the disc is a moot point – Goo is, if anything, a portrait of Sonic Youth at their most self-indulgently noisy and contentious, covering topics ranging from Karen Carpenter ("Tunic") to UFOs ("Disappearer") to dating Jesus' mom ("Mary-Christ"). Even Public Enemy's Chuck D joins the fracas on the single "Kool Thing," which teeters on the brink of a cultural breakthrough but falls just shy of the mark; the same could be said of Goo itself – by no means a sellout, it nevertheless lacks the coherence and force of the group's finest work, and the opportunity to violently rattle the mainstream cage slips by.
Christine, based on Stephen King's novel about an unusual kind of car repossession, was taken by John Carpenter from book to screen in a blazingly short time. Rather than bypassing his usual methods, as he did with The Thing, Carpenter once again chose to do the score. The original soundtrack released from the movie was a brief affair indeed, offering up a small selection of rock & roll tunes used in the movie, plus a short selection ("Christine Attacks," here with the subtitle "Plymouth Fury") from Carpenter's score. As it is, this Tangerine Dream-influenced, mechanically pounding number is probably the best thing in the score, highly visual, threatening, and relentless. As with the best of Carpenter's work, it's enough to haunt your dreams for a few days – a property shared by the scores for Halloween and The Fog (both on Varese Sarabande).
Dark Days is the debut studio album by American hard rock band Loaded. Recorded between December 2000 and February 2001 at Jupiter Studios in Seattle, Washington, it was self-released in July 2001.