Albums of 2014

So, if you’re anything like me, you will have asked Santa to bring you lots of CDs (or iTunes vouchers, you modern maniac) in order to catch up on the year’s best music. Despite trying my hardest, there are a fair few critically lauded long-players that have managed to slip me by, so come Boxing Day I’ll be playing catch-up living inside my Sennheisers.

With just over a week to go until the big day, there’s time to get your orders in if you too are looking for some much-needed new music. In need of inspiration? Here’s one Geek’s choice playlist for the year, covering everything from skewed indie rock (alt-J, Jack White), sumptuous songwriters (Perfume Genius, Tori Amos, Owen Pallett) and lovely ladies (Lana, Lykke and Jenny Lewis).

There’s something here for everyone, and all of it is pretty damn awesome. Happy listening!

2014 music

‘1000 Forms of Fear’ – 1000 Sounds of Sia

sia 1000 forms of fear

As a long-term Sia fan, I was hearting hard on ‘Chandelier’ earlier this year. But would the promise of a new album be kept?

Enter ‘1000 Forms of Fear’, which sees Ms Furler applying her unique approach (not to mention voice) to a set of big bold pop songs. Not content with lying back and rolling around in the piles of money generated by her hits for the likes of Katy Perry, Rihanna, Eminem, Britney and such, Sia follows up 2010’s ‘We Are Born’ with a catchy, colourful record that keeps some of the kook but also isn’t afraid of Top 40-sized choruses.

Whether she’ll ever make it as a global-conquering chart star in her own right remains to be seen, but she’s done enough here to merit a pole position on any discerning pop fan’s iPod rotation for a while. And did I mention ‘Chandelier’ is F-word awesome?!!

Check out my 4* ‘1000 Forms of Fear’ review, live now at The Music Fix.

Hiya Sia

sia chandelier

Since her 2010 album ‘We Are Born’, kooky Aussie songstress Sia Furler has been lending her distinct vocals to dance chart-fodder (if you’ve heard ‘Titanium’, you’ve heard Sia) and also becoming the Cathy Dennis of the Gaga generation, lending her pop craft skills to hit tracks by Rihanna, Katy Perry, Britney, etc.

Well, get ready for a reintroduction to the lady herself, as 2014 promises to be the year of Sia. Not content with her co-exec producer role on this week’s new Kylie record, Sia is set to release her own new material this year.

First slice of the pie is ‘Chandelier’ below, which is perhaps a more traditional (but hella catchy) pop single than old-school Sia fans may be used to. High hopes for the album then, which is expected to drop during the summer. Say hiya to Sia!

Comics Just Got Cooler

I like comics. I like Neil Gaiman. I loveee Tori Amos.

I don’t live in London, which is why I don’t own a ticket to the sold out ‘Comic Connections’ event at the British Library this May, which brings those three favourite things together. Ergo: I’m going to cry over my copy of ‘The Sandman’ now.

tori amos neil gaiman

The Friday night session, which precedes ‘Late at the Library: Comics and Music’ (set to feature an appearance by Gaiman’s wifey Amanda Palmer), will team up fantasy writer Gaiman to converse with the Cornflake Girl to talk all things comic book, as there’s is a friendship based on a mutual admiration for each other’s work which has culminated in Gaiman writing flame-haired graphic novel characters and teaming up with Amos on her ‘Comic Book Tattoo’ anthology.

Sounds like a geek dream. Someone send me an inked and panelled postcard??

Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back Live

Kevin Smith fans, rejoice! Kevin Smith fans who worship the director’s cult heroes Jay and Silent Bob, rejoice further – for the ‘Clerks’ helmer is bringing his two most enduring characters to the UK.

Join Smith and Jay aka Jason Mewes on one of five dates in the UK, which will see the duo front a screening of their new animated movie ‘Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie’ then host an onstage Q&A and a live recording of fan favourite podcast, Hollywood Babble-On.

jay and silent bob live

The dates – in Birmingham, London, Bristol, Manchester and Dublin – promise to deliver a riotous evening of laughs for those in attendance, whether hardcore Smith fans or budding independent filmmakers looking to make their own ‘Clerks’-like start in the movie business.

The newly announced dates follow Smith’s tour of UK cinemas in support of ‘Red State’ back in 2011, and are sure to be memorable – so don’t delay, snap up your ticket when they go on sale tomorrow. More info here.

Who Are You Reading?

Now the Oscars are over, the question on all the cool people’s lips should turn from ‘WHO are you wearing?’ to ‘Who are you READING?!’

It’s World Book Day, yo!!!

who are you reading

What literary masterpiece or fictional fling will you be curling up with tonight?

Remember, if you fancy a new read, then get entering this month’s bookworm-friendly competition to WIN Mur Lafferty’s ‘Shambling Guide’ series. Go go go!

Holla for Hublot

Okay, so ’12 Years a Slave’ is pretty good, right? But there was another picture winner last night at the 86th Annual Academy Awards that took home a gold statuette.

Following in the delightful footsteps of last year’s Disney short ‘The Paperman’, Laurent Witz’s ‘Mr Hublot’ was awarded the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film last night and brings the requisite charm, whimsy and, erm, robot dogs to be a deserving successor.

Check it out here before it disappears from YouTube: