Rough Trade Shops - Counter Culture 07
In this new dawn of flagging record sales and mass closures of your favorite music shops it seemed a strange time for Rough Trade to expand its empire and open the impressive uber-shop that is Rough Trade East, but I guess if anyone can do it thy can and now that it has its own cafe at the front this new Counter Culture compilation is what you'd likely endure if you closed your office for a day and set up camp in the Rough Trade cafe. Needless to say it wouldn't all be what you were looking for. Having ditched the assistance of some of the major labels that aided the release of the previous Counter Culture series this one has been put together independently by the Rough Trade shops themselves. This is quite evident from the tracklist as some of the selections you just know are the choices of a minority nerd group that really doesn't give a monkeys if the customers don't like it, they're ignorant so why should they be trusted? But then there are some really big hitters that never fail to deliver.
Over the years I have often used these Rough Trade compilations as a way of discovering new musical territory previously untrodden by my delicate and sheltered ears. I first came across Sufjan Stevens on a Counter Culture CD and have looked forward to similar discoveries ever since. Though expertly compiled and a darn good listen throughout this outing unfortunately serves up little in the way of surprises. A quick glance at the tracklist will hint at some immediate stand out moments of last year like Battles' unrivaled and mighty Atlas or Of Montreal's avant-pop gem Gronlandic Edit. Pete And The Pirates provide some ramshackled indie-punk magic from their album Little Death with Come On Feet and Dan Deacon's d.i.y roadrunner-rave is perfectly expressed in The Crystal Cat. But at a glance I would have expected these to be some obvious high points and was slightly disappointed not to be proved wrong. There were exceptions however with Julian Cope and the dirty rock tornado of No Age pricking up my ears but the prize would have to go to Dan Le Sac Versus Scroobius Pip for Thou Shalt Always Kill. This is a razor-sharp pop-culture critique that providing you can keep up is a lesson to us all. Lessons like never to question Steven Fry or watch Hollyoaks are of course a given but the line, "Thou shalt not judge a book by its cover, thou shalt not judge Lethal Weapon by Danny Glover," is really something else.
So as the stand out song on this exceedingly mixed bag its wisdom casts a new light on the compilation itself. After being told repeatedly not set up bands as false idols and to think for yourselves you do start to look over these choices as just someone's opinion. But on a brighter note the whole thing comes impeccably presented in a 2 CD set with 20 page colour fold-out booklet and full sleeve notes and just serves to prove that the supposedly lifeless corpse of the record shop has some breath left in it after all.
29th Jan 2008 - Tumblr2.5
Dreams Come True: Classic First Wave Electro
Hallam Foe - Original Soundtrack
You Don't Know
Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs Of Mark Mulcahy
Dogs In Space OST
Enthusiasticly directed sequence of unrelated musical set pieces.
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Yet another biggest-battle-yet, with more than a passing nod to BTTF2.
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Thoughtfully assembled montage doc.
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Decent origin story, with charm and some 90s nostalgia.
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The Rise of Skywalker
Freestyle bouillabaisse with all the ingredients, but no chef.
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Quintessential indie movie ...funded by Netflix. Great perfs, lovely camera work and solid direction.
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Superior modern thriller. Smart script and accomplished direction.
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Long, slow, thoroughly enjoyable loose jam through Scorsese/DeNiro/Pacino/Pesci/Keitel’s greatest hits.
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Batman via Scorsese, in impeccably art directed, neatly packaged origin story.
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Surprisingly strong sequel that gets going after a convoluted start.
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Casual drama from Clint Eastwood, with the man himself anchoring things through a charming turn.
16th Nov 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Luscious period drama. Beautifully put together - like Wolf Hall+.
3rd Nov 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Throw away Breaking Bad expansion piece with little tension or jeopardy.
13th Oct 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Stylish but incoherent Cheney biopic, hampered by another one-note turn from Bale.
5th Oct 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Mind numbingingly basic biopic, saved by the nostalgia for the music and moments.
5th Oct 2019Read more 2 star reviews
Interesting doc following the lives of 3 teens becoming adults, tied together by skateboarding.
28th Sep 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Painful, occasionally uplifting viewing with a grief stricken central performance.
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Into the Spider-Verse
Stylish, trippy concept animated superhero flick with some great moments.
21st Sep 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Young adult upgrade, with just enough Conchords humour to keep it enjoyable.
22nd Aug 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Decent Aussie surf drama, that nostalgically investigates the soul of surfing before losing its way a little.
14th Aug 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Somewhat unremarkable, but enjoyable music drama. Bit long.
13th Jul 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Predictably grim seaside coming-of-age indie. Decent enough, but you’ve seen it before
13th Jul 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Stylish sequel, hampered in places by some authentic 1960s pacing.
30th Jun 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Out-there kids fable with an old school Tim Burton vibe.
16th Jun 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Rock solid 90s style indie movie. Beautifully assembled at all levels.
31st May 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Fairly one-sided Police doc about the seemingly dislikeable trio.
7th May 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Decent, but slightly muddled parenting indie.
28th Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Forgettable re-imagining of a not totally unforgettable Disney classic.
27th Apr 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Solid stop-motion animation that’s light on plot, but high on charm.
12th Apr 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Surprisingly stylish sequel that drops the ball in classic straight-to-VHS style halfway through.
6th Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Opaque Alaskan thriller from Jeremy Saulnier, with little regard for convention.
1st Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Low key indie spin on Rambo, as a father and daughter try and live off grid.
28th Mar 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Fun biopic that runs out of steam about when the band did.
25th Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
A diminished remake of Deadpool 1. Occasional LOLs.
25th Mar 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
High concept sci-fi that stretches its concept a little thin.
19th Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Unremarkable, cliche-ridden actioner. Utterly lacking in suspense.
17th Mar 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
A disjointed patchwork of homages, nods and rip offs from dozens of other movies, with little to offer of its own.
11th Mar 2019Read more 2 star reviews
Laborious, high-concept alien horror. While the concept is good, the beats are all well telegraphed.
2nd Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Witty, if a little obvious, post-meta rom-com.
1st Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
The Second Part
It’s literally a re-hash of all the themes of the first one with a few less jokes.
23rd Feb 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Slight, but sometime engaging iPhone feature.
26th Jan 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Decent modern spin on Mary Poppins. Bit uneven, but a nice soundtrack helps things along.
20th Jan 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Bog standard entry into The-Rock-action-movie genre. As much personality as a computer game.
3rd Jan 2019Read more 3 star reviews
This time it’s really, really serious. Seriously.
27th Dec 2018Read more 3 star reviews
It’s a musical ...but slick direction makes it just about bearable.
24th Dec 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Pop-culture bouillabaisse, hampered by numerous terrible accents.
24th Dec 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Pacey, emotional, old-fashioned indie pic. Beautifully observed.
15th Dec 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Surprisingly underwhelming biopic that doesn’t find its feet until 20m from the end.
24th Nov 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Utterly derivative / thoroughly enjoyable ‘Heat’ rip off.
21st Nov 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews