Who is The Last Knight?



So we have a trailer for the 5th Transformers movie helmed by Mr Transformers Michael Bay. The trailer gives little about the plot but hints that another secret about earth and why the Transformers continue to return to Earth.

 



The key moment is the end shot where Optimus Prime takes down an attacking Bumblebee at which point he then asks for forgiveness as he stabs a blade from his arm into his friend. Is this a fake out or a key plot point?

We expect The Last Knight to be more of the same - giant robots beating the shit out of each other and we expect nothing else.

We're kind of hanging out to see Hot Rod (he better be as cool as he was in the cartoon movie) and also to find out what happened to Prime when he flew off into space at the end of Transformers 4. And of course, solve the incomprehensible mystery of why King Arthur appears to be in a Transformers movie.

The Top "Pauses" in Rock Songs - because sometimes stopping the music makes it better...


aerosmith band

The Top "Pauses" in Rock Songs


Sometimes playing nothing at all can be one of the best things in a song.

What is this pause?

 It’s a ‘violation of expectation’ used to build tension which in turn creates excitement for the listener.

Delaying an expected note in a song is a great trick that many guitarists, pianists and other musicians use - and when a pause is used in a song structure, the effect can be tremendous.

Popular music producers such as Bob Clearmountain have used them to such effect that the 'Clearmountain' is often referred to when talking about the pause!

It an adage that 'silence is golden' and if that's the case, here's some classic songs that have some golden moments by way of a deliberate pause.

The first song in this list is the inspiration for this post - I was listening to it while on the bus and the pause made me sit up and pay attention:

Living on the Edge by Aerosmith from the Get a Grip album. 

Check out this video that starts with a nude Steven Tyler hold his meat and two veges and ends with Edward Furlong sharing his sandwich with a bully. The pause is at about the 3.30 minute mark. The song is seemingly building to a big moment, yet the pause drops in which leads to a drum beat and then the big moment. It's brilliant.



Wonderwall and Don't Look back in Anger by Oasis from What's the Story (Morning Glory)?

Wonderwall is probably my favourite song. Every time I pick up the guitar I ending up chuck on a capo on the second fret and go for gold. And the golden moment in Wonderwall is the pause that comes just before the start of the second verse. At the 2 minute mark Noel Gallagher delays the strum of the Em chord to perfection which means when the chord chimes it's a piece of heavenly pop.



This next pause is perhaps a little bit of a cheat. Don't Look Back in Anger is Noel's signature tune. He sang it rather than Liam and it went to number one on the British charts. It also has a great little drum fill that starts just after the solo. It's the most briefest of pauses that you could count as a pause but the linking of the end of the solo and the drum fill 'feels' like a pause. Great song moment. Here it is at the 3.30 mark.

Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. from Automatic for the People

One of R.E.M.'s greatest singles, Everybody Hurts features Peter Buck playing simple arpgeggio chords and soaring vocals by Micheal Stipe. The song is about grief and death. So when the pause  after the line "you're not alone" at the 3 minute mark, it gives you time to think, fuck, yes I feel sad, yes I feel glad, yes I loved that person or whatever it is you want to think.

When the arpeggio picks up right after, it almost feels like life has just given you a gentle nudge to say, you're still here, come with us, your hurting but you're not alone...



Closing Time by Semisonic from Feeling Strangely Fine.

One song that’s perhaps well known for its great pause is Closing Time by Semisonic (a band that should never have broken up in my opinion).  Check out the pause just before the chorus atthe 3minute mark.


This is the song that has what’s known as the 'Clearmountain Pause' -  Semisonic's producer Nick Launay is quoted assaying “we had to have our mastering engineer, Bob Ludwig, create the pause bystretching the existing pause, layering it, making it as long as he could.

Thereafter, we referred to that part of the song as the “Clearmountain Pause.”At shows over the next few years, the pause got longer, and longer, and longer until it was a musical piece unto itself.”

Love Shack by The B52s from Cosmic Thing

Tiiiiinnnnn rooooffff PAUSE rusted ! That's pretty much all you need to know about this classic song. Katie Pierceson delayed enunciating 'rusted' oh so perfectly about a seemingly nonsensical line about the shack. Rust never sleeps, I guess.



River of Dreams by Billy Joel - River of Dreams



I loved this song when it came out. It was catchy as anything and it still is - and its 4 second pause is perfect.

Coming off a funky jivin' feeling the listener is left thinking, "where did that good stuff go?" and is rewarded very well when rescued with 'in the middle of the night".

Closing Time's pause also inspired a book chapter in A visit from the Goon Squad by author Jennifer Egan which features famous pauses in rock songs. Check it out.

Never Tear Us Apart by INXS from Kick

This song was apparently another Clearmountain pause. This is song has a very bold pause - it fits neatly between Hutchence's lyric and a dramatic guitar riff - and the drama of the song is surely created and added to by the pauses before the instrumental breaks.


Monkey Wrench by Foo Fighters from the Color and the Shape.

This classic Foos track has many many pauses. You could argue they are more due to the manner in which the guitar is played with a stop start feel. Whatever, here's the official video which features classic FF mischief and decide for yourself:


The Look by Roxette from Look Sharp!

Any one who's looked at my CD collection will know there's a few periods of musical fandom I'd prefer the world didn't know about but I am certainly not ashamed to say I LOVE Roxette.

And luckily for this article, they've got a great pause in their break through smash, The Look.

 I warn you, this video is terribly dated and was probably actually terrible when it first came out to. Ah the 80's. Bless...



Here's some honorable mentions that you may wish to check out:
  • Faith By George Michael - The best bit of this long player is the awesome organ introduction but the pause is pretty good. Play it on your acoustic guitar and decide for your self .
  • Paint it black by The Rolling Stones - A quick and simple one - after the classic snake like sitar riff there's a slight delay before Charlie Watt's drums kick the song into life.
  • Purple Rain by Prince from the Purple Rain Soundtrack
  • March of the Pigs by Nine Inch Nails from The Downward Spiral  - listen to the but where Trent Reznor sings "and doesn't it make you feel better" and you'll know what I mean.
  • Supervixen by Garbage from Garbage - this is a song that's commonly singled out as having a great pause - while the band of super producers are rocking out, Shirley Manson is a seething rage of total bitch and then it just pauses.
There you have it, the best pauses in rock songs. Did you agree? Got anything else to add? Leave your interesting or creative comments in the section belllloowwww as RWJ would say. 



What do U2 sing about?


U2

Here's some what I think are interesting articles' that I wrote which attempt to pull together some of the common themes and concepts in the songs that U2 have written.

It's clear Bono has some key areas of interest, America, love, MLK, Elvis and of course, religion and this has been well reflected in U2's number one albums.


* With love.

Revolution Radio album lyrics by Green Day


Revolution Radio album lyrics by Green Day

Green Day's new studio album is called Revolution Radio. Billie-Joe Armstrong has referred to it as Rev Rad and it appears it's a return to form if we are judging the first single Bang Bang on any level.

Here's the lyrics to all the songs on the album:

Radio Revolution / Rev Rad

1. "Somewhere Now"
2. "Bang Bang"  
3. "Revolution Radio"  
4. "Say Goodbye"  
5. "Outlaws"  
6. "Bouncing Off the Wall"  
7. "Still Breathing"  
8. "Youngblood"  
9. "Too Dumb to Die"  
10. "Troubled Times"
11. "Forever Now"  
12. "Ordinary World"

List of U2 number one songs


U2 live - number one songs

How many number one songs have U2 had?

The short version: UK 7 and US 2

The long version:

U2 have had all kinds of hits on the music charts but at the end of the day it’s the songs that made number one on those charts that are often the ones asked about as questions in pub quizzes. So to help you out, here’s a list or two of U2 songs that have made number one.

There are various kinds of charts that track popularity and they often revolve around rock, country and blues and are used to allow music that would never be mainstream get some air time. There’s even the itunes charts which for some unexplained reason people seem to think matters…

Two my mind there are only two charts that really count. Being ‘Top of the Pops’ in the UK means you are number one and crowning the Billboard 200 means you have the most popular song for the week in America. And we’ll use those charts to show how many number on hits U2 have had.

First up is the America Billboard chart which shows the U2 have had two number one hits. Both hits were from The Joshua Tree and were With or Without You and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Desire from Rattle and Hum made it as high as 3 and a couple of singles from Achtung Baby and Pop made the top 10 and that’s it.

So, U2 have only had 2 number one American hits.

It’s a better story for the UK chart where U2 have had a bit more success in terms of chart toppers.

Nothing from The Joshua Tree went to number one despite the album’s massive success so it was Desire that became U2’s first UK number one hit. It came from Rattle and Hum. In 1991 when The Fly flew off as the lead single from Achtung Baby it landed at number 1.

It was a long time between drinks when Discotheque dropped in 1997.

U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind had a string of popular singles but only Beautiful Day in 2000 managed the spot. A debatable number one is Take Me to the Clouds Above" by LMC vs. U2. Debatable as it was a song featuring samples from U2's With or Without You with a health splash of Whitney Houston thrown in. At the end of the day, the song has U2’s name in the space where the artist’s name goes so it counts as a number one.

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb offered a notable double with both Vertigo and Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own grabbing their time in the top position.

No Line on the Horizon suffered from a lack of hit singles.

This means U2 have had seven number one hits in the UK and two in the U2. Unsurprisingly U2 are even more popular in their home country of Ireland and owned the number one place an awesome 21 times.

The next most popular country is the enlightened people of Canada with 14 which is twice as many as the UK successes.

List of U2’s UK number one songs:
  • Desire
  • The Fly
  • Discotheque
  • Beautiful Day
  • Take Me to the Clouds Above
  • Vertigo
  • Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own
Speaking of Green Day, do want to read the lyrics from the songs of Revolution Radio? Get your eyes over Ordinary World (no, it's not a Duran Duran cover!) and also our favourite from the album, the almost criminally under rated, Still Breathing

What gear do I need to start home brewing?



What gear do I need to start home brewing?


If you’ve decided to brew beer, you’re in great company.

Einstein, Churchill and Thor himself and every man with a shed has at one point or another brewed some tasty beverages.

But they all had to start somewhere, and so here’s a list of what equipment you might need to get started brewing beer.

We’re talking about brewing using a beer kit here, the kind of brewing where you ‘beer wort’ basically comes in a can.

You get to choose what hops or sugar you add (jelly beans maybe) and the rest is simply following some good brewing instructions.

But what do you need to brew some good home made beer.

This list is just the basics, you could probably actually get away with using less but at the very least, this guide should help you decide what you need to get that golden ale flowing down your gullet

What gear you might use on brewing day 

Ingredients 
Equipment for brewing
  • Sanitizer - To sanitize all of your equipment. It’s a must. If you don’t your beer might die. 
  • 6 gallon / 23 litre fermenter (drum or bottle). You will use this for making your beer in. You could even use a conical fermenter if you're feeling fancy.
  • Thermometer - To monitor the temperature of the wort – this is so you can add the yeast at the correct temperature and avoid killing it. *
  • PH meters are good for improving beer taste
  • Hydrometer - Used test the original gravity of your batch *
  • Paddle or spoon - Something to stir the boil with, maybe not your wife’s best spoon. A long handle is what you need. 
  • Gloves – making beer can get a little messy (maybe use white ox gloves?) *
  • Can opener – to open the beer kit 
  • A good kettle to use as a mash tun
  • Water - Access to both boiling and cold water 
  • Bubble Airlock – to allow the release of CO2 and to assist with the observation of fermentation
Bottling your beer - what you need
  • Bottles! – cleaned and free of dirt and spiders or slugs (trust us on this, it’s happened) 
  • Sanitizer – Yes, once again you need sanitize all equipment and bottles and caps 
  • Bottle caps - Make sure they are not twist-off bottles 
  • Bottle capper – speaks for itself, helps you place the caps on bottles 
  • Hydrometer - To measure the final gravity *
  • Priming sugar – Sucrose which is to carbonate the beer while in the bottle (called beer conditioning) 
  • Bottling wand - This allows you to easily control the flow while bottling and means less spillage will occur. *
* denotes an optional item of equipment

Thrawn. He's all that and a bag of chips.



I just finished the Star Wars book 'Heir to the Empire' and immediately (and finally) understood what all the fuss was in terms of Grand Admiral Thrawn. He's the chief antagonist of the book and it's quite clear from the first few paragraphs he feature in that he's the real deal. Inspired by this belated introduction to the Big Blue Chiss, I thought I'd present some facts about him.
  1. Timothy Zahn, the author who created this beloved character described Thrawn as thus: "He’s a clever villain. People like reading about clever, interesting opponents to our heroes. People who are able to out think, outmaneuver as well as outfight. Ultimately the heroism of the hero is measured by the villainy or power of the villain and with Thrawn I wanted something different than Force using Vader or Palpatine. Somebody who doesn’t have Luke’s Force Powers, but can run him around in a maze whenever he really wants to."
  2. His real name is "Mitth'raw'nuruodo" - Thrawn is a shortening of his full name
  3. While he make's his debut in Timothy Zahn's 'Heir to the Empire' novel, Thrawn has actually appeared in 8 novels, several graphic novels and turned up in a few video games.
  4. Thrawn's species is 'Chiss'. All Chiss are human like in their physical appearance, save the blue skin and red eyes.
  5. The name "Coruscant" was originally used by Timothy Zahn. George Lucas was going to include the capital world of Had Abbadon in Return of the Jedi, but adopted Zahn's name for Imperial Center when presenting the planet in the Special Edition and prequel movies. 
  6. Zahn has said thatThrawn's character is a composite of various historical and fictional personalities, including Erwin RommelRobert E. LeeHannibal Barca, Alexander the Great, and Sherlock Holmes. Some of those names are the greatest military leaders of history.
  7. The Secret History of Star Wars by Michael Kaminski credits the Thrawn trilogy with reigniting the general public's interest with the Star Wars franchise. 
  8. Due to the changes to what is considered Star Wars canon, The Blue Chiss is no longer canon - he's now formally part of the Legendary expanded universe. As of writing, Thrawn has not made it into any new Star Wars canon, though it is strongly speculated that he may turn up in Star Wars Rebels.http://www.inafarawaygalaxy.com/2017/01/the-last-jedi-quotes.html

A sweet collection of Star Wars quotes


Star Wars film quotes

Quotes from the Star Wars movies


Star Wars is full of great quotes. One of them accounts for one of the most famous movie twist of all time, "No, I'm your father!" other's like, "I've got a bad feeling about this" serves to lend a long air of continuity across all the films.

Here's a sweet collection of pages that will lead you to the quotes and lines of some of the most popular characters from the franchise such as Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi to the new characters such as Jyn Erso and Captain Phasma.

Here's quotes from the 'Big Five' characters of Star Wars.
Faithful friends have the best words of advice
Bad guys often have the best lines to chew their scenery with!
The Force Awakens quotes
Rogue One movie quotes
A collection of lines and quotes from across the Star Wars films

Transformers: The Last Knight


Is Optimus Prime the Last Knight? 
The name of the 5th Transformers movie has been revealed. The Last Knight.

Is this a reference to Optimus Prime being the last Prime? Let's hope this outing has some semblance of plot. The name is curious and hints at an exploration of the origins of the Transformers (given the ending of the last movie).


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