Here's the stuff we're getting hyped about right now.
Laine's Loves... Soulwax
It's always a good day where there's a new Soulwax/2manyDJs track, but today there's two, and they're both free. Click expand to hear and download them.
Laine’s Loves… Soulwax
It’s always a good day where there’s a new Soulwax/2manyDJs track, but today there’s two, and they’re both free. ‘Transient Program For Drums And Machinery’ is the debut track from their first LP under their own name for 11 year, and bodes well – a Kraftwerkian bleepy piece of mid tempo bleep-pop that builds to a delicious crunch. It’s not a million miles from Die Verboten, their recent balearic-krautrock project with Riton and designer Fergus ‘Fergadelic’ Purcell.
Elsewhere the brother have helped Tiga on a new mix of ‘3 Rules’, probably the highlight of the Canadian electroclash survivor’s ‘No Fantasy Required’. The three have stripped it right back and given it a deep bass bouncy and machine gun snares until it sounds like a MIA in a bemused mood (if you can imagine such a thing). The wry rules still remain, thank goodness.
“Rule three: never fall in love with a Virgo.”
If you like those we really recommend checking out Soulwax’s recent track with Chlöe Sevigny, ‘Heaven Scent’, a bleepy little low slung spoken pop song which has crept up to be one of our favourites of the year.
Laine's Loves... Audrey Hepburn's Pet Fawn
In the running for the cutest thing that's ever happened is the fact that Audrey Hepburn had a pet fawn called Pippa. Here she is taking it food shopping. One of many incredible photos by Bob Willoughby of the Hollywood star (more on Flashbak).
Laine’s Loves… Audrey Hepburn’s Pet Fawn
In the running for the cutest thing that’s ever happened is the fact that Audrey Hepburn had a pet fawn called Pippa. Here she is taking it food shopping. One of many incredible photos by Bob Willoughby of the Hollywood star (more on Flashbak).
Laine's Loves... Fleabag
As dark as it is sharp, we're loving Phoebe Waller-Bridge's raw sitcom. Click expand to find out why.
Laine’s Loves… Fleabag
Everyone is talking about it, but for a reason. Fleabag is a the sharpest, darkest, most real comedy to come from Britain in a really long time. The titular character is as fucked up as any female protagonist we’ve seen, even Girls’ Hannah. She’s just awful, but she also fun, and as self destructive as she is just plain old destructive. She’s also extremely dry and very, very funny. Catch it on iPlayer now.
Laine's Loves... Kevin Mason
Kevin has always been one of our favourite fashion photographers, but lately he's really hit a new direction that really exciting.
Laine’s Loves… Kevin Mason
Formerly best known for shooting big productions, photographer Kevin Mason has stripped back his team and approach to a Polaroid camera and models wearing no make up. But this is no dreamy Instagram approach to photography – he’s more influenced by Bruce Gilden and Stephen Shore. The real and the raw.
“I definitely fell into a trap of wanting to make beautiful pictures of beautiful people,” he told The Impossible Project. “I think it came from a kind of fear of not wanting someone to dislike the image I took of them.”
An indication of how far his confidence has leaped with this approach is that he now takes just 4-6 shots per shoot and does no editing. The results are all there on the Polaroids.
Laine’s Loves… Look At The Pictures
New documentary of Robert Mapplethorpe explains the controversy but looks deeper at the extraordinarily ambitious man behind the shocking photos.
Laine’s Loves… Look At The Pictures
It’s easy to look at Robert Mapplethorpe’s beautiful but brutally explicit photos in our post-internet world of every form of niche porn and think, ‘So what?’ Actually, that’s not remotely true – even today many of is perfectly composed images are still truly shocking. His X Portfolio contains photos of extreme sexual practices that the government recently banned again. Yep, Mapplethorpe was hardcore.
So going to an art gallery in the 80s or early 90s and seeing them on the wall (or, actually, a table top that children couldn’t see onto) must have been an intense experience. Now imagine that art gallery is in America. All of which goes to explain why Mapplethorpe is one of the most famous photographers of his era. His cover of ex-girlfriend Patti Smith’s ‘Horses’ is just one of his amazing clothes-on portraits that you could Google at work.
But Look At The Pictures is only partly about photography. It’s about ambition, religion, death and a New York that is long gone – a New York of artists, crime and characters, often pushed together run down neighbourhoods. It’s also about how sex almost derailed the New York art scene for a decade, first as artists were too busy fucking, and then, like Mapplethorpe, dying young.
The documentary doesn’t pull any punches. His most extreme images are given plenty of screen time and we’ve never seen a film with so many cocks in it. But it’s thoughtful and tender at times, in between lurid stories of goings in in clubs like The Mine Shaft. Go and see it, but maybe not with your mum.
Laine's Loves...The Lobster
The best film about the threat of being turned into an animal for not finding love that we've seen in ages. Click expand to read what we thought.
Laine’s Loves…The Lobster
It’s rare that a film comes along that totally surprises you. Modern films simply lead you through a well-worn path, with signposts to make sure you don’t get lost. From the title onwards, The Lobster does no such thing.
There are no lobsters in The Lobster, but there is a threat of one. Colin Farrell has become divorced and the rules of the film’s dystopian near future mean that he’s shipped to a hotel to find a new partner. So far, still no lobsters. If he fails to secure a match he’s turned into an animal of his choosing. He picks… Well, you can guess.
What’s amazing is how this is all deadpanned out. The film is very funny at times but it’s never played with a knowing wink. In fact the tone is basically set to “awkward”. The performances are great, from Farrell to a reappearance of Rachel Weisz playing “short sighted woman”. The first English language feature from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, we’re certainly going to get round to watching Dogtooth now.
Laine’s Loves… Making A Murderer
Oh god, how good is Making A Murderer? 10 hours of documentary about...Well, we don't really want to tell you what it's about.
Laine’s Loves… Making A Murderer
Normally we like to write a bit here about why we love the thing we’re recommending, but this is slightly different. We don’t want to tell you a single thing about it. The way this ten hour documentary unfolds and surprises is one of the most amazing things about it. But what a story, what a crazy story.
So, what will we tell you? Well, it’s taken 10 years to make, and the level of research is incredible. They filmmakers seem to have found every piece of video related to the case, dug out every phonecall. No stone is left unturned. Each episode seems to end on another WTF cliff-hanger. We’re on episode seven and can’t see how it can keep getting this intense and this maddening. Watch it now before someone starts talking to you about it.
Available on Netflix (we’d post a trailer, but we don’t want you to watch it)
Laine’s Hates… David Bowie Dying
What a terrible start to the week, turning on the computer to find a heartfelt Facebook eulogy from one of our friends to his hero David Bowie. So we’re putting on the B-side of ‘Low’ and saying what he meant to us.
Laine’s Hates… David Bowie Dying
What a terrible start to the week, turning on the computer to find a heartfelt Facebook eulogy from one of our friends to his hero David Bowie. We can’t give a better description than the many obituaries rolling out about why Bowie was so important (something you probably already know anyway) so we’re putting on the B-side of ‘Low’ and saying what he meant to us.
Side 2 starts at 19mins 30secs
We were already fans when we found every single one of his classic run of albums at a car boot sale in the 90s. From Space Odyssey to Scary Monsters, with not a scratch on the vinyl. Where to start? We bounced round each of them until we settled on ‘Hunky Dory’, the arguably his most easy going album. It remains our favourite – side one is completely flawless. Then the abstract doom-ambient of ‘Low’ caught our ears. It joins first half of the front-loaded ‘Let’s Dance’’s pure pop as our most worn Bowie vinyl.
We did get to see him, once, but it was a close run thing. After days at Glastonbury we were a bit worse for wear. A little sleep before Bowie would do the world of good. We woke to the distant sound of ‘China Girl’. Rushing toward the stage we missed more of our favourites – Life On Mars, Changes – but once we were in the delighted crowd there were so many killer songs left that we soon forgot. After almost 40 years he was an amazing performer and this was the final moment that reminded the world of his legend status, something that was amazingly forgotten by many for a decade or so.
Every album from ‘Hours…’ onwards was considered a return to form, not least ‘The Next Day’, his surprise from a couple of years ago that lead to James Murphy’s ‘Love Is Lost’ remix – our favourite Bowie track since the early eighties. But it’s fitting that he ended his career not with another incremental “return to form” but with probably his most challenging of his half-century, ‘Blackstar’. To think of him rushing to finish it knowing the end was close says so much about where he was as an artist. We’d love to have been able to hear where he would have gone from here.
There will never be another Bowie. The distractions in the modern world mean that music can never take a hold on so many lives in the way that Bowie did, and if that were to happen could any new pop artist have the balls to fight the commercial nature of modern pop to constantly reinvent themselves so dramatically?
He, he will be king…
Laine's Loves... Kings Of Convenience 'Homesick'
Like the Mamas & The Papas we're happy to be sad, and this Norwegian folk song is the perfect soundtrack. Click expand to join our bittersweet mood.
Laine’s Loves… Kings Of Convenience ‘Homesick’
There’s something just so special about Erlend Øye. Our favourite Norwegian writes the most amazing songs across a range of genres and has the voice of a particularly good natured angel. He also seems really sweet. Kings Of Convenience sound quite a lot like Simon & Garfunkel, who we also love, and this song could be about them – a story of working in a record shop and finding a record that obsesses Erlend so much he ignores the customers. “Two soft voices, blended in perfection,” he sings, his own soft voice blended in perfection with his Kings partner Eirik Glambek Bøe.
But more that the lyrics, this about the melodies and chords. As the name suggests it’s lovely and melancholic, something we’ve been drawn to since we were teenagers. In fact that’s our default setting for music, from folk to house.
As Nick Hornby says in High Fidelity (though we’d change miserable for another less negative word), “What came first – the music or the misery? Did I listen to the music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to the music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person?”
Either way, the sadness makes us so happy.
Laine's Loves... Johnny Flynn's Detectorist Theme
Oh, it's just a delight isn't it. Sets a lovely tone. Click expand to listen and to read why we love it so.
Laine’s Loves… Johnny Flynn’s Detectorist Theme
There’s something undeniably lovely about the feel of Detectorists – the sunshine filled shots of Lance and Andy hunting for artefacts in the green fields, the gently mocking humour of best friends, the slow pace of country life – but there’s something that really sets out the tone from the off. Johnny Flynn’s theme tune is just gorgeous, a perfect slice of English folk. That the lyrics use a metal detecting analogy and still pull at your heartstrings is nothing short of miraculous. It’s sent us checking out Johnny’s back catalogue, but this is our favourite track so far.
Incidentally, if you haven’t seen the TV show, it’s very much worth checking out. The story isn’t massively important so you could probably start on the second series, currently on iPlayer, but we recommend tracking down the slightly better first outing. Mackenzie ‘Gareth out of The Office’ Crook has written and directed a pastoral sitcom so good it’ll make you fondly remember Last Of The Summer Wine.
Laine’s Loves… Gifs
They really should be getting old by now, shouldn’t they? Ancient technology (they’ve been around since 1987), poor quality, too many bad ones – why do we still get such a kick out of them?
Laine’s Loves… Gifs
They really should be getting old by now, shouldn’t they? Ancient technology (they’ve been around since 1987), poor quality, too many bad ones – why do we still get such a kick out of them? Maybe it’s something about beating all the constraints to make something clever and funny. It’s like writing a haiku on a Rizla. Anyway, expect any emails from us to be littered with them. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a 20 frame gif must be worth 20,000 of the time consuming buggers.
Silliness and proper art.
And just straight up oddness.
We’re anticipating getting bored when this loop ends.
Laine's Loves... Jamie xx
OK, we’re calling it. Jamie xx’s ‘In Colour’ is the best album of the year. The haters are wrong.
Laine’s Loves… Jamie xx
OK, we’re calling it. Jamie xx’s ‘In Colour’ is the best album of the year. “Oh, it’s too polite,” say the haters, but if someone asked you a couple of years ago if you fancied an album that crossed bass, rave, dancehall and everyone’s favourite ambient indie band, you’d have bitten their hand off for a copy.
Yeah, it’s not banging, but did you really expect that? It’s one of the few dance-based albums that works at any volume. It’s great up loud on a Friday night when you’re getting ready to go out, or as Sunday comedown music.
‘Gosh’ with its pitched down jungle MCs is a high point, but the masterpiece is ‘Loud Places’. Featuring the rest of The xx – notably Romy on vocals – it’s a modern gospel hymn to the strangeness of looking for love in night clubs. “I go to loud places to find someone to be quiet with,” is as good a lyric as we’ve heard this year. And that choir! He can even play it live.
Laine’s Loves…Stewart Lee
Obviously Stewart Lee is the best comedian working today, but lately he's become very good at acting. Too good for some people.
Laine’s Loves…Stewart Lee
We went to see Stewart Lee try out some of the material for his new TV series the other day. Obviously it was absolutely brilliant but we probably aren’t allowed to say too much about it until it airs. One of the most interesting parts of the night though was when some friends of friends – who’d bought tickets to this intimate, special show – left half way through. “Why’s he so bitter?” they asked on the way out, after Stew had spent the last half hour saying how the audience tonight wasn’t up to scratch.
If you’ve never seen Lee do this before then it must be quite confusing, especially as in the time since we last saw him he’s become rather good at acting. Later he found himself convincingly pushed around by the ghosts of dead comedians, the suicides of whom he blamed wholely on our audience and people like us.
He could have come out and done 20 minutes, like the other A list comedians at Brian Gittins brilliant night, Gittins To Know You. But instead he performed two 45 minute sets, before offering to do another of the same length. Still not sated, he threw in a 10 minute improvised joke that had our cheeks sodden with laugh-tears before he let us go home. Maybe we weren’t such a bad audience after all, give or take a couple of quitters.
There's no doubt that Malcolm Gladwell is great at making complex ideas easy to digest, and we straight up rattled through this book.
We’ve bought too many Malcolm Gladwell books and read too few. The Tipping Point’s tipping point was apparently not at the end of the first chapter, for us at least. But we were determined not to get distracted from this charity shop purchase, which turned out to be £1.25 well spent. Gladwell would say that we knew that as soon as we saw it.
Blink makes the argument that your snap decisions can be more valuable than the things you deliberate on. There are caveats that you need to fight against, but sometimes you just know when something’s right or wrong. This, apparently, is because your brain is processing more information more quickly than you realised.
Our favourite part was learning how Coca-Cola blundered into the New Coke fiasco by not understanding quick decisions. Pepsi were winning the Pepsi Challenge sip tests because the sweetness of that drink is more enjoyable on the first taste, but by the end of the can Coke won out. So they changed the recipe to something everyone hated at the cost of millions.
Each chapter is episodic, with regular reminders of what you’ve learned, so it’s incredibly easy to follow. If you’re anything like us you’ll rattle through it, stopping only to pass on facts to anyone in earshot.
Laine’s Loves…Welcome To Me
Kristen Wiig wins the lottery and makes the best outsider art TV chat show ever, while refusing to get back on her meds. What's not to like?
Laine’s Loves…Welcome To Me
We’re a little bit in love with Kristen Wiig. Apart from having an excellent percentage of the letter I in her surname (50%), she’s also taken the success of Bridesmaids and used it as a springboard to make some rather dark and odd movies. On our watch list is The Diary Of A Teenage Girl, and absolutely ticked off is the wonderfully awkward Skeleton Twins. But we’re not talking about that today, we’re talking about Welcome To Me.
Miiss Wiig plays a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins the lottery and spends the money trying to be the new Oprah. As you might expect the titular TV show is a complete car crash. But even while she is unravelling the jumper of her life by pulling old threads, we couldn’t help thinking we’d “totally watch that!” She comes in on a makeshift swan, and then hosts recreations of all the times she was wronged, for god’s sake.
Between the shows everyone falls out with everyone while Kristen ignores the advice of her doctor Tim Robbins to get back on her meds ASAP. She even manages to get laid a couple of times, something you rarely see – “mad” people having sex.
If Bridesmaids made you really laugh then this might disappoint, but it’s quirky and moving and utterly unpatronising about people with mental health issues.