This is the first in a new occasional series where My Dad Rocks scribblers are invited to knock together a brief introduction to a recording artist they love but think criminally unknown here in the UK. Our resident music expert Jim gets the ball rolling with a look at American country-rock singer Chris Knight.
Chris Knight is a country rock singer/songwriter from the tiny mining town of Slaughters in Kentucky whose music has often invited comparisons with the likes of Steve Earle, John Prine and even Bruce Springsteen.
If by the artists they have supported shall ye know them then 19-year old Gabriella Jones is someone to keep an eye on because her most recent recent support gig was opening for Beyonce at the LG Arena in Birmingham. Since starting to sing professionally Jones has also performed alongside Rihanna, The Killers, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi. And she's found time to release an EP and double A-side single while working with the renowned producer John McLaughlin. Busy girl.
For anyone who travels overseas a lot a dual-SIM phone can be a real benefit because you can divert your data through a local carrier while still taking calls on your regular, roaming number. This is particularly handy with modern smartphones as there is nothing worse than stepping off a plane in parts foreign only to lobotomize your all-singing, all-dancing device by turning the data feed off. But let us say you want a dual-SIM smartphone with a big screen but you only have £200 to play with. You probably think you've no chance, but Archos has just the phone for you in the 50 Platinum.
Unless you really, really know your cars spotting the difference between the original Range Rover Sport and a Range Rover proper was a damnably difficult task. Even when the two were parked side-by-side it wasn't easy. Second time around though and it's a different story. In large part that's down to the Range Rover Evoque which is selling like hot cakes and clearly shows that a Range Rover-badged motor with a touch of style is an attractive offer even if the price is a bit on the high side. So it's perhaps not too surprising what what we have in the Mk. 2 Range Rover Sport is a car based on the Range Rover and sharing more than passing visual similarity to the funky Evoque. As a recipe that certainly works for me.
To some the definitive bedsit band, all navel gazing and no substance, to others brilliant poetic storytellers recounting the pain and travails of everyday life and the champions of the outsider, the excluded and those on the fringe of the cool set. To be honest I tend to the latter view. I wouldn't call myself a die hard B&B fan but there's a poignancy and wistfulness in their songwriting and performances that you'd have to be a heartless clod to not recognise. This new collection of 19 rarities, collectibles, B-sides and non-album tracks taken from the past decade of the band’s career won't change anyone's opinion of the them but there are still some cracking songs here.
Some films would never work if the lead character was recast and such a movie is R.I.P.D. (that’s the Rest In Peace Department) which is dominated by Jeff Bridges’ gloriously over the top performance as long time dead Western lawman Roycephus “Roy” Pulsifer. This 96-minute comedic romp concerns recently deceased Boston cop Nick (Ryan Reynolds) who after being betrayed and shot by his partner Hayes (Kevin Bacon, sadly showing no more engagement or range than he does in the EE commercials) discovers that the Hereafter has its own police force.
A quick stroll down any high-street will demonstrate that big, garish, visually declamatory headphones are all the rage. But what if your main concerns are value, convenience and sound quality rather than telling the world and his dog that you have more money than sense and that you think Dr. Dre actually has anything more to do with the headphones that carry the Beats name other than him signing the licencing deal with the manufacturers? If they are then can I suggest you check out the K451 headphones from AKG?
Earlier in the year Renault cut back on its UK range quite brutally making some people wonder in the French car maker was thinking about ducking out of the British market altogether. Not a chance. What La Reggie is doing is focusing in what it does best, small cars like the Megane and excellent new Clio, the electric Zoe, the budget Dacia range and now its funky looking entry into the small MPV/SUV/hatchback arena, the Captur (pronounced Capture).
Any film with a cast of two is unusual, but when those two are Hollywood heavy-hitters George Clooney and Sandra Bullock we are navigating close to the shores of the downright unique. The premise of Alfonso Cuarón's (Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men) new movie is the struggle for survival after an accident in orbit leaves novice medical engineer Dr Ryan Stone (Bullock) and seasoned astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) tumbling through space in head-spinning and stomach-heaving fashion.
Hundreds is a simple name for what is essentially a simple game. But beating it is a far from simple business. The point of the game is to complete a hundred levels by pressing on small grey circles with numbers inside so making them expand (and the numbers increase) until the point is reached where one or more circles adds up to 100. The combined total of all the circles is shown in the middle of the screen for the arithmetically challenged. Sounds easy huh? Yeah, right.
Is Glasgow-born and raised Aaron Fyfe going to be the next big musical thing to come out of Scotland? If I were a betting man I'd put a few quid down on it being a very distinct possibility. As a rule we don't do a lot of single reviews here at My Dad Rocks but we were so taken with Fyfe's debut EP Closer to You when we heard it earlier in the year that when a copy of his new double A-side single landed on the desk we thought we'd give it a spin and let you have our thoughts.
Perhaps not the most inspired name for a duo Philip Henry and Hannah Martin consists of, well, Philip Henry and Hannah Martin. Henry who hails from Lancashire is one of the UK's top slide guitarists and harmonica players while Devon-raised Martin is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. As a folk duo they have been getting rave reviews for a few years now and their 2011 debut album Singing The Bones received heavy coverage on BBC Radio 2 and 3. If there is any justice in the world their new album Mynd (old English for memorial) should see their profile skyrocket because it is very good.
When Google launched the Asus-built Nexus 7 Android tablet back in August 2012 it put the cat among the budget tablet pigeons in a big way. Starting at only £160 the Nexus 7 offered power, style and build quality at a price that previously had bought you only no-name tat with a gutless chip and dodgy provenance. Now Google has released a Mark 2 Nexus 7, again made by Asus, so the question is, can lightning strike twice?
I was rather shocked when I discovered that Where You Stand is Travis' first new studio album in five years. Was it really all the way back in 1999 that they won a BRIT Best Album Award and Ivor Novellos for Best Songwriters and Best Contemporary Song? Yes it was. Now their seventh album is upon us, and it's perhaps suggestive of the decline in the band's public profile that its release has almost sneaked up on us at unawares.
It's no secret that Windows tablets have hardly set the world alight. To date they have been too expensive, even running the cut back and arguably useless Windows RT and too big, not one coming in below the 10.1-inch mark. But now Acer has addressed both those issues with its new W3. At £249 it's certainly affordable and with an 8-inch screen it's not too big or heavy. It even runs the full-fat Windows 8 which come October is due for an update to 8.1. So, could this be the Windows tablet you've been waiting for and at last a proper successor to the much-missed netbook? Read on.
Neill Blomkamp’s new film is another intense social allegory that follows a similar path to his highly regarded 2009 debut, District 9. Set 150 years in the future it's a science fiction action adventure but with a social subtext, this time the growing divide between rich and poor, haves and have-nots, rather than division along racial, or more accurately species, lines which was at the root of District 9. In the Elysium universe the super rich live on the eponymous orbiting space station enjoying the the good life while the bulk of humanity struggles for survival on a dust-blown, desiccated, dying Earth below.
If you want to know what Eufloria would be like if it was ever to made into a film imagine Monty Don as Commander Adama in Battlestar Galactica and the whole show rewritten with a very strong horticultural slant. Or to put it another way, think space opera as gardening. Part real-time strategy space adventure, part eco-fable and part relaxation aid this iOS-stalwart finally made it onto Android at the start of the year and is a strong contender for the award for the Best Mobile Game ever.
Paradise Valley is Mayer's sixth studio album in a career that to date has seen his musical talent often overshadowed by his uncanny ability to behave like a bit of a prat in public. As the title intimates (Paradise Valley is Mayer's new retreat near Bozeman in Montana) the new album presents an artist who, after successfully coming through two operations for granuloma in the throat (a condition that threatened to put an end to his singing career permanently) is starting grow up both as a man and as a singer and find his place in the world. And about time too.
Ocean's Eleven meets Inglourious Basterds sounds like a great idea for a movie and it's a pretty good way to describe the new George Clooney and Matt Damon vehicle about a group of American art historians and museum curators who join the US Army for D-Day in the hope of recovering renowned works of art stolen by the Nazis before Hitler's henchmen can destroy them.
Terrace is a Vancouver-based electronic dance/pop who according to their debut album's press release have the ambition of, and I quote, "breaking the world-wide dance-pop mould". That's a bold ambition to say the least, especially from a group just about to launch its first album. Of course dance is a genre where false pretenders come thick and fast and ephemera is one of the few constants but perhaps Terrace has what it takes to make good on its boast because as debut albums go As Far As The Night Can See is a rather fine body of work.