Here at My Dad Rocks we don't often review other online publication but since we don't cover fashion we though't we'd give a quick shout-out to MIST, a new publication that does, as well as running articles on science and technology. The first issue came out last September month. With its clean design MIST has already been billed as the Apple of digital publishing (we are assuming that is meant as a really good thing) and is aimed at the younger, design and fashion conscious generations living in today’s connected world.
The Sonos Play:1 is the new baby brother in Sonos's line-up of wireless speakers. It's the cheapest Sonos speaker ever and by some margin selling for £169 (and it comes with a with a free Sonos Bridge if you're quick enough - the offer runs until the end of 2013). The Sonos Play:1 is designed to be a gateway into the Sonos universe of wireless multi-room audio. To that end Sonos has made it small, cute, not too alarmingly expensive and stuffed it so full of clever audio technology that it sounds nothing short of fantastic for something so small.
It’s been the best part of five years since their last studio effort Backspacer was released but Pearl Jam's 10th studio cut, pertinently named Lightning Bolt, doesn't just express the band’s creative depth, it also expands it. Kicking off with the thunderous Getaway and Mind Your Manners Lightning Bolt is from the get-go a hugely impressive return to form for a band who over the years have been capable of greatness and unevenness in equal measure. So good is this album that easily half the tracks would sound right at home on the band’s outstanding debut, Ten, released way back in 1991
Here at My Dad Rocks we often get press releases telling up that this band or that is back in the studio working on a new album. British symphonic rock outfit Eleanore and the Lost are currently recording their second album with the working title The Gift for release next year so we thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to say a few words about the band's sadly overlooked 2009 debut cut, Parlour Game.
The Beta Band’s extraordinary run of EPs and albums established them as one of the most inventive bands of the late-1990s. Alas, they were also plagued with money troubles and a quite remarkable run of bad luck until their dissolution in 2004. For anyone who's knowledge of this criminally underrated band extends little beyond the song played by John Cusack in the 2000 film adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity this new box set may be just what the doctor ordered.
Female-fronted electronic blues duo Vienna Ditto will be releasing their new EP, Ugly on Monday 14th October on Ubiquity Project Records as a free download. The 3-track EP blends their country blues and gospel influences with primitive ‘voodoo electronics’ and clattering junk percussion (instruments used include a 57 foot narrowboat), bringing Juke House to the Juke Joint.
Is Prefab Sprout's Steve McQueen the best pop album in the world? Trick question, of course it is. Crimson / Red, the first album of previously unheard Sprout material to be released since Andromeda Heights way back in 1997 (2009's Let's Change the World With Music was recorded in 1992) isn't quite in the same league but it is still a corker of an album.
A native of Switzerland who grew up in India and then went on to graduate from the London School of Economics with a law degree Serena Kern doesn't really have your typical background for a pop star but judging by the music on her debut EP her unconventional career to date shouldn't get in the way of chart success. Let's cut to the chase, there is some very high quality music on this release.
There aren't many albums that seamlessly blend rock, classical music, Kate Bush and Tori Amos-style vocals and a singer-songwriter mentality but the debut album A History of Things to Come by Australian songwriter and pianist Amanda Bloom does just that. Eclectic, diverse and highly individual this is one of the most rewarding musical discoveries I've made so far this year and in many ways it is a quite remarkable body of work.
Sony's previous flagship, the Xperia Z has had a surprisingly short spell as top dog because now we have the Xperia Z1 which addresses all the Z's failings. What makes the Z1 as good as it gets in Sony's (or anyone else's for that matter) smartphone universe is a more powerful quad-core processor, much improved 1080p screen, 20-megapixel camera and a waterproof glass and aluminium body that doesn't require you to faff about with a plug in the 3.5mm audio jack. Could this be the best smartphone in the world?
Let's cut to the chase, in this writer's opinion Blue Jasmine is one of Woody Allen’s darkest and best films yet. A post financial meltdown morality tale set in San Francisco, it tells the story of two adopted sisters – the exquisitely beautiful and vacuous Jasmine, (nee Jeanette), played to perfection by Cate Blanchett and good-hearted, working-class Ginger, charmingly acted by Sally Hawkins.
Ryan Keen's name may not be familiar to many people reading this but the hard-grafting folk troubadour has certainly paid his dues. In the build up the release of his debut album Keen has toured extensively and has played on the same bill as the likes of Newton Faulkner, Leona Lewis and Ed Sheeran. Despite these high-profile stage-sharers Keen has still managed to build a solid fan base for his brand of delicate, introspective story-telling and well thought-out acoustic numbers.
Samsung started this whole phablet business with the first Galaxy Note which sold surprisingly well. Its successor the Note 2 upped the stakes with a 5.5-inch screen compared to the Mk. 1's 5.3. It sold in huge quantities. The moral? Bigger is better. That's why the Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7-inch display plus a 2.3GHz quad-core processor with 3GB of RAM. Being a Note device it naturally packs a stylus too. Samsung has also added a 13-megapixel camera into the mix to give it a pretty impressive all-round technical specification.
A Tesco tablet? An odd idea, but one that makes more sense the more you think about it. You see Tesco owns the Blinkbox film, TV and music streaming service and is projecting massive growth through its .com and Direct home delivery businesses. Anything that puts those services into the hands of as many potential (or existing) customers in as easily accessible form as possible and also lets them manage their Clubcard accounts is a Very Good Thing in Tesco's eyes. Enter then the Hudle, Tesco's new budget (£119 for cash, £60 if you have enough Clubcard points) Android tablet.
Right from the the release of the band's first EP in 2012 Haim was heralded as The Next Big Thing and Lo! It has come to pass. The three not unattractive sisters Haim are now gracing double-page magazine spreads and hanging out with Kate Moss at London Fashion Week. Danielle, Este and Alana Haim also spent the past summer performing at some pretty serious UK music festivals the most notable being their gig in a rammed tent at the Reading Festival. So much for the hype and PR. Does the music on the debut album match up? Thankfully yes it does. And in spades.
The Santa Fe was the car that turned Hyundai into a serious player in the UK car market. Before it the Korean firm was known for offering cheap cars that were pretty dire by Western European standards but by launching an eye-catching, chunky-looking but more importantly competent SUV the brand immediately gave itself some much needed street cred. Now we have a third generation model only this time it makes up part of a car range that doesn't really have a weak link. So is the Santa Fe still the pick of the Hyundai crop?
The mixing of indie rock-pop and dance music certainly seems to be the flavour of the month and now following hard on the heels of excellent genre releases from London Grammar and The Naked and Famous comes the debut album from the Chvrches (pronounced Churches). The Scottish trio's debut album The Bones of What You Believe is stuffed chock full of catchy tunes, wonderfully appealing songwriting and some very interesting soundscapes. Think M83 meets Robyn with a small helping of Depeche Mode and London Grammar and you'll get an idea of what's in store from a purely musical perspective.
One of the most consistently political bands of the 1980s, at its best New Model Army howled a rallying, banner-waving anthem for the downtrodden and disenfranchised of Thatcher’s Britain. It's fitting then that the Army's best album in a long time, maybe one of their best ever, should arrive at the start of the third winter of Cameron's Britain. Some records arrive at just the right time, Between Dog and Wolf is one such.
Hewlett-Packard's first Android tablet, the Slate 7 was a cheap and wholly awful device so when I heard the next one was 21-inch affair my reaction was one of incredulity mixed with foreboding. In short I expected a bad idea poorly executed. I'm happy to report I was utterly wrong on both accounts. The HP Slate 21 is a rather good idea very well executed. The only carryover from the 7 is the impressively low price. Granted £350 isn't exactly pocket change, but you do get quite a bit of kit for your hard earned.
For readers of more tender years a few words about the timescale we are dealing with here. Man & Myth is the title of folk rock “outsider” Roy Harper's twenty-second studio album and sees the light of day 47 years after his debut album, Sophisticated Beggar. It is his first album in 13 years. In the X-Factor era when artists arrive, release albums and then vanish in less time than it takes to blow your nose Roy's career has been almost geological in length.