The Big Short plays the underdog while betting on The House

The Big ShortThe Big Short is the story of greed and opportunism.

It starts with the story of the banker who had the idea of mortgage-backed securities. It then jumps forward to the early 21st century, when a few savvy traders spot the warning signs of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Against conventional wisdom, they bet that the mortgage lending industry will fall apart, and take major financial institutions – and huge chunks of the US economy -with them.

And these are the good guys of the story.

Continue reading →

Friday Music: EMA, Boris, Nothing, Mogwai

Erika M Andersons’ previous album, Past Life Martyred Saints, was one of those albums I liked & admired, but didn’t love. It was dark, moody, and emotional, and something I should have adored, but it just didn’t click for reasons I can’t fully explain.

There are no such problems with Future Void*, which is one of the best things I’ve listened to in 2014. It’s noisy (opener Satellites) fun (grungey pop So Blonde), and emotional (3jane, which is almost certainly going to appear on some soundtracks.)

Continue reading →

Spooky Songs for Ghouls & Ghosts: A Hallowe’en Playlist

It’s almost Hallowe’en. Truthfully, I listen to weird and spooky music for most of the year, but only occasionally does this become socially acceptable.

  • Yes, there are two Nick Cave songs. Normally, I would consider this to be cheating, but he has an entire album about murder, so I think it’s fair game.
  • Many of these, particularly in the back half, are quite long. This Dust Makes That Mud goes on for about 30 minutes, and is menacingly hypnotic at a certain point. Turn it up properly loud, then be scared when it stops.
  • Too long for the list was Boris’ Absolutego, which is an hour of brooding, terrifying drone. Etna is a nice substitute, I think.
  • Monster Mash was the first dance song at my wedding. I am terribly sentimental.

Continue reading →

The Corin Tucker Band: Neskowin

At the risk of being melodramatic, the breakup of Sleater-Kinney was the worst event in the history of the human race. On the one hand, The Woods was probably the high point of their excellent career, and an perfect note to go out on. But on the other hand, what if they’d gotten even better? Or just stayed awesome?

My pain was soothed by Wild Flag, starring Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, whose debut album was rocktastically outstanding, but what I really wanted – nay, needed – was the return of The Voice.

Continue reading →

Stars: Through the Mines

I’ve been a fan of Stars for a long time, ever since I saw them opening for St. Etienne. I wasn’t a huge fan of their last couple albums, but so far I’m loving The North. In particular, Through The Mines, which is a lovely, poppy Amy song.

February Music: Not Radiohead

I’m not going to write about Radiohead.

I like Radiohead, you might like Radiohead. So far, I really like King of Limbs; there’s some good stuff there.

But everyone’s talking about Radiohead. And, truth be told, I was excited about some recent music before I even knew there was a new Radiohead album.

If we’re talking about my favourites from the 1990s, Radiohead would be there. But so would PJ Harvey. And if you think Radiohead has made some challenging artistic choices since their altpop heyday, god knows what you’d think of Polly Jean. She made a fairly mainstream rock album with Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea – on which she got Thom Yorke to sing a straightforward love song – but also released White Chalk, a spooky ghost album.

Let England Shake is about war, and the death and horror that comes with it. It’s more upbeat than White Chalk, but still dark and haunting.

Continue reading →